April 23, 2010

Twins

Identical and fraternal twins are particularly interesting for questions of nature and nurture. And, yet, one problem with writing about twins is that there really aren't that many famous identical twins to use as examples.

I'm particularly interested in famous individuals who have an identical twin who isn't famous. For example, movie star Jon Heder has an identical twin, Dan Heder, who isn't as famous, but I'm not exactly sure why Jon Heder is famous in the first place. (And I'm not sure he is either.) But that situation is relatively uncommon. Either both identical twins are famous or neither one is. And the percentage of famous people who are identical twins appears to be lower than the percentage of identical twins in the population.

Wikipedia offers a list of "Famous people with a twin," but most of the twins appear to be either fraternal and/or died young. For example, Elvis Presley had a twin brother, but he died at birth. (That's not uncommon on this list -- carrying and delivering twins is tough.)

I suspect that to get famous in a lot of fields, such as acting (here's Wikipedia's list of twin actors -- most of the names either aren't too famous or are fraternal twins) you have to elbow your way past a lot of people to grab the spotlight as you are growing up. 

For example, a lot of well-known actresses were the stars of their high school musicals. That's a common rite of passage if you want to be a movie star someday. Say you and your identical twin sister want the role of Maria in your high school production of "Sound of Music." One of you would get Maria and the other would  get stuck being the Head Nun. So, maybe you talk it over with your twin and decide neither will try out for it because it would be too painful for the loser. Or maybe the director feels uncomfortable choosing between you, so he gives the role to somebody else who isn't a twin.

I suspect that considerations such as this tend to discourage identical twins from pursuing a lot of careers with steep pyramids of fame.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, off topic, but Andrew Sullivan mentioned this and I thought you might want to look into the numbers:

CDC reports 1.1 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 40 are still virgins.

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/how-many-people-over-25-are-still-virgins

Findings from the report include:

-Those who lose their virginity at a later age—and we are talking around 21 to 23 years old—are candidates for experiencing sexual dysfunction later in life, according to researchers at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute's HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies.

-Lower I.Q.’s are also correlated with lower rates of virginity. So perhaps it pays to be of average intelligence (at least in the bedroom).

-The CDC also reports that by age 19, 80% of men and 75% of women have lost their virginity.

-High school’s a prime setting for men to lose their virginity: the odds a man who has engaged in sexual activity had his first experience between the ages of 16 and 17 are 1 in 3.7. The odds the first time took place between 18 and 19 are lower, 1 in 4.35, and drop to 1 in 5.88 for those who waited until age 20 or older. And the odds a man aged 25-44 has had no female partners are 1 in 35.71. More women than men are likely to postpone losing their virginity, but during the teens and early 20s their odds follow the identical trajectory. However, by the time a woman enters the age range of 25-44, the odds she has had no male sexual partners are 1 in 58.82—so somewhere along the line women start outpacing men in shedding their virginity.

-More women than men are likely to postpone losing their virginity, but during the teens and early 20s their odds follow the identical trajectory. However, by the time a woman enters the age range of 25-44, the odds she has had no male sexual partners are 1 in 58.82—so somewhere along the line women start outpacing men in shedding their virginity.

-Math and Sciences majors have the highest rates of virginity. Studio Art had the lowest.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the recently killed President of Poland a twin.

Both brothers were high up in the Polish administration..which I found kinda interesting. I think one was Pres and the other Prime Minister for a while.

Anonymous said...

-Lower I.Q.’s are also correlated with lower rates of virginity...

-Math and Sciences majors have the highest rates of virginity...


PLEASE don't tell me any taxpayer money was wasted on that study.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous

Whoops, I copy-pasted that second last section twice. I've never got the hang of proofreading.

bjdouble said...

The Bryan Bros are the top tennis doubles team and also identical twins. One is left handed and one right handed, one is a good server and the other is a good returner. The article in the NYT magazine made them sound really creepy - same bank account, live in the same house, etc.

jody said...

it's not rare for twins to reach the highest level of play in sports. it's not like they are everywhere, but prominent twins are much more common in sports than they are in other fields.

germane to the topic are ronde barber and tiki barber. tiki, who is a fraud that puts on the front of being a nice and respectable person, is actually a scum bucket and piece of human garbage. after retiring, he famously bashed eli manning, bitterly claiming that manning sucked. the very next season the giants won the superbowl with manning under center.

tiki recently left his pregnant asian wife (pregnant with twins! twice as germane to the topic!) for a 22 year old euro american woman.

he gets to keep his job as a highly paid, well respected sports analyst, of course. black skin is a suit of armor in the US, and deflects almost all criticism.

James said...

