More Than They Bargained For

This June was designated Gay Pride Month, and Dr. Simon LeVay took the occasion to announce the establishment of the West Hollywood Institute for Gay and Lesbian Education. Otherwise known by its acronym: "W.H.I.G.L.E." (pronounced "wiggle"). You may remember LeVay from a few years ago, when he made headlines with an article suggesting that homosexuality is inborn. As a neurologist at the prestigious Salk Institute, LeVay examined the brains of 41 men and discovered that a certain part of the brain is smaller in homosexuals than in heterosexuals. Immediately LeVay was proclaimed a hero of the gay rights movement. His finding was touted as scientific proof that homosexuality is natural and inborn-that it is as unalterable as race or gender. The media reported the story as though LeVay's study were conclusive-despite the fact that fellow scientists quickly pointed out flaws in its methodology. For example, the part of the brain we are talking about is a speck no larger than a grain of sand. What's more, its boundaries are indistinct, so that measuring it involves some subjectivity-a problem in this case since LeVay is himself homosexual. But even apart from these flaws, there's an interesting aspect of LeVay's study that the media conveniently overlooked. This tiny section of the brain is smaller not only in homosexual males but also in women. In other words, if the difference in size proves that homosexual men are inherently different from heterosexual men, then it also proves that women are inherently different from men. But that contradicts the long-standing feminist claim that the differences between the sexes are merely cultural. In other words, if LeVay's study is valid, it may mean one step forward for gay rights-but it also means two steps backward for feminism. Given the media's interest in feminist issues like women in the military and comparable worth-and given that there are far more women than homosexuals-you would think that any finding with implications for feminism would be treated as big news. Yet the media was strangely quiet about this aspect of LeVay's study. If the media enthusiastically embraces research proving the innate nature of homosexuality, why don't we hear anything when the same research proves the innate nature of femininity? Clearly what we are seeing here is a highly selective use of scientific data. When it suits their purposes, the rights crowd tell us that sexual traits are biologically based-part of nature. But when it goes against their agenda, sexual traits are treated as a purely cultural invention. It's the old nature-nurture dilemma-and it tends to be resolved in any given instance by whatever is politically correct. As Christians we don't have to twist the data to fit a preconceived agenda. All truth is God's truth, and we are not afraid to follow the facts wherever they may lead. No matter where our urges come from-from nature or from nurture-our ultimate guide to life is God's law. When we follow God's transcendent standard for our moral choices, then all the whining about rights dies on our lips. And we can expose the errors of politically motivated pseudo-science.


Chuck Colson



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