Study Claiming Biological Basis for Homosexuality “Absolute Rubbish”: NARTH Psychiatrist

Mon Jul 10, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST

By Gudrun Schultz

  TORONTO, Ontario, July 10, 2006 ( – A recent study suggesting that homosexual orientation results from biological factors in the prenatal environment is based on severely flawed research and biased assumptions, a leading Canadian psychiatrist has charged.

  Researchers at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, conducted the study entitled “Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation.” The study suggested that male same-sex attraction results from an immune reaction on the part of the mother to the presence of the male child in her womb, a reaction the study’s authors suggest stems from the gestation of previous male children. In other words, the study suggests, having biological older brothers leads to the development of homosexuality.

  That suggestion is “absolute utter rubbish,” said psychiatrist Joseph Berger of the University of Toronto.

“It [the study] should never have been published. I suspect it was not peer-reviewed properly or was reviewed by someone so biased and ignorant that they were unable to see the huge flaws and [are]  essentially ignorant of the literature,” he wrote in a review published by the National Association of Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH).

  The study’s assumption of a biological basis for homosexuality is a “major glaring flaw,” said Berger, since existing research has not produced conclusive findings indicating grounds for such an assumption. 

  Secondly, he pointed out, the study relies on the “absolutely fatal flaw” of assuming that siblings in the same family are exposed to identical environments in growing up.

“Absolute utter rubbish. Even identical children are treated differently from birth. [In families,] this one is said to be more assertive, or calmer, or louder, or more anxious, etc, etc. When we come to children born at different times there are an ENORMOUS number of possible factors that might make for significant differences in upbringing that might effect how a child develops a sense of his identity and sexuality” [author’s emphasis].

  The study also neglects to address other highly plausible explanations for the link between homosexual orientation and the presence of older biological brothers, Berger said, such as family tendencies to “baby”  youngest children, delaying their maturity into an “adult masculine identity.”

“There are many alternative explanations to the findings. It is totally inappropriate for anyone to claim certainty in a study like this because such a claim is obviously political, not scientific in nature.”

“I could go on and on, but psycho-dynamically-oriented clinicians have learnt these things from long experience, while activist-propagandists produce ignorant papers with quite bizarre speculations based upon nothing more substantial than fantasy—such as this absurd notion of some maternal ‘immune response.”

  Mr. Berger, Ph.D, is a Distinguished Fellow with the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for NARTH, as well as the author of The Independent Medical Examination in Psychiatry.

“Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation”:

  NARTH coverage:

  See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

  If Gay Brother Research is Correct It Shows Homosexuality is Abnormal 

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