An interesting topic indeed. I share the same interest and as fortune would have it a set of identical twins has entered my life: one straight and one gay. Unfortunately, I am not a geneticist; however, I am a little Aristotle and I must say they are fascinating. The homosexual is not only gay, he also appears to be the catamite in his relationships. Curiously, the straight twin is a normal, heterosexual man. Meeting them has made me all the more inclined to side with the psychoanalysts' perspective: all sexual deviance is a result of an absentee / weakened caregiver or molestation. I guess we will never know until someone maps their complete genetic structure. I am not discounting the fact that the straight brother might not have realized he is gay yet; I just don't see any sign of it; moreover, neither does his beautiful girlfriend of ten years. Thanks for the great work Steve.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean you don't know why he's famous?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYv1o9k71S0&feature=related

Anonymous said...

I'm sure they're nice kids, but fraternal twins as ice dancing partners just seems...wrong:
http://www.icetwins.com/index.html

Glaivester said...

31-year-old virgin here.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's simply that twins are dumb. They seem to have IQ scores a bit more than 5 points lower than singletons. God knows there have been enough IQ-twin studies.

BTW my mother was an identical twin.

OneSTDV said...

There's a famous set of Swedish (?) twins in the NHL. There was an article about them a few years ago in SI.

They had essentially the exact same lives.

RandyB said...

Has anyone done a twin study about gayness?

Anthony said...

Anonymous #2 is right: Lech Kaczyński was the President of Poland until he died in a plane crash, his identical twin Lech Kaczyński was Prime Minister, and is now leader of the opposition.

They may be the most politically important identical twins since Romulus and Remus.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I thought that identical twin children had an advantage in getting hired as actors, because they could both play the same role in different takes and no one would know the difference. This strategy allows filmmakers twice the filming time (while still obeying the regulations governing the use of child actors).

Eric said...

It's not surprising one twin would be more famous than the other as an actor. Much of an actor's career is dependent on getting a role which brings him to the attention of a wide audience. Luck, in other words.

Mr Apostrophe said...

Most talented identical twins alive are definitely the Quay brothers, 2 of the greatest animators who ever walked the planet

Brent Lane said...

I thought of one that even Wikipedia missed - one that I would imagine a Californian of your vintage would instantly recognize:

The Currie Twins

Whiskey said...

Steve, that's not true. You're applying High School Football analogies to a very different set of folks (women, gays) in a very different milieu.

First, most actresses come out of kid acting. Commercials, guest tv spots, Disney kids shows, movies, and soaps. Off the top of my head that would include Alyssa Milano, Eliza Dushku, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amber Tamblyn, Amanda Bynes, Mila Kunis, and Laura Prepon. Megan Fox would also fit that mold.

The only twin set I can think of "Buffy" actor Nicholas Brendon and twin Donovan Brendon.

The way male actors get into Hollywood seems different. They start, generally, older, usually after wiping out in some sport (injury) and noting the pretty girls in acting class. Samuel L. Jackson, Marc Blucas, Nicholas Brendon, and Ashton Kutcher fit that bill.

This also probably explains the gender disparity in acting skill. Most actresses have been performing since age 9 at least, often younger. Soaps in particular go through a lot of actresses in their teens. Meanwhile, guys get a later start, meaning techniques, ability to perform by rote (i.e. a canned "angry" performance like mechanically catching a fly ball without thinking) is much lesser.

Of course, the most famous twins of all, the Olsen Twins, showed the tremendous appetite tween girls have for fantasy "older" High School girl models -- those gals made about $1 billion! Out of TV shows, books, toys, and the like. Meanwhile boy's stuff is basically video games and that's it.

Anonymous said...

Gah! The Mother Abbess, not the "Head Nun"!

Anonymous said...

This could be a case of probability. There just aren't that many identical twins: it's a 2 sigma effect. And exceptionally talented people tend to be five sigma effect. So exceptionally talented identical twins could be a 7 sigma thing. On the other hand there could be a somatic reason you don't hear about incredibly talented identical twins -- competition for nutrients in the womb impedes their prenatal neurological development. Indeed, perhaps Elvis lived and his twin died at birth because Elvis "won out" in the womb leaving his twin too weakened to survive the trauma of birth.

Kevin K said...

The Sedin brothers are identical twins that play for the Vancouver Canucks.

Anonymous said...

Ending the Slavery Blame-Game

by Henry Louis Gates jr.


Surprising, huh?

Anonymous said...

Are identical twins becoming more common?

I presume there is at least some genetic basis for twins and it used to be that their chances of live birth were lower. Now I'm guessing their survival rates can't be far behind singles these days.

