Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Naturally Gay

William Saletan discusses a theory of homosexuality that I have seen before. That homosexuality in some men is compensated for by the increased fertility of their female relatives.

Gay couples can't have biological kids together. So if homosexuality is genetic, why hasn't it died out?

A study published last week in PLoS One tackles the question. It starts with four curious patterns. First, male homosexuality occurs at a low but stable frequency in a wide range of societies. Second, the female relatives of gay men produce children at a higher rate than other women do. Third, among these female relatives, those related to the gay man's mother produce children at a higher rate than do those related to his father. Fourth, among the man's male relatives, homosexuality is more common in those related to his mother than in those related to his father.

Can genes account for these patterns? To find out, the authors posit several possible mechanisms and compute their effects over time. They conclude that only one theory fits the data. The theory is called "sexually antagonistic selection." It holds that a gene can be reproductively harmful to one sex as long as it's helpful to the other. The gene for male homosexuality persists because it promotes—and is passed down through—high rates of procreation among gay men's mothers, sisters, and aunts.
The article is a very good in depth look at the question and its implications.

The article does not discuss a point that no one seems to have paid any attention to (What a surprise - no one is discussing what they haven't paid attention to - what will they avoid thinking of next? Elephants?). Is there a genetic basis for some male's antagonism to male homosexuality? If so then what?

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Snake Oil Baron said...

It (hostility toward homosexuality) could have a genetic basis but so could racism. An extension of the basic fear of individuals which seem a little too different of unfamiliar could explain it. Back when humans shared the land with similar species, aversion to mating with them would have kept individuals from wasting time trying to mate with nonproductive mate choices. Like other animals, instincts serve to supplement reasoning when the information needed for reasoning is unavailable or unobtainable. They don't always get us going in the right direction but they work well enough to serve in a majority of situations.

If antagonism to homosexuality is influenced by genes, I suspect it would be too influenced by environment to be predictive of behavior and attitudes or used as an excuse for antagonism.

tomcpp said...

It's not just "a genetic basis". It makes sense. All genetic traits reflect an economic evaluation. They reflect a more optimal way of doing things. Built-in revulsion of gays in men therefore is, economically speaking (for optimizing the # humans living), a good thing, not a random line in any "holy" book.

For obvious reasons a society/group with "too much" gay persons will die. Now you're thinking ... oh but that'll take 100 years and 100% gayness.

Well, no, not quite. It will take 20-30 years until the men are no longer capable of fending for themselves.

Now let's analyse the percentages of "acceptable" gay behavior. Looks to be 100% right ? Well no, obviously it's only the men ... so 50% would be 100% gay.

But obviously 1 young person cannot care for all old persons in his community. And The problem repeats (so the older the average age in a society, the less people in it, in percent, can be gay).

So let's say it's acceptable to have 1 young person caring for 2 older ones. It would seem that this would allow for 50% of males to be gay, or 25% of the population.

Again you'd be wrong, since the cycle repeats, obviously. Since you generally know your grandfather having 1 young man per 2 older men would in fact allow only one in 1 + 2 + 4 men to be gay, or 50%/7, or just over 7%, if the society is to survive long-term.

But that again creates problems, since at that ratio accidents will happen (with 93% certainty) to the non-gay population. So if we have 1% accidents, the maximum stable number of gay persons doesn't lower 1%, but over 3%.

However this 4% of people (or 8% of men) has to cover all child-less individuals. Since you have a "natural" infertility rate of close to 2%, and a reduced fertility rate nearing 10%, ...

Doesn't leave much room.

Now this changes obviously depending on the amount of kids people have (divided by 2 obviously). With an average of 2 kids you can have, under optimal circumstances 2% of men that are childless by choice, including gays. With an average of 4 kids you can have 4%, with 8 kids you can have 8%.

Likewise the gains (in number of people) a society has by lowering the amount of gays are much, much higher than you'd say at first glance. 0.5% less gays will improve average fertility with 0.2 or 0.4 for merely mathematical reasons.

There *is* an economic dimension to gay men as well. It doesn't play on the scale of 1 quarter in the future, but it most certainly plays.

A society without gays will quickly outbreed one who does have gays. Therefore, unlimited tolerance against gays cannot exist for long.

And yes I find this a very tragic result as well, but it *is* the truth.

M. Simon said...

A society without gays will quickly outbreed one who does have gays. Therefore, unlimited tolerance against gays cannot exist for long.

Did you even read the research? Or the report on the research?

It exactly contradicts your above point.

RavingDave said...

A new bull was about to be added to a group of cattle on a farm. The
cows were thrilled, but the bulls were aprehensive because they heard the new bull was extremely large and powerful.
Sure enough, when the new bull got off the trailer, he was a monsterous brute. The other bulls quaked in fear of him. Then the littlest bull of them all started snorting and pawing the earth like he was going to charge the big bull. The other bulls told him "Knock it off! He'll hurt you!"
The little bull continued to paw the ground and snort menacingly at the big bull. The other bulls becomming increasinly concerned for the little bull finally asked him "Why are you doing that ? " To which the little bull replied, "I just want to make sure he knows i'm a bull! "

Evolution dictates progeny or extinction. Our instincts force us to breed successfully or the unique genetic combination of which we are made ceases to go forward into the future.

