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The Purpose of Homosexuality

LGBT Purpose Homosexuality

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#61 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:35 AM

Spacekiddy, on Jun 18 2004, 08:28 AM, said:

emsparks, on Jun 17 2004, 10:55 PM, said:

.... Maybe my examples need work, it does not change the fact that Homosexuality is a defect.
Excuse me? None of my friends are defective -they work perfectly fine thank you very much.
Why does loving someone, of the same sex, make one defective?
It doesn't.  The argument being made is that the trait is a defect.  Not that individuals carrying the trait are defective.  Unless the entirety of the individual stops functioning appropriately in response to the defective trait, then having a defective trait does not make an individual defective.  

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#62 Spacekiddy

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:59 AM

Handmaiden07, on Jun 18 2004, 02:33 PM, said:

Spacekiddy, on Jun 18 2004, 08:28 AM, said:

emsparks, on Jun 17 2004, 10:55 PM, said:

.... Maybe my examples need work, it does not change the fact that Homosexuality is a defect.
Excuse me? None of my friends are defective -they work perfectly fine thank you very much.
Why does loving someone, of the same sex, make one defective?
It doesn't.  The argument being made is that the trait is a defect.  Not that individuals carrying the trait are defective.  Unless the entirety of the individual stops functioning appropriately in response to the defective trait, then having a defective trait does not make an individual defective.  

HM07
So since that's not what anyone meant why is the word "defect" being used?
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#63 Tarandus

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 10:08 AM

Sorry to interrupt the thread, but I just read it and there were too many things in here the geneticist in me just had to comment upon. It may be that whoever posted the quoted parts already knew this, but I had to clarify some things that didn't come out clearly enough for me. Call it a bad habit from work. ;)

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emsparks: I will tell you what makes homosexuality a defect, a disorder, and that is simply. If all the human beings where homosexual to the exclusion of the opposite sex then by the laws of survival of the genome, the race would not survive, there would be an ever decreasing pool of progeny.
No gene cares about the good of the species. A gene only cares about it's own propagation. If a gene is bad for the species but improves it's carriers chances of reproducing it will still increase in the gene pool. Likewise a gene that is bad for it's carrier but increases the carrier's siblings's survival rate will also increase in the gene pool. E.g. mimicry.

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Airhead: Which lead to an interesting theory by a leading genetic scientist in his book, Adam's Curse:

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Written in anecdotal style, his recent book, "Adams Curse: A Future Without Men," is inciting controversy with its startling theory that the male of the species will only last for another 5000 generations before irreparable damage done to the Y-chromosome consigns him to the history books. Sykes uses his own research to show that the all-important male Y-chromosome is degenerating as it advances through evolution, rendering men infertile with increasing frequency, and the female X-chromosome (mDNA), which has a "twin" and can repair itself to minimize bad mutations, is slowly taking over. In other words, women are winning the evolutionary battle of the sexes.

By rendering men infertile, isn't the female chromosome also architecting its own destruction? Sykes addresses this issue as well, saying that men could be rescued with "massive intervention," but it would be quite possible to survive without them.
Well, I wouldn't call Brian Sykes a leading genetic scientist... I'll try not to get started on what I think of him. :D But let me just roll my eyes first and get it done with. :rolleyes:
First of all if the Y-chromosome degenerates to the state where it's carrier becomes infertile it's not going to get propagated. It can't drive itself to extinction. There was a thread about this in EtU some while back.
Secondly the Y-chromosome is not unable to repair itself. Much of the Y-chromosome is copies of it self which can be used for repair. And while the X-chromosome can compare itself to it's copy while in females mutations are also masked by the sister chromosome so selection will be able to keep the Y-chromosome cleaner so to speak.
Thirdly I can't see how he can say that female chromosome is rendering men infertile?
And "massive intervention"... :rolleyes:  

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emsparks: Mankind has two purposes, the survival of the individual, and survival of the species; without either we would not be having this discussion, as mankind would not exist. That’s about as finite as it gets. Survival of the species requires procreation on a massive level, to account for genetic defects, or again the species does not survive. Anything that prevents that is a defect, even by your standards.
Again the genes don't care about the species. They only care about their own transmission.

