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Monday, 26 November 2012


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Ha! It's simple.

As I have stated before (as I'm sure you'd remember if you didn't keep ignoring my incessant babble just because most of it is utter tosh, doing so means you miss the odd gem) mating between humans (I make the distinction since there is no, despite all the claims, evidence of homosexuality in other animals - sexual behaviour towards all and sundry when the 'correct' gender is 'unavailable', yes, homosexuality, no. Animal mating is reliant on physical/chemical/hormonal/behavioural triggers, humans have to contend with our weird 'mind' too) is reliant on multiple different 'tastes'.

We vary wildly, relatively speaking, in physique, characteristics, personality, etc. Consider first a situation where a population is under threat (by environment, mortality, both infant and adult, etc.). It becomes a species wide survival trait to maximise the and progeny produced.

In humans this results in the variety of 'tastes' we are attracted to. As in almost all variations the distribution of the 'tastes' exhibit as a bell-curve. That there are men who find 'feminine' (just to complicate matters something which varies by culture, over time, etc.) women attractive is patently 'the norm'. That there are women who display more 'masculine' traits, and men that find them attractive, is also obvious. Is it, then, such a stretch to consider men who find 'effeminate' men attractive? Or is this just a further point on the taste distribution?

This inclusive process (even to people who look like me) acts to protect the diversity, as a survival mechanism, rather than narrow it, as would be expected in nature.

And that is ignoring both the fact that:

- for the vast majority of our evolution we have been group/clan/tribe/cooperative animals, where an 'unproductive', in one area, member is supported.

- it is socially/culturally beneficial also (a productive male hunter without progeny increases food supply to all), (reduced competition for the few 'ideal' women), (maintaining offspring since even now many gay women procreate) etc.

- despite variations (minor and usually environmental in cause) between populations across the globe, variations within a population dwarf such differences (acting to ensure mixing of populations).

As such, as a species, diversity (both taste and the consequent genetic), is a benefit. Homosexuality is simply an offshoot. The problem with current theorists is that they are still searching for a specific species benefit from homosexuality in exclusion.

I shall expect a letter of thanks when someone uses my waffling as a basis for their Nobel winning thesis (although cash would be more appreciated). Either that, or you can ignore me, as everybody else does ;-(

Able, you almost reached 'JK' levels of syntactical complexity in that comment!

Prof. Barash explains the harsh mathematical reality behind evolution:

J.B.S. Haldane, one of the giants of evolutionary theory, imagined two alternative genes, one initially found in 99.9 percent of a population and the other in just 0.1 percent. He then calculated that if the rare gene had merely a 1-percent advantage (it produced 101 descendants each generation to the abundant gene's 100), in just 4,000 generations—a mere instant in evolutionary terms—the situation would be reversed, with the formerly rare gene occurring in 99.9 percent of the population's genetic pool. Such is the power of compound interest, acting via natural selection.

Given the range of possible sexual activities then obviously several non-reproductive ones will have been tried but the 'Dawkinistas' insist that if an activity fails to be a positive in reproductive terms then over time it will die out. The good Prof runs through various attempts by the 'Dawkinistas' to find wriggle-room in which to explain away the *lasting* practice of homosexuality but none of them quite work. Like non-kin altruism, homosexuality is a very real hole in the theory of Darwinism.

As far as I know, the best predictor of homosexuality is the number of older brothers a man has. Not sisters, just older brothers. The first born male -- straight. The second, slight chance of being gay. Third born ... and so.

(None of this holds for lesbians, btw. More evidence that lesbians are not just the opposite of gay men.)

That being the case, it seems that women react to males in the womb as though it were a foreign substance invading their bodies. Each time, they do more to make them females.

Homosexuality might be nature's way of holding down the population. It's an odd way to do it, but nature and evolution are very odd anyway.


(First allow me to get outta the way this:

"Able, you almost reached 'JK' levels of syntactical complexity in that comment!"

Now see here Duffers, Able's comments are showing definite evolutionary progress while your's Sir, are in danger of extinction!)

Now where was I? Oh yes, Able:

"I make the distinction since there is no, despite all the claims, evidence of homosexuality in other animals..."

