Gregory Cochran

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Gregory M. Cochran (born 1953) is a research associate at the University of Utah[1] who blogs about human biodiversity (HBD) topics.

Cochran is best known for his frequent collaborations with the late Henry Harpending,[2] considered a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, [3] especially the Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence hypothesis.

Despite the fact that he is by profession a physicist, and the fact that he has no hard evidence for his opinions, Cochran appeared to believe he understands the origin of homosexuality far better than most people.[4] Cochran claimed that a "gay gene" is implausible from the point of view of natural selection, and that therefore the phenomenon of male homosexuality is most likely "caused" by a brain-infection, a so-called "gay germ",[5] and/or other pathological damage to the brain.

Pseudoscience, meet Haggard's Law.

He seems to positively revel in the reaction his "theory" will cause in the LGBT community and its progressive allies:

Depths of Madness

I've said it before, but it's probably time to say it again. The most likely explanation for human homosexuality is that it is caused by some pathogen. It's too common to be mutational pressure (and we don’t see syndromic versions, as we would in that case), it’s not new, identical twins are usually discordant (~75% of the time), and it’s hell on reproductive fitness. There is no way it is adaptive: the helpful gay uncle notion, group selection, compensating advantage in females, etc: these range from impossible to bloody unlikely. It doesn’t exist in most hunter-gatherers: you have to explain what it is you're even talking about when you ask them. Presumably with diagrams.

As for Freudian explanations, exotic-becomes-erotic, etc: just reading the social-science literature on the subject is enough to make you wonder if the human brain really does exist to cool the blood. […]

P.S. The title comes from the coolest response to this hypothesis I’ve ever received, from some inspired fool in New Zealand: "And descending into the most disturbing depths of madness and the most depraved abuse of science yet conceived, we will even be told that homosexuality is caused by a virus or a bacterium."[6]


Against Biology

It seems that the talking classes in this country think that human biology mostly doesn't matter. The sexes have exactly equal mean abilities and interests – more than that, even the standard deviation must be the same in men and women. Presumably the third moments as well.

Race doesn’t exist, so there can hardly be cognitive or personality differences between races. There are no average differences in mental capabilities between classes. IQ is not heritable, so eugenics cannot work. Intelligent women should eschew reproduction – that’s something poor people can do just as well, and with the usual 10,000 hours of practice, their kids can be anything they want to be – cowboy, fireman, or Indian chief. Lest I forget, low test scores in black children are caused by laconic parents, which is why the few children of those career women should be raised by Guatemalan maids.

Homosexuality is the only genetically-determined personality trait – as well as being a valid lifestyle choice, and a floor wax. So slash fiction should be the law of the land.[7]

Cochran believes that many proposed explanations of homosexuality confuse evolutionary adaptivity with moral goodness:

Like so many explanations of homosexuality, it relies upon phenomena that have never been observed. I think that the driving impulse behind this is a notion that adaptations are good, and since homosexuality is thought to be good by all right-thinking people, it must be adaptive. Adaptive isn't quite the same as good, though: consider parasitic wasps.

Generally speaking, this topic brings out the stupid in people.[8]

It has certainly brought out the stupid in Cochran. If homosexuality were wholly or partially genetic, this might be the result of multiple genes. Many of these, individually or in subsets, may have been selected for, even if together in one person they would have been selected against. Examples of this when just two alleles are needed for the unfit phenotype include sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. What makes this especially stupid is that Cochran himself has claimed that those Ashkenazi Jews who are heterozygous for various neurological diseases have higher IQs as a result.

Furthermore, Cochran draws a false dichotomy between genetics and environmental influences. He misses the possibility that even if there were a single "gay gene", it may be that in the past or in different environments, the same gene did not cause homosexuality or at least did not cause low average fertility in homosexuals (due to e.g. extremely strong social pressure to get married and have children — a phenomenon that is still found even today in some countries, like Iraq).

He also failed to consider other alternatives to the theory that homosexuality is solely caused by a "gay gene" or genes, that are now seeming more plausible, such as epigenetics, and (with regard to the fact that an identical twin of a gay man is not always gay) the fact that even genetically-identical twins can have potentially-relevantly different experiences in the womb (for example, one twin being starved of maternal bloodWikipedia). He did later consider epigenetic theories, only to dismiss them out of hand.[9]

That Cochran is the most intelligent of so-called HBD bloggers shows how very lowbrow this crowd is.

Cochran believes that easy discoveries can be made when the answers are offensive, which may explain his interest in controversial topics:

There's a lesson here: in the search for low-hanging fruit, reconsider approaches that are embarrassing, or offensive, or downright disgusting.

Investigate methods were abandoned [sic] because people hated them, rather because of solid evidence showing that they didn't work.[10]

He has feuded with various biologists including E. O. Wilson[5] whom he accused of being an idiot who doesn't understand simple arithmetic.[11]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • West Hunt — blog of Cochran and Henry Harpending