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Proportions of gay people in climbing

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 john arran 14 Jan 2020

A propos of pretty much nothing, a discussion yesterday touched on the number of gay people who are climbers. I realised that I have a perception that gay men may be underrepresented in climbing but that gay women may be less so or perhaps not at all.

I confess to having no idea where these perceptions/assumptions/stereotypes have come from, that the number of openly gay climbers (or indeed non-climbers) I know is way too small to be anecdotally meaningful, and that it may well be the case that some/many of the climbers I know may be gay without being overtly so.

Anyone care to add more credible info or opinion to put me right?

42
In reply to john arran:

No credible info John but homosexuality is not immediately visible so judgement is difficult. 

Diversification through an increase in black climbers is immediately obvious, you see more at the crag. 

We could request that they wear a badge to identify themselves, perhaps a pink felt triangle, sewn into their left shoulder. That has been done before and didn't turn out well. 

5
 WaterMonkey 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

It is a worry..

14
 Morgan Woods 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Dare I say it....their proportions are probably quite good

In reply to john arran:

Is it really necessary or relevant to know someone's sexuality in order to interact with them in climbing?

6
In reply to john arran:

>  I realised that I have a perception that gay men may be underrepresented in climbing but that gay women may be less so or perhaps not at all.

What % would constitute underrepresentation? What % would constitute overrepresentation? What % would be just about right?

Until Keefe and Grimer arrived, I guess I was pretty much the only Irish climber in Yorkshire, the Peak, Wales(?), the Lakes(??)

Did it matter?  Well yes, if there was a bias against Irish climbers. And it would be a grave injustice if there was/is a bias against gay climbers. But I've never seen such biases.

There certainly was a bias against female climbers and thank God that's gone. I had bitter arguments with otherwise decent people. 

Mick

2
 Andy Hardy 14 Jan 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> It is a worry..

What is?

2
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Is it really necessary or relevant to know someone's sexuality in order to interact with them in climbing?

No. But in some settings there maybe a relevance. 

Stick with my ramble and hear me out! In sweden kids sports training and clubs are subsidised so it's cheaper for parents and the non parent adults of the club aren't in effect subsidising the kids.

To obtain this funding names are logged every activity, but you also have a visit from a regional advisor to make sure you are fully engaged on diversity, welcoming new members and not just looking to fund your little clique. You have to show you've considered how people of all ages, sexuality and within reason any physical disabilities etc... 

They don't however go as far as gender or sexuality logging everyone, as even in sweden where everyone has a personal number and ID card that's clearly a step too far. 

It does however force clubs to consider scenarios. For example we have a 16yr old girl who we'll call Emma, but they now wish to identify as Fred. A girl now racing in boys classes is fine, but what about the other way around, competitive advantage etc.. not to mention changing facilities and so on. There are many hurdles to jump and most sports governing bodies are very weak on this and just expect clubs to do what they think is best rather than national agreements. 

So on a club level there is relevance, but not if you were just going out cragging, skiing, running..... 

Post edited at 08:21
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 WaterMonkey 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> What is?

It was sarcasm. 

3
 imahuman118 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

In both my university climbing and mountaineering/hiking clubs, the members are  predominantly white, male and British. There are 3 brown people and maybe 3 east Asians in my clubs, but no black people in either.

Homosexuality is obviously harder to tell, but we don't do as much as other university clubs for pride week.

8
 Rigid Raider 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

What on Earth has people's sexuality got to do with climbing? Really? What?  I don't care a fig what people get up to in their private lives, all I want is for them to be decent, pleasant company, not to spit gum or drop litter and to be considerate towards others.

3
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> It was sarcasm. 

You should know better than to try that on here

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Is it really necessary or relevant to know someone's sexuality in order to interact with them in climbing?

Did someone suggest it is?

Ffat Boi 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Of all the gay friends I have or gay or trans people I know and most of them are open about it.

Not one of them introduce themselves as being gay or trans. Only if the topic comes up and is relevant , will they mention it.

So you probably will have climbed already with gay people but they didn't think it relevant to tell you.

P.s I have a openly, blindingly stereo type, gay friend; I took most of his colleagues at work, 3 months to realise that be was gay. 

Some people just seem to miss all the clues

Post edited at 08:55
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> What on Earth has people's sexuality got to do with climbing? Really? What? 

I think some people are completely missing the point here. Of course it's got nothing to do with climbing, which is why it might be worth asking why gay perople are underrepresented in climbing (if that is indeed the case).

3
 Michael Gordon 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

I guess logically percentages are either going to be similar within climbing to the general population, or lower. It would be interesting to know whether your gender theory was correct, though data on this may not exist. 

 Enty 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

We only need to mention climbers with dogs now and we could put a poster up ;-)

E

In reply to Ffat Boi:

> So you probably will have climbed already with gay people but they didn't think it relevant to tell you.

Yes, it occurs to me that my kids seem to have a lot more gay and trans friends than I have.

Or do they?

 john arran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Thank you all for the responses. I was careful to phrase the OP in a non-judgemental way so I'm a little surprised at the negativity the dislikes suggest having been read into it.

Of course it's the case that sexual orientation doesn't make the slightest difference to climbing friendships. However there are some environments, notably theatre, that seem to be disproportionately popular with both gay men and women, and there are others that either are not popular or in which openness is not the norm. I was just musing as to where climbing might fit in this spectrum of activities, and whether there may be a gender difference.

It's clearly a touchy subject, which is a shame.

1
In reply to john arran:

> It's clearly a touchy subject, which is a shame.

Indeed, I noticed I gained a few dislikes but no reply. The reason sweden pushes it, is so that everyone has equal chance to engage and opportunity. If folk don't discuss such things, nothing improves or changes and prejudices remain. Victorian Britain lives on. 

Post edited at 09:32
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 Baron Weasel 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

A good friend of mine moved to calgary a few years ago with his girlfriend who was doing her PhD out there. He wanted to get involved with the local climbing club and emailed them, tongue in cheek asking if he could get involved with any 'hairy arsed mountaineering' - apparently they didn't understand the humour and replied that they do have a couple of homosexual members, but that they don't normally discuss it! 

 graeme jackson 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

>Of course it's got nothing to do with climbing, which is why it might be worth asking why gay perople are underrepresented in climbing.

If someone's sexuality has nothing to do with climbing, why might it be worth asking? 

10
In reply to john arran:

> A propos of pretty much nothing, a discussion yesterday touched on the number of gay people who are climbers. I realised that I have a perception that gay men may be underrepresented in climbing but that gay women may be less so or perhaps not at all.

I think that's probably correct. I once went on a gay climbing club meet and it was pretty much all lesbians. Small sample, but bear with me...

> Anyone care to add more credible info or opinion to put me right?

Not really, there's certainly no data on this. However, we all know intuitively that gay men are over-represented in hairdressing and theatre, and under-represented in construction and security. I think this is because the 'gayest' jobs attract personality-traits that are statistically more correlated with gayness, and in those industries a gay-friendly environment develops and attracts more gays in a self-reinforcing way. So we get stereotypes like gay cabin crew etc, because they're based on a statistical truth, which in turn is based on some sort underpinning in biology: traits that correlate with sexuality. (If people want to doubt that sexuality correlates in any way with other aspects of personality, then they need to get out more, pun intended).

So the question is, is climbing as a social environment more like a musical theatre company or a building site? Or is it totally neutral on the gayness-manliness scale? I reckon it's a bit - but not much - skewed towards the building site side of the spectrum, so you'd expect gays to be a bit under-represented. This would chime with my experience but it's impossible to know.

Thinking about appeal or otherwise to gay women, I think in being a bit counter-cultural and not stereotypically feminine, I would intuit that climbing isn't an environment that would put lesbians off; in fact it might have quite a lot of appeal and so you might even see over-representation. Gay women aren't going to have the 'building site problem' that you can encounter as a gay man. Gay women aren't going to find themselves climbing with a group of women whose humour consists mainly of calling each other lesbians (this is a genuine problem with groups of young men, in my direct experience).

1
In reply to graeme jackson:

> If someone's sexuality has nothing to do with climbing, why might it be worth asking? 

Because, if gay people are underepresented, it might be worth knowing whether this is due to a real or perceived prejudice in the climbing scene, or if there is some cultural or even genetic factor which predisposes gay people to be less interested in climbing.

3
In reply to john arran:

> Of course it's the case that sexual orientation doesn't make the slightest difference to climbing friendships. 

I'm afraid that's just not true. All it takes is a bit of casual homophobic banter between 'the lads', which let's be honest isn't that uncommon, and sexual orientation just has made a lot of difference to climbing friendships, if someone's just been totally alienated and now thinks the people they're climbing with are a bunch of dicks.

> It's clearly a touchy subject, which is a shame.

Yes. People seem to have a real aversion to the idea that sexuality - and gender to a lesser degree - isn't something totally divorced from all other aspects of personality and life. I think there's an idea that if you discuss the obvious truth of gay people being more likely to show certain traits or do certain jobs that you're being homophobic, and there's a defensiveness/touchiness around that.

Post edited at 10:22
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 SteveX 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

>  even genetic factor which predisposes gay people to be less interested in climbing.

I thought 1917 was good, but this is getting better by the moment, I shall get my popcorn and enjoy.

1
In reply to graeme jackson:

> If someone's sexuality has nothing to do with climbing, why might it be worth asking? 

It might be interesting to see if it has got something to do with climbing. Does personality have anything to do with climbing? Traits like aggressiveness, competitiveness, thrill-seeking, introversion, etc? Are these traits related to gender and/or sexuality? Why might that be? 

 john arran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Thanks Jon. I was hoping you would reply, as I imagine you would have thought these things through pretty well already and you always have interesting insights.

Perhaps I should have been clearer and said that "sexual orientation shouldn't make the slightest difference to climbing friendships." Alas, our world is far from an ideal one sometimes.

1
 galpinos 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think that's probably correct. I once went on a gay climbing club meet and it was pretty much all lesbians. Small sample, but bear with me...

There's a couple of gay climbing clubs I see at the wall that seems to be mainly men/men only but as I'm in Manchester, I'd imagine the proportion to gay climbers to be higher than other areas. 

 Michael Gordon 14 Jan 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> as I'm in Manchester, I'd imagine the proportion to gay climbers to be higher than other areas. 

?

6
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm afraid that's just not true. All it takes is a bit of casual homophobic banter between 'the lads', which let's be honest isn't that uncommon, and sexual orientation just has made a lot of difference to climbing friendships, if someone's just been totally alienated and now thinks the people they're climbing with are a bunch of dicks.

I try to make it clear early that I'm a dick generally to avoid misleading people. Small anecdote: bouldering this summer with a young bunch and frustrated at repeated sloppiness, castigated myself for 'fannying around'. One of the women called me out on the language. I thought about it for a moment and corrected to 'dicking around'. Still pondering the appropriateness

 HeMa 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

I don't have any real proven record either.

But I'd actually guess that indoor (or like, so nice weather bolt clipping in Spain, France... or nice weather bouldering) might actually draw in gay crowds. The stereotype jock/keep-fit kind of gays (which certainly not all are). As eye-candy and a good workout are both available at said kinds of activities.

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 galpinos 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It's a pretty gay friendly city. Pretty much all the gay people I know here moved here because it was gay friendly. As an engineer, there are more "out" people at work than anywhere else I've worked in the same industry, my wife (medic) would say the same.

 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to HeMa:

Are you being sarcastic or are you for real in your stereotyping?   

 ChrisClark1 14 Jan 2020
In reply to HeMa:

I find that the idea that "eye-candy" is a major factor in a gay person taking up climbing is based on a very much flawed stereotype that we're all checking out every man we see.

I'd argue that logic would have to equally apply to an increase in straight men taking up climbing for all the "eye-candy" that is women climbers, which can you honestly say is a major motivation in the male climbers you know?

In reply to Mick Ward:

>  What % would constitute underrepresentation? What % would constitute overrepresentation? What % would be just about right?

Surely under / over representation is relative to percentage in society as a whole? i.e. if 10% of men are gay and only 2% of male climbers are gay that constitutes under-representation. If 10% of women are lesbians and 20% of female climbers are lesbians then that's over-representation.

 Michael Gordon 14 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisClark1:

But generally there are more male than female climbers. A man specifically joining a climbing/mountaineering club to meet women would be using somewhat flawed logic. 

In reply to ChrisClark1:

> I find that the idea that "eye-candy" is a major factor in a gay person taking up climbing is based on a very much flawed stereotype that we're all checking out every man we see.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/sexiest_thing_on_the_end_of_a_rope-641324

 jkarran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes. People seem to have a real aversion to the idea that sexuality - and gender to a lesser degree - isn't something totally divorced from all other aspects of personality and life. I think there's an idea that if you discuss the obvious truth of gay people being more likely to show certain traits or do certain jobs that you're being homophobic, and there's a defensiveness/touchiness around that.

That's an interesting point. Do you think there is a link between sexuality and work/hobby/academic interests or do you think it's more that for one historic reason or another some activities have achieved the critical mass of gay participants necessary to make them welcoming or appealing? Thinking theatre vs pro football to pick horrible cliched examples

Climbing does seem to draw men disproportionately from the nerdier subjects/occupations*, if those fields had already much earlier in life repelled or others had attracted away a significant fraction of gay men then it'd seem credible they were under-represented in climbing but it's near impossible to measure or quantify given we still don't really know our society that well let alone the weird niche of climbers.

*I'm not sure if any of this holds true for women (assuming it does for men!)

jk

 birdie num num 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

I generally find that gay male climbers always have their gear arranged ‘just so’

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 fred99 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Toerag:

> >  What % would constitute underrepresentation? What % would constitute overrepresentation? What % would be just about right?

> Surely under / over representation is relative to percentage in society as a whole? i.e. if 10% of men are gay and only 2% of male climbers are gay that constitutes under-representation. If 10% of women are lesbians and 20% of female climbers are lesbians then that's over-representation.


If we were to assume your figures are (reasonably) accurate, then we need to force a large number of gay men to take up climbing, and similarly to force a large number of lesbian climbers to pack in climbing. Only then will the OP be satisfied that we have "fair and equal representation".

And what would that do or prove ? - Nothing, except to p*ss off an awful lot of people. If someone does or doesn't want to carry out any particular activity, then it is up to them - I see no barriers in climbing, we are, in the most part, a fairly anarchic bunch anyway.

As was pointed out much earlier, climbers are really only interested in whether the person they climb with - and indeed other climbers around about - are safe, reasonable to get on with, and helpful on the rare occasions when things go wrong.

I, like everyone I know, have never asked, nor have ever been interested in, the sexual persuasion of anyone I (or they) have climbed with. Climbing is just climbing, it is not a dating site.

13
 Tom V 14 Jan 2020
In reply to steveriley:

Americans wouldn't have a problem with the expression, I imagine.

 HeMa 14 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisClark1:

That is my point, non-gay's can and sometimes do take up leasure climbing due to simply the eye-candy factor. I would imagine the same would also hold true for gay's.

But considering the general sex distribution, I would think that if you prefer male eye-candy, climbing has more to offer than in regards of females. Granted things are changing to a more even distribution.

But as was raised above, this (still?) over representation of males can also lead to prejudice against gays. 

1
 olddirtydoggy 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Is it safe as a straight man to be climbing with someone who is gay? Should I be worried when getting lowered down onto what I'm expecting to be 'safe' ground?

This thread has got to be bait, bit like my reply here.

22
 HeMa 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Iamgregp:

I've being both sarcastic and also referring to the media stereotype that is often given. The "jock" gay, that is in essence a narcissistic person, who happens to highly value their own body (so keep fit), but also values fit persons as eye-candy.

That being said, none of the gays I know follow that description. But still, that is the image that is portrait in the mass-media.

Of course, to an extent you need to be even mildly interested in being in shape to pic up climbing as a hobby. So no matter what  your sexual preferences  would be, if your favorite pastime happens to be soft cheese and red wine, followed as a close second a  the coach, beer, nachos and a nice movie on the telly... well, you won't suddenly start climbing as a hobby...

 galpinos 14 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> If we were to assume your figures are (reasonably) accurate, then we need to force a large number of gay men to take up climbing, and similarly to force a large number of lesbian climbers to pack in climbing. Only then will the OP be satisfied that we have "fair and equal representation".

Why are we forcing people to take up/quit climbing? Why do you want to do that? The OP doesn't, so why do you?

> And what would that do or prove ? - Nothing, except to p*ss off an awful lot of people. If someone does or doesn't want to carry out any particular activity, then it is up to them - I see no barriers in climbing, we are, in the most part, a fairly anarchic bunch anyway.

You see no barriers, but I'm presuming you are straight? As John pointed out above, what may be perceived as just "banter" between mates at the wall might actually be pretty off putting.

You appear to be getting worked up about a simple question from John (the OP) for some bizarre reason. Personally, I like to think climbing is a welcoming pastime and if that's not the case, it'd be nice to know why and try to change it for the better.

 john arran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> If we were to assume your figures are (reasonably) accurate, then we need to force a large number of gay men to take up climbing, and similarly to force a large number of lesbian climbers to pack in climbing. Only then will the OP be satisfied that we have "fair and equal representation".

Given that I was the OP and what you're presenting as a quote bears no relation to my initial post whatsoever, I can only assume that you're using your own preconceptions to read things into other people's posts.

 john arran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> Is it safe as a straight man to be climbing with someone who is gay? Should I be worried when getting lowered down onto what I'm expecting to be 'safe' ground?

I'll respond only to point out that I don't think your question is worthy of a reply.

1
 krikoman 14 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> If we were to assume your figures are (reasonably) accurate, then we need to force a large number of gay men to take up climbing

I'm not going to the one, to force them to take it up!

3
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> It was sarcasm. <

I've sometimes made the mistake of assuming others will realize I'm not serious. I try to remember to add a smiley emoticon.

1
In reply to jkarran:

> That's an interesting point. Do you think there is a link between sexuality and work/hobby/academic interests or do you think it's more that for one historic reason or another some activities have achieved the critical mass of gay participants necessary to make them welcoming or appealing? Thinking theatre vs pro football to pick horrible cliched examples

I think there are genuine statistical sex differences in psychological traits (and therefore skills, interests, occupations) that aren't only a consequence social conditioning. I also think that sexuality is significantly integrated into the psychological traits that vary between the sexes, so where you would expect men to show higher degrees of aggressiveness, competitiveness etc, this trend may not hold for gay men. In some domains, you might expect gay men to follow more female patterns of behaviour, in other domains more male-typical. I think once we understand the neurology better, we'll see how the 'gay brain' is funny combo of male-typical and female-typical bits and bobs. Resulting in a funny combo of male-typical and female-typical behaviours. All of this is only going to be apparent at the statistical level, because of the huge degree of individual differences between members of our species.