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Consubstantial: Many types of beings (mammals, fish, insects) have biological mechanisms that kick in under certain conditions which naturally limit their production of progeny. These mechanisms are also tied to the survival of the species because without them the species could overpopulate and become extinct through the destruction of the environment it needs to survive.
I'm sorry, but no, no, no! A gene that keeps an organisms reproductive below what it could possibly be cannot survive. Imagine a population which size is optimally 50 individuals. All individuals have a gene which makes them breed only so many offspring that the population level is kept at 50. Now if one individual has a mutation which makes it "cheat" and breed more offspring than the others the other individuals will have to reduce their reproductive output to keep the population count at 50. Next generation there will be more "cheaters" which forces the others to breed even less. Pretty soon the "cheaters" have taken over and the population count no longer stays at 50. Now this might drive the population to extinction, but that can't stop the fact that the "cheaters" did take over. Group selection, selecting for the good of the group, doesn't work.

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Consubstantial: I anticipated this point; that is why I suggested the Levi-Strauss. Research shows that limited populations can breed through genetic defects and end up with a cleaner gene chart as a result.
True. There are many such examples. There are also many cases where the population went extinct. "Can" here does not mean "will", only "may".

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Zack:An adaptation that causes an individual not to reproduce isn't necessarily a defect. Look at the number of species, from insects to pack mammals like wolves, where most individuals don't reproduce, yet they help ensure the survival of their genes by helping in the health and well-being of their blood relatives.
Thank you! Or, to keep the word defect out, a genetic disadvantage. Genetically speaking a sibling is just as much worth as a child as they both carry on average 50% of your genes. A cousin is as much worth as a grandchild. Your genes can be carried on just as well by your relatives as your progeny.

This is getting long... :blush:

I think the question HM asked (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is: Why do we have homosexuality when it seems to be maladaptive (from a reproductive point of view).
Is it, as Zack touched upon, because it helps the reproduction of relatives and thus transmits the gene?
Is it, as was said in the parts HM quoted, because it also causes another trait that is beneficial? A variation on this theme is that it could be closely linked to another gene which has some beneficial effect.
Could it be just chance keeping such a trait in the population?
Or is it something else?
Which, I think you're right HM, is more of a question for EtU.

Okay, the genetics geek will shut up now. I hope I didn't kill the discussion :look:

Edited because I didn't get the quote boxes.

Edited by Tarandus, 18 June 2004 - 10:12 AM.

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#64 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 10:19 AM

Darned excellent post, Tarandus!  ANd yes - you nailed my question on the head.  Although the reason I put it here in the first place was because I wanted opinions from others on how they felt about the comparisons being put forth at the start of the thread.

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#65 emsparks

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:59 AM

Tarandus:  you are quite right: “genes don't care about the species.”  However the resultant organism, that the genes combine to form, an organism that can exhibit the attribute of homosexuality, does, or there wouldn’t be the whole sex thing, the choosing of the genetically compatible partner thing, and the whole bases of physical attraction.

AND yes, Human populations limit population size, based on food availability.  As I said “The over population preventive in the human animal are low sperm count, and in time of famine amenorrhea, which are more universal controls.”

Concerning amenorrhea of which there is a great deal more medical information, some clinicians hold that amenorrhea is a disease or disorder, while others hold that amenorrhea, is a human females natural response to the woman’s body fat content falling below 15%, the level believed necessary to support a healthy pregnancy. These responses would not have evolved, to their level of universality, if they where not a major survival advantage.

So while an individual gene does not care about the survival of the species, the resultant combinatorial organism does.

Sparky::

Edited by emsparks, 18 June 2004 - 12:04 PM.

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#66 Consubstantial

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 03:35 PM

Tarandus, on Jun 18 2004, 03:06 PM, said:

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Consubstantial: Many types of beings (mammals, fish, insects) have biological mechanisms that kick in under certain conditions which naturally limit their production of progeny. These mechanisms are also tied to the survival of the species because without them the species could overpopulate and become extinct through the destruction of the environment it needs to survive.
I'm sorry, but no, no, no! A gene that keeps an organisms reproductive below what it could possibly be cannot survive. Imagine a population which size is optimally 50 individuals. All individuals have a gene which makes them breed only so many offspring that the population level is kept at 50. Now if one individual has a mutation which makes it "cheat" and breed more offspring than the others the other individuals will have to reduce their reproductive output to keep the population count at 50. Next generation there will be more "cheaters" which forces the others to breed even less. Pretty soon the "cheaters" have taken over and the population count no longer stays at 50. Now this might drive the population to extinction, but that can't stop the fact that the "cheaters" did take over. Group selection, selecting for the good of the group, doesn't work.
For clarification, I didn't say "gene."  I said "biological mechanism."  

