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The Purpose of Homosexuality

LGBT Purpose Homosexuality

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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 10:50 PM

In another forum, someone defending homosexuality offered the idea that homosexuality in humans could be likened to homosexuality in other primates.  Specifically - the person cited dominance displays, group bonding, and aggression diversion.

I found all of those ideas inherently offensive to those who call themselves homosexual.  I stated that there was no comparison - that humans are not chimps and bonobos, and that we would not like to be compared that way.  I asked rhetorically how a homosexual might feel being told that their homosexuality served the purpose of dominance displaying, or aggression diversion.  I said rhetorically - I was surprised when this person said that any smart homosexual would be happy to be similarly compared.

Ok - I'm asking.  What do people think?

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#2 G1223

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 11:41 PM

I think some of it is social part of genetics and another part emotional.
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#3 Orpheus

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 11:54 PM

I'd say that comparisons to other primates are often offensive to humans of any gender preference. There's ample evidence to prove that this attitude goes back long before the Scopes Trial. It was considered so offensive as to be ridiculous long before Darwin

Personally, I consider that attitude smug, provincial, self-righteous and unjustified. We are not the pinnacle  of creation, IMHO, but merely the organism that most represents the features and outlook that we ourselves value. Big surprise, that! It is precisely the strength of out resemblance tothe animal kingdom and especially primates that inspired centuries, and possibly millennia of mocking rejection of the notion: we are not the first culture or century to notice.

Would it be offensive to some homosexuals? I have no doubt that it would. Is it offensive to some heterosexuals. Of course. It's sometimes offensive to me, for one, not because I disdain 'animals', but because it challenges my strong lifelong idealism to think that my elaborate 'logical' framework of philosophy and values may not be based on universal absolutes.

It's a great mistake to disregard the feelings of others, especially in matters that concern their lives more than yours. It's at least as great a mistake to treat emotional 'offense' or philosophical agendas as a rational basis for to judge views or arguments.

I'm a monkey-man. Anyone who'd deny that doesn't know me well. I consider myself "in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the  beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!"  But to fail to say most of the same things of a bonobo may well be mere prejudice. To be the "paragon of animals" that shakespeare names us, we must first be animals.

I also think that a great deal of contempt and ignorance lies under many quasi-evolutionary arguments that have been made -- contempt of our fellow man, and ignorance of the current state of our understanding of the technical evidence and mechanisms of evolution. For, make no mistake, it is quite technical. A child can 'explain' a VCR; few adults can repair, build or expand the capabilities of one. True understanding is hard, but only through the most rigorous effort can we be "in apprehension, how like a god". Some of us qualify by that criterion, others are "just real "pieces of work".

I tend to worry about people who worry about the behavior, motives, and moral significance of others than they do about themselves.

After all, isn't it, in the end, more important to 'do good' than to evaluate how or what others are doing?

/me offers Handmaiden a great big banana

#4 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 12:02 AM

It's orientation.  Not preference.  Aside from that allow me to quote with approval the following bit of Orph's post:

Quote

I tend to worry about people who worry about the behavior, motives, and moral significance of others than they do about themselves.

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#5 Delvo

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 06:25 AM

Thoroughly non-social vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopods have been observed trying to mate with the wrong sex. Also, a feature doesn't need to serve a purpose in order to exist; some organisms can just be born/hatched with errors like extra fingers, allergies, albinism, color blindness, or crosswired sexual responses without threatening the survival of the species.

#6 Drew

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 07:58 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 17 2004, 12:00 AM, said:

It's orientation.  Not preference.
That's the second time this week that you've made that distinction. Can you explain what you mean?

As to the subject, I admit that when I read the subject header, my first thought was "There's a purpose????"  :wacko:
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#7 QueenTiye

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 08:01 AM

Here's why I found it offensive.  I'm willing to be told I'm wrong.

Homosexuals have made clear in every possible way that they view themselves as loving their partners, and being physically attracted to them.  It makes no sense (to me) to argue that what might have been the reason for our behaviors when we first developed the behavior is now still the reason for our behavior.  I'm told that smiling originated in acts of aggression - still found in most animals - the practice of baring one's teeth.   We obviously don't use the behavior that way today - it serves another purpose to us.  

I further imagined all the rather hideous things might arise from the general perception in the populace that homosexual behaviors are attempts at dominance display, or aggression diversion.

