Last Update: 15 Aug 00
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REPLY #5 TO
"HOMOSEXUALITY AND LIFESTYLE ISSUES"
(R) I was thinking, you consider it hightly unlikely for there to be a "gay gene" - i.e. a length of DNA coding for a polypeptide that biochemically causes homosexuality, as evolution would've weeded out such a gene long ago.
(MB) It's doubtful that such a gene could be totally weeded out, but the process of natural selection would seem to make it very likely that such a gene would be rarely passed on to offspring. This, by itself, should produce a current population in which only a minute fraction would actually still possess such a gene. It is my contention that the presence of a "gay gene" would not be in sufficient numbers to account for the percentage of the current population which is homosexual. This leads to the conclusion that a significant percentage of homosexuals must have chosen that lifestyle rather than having it forced upon them through genetics.
(R) This is very true, if that gene (coding length of DNA) had but one function - to cause homosexuality. What I think you fail to consider are the surrounding issues of genetics. Perhaps in certain individuals with particular DNA homologies, a gene, or combination of genes code for proteins that are involved in a gene cascade that could, as a consequence of that cascade, biochemically instruct that individual to be attracted to members of the same sex. Perhaps one mutant gene somewhere high up on a gene cascade could have adverse, if not necessarily deleterious effects. Mutation of a protein, depending on amino acid position, only needs to happen at one DNA base pair. It is very reasonable that such a mutation could occur in the hypothetical protein, and thus have the adverse effects on the cascade.
(MB) While this is a reasonable scenario, I believe that it actually weakens the case for genetic homosexuality. Consider that you are positing a rather complex scheme of interrelated codons, mutations, and effects. As with any complex structure, if just one piece is missing, the whole thing fails. It would be much easier for evolution to maintain and pass along one dedicated "gay gene" than to preserve a complex genetic scheme.
(R) Why would evolution allow such a mutation to keep creeping into the genome?
(MB) If my simpler scenario is correct, it would be much easier for such a mutation to recur. The more complex the scenario, the less likely the same combination will recur if it is not passed on to offspring.
(R) Maybe such a mutation confers other abilities. This is backed up (albeit circumstantially) by the fact that the hypothalamus in homosexual males is somewhat different than that of their heterosexual counterparts (if I am not mistaken), and corroborate the reason why homosexuals largely don't choose their attraction.
(MB) The link between hypothalamic differences and non-voluntary homosexuality has yet to be proven (to the best of my knowledge). This would also not account for the cases of identical twins where one is homosexual and the other is not. It's more likely to be another example which demonstrates that correlation is not the same thing as causality (a common fallacy which often creeps into the analysis of circumstantial evidence).
(R) A problem with much of society is that those people don't understand genetics. They think genes magically make things so in a person.
(MB) Well, that depends on the gene. Some genes most certainly have dramatic individual effects. Others must be part of a combination with other genes. Still others are "junk" which have no known effect or which have lost their effect due to other mutations.
(R) RNA only codes for proteins or RNA, nothing more. This isn't an exercise in apologetics for gay society, just a more reasonable explanation for the phenomenon of homosexuality, which pervades every ethnic, economic, and religious group the world over, and involves individuals with little or no contact with other homosexuals being homosexual.
(MB) Given the fact that sexual gratification is such a strong instinct in humans and that people practice a great many "non-traditional" ways of obtaining that gratification, it should be expected that homosexuality would be a part of our society no matter what the genetic contributions to its prevalence might or might not be.
(R) Again, there is no current hard evidence of a genetic basis for homosexuality, but I do think you're mistaken in saying that there is probably NO genetic basis.
(MB) Please don't misunderstand my position. Nobody who understands genetics could claim that 0% of homosexuality has a genetic basis. My position is that such genetics does not (and probably can not) account for everybody who is homosexual and that evolution would tend to select against anything other than a tiny fraction of genetic homosexuals. Choice is still (and always will be) a significant factor.
I believe that the appeal to genetics is an attempt by a special-interest group to gain sympathy and tolerance for its constituency in a society which is constantly inundated with appeals for "sensitivity". It is also an attempt to justify any other behavior associated with homosexuality by claiming that homosexuals "have no choice". This is simply not the case.
I'm not against homosexuality, per se. I wouldn't choose it for myself, but I have no major problems with those who would. My interest here is to debunk bad arguments.
(R) By the way, your site is awesome, I despise creationism as much as you do.
(MB) Thank you! Talk about the need for debunking bad arguments! *grin* Please feel free to contribute your thoughts in that forum, too.
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