And, since I was told no, I feel the need to provide a couple of more concrete examples.
Some species of fish produce a chemical.  When that chemical reaches certain levels of concentration in the water, the fish cease to reproduce until the level of concentration of that chemical falls.  This is a biological mechanism that limits the production of progeny to prevent overpopulation.  
Pregnant female rabbits can reabsorb their litter before birth and often do if their environment is overcrowded or highly stressful.  (Please note that I said often, not always.)

I stand by my original statement, Tarandus; but I agree with the bulk of your points about genes.  

I still disagree with the claim that homosexuality is a genetic defect.  I have not yet read compelling evidence to convince me otherwise.

Appearances to the contrary, homosexuality isn't maladaptive from a reproductive point of view.  It is neither inadequate, nor faulty.  The equipment works.  Homosexuals can and do reproduce.

And emsparks,
While some combinational organisms may care about the survival of their species, many do not.  I am assuming that "caring" is a volitional act, not an instinct.
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#67 emsparks

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 04:00 PM

Many neuroscientist feel, there is no such thing as a “Volitional act,” there is only neurological, and /or instinctive drives, based on very complex biological processes.

Since you may feel this isn’t enough, then consider that the body is the host for the mind, and many times, illness of the body effects the minds ability to function. The body tells the mind what it needs to do, and the mind finds a way to do it.

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#68 Rhea

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:51 PM

emsparks, on Jun 18 2004, 12:58 PM, said:

Many neuroscientist feel, there is no such thing as a “Volitional act,” there is only neurological, and /or instinctive drives, based on very complex biological processes.

Since you may feel this isn’t enough, then consider that the body is the host for the mind, and many times, illness of the body effects the minds ability to function. The body tells the mind what it needs to do, and the mind finds a way to do it.

Sparky::
I think you have this backward. The brain (notice I didn't say "mind") controls everything.

For instance, one of my students was born with septo-optic dysplasia. To simply put it, part of his brain was underdeveloped. He has many problems - he's blind, has cerebral palsy (as a byproduct of the brain malformation), and will have to take growth and sex hormones for the rest of his life. Why? Because he's missing that part of the brain that tells the body how to do all of the things that are controlled by the endocrine and hormonal systems. His brain, in plain language, lacks the software to tell his body how to function - he has all the equipment, but his brain doesn't know how to use it.

I will certainly agree that a physical illness affects the brain, but basically you've got the cart before the horse.

And I agree most emphatically with Tarandus, Connie and Zack.

I don't believe for a moment that homosexuality is a defect. It occurs in nature right alongside heterosexuality.

Edited by Rhea, 18 June 2004 - 08:53 PM.

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#69 Delvo

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:19 PM

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I really wonder sometimes, why does anyone bother to bring subjects related to this topic up anymore?
Because it's not an old subject; it's a new one that reminds you of old ones (and gets some of the same reactions from some people even though they're slightly off-topic).

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In another forum, someone defending homosexuality offered the idea that homosexuality in humans could be likened to homosexuality in other primates.
True enough, since that's just a smaller sample of non-heterosexual behavior observed in other animals including non-primates as well. Unfortunately, with humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos, you can't get much beyond "it exists in all three" in comparisons, because sexual behavior is the biggest variable among those species, so the social context you see in either of them is bound to work differently from the way it is for us.

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Specifically - the person cited dominance displays, group bonding, and aggression diversion.
I don't see what the first one is supposed to mean, and it seems to contradict the other two. The latter two seem to be based on the notion that heterosexuals can't form real bonds and are hopelessly aggressive and unable to "divert" it without a non-hetero's help, which is ridiculous, or that bonding and "diversion" of aggression can't happen non-sexually, which is also ridiculous. Some fraction of the homosexual population might think one of those two things and even attribute their own homosexuality to a reaction to it as individuals, but that wouldn't mean anything about the evolutionary background.

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there may be some advantage to a species which can temporarily displace its sexuality into same-sex relations.
But that isn't what happens.

