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A Review of the Book "A Separate Creation" by Chandler Burr

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The following two paragraphs and the photograph are from Wikipedia:


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Chandler Burr (born December 30, 1963) is an American journalist and author . Burr was born in Chicago and raised in Washington, D.C.   {He} began his journalism career in 1987 as a stringer in The Christian Science Monitor 's Southeast Asia bureau, and later became a Contributing Editor to U.S. News and World Report . Burr has also written for The Atlantic on epidemiology and public health. Burr earned a masters degree in international economics and Japan studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins. He lives in New York City .

Chandler Burr (2008),
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In 1993, Burr wrote a cover story, "Homosexuality and Biology", for The Atlantic {Magazine}. It became the basis for his first book A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation (1996), which investigated sexual orientation research. Burr compared the clinical profiles of sexual orientation and handedness , writing that the best analogy for homosexuality is left-handedness . A Separate Creation was published by Hyperion , a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company , and its argument that sexual orientation is inborn prompted a call by Southern Baptists to boycott Disney films and theme parks.

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My review, a somewhat different version of which was published at in 2003, follows the next asterisk.


I enjoyed this book enormously and learned a great deal about homosexuality and about genetics. I especially appreciated Chandler Burr's letting the researchers speak for themselves, and I got used to his (and their) not crossing all the t's and dotting the i's when discussing fairly complicated subjects.   Some of what the researches say is wide-ranging and quixotic, but all of it is thought-provoking.   For example, there's a statement on page 275 by David Botstein ("of Stanford"), having to do with genetic research, violence, IQ, and blacks (and nothing to do with homosexuality.) Chandler Burr writes: "consider the search for the gene for violence."

And Botstein picked it up:   "I think there's more scientifically to that one, a greater likelihood of finding it, more than IQ. But it's COMPLETELY unacceptable at the moment. You can't even talk about it. Go to any university, research center, no one -- NO ONE -- will talk to you about this. Why?   Simple.   Because of the fear that there will be a racial correlation. And there could be. . .and I have some sympathy for this fear, mean (sic) that any scientific evidence linking some undesirable trait with black people will be used as an excuse for explicit or implicit genocide. Okay? That fear is not totally irrational. . ." 

Geneticists everywhere are afraid of finding a gene for violence in black people in America?

Well, the only way I can explain researchers fearing that they will find a "black" gene for violence instead of a "non-black" gene for violence is that their research model disregards the incidence of inter-racial violence in America (presumably, by defining inter-racial violence as a product of a "prejudice" gene, not a "violence" gene). But isn't that explanation absurd?

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Or despite having read this book, do I still fail to understand how genetic research experiments must be designed? Like I say, the book is thought-provoking. 

Presumably most geneticists working on DNA are white. And presumably in America a lot of geneticists are infected with the same myth-viruses as the mainstream public at whom corporations direct their advertisements and programming. But good golly, miss molly!! No university or research center will talk about the gene for violence? I say let the chips fall where they may. Knowledge is knowledge. And as a white I'm not much concerned that blacks will want to impose eugenic solutions on me once research shows it is whites who have violence genes. Such measures would constitute violence, you see, and blacks would lack the genes for it.


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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)

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