In my view Able is right. The homosexuality problem only seems like a problem for evolution theory because its formulation is excessively narrow. Mother Nature is not a machine.

Yes, Dom, Barash mentions the apparent propensity for siblings/twins:

A welter of data on siblings and twins show that the role of genes in homosexual orientation is complicated and far from fully understood—but real. Among noteworthy findings: The concordance of homosexuality for adopted (hence genetically unrelated) siblings is lower than that for biological siblings, which in turn is lower than that for fraternal (nonidentical) twins, which is lower than that for identical twins.

Gay-lesbian differences in those outcomes further support the idea that the genetic influence upon homosexuality differs somewhat, somehow, between women and men. Other studies confirm that the tendency to be lesbian or gay has a substantial chance of being inherited.

Consider, too, that across cultures, the proportion of the population that is homosexual is roughly the same. We are left with an undeniable evolutionary puzzle: What maintains the underlying genetic propensity for homosexuality, whatever its specific manifestations? Unlike most mystery stories, in which the case is typically solved at the finish, this one has no ending: We simply do not know.

But JK, it was a compliment, well, "sortta"!

Sheesh, and I thought I was being perfectly clear.

Homosexuality is not linked to genetics. Clearer? Homosexuality, as with other expressions of sexuality, is a behaviour not a trait. It may (a great deal of stress on the may) have a genetic component. Behaviours are linked more to experience, environment and interaction than any heritable trait. In man only the most basic (reflex) behaviours have a (mainly or even noticeable) genetic basis (fight/flight, withdrawing from painful stimuli, etc.).

Consider your above quoted passage. Which siblings are more likely to share similar experiences, twins, related or non-related? The concordance becomes patently obvious in such a situation. The error of searching for a genetic component where none exists is almost 'when all you have is a hammer, everything resembles a nail' (would hobbies and pastimes show a similar correlation if examined under the light of 'mathematical genetics'?).

The proportional example is more questionable in nature since only for modern western cultures, and only very recently, do we even have a possibly accurate figure (and even that is seriously debatable) but even so it would reflect the simple bell-curve of behavioural diversification.

I hate to say it, but the 'necessity' of searching for a genetic basis is mostly propelled by the 'political' wish for a demonstrable 'difference' for some spurious 'validity'. To me the 'choice', even if unconsciously based on experience, is as valid for those who wish to make it.

This preoccupation with homosexuality isn't any more helpful than searching for a genetic basis for a penchant for wearing womens underwear (even the sex act has only the most basic genetic components, think the bits you don't think about 'just do', the rest is a behavior based on...?)

As to my, if I do say so myself, magnificently legible and crystal clear prose - be both grateful you don't have to hear me explain anything verbally (my tendency to 'go off at a tangent' has been mentioned before) and syntactically, I'm afraid my grammar was never very good (she smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish and regularly beat up grandad - badoom, tish - I'll get my coat shall I?) so I operate on the general principal of 'if you haven't a real clue about where to punctuate a sentence - add as many commas and parenthesis as possible and everyone will think that it was they who made the grammatical errors - my abject apologies to DM. 100 lines?).

No, Able, the 100 lines go to JK for failing to read the article to which I linked because then he would have seen that the Samoan study is mentioned!

As to the genetic/non-genetic link/non-link, I think you misunderstand my main point. The 'Dawkinistas' (but not me, or you by the sound of it) insist that *all* behaviour is driven by our genes. To them, we humans are simply 'replicating machines' designed over time for the purpose of reproducing yet more genes. Any act or behaviour which fails to maximise reproduction will be found out by the cold, irrevocable pressure of nature and those that fail die out. According to their lights, homosexuality should have died out eons ago. It hasn't, bless their little scented hankies, and it blows yet another enormous hole in the entire 'Dawkinista' fabrication!

Perhaps I should explain that many years ago I read "The Selfish Gene" and to my eternal shame and chagrin I swallowed it whole. Mea culpa!

Paradoxically, lesbianism is a biological mechanism which encourages the survival of the species. It tempts cabinet ministers away from species-threatening activities with windmills, by inflaming their lusts. The result of this is that their wives grass them up for ancient crimes, and they are then likely to get imprisoned.