More adult twins alive means more twins becoming parents which should increase the twin supply in the future.

Or am I wrong about twins having a genetic origin?

Anonymous said...

Of course, the most famous twins of all, the Olsen Twins, showed the tremendous appetite tween girls have for fantasy "older" High School girl models -- those gals made about $1 billion! Out of TV shows, books, toys, and the like. Meanwhile boy's stuff is basically video games and that's it.


Don't knock boys video games. In 2008 video games surpassed the movie industry in total dollar sales. And the lead is stretching as time passes.It's big, BIG business. Video games already surpassed total music sales a few years back. We're talking close to $30 billion per year.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's simply that twins are dumb. They seem to have IQ scores a bit more than 5 points lower than singletons

Twins have birthweights which are about half of what they "ought" to be.

And all other things being equal, birthweight correlates pretty well with IQ.

rob said...

James said...
...I am a little Aristotle...

A teeny tiny Aristotle indeed. Why did the parents neglect the twin who turned all faggy and not the other one? You know Freudianism is all pretend, right?

Anon who pointed to IQ is probably right. Five points is nothing to sneeze at. Do adult twins show a gap, or is it just kids?

Interesting that there are so many famous athletes with twins. Maybe just the bar for fame is lower in sports (Quick, name 30 current pro athletes, then name 30 living scientists) and there private lives are more widely known.

Linda Hamilton (played Sarah Connor in Terminator) has an unfamous twin.

President of Poland...his identical twin...Prime Minister...They may be the most politically important identical twins since Romulus and Remus.

That just shows how politically uninfluential twins are. After all, Romulus and Remus were pretend.

cheerful iconoclast said...

Linda Hamilton has an identical twin sister who's a nurse. (Her twin sister actually appears in T2, in the scene where the liquid metal Terminator impersonates her.)

Also, Alexandra Paul, of Baywatch fame, has a twin sister who works as a firefighter.

James B. Shearer said...

There is the case of the identical twin sisters who wrote the Ann Landers and Dear Abby advice columns.

mnuez said...

There's the Polish president and PM.

But anyhow, why the need to look for famous ones? I understand that in your neck of the woods fame is considered an awesome virtue and what many people strive for but fame is really just one sort of "good life" that people aspire to and when it comes to identical twins I'm sure it would be easy by word of mouth alone to start compiling lists of successes and failures.

I'll offer one example.

I have close relatives who are identical twin males.

They were very close throughout their youth, got married to similar women within a couple of years of each other. Had unsatisfactory marriages. One wife was divorced and the other died. The fellow who got divorced remained unmarried while the widower remarried. One had two kids while the other had three. They were both good at sports and shared the salutatorian privilege. They worked together for decades and were somewhat successful. They ceased working together on account of an accident of history and became less successful. They were both very overweight and subsequently both lost a great amount of weight.

They hardly diverge at all, either in the way the act or in the way they think (about themselves or anything else) except inasmuch as one is married and making a small amount of money and the other is unmarried and not making much money.

I'm not saying that they're representative of identical twins or aren't but I know these people very well so I can assure you this data is accurate (in contrast to, say, the noise of brain farts that were exuded on the redhead thread).

Anonymous said...

Whiskey is a Buffy fan. Suddenly his weird obsession with "The Grudge" is explained...

Truth said...

"he gets to keep his job as a highly paid, well respected sports analyst, of course. black skin is a suit of armor in the US, and deflects almost all criticism."

Oh I don't know there Al(bino) Sharpton; Charlie Sheen still seems to have a job.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Jose and Ozzie Canseco are identical twin baseball players who occupied basically the same niche, but Jose had a vastly more successful career than Ozzie. You might think this was attributable to the extra boost from steroids although evidence suggests that Ozzie was juicing as well.

James said...

@Rob

Thanks Tom Cruise, I will take your thoughts on psychiatry under advisement. However, I wonder if the homosexuality in question could not have been a result of the latter catalyst you ignored: molestation. Roughly half of homosexual men were molested; however, only about five percent of heterosexual men were molested. Moreover, in today's age children have a choice of which parent they will live with following a divorce. Often times this leads to siblings being separated. That said, send me your book on Dianetics and I will make sure to read about your aliens.

mnuez said...

I just noticed that there's an ACTUAL "redhead thread" (which I haven't read). I was referring to the cacophony of stupidity that flooded out the frew intelligent comments on the neanderthal cum redhead thread.

Anonymous said...

The McWhirter twins, Ross and Norris were both sports journalists with amazing memory for sports data...they made a business out of it and published the first Guinness Book of Records, which was an instant best seller.

Ross was later shot by the IRA.

Noumenon said...