So, I think if you're prepared to believe in sex-differences in interests, etc. then sexuality-differences seem to me to be just as likely. I don't think it's random that construction has ended up as the stereotypically homophobic job, and hairdressing as stereotypically gay. I've never worked in either, but it looks to me like working in construction would require you to bond with other men as 'one of the lads' (something gay men don't tend to excel at IME); while hairdressing requires you to be close to women without any sexual intention being perceived (something gay men tend to be good at).

> Climbing does seem to draw men disproportionately from the nerdier subjects/occupations*, if those fields had already much earlier in life repelled or others had attracted away a significant fraction of gay men then it'd seem credible they were under-represented in climbing but it's near impossible to measure or quantify given we still don't really know our society that well let alone the weird niche of climbers.

I wouldn't have connected occupation and hobby in that way, I think both would result from a deeper third variable - personality traits. I would expect gay men to be under-represented in climbing for two reasons: 

1. As you say, climbers tend to come disproportionately from the personality types who end up in nerdy occupations, and I think these personality types are more straight-typical than gay-typical.

2. As a result of this, the social environment of climbing is more like an engineering office than theatre company, so it's not especially appealing to gay men. It's probably perceived as a bit macho, due to the element of physical danger too. Unsurprising that there's no critical mass to create a reputation of being a gay-friendly hobby to get into. That said, it's nowhere near as off-putting as team sports, since you can be very selective with who climb with. 

5
 C Witter 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

I'm not sure about the present day situation; only that I would hope LGBTQ people feel increasingly confident and welcome within climbing, despite the fact that even this thread has been full of ridiculous stereotypes from some and dismissive responses from others.

An important side note is that homosexual climbers have played a very important role in the history of climbing, not least Geoffrey Winthrop Young, Mallory and Menlove Edwards, though I'm sure there are less well-worn examples. To my mind, climbing in the early C20th was probably more open-minded in some regards than it is now...

It only remains to say, we've already had this conversation in the UKC forums, with typical imbecility, and here is a useful response to the OP via a response to that earlier thread:  

https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/climbing_with_pride_an_insight_into_the_lgbt_community-7764

CW

Post edited at 14:51
 Marek 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Most of what you wrote seems very plausible - except for the bit about 'nerdy' occupations being more straight-typical. I have no statistical data one way or the other, but I'm struggling to see a justification for the above correlation from either a social or evolutionary perspective. I read 'nerdy' as 'better with technology than people', but why would that correlate with gay/not-gay? Certainly there's a correlation to gender, but I'm not convinced that's the same. There's a tendency to assume gay men are more 'feminine', but I think that's tricky assumption to extrapolate too far on.

 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  I also think that sexuality is significantly integrated into the psychological traits that vary between the sexes, so where you would expect men to show higher degrees of aggressiveness, competitiveness etc, this trend may not hold for gay men. In some domains, you might expect gay men to follow more female patterns of behaviour, in other domains more male-typical. I think once we understand the neurology better, we'll see how the 'gay brain' is funny combo of male-typical and female-typical bits and bobs. Resulting in a funny combo of male-typical and female-typical behaviours. All of this is only going to be apparent at the statistical level, because of the huge degree of individual differences between members of our species.

> So, I think if you're prepared to believe in sex-differences in interests, etc. then sexuality-differences seem to me to be just as likely. I don't think it's random that construction has ended up as the stereotypically homophobic job, and hairdressing as stereotypically gay. I've never worked in either, but it looks to me like working in construction would require you to bond with other men as 'one of the lads' (something gay men don't tend to excel at IME); while hairdressing requires you to be close to women without any sexual intention being perceived (something gay men tend to be good at).

What a load of old cobblers. 

19
In reply to fred99:

> If we were to assume your figures are (reasonably) accurate, then we need to force a large number of gay men to take up climbing, and similarly to force a large number of lesbian climbers to pack in climbing. Only then will the OP be satisfied that we have "fair and equal representation".

I don't think you've understood the intention of the OP and that follow-up post. None of us actually know whether gay men are under-represented and lesbians are over-represented, but a few of us think that seems to be the case. We're just interested in whether that's a real trend, and if so, why might it be.

Toerag was just explaining what we mean by 'over-represented' - in neutral, statistical terms.

I can't see anyone expressing a desire to make sure there is equal representation in climbing vs. general population, which is what you seem to have read into the OP. My guess is that the dislikers have interpreted something similar, but it's hard to know.

> I, like everyone I know, have never asked, nor have ever been interested in, the sexual persuasion of anyone I (or they) have climbed with. Climbing is just climbing, it is not a dating site.

That's not quite how it works. I can tell you that there are times when sexual orientation becomes an issue: when there's casual homophobia in a group of people. Nothing to do with dating, it's to do with people's assumptions that no one they go climbing with can possibly be gay. Besides, the minute you ask someone if they're married or anything about their home or family life, you've brought up the issue of sexuality (unless you expect everyone to keep the gender of their partner discreetly ambiguous!).

Post edited at 15:10
In reply to john arran:

> I'll respond only to point out that I don't think your question is worthy of a reply.

You must be finding this thread very frustrating!

In reply to john arran:

Hi John

You might recall that a large group of climbers stayed at Chez Arran at the end of summer last year, all of whom were members of Not So Trad - Southern LGBT Climbers. We enjoyed yours and Anne's hospitality and we'll be happy to visit again

Best,

Marianne

In reply to Marek:

> Most of what you wrote seems very plausible - except for the bit about 'nerdy' occupations being more straight-typical. I have no statistical data one way or the other, but I'm struggling to see a justification for the above correlation from either a social or evolutionary perspective. I read 'nerdy' as 'better with technology than people', but why would that correlate with gay/not-gay? Certainly there's a correlation to gender, but I'm not convinced that's the same. There's a tendency to assume gay men are more 'feminine', but I think that's tricky assumption to extrapolate too far on.

You're prepared to see the correlation to gender, but not the step further to sexuality. I'm not saying that all female-typical psychological traits correlate to gay men. I'm guessing that some do and some don't. It's pure speculation, but I think that the nerdy 'better with technology than people' male-typical trait explains why gays are over-represented in nursing (and conversely underrepresented in engineering?). If this explanation is right, and the correlation between nerds and climbers is right, we'd expect to see under-representation of gays in climbing. But it might all be wrong!

 graeme jackson 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> ..... require you to bond with other men as 'one of the lads' (something gay men don't tend to excel at IME);

if you truly believe this then I'd advise you spend some time in the company of some gay men to see just how wrong your fairly offensive stereotype is.

7
In reply to Iamgregp:

> What a load of old cobblers. 

Reasons?

I said:

> I think there are genuine statistical sex differences in psychological traits (and therefore skills, interests, occupations) that aren't only a consequence social conditioning. I also think that sexuality is significantly integrated into the psychological traits that vary between the sexes...

But you didn't quote the first sentence. Did you agree with the first but not the second?

It's blindingly obvious to me that some of a gay male's brain works in a way that is more female-typical than male-typical (the part that responds to sexual stimuli). That's undeniable, right? So, you can either view this as totally unrelated to all other brain function, or you can view it as integrated. I think it's integrated, because that supports my experience of people, and the data on stuff like representation of gays in different jobs.

Or are you just taking an ideological stance that "everything is socially determined"? 

What I'm saying is mainly speculation, but I think it's reasonable speculation that's explanatory of the world as it is. What are your reasons for thinking that it's not reasonable speculation?

2
In reply to graeme jackson:

> > ..... require you to bond with other men as 'one of the lads' (something gay men don't tend to excel at IME);

> if you truly believe this then I'd advise you spend some time in the company of some gay men to see just how wrong your fairly offensive stereotype is.

Excuse me? I think I've got enough experience of the company of gay men to be qualified to comment.

Edit: and if anyone is offended by my comment, they need to get a fucking grip!

Post edited at 15:28
3
 olddirtydoggy 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Great, my reply was in the spirit of your thread then.

7
 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Reason I thought it was a load of old cobblers? 

Because I have a degree in psychology so have studied the human brain and how it works, including numerous courses and classes on sex and sexuality, and, judging from what you've written here, have reason to believe I know more about this subject than you.  You seem to have based your conclusions on your own experience which isn't a sound methodology to base any conclusion.

You've decided because women and men are different, then it must mean than straight and gay men are different.   I don't know why?  

Why do you suppose that sexual preference is integrated with other preferences?  Where's the evidence for this?  

Gender has influence on behavior as the fundamental genetic makeup of men and women is different, the very building blocks, we're talking xx and xy here, and this has a massive effect on our hormonal profile which therefore has a huge affect on our behavior.  There is no such difference between a straight male and a gay male.

Of course social conditioning and environment has an effect on behavior in addition to this.

To give you your due, you did say it was speculation, but it's speculation based on zero knowledge of psychology or physiology so that's why it's so clearly a load of old cobblers to me.

8
In reply to Iamgregp:

> There is no such difference between a straight male and a gay male.

So what is the difference between a straight male and a gay male? 

3
 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Their sexual preference.

1
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Their sexual preference.

Yes, but what underlies their sexual preference?

1
 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

There isn't a settled consensus in the scientific community. 

Interestingly Some studies have identified certain genes sequences that seem to be more likely to be associated with gay people than straight, but the results are far from conclusive and there is much more research to be carried out before we have a full understanding of what underlies our sexuality or indeed many of the rest of our personality and physical traits.

In short, it's the random mixing of alleles when we are conceived that makes us all unique.  If two parents have two children of the same gender why aren't they identical? 

Well it's this same mixing that makes some people straight, some people gay, some people bi, some people neither, and other people ginger or others tall or short or or or...

In reply to Iamgregp:

> Because I have a degree in psychology so have studied the human brain and how it works, including numerous courses and classes on sex and sexuality, and, judging from what you've written here, have reason to believe I know more about this subject than you.  You seem to have based your conclusions on your own experience which isn't a sound methodology to base any conclusion.

I think you might be over-egging what the current state of psychology actually knows on this topic.

> You've decided because women and men are different, then it must mean than straight and gay men are different.   I don't know why?

Well gay and straight men simply are different, by definition. 

> Why do you suppose that sexual preference is integrated with other preferences?  Where's the evidence for this?  

Because sexuality correlates to behaviours other than choice of sexual partner, e.g what jobs they choose.

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2016/01/18/there-may-be-some-truth-to-the-gay-jobs-stereotype/

You might like to think that because you have a degree in psychology, you know why these differences exist, but the fact is that you you don't know.

I'm speculating that these differences by sexuality are due to differences in personality traits and skills which are in turn a function of brain differences, which are in turn a function of how genes have interacted with their environment (including social environment).

You having a degree in psychology isn't a counter-argument to that. It's an appeal to authority, and as such I'm utterly unconvinced that you've either understood my argument correctly, or provided a valid counter argument.

> Gender has influence on behavior as the fundamental genetic makeup of men and women is different, the very building blocks, we're talking xx and xy here, and this has a massive effect on our hormonal profile which therefore has a huge affect on our behavior.  There is no such difference between a straight male and a gay male.

Except that there is a genetic component to sexuality (obviously not as strong as gender). While gay men presumably have a very similar hormone profile to straight men, the way the brain interacts with those hormones is clearly different: the brains' endocrine response to different stimuli is what makes one man gay and one man, right?

It seems like you're trying to defend the claim that there is no difference between straight and gay men except sexual orientation, but there's no evidence to believe that claim. Anecdotal experience and the data on jobs says the claim is false.

8
 C Witter 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> But it might all be wrong!

Yes, it's all wrong. You start from a bunch of tiresome assumptions based on prejudices, stereotypes and cliched representations, and then extrapolate ad nauseum from there. There is no clarity in your account about what is meant by 'psychological', 'gender' or 'sexuality'; rather, you take these things for granted, whilst confusing them with other important concepts, such as 'culture', 'sex' and 'sexual habits'. You then get carried away trying to prove a point of your own devising, for no other purpose than the satisfaction of being right, whilst expressing disbelief (below) that anyone might be offended by your crude attempts at a psycho-sexual account of their motivations and desires.

 

7
 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Right you're drawing conclusions from the data that are huge leaps. 

This is from summary of the article you posted "Our findings suggest that gay and lesbian workers might be drawn to a different set of occupations than heterosexual workers and perhaps bring with them a distinct set of skills to these occupations. Gay and lesbian workers probably developed some of these skills as a result of social adaptation to discrimination."

Note it doesn't say "Gay men are more likely to be flight attendants because their genetics make them light on their feet" or some other fundamental difference that you seem to have made up in your head.

I said I had a degree in psychology not to try to pull rank, but to show that I know how to look at data draw conclusions.  

Look again at the conclusion in the article.  It's quite different to your argument, miles away.  That is all this data seem to support.

1
In reply to Iamgregp:

I posted the article to provide the data on jobs, not because it explains or justifies my argument - as you say its miles away. 

I'll reply later... 

 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

Couldn't have put it better myself.

1
In reply to C Witter:

> Yes, it's all wrong. You start from a bunch of tiresome assumptions based on prejudices, stereotypes and cliched representations, and then extrapolate ad nauseum from there. There is no clarity in your account about what is meant by 'psychological', 'gender' or 'sexuality'; rather, you take these things for granted, whilst confusing them with other important concepts, such as 'culture', 'sex' and 'sexual habits'. You then get carried away trying to prove a point of your own devising, for no other purpose than the satisfaction of being right, whilst expressing disbelief (below) that anyone might be offended by your crude attempts at a psycho-sexual account of their motivations and desires.

That Jon Stewart bloke sounds like a right homophobe...

3
 clipstick 14 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisClark1:

> I find that the idea that "eye-candy" is a major factor in a gay person taking up climbing is based on a very much flawed stereotype that we're all checking out every man we see.

It's definitely why I started climbing. Speaking of ... if anyone knows anyone feel free to put us in touch, eye-candy-4-eye-candy

 Iamgregp 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I posted the article to provide the data on jobs, not because it explains or justifies my argument - as you say its miles away. 

Then why bother posting it?  I'm confused.  Though I think that makes two of us.

7
 C Witter 14 Jan 2020
In reply to FactorXXX:

This is obviously stupid baiting of both me and Jon.

Personally, I don't know Jon, don't think he has said anything malicious, and I would much prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than make hasty personal judgments.

1
 Floor board 14 Jan 2020
In reply to clipstick:

> It's definitely why I started climbing. Speaking of ... if anyone knows anyone feel free to put us in touch, eye-candy-4-eye-candy


If you were my age (59), you probably wouldn't have taken it up back in the late 1970s.  Climbers were cast from more of a pot bellied, bearded mold, smoking tabs and swilling vast quantities of ale. (Exceptions excepted )  Ripped, topless boulderers hadn't been invented back then.

In reply to C Witter:

> > But it might all be wrong!

> Yes, it's all wrong.

Well somethings touched a nerve there. If you can be more specific about where you disagree (use the quote function if poss), I'll happily discuss it without getting stroppy (maybe). 

> There is no clarity in your account about what is meant by 'psychological',

Relating to the mind.

> 'gender'

Male/female. Nothing I've said relates to trans identities, that would complicate things somewhat. 

or 'sexuality';

Sexual orientation (straight/gay, no comments on bi). 

> rather, you take these things for granted

Because they seem self explanatory and uncontroversial to me, but clearly not to you. You seem to be ignoring the sentence I wrote about this stuff only being apparent statistically, given individual differences. It's a crucial point. 

1
In reply to C Witter:

> This is obviously stupid baiting of both me and Jon.

Alternatively, it might be a subtle hint that he most definitely isn't homophobic!

 geordiepie 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Are climbers under represented in gay clubs?

1
 john arran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Bruise Apprentice:

Thank you Marianne. Of course I recall; yours was a charming group and naturally you'd be most welcome to visit again.

 HeMa 14 Jan 2020
In reply to geordiepie:

ah, that's the question...

Has the LBGT community prejudice against climbers...

:sarcams: 

 geordiepie 14 Jan 2020
In reply to HeMa:

> Has the LBGT community prejudice against climbers...

It’s impossible to know for sure. There’s a distinct lack of scruffy Rab and Mountain Equipment jackets on Canal Street, but then again you can’t always tell a climber by appearances.

 leland stamper 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Taylor's Landlord:

The bouldering may not have been up to much, but the ripped and topless was in evidence.

https://www.gq.com/story/stonemasters-rock-climbing-oral-history

Ok so maybe just the topless

 marsbar 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Iamgregp:

My life experience suggests that Jon is correct.  

I recall having a similar conversation with colleagues, one gay and one straight.  One was a Biology teacher and the other a Drama teacher.  Guess which was which.  Anyway they also agreed with Jon.  

2
 C Witter 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

One issue fundamental to your argument is that there is a genetic or biological basis to homosexuality. There is no clear evidence for this and many people would feel uneasy about this suggestion, not least because historically "[b]iological theories of homosexuality were attempts not only to explain its causes, but also to maintain the exclusion of homosexuals as the "other"' (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7560922). E.g. some assholes are still out there hunting a 'gay gene', in order to 'cure homosexuality'.

For a contrasting perspective, take a look at this: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/homosexuality/#QueTheSocConSex.

You then extrapolate from this a relation between gender, sexuality and "things we like to do", ignoring outright a long tradition of people rebelling against the imposition of these kind of constraining norms, e.g. girls like pink, gay men like theatre and heterosexual men like beer and indulging in casual homophobia.

This leads you to all kinds of bizarre conclusions, such as: "It's blindingly obvious to me that some of a gay male's brain works in a way that is more female-typical than male-typical (the part that responds to sexual stimuli). That's undeniable, right?"

For me, it is polite to call this "cobblers", as others have done. First of all, men being attracted to other men does not in any way mean they have "feminine traits", biological or otherwise - and this is frankly insulting, in that it refuses to take male-male sexual attraction seriously, as a normal and natural phenomenon (and vice versa in the case of female-female attraction). Second, the idea that a man's brain works differently to a woman's brain is dubious at best (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00677-x), within a long history of actual biological differences between men and women being crudely misrepresented and misused to justify inequality, discrimination and prejudice.

