Blame Mom for what she did when you were minus 8 months old?

Something is funny (not haha) with this story. I would have not even laughed if this was published on April 1st because it sounds like rubbish. However, I think he is serious.

Smoking increases chances of child being gay in adulthood – Telegraph.

A pregnant woman’s lifestyle is believed to have an impact on the development of their babies – with drinking, taking drugs and even living in an area with a lot of pollution affecting children in later life.

Dick Swaab, professor of neurobiology at Amsterdam University, suggests drinking and taking drugs can lower a child’s IQ while taking synthetic hormones and smoking can increase the likelihood of girls being lesbians or bisexual.

“Pre-birth exposure to both nicotine and amphetamines increases the chance of lesbian daughters,” Swaab told the Sunday Times.

“Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to have homosexual children of both genders because their raised level of the stress hormone cortisol affects the production of foetal sex hormones.”

He said the brain in foetuses begins to develop at two weeks, with anything that introduces toxins into the body having an impact on this development. Studies show women who took synthetic oestrogen between 1939 and 1960 to reduce the chance of miscarriage had a greater chance of bisexuality and lesbianism in their daughters.

Swaab said lifestyle factors are just one influence, with genetics playing the most important role, but said the research proves that the development of the brain during pregnancy is directly linked to adult lifestyles.

Pseudo-neuroscience? Neuro-babble? Where’s the evidence? It’s not really news that some of this may be related to brain development. But this extent of it – sexual preference – sounds unsupported. He has a book – does he have the data in scientific journals to back it up?

And if you are wondering, yes, that IS his real name. He is a real person and a real brain researcher. Dick Swaab – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He’s also no stranger to fringy claims.

Swaab’s research has on several occasions produced controversy. After conducting research suggesting links between brain anatomy and sexual orientation, Swaab reports receiving death threats from individuals believing this work was attempting to ‘pathologize’ homosexuality and treat it as a biological abnormality or disorder. Swaab’s view that neither free will nor metaphysical entities such as souls or spirits exist has also caused negative reactions among various religious groups. Swaab consistently defends his studies in the face of such criticism.

  11 comments for “Blame Mom for what she did when you were minus 8 months old?

  1. January 19, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Other than through statistical correlation, how exactly would one prove that any one hormone change or combination thereof, has an impact on sexual preference later in life? And I remind that correlation DOES NOT imply causation.

    • Lagaya1
      January 19, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      This study is, of course, ridiculous; but I disagree that correlation does not imply causation. It certainly can. It does not EQUAL causation, however. Big difference. Scientists use correlation all the time as a piece of the puzzle. It is understood that it is not the conclusion, though.

      • January 19, 2014 at 7:39 PM

        Yes, a high degree of correlation allows one to assume causation, but it would be foolish to do so if that correlation is the only evidence in that regard.

  2. January 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    It is probable that Swaab’s entire study group is from the Netherlands. That makes it much more likely that the cause of homosexuality is being Dutch. I wonder if his survey included how many of the pregnant women ate potatoes? Carrots? Rutabagas? There could be some correlation.

  3. Brian
    January 19, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    My mother smoked and drank, and I turned out (according to this loonie) ‘better than he could have guessed’. I have a reasonably high IQ, I like girls, and the only time I lose the plot is after too much stress from living in a crazy place.

  4. January 20, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    I know that Professor David Barker (of the ‘Barker Hypothesis’) who died recently
    [ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/science-obituaries/10392224/Professor-David-Barker.html ], was of the opinion that the period between conception and birth was often as important – and sometimes more important – than our genes in mapping out what course our lives might take. Many scientists think he was probably correct. However although sexual orientation is more likely to be with us at conception, is it possible that some combination of these two factors (of the four that govern our lives) could be responsible?

  5. Chris Howard
    January 20, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    So if one is Bi-sexual does that mean that your mom smoked, but didn’t inhale?

    • Brian
      January 20, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Second hand smoke, ya see….

      • Chris Howard
        January 20, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        We’ll played, sir!

  6. January 20, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    From the Telegraph article above:
    “Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to have homosexual children…”

    So 96% of pregnant women don’t suffer stress?

  7. Frans
    January 20, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Professor Swaab is not just some lunatic, he is a well respected scientist and acts as one, even if his statements are sometimes controversial. He does not avoid discussions or hide his research data.

    And to all of you that write or think “So 96% of pregnant women don’t suffer stress?”, or “My mother smoked and drank”, read the article again, but this time with proper attention: can increase the likelihood of …

    Doubtfulnews is a wonderfull skeptical site, but it does not show in most of the comments above.

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