Orpheus - I appreciate the point you are making about humans being animals - and I agree to a point.  I don't take exception to the ideas on account of being likened to animals.  I take exception to the idea on the idea's own merits.  I don't believe that homosexuals are trying to display dominance - and unfortunately, for that to work, it would have to be an aggressive act - such as is found in the animal kingdom.  Nor do I believe that it is any kind of aggression diversion - which again, when paralleled to the animal kingdom turns out to be something fairly ugly when applied to humans.  

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#8 QueenTiye

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 08:07 AM

Orpheus, on Jun 17 2004, 12:52 AM, said:

It's a great mistake to disregard the feelings of others, especially in matters that concern their lives more than yours. It's at least as great a mistake to treat emotional 'offense' or philosophical agendas as a rational basis for to judge views or arguments.
If I were disregarding the feelings of anybody, I wouldn't be asking the question.  I was taken aback by the idea that anyone could take this seriously, and I decided to ask people to chime in so that I would understand better.

Quote

I tend to worry about people who worry about the behavior, motives, and moral significance of others than they do about themselves.

After all, isn't it, in the end, more important to 'do good' than to evaluate how or what others are doing?

/me offers Handmaiden a great big banana

Thanks for the banana.  I like them.  Having said that, I recognize that the topic could seem like me worrying about others etc. etc. etc, however, the topic came up in response to someone else's question which I mistakenly thought was an attempt at honest dialogue.  The question was "What personally bothers you about homosexuality, outside of your religious beliefs."  I shouldn't have fallen for it - but I answered honestly - expressing my concerns in hope that there would be open dialogue, and someone on the other end with a genuine interest in educating me if my opinions proved ignorant.  Instead I wound up getting responses not quite as polite as this, but just as judgemental.

Editing to add: a poster on the other forum actually took the time to give me an answer that was well-reasoned, and didn't imply my moral failure for asking the question:

http://forums.delphi...ges?msg=354.358

http://forums.delphi...ges?msg=354.359

HM07

Edited by Handmaiden07, 17 June 2004 - 08:39 AM.

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#9 Cardie

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 08:59 AM

Drew, on Jun 17 2004, 08:56 AM, said:

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 17 2004, 12:00 AM, said:

It's orientation.  Not preference.
That's the second time this week that you've made that distinction. Can you explain what you mean?

I can't answer for Lil, but here's my explanation of the difference.

I've always veiwed a homosexual orientation as best analogized with being left-handed.  The majority of humans are right-handed.  That means this is their dominant and most capable hand for doing fine motor skills--writing, eating, batting, etc.  Left-handed people are in the minority, but being left-handed works for them exactly as does being right-handed for others.  A smaller number of people are born ambidextrous. There is no "preference" involved in how this works out.

However, in times past, there were prejudices against being left-handed, and attempts to force the sinister ;) by conditioning to use their right hands for eating, writing, batting, etc.  (My aunt had to be fended off from trying it on her left-handed grandson.)  So, unlike something intrinsic such as height or eye-color, handedness can be changed out of "preference" without surgery or some other radical procedure.  There are people who injure or lose their dominant hands who are able to readjust; there are people in sports who develop skills with other than the dominant hand because of the demands of the game.  Similarly it's not impossible for a heterosexual to choose to have sex with members of the same sex, or for homosexuals to do the reverse.  That doesn't cancel out the fact that there is an inborn handedness that has nothing to do with choice.  IMO, of course.  :devil:

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#10 sierraleone

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 09:20 AM

Handmaiden07, on Jun 17 2004, 08:59 AM, said:

Here's why I found it offensive.  I'm willing to be told I'm wrong.

Homosexuals have made clear in every possible way that they view themselves as loving their partners, and being physically attracted to them.  It makes no sense (to me) to argue that what might have been the reason for our behaviors when we first developed the behavior is now still the reason for our behavior.  I'm told that smiling originated in acts of aggression - still found in most animals - the practice of baring one's teeth.   We obviously don't use the behavior that way today - it serves another purpose to us.  

I further imagined all the rather hideous things might arise from the general perception in the populace that homosexual behaviors are attempts at dominance display, or aggression diversion.

Orpheus - I appreciate the point you are making about humans being animals - and I agree to a point.  I don't take exception to the ideas on account of being likened to animals.  I take exception to the idea on the idea's own merits.  I don't believe that homosexuals are trying to display dominance - and unfortunately, for that to work, it would have to be an aggressive act - such as is found in the animal kingdom.  Nor do I believe that it is any kind of aggression diversion - which again, when paralleled to the animal kingdom turns out to be something fairly ugly when applied to humans.  