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This would be supported by the increase in homosexual activity in all male enclaves such as prisons and armies.
Not really, although it doesn't contradict it either; that wouldn't need explanation anyway whether the above idea were accurate or not. It's natural for any desire to be more often expressed in situations where there's more opportunity to satisfy it and less often expressed in situations where there's less opportunity to satisfy it. This opportunism is also bound to be exaggerated with desires that ordinarily are suppressed by other factors. (And why are we talking about males only? If there was a point in the conversations at which a reason not to consider females at the same time, as if the same principles don't apply to both, I missed it.)

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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 logic is sound and there are known examples of that kind of thing happening, both in one-gene traits and in more complex ones. In this particular case, there's no evidence for or against it yet.

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A population not only needs breeders, it needs individuals who help to rear offspring. Human offspring require a great deal of attention and protection in the early years and having extra non-breeding individuals around can contribute to the reproductive success of a population.
But homosexuals are not used that way, and there aren't nearly enough to go around for it, nor are they accepted enough in many populations for those populations to take advantage of them like that. A trait can't be selected by evolution to serve a purpose it doesn't serve. But a similar, more indirect idea could work: They can contribute to the general work of a population by increasing the size of a hunting party or putting extra hands to work on building a lodge or making fish nets or picking fruits or whatever, and that could lighten the load on parents. Similar ideas have been advanced to explain the role of the elderly, dweeby guys who can't get laid, and the general high human infertility rate, among other things. It's an easy answer to casually use when other explanations for something don't present themselves, because it needs no evidence. Certainly, the fact that they can work even if not having children would mean they aren't a drain on resources, so there's no evolutionary need to eliminate them. But there's no real reason to think that the small contribution that their small numbers (bound to often be zero in small populations) could make would really matter enough to have evolutionary weight; for that to happen, the number of children that a homosexual's work enabled others to sustain that they couldn't otherwise would have to exceed the number that (s)he could have had himself/herself... by a significant margin.

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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<?>
That's it precisely. There are very very many traits that some individuals of various species can have that serve no purpose, or are even harmful, but individuals possessing those traits persist in the species just because the possibility hasn't been eliminated. To say that there has to be an evolutionary use for something just because it exists is inherently invalid right from the start. It could only be valid if everything that exists in any species were evolutionarily beneficial, which is obviously not the case.

Consubstantial said:

:grr:

emsparks said:

:frustrated:

Consubstantial said:

:glare:

emsparks said:

:smirk: :grr:

Consubstantial said:

:blink: :frustrated:

emsparks said:

:hmmm: :grr:

Consubstantial said:

:crazy: :glare:
:wacko: :fear: :silenced: :wacko:

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It all boils down to labelling something "defective" simply because it's different. Poor eyesight is a disability, not a defect.
Well, when "different" is short for "different for no reason, from the normal, standard type that is the normal, standard type for a reason", yes. If a factory's supposed to be making rectangular toasters and one toaster comes out trapezoidal, then that toaster wasn't made according to the plan or pattern, so guess what: it's defective. It could even toast bread and bagels and English muffins perfectly well and safely, but its shape would still be a defect.

If that word is the problem, then give me another and I'll use it. Would "deviant" work? Its literal meaning would, but it's pretty often used for moral condemnation, so I'd rather avoid it, since I have no more interest in attacking homosexuals like that than I do in attacking my cousin whose body spontaneously quit producing hair when he was 12. How about "abnormality" or "accident"? Is there any word or phrase that would not get the objection? Or is the real issue here not finding the right word(s) but just a conceptual unwillingness to acknowledge that the standard plan/form in a sexually-reproducing diścious species is hetereosexuality and thus homosexuality is not it?

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I don't believe for a moment that homosexuality is a defect. It occurs in nature right alongside heterosexuality.
All defects occur in nature right alongside the original forms.

Edited by Delvo, 18 June 2004 - 11:46 PM.


#70 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:25 PM

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How about "abnormal" or "accident"? Is there any word or phrase that would not get the objection?

Human being.  Yes that's two words.  Sue me.
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#71 Delvo

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:37 PM

They're two words that are useless in a conversation about the potential purpose or lack thereof for homosexuality. If we were talking about whether or not it's OK to abuse non-heterosexuals or something like that, there'd be a legitimate point to pointing that out, but here, it can serve no purpose but an attempt to derail and distract from the actual topic of conversation by implicitly accusing somebody of some evil.