Apologies. Agreed. One wonders just what traumatic episode has driven the poor prof. to such fanatical (dare I say almost religious in their fervour) lengths in his desire to disprove the existence of the unprovable (failing the existence of a Babel fish). Then again, I'd be interested to hear his explanation as to the genetic basis of 'his' behaviour - the mental gymnastics would be entertaining, if not enlightening.

As to the lines, could I possibly have some too? I have a genetic proclivity towards being told off (I honestly blame Grammar school for this, and Miss Brewster and her leather skirts and stilettos in particular. I'm not sure about where the wearing shorts, blazer and cap whilst doing so came from unless it's being a former AC/DC fan - genetic do you think?)

"No, Able, the 100 lines go to JK for failing to read the article ..."

Now see here David - you well know my speciality is military-stuff and that necessarily precludes my reading of (what's that you're whispering Alissa? You mean Alissa the military now allows ...?)

I'll have those hundred lines on your monitor as quick as arthritis allows SIR!

Total homosexuality may be bad news for an individual's genes - yet it still exists - so probably it is not a definitely 100% genetic factor. Probably like a talent for music or whatever it pops up now and again more or less at random and so never dies out. From society's viewpoint it scarcely matters, gay people work and create space and food etc for the breeders. As for nature/nurture - a definite maybe.

As (I think Noel Coward) said:-

Hey Ho it is such fun
To stick the RAF up your bum
It's dirty but it's fun
It's dirty but it's done.

I wonder, and I really am just musing here, whether it has more to do with consciousness and free will than genetics. In a sense, and subject to different rules in different societies, we may take our sexual pleasures where we may, as for example we take our pleasures in, say, the arts or sport. We may choose, animals may not. Of course, Dawkins would maintain that we have no choice, we are simply slaves to our genes and any behaviour likely to impede reproduction of yet more genes would be bred out of existence in no time. Oddly, and tellingly, I have just checked the index to his famous book 'The Selfish Gene' and there is no mention of homosexuality! I wonder why?

Personally, I think that most homosexuals are heterosexuals who either can't find a woman; or, having found one, can't make the relationship work. Might as well live with your best mate as long as you both support the same football team.

I did not read the link, yet, but I have read, elsewhere, about homosexual rams, for example. But and however, domesticated animals are very, very over bred, including inbreeding. Before there was much science involved, it was generally assumed that upper-class buggery was to be expected, given the inbreeding.

Still, even some homosexual geneticists, and don't ask me for the citations , because I can't find them from here, are coming to see that the evidence for a genetic cause of homosexuality is noticeable for its scarcity. I work with a lot of women, or did, before I found my comfort zone in home care, and I am the guy to whom everybody tells everything, whether I want to know it or not. Sooner or later, the lesbians will describe the rape in their childhood. I am sure that there must be exceptions, but I have not found them, yet. I am also pretty sure I would not be a nurse if I did not have a strong empathy gene, and I always pick up on the pain behind the face of every lesbian I have ever met.

There's something else. Men who like boys, like boys, younger the better. Remember, 'homosexuality' was coined in the nineteenth century because they were getting tired of 'paederasty.' The deep-discount personal ads, on bathroom walls, always describe youth, or youthfulness. Homosexuality is a perversion of normal sexuality, in that we too, are attracted to young women. We have social conventions and laws to steer us away from the very young ones, but, if the girl's past fifteen or so, it's only the law and our own scruples that keep it zipped. When the twin peaks arise, so does the mountain climber's staff. Sure, I know that I'd be bored with anyone a third my age, even if I were willing to hurt the Beloved Spousal Unit, and some nubile and nearsighted young thing wanted to jump my bones, unlikely enough, but the pillow talk portion of the time rises with the years. Someone who had to whip out a history book to figure out what I was talking about, from only twenty years ago, would not be with me for long. Still, the old limbic system knows what it wants. Whatever happens to blur the focus, they still want 'em young, just like the rest of us.

Crikey, Michael, you've been going in for some archive-mining! But I agree that at a certain age familiarity beats new experience.

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