I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on those last youtube videos. There were some good ones, but they were also laced with the usual grunting assholes complaining about gays and “trannies” and quoting the Bible and making racist remarks about Africans. Let us pass over those contemptible arguments; there’s no dealing with them rationally. Spit and move on.
But there’s another flavor of argument that annoys me to no end: people who cite science and evolution to support their ignorant misconceptions about human nature. I want to address two, one anti-gay and the other pro-gay, both wrong.
First, there is the reductionist who knows a tiny bit about selection.
interesting point of view, but no. Evolution is all about competition. If you dont produce offspring, you take yourself out of the running. They may help the larger group, but that is more along the lines of the group exploiting a weakness. Their genes do not pass on. In the evolutionary crucible, thats a game over. It doesn’t matter what disease you cure, what philosophy you teach, biologically, you lose. Now, again, in modern society, things are more complex. There are more qualities to a life than how many mini-me’s you can make, but for the purposes of biology, it ends there.
If evolution is all about competition, how come reproduction in sexual species requires cooperation between two individuals to occur? Have you ever noticed that reproduction isn’t actually literally replication? You take your complement of 20,000 pairs of genes, and you throw half of them away, splice the remainder into different combinations, and then you merge those with the similarly mangled set of genes from another person, and you produce a unique individual. Not a clone of either of you — someone completely different.
That should tell you right away that you aren’t the focal point of evolution. You are a test platform for a battery of genes, genes that are shared with other members of your community. Evolution sees the propagation of a pool of genes that tends to produce successful individuals; look up inclusive fitness sometime. You share genes and combinations of genes with your siblings, your cousins, and more distant relatives — there’s more than one way for your population to propagate itself than for every individual to maximize the number of offspring they produce.
I also have to laugh every time some oblivious multicellular animal announces that evolution is all about competition, and that all that matters is how many progeny you produce. Do you realize that your existence is entirely a product of cooperation? Your parents were made up of trillions of cells, almost all of them dedicated to specialized, non-reproductive functions, all in support of a tiny minority of cells that can produce gametes. And of all those gametes, only two combined to make you — the great lumbering mass of agglomerated metazoan cells that were your parents then dedicated themselves to cooperatively nurturing the little zygote that was you (and which was not genetically identical to either) into a roughly similar lumbering mass.
Further, if that’s too abstract for you, consider this: you’d most likely be dead right now if scientists hadn’t collaborated to make vaccines against childhood diseases, if doctors and family hadn’t worked to keep you healthy and educated. Imagine all those carpenters who built your house and plumbers who put in the pipes and electricians who wired it up; imagine the vast combines that work to deliver fuel for heating and food for eating. Everything that you think is important about you was created by cooperation.
If you think otherwise, go masturbate into a mud puddle and hope that some of your offspring can make it without any assistance.
Here’s the pro-gay argument based on evolution. It’s just as annoying.
from a view strictly based in the ideas of natural evolution, i always assumed “homosexuality” was as old as the species… and that it was evolution’s way of both keeping the growth of the species in check (since humans are one of the few species that have sex for pleasure) and ensuring orphaned younglings have a chance at receiving care, guidence, and protection in their formative years. mind you this is just a personal theory based on the nature of nature…
Do not anthropomorphize evolution. Evolution is not an entity that plans and manages populations, it is not a nanny that cares about youngsters — if they are orphaned, one evolutionary outcome is for them to die, another is for survivors to support them, and all that matters is whether the population persists. In particular, evolution isn’t concerned with keeping populations in check — it’s simply a ratchet that permits populations to strive, and eventually and inevitably they hit physical and biological limitations, or pressure from some other growing population, and then physics happens.
Nothing personal. Evolution doesn’t play favorites. It can’t: it’s just the outcome of chance and physical laws interacting in particular environments.
Here’s my perspective on evolution and homosexuality.
Humans are complex organisms whose development is plastic and strongly dependent on environmental influences. There is selection pressure for the population reproduce, which we social beings accomplish with a significant subset of individuals providing sufficient progeny to replenish the population each generation, and with a similarly significant subset of the population working cooperatively to provide a supportive environment.
Evolution doesn’t care. All that matters is that the population thrives into the next generation, and that requires that individuals cooperate. Evolution is not a micromanager, either; we acquire random variations purely by chance, some work, some don’t, and in general, there are so many competing factors driving our survival that selection cannot possibly fine-tune emergent properties of behavior to such a degree that biology can specify exactly who you will bump genitals with. We are dealing with general tendencies expressed to varying degrees in individuals within a population.
If there is one biological imperative for humans, it is this: love one another. Build communities. Cooperate. Help each other in adversity. Successful populations will express these behaviors to a greater degree.
There are also biases towards favoring sexual interactions with members of a different sex, but that’s a secondary priority. Even if sexual preference were non-existent and totally random, women would pair up with men half the time, which would be more than sufficient to propagate our species, especially if the other half are working cooperatively to build safe homes and stable food supplies and provide loving educational environments.
From my biological perspective, the negative behavior that affects the survival of the species isn’t homosexuality, but anything that disrupts the cooperative bonds of community and foments hate — homophobia in humans is the destructive behavior that selection should work against. But keep in mind that if God has lousy aim, evolution is even worse…so we should also encourage behaviors that discourage attitudes that work against our survival.