#72 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:50 PM

The fact that anyone would even think that anyone has to ARTICULATE a purpose for homosexuality is the reason that so many gay people feel persecuted to the point of feeling that they have to justify their very right to exist.

It disgusts me that anyone even thinks that homosexuals need to have some purpose.  They simply ARE.
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#73 QueenTiye

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:12 AM

Delvo, on Jun 19 2004, 12:17 AM, said:

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I really wonder sometimes, why does anyone bother to bring subjects related to this topic up anymore?
Because it's not an old subject; it's a new one that reminds you of old ones (and gets some of the same reactions from some people even though they're slightly off-topic).
Honest to goodness!  Thank you for that.  There are few topics more likely to be tainted by white noise than this one...

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In another forum, someone defending homosexuality offered the idea that homosexuality in humans could be likened to homosexuality in other primates.
True enough, since that's just a smaller sample of non-heterosexual behavior observed in other animals that aren't primates as well. Unfortunately, with humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos, you can't get much beyond "it exists in all three" in comparisons, because sexual behavior is the biggest variable among those speciesso the social context you see in either of them is bound to work differently from the way it is for us.

Slow down...  ok -so, the fact that sexual behavior is the thing that is most different amongst us means that ... ok. I can't think of how to say that in my own words.  I don't understand what you just said.

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Specifically - the person cited dominance displays, group bonding, and aggression diversion.
I don't see what the first one is supposed to mean, and it seems to contradict the other two. The latter two seem to be based on the notion that heterosexuals can't form real bonds and are hopelessly aggressive and unable to "divert" it without a non-hetero's help, which is ridiculous, or that bonding and "diversion" of aggression can't happen non-sexually, which is also ridiculous. Some fraction of the homosexual population might think one of those two things and even attribute their own homosexuality to a reaction to it as individuals, but that wouldn't mean anything about the evolutionary background.

Well - given the responses in the EtU thread I started, which suggest that the popular science sources I've seen on the subject have exaggerated the effects somewhat, I don't know if this is valid (and it might not have been valid in the first place), but when I read dominance displays - I read this as a dominant male taking the aggressive sexual stance viz-a-viz other males.  And in that context - the only human equivalent is a sodomizing rape.  And I was quite certain that no one wanted to say that homosexuals want to go around sodomizing other males to assert their dominance. :(  It was one of the reasons I had such an adverse reaction to the idea.  Again - in that context - the aggression diversion becomes the other half of that.... faced with a dominant male who's first instinct is to rape, beat up, and/or kill other males, another male simply "offers."  For the life of me - this is honestly how it was portrayed on the subject of bonobos (although in truth - it seemed much more to me that the females were usually doing the offering, in the same context).  And once again - the idea that this is what homosexual humans are doing struck me as offensive.

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Not really, although it doesn't contradict it either; that wouldn't need explanation anyway whether the above idea were accurate or not. It's natural for any desire to be more often expressed in situations where there's more opportunity to satisfy it and less often expressed in situations where there's less opportunity to satisfy it. This opportunism is also bound to be exaggerated with desires that ordinarily are suppressed by other factors. (And why are we talking about males only? If there was a point in the conversations at which a reason not to consider females at the same time, as if the same principles don't apply to both, I missed it.)

You may appreciate this: in responding to this quote on the other thread - I inquired (but no one has answered me) if the implications here are that females are more naturally "bisexual" - as evidenced by the fact that homosexuality in women tends to draw a lot less ire than homosexuality in men. I asked whether female "flexibility" on the subject of female sexuality might have to do with a time period when we were more of a harem forming species.  Of course, I know that women are not all bisexual! But it has always struck me as a curiosity that people react almost violently on the subject of male homosexuality, but not quite so much on the subject of female homosexuality.

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The logic is sound and there are known examples of that kind of thing happening, both in one-gene traits and in more complex ones. In this particular case, there's no evidence for or against it yet.

