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Is homosexuality an evolutionary mistake?

 
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Jun, 2007 11:43 pm
Quote:
Evolution doesn't make mistakes


It's through "mistakes" that evolution actually takes place... Razz
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jun, 2007 01:03 am
On a slight side note, I will be finding out in a couple of weeks if I have the Fragile X chromosome. Both my older brothers have Fragile X Syndrome. One of my brothers is developing symptoms sometimes found in the elderly with Fragile, similar to Parkinsonism. The researchers wanted to take a skin and blood sample from my brother and agreed to take the same tests from samples I provided (they obviously like to follow families with this genetic abnormality).

There are many studies that show most of us carry approximately five mutations that never make an appearance. My sons don't show any signs of Fragile X, but if either of them has that gene, it will show up in their daughters but not their sons. Usually the mutation shows up when the gene is passed from mother to son, so their grandsons would be most likely to develop the symptoms of Fragile X, which is almost always mental retardation. So if I have the gene, they, my sons, need to decide what they would want to do if they ever have children.

This is a wordy was of saying that our genetic makeup is usually something we can live with. Homosexuality isn't a disibility--a gay person can function in society quite well if society gives him half a chance. BTW, one of my brothers is gay. The other is too low functioning to tell what his sexual orientation might be. I remember reading that homosexuality migth be connected to the Fragile X gene. If true, this would be a good example of how some related traits can have very different outcomes.

There are an inconceivable number of variations in our genetic makeup. Too bad we haven't been able to celebrate the differences rather than attack or ostracize them.
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USAFHokie80
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jun, 2007 07:07 am
CowDoc wrote:
If social issues are removed from the equation (such as adoption), then wouldn't homosexuality by definition become an evolutionary dead end, because it does not lead to reproduction? Regardless of one's attitude toward the subject, that would seem to be the inevitable conclusion as it applies to natural selection.


You're assuming that the purpose of homosexuality was to produce children. Maybe it was the opposite. Maybe it evolved as a means of population control.
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jun, 2007 07:13 am
Quote:
Maybe it evolved as a means of population control.


Why make the assumption, that homosexuality has any purpose relative to evolution, whatsoever?
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USAFHokie80
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jun, 2007 07:44 am
Miller wrote:
Quote:
Maybe it evolved as a means of population control.


Why make the assumption, that homosexuality has any purpose relative to evolution, whatsoever?


Exactly. I don't see why some features could evolve that are benign. Then again, there may be an explicit purpose for homos and we just not understand it yet.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jun, 2007 07:49 am
Miller wrote:
Quote:
Maybe it evolved as a means of population control.

Why make the assumption, that homosexuality has any purpose relative to evolution, whatsoever?

Because evolution selects heritable features by their tendency to help bodies survive and procreate. Homosexuality, other things being equal, inhibits procreation, so evolution should select against homosexuality. We observe, though, that evolution doesn't select against it. Therefore it seems reasonable to assume that it is somehow tied to features that foster procreation, or survival, or both.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jun, 2007 06:40 pm
from The Science of Gaydar

(I've started somewhat randomly on page 2 of the article)

Quote:


link

Quote:


more snipping

Quote:
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jun, 2007 07:19 pm
EhBeth, the article you posted was especially interesting to me because it pointed out the differences in the treatment of homosexuals in different societies around the world. Not all of them are so rigid and judgemental as the puritanical Americans.

What strikes me most horribly is that gay men and women are not talked of as humans with all the weaknesses and strengths found in all of us.

The biological connection is becoming more and more accepted and it is the only thing that makes sense. All of the gay people I've known have said that they knew they were gay from early childhood. It was not something that was inflicted on them nor was it something they chose to be, it just was part of them as human beings.

It is appalling that there is such outrage at the thought of two people who love each other being denied the same benefits as straight couples. Why is it that religion always seems to be at the center of hatred for others who are different. Seems ironic, doesn't it?
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Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Jun, 2007 08:10 pm
When thinking about diversity, and the flexibility of the human brain, I like to try to imagine what doesn't happen in the world. For example, no matter how sick and twisted it may seem, I can't imagine a sex fetish that doesn't exist in someone, somewhere. In that light, homosexuality would be at the top of the "highly likely / extremely common" list.
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BlueAwesomeness
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jun, 2007 07:54 pm
Chai wrote:
I don't think evolution makes mistakes, or has successes....it just produces organisms that are better or worse able to live in an environment.

Let's say female humans evolved with the capcity to give birth to 5 or 6 humans, every other year. At one point that would have been fine if most of them died before reaching an age where they could breed.

Today? We'd be incredibly overpopulated, and would have long ago exhausted our resources.

In a case like that, being a homosexual would be advantageous.

If every hetersexual disappeared tomorrow, humans wouldn't cease to exist, even in the absence of technology, like in vitro fertilization.

Because we also evolved with large brains, the lesbians and gays would realize and accept they would just have to, on occassion, take one for the gipper and have sex with each other. In fact, children might then be far healthier since the sexual couple, without having an emotional attachment would choose each other based on health and intelligence preferences.