I was wondering whether the paper Slate recently linked to (twins aren't genetically identical) was a) convincing b) had important implications for people who believe in genetics and IQ. You don't really have open threads so I just thought I'd ask here.

TCO said...

Wonder if the crowded womb has any impact on them (after first year or so). Less growth in the oven, dividing some of the motherline passed immune cells and such, and such...

catperson said...

It would be hard to find a non-famous identical twin of a famous identical twin in part because the traits that make one famous (intelligence, talent) are highly genetic.

catperson said...

I would like to see a study of identical twins raised together where one twin has a PhD and the other twin never went to school in his life. This would show what (if any) impact schooling has on IQ.

Lucille said...

Are women really more likely than men to start out as child actors? Has anyone ever bothered to look at the hard stats?

How would you define "child actor" anyway -under 18? under 16? pre-teen? (Any or all of those could be worthwhile criteria to look at, as I see it.) And if an actor does amateur theater roles, or commercials, et cetera, but only goes pro as an adult, does he or she count as a "child actor" for statistical purposes?

Anonymous said...

OT:

Archie Comics introduces first gay character

Apr 23, 2:25 PM (ET)

NEW YORK (AP) - Riverdale High is getting its first gay character.

Archie Comics announced Thursday that in an issue out Sept. 1, the long-running comic will introduce its first "openly gay" character, Kevin Keller.

The strapping blond will defeat Jughead in a burger eating contest, win the affection of Veronica and wrestle over how to gently rebuff her flirtations.

Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics, says the introduction of Kevin is "about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive."

Anonymous said...

Some social psychologists have focused upon competency and the waste of talent. Some people see in this topic indications that at the far upper levels of ability, there are routinely many more people than slots of opportunity--appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. By contrast, at the descending levels of the social pyramid, there is far less excess talent and far more goodness of fit between ability and attainment. An obvious complication for the very able at the pinnacle of society is that those finding slots get the training and experience early on that does create a large gap between them and those equally able that didn't make it to the table of opportunity. Network news reporting, anchoring, is perhaps an area in which there are far far more excellent people than slots available. Movie acting, as well.

Kylie said...

Steve Sailer said: "...one problem with writing about twins is that there really aren't that many famous identical twins to use as examples."

The small number of famous identical twins doesn't surprise me. I suspect a lot of indentical twins are so caught up in their twinship (either positively or negatively) that they simply don't focus on the outside world enough to become famous. No matter how bright, talented or otherwise notable you are, a large part of achieving fame is being in the right place at the right time. And to do that, you not only have to be lucky, you have to put yourself out there in a way that gets you and your talents noticed, something identical twins who are focussed primarily on themselves and each other are less likely to do.

Some twins coexist in a comfortable symbiosis and choose to live next door to each other, marry similar spouses, etc. They seem to depend primarily on one another for companionship and to have less need to interact with the world than singles do. Other twins find that bond threatening to their autonomy and psychologically constricting and use much of their energy fighting against it.

Taken to extremes, a positive twinship bond would result in a reclusive retreat from the world* whereas a negative twinship bond taken to extremes can and does result in publicity and infamy, if not fame; e.g., the Marcus twins and Gibbons twins.

*Obviously I can't readily provide examples of this.

Anonymous said...

I think there's usually a dominant twin even with identical twins, the one who got more of tne nourishment in the womb and is born larger. That probably continues in childhood and adulthood. Take a look at the accounts of conjoined twins and there is usually one twin who is healthier, more outgoing, more confident. After they are separated there are still sometimes reported differences. They are identical twins who are born sharing body parts.

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone done a twin study about gayness?"

I knew a pair of identical twins in college. One was gay and one had a girlfriend. So there is an N=1 study for you.

691 said...

They're not too famous, but check out Dean and Dan Caten, who are fashion designers that have a show on Bravo called Launch my Line. They are successful enough to host a reality show but in their case I assume their twinhood is the gimmick that got them a show.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

I can't believe you 'tards have all forgotten about the twin cash flow midgets, the Rice brothers.

Sheesh...

Baloo said...

Next Archie character: Manuel the illegal alien.

Anonymous said...

Why does the report on virginity that First Anonymous refers to express its figures in terms of odds rather than percentages? Is sports betting getting that big?

Anonymous said...

BTW, re: virginity. The claim that only 1.7 percent of women (i.e., 1 in 58.82) between 25-44 are virgins is obvious B.S.

Anonymous said...

Lewis Gaylord and Willis Gaylord Clark were fraternal twins who were both famous in early and mid-nineteenth century America. Willis was the more famous as a writer asnd poet, Lewis as editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine.

dr kill said...