To a male, feeling the urgent need to have sex, there is nothing less funny than being bred by another male. This provokes instant hostility because humans
have a dynamic social pecking order, and a male getting bred by another male places him lower than the females.

Please bear in mind I am not refering to "modern civilized attitudes", I am refering to the social mores and norms that resulted from thousands of years of humans existing in small tribal like groups. Like it or not, in primative conditions, the people who are the best hunters and fighters are the top of the social pyramid. Females are at the bottom. A male that gets forcibly feminized is not even a "real" female, and so therefore becomes the bottom "caste."

People need to realize that when analyzing human behaviour or human instinct, you need to understand that we've only been so called "civilied" for a hundred years or so (depending on how you want to measure it ) or at most about 10,000 years, if you want to claim humans at that time were "civilized." Even so, we've evolved over millions of years, and even ten thousand years is a brief eyeblink in terms of human physiological and social evolution.

Apart from that, Typical homosexual behaviour is extreemly promiscuous, and diseases are rampant throughout the homosexual community. Far more serious and far higher percentages than in the Heterosexual community.

To an ancient village noticing that the "Guys" that like to get up close and personal seem to always be getting sick with various mysterious diseases, the tolerance level declines rapidly because in those days, diseases weren't funny.

I have a lot more on this subject as it is one i've researched for years, and the evolutionary question regarding homosexuality has always befuddled me. This latest research offers a tentative explanation that seems to make sense.

There is more, but this message is too long already.


M. Simon said...

How do you explain the admiration for Julius Cesar?

"A husband to every wife and a wife to every husband".

In the past such distinctions (gay/straight) were not as rigid as they are these days.

RavingDave said...

There is a theory I've heard of years ago and I believe it is called "generation of cycles." It postulates that there is a natural cycle of attitudes among the human populations with a period in excess of an average generation. As the period is so long, it mostly goes unnoticed. It is characterized by a cycle of change from Conservative to Liberal, from tolerance to intolerance etc.
Civilization is the suppression of individual natural instincts for the benifit of the common good. Social pressures can sometimes make it possible to overcome natural instincts. Such has been the case all through history with various results.

The greeks practiced pedophilia, but considered adult homosexuality to be bizzare and abnormal. Social training can overcome various attitudes, and what constitutes the current "accepted" social attitudes is subject to change based on the dynamics of the society concerned.
Make no mistake. From my research on this subject it clearly shows that Homosexuals often have extraordinary characteristics that sometimes make them exceptional. The average male homosexual has a substantially higher income than average, often is blessed with talents in art, design, intellect, physical capabilities, insight, etc. (this is certainly true of various homosexuals that I have personally met.)

This has likewise long puzzled me because it implies that there are some "good" (evolutionarily benificial) genes at work in these people.
Of course there is always the old argument that there is a thin line between genius and insanity. One book I read claimed that the number one cause of death for homosexual males is suicide. People whom i've discussed this with before say that this is the result of oppression and a lack of respect from the majority community. I point out that Black people and Jewish people have gone through far worse oppresion and yet it did not result in suicide being the number one cause of death.
I have a possible explanation, but again I am making this too long.


M. Simon said...


Love your comments. Go as long as you like.

RavingDave said...

Okay, i'll "rave" a bit.

My theory on why suicide would be the number one cause of death among homosexuals. They basically starve to death. Rather they starve to the point where they can't take it anymore.
(Not for food. I'll explain in a minute. Let me digress a bit.)

The whole topic brings up another point. What is the genetic / evolutionary purpose of suicide ? This question also perplexed me for a long time, and I finally came up with an answere that makes sense to me.

Let's look at the suicide thing first. How could a characteristic evolve in a species that causes individual members of a species to kill themselves? Well, evolution says it must serve a purpose or the trait will die out. Does any other species intentionally kill themselves ?
(lemmings are "red herrings")

Actually, I believe there is a very tiny creature that lives in the ocean that creates a flash of light when it is attacked by a predator. Why would it do this ? It certainly makes it easier to see, all but assuring it's demise.
It appears, (as near as scientists can determine) that the light isn't intended for the attacking predator. It is intended to signal the predator of the predator so as to insure the first predator gets eaten by one too big to bother with tiny creatures.

So okay. Suicide can sometimes have a purpose. What would it's purpose be in humans ? To assist in the species survival, same as the sea creature. HOW ?
Well, what causes people to want to kill themselves ? They feel useless, or great guilt, they feel purposeless, etc. People look into themselves and make the judgement that they need to die. One of My uncles killed himself because some bimbo left him. (it was before I was born, so I have no anguish about it.) I happened to have stumbled across his suicide note a year ago while cleaning out my Long deceased grandmothers house.
Being rejected by a mate might be evolutions way of telling you you aren't of sufficient quality to propigate.