The thing that touches a nerve, is that you write about homosexuality as though you were a C19th amateur alienist and I don't think people (including me) should have to wade through such quackery on a climbing forum. Such ignorant speculation about genetics, sexuality and motivation to participate in activities has nothing to do with the most important question raised by original post, which is, do LGBT people feel welcome and confident in the climbing community and how can we ensure this is the case? This latter question is literally the only one on the entire thread worth discussing.

P.s. please don't discuss back, because I'm done with this post, which I'm already tempted to delete, as it feels almost wrong to indulge in a "debate" such as this.

5
In reply to john arran:

> A propos of pretty much nothing, a discussion yesterday touched on the number of gay people who are climbers. I realised that I have a perception that gay men may be underrepresented in climbing but that gay women may be less so or perhaps not at all.

I'd have thought it likely to be the other way round because gay people tend to have more leisure time due to being far less likely to be bringing up a family, and along those same lines don't have to worry about "what if I get hurt and can't provide for my kids" in the same way?

There seem, anecdotally, to be a fair number of gay people in Scouting which could well be, if it does bear out statistically, because of that increased free time.

Post edited at 19:54
In reply to Ffat Boi:

> P.s I have a openly, blindingly stereo type, gay friend; I took most of his colleagues at work, 3 months to realise that be was gay. 

You mean he's "camp"?  I have a friend who is very "camp", and he isn't (so far as I know) gay.  That doesn't follow either.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Anecdotal experience and the data on jobs says the claim is false.

Although the LSE research doesn't make any claim to physical or genetic differences at all from my quick read - surely this: "Gay and lesbian workers probably developed some of these skills as a result of social adaptation to discrimination." in the conclusion is saying its adaptation to the environment around them that makes gay people well suited to certain jobs, not something linked to their brain that makes them gay rather than straight/bi/whatever else?

edit: iamgregp made the same point above, I just hadn't got to it yet before replying to Jon!

Post edited at 20:03
In reply to Iamgregp:

> I posted the article to provide the data on jobs, not because it explains or justifies my argument - as you say its miles away. 

> Then why bother posting it?  I'm confused.  Though I think that makes two of us.

I can't see how that's confusing. I've said in the clearest way possible why I posted it. I've been making claims about facts like "gay men are over represented in hairdressing and nursing" so I wanted to show that these were indeed facts, not just lazy stereotypes I'd regurgitated. 

Granted, I should have explained in the first instance that it was just the table I was referencing, but I was in a rush, so sorry. I posted the article for the data on jobs to back up my factual claims about the correlation of sexual orientation and job choice.

In the article, they examine two hypotheses that are based on a starting assumption that other than the experience of discrimination, gay and straight people would behave the same with respect to job choice. I don't think that this assumption is valid - it might or might not be true, we don't know.

There is no examination of whether the data can be explained by a hypothesis that sexuality and personality traits are inherently linked, and this influences job choice - and that this is then reinforced over time as certain preferred jobs become gay friendly. It's not either/or. There is a clear social explanation (it's more fun to be a hairdresser than a builder if you're gay because you don't have to put up with a homophobic environment), but maybe there's a deeper biological explanation why that social phenomenon exists.

I'm not saying that this is the case. I'm merely suggesting that it might be. 

It appears that just the suggestion of a biological explanation for a social phenomenon seems to get certain people's knickers in a twist. I've developed my view on this type of stuff from doing online courses by the wonderful Robert Sapolsky. What I'm arguing here is consistent with his view (and, I guess Stephen Pinker's view from The Blank Slate) of human nature and the explanations of human behaviour rooted in biology. The reason I find these speculations compelling is that they chime very well with my personal experience.

You think I'm drawing conclusions from data that doesn't support them, but I'm not. I'm applying principles that are quite well understood about the basis of human behaviour in neurobiology to an area where we don't have any real data that I know of. The fact that these explanations fit with my personal experience is support for them, but I'm not saying that it shows them to be correct.

Somehow or other, however, you and C Witter - as if by magic - apparently know for sure that I'm wrong. Which I find odd, since as far as I know, these questions about the neurological basis of personality and sexual orientation are yet to be answered by our best science. I don't think it's me that's jumping ahead of the data.

Post edited at 19:57
1
 elsewhere 14 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

> One issue fundamental to your argument is that there is a genetic or biological basis to homosexuality.

There is solid scientific evidence for at least a partial biologic basis for male homosexuality, see fraternal birth order effect.

1
In reply to galpinos:

> There's a couple of gay climbing clubs I see at the wall that seems to be mainly men/men only but as I'm in Manchester, I'd imagine the proportion to gay climbers to be higher than other areas. 

OutdoorLads perchance?  There's a clue in the name

They started in Manchester and so a fairly large whack of their membership is from round there.

The relevance of Manchester is the Canal St "gay village" which was welcoming to gay people far before other cities were to anything like the same extent.

Post edited at 19:59
 Michael Gordon 14 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

> First of all, men being attracted to other men does not in any way mean they have "feminine traits", biological or otherwise - and this is frankly insulting, in that it refuses to take male-male sexual attraction seriously, as a normal and natural phenomenon (and vice versa in the case of female-female attraction). >

The second half of the sentence above doesn't follow from the first. I can't see why 'feminine traits' would be insulting. 

People's brains obviously work differently to those with a different sexual preference, by definition! And Jon's hypothesis that this statistically will manifest itself in other ways (job preferences, interests etc) seems reasonable. I'm not sure why people are being so touchy about the subject.

2
In reply to C Witter:

>  Such ignorant speculation about genetics, sexuality and motivation to participate in activities has nothing to do with the most important question raised by original post, which is, do LGBT people feel welcome and confident in the climbing community and how can we ensure this is the case? This latter question is literally the only one on the entire thread worth discussing.

Yes, what this thread needs is someone with experience of such matters to post what they think about it.

1
In reply to TobyA:

> Although the LSE research doesn't make any claim to physical or genetic differences at all from my quick read - surely this: "Gay and lesbian workers probably developed some of these skills as a result of social adaptation to discrimination." in the conclusion is saying its adaptation to the environment around them that makes gay people well suited to certain jobs, not something linked to their brain that makes them gay rather than straight/bi/whatever else?

Yes. I posted the article to back up my factual claim

> Because sexuality correlates to behaviours other than choice of sexual partner, e.g what jobs they choose.

but I don't agree with their wishy-washy social science explanation (we thought of the these two hypotheses off the top of our heads, and they weren't disproved in our analysis, so they're probably correct) and think that something deeper and more biological is going on behind the job choices.

To quote Tim Minchin, "we're just f*cking monkeys in shoes".

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I'm not sure why people are being so touchy about the subject.

It's weird isn't it. These people must be a right pain in the arse if you're actually trying to do research into the neurobiological basis of human behaviour! Apparently, everything you do is wrong before you've even done it!

1
 Michael Gordon 14 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I would argue that people's career choices mainly reflects their interests; they don't generally pick them first and foremost to avoid discrimination. 

1
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  and think that something deeper and more biological is going on behind the job choices.

There probably is, but there is also hugely complicated and deeply ingrained social processes involved in "choosing" a job. By the time we think about where we are, who our parents are, who their parent are/were, how we were educated, where we educated, how are homelife supported or didn't the education we had, how we talk, what we look like and on and on and how that all affects our job 'choice', I would have thought any biological aspect to it would be so tiny that its hardly worth worrying about. I mean I'm a teacher not because I have any biological ability to read social cues better than the next rando on the street, but because as a result of the 2008 banking crisis, Finnish university funding issues, a Finnish general election changing the lead party of government, and having a mortgage to pay, a job disappearing and a family to support; I did what lots of well educate, averagely middle class British people do and trained to teach hoping I could find reasonably secure and reasonably paid job.

> To quote Tim Minchin, "we're just f*cking monkeys in shoes".

But monkeys have never started a cobblers shop let alone an international sportwear conglomerate selling millions of pairs of shoes round the world yearly.

In reply to TobyA:

> I would have thought any biological aspect to it would be so tiny that its hardly worth worrying about.

Do you believe that to be true with respect to gender?

> I mean I'm a teacher not because...

That's not illuminating. Over millions of people, do patterns emerge that show an underlying trend of sex difference in skills and interest, independent of other factors? Might this be the same for sexual orientation?

1
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Do you believe that to be true with respect to gender?

I think we've got to the point where gender-as-biologically-defined and gender-as-socially-defined is so intertwined in unbelievably complex ways, its probably impossible to really pull them apart.

> That's not illuminating. Over millions of people, do patterns emerge that show an underlying trend of sex difference in skills and interest, independent of other factors?

Probably, but a) are those differences because of biological differences between men and women or because of the way society treats men and women differently and b) even if it mainly the former what impact does that have on job choice? Did you look at the US datasets the LSE researchers used? Does it split job preference by educational level and socio-economic background?

> Might this be the same for sexual orientation?

Again, it might be, but how you show how big an impact it has on what jobs people end up doing seems next to impossible because of all the other factors. I'm sure around here back in the 70s and 60s and 50s plenty of men who were sexually attracted to men worked down the pits, but that's because they were working class and came from villages where all men worked down the pits.

 john arran 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I'm not sure why people are being so touchy about the subject.

Sums up my reaction to the whole thread!

GoneFishing111 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Edit: and if anyone is offended by my comment, they need to get a f*cking grip!

How many times a day do you say this?

 kaiser 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Mods - move this to the correct forum please

5
Ffat Boi 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

No ( well yes, he is  very camp) some people just don't seem to take a hint, be was showing them pictures from face book where he was kissing other men and they still didn't get it...

 Michael Gordon 14 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> There probably is, but there is also hugely complicated and deeply ingrained social processes involved in "choosing" a job. By the time we think about where we are, who our parents are, who their parent are/were, how we were educated, where we educated, how are homelife supported or didn't the education we had, how we talk, what we look like and on and on and how that all affects our job 'choice', I would have thought any biological aspect to it would be so tiny that its hardly worth worrying about. > 

I'm not convinced. Our brains are unique and from the day we're born, the way they work in terms of what we like etc are I'm sure in large part not hugely affected by outside influence. Someone's parents could be both surgeons, yet the child could find the whole idea disgusting, and when they grow up there could be nothing they'd least like to do than that. How does one explain a yearning for the outdoors or an interest in climbing from having seen distant mountains, when no-one in your family or around you has previously expressed an interest, and indeed has no interest? 

 JohnBson 14 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Questioning the proportions of gay climbers... Sounds like Eugenic profiling to me. 

In reply to TobyA:

> I think we've got to the point where gender-as-biologically-defined and gender-as-socially-defined is so intertwined in unbelievably complex ways, its probably impossible to really pull them apart.

I don't know. I'm sure we could do some experiment where people's babies are taken away from them at birth (totally randomised, obviously) and they're raised in a range of carefully controlled environments. What's the problem?

> Probably, but a) are those differences because of biological differences between men and women or because of the way society treats men and women differently and b) even if it mainly the former what impact does that have on job choice? Did you look at the US datasets the LSE researchers used? Does it split job preference by educational level and socio-economic background?

No, but I can't see how that's going to be confounding here, given that we're looking at where gay men and women are over-represented (assuming that sexual orientation isn't a function of education/SES).

The point isn't that sex differences in neurobiology are an influence on job choice for any given person. It's that when you see sex differences in behaviour, you want to know whether that's something that you want to get rid of because it makes people unhappy, or whether it's an optimal expression of people's desires. If there are no independent biological reasons to expect more women to be in professions like childcare versus more men in computer science, then you might think it's wise to aim for 50-50 representation. Whereas, if there are compelling reasons to think that the gender make-up of any occupation reflects people's free choices irrespective of societal pressure, then introducing policies to change that gender make-up are a bad plan (this is the classic Jordan Peterson point, haha).

> Again, it might be, but how you show how big an impact it has on what jobs people end up doing seems next to impossible because of all the other factors. I'm sure around here back in the 70s and 60s and 50s plenty of men who were sexually attracted to men worked down the pits, but that's because they were working class and came from villages where all men worked down the pits.

I'm not making any case that the biological underpinnings of human behaviour aren't totally swamped by restrictive social environments. What I'd like to see is a society in which people get to do the things that make their lives optimally fulfilling. So understanding whether we'd expect gay men to be spread equally to straight men in jobs (and hobbies), or whether we'd expect a sexuality bias on the basis of neurobiology would be useful. It would give us insight into whether people are generally doing what they want, regardless of societal pressures, or whether they're fitting to restrictive expectations (like the gay men who got married and worked down the pit in the 60s) causing terrible misery.

The two posters who got all upset by my view seem to think that their assumption that gay and straight men are identical (in all ways other than in what gives them a boner) is helpful. I think it is very likely to be wrong. I can't see any reason to believe it, it's totally counter intuitive, and totally counter to my experience of people. And when something is wrong, it is almost always unhelpful.

Post edited at 22:18
4
In reply to john arran:

> It's clearly a touchy subject, which is a shame.

Seemed like a perfectly innocent queery to me.

T.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Our brains are unique and from the day we're born, the way they work in terms of what we like etc are I'm sure in large part not hugely affected by outside influence

In the UK the strongest indicator across whole age cohorts of GCSE grades is still parental socio-economic class. If you don't get decent GCSEs no matter how lovely or disgusting you think surgery is, you ain't becoming no surgeon, innit bruv?

It's funny that you mention surgery, because I'm sure I saw some research recently from one of the big educational research foundations that shows medicine is actually now increasingly becoming a "family business". From support at home, role models, work experience placements in lower school, internships when older etc etc, its not really hard to work out why children of professionals end up in the same professions.

1
 jkarran 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I would argue that people's career choices mainly reflects their interests; they don't generally pick them first and foremost to avoid discrimination. 

Certainly true for people unlikely to suffer discrimination. Not so sure I'd see the world the same were it more hostile in general.

jk

 krikoman 15 Jan 2020
In reply to kaiser:

> Mods - move this to the correct forum please


Which is? and does it really make that much difference?

 Michael Gordon 15 Jan 2020
In reply to jkarran:

> Certainly true for people unlikely to suffer discrimination. Not so sure I'd see the world the same were it more hostile in general.>

I suspect there are both push and pull factors. Discrimination may partly explain why people avoid certain jobs, but the (relative) absence of it in other jobs is unlikely to explain why they choose the specific ones they do. This will be more down to personal interest, earning potential or lack of other options.  

 Michael Gordon 15 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> In the UK the strongest indicator across whole age cohorts of GCSE grades is still parental socio-economic class. > 

Yes, but that is to do with opportunity. In this discussion I'm assuming, rightly or wrongly, that gay people statistically have a similar spread of economic opportunities (and therefore education) as the rest of society. 

1
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> In this discussion I'm assuming, rightly or wrongly, that gay people statistically have a similar spread of economic opportunities (and therefore education) as the rest of society. 

Not sure that's true, but even if it is, it is still going to be massively difficult to find any biological drivers to job preferences behind all the many and very complicated social drivers and limitation.

I suspect that with hobbies much the same would be true. I think that's why John's original question is interesting - because I reckon if gay men are under-represented in climbing (i.e. if 5% of the population are gay, you would expect 1 in 20 climbers to be gay etc.) it's far more likely because social pressures are either excluding them or not attracting them to climbing, rather than some biological predisposition for or against climbing.

But I don't know if gay men are under-represented in climbing or not! Two of my first regular climbing partners, and still among my best mates, were (well still are! ) gay - one male, one female. But then again amongst my climbing partners secular Jews  are surprisingly common, so it shows the dangers of presuming anything from tiny sample sizes.

 LeeWood 15 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Is it just a myth that gay people are more deeply motivated by S & M than heteros  ?? If this were true then there ought to be a bigger percentage in climbing of all sports ! The self inflicted pain of cramped toes, the misery of handjams in a crystal lined crack, and the overall sufferance of long arduous days hungry , dehydrated or cold ... sketches a certain psychological profile. Maybe all the himalayan bods are gay ;) 

10
In reply to TobyA:

> In the UK the strongest indicator across whole age cohorts of GCSE grades is still parental socio-economic class.

True, but the *cause* can still be genetic.  Thus, "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids. 

5
In reply to C Witter:

> One issue fundamental to your argument is that there is a genetic or biological basis to homosexuality.

Which seems blindingly obvious to me.  Do you really think that sexuality is a life-style choice? 

> E.g. some assholes are still out there hunting a 'gay gene', in order to 'cure homosexuality'.

Which could also be phrased: "some sensible people are looking for genetic underpinnings of homosexuality in order to understand it". 

>  Second, the idea that a man's brain works differently to a woman's brain is dubious at best ...

Well there are quite obviously systematic differences between male and female brains (though both are broad distributions and they overlap).

3
 Andy Hardy 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well there are quite obviously systematic differences between male and female brains (though both are broad distributions and they overlap).

If you were given 2 brains, are you saying you could dissect them to determine their gender, or are you using systematic to mean something else?

 Fishmate 15 Jan 2020
In reply to graeme jackson:

> >Of course it's got nothing to do with climbing, which is why it might be worth asking why gay perople are underrepresented in climbing.

> If someone's sexuality has nothing to do with climbing, why might it be worth asking? 


Considering there are academic fields known as Psychology and Sociology that look into human behaviour and traits and exist because, guess what? Humans find their own species fascinating.

It would would appear that some folk on here don't see things that way, which may be part of the problem that John Arran is trying to discuss and understand.

 Basil 15 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Who cares , move on.

2
In reply to TobyA:

> Not sure that's true, but even if it is, it is still going to be massively difficult to find any biological drivers to job preferences behind all the many and very complicated social drivers and limitation.

That's only kind of true. You can't control for social factors and in doing so demonstrate any biological hypothesis through statistical analysis. But that isn't the only way to come up with a compelling explanation.

No one's going to doubt the social explanations for the over-representation of gays in hairdressing versus construction. One job has a lot more appeal than the other due to what society is like. The interesting question, which seems to be unaskable (either for some kind of moral/political reason C Witter gave, or which you think is just technically impossible to find the answer to) is:

"why is hairdressing the gay job, and construction the homophobic job, not the other way round?"

Those  obsessed with this strange idea that it is offensive to suggest that gay men differ from straight men in personality type and interests, regardless of discrimination, are implying a proposal that society treats people differently for no reason. This is a ridiculous assumption. Human behaviour isn't random, it's guided by underlying drivers from our evolutionary history that we know about, that we've studied and understood, to a useful degree.

