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Conservatives try to use "biology" to attack gays [again]

Howard Olson holson at california.com
Fri Jun 20 16:07:50 EST 1997

	Hiding behind the walls of their own ignorance  350 Conservative
"intellectuals" gathered at Georgetown University, under the auspices
of the "American Public Philosophy Institute" attempted to use
"biology" to brand  Homosexuality as "a tragic affliction". Talking
about gays ignoring biological reality some speakers said a gay gene ,
if it did exist, would be wiped out by natural selection.

	How ironic that Conservatives, who usually abhor evolution,
use it to justify their religious and pseudo-scientific dogmas so
opportunistically. As usual, however, they have it wrong.

	Using the simple-minded view that gene survival depends only on direct
reproduction they totally ignore the fact of Kin Selection, which
allows survival of genes through their effect on relatives'
reproductive success.

	It used to be argued that Care-giving or "altruistic" behavior could
not evolve because it, too would die out like Conservatives say a gay
gene would die out. But evolutionary biologists such as Edward O.
Wilson* and Robert L Trivers** have proven that Kin Selection can
spread the genes of organisms that die without personal reproduction.

	How? Just imagine a young primate who rescues two brothers
but dies himself in the process. Simple-minded "naturalists" would say
that any gene that made it possible for the primate to rescue his
brothers (rather than ignore their plight) should be wiped out with
his death. But brothers (and sisters) share Half their genes.
This means that the 2 brothers saved collectively possess ALL the
genes of their rescuer brother. Thus , at least ONE of the rescued
brothers would share the "altruistic gene" and that gene would

	A gay gene could survive in a similar manner if the possesor helped
the survival and hence reproduction of relatives by kin selection.
Thus the simple minded abuse of biology by conservatives is
selectively ignoring advances in evolutionary biology which would
challenge their pseudo-scientific attack on gays.

	* Sociobiology, Harvard U Press, 1975

	** Social Evolution  , Benjamin/Cummings ,1985

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