Robert J. Bradbury <email@example.com> wrote on Thursday, December 02, 1999 4:41 am,
> So, the real problem is not with the term "natural" or "atypical" but
> with the term "homosexual" -- it decribes a gross behavioral
> that might have multiple underlying, but distinctly different, physical
> (or environmental) causes.
The problem with this term has plagued biological statistics for a long time. Kinsey claimed that 10% of the population was "gay". But what was actually defined was a whole range of sexualities: Totally gay, mostly gay, tending toward gay, bisexual, tending toward straight, mostly straight, and totally straight. Which of these count as "gay" and which do not?
At the risk of opening another can of worms, let me give this classic story of statistical error:
The intermediate group of people considering themselves straight but who had at least one homosexual experience were *excluded* in one definition while being *included* in the other definition.
7. Corrected interpretation:
10% of the general population is totally gay or mostly gay. 10% of the HIV-positive population is totally gay or mostly gay.
65% of the general population is tending toward gay, bisexual, tending toward straight or mostly straight. 65% of the HIV-positive population is tending toward gay, bisexual, tending toward straight or mostly straight.
The two groups above can be combined to show that 75% of the general population has had a homosexual experience, and 75% of the HIV-positive population has had a homosexual experience.
That leaves 25% of the general population who have never had a single homosexual experience, and 25% of the HIV-positive population who have never had a single homosexual experience.
8. Corrected conclusion: The numbers found in the HIV-positive population are found in the same ratios as the general population. This is what would be expected by random chance. There is no statistical link between sexual orientation and HIV.
I know somebody will dispute the exact numbers given here. I don't care about the exact quibblings. The point is that the method of counting gays in the general population undercounted compared with the method of counting gays in the HIV-positive population which overcounted. The statistics were flawed by comparing apples to oranges and comparing results.
(The CDC has since revamped its definitions and keeps better records for people in different groups, and for people in multiple groups, such as gay, drug user, prostitute, blood transfusion recipients.)
-- Harvey Newstrom <mailto://firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://harveynewstrom.com> Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist. ----- Original Message -----