Another thing I offered in the other forum was the idea that the proof of this (Ok, I know it isn't proof) is that, at least since biblical times, God's injunctions on homosexuality have conspired to promote the genetic material of homosexuals.  (Lot's story in the Bible comes to mind, and my poor comprehension of Ancient Greek philosophy includes a vague memory that homosexual sex was encouraged for the "cosmopolitan male" who nevertheless also had, and was expected to have, a wife and family).  Taken that way flips the whole defect theory on its head - and makes it (at least in my imaginative mind) possible that the beneficial effects of the "homosexual" gene are intended to be transmitted throughout the populace with positive evolutionary result.  Of course, I have no idea what that positive evolutionary result might be -and of course I would believe that the positive aspect would be those that show up even when the gene is only heterozygously expressed.

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:wacko: :fear: :silenced: :wacko:

Well stated! :)

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It all boils down to labelling something "defective" simply because it's different. Poor eyesight is a disability, not a defect.
Well, when "different" is short for "different for no reason, from the normal, standard type that is the normal, standard type for a reason", yes. If a factory's supposed to be making rectangular toasters and one toaster comes out trapezoidal, then that toaster wasn't made according to the plan or pattern, so guess what: it's defective. It could even toast bread and bagels and English muffins perfectly well and safely, but its shape would still be a defect.

If that word is the problem, then give me another and I'll use it. Would "deviant" work? Its literal meaning would, but it's pretty often used for moral condemnation, so I'd rather avoid it, since I have no more interest in attacking homosexuals like that than I do in attacking my cousin whose body spontaneously quit producing hair when he was 12. How about "abnormality" or "accident"? Is there any word or phrase that would not get the objection? Or is the real issue here not finding the right word(s) but just a conceptual unwillingness to acknowledge that the standard plan/form in a sexually-reproducing diœcious species is hetereosexuality and thus homosexuality is not it?

Having this exact discussion in the other forum, I explained precisely what I meant, had the other poster agree that what I was saying was valid, and still s/he had an issue with the word "defect."  :wacko:  Again - I think this is just white noise interfereing with normal comprehension.  In the meantime - what does this mean:

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diœcious

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#74 QueenTiye

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:16 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 19 2004, 12:48 AM, said:

The fact that anyone would even think that anyone has to ARTICULATE a purpose for homosexuality is the reason that so many gay people feel persecuted to the point of feeling that they have to justify their very right to exist.

It disgusts me that anyone even thinks that homosexuals need to have some purpose.  They simply ARE.
I'm rather baffled by this argument.  WHY SHOULDN'T we ask the question, and for that matter, why is it that when religious folk get all weird about science investigating its sacred cows, then religious folk are lambasted by those of a secular bent, but when science investigates the issues inherent in the existence of homosexuality it is the secular who have issues with it?  

The question isn't about homosexual people's purpose for existence.  The question is about why homosexuality exists.  We know why heterosexuality exists.  It exists because there is a genetic advantage to the species to have an exchange of genes, rather than to copy the same gene structure over and over.  We recognize that human heterosexual behavior exists primarily to cause reproduction.  

It is an entirely valid question to ask what purpose, if any , does homosexuality have.  And anyone claiming that its inherently wrong to ask the question is imposing a modern form of inquisition.

edited for clarity and to tone it down some.

Edited by Handmaiden07, 19 June 2004 - 12:21 AM.

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#75 Bad Wolf

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:20 AM

How would you feel if I asked you "What purpose do black people serve?"

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#76 QueenTiye

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:23 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 19 2004, 01:18 AM, said:

How would you feel if I asked you "What purpose do black people serve?"

Lil
I'd be pissed.  But that's not what's happening here.  The more analogous question is - "How would I feel if you asked what purpose does black/brown skin have?"  

And that's a valid question that has been answered by science.

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#77 Bad Wolf

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:32 AM

Both questions are idiotic.  Asking what purpose homosexuality serves makes gay people feel like they need to defend their right to exist.  And the truth is that it doesn't MATTER what purpose it serves because it IS.  Period.  Do people have the right to ask the question?  Certainly.  And people who find it repugnant (raises hand) have an equal right to say so.  And I am.  I know too damned many gay people who've been victimized their entire lives by people who think that they have a right to judge someone based on the fact that they are attracted to people of the same sex, who live their lives 24-7 feeling like they live in a society that is constantly asking them to justify their existence to not so respond.