> it's far more likely because social pressures are either excluding them or not attracting them to climbing, rather than some biological predisposition for or against climbing.

It's not either/or. The interesting question isn't "can we separate out the biological basis from the sociological?" - we can't. It's "why is society like this?"

Good explanations go deeper than "there are social pressures...". A good explanation gives insight into why those particular social pressures exist in the first place, and these kind of explanations are to be found in neurobiology and evolutionary psychology. 

2
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Thus, "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids. 

And we're back to the "poor people are poor because they're thick" position, that didn't take long. Classic Coel - at least we know what we're getting. ;-)

1
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> True, but the *cause* can still be genetic.  Thus, "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids. 

Do you really believe in this genetic determinism view? We know that every human being is a product of the interaction of their genes and their environment. Society would be better if the environment was optimal for each individual's genes to interact with it to give them the best chances of a fulfilling life. 

If you believe in genetic determinism, then that gives an excuse not to change the environment, because if it's true you'll end up with the same outcomes in socio-economic measures. But it isn't true. If you improve the environment in which any individual grows up, they're more likely to achieve a better life. 

If you leave the people with the "worst genes" living in the "worst environment" you'll get the worst outcomes. If the environment that those with the "best genes" grow up in is much more conducive to realising the potential of those individuals, then those underlying genetic differences get amplified over time, causing every increasing inequality and thus ever decreasing the mixing of the genes. So a belief in genetic determinism, because it's false, is a path to an unnecessarily shit society with ever increasing inequality.

But right wing people kinda like that, don't they?

Post edited at 22:54
3
 Donotello 15 Jan 2020

Am I imagining this 

Post edited at 22:54
In reply to Donotello:

> Am I imagining this 

No, this is, err, normal on UKC. 

In reply to Donotello:

> Am I imagining this?

Imagining what? That intelligent people are having a fascinating discussion?

5
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> In this discussion I'm assuming, rightly or wrongly, that gay people statistically have a similar spread of economic opportunities (and therefore education) as the rest of society. 

I think that's roughly correct. The indicators that gays do badly on are stuff like % with mental health problems compared to the general population. This is going to drag down the economic indicators a bit (but might not be significant), but since your wealth is so much to do with your upbringing (and sexual orientation and parental SES aren't linked) I'd expect little correlation between sexual orientation and economic opportunity (since unlike race, it's basically invisible in the labour market).

Post edited at 23:24
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> "why is hairdressing the gay job, and construction the homophobic job, not the other way round?"

I really need to go to bed, but where is hairdressing a gay job? Here, in the UK? OK, although I don't actually know that. But compare to India where hair cutting and caste are connected. I don't think barbers are actually dalit, but they are one of the lower castes. It seems unlikely when constructed that way, there would be any connection to sexuality - hairdressing being attractive to gay men here in the UK could be true, but not true elsewhere - so it isn't necessarily something about hair dressing that is attractive to gay men.

I would imagine that there are queer historians out there who argue the category of "gay man" or "lesbian" is historically contingent anyway - men who have sex with men and people who call themselves gay are even perfectly overlapping sets now, and definitely aren't in other places and at other times. Like I say, maybe there are biological differences in brains of gay and straight people, but how you ever separate that from social effects.

 Pefa 16 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

> Second, the idea that a man's brain works differently to a woman's brain is dubious at best (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00677-x 1)

Have a look at this then-

https://quillette.com/2019/03/29/denying-the-neuroscience-of-sex-differences/

1
 Michael Gordon 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The interesting question, which seems to be unaskable (either for some kind of moral/political reason C Witter gave, or which you think is just technically impossible to find the answer to) is:

> "why is hairdressing the gay job, and construction the homophobic job, not the other way round?">

I'll provide the obvious answer to complete the point. Hairdressing is seen as an airy-fairy woman's job; construction is seen as more macho. (I've deliberately stopped short of saying construction is seen as a men's job, since hopefully times are changing and more women are joining the sector.)

1
 graeme jackson 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

>  Hairdressing is seen as an airy-fairy woman's job;

The only place I've ever seen hairdressing being portrayed as an airy fairy job was on the appalling mel Gibson movie 'Bird on a wire'. 

edit.. In fact, Movies and TV fiction seem to be obsessed with portraying men in the standard effeminate characature. In 'real life'  it's really not like that. 

Post edited at 08:19
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> If you were given 2 brains, are you saying you could dissect them to determine their gender, or are you using systematic to mean something else?

Dissections are pretty crude, but yes, if you could study the brain in enough detail then you could indeed tell whether it was male or female, to high reliability. 

1
In reply to TobyA:

> And we're back to the "poor people are poor because they're thick" position, that didn't take long. Classic Coel - at least we know what we're getting. ;-)

First, it's not me who is saying that only one factor is important.  Lots of factors add up to the causes of something.  But, yes, a child's IQ is the single biggest factor in predicting what they will earn as an adult.    Lots of jobs that require high intelligence pay a lot better than many jobs that can be done by those with no qualifications. 

1
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Do you really believe in this genetic determinism view?

If by "genetic determinism" you mean that genes are the only relevant factor, and that environment has no effect, and that genetic dispositions thus cannot be changed, then no I don't believe that, it's clearly wrong.  

But all the evidence is that, as a rough rule of thumb, genetic factors account for about half of the diversity of a trait in a population (with environment accounting for the other half).

In reply to TobyA:

> men who have sex with men and people who call themselves gay are even perfectly overlapping sets now, and definitely aren't in other places and at other times. 

That should of course be "NOT perfectly overlapping sets". Apologies for late night lack of care.

 Andy Hardy 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Dissections are pretty crude, but yes, if you could study the brain in enough detail then you could indeed tell whether it was male or female, to high reliability. 


Just to be clear, when you say study, you mean a post mortem examination done to whatever level of accuracy / resolution required of the structure(s) of the brain? (as opposed to putting 2 individuals in an MRI scanner and monitoring responses to a common set of stimuli)

 98%monkey 16 Jan 2020
In reply to imahuman118:

Sounds about right for a generally male pursuit in a Northern European country going through an identity crisis.

This whole race thing is bringing us own to moronic levels of intelligence rather than elevating our thinking.

More white people in a less sunny north of the equator country is normal - end of.

If you really want to get PC then just check the national census carried out in a democracy.

As far sexuality goes - why is that anybody's business except the person themselves and whoever they are trying to enjoy themselves with.

In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Just to be clear, when you say study, you mean a post mortem examination done to whatever level of accuracy / resolution required ...

As linked up-thread, here's a recent account of sex-related differences in the brain, written by a "professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine": https://quillette.com/2019/03/29/denying-the-neuroscience-of-sex-differences/

Of course our ability to study the brain is still very crude compared to what really matters, the neural-level circuitry. 

More generally, the female brain develops for years steeped in one set of sex hormones, while the male brain develops for years steeped in a different set of sex hormones. It would be pretty remarkable if this did not produce any systematic differences.  

However, in recent decades, there's been a blank-slate fad for denying any biology-related differences in people's brains/personalities/behaviour and attributing everything to environment and socialisation as the only allowable explanation.    This is done for ideological reasons, in denial of the science. 

2
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Just to be clear, when you say study, you mean a post mortem examination done to whatever level of accuracy / resolution required of the structure(s) of the brain? (as opposed to putting 2 individuals in an MRI scanner and monitoring responses to a common set of stimuli)

If you could look in enough detail you could probably tell what genetic sex the individual was.  With a bit of now routine chemistry, you certainly could.  

 jkarran 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I suspect there are both push and pull factors. Discrimination may partly explain why people avoid certain jobs, but the (relative) absence of it in other jobs is unlikely to explain why they choose the specific ones they do. This will be more down to personal interest, earning potential or lack of other options.  

Of course, wherever biology and sociology and history meet it all gets rather circular with weird feedback loops closing and opening over time.

jk

 SteveX 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Imagining what? That intelligent people are having a fascinating discussion?

So when you intelligent people have finished your discussion I assume you will reach a conclusion. 

Will this result in action?

2
In reply to the thread:

A comment on left vs right and blank-slate ideology.

Basic Fact: People are born with a range of abilities, intelligence and aptitudes. Some are simply more capable than others.  Sorry, but it's true.

Classical left:  It's not people's fault how they were born, and everyone is of equal moral worth, therefore we should re-distribute wealth to produce rough equality of outcome.     In Neil Kinnock's phrase, "the real privilege" of being more able is being able to support the less able.

Right: If people being born with a range of abilities leads to disparity of outcome, then that's just tough on them.  Society should perhaps worry about equality of opportunity -- thus addressing to some extent environmental factors that lead to inequality -- but not much about equality of outcome.   (There's also Libertarian Right: society should not even worry about equality of opportunity.)

Centrist: We should have some balance between the above two, some degree of re-distribution of wealth to reduce disparities of outcome and give a decent life to all, but we should accept disparities of outcome -- partly because too much state intervention generally ends up badly, even if people have good intentions.

Then along came the:

Blank-slate left: The central point is that, if one denies the above "basic fact", and supposes that the only factors leading to disparities in outcome are environmental ones, then -- it is claimed -- that increases the moral obligation to ensure equality of outcome.  If all inequalities necessarily derive from a non-level playing field, then there is a moral obligation to level the playing field, since any inequality of outcome is necessarily the result of "oppression" of "marginalised groups" by those who are more "privileged".

So this is classical leftism but with an ideology added to increase the moral obligation to act in order to achieve equality of outcome, and to enable the labeling of any right-wing people as simply immoral. 

The problem with this ideology is that it's simply not true (and in denial of the science). But, from this point of view, refusal to accept blank-slate ideology is a moral issue!  After all, the whole point of the blank-slate ideology is to produce a moral mandate for equality of outcome.  And that's why people defend blank-slate ideology and react vehemently to those who don't accept it.  To them it's not a factual issue, it's a moral one.

But that's just wrong.  If you reject blank-slate ideology (as everyone who judges on the evidence would do), then you still have all the above options open to you! It doesn't mean you automatically have to be "right wing" or "libertarian right", you can still be classical left or centrist.  You can still be left wing and advocate equality of outcome -- you simply reject the notion that equal moral worth depends on having been born with equal capabilities, which of course it doesn't.

6
 SteveX 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The problem with this ideology is that it's simply not true .

In your opinion.

12
In reply to SteveX:

> In your opinion.

Nope, sorry, it's an established fact that it's flat-out wrong. 

4
In reply to SteveX:

> So when you intelligent people have finished your discussion I assume you will reach a conclusion. 

Well I'm not really involved in the discussion myself - I'm just following it with interest.

No, I doubt a definitive conclusion will be reached.

> Will this result in action?

Probably not, but a few people might end up better informed or have their opinions modified which I suppose might have knock on effects (as with any good discussion).

I'm not really sure what your point is!

 SteveX 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Established fact, is it, well you learn something every day.

5
In reply to SteveX:

> Established fact, is it, ...

Yep, indeed it is. 

Does anyone actually think that if you took 1000 babies and gave them totally identical environments and upbringings, then at age 15 they'd all score identically on maths exams, and at art, and would all be identically good at football, and at acting, and would all be identical in terms of cockiness, shyness, conscientiousness, honesty, and everything else, and they'd all want identical career choices, vote identically, have identical sexualities, et cetera?

Because if anyone actually thinks that then they're as wrongitty wrong as it's possible to be.

2
 benjied 16 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Wow what a thread! I don’t want to wade into all this faux scientific posturing and grand theories based on half truths. I just want to reflect that I’m in part of three different communities that are in ways quite insular: one around poetry, one around electronic music, one around climbing. Is homophobic and misogynistic behaviour more common in climbing than the others? Absolutely, even if mainly in the form of ‘banter’. Aside from what I hear at the crag or wall,  it’s in the documented culture. For example I was watching the Onsight film the other week and noticed the phrase ‘gaylord’ being used by a prominent figure in the film. I can’t help but think that such openly homophobic language being tolerated at the top of the sport might make someone queer feel unwelcome or uncomfortable and affect participation rates. In relation to John’s original post, it seems to me that this would be what the purpose of asking such a question of ourselves. As a community based around a past time, if people are being made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable because of this then we should try and change it no? Seems pretty simple. It not about changing the ratio to match some perfect scale but identifying whether there are aspects of climbing and it’s culture than put off people who might otherwise want to take part.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

That's a very impressive strawman you've constructed.

2
 Michael Gordon 16 Jan 2020
In reply to benjied:

> I was watching the Onsight film the other week and noticed the phrase ‘gaylord’ being used by a prominent figure in the film. I can’t help but think that such openly homophobic language 

I haven't seen the film but would just note that the oft-cited examples of this sort of language being used in indoor walls is usually in the form of banter between those who would be unaffected by it (i.e. who aren't gay). Does that make it acceptable? No. But it's likely to be usually down to ignorance of the way such language may affect others, rather than being intentionally nasty.

 benjied 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Absolutely, I’ve been guilty of such things myself. But hopefully questions like Johns make us think a bit and less likely to continue to use language that, however unintentionally, makes our environments less welcoming to a significant minority of people (not just the queer community itself but anyone who doesn’t think banter at another group of people’s expense is funny)

In reply to pancakeandchips:

Lols.

I think it's five strawmen he's made actually. But you've got respect the man's work ethic though. ;-)

Post edited at 17:37
2
 C Witter 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Which seems blindingly obvious to me.  Do you really think that sexuality is a life-style choice? 

Don't distort my argument in a disgusting way, creep. 

7
 C Witter 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Imagining what? That intelligent people are having a fascinating discussion?

If that's what you think is happening, you are clearly hallucinating.

6
 Pefa 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I've never come across this "blank slate" leftist idea before but I'm sure you have or you wouldn't write about it so can you link to any examples?

I mean everyone knows and has known for many decades say for example , that psychopaths are born that way, so that is just one example that kind of destroys any notion that everyone is born as a blank slate. There are of course many more. 

In reply to Pefa:

> I've never come across this "blank slate" leftist idea before but I'm sure you have or you wouldn't write about it so can you link to any examples?

Read "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker (he argues against it).

In reply to C Witter:

> If that's what you think is happening, you are clearly hallucinating.

Well Jon and Coel are both highly intelligent........ and the discussion fascinates me for a start.

1
In reply to C Witter:

> Don't distort my argument in a disgusting way, creep. 

I don't accept that what I said distorts anything you said.  Either there is a biological (e.g. genetic) underpinning to being gay, or it effectively amounts to a lifestyle choice. 

Post edited at 18:54
3
 john arran 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I don't accept that what I said distorts anything you said.  Either there is a biological (e.g. genetic) underpinning to being gay, or it effectively amounts to a lifestyle choice. 

Logically those aren't a complete set of possibilities, as there's plenty of potential for 'nurture' to influence development with no apparent 'choice' involved.

 SteveX 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yep, indeed it is. 

> Does anyone actually think that if you took 1000 babies and gave them totally identical environments and upbringings, then at age 15 they'd all score identically on maths exams, and at art, and would all be identically good at football, and at acting, and would all be identical in terms of cockiness, shyness, conscientiousness, honesty, and everything else, and they'd all want identical career choices, vote identically, have identical sexualities, et cetera?

> Because if anyone actually thinks that then they're as wrongitty wrong as it's possible to be.

No, but if you take 1000 upper middle or whatever class at 15 they will be well on the way to a much better life out comes than 1000 from poorer households, and this is not because of the awesomeness of the former or the shiteness of the latter, but due to inequality of opportunity. Yes children from poor households can do well, but they are outliers. There was some ho ha in the media about poor white males doing badly which was an example of this

2
In reply to SteveX:

> There was some ho ha in the media about poor white males doing badly which was an example of this

And, as ever, such analyses don't control for the effects of genetics.  It just doesn't occur to them to wonder: well, maybe the parents are relatively poor because they've  been dealt a genetic hand placing them at the less-capable end of the spectrum**; and if they pass those genes onto their kids then you'd expect (on average) that they do less well. 

And it doesn't occur to them to wonder about that because of the prevalence of blank-slate ideology, that every kid is intrinsically equally capable, and that it's upbringing that matters. 

The interesting thing is that, when people do do studies controlling for genetic factors, they find that actually the genetic inheritance is more important for outcomes than schools and families.  In other words, bright kids from poor families tend to do pretty well overall.

Edit to add: the fact that this is counter to many people's intuition does not make it untrue.

**Which of course is not their fault; they didn't asked to be that way.

Post edited at 19:34
5
 Michael Gordon 16 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

> Logically those aren't a complete set of possibilities, as there's plenty of potential for 'nurture' to influence development with no apparent 'choice' involved.

Hmmm. And how many of us believe that to be the case with regard to sexual preference? Very few I suspect...

1
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If by "genetic determinism" you mean that genes are the only relevant factor, and that environment has no effect, and that genetic dispositions thus cannot be changed, then no I don't believe that, it's clearly wrong.  

Yes - but your comment

> True, but the *cause* can still be genetic.  Thus, "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids. 

reads a lot like you do believe it!

> But all the evidence is that, as a rough rule of thumb, genetic factors account for about half of the diversity of a trait in a population (with environment accounting for the other half).

Exactly. So your comment gives a very misleading impression of what you actually know to be the case. There's no political implication on understanding that a measure like IQ might show about 50% heritability. But there's a nefarious implication to the false idea that "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids, which is that improving the environment in which kids grow up won't help them achieve anything, and that those with high socio-economic status are intrinsically superior due to their "breeding". You do have a knack of painting yourself as holding some pretty repulsive views, sometimes by accident!

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Hmmm. And how many of us believe that to be the case with regard to sexual preference? Very few I suspect...

My understanding of the biological basis of male homosexual is that it has a significant genetic component. This is the top of the google search:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02585-6

We also know about the 'fraternal birth order effect', which looks like it's some interaction between the fetus brain (with its genetic predispositions) and the mother's immune system.

As with everything, the outcome is a result of the individual's genes interacting with environment. The human brain develops, and due to a load of factors including genes, the chemicals floating around the uterus, maybe some social interaction stuff in early life (possible, don't think this is known at all), it either ends up heterosexual (in about 98% of men) or homosexual/bisexual (in about 1.5/0.5%).

So while sexual orientation isn't genetically determined, it's definitely biological - everything about humans is biological! And there's certainly no room for choice (the mind boggles that anyone could ever have believed that sexual orientation is choice, it makes no sense at all).

