On July 8, David Clarke Pruden, the executive director of Evergreen International, an ex-gay group for Mormons, wrote an opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune in which distorted the results of several studies to claim that there is “no scientific basis for ‘born gay’ theory”.
We pointed out several inaccuracies here.
On Sunday, the Tribune published a rebuttal by Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist and leading researcher in the study of sexual orientation and its origins. LeVay is clear in exposing the deliberately deceptive nature of Pruden’s opinion piece.
Employing a turn of phrase calculated to confuse any reader, Pruden writes that a recent genetic study from the University of Illinois “reported that there is no one gay gene.” That’s correct – it reported evidence for three! How does finding three “gay genes” rather than one show that the born-that-way theory of homosexuality has “no basis in science,” as Pruden argues?
LeVay also seems annoyed that Pruden distorted and misreported LeVay’s opinion.
Pruden grossly misrepresents me as someone who has abandoned or disproved the biological perspective. He quotes me as saying that my 1991 study, by itself, didn’t prove whether gay people are “born that way.” That’s true, but the totality of the available evidence points strongly in that direction.
LeVay is a scientist and researcher and, as such, has been hesitant in the past to make rash claims. He has often pointed out the limitations in his own work and cautioned against overreading his results. So it is not hyperbole, political hype, or exageration when LeVay says about the cumulative evidence found in his and other studies
collectively these have greatly strengthened the general conclusion that I drew 15 years ago: Biological factors – including prenatal brain development, hormones and genes – exert a powerful influence on the direction of a person’s sexual attractions.
(hat tip to howler)