genetic theory in homosexuality

Pablo jnaut at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 3 23:58:51 EST 1999


The following is a discussion I recently had over the genetics or non
genetics of homosexuality.  I've reprinted it here in its original form
and would like someone to critique my position, or just tell me why I'm
plain wrong, and thus help me understand that, if it is or might be
genetic, how the genetics work to sustain the homosexual population in
society.  Disclaimer:  I am not, repeat NOT tying to make political
statements with my argument.  I'm purely interested in the science of
the issue.  Also, not being a scientist, my argument is based upon
logical deduction, and a possible if not probable misunderstanding of
how species genetics work.

    The other day, I got into a discussion with my girlfriend about
homosexuality,
and whether their sexual preference was genetic, or 'learned'
behaviour.  I suggested offhand that I believed that gay people become
gay at a very early stage in life (too early to really pinpoint or
control) due to experiences which cause them to not relate sexually to
their biological opposites.  This initially offended her, which in turn
offended me because she felt it was too 'politically incorrect' to
suggest that, as it further suggests that their behaviour is therefore
'deviant'.  Well,  unfortunately 'behavioral deviancy' had to be the
furthest thing from my mind, but my girlfriend, being of the more
'politically
correct' set, didn't see it that way so a tense discussion ensued.  I
told her that I was further disturbed that she was making scientific
assessments because of socio-political reasons, not because she had
amassed any evidence in her own favour.  So we got down to brass tacks.
I told her that I believed that the 'natural' way for humans was
heterosexuality, and there was no 'gay gene'.  She, thinking on her feet

asked me "what is the heterosexual gene, then".  I was thinking on my
feet equally as quickly and I said "penises and vaginas are what denote
or signify the existence of a biological trend or gene towards
heterosexuality".  This stumped her a bit and we had a few more
exchanges and, once we got over the fact that I was not trying to make
socio-political assessments based on my theory and was not suggesting
supporting anti-gay legislation, I asked her how she would support her
argument.  She replied "I don't think there's any evidence either way,
and I don't think that there's any way anyone can say or know either
way."  I couldn't let this one go because it came right out of page one
in my "how to debate post modernist/subjectivist positions" book.  The
problem with that position that she suddenly took, or should I say, the
problem with the CONTRAST of her TWO positions was that at first, she
made an empirical statement that my theory wasn't true.  Therefore she
had an absolute statement about the fact of my position on homosexuality

not being genetic.  Homosexuality coming from childhood
experience<>truth.  This is an equally absolute statement as me saying
Homosexuality coming from childhood experience=truth.  So I called her
on it.  I told her that she can't hold both positions.  That either she
disagrees with me, and gives me her reasons for disagreeing- good, bad
or indifferent.  Or, she takes the position that there is no evidence
either way, and can hold no definite disagreement or agreement with my
theories and refuse to discuss it any further.  I think she realized
this when I called her on it and so the discussion pretty much ended
there.
    I continued to think about it, however.  I went back to the science
of the issue.  The genetics or non genetics of it.  I thought about
everything I knew about Darwinism.  What was the essence of Charles
Darwin's theory of evolution?  It was the theory of evolution through
natural selection.  Now, normally when we think of natural selection, we

describe it in terms of who or what has superior genes and therefore is
more successful in getting its genes into the gene pool, where what
doesn't adapt or mutate most favorably to its surroundings, doesn't
breed.  What is the single unique quality of homosexuals?  They don't
breed.  They don't breed.   Not because they're slower, less
intelligent,
or weaker- they don't breed because of preference.  So what we have is a

situation which in the description of evolution is actually reversed.
If it were genetic, as my girlfriend suggests, then they have a genetic
mutation
which causes them to lose desire to breed with their biological
opposites,  without which, no new genes can be added to the gene pool.
Instead of 'that which survives breeds', you have, in the case of the
homosexual population, 'that which survives doesn't breed'.  As a
result, the world gay population should be shrinking.  Now, it's going
to be obvious that someone somewhere will argue that some gay people do
breed because, fankly, some of them do.  However, I would argue that
that would require the homosexual population breed at a rate high enough

to sustain a constant or growing number of homosexual genes in the gene
pool.  I would further argue that if the gay population is at 10% as has

been suggested, that less then 50% of that 10% have bred or will breed.
I would go further and suggest that probably less than 20% of that 10%
will and are breeding.  This is where I now need to get some education
in genetics.  I don't fully understand how genetics work, and thus may
be wrong in that it only requires a tiny amount of the gene to be
reentered into the stream of the species to maintain the population.
For instance, if having the gene doesn't automatically make you
homosexual, you would be of course, heterosexual.  Therefore, the
heterosexual population which carries the 'gay gene' could be bolstering

the homosexual population through its own breeding.

Any help and understanding on this issue, or more theories would be
appreciated.






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