In reply to TobyA:

> I really need to go to bed, but where is hairdressing a gay job? Here, in the UK? OK, although I don't actually know that. But compare to India where hair cutting and caste are connected. I don't think barbers are actually dalit, but they are one of the lower castes. It seems unlikely when constructed that way, there would be any connection to sexuality - hairdressing being attractive to gay men here in the UK could be true, but not true elsewhere - so it isn't necessarily something about hair dressing that is attractive to gay men.

Good point. I'm proposing that in liberal societies like the UK and US (where we've got the data on gay jobs, not looked for UK-specific data), people get to do more of what they want (rather than follow rules set by caste or whatever), and so people's personality traits have a strong influence over their job choice. I assume this is something you don't see in very traditional cultures where there just isn't the same choice and social roles are more rigid. In our society, nerdy people who are fascinated by problem solving in mechanics and don't enjoy endless social interaction where making someone else feel good is the key skill are unlikely to end up being, say, personal shoppers.

So having established that link between personality traits and job role (noting that this only relevant in liberal cultures), the question is, is sexual orientation linked to personality traits, or are they completely independent. Is there any trend in personality traits of gay men that makes them more suited to the jobs in which they're over-represented (fashion - inc. hairdressing, theatre, cabin crew, nursing from the US data)?

Well, here's one abstract of a study that says "The gender inversion hypothesis-that gay men's traits tend to be somewhat feminized and that lesbians' traits tend to be somewhat masculinized-received considerable support", and another that says that the hypothesis "differences seem to express a more specific tendency to deviation from socially normative sex roles...received reasonably good support".

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2585354

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16913290

Now I'm not suggesting that these studies are the best way to decide if there's a link between sexual orientation and personality traits. I've spent 20+ years meeting loads and loads of gay men, and not only that, I've viewed the online dating profiles of thousands that I haven't met, which list their jobs and hobbies and things they like. (This in the days before grindr when you actually had a profile with all this info on...those sites are unfashionable after the swipe left/right thing came out). I've also, like everyone, met thousands of heterosexuals. I don't need some stupid study and naff analysis with tentative conclusions to tell what has been blindingly f*cking obvious to me since I first came out and started meeting gay men.

> I would imagine that there are queer historians out there who argue the category of "gay man" or "lesbian" is historically contingent anyway - men who have sex with men and people who call themselves gay are even perfectly overlapping sets now, and definitely aren't in other places and at other times. Like I say, maybe there are biological differences in brains of gay and straight people, but how you ever separate that from social effects.

Well again, I'd say that the more liberal a society becomes, the more this aspect of our biology is put on show. A society may repress the expression of homosexuality, but our liberal society sure as hell does not create it!

Post edited at 23:21
 Pefa 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> First, it's not me who is saying that only one factor is important.  Lots of factors add up to the causes of something.  But, yes, a child's IQ is the single biggest factor in predicting what they will earn as an adult.    Lots of jobs that require high intelligence pay a lot better than many jobs that can be done by those with no qualifications. 

A child from say a home where the parents argue a lot which creates much stress in the children affects the level of IQ of those children irrespective of what their genes dictate. 

https://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/31/science/study-ties-iq-scores-to-stress.html

​​​​​​​

 john arran 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Logically those aren't a complete set of possibilities, as there's plenty of potential for 'nurture' to influence development with no apparent 'choice' involved.

> Hmmm. And how many of us believe that to be the case with regard to sexual preference? Very few I suspect...

Sadly, I suspect a quite large proportion of 'us' might worry that giving toddlers 'wrong-gender' toys or dressing them in wrong-gender clothing might increase the 'risk'(!) of children becoming (not choosing to be) homosexual.

1
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes - but your comment reads a lot like you do believe it!

That particular comment may not have been optimally phrased, but was making the central point that a correlation between parental class and the kids' grades as GCSE can (and likely does) have a strong genetic component. 

That was in response to Toby A, who (as is routine in blank-slate social science) seemed to just presume that such a correlation would have a purely environmental cause. 

I was not intending to assert that environmental effects are zero. 

> You do have a knack of painting yourself as holding some pretty repulsive views, sometimes by accident!

Only if people "paraphrase" them!  But, as in my comment up thread, we need to clearly distinguish between what is factually the case, and moral and political attitudes about that. 

Too many people take the approach of wanting something to be the case for moral/political reasons, and thence asserting that it is the case.

3
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I didn't presume that, nor did I state it.

 fred99 17 Jan 2020
In reply to benjied:

> ...I can’t help but think that such openly homophobic language being tolerated at the top of the sport might make someone queer feel unwelcome or uncomfortable and affect participation rates. ...

How dare you use such homophobic terminology. Surely the word "queer" has been consigned to history as derogatory and insulting.

Shame on you.

13
In reply to fred99:

> > ...I can’t help but think that such openly homophobic language being tolerated at the top of the sport might make someone queer feel unwelcome or uncomfortable and affect participation rates. ...

> How dare you use such homophobic terminology. Surely the word "queer" has been consigned to history as derogatory and insulting.

> Shame on you.

So what does the Q in LGBTQ stand for then?

 Philip 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So what does the Q in LGBTQ stand for then?

Questioning - apparently.

I think those who identify in that group can call themselves what they like, to everyone else they are simply other humans.

I think the climbing community is quite liberal and open to all. Look how we even allow boulderers to share our forum!

In reply to TobyA:

> I didn't presume that, nor did I state it.

Well you had pointed to a correlation between parental socio-economic class and their children's GCSE grades, in terms that implied you thought this was primarily an environmental effect.   

And you'd explicitly said about job choice (which you linked to GCSE grades) that "I would have thought any biological aspect to it would be so tiny that its hardly worth worrying about."

What's that if not blank-slateism? 

In contrast, the evidence is that genetics is the biggest factor in explaining the correlation between parental class and GCSE grades.   Things like family upbringing and schools are found to be -- contrary to most people's intuition -- much less of a factor. 

4
 kathrync 17 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> How dare you use such homophobic terminology. Surely the word "queer" has been consigned to history as derogatory and insulting.

Not entirely true - "queer" is an umbrella term for anyone who is not heterosexual and/or not cis-gendered.  Historically, it was a perjorative term, but more recently has been reclaimed and is particularly used by younger people who don't feel like they fit into any of the other "boxes" that exist within the LGBTQ+ world. There is some controversy around this due to the history of the term, but I also know a number of people who actively use the term to describe themselves.  So, it's not something I would call someone without knowing their preference first, but I don't think it is outright homophobic either. 

Edited to add: Of course, that is also bound up with the intention of the person using the word - it can of course be used in a homophobic way, but so can the word "gay". 

Post edited at 12:27
In reply to Philip:

> Questioning - apparently.

If so that's me learnt something from this thread at least!

In reply to Robert Durran:

> If so that's me learnt something from this thread at least!

Pretty sure it is "queer", used as Kathrync says. Used this way, for me, the word has connotations of shouty activism, brightly coloured hair, etc. 

2
 kathrync 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Used this way, for me, the word has connotations of shouty activism, brightly coloured hair, etc. 

That's what it makes me think of too, but I think the usage is changing.  For example, one of our placement students last year was a homosexual woman, but didn't like to call herself a lesbian because she didn't identify with lesbian culture.  She referred to herself as queer.

1
In reply to kathrync:

> didn't like to call herself a lesbian because she didn't identify with lesbian culture.

Nowt so queer as folk, eh? 

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well you had pointed to a correlation between parental socio-economic class and their children's GCSE grades, in terms that implied you thought this was primarily an environmental effect.  

I don't think it will surprise any teacher who has done a few parents evenings that not only do kids often look like their parents but think like them too! But unless you are saying all poor people are poor because they have low IQs, which you said you're not, then why is that poorer people do worse in school than richer?

> And you'd explicitly said about job choice (which you linked to GCSE grades) that "I would have thought any biological aspect to it would be so tiny that its hardly worth worrying about."

By the time people are at the earliest 18, or increasingly commonly, in the 20s and trying to get a job, your "job choice" has been massively restricted, or channeled maybe, in certain limited directions, by a mix of chance factors, and just how society works in all sorts of ways. Getting crap GCSEs, or A levels, is one of those factors, but so is where you live, what your parents do, what people in the immediate community around you do and so on. Jon was saying some kind of biological preference or rejection of certain types of job was important - I can see that it could be there but I can't see how it could be very important against everything else. When we really have equality of opportunity, then - absolutely - people's preferences and abilities will guide them into jobs they want, but we don't have anything close to that currently even though we are light years ahead of say the Indian caste system 80 years ago or slave holding societies like colonial America or Brazil.

1
 Michael Gordon 17 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

The best test of whether a term is acceptable or not is surely whether a person 'fitting' the term is happy calling themselves that. I was under the impression a significant proportion of gay people do sometimes refer to themselves as queer.

In reply to Robert Durran:

You can add a few more acronyms if you're so inclined, hence kathrync's umbrella '+'

https://ok2bme.ca/resources/kids-teens/what-does-lgbtq-mean/

In reply to TobyA:

> But unless you are saying all poor people are poor because they have low IQs, which you said you're not, ...

I'm saying that IQ and genetics are an important factor in what people earn, and indeed in whether someone has a job, and thus for whether a family is poor.   And that's quite obviously true.

I'm not saying they are the only factors, and thus I'm not making "all poor people ..." statements.

> ...  then why is that poorer people do worse in school than richer?

Again, these are tendencies and averages.  It's not the case that all "poorer people do worse in school than richer" -- plenty of poor kids outshine plenty of rich kids -- it's that poorer people tend, on average, to do worse in school than richer people.  

And to be clear we're talking about broad distributions for both categories, where the dispersion within each population is greater than the difference between the means of the populations. 

And, if you want the cause of correlations such as that between parental socio-economic class and the kids' GSCE scores, then the evidence is that genetics is the largest single factor.   Of course it's not the only factor. 

4
In reply to TobyA:

> By the time people are at the earliest 18, or increasingly commonly, in the 20s and trying to get a job, your "job choice" has been massively restricted, or channeled maybe, in certain limited directions, by a mix of chance factors, and just how society works in all sorts of ways.

... and also by genetics.  A child's genetics will have a big influence on which subjects they do better at, and which they are more interested in, and lots of other stuff (such as their hobbies, whether they go to Scouts, what books they read, etc), and that will have fed in to a lot of the "channeling" that leads later on to job choices. 

To quite an extent we create the local environment we live in, so even where something appears to be an "environmental"  influence the reality is that it's often an interaction of genes and environment.

> Getting crap GCSEs, or A levels, is one of those factors, ...

Yes, a factor that has a strong genetic influence.

> Jon was saying some kind of biological preference or rejection of certain types of job was important - I can see that it could be there but I can't see how it could be very important against everything else.

That's because -- with your default blank-slateism -- you overlook the genetic component in the "everything else"! 

One kid (from a poor background) can have a genetic disposition to read books, to like school, to comply with the rules and apply himself to the work, to pick up maths readily, and to pursue interesting hobbies.

Another kid (from exactly the same sort of background) can have a genetic disposition to ignore reading unless made to, to be uninterested in school, to rebel against the rules, and to just hang out with a gang of marginally anti-social mates. 

By the time we get to "getting crap GCSEs, or A levels", the genetic factors have already had a huge amount of influence!

> ...  When we really have equality of opportunity, then - absolutely - people's preferences and abilities will guide them into jobs they want, but we don't have anything close to that currently ...

Yes, actually, we do, we really do have something close to that!    But you don't see it  You don't see it because, with your default blank-slateism, you totally overlook the innate genetic factors, and so you attribute any disparities in outcomes ("getting crap GCSEs, or A levels") to an absence of equality of opportunity, when actually it is largely genetics! 

And yes, we do know about this stuff, because we do have studies (such as twin studies and similar) that can tell us the relative proportions of genetic and environmental effects.

8
 toad 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Bloody hell Coel. You need to spend some time in the private sector before you spout naive nonsense like that. Spend some time with casual sexist arseholes. Im sure its a tabula rasa in your ivory tower but equality of opportunity is a long way off in the real world

2
In reply to toad:

> You need to spend some time in the private sector before you spout naive nonsense like that. Spend some time with casual sexist arseholes.

Well I was talking primarily about schools, leading to do GCSEs, A-levels and university degrees.  Given the statistics (that girls overall are doing better than boys overall), I don't think there's much sexism there. 

2
 Frank R. 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Have you ever heard of epigenetics and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance?

How some social factors of the parents can affect even many later generations? Factors like stress during pregnancy, smoking and heavy drinking, polluted air, nutrition etc.? These would be much more prevalent among the poorer parts of the population, and lead to quite a cycle of underperforming.

Not even starting on the effects of social exclusion on children development.

In reply to Frank R.:

> Have you ever heard of epigenetics and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance?

Yes, and it's mostly very few examples of very marginal effects of rather low statistical significance.     (It is not at all like the studies showing very large effects with very large statistical significances for genetic effects.)    

For a quick summary for this see https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/the-flimsy-evidence-for-epigenetic-changes-in-dna-to-be-transmitted-between-generations-of-humans/ and for more detail see http://www.wiringthebrain.com/2018/05/grandmas-trauma-critical-appraisal-of.html

The upshot from an overview of the literature by Kevin Mitchell (Professor of Developmental Neurobiology and Genetics at Trinity College Dublin) is:

"In my opinion, there is no convincing evidence showing transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans."

Post edited at 19:02
4
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> with your default blank-slateism,

It would be helpful if you didn't keep saying that I said something that I haven't, but I guess that's one of your genetic dispositions.

So with your "it's largely genetics" and "we really do have something close to that!" (equality of opportunity) I guess you're happy with, lets say current political elites - two thirds of Johnson's cabinet pre-election went to private school (Sutton Trust research), because which school people go to isn't important compared to the genetic inheritance? We really are ruled by out betters?

1
 fred99 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> ...  Given the statistics (that girls overall are doing better than boys overall), I don't think there's much sexism there. 

Surely equality and the elimination of sexism should mean that there would be NO statistical difference.

Maybe one of the reasons that girls do better in education is because there is now an overwhelming majority of female teachers. This could well be affecting girls positively, but boys negatively.

In reply to TobyA:

> It would be helpful if you didn't keep saying that I said something that I haven't,

But nearly everything you write on the topic (not just this thread) has an undercurrent of attributing everything to environment and ignoring genes entirely.

> I guess you're happy with, lets say current political elites - two thirds of Johnson's cabinet pre-election went to private school

If we're talking about small numbers and exceptions, yes, there is something abnormal about Eton and about cabinet rank and a few other things like senior judges.  

But that's relatively small numbers, and so doesn't change the overall picture much.  If we look at GCSE grades or A-level grades, the intrinsic ability of the kid is a vastly bigger factor than the school they go to.   

When one delves into why some schools have better outcomes, it's nearly always down to the ability of intake, not what the school does.   (Again, that's about schools in general, not an exception like Eton.)

5
In reply to Coel Hellier:

But we're talking about people who make laws and set social policies that shape the rest of our lives - how is that just an exception? Are you saying its the environment (lots of privilege) that gave Johnson the 'ability' to be prime minister and not his genes? Johnson it seems does have a genetic tendency to being hugely ambitious which has been very important in his rise to power, but I suspect his sense of entitlement that must work with that ambition is far more likely to be the result of his privileged upbringing.

I was UCAS mentor to one of the best students I've ever had the privilege of teaching some time ago. She wanted to do a natural science at uni and I tried to persuade her that she should at least consider applying to Cambridge but she wouldn't consider it because it would be full of "posh" people who wouldn't like her. She had the grades to at least apply, and she understood it was about the best place for the subject she wanted to do, but basically she was scared. She'll get a great degree from a good university I'm sure, but I don't think there is much genetic about working class kids (particularly from the north and midlands) growing up to have little self confidence and a feeling they don't have a right to nice things.

2
 Frank R. 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Nice that you quote Kevin Mitchell here. Please let me just quote from a review of his book Innate. I have yet to read it, and I don't claim to be an expert on the matter, but for the sake of the discussion:

There has been so much exaggeration and bad science in research on sex differences in the brain, that it has become popular to either deny their existence, or attribute them to sex differences in environmental experiences of males and females. Mitchell has no time for such arguments. There is ample evidence from animal studies that both genes and hormones affect neurodevelopment: why should humans be any different? But he adds two riders: first, although systematic sex differences can be found in human brains, they are small enough to be swamped by individual variation within each sex. So if you want to know about the brain of an individual, their sex would not tell you very much. And second, different does not mean inferior.

As a layperson in both physical and biological sciences, I'd better not assume to know everything about genetics, especially on an internet forum. But surely as a scientist (if I am right - no doxing intended), hopefully without bias on the issue (which I do somewhat doubt, from reading your blog, although it was indeed an interesting read), you could at least word your posts a little differently and consider different opinions, since it's not a 100% researched field (and not even remotely your field at all)?

Because I can see a lot of bias here from you. Sorry to put it so bluntly 

Post edited at 20:30
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes, actually, we do, we really do have something close to that!    But you don't see it  You don't see it because, with your default blank-slateism, you totally overlook the innate genetic factors, and so you attribute any disparities in outcomes ("getting crap GCSEs, or A levels") to an absence of equality of opportunity, when actually it is largely genetics! 

You really are talking crap, I'm afraid.

I don't see that we have anything like equality of opportunity, and as you well know, this has got nothing to do with blank slatism, which I totally reject. We are in total agreement about what our best science tells us about the genetic influence on outcomes.

To get from "genetics influence outcomes" (true) to "we really do have something close to equality of opportunity" (false) you have to make a wrong move. The wrong move you've made is to ignore the equally strong environmental influence on outcomes.

Try using a bit of common sense. Get two kids, both with "average genes". Bring one up in a household in which because of the socio-economic status and history of the parents, they expect the kid to get good results. When the results are looking a bit average, they invest in tutoring to get the them into the best grammar school. They're then surrounded by bright kids, and high expectations are upon them. They might not be the most academically gifted, but they do well, get into a decent university for law and with a little help from their parents connections, they end up in senior positions in some big firm.

Another kid, same average genes, gets brought up in a household that consists of mum who's a heroin addict and 4 older brothers. 

Do you think we'll see much difference in the outcomes?

These are two extremes, and the environmental differences in our society for all the people with "average genes" - most people, that big central portion of every overlapping bell-curve - span all the way from one to the other. These environmental differences, which have this huge influence on outcomes, are what constitutes the total lack of equality of opportunity we have in our society.

