Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jesus had two dads...

...and he turned out just fine :-)

Gotta love this flyer from Faith United Church of Christ in my husband's hometown. Have I mentioned recently that I love Iowa City?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Identical Twins Do Not Have Identical DNA

My husband just sent me an article about a 2008 study that has reported monozygotic ("identical") twins do not have identical DNA.
Until recently, any differences between twins had largely been attributed to environmental influences (otherwise known as "nurture"), but a recent study contradicts that belief.
Geneticist Carl Bruder of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his colleagues closely compared the genomes of 19 sets of adult identical twins. In some cases, one twin's DNA differed from the other's at various points on their genomes.
For example, one twin in Bruder's study was missing some genes on particular chromosomes that indicated a risk of leukemia, which he indeed suffered. The other twin did not.
"Maybe we shouldn't call them identical twins," Harvard's Bieber says. "We should call them 'one-egg twins.'"
The implications of this study are interesting to the study of orientation, perhaps explaining why monozygotic twins are far more likely to have identical orientations than the general population, but do not always have matching orientations.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Witness Stand is a Lonely Place to Lie

Some great stuff is coming out in the wake of last week's repeal of California's Proposition 8. Among the great stuff is this video, in which David Boies, one of the plaintiff's lawyers, exposes the "junk science" routinely claimed by the Family "Research" Council routinely to oppose gay parenting.

This is awesome.

It’s easy to sit around in debate and throw around opinions and appeal to people’s fear and prejudice, cite studies that either don’t exist or don’t say what you say they do. In a court of law, you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to support those opinions. You’ve got to stand up under oath and cross examination.

And what we saw at trial is that it’s very easy for people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens the right to vote [sic] make all sorts of statements in campaign literature or in debates where they can’t be cross examined. But when they come into court and they have to support those opinions, and they have to defend those opinions under oath and cross examination, those opinions just melt away.

And that’s what happened here. There simply wasn’t any evidence. There weren’t any of “those studies.” There weren’t any empirical studies. That’s just made up. That’s just junk science. And it’s easy to say that on television, but the witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court, you can’t do that. And that’s what we proved. We put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost.

Unfortunately, the Family "Research" Council's bogus claims that "studies" show that gay people should not be allowed civil rights are nothing new. Such claims have been used for years as a talking points by Focus on the Family, NOM, the American Family Association, the Family "Research" Institute, and other similar organizations. Leaders of Exodus made such claims repeatedly during my 5 years in ex-gay therapy. It wasn't until grad school when I finally began reading the scientific literature myself that the big hoax was revealed.

That's what happened on the stand of the Prop 8 trial, under oath and cross-examination, even the expert witnesses for the Prop 8 defendants admitted that science, if anything, supports civil rights for gay people.

I encourage you to please read the decision yourself. There's a lot of spouting off about this decision (from both extremes of the political spectrum), but few have actually read what Judge Vaugh Walker wrote.