DOASKDOTELL BOOK REVIEW of Chandler Burr’s A Separate Creation; Stanton: Ex-Gays?; Nicolosi: A Parent's Guide to Peventing Homosexuality


Author (or Editor):  Burr, Chandler and Kot, Rick

Title:  A Separate Creation

Fiction? N

Publisher:  Hyperion

Date:  1996

ISBN:  0786860812

Series Name:

Physical description: hardcover, 288 p

Relevance to doaskdotell:


Book Review A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation

By Chandler Burr

Hyperion, 1996.

Hyperion is a subsidiary of Disney, and the publication of this book in 1996 helped precipitate the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney!

Actually it is a detailed and powerful account of the research into sexual orientation, biology, and genetics. Sexual orientation, Burr claims, may be productively compared to handedness. It is also much more an either-or thing for men than for women (my own observations contradict this). Burr often provides vivd descriptions of his own visits to various research facilities; he is very much onstage in this book.

Of course, it is reasonable to claim that personality traits (say, aggressiveness, sensory memory, "defeminization") related to sexual orientation have a biological basis. Behavior, however, is never itself inherited. The moral question, then, is should codes of conduct be defined relative to sexual orientation? Are should they be absolutely the same for everybody?

Burr, we will remember, started this whole debate with his 1993 Atlantic article, "Homosexuality and Biology".

Social liberals often find arguments about the immutability of homosexuality facile and easier to maintain. They sound as if they do not believe that they could maintain the idea that homosexuality could be a moral “choice”?  Why not? The conventional religious wisdom seems to be that open homosexuality undermines the incentives of people to form and maintain lifetime marriages to raise children and care for the elderly. There is a “chicken little and the egg problem” here. You need committed lifelong heterosexuality (Masters and Johnson style) to raise kids, and you need kids to prolong civilization. Homosexuality would appear to publicize the differences among men and their attractiveness as future parents! However homosexuality can also come out of a desire for a polarized union.

The Liberty Education Forum, at 1607 NW Washington DC 20009 has published Chandler Burr’s June 2005 paper: “The Only Question that Matters: Do People Change Their Sexual Orientation?” at

There is a report in the Feb 2006 Human Genetics, as reported by Health Day reporter Randy Dotinga, that mothers with multiple gay sons seem to turn off the extra X-chromosome, and present the same X-chromosome to male children. Why this could affect sexual orientation is purely speculative. See a PBS Frontline report at

Whatever the research on identical twin concordance, there is also discordance. On June 22, 2006 the Oprah show presented identical twins, Brendan and Bonnie, where Brendan first is a lesbian and then decides on a sex change to become a man. The identical twin sister did not.

The Toronto Globe and Mail (World Scientist Network) has a story on Dec. 18 2006 by Anne Mcllroy, “Study links bisexuality, handedness; ambidextrous at higher rates,” which debunks theories that southpaws are more likely to be gay but finds that :switch hitters” (in areas like penmanship) are more like to have interest in both sexes.

Jones, Stanton L. and Yarhouse, Mark A.: Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (2007)  Blogger.

Joseph Nicolosi and Linda Ames Nicolosi. A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. InterVarsity Press, 2002.  ISBN 0-8308-2379-4. 258 pages, paper.

The title appears to pull our leg. Maybe parents with just one son find this "handbook" to be in their "self-interest." Joseph Nicolosi appeared on the Dr. Phil show in early 2009 on transgender issues.  Here he appeals to mainly Freudian, oedipal theories, but actually makes some interesting points. Masculinity is an achievement, he says (but then, so is childbirth). So goes hazing and rites of passage. Gay men discriminate against the effeminate in their own ranks (true). He tries to discredit the biological / genetic argument in moral terms with obesity as a metaphor, but never gets into the paradoxical, existential stuff. He does use some overloaded buzz words like "prehomosexual boy" and "gender deficit" but then avoids taking it into the right wing world that these words suggest. The real issues come down to the fact that men often have to provide for other people, even when they don't sire their own children. But so do women. Blogger review.           

Related: Rosenfels: Homosexuality: The Psychology of the Creative Process; Cohen: Coming our Straight; HRC: Finally Free   Wyden: Growing Up Straight


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