The idea of equality of opportunity is just total bullshit. What it means really is equality of outcome for parents, and we know all the reasons we don't want that. So people like to say they believe in equality of opportunity but they haven't got any idea what a society that delivered that would look like. There is no such society, even theoretically. Equality of opportunity would mean everyone starting off with the same environment and then any inequality that develops being "reset" at the start of every life. It makes no sense.

What does make sense is acknowledging that life is intrinsically unfair, because some people get born into a household of a single heroin addict parent, while others get born into wealthy families who'll do anything to ensure their kids succeed. The best way to deal with this intrinsic unfairness is to put in place some policies that try to ameliorate the worst of this, i.e. good social security, healthcare, education through redistributive taxation. That doesn't create equality of opportunity, it just takes the sting out of the worst of the shitness.

> And yes, we do know about this stuff, because we do have studies (such as twin studies and similar) that can tell us the relative proportions of genetic and environmental effects.

Yes we do, and exactly as you say, they come out with a rough rule of thumb that traits are about 50% heritable. This doesn't support your idea that "we really do have something close to equality of opportunity". You're accusing Toby of ignoring all the genetic effects, but you're just doing exactly the same with the environmental effects. One minute you're happy to be accurate and say it's often roughly 50%, and the next you leap to ridiculous conclusions that amount to the "just world" fallacy (the poor deserve to be poor, the rich are naturally superior, it is the natural order) underpinning shit right-wing political philosophy. It's not good.

Post edited at 20:33
 Frank R. 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I guess we came a long way from the original theme of the discussion, didn't we?

As for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans, I don't claim to be an expert. If the evidence of it is valid enough or not, I'd better leave it to them. But to the experts, not to some blogs with possible bias and an agenda, sorry...

If I can get around the studies and their reviews and the books, I will. Perhaps I won't understand an iota of it. But at least I can try. Sure, there is a lot of popular bullshit misunderstanding around it (where  there isn't, in science), but there is a lot of new studies as well.

As to the importance of upbringing in shaping a child's development, any blog or link refuting it? Because I can see a plenty of examples of how such development is hindered in more socially excluded communities.

1
 Pefa 17 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I have a friend who is a single parent living in a council house who works in a shop. About 15 years ago her very studious daughter went from gaining straight A's for everything at school into a prestigious university in her hometown with the aim of studying forensics. She said the uni was full of posh students with rich parents who all spoke of their parents buying them flats and new cars, having childhoods of exotic holidays, second homes and rich friends.

Because she came from what they described as "nothing", they didn't want anything to do with her and she became socially isolated which eventually ended with her quitting her place in the uni for her own health. 

Post edited at 20:34
1
 BrightEyes 17 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Personally, I think those of us who get away with blending in don't realise how much representation and knowing at least some of 'your people' also do the thing that you love matters.

For example, I have movement restrictions and I found myself really frustrated at how difficult it was the adapt climbing based on this. There are moves that are really not possible or easy to adapt around. Then I found out Kyra Condie (with a similar issue) qualified for the Olympics. And another girl in the UK is a para climber (hers is more extensive). I was surprised by how much I needed to hear that.

I don't think most of us care in terms of who we climb and associate with (this is a personal perception from experience, not fact) but I imagine knowing there are more of you from the minority group is great. Surprisingly (or not?), almost all of my regular roped session climbers were part of the LGBTQ community. Almost all of whom I met through the gym meet-other-climbers sessions. Maybe it was an artefact of where the gym is based? Or that LGBTQ climbers are less likely to start climbing with another person? Or maybe there are far more than we all realise and well, climbing is climbing?

Post edited at 20:43
 Michael Gordon 17 Jan 2020
In reply to fred99:

> Maybe one of the reasons that girls do better in education is because there is now an overwhelming majority of female teachers. This could well be affecting girls positively, but boys negatively.

I suspect if that was one of the reasons (I'm not convinced of that), it is one of the lesser ones. My understanding was that girls 'grow up' (become more mature) at a younger age, which (a) means that statistically their brains develop sooner, therefore on balance they are more intelligent at a younger age, and (b) boys being less mature means that they may be less likely to apply themselves with as much discipline to their school work?  

In reply to TobyA:

> But we're talking about people who make laws and set social policies that shape the rest of our lives - how is that just an exception?

I'm talking about what is typical for people generally in the UK.   I'm not talking about individuals or small numbers of exceptions.

> I was UCAS mentor to one of the best students I've ever had the privilege of teaching some time ago. She wanted to do a natural science at uni and I tried to persuade her that she should at least consider applying to Cambridge

Would I be right in supposing that she'll go to a good university, get a science degree, and go to a decently-paid, middle-class job (and would not be living on a sink estate, jobless or in low-paid work)?  In which case it fits what I'm saying. 

In reply to Frank R.:

> But he adds two riders: first, although systematic sex differences can be found in human brains, they are small enough to be swamped by individual variation within each sex. So if you want to know about the brain of an individual, their sex would not tell you very much.

That point -- about distributions *within* groups being broad, and generally much bigger than the difference of means *between* groups, is exactly that I said just up-thread.

I'll even quote it: "And to be clear we're talking about broad distributions for both categories, where the dispersion within each population is greater than the difference between the means of the populations". 

> you could at least word your posts a little differently and consider different opinions, since it's not a 100% researched field

Yes, these things are not a 100% researched field; yes I do consider different opinions before forming an opinion.    And note that you presented that Kevin Mitchell quote as though it argued against my view, when actually it's entirely in line with it. 

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I suspect if that was one of the reasons (I'm not convinced of that), it is one of the lesser ones.

I'm 100% unconvinced of it, and can't see any reason why I would believe it.

> My understanding was that girls 'grow up' (become more mature) at a younger age, which (a) means that statistically their brains develop sooner, therefore on balance they are more intelligent at a younger age, and (b) boys being less mature means that they may be less likely to apply themselves with as much discipline to their school work?  

Mine too. But I also suspect that being good at school is something girls are naturally statistically better at. If they're more conscientious on average, fight less/cooperate better, etc, then they'll do better in school.

I don't think this is something we need to worry about however, since men are not cruelly trodden down under a matriarchy in which the keys to economic and social opportunities are held by women.  (Not that I'm saying the opposite about women in the modern western world.)

In reply to Frank R.:

> As to the importance of upbringing in shaping a child's development, any blog or link refuting it?

No-one is saying that it has zero importance, just that in general genetic effects are larger.   

A good starting point for this stuff is: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4739500/  "Top 10 Replicated Findings from Behavioral Genetics"

> Because I can see a plenty of examples of how such development is hindered in more socially excluded communities.

Have you considered that: parents in such communities may have genes that lead them to being less successful in society in general; those parents would pass genes on to their kids; and thus their kids are likely to have genes tending to lead to them being less successful?

Again, many people just don't consider this, so automatically assign any lack of success of the kid to their childhood environment.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> boys being less mature means that they may be less likely to apply themselves with as much discipline to their school work?  

I do think that overall girls -- in general -- tends to be a bit more diligent, studious, and compliant with school rules and expectations, than boys tend to be, and that the current education system rewards this.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Have you considered that: parents in such communities may have genes that lead them to being less successful in society in general; those parents would pass genes on to their kids; and thus their kids are likely to have genes tending to lead to them being less successful?

So is what you're saying that over several generations genetic factors get amplified by environment, so that even though outcomes for an individual child might be very significantly affected by environment, that environment can be ultimately traced back to largely genetic causes?

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No-one is saying that it has zero importance, just that in general genetic effects are larger.   

> A good starting point for this stuff is: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4739500/  "Top 10 Replicated Findings from Behavioral Genetics"

> Have you considered that: parents in such communities may have genes that lead them to being less successful in society in general; those parents would pass genes on to their kids; and thus their kids are likely to have genes tending to lead to them being less successful?

That might be part of the picture. The other part is that if you get 2 kids of equal genetic potential and put them in different environments, you get totally different outcomes because the as a rule of thumb the genetic contribution is about half.

> Again, many people just don't consider this, so automatically assign any lack of success of the kid to their childhood environment.

Well, given that you can control the environment and not the genes, of course they do and so they should! A disadvantaged kid could have been given a better environment, and got better outcomes but they lost out. They couldn't have been given better genes (unless you want to go there?). There is value in considering what you can do to improve the environmental influences, this is why we have policy. Those policies don't depend on a blank slate ideology, they just depend on environmental factors making a significant difference. Which they do. About 50% as a rule of thumb.

Post edited at 21:25
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Try using a bit of common sense. Get two kids, both with "average genes". Bring one up in a household in which because of the socio-economic status and history of the parents, they expect the kid to get good results. When the results are looking a bit average, they invest in tutoring to get the them into the best grammar school. They're then surrounded by bright kids, and high expectations are upon them. They might not be the most academically gifted, but they do well, [...]

So -- serious question, since you're one here who knows about the science and takes it seriously.  I must confess that my intuition would say what you've said in that post.  But, the twin studies and other studies seem to show that "shared environment" (things that would be shared by siblings, such as families and schools) has relatively little effect, and that while environment does indeed matter at lot, non-shared environment seems to be more important than shared environment. 

So, if what you're saying is right, why are the studies getting it wrong on this point?  Again, that's a genuine question, I'm open to persuasion but need something more than appeals to intuition.

Anyway, I'll accept that socio-economic status does have some effect, but there's a limit to how much you can improve a kid's grades by tutoring and peer group and parental expectation.  Somewhat, yes, but in general not a huge amount.

The other way of saying that is that generally most UK schools are good enough, in that a bright kid from a background where they don't extra tutoring and parental help with homework, will still get good enough teaching that they'll turn out ok and get decent grades and progress to a middle-class job.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There is value in considering what you can do to improve the environmental influences, this is why we have policy. Those policies don't depend on a blank slate ideology, they just depend on environmental factors making a significant difference. Which they do. About 50% as a rule of thumb.

I entirely agree.  By the way, I've said very little about policy.  (I'd likely agree with you quite a bit on policy.)  What I would say is that to design the best policy one needs the best understanding of the underlying causes. 

In reply to Jon Stewart:

By the way, on this point of shared environment versus non-shared environment (which, as I've said, is counter to most people's intuition, though that does not mean it's wrong).

Here's the relevant bit from the Plomin et al review I just linked to. Again, if this is wrong, why is it wrong?    This is the bit on academic achievement:

"Academic achievement consistently shows some shared environmental influence, presumably due to the effect of schools, although the effect is surprisingly modest in its magnitude (about 15% for English and 10% for Mathematics) given that this result is based on siblings growing up in the same family and being taught in the same school (Kovas, Haworth, Dale, & Plomin, 2007)."

Here's a longer excerpt:

"9. Most environmental effects are not shared by children growing up in the same family

"It is reasonable to think that growing up in the same family makes brothers and sisters similar psychologically, which is what developmental theorists from Freud onwards assumed. However, for most behavioral dimensions and disorders, it is genetics that accounts for similarity among siblings. Although environmental effects have a major impact (see Finding 2), the salient environmental influences do not make siblings growing up in the same family similar. The message is not that family experiences are unimportant but rather that the relevant experiences are specific to each child in the family. This finding was ignored when it was first noted (Loehlin & Nichols, 1976) and controversial when it was first highlighted (Plomin & Daniels, 1987a, 1987b), but it is now widely accepted because it has consistently replicated (Plomin, 2011; Turkheimer, 2000). The acceptance is so complete that the focus now is on finding any shared environmental influence (Buchanan, McGue, Keyes, & Iacono, 2009), for example, for personality (e.g., Matteson, McGue, & Iacono, 2013) and some aspects of childhood psychopathology (Burt, 2009, 2014). For instance, for antisocial behavior in adolescence, shared environment accounts for about 15% of the total phenotypic variance; however, even here nonshared environment accounts for more of the variance, about 40% in meta-analyses, although these estimates include variance due to error of measurement (Rhee & Waldman, 2002). Academic achievement consistently shows some shared environmental influence, presumably due to the effect of schools, although the effect is surprisingly modest in its magnitude (about 15% for English and 10% for Mathematics) given that this result is based on siblings growing up in the same family and being taught in the same school (Kovas, Haworth, Dale, & Plomin, 2007). An interesting developmental exception is that shared environmental influence is found for intelligence up until adolescence and then diminishes as adolescents begin to make their own way in the world, as shown in meta-analyses (Briley & Tucker-Drob, 2013; Haworth et al., 2010)."

In reply to Pefa:

That's really shite isn't it.

I kept telling the kid I was mentoring that just because some people get lucky and posh in life doesn't mean they're not nice people, but it sounds like your mate's daughter found some who wanted to live up to the stereotype.

It's funny, living in the Peak and going to crags around here that are popular with uni club groups, I have thought that it seems you hear voices that seem just a bit posher than I remember from the 90s (and I was in the Glasgow, Leeds and Man Met club at least for short periods). I do wonder if fees has meant more kids from wealthier backgrounds are going to uni, but maybe its just that its kids from wealthier backgrounds that are joining climbing clubs, or even that I just notice the posh accents more than non-posh ones.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I'm talking about what is typical for people generally in the UK.   I'm not talking about individuals or small numbers of exceptions.

Even if they're the ones setting the social policies that the rest of live by? OK.... Could you not see how maybe that's quite a big part in setting the 'environmental' conditions for the rest of us?

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Mine too. But I also suspect that being good at school is something girls are naturally statistically better at. If they're more conscientious on average, fight less/cooperate better, etc, then they'll do better in school.

So until about 1990 when the figures in the UK started to swing (first GCSE, later A level, later degrees) in favour of girls, were boys doing better because of the social situation (partriarchy?), and not because they were naturally better at things like maths and physics - which I can remember teachers saying in 80s!

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But, the twin studies and other studies seem to show that "shared environment" (things that would be shared by siblings, such as families and schools) has relatively little effect, and that while environment does indeed matter at lot, non-shared environment seems to be more important than shared environment. 

> So, if what you're saying is right, why are the studies getting it wrong on this point?

Problems with the twins studies paradigm? We discussed this with Rom and after that I looked up what Sapolsky has to say about these studies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QwTVaIofhk&

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rds_s35lU3A&

> Anyway, I'll accept that socio-economic status does have some effect, but there's a limit to how much you can improve a kid's grades by tutoring and peer group and parental expectation.  Somewhat, yes, but in general not a huge amount.

Well surely it depends what you're comparing. If a kid's got a normal versus the heavily tutored/high expectation environment, maybe the results aren't that staggering. But compare a normal environment to a deprived environment, maybe you have a bigger difference at that end of the scale?

> The other way of saying that is that generally most UK schools are good enough, in that a bright kid from a background where they don't extra tutoring and parental help with homework, will still get good enough teaching that they'll turn out ok and get decent grades and progress to a middle-class job.

Yes, I think that might be quite reasonable for that upper half of the distribution. What I'm bothered about is the kids that end up with shit outcomes because they've had a lack of decent nutrition, love, stimulation, socialisation etc in their childhood. Ignoring environmental factors here and glibly dismissing differences in outcome as "largely genetic" is the perfect excuse to allow unnecessary childhood poverty and misery to continue. Which is great, if you don't like "spending other people's money", isn't it?

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Have you considered that: parents in such communities may have genes that lead them to being less successful in society in general; those parents would pass genes on to their kids; and thus their kids are likely to have genes tending to lead to them being less successful?

Indeed! As Jesus said "the poor you always have you will always have with you."

I guess if he had done more genetics and less carpentry, he might have added "and they're always a bit thick too."

In reply to TobyA:

> So until about 1990 when the figures in the UK started to swing (first GCSE, later A level, later degrees) in favour of girls, were boys doing better because of the social situation (partriarchy?), and not because they were naturally better at things like maths and physics - which I can remember teachers saying in 80s!

I don't know. Have schools got better or worse at realising kids potential over time? If they've got better, and were previously holding girls back more than boys, then that would explain the change over time. They could have "switched bias" from boys to girls, I suppose. What do you think is the most compelling explanation for the change over time, a reduction in bias, or a reversal, or something else totally unrelated? I had no idea that the change was as recent as the 90s, so have never thought about it before.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

Even the presumption that being educated in the same school gives you the same education seems very unsafe to me. Sociology studies for maybe 40 years (US and UK that I've read about) show that lower sets and "difficult groups" often get the "worse" teachers - worse normally meaning least qualified, least experienced, youngest etc. Talk to NQTs and RQTs and ask them who their dept. heads teach, they will do more A level, more higher sets key stage 4 and so on. Basically the most able kids tend to get the most experienced teachers, often with the higher qualification, whilst the least able get the new teachers, the non-specialists, the ones with degrees not in that subject etc.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Here's the relevant bit from the Plomin et al review I just linked to. Again, if this is wrong, why is it wrong?  

If I've understood correctly, I'm not saying that those findings about shared environment are wrong. I'm not at all surprised that the shared environment should only account for say 10% of the variance.

My intuition is that a shit upbringing - one in poverty - has a significant negative influence on outcomes, by preventing healthy development. I don't think the studies in that review are tackling this question.

Post edited at 22:15
 Michael Gordon 17 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

And not just the teachers. End up doing General Science or anything at Foundation level and not only is the standard of material taught lower, but you get all the problem kids alongside you who don't want to learn, and learning anything becomes more difficult! 

In reply to TobyA:

>So until about 1990 ...  were boys doing better because of the social situation (partriarchy?), and not because they were naturally better at things like maths and physics -

I think that exam/assessment style used to favour boys, and has since shifted towards a style favouring girls. 

In reply to TobyA:

> Basically the most able kids tend to get the most experienced teachers, often with the higher qualification, whilst the least able get the new teachers, the non-specialists, the ones with degrees not in that subject etc.

Maybe, but that's then not primarily a function of family or parental class.

 Michael Gordon 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I think that exam/assessment style used to favour boys, and has since shifted towards a style favouring girls. 

In what way do you think it might have changed, and why has this affected performance? 

In reply to Jon Stewart:

It's really clear when you look GCSE results since 89 when they began. I think it was only the 2000s that women started doing better at university level (undergrad) than men. Not sure about post grad - Coel might know more on that.

