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Why do the genes/gene-sets for homosexuality persist through generations?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Druidus, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Now, obviously no one has all the answers on this topic. But I'd like to put forth a hypothesis of mine concerning the survival and societal benefits of homosexuality (in a portion of a species' population).

    If homosexuality persists, generation after generation, then there must be some reproductive advantage to the species, even if not direct or immediately apparent. I can extend this to any animal, but let's just use humans. Humans are semi-monogamous by nature. We were in the process of shifting towards a more monogamous pattern of mating when we started developing our civilizations. So while we may have kept the idea of one woman to one man as an ideal (often promoted through religion), in practice it would not have been uncommon to see more than one wife per male, perhaps 2-5 (depending on social status/power and other variables). But this is a problem, because the birth ratio is close to 1:1, or one male to every female in the entire population. When there are not enough females to go around for all (or most) of the males, there will be social chaos. Fierce competition for existing females in a such a situation actually drives down group survival as a whole. This pattern has been observed multiple times throughout history, and having too few females for the males in a society is just bloodshed and social struggle waiting to happen.

    But what if a number of those males aren't into females? What if they're gay? Well that leaves a number of "free" women, without a suitable male, who would be available to a socially powerful polygamous male without contest and without provoking social problems. And the gay males would be promoting intragroup bonding. So good news all around!

    (I'll try to explain better when I have an actual keyboard.)

    Anyway, I'm typing this on an ipod, and I hate typing on this, so I'll stop there. I hope I got the gist of my idea across. Please excuse typos or anything I was unclear on, I don't have the patience to edit it on this device. I think it has some potential in explaining why homosexuality persists through generations, even if it's not the whole picture. I know it doesn't explain it all. That said, what do you think about it? And what are your ideas on the evolutionary persistence of homosexuality? I'd love to hear more perspectives!
     
    #1 Druidus, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  2. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    This kind of ignores the existence of homosexual women.
     
  3. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Well, yeah, I don't propose to have all the answers. That's why I posted the thread. What I mentioned, yes, only applies to males. But when I get to a keyboard, I will try to flesh it out and try to offer an explanation for female homosexuality as well (though I'd think it would be strongly rooted in social bonding, as in bonobos today). For now, I was hoping to see ideas from others, to expand my (and hopefully "our") thinking/understanding on the matter.
     
  4. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Or do you mean that because a roughly equal percentage of women would be lesbians, therefore any possible social benefit/s of "extra" available females would be negated? If so, various sexologists/psychologists (including Kinsey, I believe) have shown that females in general are bisexual, whether consciously or not (males, too, to varying degrees, but not as strongly). They would likely still bear children with males. Even if they were almost exclusively attracted to their own sex, at that point in history, they'd probably end up mating with a male anyway (even if forcibly).

    I don't know if that was what you were getting at, though...
     
    #4 Druidus, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  5. bobhikes

    bobhikes AntiRepublican
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    Google Answers: What percentage of humans reproduce?

    Interesting statistics much higher than I thought. I was hoping it was a limit to human reproduction which it still maybe. These number do not make it clear though.

    87% of women and 81% men in America have children
    90% of French women have children the highest
    28% of Australian adults are childless the highest.

    There is one thing I was mulling. In the past and even today it has been a stigma so people that where homosexual have married non-homosexuals and had children passing down hereditary information(if it exists). If we get rid of the stigma and even encourage those that wish to marry we should minimize a true genetic result, never ending it as it would be occurring naturally. But the numbers today could be inflated due to the stigma assigned to it.
     
  6. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    My partner Doug has four children reproducing like crazy. I think he currently has 10 blood grandchildren. But it's hard to tell because he dotes on kids even when they're stepgrandkids.

    Tom
     
  7. bobhikes

    bobhikes AntiRepublican
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    Good for him!

    I don't really believe its genetic. I think sexual drive is genetic but partnership is by choice. For example I am heterosexual and I do not find all women attractive. I even had a time when I was drunk and picked up by a women I did not find attractive and I couldn't preform.

    I believe this is true of all peoples whether they are heterosexual or homosexual they are not attracted to all the people in the group. If it was genetic only you should be attracted to the whole group not a narrow field.
     
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