So how does "evolution" know whether someone isn't good enough to propigate ? The same way females recognize an alpha, or the way alphas recognize betas, or the way any person figures out subconciously where they fit in the status of whatever group they happen to be in at the moment.
They rely on the other person to signal them with cues. A person who walks in loud, and brashly orders others about is obviously of a higher status that someone who skulks in meekly and doesn't speak or make eye contact with anyone. People create a near instantaneous analysis of a person they have just met. As details emerge, their status gets updated accordingly.

In the case of beta males, high value females realize immediately that there is no further point in communicating with them, and so the poor beta males get the cold shoulder and doesn't even know why. Is it the way he looks ? That IS a component. But alpha males can look ugly, and beta males can look handsome, but they can still be sorted for status by how they act.
The beta male subconsiously knows his status and will often be unable to act like anything else. In this case, the beta male's brain is betraying him by causing him to signal by his behaviour his low status. Some characteristics build upon themselves. An inability to attract a mate lowers a males status in his own mind. Coupled with other inputs a person's own sense of self worth can be seriously degraded. If it degrades far enough, people will sometimes do evolution a favor and take themselves out of the gene pool.
Yes, I know it's really horrible, but there are a lot of UGLY things in nature. We all live by eating the flesh of other organisms we kill for food.

Anyway, longwinded again, but let me see if I can finally go in the direction of a point. Humans have evolved a very powerful brain. Nature uses it against despairing people to benifit the species at the expense of the individual. In cells they call it apoptosis, and as individual humans are analagous to cells and society is analagous to "the body" then it is a fractal representations of the same process on a higher level.

In the case of homosexuals it is the same as others. They get to a point where they feel too much pain and conclude that they have insufficient purpose (purpose to the societal "body") and therefore undergo apoptosis.

What causes the pain ? I think it is the lack of the necessary hormones to reset the biological time bomb that lurks in all our brains.

Human hormones, enzimes, proteins, etc. have unique chemical structures. Because of this they fit in unique places in unique cellular structures throughout the human body. Since much of life uses similar process, many of these unique chemicals are produced by many organisms. Various chemicals produced by various animals and plants have various effects on the human body precisely because they can bind with certain receptors in the human body. What do all those different receptors do ? No one knows what All of them do, but many scientists have figured out what many of them do. Needless to say, they do a lot of different things. Some essential, some not.

Years ago I realized I could not be satisfied with sex if I had to wear a condom. It didn't matter how pleasureable it was, it simply didn't make me happy if I had to wear a condom. At first I thought it was just a psycological thing, but after years of thinking about it and numerous partners I simply couldn't accept that explanation.

If it's not in my head then what is it ? What could it be ?
I finally concluded that it was the vaginal secretions of my partner. I realized that there were many times I got it "wet" but I didn't orgasm, and the next few days I was still as happy as a pig in slop. This happened over and over. 15 years ago I found out about transdermal medicines. The concept that chemicals would absorb through the skin in any meaningful dose was simply something I hadn't thought about until I experienced it personally.
Could it be that there is a chemical which is secreted by females that has exactly the right structure to fit a receptor in the male body ? A key that gives the male a sense of fullfillment, that all is right with the world ?

The male reciprocal would be easily absorbed by the female, and know one would have even thought of it.

Well, the human body uses all sorts of chemicals to signal this, or signal that throughout the body. There are so many chemicals in the human system that it was virtually unknowable up till recently. Now we know that sex causes a huge flood of various chemicals in the human body like dopamine,seratonin, etc. So a chemical specifically secreted by females to allay the "beast" ?
SURE ! Why not ? Males and femals are the same species, though they be different manifestations of it. One cannot exist without the other, and they have co-evolved for millions of years. The fact that the male and female chemicals work together to produce children demonstrates that the workings of males and females are intricatly intwined. There are many species that are not even related that have evolved chemical co-dependence and symbiosis.
It would actually be more amazing if there weren't such a thing between males and females.

So maybe the idea is that of a raving lunatic, but if you think so, why is the thinist skin on the male human body the penis ? I'll go further than that. Guess what section of skin has the greates transdermal absorbtion characteristic on the male human body ? Look it up.

I've got more evidence, but I don't have more time. I'll post more when I get the chance, but I have suddenly become very busy and I don't know when i'm going to get another opportunity to post again.

Homosexuals don't get the stress relief drug secreted by females and therefore never feel satisfied. Thats why they (most) are so extremely promiscuous and why they can have as many as 12 sexual encounters per night. That feeling of being unsatisfied is cummulative, and is a major source of stress. Imagine how you would feel if you hadn't gotten "laid" for 20 years.

They effectively starve to death from lack of a stress relief hormone which is only secreted by human females.