gay "biology"

John H. Casada casad at umich.edu
Tue Jul 8 06:27:14 EST 1997


F. Frank LeFever wrote:
> 
> "John H. Casada" <casad at umich.edu> writes:
> 
> > <snip>
> >This does not present an insuperable obsticle, though.  It is to the
> >individual's advantage to see his genetic material passed on, even if
> >it is done indirectly through close kin and not by his direct
> >production of progeny.
> 
> <snip>
> I'm too lacking in the in-depth reading of current theory to do much
> more than wing it, but given the eventual acceptance of some ideas
> previously sounding off-the-wall (e.g. non-chromosomal inheritance),
> I'm not ready just now to call it a closed issue.
> 
> <snip>
> If the gene pool includes a wide enough variety, it seems to me the
> species has resources to meet new conditions.  Ipso facto, there is an
> evolutionary (or simply SURVIVAL) advantage to whatever genetic or
> historical factors promote and preserve not just any specific
> characteristic, but variability itself.
> <snip>

Sorry for the extensive snipping (required by the browser to respond).

I agree with you about the advantages of diversity in the species 
genomic repertoire, but my arguments to the evolutionists that these 
are generated (by mutation) or maintained (through some unnamed 
process) have been met with repeated assertions that evolution 
operates for the benefit of the individual, not the species.  Go 
figure.

You reply was fairly dense (not stupid, but packed with ideas that 
were sometimes a little hard to follow).  I was wondering what you 
were referring to when you mentioned "non-chromosomal inheritance."  I 
know of know non-chromosomal inheritance, so if you felt I was 
advocating this, I am not.

My point was this.  Is it evolutionarily advantageous for worker ants 
to sacrifice themselves for the colony?  Of course!  And does it 
contradict evolution theory for the worker ants to be unable to 
reproduce?  Not at all!  (You may read an analogy to homosexuality 
here.)  The evolutionary advantage that these workers gain by 
sacrificing themselves and not reproducing is that their genetic 
material (as contained by the queen) is protected and given an 
increased opportunity to reproduce.  So by dying (and winning) the 
worker ants increase the proportion of their genes in the genetic 
environment.

The old joke goes something like this.  A geneticist was asked, "Would 
you give your life for your brother?"  And he replied, "No, but I 
would give my life for two brothers and a cousin."  In short, he is 
stating (pardon if I am dragging out the obvious) that while a brother 
shares only half his genes (and would make a poor trade for his life), 
two brothers (an approximately equal genetic trade for his life) plus 
a cousin (who shares a small fraction of his genes) would make a fair 
trade evolutionarily.  All of this is ultimately calculated on 
chromosomal inheritance.

I hope this helps to clear up the post I originally made.

John



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