Yes but a person wouldn't evolve to becoming homosexual unless homosexuals were less likely to get killed. The animals that survive are the ones who carry on the genes. Being a homosexual wouldn't be advantageous to the person/animal themself, only to the race. And being advantageous to the race doesn't make the person more or less likely to live on. So homosexuality, therefore, could not be obtained by natural selection.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jun, 2007 04:39 pm
B.A. (Cantab) wrote-

Quote:
Yes but a person wouldn't evolve to becoming homosexual unless homosexuals were less likely to get killed.


as they would be if they were banned from dangerous occupations like soldiering in Iraq and encouraged to work in tailors shops doing inside leg measurements for the vain, or desperate, or possibly, if they have no talent, those unfortunates who comprise media.

Actually BA, I am not clever enough to follow the subtleties of your reasoning there but it has my approval on account of the obvious truth of the conclusion.

Whatever leads to a correct conclusion is OK by me.
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Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jun, 2007 04:49 pm
What in the [email protected]#k is an "evolutionary mistake"?

Evolution can't make a mistake.

It's not conscious or of any intelligence.
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akaMechsmith
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jun, 2007 05:03 pm
I second Amigo--

A tendency towards homosexuality is probably just one more example of random genetic variability in humans, gorillas, bovines, canines etc. Homosexuals will probably remain a minor component in the population as long as it survives.
Kinda like like brown eyed blonds Smile No biggie except for those who make it their business to make it so. And we will probably have busybodies with us also as long as the population survives Crying or Very sad
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Amigo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jun, 2007 05:09 pm
'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves...'

-Shakespeare
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stlstrike3
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2007 10:24 am
Amigo wrote:
What in the [email protected]#k is an "evolutionary mistake"?

Evolution can't make a mistake.

It's not conscious or of any intelligence.


I agree with the statement that evolution cannot "make a mistake" as it is a non-sentient entity.

I really wanted to stimulate discussion on the evolutionary/genetic origins of homosexuality. As I am a homosexual who knew from a very young age of his tendencies, who grew up in a ridiculously normal nuclear family with a strong father figure and a brother who is fond of the ladies, I'm certain my urges are genetic in origin. As such, I'm anticipating science's discovery of genetic sequences responsible and what they code for.
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BlueAwesomeness
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2007 02:52 pm
stlstrike3 wrote:
Amigo wrote:
What in the [email protected]#k is an "evolutionary mistake"?

Evolution can't make a mistake.

It's not conscious or of any intelligence.


I agree with the statement that evolution cannot "make a mistake" as it is a non-sentient entity.

I really wanted to stimulate discussion on the evolutionary/genetic origins of homosexuality. As I am a homosexual who knew from a very young age of his tendencies, who grew up in a ridiculously normal nuclear family with a strong father figure and a brother who is fond of the ladies, I'm certain my urges are genetic in origin. As such, I'm anticipating science's discovery of genetic sequences responsible and what they code for.


An old teacher I had told me about some studies done, and while I can't remember exactly what she said, I remember that they found specific brain structures that were different in homosexual men from heterosexual men. The only problem with this is, many of the bodies they did studies on had AIDS, so it could be the AIDS that caused the differences. (Sorry I don't have more details than that.)
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2007 04:02 pm
I'll try tossing this link in again.

Good feature article with details of some of the scientific research into the differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals

ehBeth wrote:
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BlueAwesomeness
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2007 04:31 pm
It says that some scientists are looking for a "cure" for homosexuality. One person (who was quoted in the article) is against this. What is everyone's opinion?

Personally, I'm for it. I would like to eliminate the genetic component of homosexuality, and leave it as a choice. Why? Because many people, upon realizing that they are gay, attempt suicide. They can also be shunned, ostracized, bullied, etc. People shouldn't be forced to go through that without a choice.
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Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2007 05:14 pm
I know it helps to simplify the discussion by dividing the world into gay and straight people, but surely there is a continuum at work here. I would even go so far as to assert that the majority of people fall somewhere other than at the two extreme ends of the spectrum. Perhaps sexuality is partly activated by opportunity. (There ain't a lotta ladies at sea, or in prisons!) Perhaps homosexuality is a mechanism that helps to prevent the entire population of a tribe from killing each other over the only available member of the opposite sex?

(Just a baseless theory I can't support. Someone, somewhere will have done a study no doubt.)
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2007 05:22 pm
BlueAwesomeness wrote:
It says that some scientists are looking for a "cure" for homosexuality.


where are you getting that idea from? I just did a word search on the article - no reference to cure.

~~~

I'm curious that you'd want a cure for different length fingers, hair whorls and the like. Sounds like a Stepford-world you're interested in.

Definitely not what I'd want from my world.

~~~

Eorl, the article references some of the possible benefits of homosexuality to particular societies.

Your comment re a spectrum of sexual orientation is borne out quite well in the scientific research going back many decades.
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