Youse guys are missing the real story here.
What are the odds of Octo and Kate's litters displaying similarities? Are any of their litter identical?

Dahinda said...

Jill Hennessy has an identical twin named Jackie who would fill in for her many times on Law and Order. It is almost impossible to tell them apart.

Anonymous said...

Is there fame in their future?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100424/ap_on_re_us/us_odd_double_date_twins

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"Is there fame in their future?"

There might be, if folks here would bother to learn how to insert a simple HTML link.

Anonymous said...

As far as twins having an average 5 point lower IQ, remember that this is an average. Twins are much more likely to be born VERY premature than single babies, leading in many cases to mental retardation. In most cases, there is either going to be a serious deficit (20 points or more) or no effect at all. In a vaginal birth, the second twin is much more likely to be born dead or to be retarded. If the birth of the first twin is prolonged, the oxygen supply of the second can be compromised by the delay.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a twin sister -- they were very close.

PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) involves taking one cell out of the blastocyst and analyzing it for defects. Pregancies resulting from these embryos are something like 10X more likely to result in identical twins. It used to be that one set of identical twins was born in every 250 to 350 births, but as the rate of PGD increases, the rate of identical twins must be rising as well. When this is combined with the huge increase in fraternal twins/triplets, etc., due to fertility drugs, and the higher survival rate of multiples due to better medical care, it all leads to the huge increase in multiples that you see today. They are EVERYWHERE now -- back in the 60s and 70s, they were rare.

Anonymous said...

Twins and homosexuality have been mentioned and they are connected but maybe not in the way intended.

One still plausible theory of homosexuality is chimerism. This usually caused by one twin absorbing the body of the other. If they are fraternal twins of different sexes then - so the theory goes - you can get a male with a bit of female tissue in his brain. If this tissue happens to be in a critical part of the limbic system like the hypothalamus you get a gay guy.

I don't actually believe this theory accounts for homosexuality but chimerism is certainly real enough.

I recently concluded that homosexuality at least in males is probably a disease of intestinal parasites. I think there is an as yet unidentified gut worm that changes the sexual orientation of the human host. This leads to the use of the anus for sex which allows the worm to spread - gay bowel syndrome.

Most gay men have this syndrome. But the biggest advantage of this theory is that it introduces a character - the bowel worm - that has a motive. The worm's survival makes the sexual orientation of the human host critical. It works hard to create humans who will provide it with a home and means to spread. Without an interested party (the worm) it's hard to imagine how anal sex could persist.

Gay men lose a lot of their life span due to persistent infections. The men lose, the worms win. I suspect the worm.

Also many intestinal parasites modify their host's behavior. This is quite common in insects and mollusk hosts.

If any of this is true there must be some part of the the worm's life cycle that that involves the human females who are the mothers of the gay men. How that would work is not clear.

Howard Hughes said...

"The Sedin brothers are identical twins that play for the Vancouver Canucks."
One of them was the leading scorer of this regular season. They do have magically chemistry on the ice - they always seems to know where the other guy is. That sort of bound seems to be quite common among identical twins.

James Kabala said...

I believe the recently deceased Hager identical twins of Hee Haw, like some of the other pairs mentioned, lived together as bachelors for their entire lives. Of course, I've also known of non-twin brothers who lived in that fashion.

Anonymous said...

I recently concluded that homosexuality at least in males is probably a disease of intestinal parasites. I think there is an as yet unidentified gut worm that changes the sexual orientation of the human host. This leads to the use of the anus for sex which allows the worm to spread - gay bowel syndrome.


Most gay men have this syndrome. But the biggest advantage of this theory is that it introduces a character - the bowel worm - that has a motive. The worm's survival makes the sexual orientation of the human host critical. It works hard to create humans who will provide it with a home and means to spread. Without an interested party (the worm) it's hard to imagine how anal sex could persist.



Hmm. Where do gay women come into this? Or is there a vaginal worm as well?

Jim O said...

As did one of the Anonymouses, I'm surprised that we don't have more Mary Kate and Ashley situations: identical twin actors who got their start playing the same child character so studios can comply with limits on the hours kids can work. There is quite a bit of that in Hollywood, no? Of course, even those two haven't done much since Big House closed down. How come they never break through?

none of the above said...

Evidence of the hypothesized gay parasite should
be available if it's widespread in First world
gay men, right? How do known STDs spread among gay men? My impression is that the transmission mostly goes
the other direction.

If there is a contagious cause for a large fraction of male homosexuality, there should be epidemiological evidence, right? Like islands or isolated places where there is a
sudden "epidemic" of homosexuality.

MQ said...

"Has anyone done a twin study about gayness?"