I suspect that it was a big mix of things: changes in the economy bringing more women in the workplace, political change meaning that sexist views have become less acceptable to be vocalised, the "feminisation" of education - decreasing numbers of male teachers as 'role models', particularly at primary level; the changes in the divorce laws in 70s leading to more single parent families and so on. I doubt it was 53% down to genetic changes though! ;-)

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I think that exam/assessment style used to favour boys, and has since shifted towards a style favouring girls. 

The move back to almost solely terminal assessment at KS4 did narrow the gap between boys and girls this summer and last, but not by that much IIRC. We'll see if it narrows more or stays at around 7-8% difference.

In reply to TobyA:

> lower sets and "difficult groups" often get the "worse" teachers 

An important reason for avoiding undue hierarchical ability grouping in schools, which I spent a fair bit of my career as a head chipping away at. It's always the mathematicians who cling to setting the most grimly!

In reply to Andy Clarke:

> An important reason for avoiding undue hierarchical ability grouping in schools, which I spent a fair bit of my career as a head chipping away at. It's always the mathematicians who cling to setting the most grimly!

As a head wouldn't you be in a position to ensure that the most difficult groups don't get the worse teachers?

 Timmd 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> The best test of whether a term is acceptable or not is surely whether a person 'fitting' the term is happy calling themselves that. I was under the impression a significant proportion of gay people do sometimes refer to themselves as queer.

Yes, mostly, but not entirely.  I think context is important with queer as a term, because it's got a long legacy of being used as an insult too - ie 'What are you looking at you f*cking queer?' which could be heard in school when I was younger, only as recently as the 90's. 

The history of terms and whether they've been used as slurs might be the safest/a safer way to find a fitting term. Gay is a safe enough name or term, with only people insecure in their sexuality seeming to take offence. 

Post edited at 06:35
In reply to Robert Durran:

> As a head wouldn't you be in a position to ensure that the most difficult groups don't get the worse teachers?

Yes, but my way of achieving this was to not create difficult groups in the first place. I was an advocate of mixed-ability grouping, but I aimed to introduce it progressively so as not to alienate the most conservative staff I'd inherited. For me, rigid hierarchical grouping was a surefire way of recreating inequality of opportunity within schools. And no one ever moans about being given an A-level group - which in a normal school Sixth Form contains a huge range of ability! 

 Michael Gordon 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> Yes, mostly, but not entirely.  I think context is important with queer as a term, because it's got a long legacy of being used as an insult too - ie 'What are you looking at you f*cking queer?' which could be heard in school when I was younger, only as recently as the 90's. > 

But if you substituted "queer" for "gay" in that insult, wouldn't it be just as unpleasant?

 Michael Gordon 18 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> I suspect that it was a big mix of things: changes in the economy bringing more women in the workplace, political change meaning that sexist views have become less acceptable to be vocalised, the "feminisation" of education - decreasing numbers of male teachers as 'role models', particularly at primary level; the changes in the divorce laws in 70s leading to more single parent families and so on. I doubt it was 53% down to genetic changes though! ;-)

I'm prepared to accept that more women working as teachers may have had an effect in inspiring girls to do better. Why would more single parent families do this?

 Timmd 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> But if you substituted "queer" for "gay" in that insult, wouldn't it be just as unpleasant?

The unpleasantness would be there, but queer has been used as a slur where gay hasn't been, which is (probably) why you don't have the BBC talking about men being 'queer', but 'gay' instead. I'm not talking about the unpleasantness as such, but the use of the term as an insult. You're of course right that just about anything can be said in an insulting or unpleasant way if that is the intent, but that is almost going down a wormhole (without suggesting that you would), if one starts to wonder which everyday words might be used in unpleasant and insulting ways if that is the intent, meaning that choosing words without a history of being used as a slur is the safest and more logical thing to do (I think).

Post edited at 07:46
1
 HeMa 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> > I suspect that it was a big mix of things: changes in the economy bringing more women in the workplace, political change meaning that sexist views have become less acceptable to be vocalised, the "feminisation" of education - decreasing numbers of male teachers as 'role models', particularly at primary level; the changes in the divorce laws in 70s leading to more single parent families and so on. I doubt it was 53% down to genetic changes though! ;-)

> I'm prepared to accept that more women working as teachers may have had an effect in inspiring girls to do better. Why would more single parent families do this?

I think it might work the other way. Single parents Boys might do worse. 
 

Afaik it is (still) a proven fact that girls mature faster than Boys (physically). So a good estimate would be that the same applies for mental aspects. Let’s take a 12 year old. The Boys will pretty much still be Boys, where as some of the girls start to be small women. Add a few more years and there aren’t too many girls left, but still an abudance of Boys. 
 

And now the beef, whilst still talking about primary school, a boy will need support from the parents to do well in school (talking on populaation level, indeviduals can and will differ greatly from the norm). A more mature girl (might) require less support. So single parents have less time to support their kids, and this tents to have a bigger affect on Boys. 
 

This is also the same underlying reason why better class kids tend to perform better at school (role model being one, the other being support for school and generally education).

Also some of the testing done in primary school (namely Pisa-test) has been partly criticized here in Finland that it measures more how well you can memorize things, and less how to learn things and then deduct the answer using logic and what you’ve learned. Again on population level boys tend to get better result in logic and math based queries, where as girls get better on so-called soft sciences like languages etc (where memorizing the words helps a lot). I do think this is mostly due to the social environment, not gender or genome based. Just look at the kids toys, boys get Lego construction block or transformers, girls get a pink soft Baby Born doll.

 Michael Gordon 18 Jan 2020
In reply to HeMa:

Ah OK, so the increase in single parent families has perhaps had a greater negative effect on boys. And I do follow the reasoning that girls maturing earlier may help them to do better in a more difficult environment.

>Again on population level boys tend to get better result in logic and math based queries, where as girls get better on so-called soft sciences like languages etc (where memorizing the words helps a lot). I do think this is mostly due to the social environment, not gender or genome based. Just look at the kids toys, boys get Lego construction block or transformers, girls get a pink soft Baby Born doll.

I don't follow the reasoning there. What they get given as toys will mainly have an effect on what they like to play with. I don't see why having a barbie (or whatever it is nowadays) as opposed to a construction block would help you to memorise words.

Anyway, I thought girls nowadays were getting equally good results in maths? 

 HeMa 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

The Lego’s help in 3D awareness, logic and so on. Afaik the Barbie helps with nurturing and caring. 
 

So in other words, boys toys tend to help in certain fields that can be capitalized in school, girls toys less so. 

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> In what way do you think it [exams/assessment] might have changed, and why has this affected performance? 

A move from everything being on the final exam (boys tend to do better) to more continuous assessment (girls tend to do better).

A move from all-or-nothing style exam questions (tends to favour boys) to multi-part lead-them-through-it exam questions (tend to favour girls).

A move from curricula and exams asking for fairly abstract knowledge to more human-focused and empathy-focused answers being wanted (in some disciplines anyhow).

A move towards highly specified mark schemes that demand exact ways of wording answers (penalising students who think a little differently or answer in different wordings).

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If I've understood correctly, I'm not saying that those findings about shared environment are wrong. I'm not at all surprised that the shared environment should only account for say 10% of the variance.

So are we converging on "shared environment" (things siblings share, including effects of parenting, parental wealth, schools, tutoring) adding up to  about 10% to 15% of the variation in the kids GCSE/A-level exam scores? 

That would make it in third place as a major factor, behind genetics (around 50%) and non-shared environmental factors, things that one sibling encounters but another does not (around 40%). 

I'd bet that, if you asked a set of school teachers or sociologists or people in general to assign proportions based on their intuitions, then the answers would generally be very different from those -- which is why I harp on about these findings.

 BnB 18 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> That's really shite isn't it.

> I kept telling the kid I was mentoring that just because some people get lucky and posh in life doesn't mean they're not nice people, but it sounds like your mate's daughter found some who wanted to live up to the stereotype.

> It's funny, living in the Peak and going to crags around here that are popular with uni club groups, I have thought that it seems you hear voices that seem just a bit posher than I remember from the 90s (and I was in the Glasgow, Leeds and Man Met club at least for short periods). I do wonder if fees has meant more kids from wealthier backgrounds are going to uni, but maybe its just that its kids from wealthier backgrounds that are joining climbing clubs, or even that I just notice the posh accents more than non-posh ones.

Perhaps the working class students are all at Oxford and Cambridge now that their superior genetics enjoy free reign from their environment?

Tempting though that conclusion might be, my linguist ear (unscientifically) detects a general “poshing up” of English accents among the middle class, along with an increase in the size of the middle class that can be traced back centuries and which enjoyed an acceleration under Thatcher and Blair.

You can add to that the increase in migration of southerners to major employment centres in the north. Most notably Leeds but increasingly, Sheffield and Manchester.

Post edited at 08:54
 Michael Gordon 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> A move from everything being on the final exam (boys tend to do better) to more continuous assessment (girls tend to do better).

> A move from all-or-nothing style exam questions (tends to favour boys) to multi-part lead-them-through-it exam questions (tend to favour girls).

> A move towards highly specified mark schemes that demand exact ways of wording answers (penalising students who think a little differently or answer in different wordings).

OK. Why do all of those things above tend to favour girls?

 Timmd 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> The unpleasantness would be there, but queer has been used as a slur where gay hasn't been, which is (probably) why you don't have the BBC talking about men being 'queer', but 'gay' instead. I'm not talking about the unpleasantness as such, but the use of the term as an insult. You're of course right that just about anything can be said in an insulting or unpleasant way if that is the intent, but that is almost going down a wormhole (without suggesting that you would), if one starts to wonder which everyday words might be used in unpleasant and insulting ways if that is the intent, meaning that choosing words without a history of being used as a slur is the safest and more logical thing to do (I think).

Lol at the dislike...that's changed my mind now.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> OK. Why do all of those things above tend to favour girls?

Girls tend to be more organised, conscientious, better at presentation, better at following instructions, think ahead more, less willing to think for themselves, keener to get things right but less interested in the reasons things are right, more collaborative, more risk averse.

Clearly these are all generalisations, but will be pretty obvious to anyone who has taught teenagers.

Of course, what is far less obvious is the reason for these differences and whether much can be done to address them.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So are we converging on "shared environment" (things siblings share, including effects of parenting, parental wealth, schools, tutoring) adding up to  about 10% to 15% of the variation in the kids GCSE/A-level exam scores? 

> That would make it in third place as a major factor, behind genetics (around 50%) and non-shared environmental factors, things that one sibling encounters but another does not (around 40%). 

I haven't understood the methodology of separating "shared" from "unshared" environment. I'm rather skeptical about the whole concept of "shared environment" as no two people can live the same life.

My intuition is that schooling will be a small effect, but early family life would be a much larger effect (see the classic Romanian orphanage studies) - I don't really see how early family life can be considered "shared" except in cases of identical twins where the siblings are most likely to have been treated very similarly for a lot of their lives. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Girls tend to be more organised, conscientious, better at presentation, better at following instructions, think ahead more, less willing to think for themselves, keener to get things right but less interested in the reasons things are right, more collaborative, more risk averse.

Whereas boys tend to be lazy, rebellious, obstreperous, more likely to think in unorthodox ways, uninterested in presentation, less interested in doing what the teacher tells them, more likely to think things through for themselves, and thus present an answer in their own way rather than the approved way -- and when they have to perform (such as in exams) they tend to wing it based on raw intellect rather than on preparation. 

[Obvious caveat: these are average differences, the disparity within each sex is of course much greater than the differences between them.]

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm rather skeptical about the whole concept of "shared environment" as no two people can live the same life.

"Shared environment" is not implying that the environments are identical, it's saying that siblings will share *some* aspects of their environment (= the "shared" component), but not other aspects (= the "non-shared" component).

The methodology is various forms of adoption studies, comparing all the different possibilities:

Siblings living with their biological parents.
Siblings adopted together and living with the same adoptive parents.
Siblings adopted separately and living with different adoptive parents.
Identical twins living with their biological parents.
Identical twins adopted together and living with the same adoptive parents.
Identical twins adopted separately and living with different adoptive parents.
Unrelated children adopted into a family with biological children.
Unrelated children adopted into a family where all children are adopted.

Comparing all of those disentangles effects due to genes, and of upbringing in the same family.    "Shared environment" is then derived from the greater similarity of children brought up in the same family versus in different families.

 paul mitchell 18 Jan 2020
In reply to steveriley:

P. C . police should ALWAYS be ignored.

3
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Thanks, that's helpful.

I'm not really convinced that this methodology is going to answer the questions that are most interesting - and I don't think the authors do either. You can't fairly conclude from this methodology that if you separated 2 identical twins and gave one the tutoring/grammar school treatment and the other the heroin addict neglect treatment, you'd see only a 10% difference in outcomes. Unless of course there is a reasonably large sample size where this has happened.

If the adopted and biological family environments are quite similar in the ways that matter for academic achievement, then why would we expect to see any environmental effect in those cases? In how any of the cases was there significant enough difference in the environments to generate an effect on academic results? And the environments could be very different in terms of SES, culture, diet, etc, but both equally conducive to good (or bad or average) academic performance. To get any data about the influence of family environment on academic achievement, you'd need to collect data from different family environments that differ in a way that matters to academic achievement while holding genetics equal. The environment just being different (i.e. it is not the same household) isn't sufficient. 

I'm not arguing with the studies - the excerpt you posted seems to support my intuitions rather than refute them. I just don't think you can apply the conclusions in the way you think you can. If a review of adoption studies shows a 10-15% effect of shared environment, I don't think that means if you give one kid a good environment and another a shit one, you'd expect to see about 10-15% difference (is that what you're saying?).

[Edited to drastically change the meaning of a crucial sentence by making it negative! Sorry if you read it first.]

Post edited at 18:57
 Andy Farnell 18 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

There's a couple of transgender people at my local wall and absolutely no one gives a flying fcuk. Which is just the way it should be. Sexuality has the square root of nothing to do with climbing.

Andy F 

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You can't fairly conclude from this methodology that if you separated 2 identical twins and gave one the tutoring/grammar school treatment and the other the heroin addict neglect treatment, you'd see only a 10% difference in outcomes. Unless of course there is a reasonably large sample size where this has happened.

You are right that the studies only tell us about the range of environments that are adequately sampled in the studies.   It may well be that outright abuse and neglect of the heroin-addict-parent sort are not well sampled in the study, and thus could have a bigger effect than the studies show. 

But, the studies (which now add up to millions of people, in the meta-analyses of all studies combined) are sufficient to tell us about the typical range of environments that effect most people.  So maybe they don't tell us about the effects of heroin-addict parenting and of Eton, but they'll tell us about 98% of people.

> If a review of adoption studies shows a 10-15% effect of shared environment, I don't think that means if you give one kid a good environment and another a shit one, you'd expect to see about 10-15% difference (is that what you're saying?).

If those environments are represented in the studies, then yes. But I accept that the extremes of shittiness would not be. 

1
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Are you sure it's millions of people in the meta-analysis of adoption studies, not lots and lots of results from the same group of people whose data has been mined to within an inch of its life and beyond?

Did you watch the Sapolsky videos? 

I think the difference between us is that you're very keen to jump onto any inferences that variability can be attributed to genetics, whereas I'm sceptical and think you're guilty of making those inferences because you want them to be true. I think you go much, much further than the authors of the studies themselves would ever endorse.

1
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Are you sure it's millions of people in the meta-analysis of adoption studies, not lots and lots of results from the same group of people whose data has been mined to within an inch of its life and beyond?

Well it's lots, anyhow.

"Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies"  Nature Genetics volume 47, pages702–709(2015)

"We identified 2,748 relevant twin studies, published between 1958 and 2012. Half of these were published after 2004, with sample sizes per study in 2012 of around 1,000 twin pairs (Supplementary Table 2). Each study could report on multiple traits measured in one or several samples. These 2,748 studies reported on 17,804 traits. Twin subjects came from 39 different countries, with a large proportion of studies (34%) based on US twin samples. The continents of South America (0.5%), Africa (0.2%) and Asia (5%) were heavily under-represented (Fig. 1a,b and Supplementary Table 3). The total number of studied twins was 14,558,903 partly dependent pairs, or 2,247,128 when correcting for reporting on multiple traits per study."

https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3285

> ... you're very keen to jump onto any inferences that variability can be attributed to genetics, ...

Well that's what the data seem to say, at least they give the rule of thumb that the genetic vs environmental contributions are 50:50 on average.   The abstract of the above paper says:

"Estimates of heritability [= genetic component] cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%."

1
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well it's lots, anyhow.

> "Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies"  Nature Genetics volume 47, pages702–709(2015)

I asked about adoption studies, and you replied about twins studies. You knew that and tried to get away with it, but I'm afraid not.

Did you watch the Sapolsky videos?

The studies we should be interested in as having a reasonable go at separating genetic from environmental influences are adoptions studies, not twins studies. And the problems with the adoption studies are myriad. So while I'm not saying we should just bin everything that isn't a perfectly controlled experiment, I am saying that you are misrespresenting the science quite badly by saying that the studies draw from this huge set of relevant data. It's not like that.

We are at exactly at the same place we were a couple of days back.

> Well that's what the data seem to say, at least they give the rule of thumb that the genetic vs environmental contributions are 50:50 on average.

We both know this to be what the studies indicate. But it doesn't provide justification for your vast over-egging of this pudding, which leads you to the utterly bonkers conclusion that we live in something close to a meritocracy in which the true potential of each of our genes shines through the inconsequential mist of our environment.

You're using what we know about genetics to try to support a political world-view that just isn't grounded in anything except shit right-wing philosophy (the just world fallacy/natural order). The belief that we have equality of opportunity is nonsense, and the science doesn't back you up, no matter how much you want it to.

Post edited at 23:05
2
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I asked about adoption studies, and you replied about twins studies. You knew that and tried to get away with it, but I'm afraid not.

I couldn't find a quick cite for total numbers of adoption studies, but the numbers tend to be as high or higher as for twin studies (since you aren't restricted to twins).

> Did you watch the Sapolsky videos?

Yes.

> The studies we should be interested in as having a reasonable go at separating genetic from environmental influences are adoptions studies, not twins studies.

Or rather, both, the results from twins adopted separately giving the cleanest data.

> I am saying that you are misrespresenting the science quite badly by saying that the studies draw from this huge set of relevant data. It's not like that.

There have been ample such studies now to be clear about the broad pattern they reveal.

> But it doesn't provide justification for your vast over-egging of this pudding, ...