You don't have to like homesexuality.  You don't even have to accept that it's right.  What I think would be nice is if you could understand how much it hurts a person whose sexual orientation is not your own to constantly feel like people are saying "hey you, what's your purpose".  It's horrible.
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#78 NeuralClone

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:42 AM

I actually agree with Lil on this matter. :eek4:
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#79 QueenTiye

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:42 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 19 2004, 01:30 AM, said:

Both questions are idiotic.  Asking what purpose homosexuality serves makes gay people feel like they need to defend their right to exist.  And the truth is that it doesn't MATTER what purpose it serves because it IS.  Period.  Do people have the right to ask the question?  Certainly.  And people who find it repugnant (raises hand) have an equal right to say so.  And I am.  I know too damned many gay people who've been victimized their entire lives by people who think that they have a right to judge someone based on the fact that they are attracted to people of the same sex, who live their lives 24-7 feeling like they live in a society that is constantly asking them to justify their existence to not so respond.

You don't have to like homesexuality.  You don't even have to accept that it's right.  What I think would be nice is if you could understand how much it hurts a person whose sexual orientation is not your own to constantly feel like people are saying "hey you, what's your purpose".  It's horrible.
And of course, if people keep reading into other people's statements the noise from the outside, then we can't have a discussion.

In THIS dialogue, the one right here, the topic is the purpose, or lack thereof for the existence of homosexuality.  It is NOT a stupid question, nor a prejudicial one.  It does not cast any judgment whatsoever on people who are homosexual.  

The answers given so far are:

1. It is possibly a defect that nevertheless has no other impact on the individual than their ability to reproduce.
2. The possibility exists that the dampened reproduction of homosexuals is beneficial to the species as a whole.
3. The trait exists to pass along some other positive trait that benefits the species.
4. There is no reason - it just happens to exist along with other traits that happen to exist.

If you look very carefully - you'll notice that there aren't any judgements there about people who are homosexual.  There isn't any judgment about their right to exist.  Even in the first case - the case where the big bad evil word "defect" is used - to imply that someone who has a genetic defect is automatically considered not to have a right of existence flies in the face of the established morality of most of us today.  We don't say this about other people with profoundly dibilitating defects (and I'm not calling homosexuality a "profoundly debilitating defect" I'm comparing it to defects which we **would** recognize that way and pointing out that in THOSE cases, we don't act like that toward people).  We don't hold the defects against them, we don't conclude that they are bad, immoral people because of them.  The worst outcome of this being the answer is that people may begin to try to correct or cure it, or deselect it at birth.  That's the worst outcome.  It isn't the only possible outcome.  AND... the fact that that outcome is possible doesn't make the question an invalid question for investigation.  Some people believe that we have no right attempting to clone life - that it is immoral.  That didn't stop the scientists from tackling the question anyway.  The ethical weight of knowledge is part of what we as human beings have to tackle every day.  But the answer is never to not have knowledge.

HM07

Edited by Handmaiden07, 19 June 2004 - 12:58 AM.

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#80 QueenTiye

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:53 AM

PKTechDude, on Jun 19 2004, 01:40 AM, said:

I actually agree with Lil on this matter. :eek4:
Were anyone doing what she says people are doing - that is, challenging the right of homosexuals to exist, I'd agree with her too.  The problem is - no one is doing that.

Moreover - back to a question that was hypothetically posed - is it idiotic to ask why some human beings have brown skin and some have white skin?  Lets see what we've learned so far by asking this question:

1. We've learned that black skin is a protection against the harmful effects of uv rays - an adaptation to climate.
2. We've learned (possibly) that white skin is a protection against vitamin d deficiency - allowing more sunrays to enter the body to capture vitamin d.
3. We've learned that that tradeoff - vitamin d capture, versus long term negative effects of uv exposure causing skin cancer is part of what evolution just *** did *** for the wellbeing of the species.
4. because we've learned that - we've learned to supplement vitamin d in our diets so that people don't HAVE to soak up the sun and get skin cancer.
5. a development which is helpful, because darker skinned people are in a disadvantage away from sunrich environments.  

I'm certain that just asking the question at one point in history elicited the same kinds of questions.  WHY do we need to know this? How is this not inherently discriminatory/threatening/dehumanizing to black people?  I know because I felt that way when reading the stuff about vitamin d capture in light/white skin as recently as two years ago.  I felt threatened, my stomach ached, I became anxious.  But I'm grateful that I was able to read the report with some degree of objectivity - because the knowledge is not frivolous, and it is not useless.  

HM07

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