I think there's about a 50 percent concordance.

The "gay worm" theory is beyond silly. There are plenty of potential Darwinian explanations for homosexuality.

cal said...

Well the Olsen twins started the careers when they were babies on Full House. Since Child Labor laws restrict the number of hours a child could actually work it was just much easier to the Olsen twins play the one role. Since they really got their fame playing one role, the Olsen twins are always going to be paired together.

Anonymous said...

The "gay worm" theory is beyond silly. There are plenty of potential Darwinian explanations for homosexuality.

Like what? The infectious theory of homosexuality is quite mainstream nowadays. See Ewald, Cochran, Harpending, etc.

It's hard to find any serious researcher who thinks there is some easy plausible Darwinian explanation. In fact almost everyone recognizes that homosexuality imposes a loss of reproductive fitness that would expect to rapidly run all gay men out of the gene pool.

The "gay worm" hypothesis has problems but it is one answer to the epidemiological question - "Qui bono?". Here's how I arrive at this hypothesis.

If gayness is an infection is it a virus, a bacteria, or a parasite? A virus seems plausible at first because they are samll and hard to find. Most of us for example who have had chickenpox have the herpes virus in our spines. You typically can't find it (who would look there anyway). But most viral infections spread directly or through an intermediate vector with an obvious breakout episode. You don't see anything like that in human homosexuality. Its not like a bite by a vampire which makes you too a vampire. Much the same argumant applies to bacteria.

But it is a fact that homosexual men have very high intestinal parasite loads. They get these infestations directly from their status as homosexuals who engage in anal intercourse. Normally men prefer women and vaginal intercourse. So I wondered what could be creating this friendly environment for worms? The answer might be the worms themselves.

If you Google "behavior modifying parasites" you get about one hundred and sixty thousand hits. All sorts of worms hijack their host's nervous systems so as to create conditions that favor them the worms at the expense of the host. This is very, very common parasite behavior.

See for example:
http://healthmad.com/conditions-and-diseases/toxoplasmosis-mind-altering-parasites-in-the-human-brain/

We have a group of men who prefer anal sex which greatly benefits intestinal worms. We know that worms are capable of altering the behavior of their hosts. Connect the dots...

I realize that having worms control your mind is not very flatering to gay men. Sorry, but that's why I prefer to remain for now anonymous.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/education/26test.html?ref=nyregion

^ Sailer-bait

What do you have to say about THAT, Steve?

The kids don't look Asian or Jew to me.

Anonymous said...

I played the role of Mother Abbess in my high school musical "Sound of Musical" and I certainly have never regarded myself as a "loser".

What roles did you play, Steve?

Steve Sailer said...

Oliver Twist's grandfather "Mr. Brownlow" in "Oliver!" in 6th grade.

It's just about the only nonsinging role in the musical, so the requirement is that you be taller than the kid playing Oliver.

OneSTDV said...

Steve:

I'm sure on Monday you'll be posting about your favorite (ex-) white running back. No way Minnesota, with Peterson, will keep him a RB, right?

I think he's going to be converted to fullback with spot duty at RB.

Anonymous said...

@Steve,
appears that you and I were both cast as respectable-types.

Andrew Gilbert said...

There are several illustrious twins in jazz. Guitarist Nels and percussionist Alex Cline have been mainstays on the Southern California music scene since the 1970s; saxophonist Marcus and drummer E.J. Strickland are both two of the busier players on the New York scene; and pianist Pascal and saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf are rising stars.

I know there are a few others who aren't coming to mind...

Anonymous said...

Re Sailer Bait

I found this in the article:

By mid-April, nearly every moment in class seemed to touch on the effort to help the children pass. Up to five special coaches and teachers were providing help to small groups of students.

How small is small? How scalable is this project?

I'm sure LV will having something to say.

catperson said...

"In fact almost everyone recognizes that homosexuality imposes a loss of reproductive fitness that would expect to rapidly run all gay men out of the gene pool."

There are other ways to pass on your genes besides reproducing. See Rushton't genetic similarity theory. If gay men have a tendency to help other gay men survive, & some of those surviving gay men reproduce or help their families take care of offspring, then the genes for homosexuality get passed on through altruism.

Anonymous said...

"one answer to the epidemiological question - "Qui bono?". Here's how I arrive at this hypothesis."

Your explanation (and the other epidemiological ones) make a lot more sense if you posit that the worm/bacteria/virus only alter your orientation if they get to you young enough. There are cases of men "discovering" they are gay later in life, but mostly it seems pretty fixed by adulthood.

This also might provide an alternative, biological explanation for why so many gay men are victims of molestation when they were kids.