HM07
I'm not quite sure what post/link/forum you were refering to, or what use that homosexuals in the animal kingdom displaying these traits are suppose to be helpfull for those animals?
And if you mean they display aggression when they try to mate with others of their gender, some might say nearly any sexual act in the animal kingdom is a form of aggression. The need to reproduce is an urge animals can't control.
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#11 QueenTiye

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 09:26 AM

sierraleone, on Jun 17 2004, 10:18 AM, said:

I'm not quite sure what post/link/forum you were refering to, or what use that homosexuals in the animal kingdom displaying these traits are suppose to be helpfull for those animals?
And if you mean they display aggression when they try to mate with others of their gender, some might say nearly any sexual act in the animal kingdom is a form of aggression. The need to reproduce is an urge animals can't control.
In the quote cited - I didn't make any reference to any links - so I'm not clear on what you mean.  I edited my post to include too links to someone else's ideas on the usefulness of homosexuality to the human species - the links are visible.

Regarding any sexual act being a form of aggression - can you clarify that?  And do you mean that instinctual urges are always aggressive (you said that the need to reproduce is an urge animals can't control, following a statement that sexual acts in the animal kingdom are all forms of aggression.)

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#12 QueenTiye

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 09:31 AM

Delvo, on Jun 17 2004, 07:23 AM, said:

Thoroughly non-social vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopods have been observed trying to mate with the wrong sex. Also, a feature doesn't need to serve a purpose in order to exist; some organisms can just be born/hatched with errors like extra fingers, allergies, albinism, color blindness, or crosswired sexual responses without threatening the survival of the species.
I just finally figured out why you said this.  Ok. So your contention is that there is no "function" - or that there did not need to be one for it to arise as a trait and be self-perpetuating.

This is, of course bordering on needing to be transferred to EtU, but can you check the links I provided and offer your opinion as to the viability of the ideas presented there?

HM07

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#13 QueenTiye

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 09:58 AM

Quoting w/ permission the portions (almost the entirety) of another poster's thoughts on the subject:

Quote

prismatic from Circus Maximus Forum said:
You have to think biologically. Here's one possibility. Throughout much of history it was very common for women to die in childbirth so it could happen in small populations that there might not be enough women to go around. By redirecting their sexual energy toward their own sex, men would have been able to maintain that energy in reserve for better times when the percentage of women had increased again to normal proportions. To sum up, there may be some advantage to a species which can temporarily displace its sexuality into same-sex relations. This would be supported by the increase in homosexual activity in all male enclaves such as prisons and armies.

There may be more immediate biological possibilities. Genetic characteristics need not always be advantageous themselves to be maintained if they are coupled with advantageous characteristics. For example a gene providing a disposition toward homosexuality in the male might be the same gene which causes early menarche in females, thereby increasing their reproductive years. The gene would be preserved because it is advantageous to females.

This coupling is known to happen with other genes and is called antagonistic pleiotropy. It often happens that genes which provide beneficial traits early in life cause trouble later in life. They are maintained in a population because they contribute to reproductive success and the ill effects come in only after the reproductive years.

Quote

prismatic from Circus Maximus Forum said:
One, as yet untested theory, is that sexual orientation is determined by hormones and that later born males are more likely to be homosexual than earlier ones. One purpose this arrangement would serve would be to reduce competition among brothers, who carry similar genetic makeup. Thus genes would be expressed and unneeded competition between males carrying similar genetic makeup lowered.

The persistence and ubiquity of homosexual behavior suggests that it may serve an evolutionary purpose that advances reproductive success in a population as a whole even while reducing it in some individuals. In that case it would not be appropriate to call it a defect, but simply a variation in sexual function.


and - with this post - I guess I ask the mods to move this to EtU...

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#14 Nick

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 10:39 AM

Delvo, on Jun 17 2004, 07:23 AM, said:

Thoroughly non-social vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopods have been observed trying to mate with the wrong sex. Also, a feature doesn't need to serve a purpose in order to exist; some organisms can just be born/hatched with errors like extra fingers, allergies, albinism, color blindness, or crosswired sexual responses without threatening the survival of the species.
(emphasis mine)

So you're implying that homosexuality is some sort of birth defect akin to extra/missing appendages?

-Nick

#15 emsparks

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 11:01 AM

Nick, on Jun 17 2004, 11:37 AM, said:

Delvo, on Jun 17 2004, 07:23 AM, said:

Thoroughly non-social vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopods have been observed trying to mate with the wrong sex. Also, a feature doesn't need to serve a purpose in order to exist; some organisms can just be born/hatched with errors like extra fingers, allergies, albinism, color blindness, or crosswired sexual responses without threatening the survival of the species.
(emphasis mine)

So you're implying that homosexuality is some sort of birth defect akin to extra/missing appendages?

