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James Brody
July 5th, 2006, 01:40 PM
"The most consistent biodemographic correlate of sexual orientation in men is the number of older brothers (fraternal birth order). The mechanism underlying this effect remains unknown. In this article, I provide a direct test pitting prenatal against postnatal (e.g., social rearing) mechanisms. Four samples of homosexual and heterosexual men (total n 944), including one sample of men raised in nonbiological and blended families (e.g., raised with half or step-siblings or as adoptees) were studied. Only biological older brothers, and not any other sibling characteristic, including nonbiological older brothers, predicted men' sexual orientation, regardless of the amount of time reared with these siblings. These results strongly suggest a prenatal origin to the fraternal birth order effect."

The talk shows buzz with these data but they have been available for some time.

(From Brody, 2005) "Hrdy (1999) describes vitality, plumpness, hairiness, and even a close resemblance to the father as means to pass the first inspections that human mothers make in different cultures. Sons, however, are more variable than daughters for a staggering range of characteristics (Miller, 2000; Pinker, 2002) and bear the greater focus of maternal scrutiny (Trivers, 1972).

"- More human males are conceived than delivered (1.6-1.2/1 vs. 1.05/1, Spreen, Risser & Edgell ,1995) sometimes due to allergic reactions between mother and her son (Spreen et al, 1995). Infants that pass maternal physiological standards are carried to full term and have fewer developmental impairments, less impulsive behavior, and higher IQs (Spreen et al, 1995).

"- Human mothers abort children or put them up for adoption in relation to paternal fitness and investment, and economic conditions (Hrdy, 1999) but they abort sons more than daughters in drought, famine, or changes in maternal social dominance (Kruuk, Clutton-Brock, Albon, Pemberton, & Guinness, 1999).

"There are other signs of how much males cost for females. In one preindustrial society, a daughter lengthens the mother's life by an average of 23 weeks, a son shortens it by an average of 34 (Helle, Lummaa, & Jokela. 2002). In other studies, sons have more problems at delivery apart from their larger size (Lieberman, Lang, Cohen, Frigoletto, Acker, & Rao, 1997), often require longer gestation (Divon, Ferber, Nissell, & Westgren, 2003), sometimes trigger immune reactions in mothers (Blanchard, 2001; Spreen et al, 1995) and have higher rates of infant mortality (Spreen et al, 1995). More sons are born in the spring (Cagnacci, Renzi, Arangino, Alessandrini, & Volpe, 2003) and usually to younger mothers (Trivers & Willard, 1973). A series of brothers often predicts that the youngest will have greater fluctuating asymmetry (Lalumière, Harris, & Rice, 1999), a greater risk for being homosexual (Blanchard, 2001; Cohen, 1999), and some greater risk for psychopathology (Herrell, Goldberg, True, Ramakrishnan, Lyons, Eisen, & Tsuang, 1999; Fergusson, Horwood, & Beautrais,1999). Small males at birth are less likely to marry (Phillips, Handelsman, Eriksson, Forsen, Osmond, & Barker, 2001). Further, children with physical defects are more likely targets for institutionalization and abandonment (Buss, 1999) or parental abuse and infanticide (Daly & Wilson, 1981; 1988). We, again, expect males to show the greater numbers of defects and to die earlier."

References:
Bogaert, AF (2006) Biological versus nonbiological older brothers
and men' sexual orientation. PNAS 103(28): 10771?10774, www.pnas.org /cgi/doi /10.1073/ pnas.0511152103
Brody, J.F. (2001) Sexual selection: Mind Your Mothers. Poster presentation at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society annual meeting, London.
Brody, J. (2005) ADHD: Inhibition, Emergent Networks, and Maternal Investment. Chapter 2 in Michelle Larimer (Ed.) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Research. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Biomedical Series. pp.19-58.

alexandra_k
July 9th, 2006, 08:40 AM
'a greater risk for being homosexual'

?

do you consider it a defect or something?

Fred H.
July 9th, 2006, 08:03 PM
Alex: do you consider it a defect or something?
Well Alex, let’s face it, we’re all “defective” in one way or another.