Anonymous said...

Catperson said,

"There are other ways to pass on your genes besides reproducing. See Rushton't genetic similarity theory. If gay men have a tendency to help other gay men survive, & some of those surviving gay men reproduce or help their families take care of offspring, then the genes for homosexuality get passed on through altruism."


And now ask yourself just how many gay men you know "help other gay men survive" , that is help them reach maturity as well as mothers do. Next, ask yourself just how many babies, babies, babies these men (who were nurtured to maturity by other gay men) produce.

Anonymous said...

catperson wrote:

If gay men have a tendency to help other gay men survive, & some of those surviving gay men reproduce or help their families take care of offspring, then the genes for homosexuality get passed on through altruism.

When Ptolemy's geocentric theory ran up against contrary observational evidence, he invented "epicycles". They were designed to account for the embarrassing observations and they did. They were therefore hard to refute - at least before there was a space program. This led to concepts like "Occam's Razor".

The razor is basically a way to react to a theory that has grown bizarre and complex in an effort to defend against refutation.

Male homosexuality by any straightforward view of evolution is an anomaly. It simply shouldn't be. Anymore than planets should rotate backwards if the earth is truly the center of rotation. You can preserve the original theory but only if you are willing to create odd extensions to that theory.

Altruistic selection is just such an odd extension to the theories of natural and sexual selection. Belief in gay altruistic selection did not arise out of any quantitative observation. It has been posited as a last ditch defense of preserving the theory of evolution.

Such a defense is hardly necessary. Darwin teaches that creatures act in their own best interests with respect to survival. Yet we know of hundreds of cases where parasites have subverted the interests of their hosts to improve their own chances for survival. None of this endangers Darwin.

The paradox of homosexuality only appears if you think a gay man's sex preference is his own idea. When you realize that his sexual desires serve the agenda of another organism, there is no problem with Darwin. In the struggle for survival sometimes the worms win.

klaos said...

Matt Hughes, former UFC welterweight champion is a twin.

Anonymous said...

"Yet we know of hundreds of cases where parasites have subverted the interests of their hosts to improve their own chances for survival. None of this endangers Darwin.

"The paradox of homosexuality only appears if you think a gay man's sex preference is his own idea. When you realize that his sexual desires serve the agenda of another organism, there is no problem with Darwin. In the struggle for survival sometimes the worms win."

True enough, but we can even more easily suspect homosexuality as the result of an infant or early childhood infection which killed off brain cells responsible for identifying a suitable reproductive target.

In any case, agreed there are indeed some ludicrous explanations of the phenonmenon floating around out there, all intended to hold onto some notion of people searching for barren targets as evolutionarily productive. HA.

catperson said...

"Such a defense is hardly necessary. Darwin teaches that creatures act in their own best interests with respect to survival."

And the most efficient way for an organism to ensure the long term survival of its DNA is not by reproducing, but by being altrustic towards other creatures who share copies of the DNA. Thus gay billionaires give large sums of money to gay organization & produce gay friendly media. As a result we've seen gay death rates (from AIDS & suicide & gay bashing) decrease so more gays are likely to survive long enough to experiment with women long enough to become fathers or at least help their nephews (who share copies of their gay genes) survive.

catperson said...

The worm theory is interesting but the problem is we know homosexuality is caused at least in part by too much testosterone in the womb. Gay men typically have more older brothers than straight men (thus were exposed to too much left-over womb testosterone) and gay women can be identified by their 2D:4D ratio. We also know that homosexuality has a large genetic component which is inconsistent with the worm theory.

Anonymous said...

Catperson,

1. The older brother hypothesis is not supported by this study:

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a904517754~db=all~order=page

2. No, we really don't "know" that homosexuality is caused by too much testosterone in the womb.

3. And, the "genetic" component you and others refer to may simply be a "familial" component, which, as Paul Ewald, respected biologist points out, is a common biological characteristic of infectious disease--members of a family pass pathogens to one another.

In addition, susceptibility to certain pathogens runs in families.

Anonymous said...

"Thus gay billionaires give large sums of money to gay organization & produce gay friendly media. As a result we've seen gay death rates (from AIDS & suicide & gay bashing) decrease so more gays are likely to survive long enough to experiment with women long enough to become fathers or at least help their nephews (who share copies of their gay genes) survive."

Oh, brother, you really *do* need to do some reading in evolutionary biology....and gain some numeracy.

Heads up: Read some Greg Cochran interviews and then a lot of Paul Ewald. It'll take you all of one paragraph to see the idiocy of the gay uncle argument (and the other arguments as well).

rob said...