-Nick
That is a bigoted, childish over simplification, but in a word YES…

While I was not the original poster, I am saying that homosexuality is a birth defect, the complexity of which is astounding.

Sparky::

Edited by emsparks, 17 June 2004 - 11:05 AM.

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#16 Nick

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 12:26 PM

emsparks, on Jun 17 2004, 11:59 AM, said:

That is a bigoted, childish over simplification, but in a word YES…

While I was not the original poster, I am saying that homosexuality is a birth defect, the complexity of which is astounding.
It's only biggoted, childish, and over-simplified because of the key words I highlighted.  "wrong sex" and "errors like [birth defects]" can be some pretty off-putting remarks, reminiscent of the pseudo-science often spouted when launching claims of certain races being "less evolved" humans.

I don't intend to start an argument or any name-calling, but I vehemently disagree with the reasoning that sexual orientation is some sort of "disease" or is in any way indicative of poor health or is in any way pathogenic.

There is wide (albeit not complete) agreement in the psychological and scientific communities that homosexuality is not a physical disease, defect, or mental illness.  It is not some sort of choice, but the result of a myriad of genetic factors and social upbringing conditions.

Calling it a disease or defect would be akin to labelling any trait you don't agree with, or deviates from what you consider the 'norm' a defect.  This could be applied to something as superfluous as other personality traits or physical features.

Can you have the wrong kind of laugh, color of hair, sense of humor, or wrongfully enjoy risk? :glare:

-Nick

Edited by Nick, 17 June 2004 - 12:26 PM.


#17 Delvo

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 12:36 PM

Nick, on Jun 17 2004, 09:37 AM, said:

Delvo, on Jun 17 2004, 07:23 AM, said:

Thoroughly non-social vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopods have been observed trying to mate with the wrong sex. Also, a feature doesn't need to serve a purpose in order to exist; some organisms can just be born/hatched with errors like extra fingers, allergies, albinism, color blindness, or crosswired sexual responses without threatening the survival of the species.
(emphasis mine)

So you're implying that homosexuality is some sort of birth defect akin to extra/missing appendages?

-Nick
Yes... although there are many such mistakes that can exist and I'm not sure which would make the best comparison. The ones you mention don't seem to be as common as homosexuality and bisexuality, and some of them can be directly harmful to the organism possessing them, which I've never heard of homosexuality or bisexuality being. Maybe significantly-unequal limb lengths, allergies, unusual intolerances like lactose intolerance, and bald patches or patches of discolored hair/skin are really the best analogies, since they're more common and not so inherently destructive. Maybe left-handedness and moles also count as goofs, although I'm not sure. Really disturbingly severe genetic defects would also count as "mistakes" or "errors", but they're obviously not such good analogies because they're so rare and inherently debilitating.

#18 Consubstantial

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 12:44 PM

If homosexuality is a complex defect, then bigotry is even more so.  

And bigotry is just about all I can see in the description of homosexuality as a defect.

I don't think I can respond any further without personal attack or flame; so I will leave this thread now.
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#19 Delvo

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 12:46 PM

Nick, on Jun 17 2004, 11:24 AM, said:

"wrong sex" and "errors like [birth defects]" can be some pretty off-putting remarks, reminiscent of the pseudo-science often spouted when launching claims of certain races being "less evolved" humans.

Calling it a disease or defect would be akin to labelling any trait you don't agree with, or deviates from what you consider the 'norm' a defect.  This could be applied to something as superfluous as other personality traits or physical features.
Well, then, you must think I have some kind of disdain for myself, given that I have...
1. Eyes that don't seem to have totally decided whether to be blue or light brown, making me suspect a defect in the expression of a heterozygous state for the eye-color gene (which would normally have just resulted in brown eyes)
2. More moles than I can count at the moment, but probably over a dozen and maybe close to 2
3. Strangely inflexible joints at the bases of my thumbs
4. Almost no sense of smell

Edited by Delvo, 17 June 2004 - 12:49 PM.


#20 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 01:21 PM

Consubstantial, on Jun 17 2004, 10:42 AM, said:

If homosexuality is a complex defect, then bigotry is even more so.  

And bigotry is just about all I can see in the description of homosexuality as a defect.

I don't think I can respond any further without personal attack or flame; so I will leave this thread now.
Thank you.   Calling homosexuality a defect is no better than calling brown skin or female genitals a defect.  It's bigotry.  Ugly word but it's still true.

In my opinion, of course.

Lil
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