Speaking of which, TomJ apparently thought that I had “frustrated you out of this forum as [I supposedly have] so many others,” so it seems that you’ve shown Tom to be mistaken, again, about yet another thing, although he seems unable to acknowledge such mistakes apparently b/c, by Tom’s and Margaret’s circular reasoning and how they see themselves and the world: Everything everyone does is for emotional payoff and the repression module represses anything that might jeopardize that emotional payoff . . . b/c everything everyone does is for emotional payoff and the repression module represses anything that might jeopardize that emotional payoff….

alexandra_k
July 9th, 2006, 11:36 PM
Hey Fred. I won't deny that I find your interpersonal style to be a little challenging to cope with at times, however, you didn't scare me away. We have had some good discussions and I like you well enough, though you annoy the hell out of me with your rhetoric at times ;-)

Truth is I moved countries and started my PhD and was taking James' advice (not to spend too much of my time on forums) seriously. I do have trouble with procrastinating work / reading with spending time on forums... But I guess turning up every now and then isn't going to hurt my work too much.

:-)

Fred H.
July 10th, 2006, 10:03 AM
Alex: Hey Fred. I won't deny that I find your interpersonal style to be a little challenging to cope with at times, however, you didn't scare me away. We have had some good discussions and I like you well enough, though you annoy the hell out of me with your rhetoric at times.
Believe it or not, others have had similar POVs regarding my style; even my usually adoring and passionate, although typically unconstrained, wife, who would probably nevertheless acknowledge, begrudgingly perhaps, that I tend to be right about things.

I’d say JimB’s advice is good, as it usually seems to be. I suppose everyone procrastinates, and often perhaps it’s necessary and beneficial. Good luck with the PhD stuff—be interesting to see how you evolve.

Regarding your thoughts on “emergence” in one of your other threads, I’d say it’s a lot like “evolution,” “natural selection,” “self-organization,” etc.—terms that are interpretations or observations, often circular, of various phenomena, but that don’t truly provide us with much actual understanding or enable us to make actual predictions, as science is suppose to do, like, say, general relativity or the second law of thermodynamics—although, admittedly, such terms are usually kind of cool, do seem to have some amount of truth, and can be used to disguise our ignorance (e.g., “consciousness is an emergent property of the neurons in our brains,” or “shit happens”).

alexandra_k
July 10th, 2006, 11:30 PM
> Believe it or not, others have had similar POVs regarding my style; even my usually adoring and passionate, although typically unconstrained, wife, who would probably nevertheless acknowledge, begrudgingly perhaps, that I tend to be right about things.

Lol!

> I’d say JimB’s advice is good, as it usually seems to be. I suppose everyone procrastinates, and often perhaps it’s necessary and beneficial. Good luck with the PhD stuff—be interesting to see how you evolve.

Thanks. I kinda need to evolve quickly (thesis only 3 year program).

> Regarding your thoughts on “emergence” in one of your other threads, I’d say it’s a lot like “evolution,” “natural selection,” “self-organization,” etc.—terms that are interpretations or observations, often circular, of various phenomena, but that don’t truly provide us with much actual understanding or enable us to make actual predictions, as science is suppose to do, like, say, general relativity or the second law of thermodynamics—although, admittedly, such terms are usually kind of cool, do seem to have some amount of truth, and can be used to disguise our ignorance (e.g., “consciousness is an emergent property of the neurons in our brains,” or “shit happens”).

Yeah. Philosophers like to engage in clarification of terms... Not so much in search of necessary and sufficient conditions anymore (too hard to come by) but more in terms of trying to figure out what people mean by what they say so we can summarise in a nutshell and map possibility space and where different theorists are located on that possibility space.

I think most people agree that consciousness is an emergent property of the neurones in our brains... But the difficulty is in spelling out precisely what the (ideally) necessary and sufficient conditions are for the emergence of consciousness.

Also... While OUR consciousness seems related to our brains... Surely it would be possible for AI to be conscious or for some kind of aliens that lacked brains like ours. If it is indeed possible for beings without brains to be conscious then the relation between brains and consciousness is even less clear (having a brain functioning in the right kind of way might be sufficient but not necessary).

I've been attracted to property dualism since my arrival. The notion that consciousness / phenomenal properties should be treated as brute, like mass is treated as brute in physics.

Sure it would be nice to discover some underlying psychophysical laws from which one can predict both mass and consciousness, but people are still struggling away with superstring theory with limited progress and that doesn't have a hope of explaining conscious properties. I think that its okay though because psychology can proceed as usual to study the correlations between brain activity and consicousness and so forth. I just become wary when they make identity claims (that they aren't entitled to) such as 'we have found free will in the brain!'. Lol.

:-)