...seen gay death rates (from AIDS & suicide & gay bashing) decrease so more gays are likely to survive long enough to experiment with women long enough to become fathers or at least help their nephews (who share copies of their gay genes) survive.

Catperson/JAY/Linda or whoever you are, take this quick evolution quiz:

Man A has 5 children. Man B has 1 child.

Who has more children?

Anonymous said...

Jerry Falwell had a twin brother, Gene. I think he died.

catperson said...

rob, take this quick evolution quiz:

Man A has no children but helps a thousand men who share copies of his gay genes survive long enough to either have 1 child or help their relatives have children.

Man B has 5 children but prevents others men who share copies of his genes from having children in the process.

Who passes on more genes?

Anonymous said...

Catperson,

Did you complete elementary school?
You're not only innumerate but also illiterate.

rob said...

rob, take this quick evolution quiz:

Man A has no children but helps a thousand men who share copies of his gay genes survive long enough to either have 1 child or help their relatives have children.

Man B has 5 children but prevents others men who share copies of his genes from having children in the process.

Who passes on more genes?


The correct question is who passes along more genes per gene in the original population. The thousand gay dudes have an opportunity cost: having kids of their own. If you think the average straight man is man B, that's silly. If you don't, then he isn't relevent.

Man A is not producing enough copies of his genes to keep up in a stable or growing population. 1000 gay genes -> 500 in one generation with zero population growth. As a percent of genes in an expanding population, it's even worse. Even if gay men increased carrying capacity for the group, the group would grow, while the number of gays shrinks.

You've expanded the gay uncle theory to the gay billionaire theory. Were there gay billionaires in the EEA? Are gays more likely to be billionaires, hell, they don't accumulate wealth at the rate straight men do. How many times have you heard someone say "thank god my gay uncle was there to help me out?" And it has to happen much more than the straight uncle helping out, the straight uncle can have children.

Grandmothers have been a boon to their genes, that's why almost everyone has one or two. Gay uncles, not so much.

Gay dudes don't help their relatives to any extent that is actually detectable. If you've met any gay dudes, they aren't all about kids. I know of a total of zero gay men who breast fed their siblings' children: a gay uncle is worth quite a bit less than a wet nurse. Wet nurses, now those are worth having around. Maternal death rates were fairly high in the past. Gay men need boobs to help.

Honestly, this is something one should be able to figure out by the predilections of male homosexuals. Nothing gay men are stereotypically into looks like something useful for raising kids. Anonymous sex in bath houses: time that could be better spent babysitting. Dancing: time that could be used for babysitting or making money. Gay men don't even do much of the stuff that dads do.

If gay uncles were so great to have around, why is there gay bashing, why do parents tend to be less than ecstatic when a child is gay? That shouldn't happen if gay men upped their fitness.

Honestly, helpful gay relative would be more plausible for lesbians. At least women can breastfeed, and lesbians are homebodies with low sex drives.

When Ptolemy's geocentric theory ran up against contrary observational evidence, he invented "epicycles". They were designed to account for the embarrassing observations and they did...Male homosexuality by any straightforward view of evolution is an anomaly....Altruistic selection is just such an odd extension...Belief in gay altruistic selection did not arise out of any quantitative observation. It has been posited as a last ditch defense of preserving the theory of evolution.

Ooh, a creationist. Go away. Adults are talking. Since you won'tBy altruistic selection, you mean either kin or group selection. Kin selection is well-accounted for in both theory and observation. Critters tend to help relatives when it doesn't cost much for the benefit. A man is more likely to help out his brother than a stranger. The question is not whether kin selection exists, it is whether it gay men as they are have been "designed" by it.

If gay isn't common because of kin selection, it is common because of some other evolutionary mechanism. No ghoulies or dieties or woo required.

catperson said...

Gays make more money than straights:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_n4_v54/ai_17599602/

That's the evolutionary advantage of havings gays around. They are better providers for their kin. Super rich gays will use their wealth and power not only to benefit their extended families (who share copies of their gay genes) but the global gay population (which also shares copies of their gay genes).

rob said...

That's the evolutionary advantage of having gays around. They are better providers for their kin. Super rich gays will use their wealth and power not only to benefit their extended families (who share copies of their gay genes) but the global gay population (which also shares copies of their gay genes).

Better providers for their kin than whom, the children's parents? That's obviously false. If gay men did as much for their relatives as grandparents do, we'd know.

The article you cited claimed that gay men have higher incomes, not that they use their higher incomes to help their families. In fact, so many gay men are estranged from siblings, I'd bet they help out less than other relatives.

Gay men have so few children that helping out the global gay population would not maintain gay genes at their current frequency. Though it is interesting that you believe in a lavender mafia.