I really don't think that suggesting a 50:50 influence from genes vs environment is in any way outlandish.  It's every bit as outlandish as claiming that the taste of a meal depends on the ingredients, not just the cooking.    Only if there is a general desire to downplay the role of genetics would anyone resist the claim.

> which leads you to the utterly bonkers conclusion that we live in something close to a meritocracy in which the true potential of each of our genes shines through the inconsequential mist of our environment.

First, I've not said that environment is inconsequential, I've said it accounts for 50% of the variance in outcomes.

It is the *shared* environment (e.g. parental socio-economic status and choice of school) that is much less influential than most people intuitively suppose (since many people discount genetics and so attribute similarity in family outcomes to shared environment instead).

And I do think that -- while things are not perfect -- the evidence is that bright kids from poor backgrounds to tend to get sufficiently ok schooling that they do ok, and end up in middle-class adult roles, whereas in past generations they'd have left school at 14 and been stuck down t'pit regardless.

And we wouldn't want a perfect merito-utopia, in which parents cannot have any influence. Would we really want to ban parents from reading to their children, talking to them about their homework, encouraging them in education hobbies, etc? 

> You're using what we know about genetics to try to support a political world-view that just isn't grounded in anything except shit right-wing philosophy

No, actually, I'm not.  You are repeatedly reading into this things I've not said.  You are doing what many people do, going from "this is how I would like things to be on moral/political grounds" to "therefore this is how things are", and then from there assuming that others must be doing the same, advocating for how things are based on politics. 

1
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> First, I've not said that environment is inconsequential, I've said it accounts for 50% of the variance in outcomes.

What you've done is switch back and forth between saying that genetics are biggest influence and it's 50%:

True, but the *cause* can still be genetic.  Thus, "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids. 

Yes, actually, we do, we really do have something close to that!    But you don't see it  You don't see it because, with your default blank-slateism, you totally overlook the innate genetic factors, and so you attribute any disparities in outcomes ("getting crap GCSEs, or A levels") to an absence of equality of opportunity, when actually it is largely genetics! 

It's only when challenged that you roll back to the accurate 50/50, only to spring back to "it's mainly genetics" in the next post.

> It is the *shared* environment (e.g. parental socio-economic status and choice of school) that is much less influential than most people intuitively suppose (since many people discount genetics and so attribute similarity in family outcomes to shared environment instead).

> And I do think that -- while things are not perfect -- the evidence is that bright kids from poor backgrounds to tend to get sufficiently ok schooling that they do ok, and end up in middle-class adult roles, whereas in past generations they'd have left school at 14 and been stuck down t'pit regardless.

I think some do and some don't. Anyone who's taught in schools in deprived areas knows that there are plenty of kids who come from chaotic, impoverished backgrounds and frankly don't stand a chance. I think that the "school effect" is probably quite small (I think this has been shown to be about 10% in itself - Radio 4 programme gave an analysis a few years back) and I don't think the data justifies the conclusion "parental SES isn't important in determining outcomes". I think that might be the case until you get to the point where poverty or lack of decent parenting for any other reason kicks in, and I don't think that's been studied. 

> And we wouldn't want a perfect merito-utopia, in which parents cannot have any influence. Would we really want to ban parents from reading to their children, talking to them about their homework, encouraging them in education hobbies, etc? 

No. As I said, I don't believe that "equality of opportunity" is coherent. You're the one proposing we've got it!

> No, actually, I'm not.  You are repeatedly reading into this things I've not said. 

How do you expect me to read

actually, we do, we really do have something close to [equality of opportunity]...when actually it is largely genetics! ?

I can't understand why you think I've changed the meaning of your words and misunderstood or misrepresented you. You've been absolutely explicit!

Post edited at 09:48
1
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> What you've done is switch back and forth between saying that genetics are biggest influence and it's 50%:

No, I've been consistent.  But you need to take into account what the remarks were actually about.   Let me explain:

For the purposes of this comment, let's take the rule of thumb of 50:50 for genetics versus all environmental factors added, and since studies show non-shared environment to be more important than shared environment, let's say that non-shared environment accounts for 35% of the variation and shared-environmental 15%.

Now let's take your example of what I said:

Me> "True, but the *cause* can still be genetic.  Thus, "parental socio-economic class" is a consequence of genes and IQ, and those get passed on to the kids."

But that was not about overall variance of GCSE grades, it was specifically a reply to Toby's comment about a correlation between parental socio-economic class and their children's GCSE grades.

Now, "parental socio-economic class" is necessarily "shared environment", so, from the meaning of the terms, non-shared environment cannot contribute to a correlation between parental socio-economic class and their children's GCSE grades. 

Therefore, with the above ratios, the genes versus environment contribution to that correlation is the ratio of the genetic effects to the shared-environment effects, which is 50:15. 

So, if we're talking about influence of genes vs environment overall on GCSE grades, then it's 50:50.

But it we're talking about the genetic contribution to the correlation between parental socio-economic class and GCSE grades, then it is mostly genetic.   (50/(50+15) = 77 per cent genetic given the above numbers.) 

[Now, admittedly, my above quote would have been better phrased "the primary cause" rather than "the" cause, since there is never only one "cause".]

Post edited at 17:25
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  How do you expect me to read

Me> "actually, we do, we really do have something close to [equality of
Me> opportunity]...when actually it is largely genetics! ?"

In context, it was about equality of opportunity for a kid from a relatively poor background versus a relatively wealthy background.  

So, in context, it was about equality of opportunity with respect to "shared environment" (again, defined as aspects of their environment that siblings share).

And, as per my comment just above, we do seem to have something close to that because the shared-environment seems to be fairly low (lower than genetics and lower than non-shared environment). 

The "largely genetics" was (as just above), a reference to the genetics versus shared-environment ratio. 

[Of course there is also the big non-shared-environment influence on outcomes, and a lot of that will be all sorts of random factors in a kid's life. But, by definition, that is not about parenting and socio-economic class of the family, which is what is generally meant if we talk about equality of opportunity. ]

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But it we're talking about the genetic contribution to the correlation between parental socio-economic class and GCSE grades, then it is mostly genetic.   (50/(50+15) = 77 per cent genetic given the above numbers.) 

That makes sense - I didn't pick up on that subtlety, but I think to do so is a bit of an ask.

> it was about equality of opportunity for a kid from a relatively poor background versus a relatively wealthy background.  

Well, if you didn't mean to suggest that the comment applied more generally, you'd have been wiser keep it specific. Even so, I'm not convinced that you can draw any conclusion about "equality of opportunity" from these studies that attempt to separate shared and unshared environmental influences. Since no experience is actually shared, and a younger sibling isn't getting the same family or school environment to an older one, I can't really understand how "shared environment" is a robust, measurable concept. Something I should take up with the people in this field, I suppose!

I'm not sure there's a lot left to discuss because we largely agree on what's true and what's not true. I just detect a real eagerness on your part to accept, without a hint of scepticism, any result that shows genetic factors predominating. You have a real knack of coming out with comments that just sound so much like the meritocracy/just world fallacy (the rotten foundation of right-wing political thought) that I find it impossible not to interpret them that way. I'm struggling somewhat to believe that the fact that you read a lot of right-wing political output that's built upon this bullshit philosophy isn't the reason you've developed this particular knack.

Post edited at 20:05
2
 Pefa 19 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So are we converging on "shared environment" (things siblings share, including effects of parenting, parental wealth, schools, tutoring) adding up to  about 10% to 15% of the variation in the kids GCSE/A-level exam scores? 

> That would make it in third place as a major factor, behind genetics (around 50%) and non-shared environmental factors, things that one sibling encounters but another does not (around 40%). 

> I'd bet that, if you asked a set of school teachers or sociologists or people in general to assign proportions based on their intuitions, then the answers would generally be very different from those -- which is why I harp on about these findings.

Have genes been identified that represent higher IQ? 

I'm trying to get my head around what these findings if they are correct show, so would I be correct in saying that an adopted kid with better IQ genes would do better at O/A levels even if raised in poverty and neglect in a dysfunctional family and that an adopted kid with so called less genetic IQ raised in a secure, safe and educationally conducive household would not?

Is this an attempt by the right wing ruling capitalist class to normalise and excuse the poverty they perpetuate through genetics?This looks to me like a weaponisation of genetics as an excuse by a ruling class looking for a scientific basis for the poverty they create. 

Ps. Who is to say that certain but not all of the adopted kids are already traumatised by the process of adoption / break up of their parents relationship /home? Is that factored into this study?

Post edited at 20:50
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm struggling somewhat to believe that the fact that you read a lot of right-wing political output that's built upon this bullshit philosophy isn't the reason you've developed this particular knack.

Except that I come at this from reading the science, not from reading political stuff. 

In reply to Pefa:

> Have genes been identified that represent higher IQ? 

Nearly all complex traits are not caused by a few genes, they're caused by combinations of hundreds or thousands of genes.   So each genes on it's own has a rather small effect.   Yes, some genes relevant to IQ have been identified, but again, each such gene has only a small effect on its own.  We're only just beginning to have the technology to properly study genes en masse.

> would I be correct in saying that an adopted kid with better IQ genes would do better at O/A levels even if raised in poverty and neglect in a dysfunctional family and that an adopted kid with so called less genetic IQ raised in a secure, safe and educationally conducive household would not?

Yes, there are plenty of examples of bright kids from dsyfunctional families doing better in exams than dim kids from well-off supportive families.   Partly this is because even kids from dsyfunctional families go to schools that are good enough and have teachers who will do their best for the kid. 

> Is this an attempt by the right wing ruling capitalist class to normalise and excuse the poverty they perpetuate through genetics?This looks to me like a weaponisation of genetics as an excuse by a ruling class looking for a scientific basis for the poverty they create. 

Well I'm trying to stay out of the politics here, but I don't accept that the "ruling class" in this country (which has recently included people like Blair and Brown, who are not "right wing" unless anyone to the right of Mao is "right wing")  create and perpetuate poverty.   Indeed all indicators are that Western liberal-democratic countries with market economies have very good track records for reducing poverty over time. 

(Though of course if you define poverty in relative ways, as being whatever the bottom 10% is, then there will always be people "in poverty" even though the level that equates to poverty is steadily rising.)

> Ps. Who is to say that certain but not all of the adopted kids are already traumatised by the process of adoption / break up of their parents relationship /home? Is that factored into this study?

Well the studies are doing things like comparing adopted fraternal twins with adopted identical twins.   So the "adopted" part is common to both, so should not affect the comparison.

By the way, most of the twin studies are based on people adopted as babies (so no traumatic break up of home).   Prior to modern contraception, the legalisation of abortion, and the social acceptance of single motherhood (so before the 1960s), there was a steady stream of young unmarried girls and women, who got themselves pregnant, dealing with this by giving up the babies at birth. 

 Jus 19 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

It's a shame that sexuality is still an issue in any sport or in fact in life in general. When a famous rugby player/  tennis player/ footballer.... whatever does come out as gay it usually hits the headlines which is a shame. 

on a positive note it can give the young gay person who may be struggling the strength to be themselves.

being gay/ bi/ trans/ queer etc is NORMAL. it used be a big deal. It shouldn't be now. Look at what happened to Justin Fashanu  

 Pefa 20 Jan 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Nearly all complex traits are not caused by a few genes, they're caused by combinations of hundreds or thousands of genes.   So each genes on it's own has a rather small effect.   Yes, some genes relevant to IQ have been identified, but again, each such gene has only a small effect on its own.  We're only just beginning to have the technology to properly study genes en masse.

Yes I am aware that it is supposedly a great many genes that mark intelligence but I was wondering if this particular basis for all the subsequent conclusions is set in stone and if so where is the evidence. 

> Yes, there are plenty of examples of bright kids from dsyfunctional families doing better in exams than dim kids from well-off supportive families.   Partly this is because even kids from dsyfunctional families go to schools that are good enough and have teachers who will do their best for the kid. 

True but unfortunately I know many tragic cases of very academically bright kids raised in poverty that didn't turn out that way. In fact there are very many "bright" kids raised in poverty and dysfunction who don't bother with exams or get distracted from them into a cycle of crime, gangs, drugs/addiction or prison. So who is to say how much poverty and deprivation (environmental conditions) decides how a genetically "bright kid" turns out? And if we don't know that how can we then measure with accuracy the environmental effects over genetics?

I agree with you to some degree since the kid I mentioned up thread came from a dysfunctional family but got A's for all subjects, however she had an extended family for main support that kept her on the right track so it's not really as clear cut. 

> Well I'm trying to stay out of the politics here, but I don't accept that the "ruling class" in this country (which has recently included people like Blair and Brown, who are not "right wing" unless anyone to the right of Mao is "right wing")  create and perpetuate poverty.   Indeed all indicators are that Western liberal-democratic countries with market economies have very good track records for reducing poverty over time. 

Yes capitalism does give a boost to fuedal or underdeveloped countries/populations but on the back of very backward and contradictory practices which require poverty in many places to facilitate wealth in others and use that poverty and unemployment at home as a threat to people. Brown and Blair were both Thatcherite which is right wing. The point I am making however is to show that it isn't the first time that right wing ruling classes have tried to use genetics as a scientific foundation to justify what they want to do. 

> (Though of course if you define poverty in relative ways, as being whatever the bottom 10% is, then there will always be people "in poverty" even though the level that equates to poverty is steadily rising.) 

Measuring poverty in a nation isn't taking what the bottom 10% has it is a measure of what all the people don't have. 

> Well the studies are doing things like comparing adopted fraternal twins with adopted identical twins.   So the "adopted" part is common to both, so should not affect the comparison.

> By the way, most of the twin studies are based on people adopted as babies (so no traumatic break up of home).   Prior to modern contraception, the legalisation of abortion, and the social acceptance of single motherhood (so before the 1960s), there was a steady stream of young unmarried girls and women, who got themselves pregnant, dealing with this by giving up the babies at birth. 

Right thanks you certainly know a lot of the details in this study which is commendable and very useful for information. So these studies on dizygotic and monozygotic twins will factor in even trauma caused in the womb because of course if it happens to one it happens to both. Although if trauma(environmental conditions) is transferred in utero from mum to fraternal twins prior to adoption this factor won't be accounted for in the measurement of IQ with respect to genes since the genes are different? 

This is just off the top of my head BTW and already there are potential variables in this meta analysis of genetic IQ not taken into account.

And I haven't even started on emotional intelligence yet. 

Post edited at 01:05
In reply to Pefa:

> Yes I am aware that it is supposedly a great many genes that mark intelligence but I was wondering if this particular basis for all the subsequent conclusions is set in stone and if so where is the evidence. 

The evidence is primarily twin studies. However, genome studies are developing at a huge rate, and are quickly becoming the primary evidence.

> So who is to say how much poverty and deprivation (environmental conditions) decides how a genetically "bright kid" turns out? And if we don't know that how can we then measure with accuracy the environmental effects over genetics?

Twin studies and adoption studies tell us these things.

> Brown and Blair were both Thatcherite which is right wing.

You seem to be so far left that you've lost sight of where the centre ground is.  The "centre" is defined by where people vote in multiple election cycles, and that makes Blair and Brown centre-left.   If the far-left (i.e. Corbyn) want to cling to the idea that Corbyn and McDonnell are moderate centrists, and that everyone would vote for them if they were not duped by the Russkies, then they're going to keep going down to defeats like the last one. 

> Yes capitalism does give a boost to fuedal or underdeveloped countries/populations but on the back of very backward and contradictory practices which require poverty in many places to facilitate wealth in others

No, that's a zero-sum-game analysis, which always was one of the big flaws of Marxism since the economy is not a zero-sum game. And no, capitalistic policies do not "require poverty", indeed capitalist, free-market economies have, across the world and across the decades, been the biggest driver for vast swathes of peoples earning their way out of poverty that the world has ever seen. 

2
 kathrync 20 Jan 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> Yes, mostly, but not entirely.  I think context is important with queer as a term, because it's got a long legacy of being used as an insult too - ie 'What are you looking at you f*cking queer?' which could be heard in school when I was younger, only as recently as the 90's. 

Maybe this depends on where you went to school.  In my primary school (late 80s/early 90s), I frequently heard "you're so gay" or similar used as an insult.  At my single-sex secondary school, "butch", "dyke" and "lezzy" were commonly used as insults. I rarely heard queer in this context.

> The history of terms and whether they've been used as slurs might be the safest/a safer way to find a fitting term. Gay is a safe enough name or term, with only people insecure in their sexuality seeming to take offence. 

But gay has also been widely used as a slur. In the environment I grew up in, far more widely than queer.

I would agree with whoever said above that the most respectful thing to do is to find out what terms a person uses to describe themselves, and then use those terms.

I agree that gay is a safer term to use if you don't know someone's preference though - no arguments there.  

 TonyBrasko 22 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

No matter who we are. Gays, getero, lesbians. 

 tomhull 23 Jan 2020
In reply to john arran:

Should probably write something intelligent as I manage 5 london climbing centres that have a great customer diversity including lots of LGBTQ climbers but im not going to.... I'm just going to throw personal out there on the off chance...

35 year old cis queer trad daddy seeks bottom vers 27 year old twinky cis male that ideally climbs sport 6c-7b but is most happy swinging leads on trad E2's. Want to hold hands on the way to the crag? Hmu. @passthenuts

Not a cat in hells chance. I dont even like cats but I'm destined to be a cat lady reading old guide books and reminiscing about the myriad of chalk bag hipster alternatives I've witnessed. The mature cheddar resealable packet is my current fave. I also spend alot time chuckling to myself about the puns involved in bouldering commentary and the gay hook up scene. "Matt cousins always finds a top" to quote a Mike Langley classic line.

 TonyBrasko 24 Jan 2020
In reply to TonyBrasko:

I would figure out with this blog https://www.happymatches.com/gay-dating/ about gay dating.

 NBR 04 Feb 2020
In reply to john arran:

I remember back in the early nineties when it was clear that women must be genetically predisposed against climbing as they were so outnumbered by men.

Last night down the wall it was about 50/50, clearly women have undergone some kind of dramatic genetic mutation or maybe.....

I don't understand why people get so defensive of the notion that it would be nice if lots of different people were climbing.

Nothing wrong with a bit of self reflection, one of the reasons I like climbing with a mixed bunch of climbers is it helps prevent the slide into excessive laddish knobishness, which lets be honest can be unwelcoming.

1
 adsheff 05 Feb 2020
In reply to john arran:

Between me and my climbing partner we're 50% gay, so that's pretty high proportion.


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