Posted by: Chris | February 14, 2010

Bugbears

Yet another attempt to explain homosexuality through straightforward adaptionism, this time trying to use the “male-alliance” theory to rebut the vaguely more legitimate “gay uncle” theory.  The author is right insofar as the “gay uncle” hypothesis pushed by the Canadian authors is likely not significant enough to solely or even largely account for (male) homosexuality.  But the alternative friendship hypothesis is by far the worst  of the three proposals.  It simply does not explain the occurence of exclusive homosexuality (which seems to be its primary manifestation in males), as presumably the male-male alliances would have to eventually result in successful copulations with females to be successfully passed down.

Homosexuality is one of the most amusing topics to watch strict adaptionists discuss, as they cannot deny a genetic component for political and scientific reasons, but also feel compelled to find some convoluted stories for homosexuality to be actually evolutionarily beneficial.  Of course, the easy answer is that the homosexual phenotype is quite detrimental evolutionarily, but the combination of weak pleiotropic and heterzygote benefits combined with a sizable number of carriers makes the gene incredibly difficult to rid ourselves of.  In fact, researchers have discovered just that, showing that the maternal line of gay males tends to be far more fecund than that of heterosexual males.  Male homosexuality simply seems to be an unfortunate side effect of a largely beneficial gene exposed to certain pre-natal environments.  But I guess that’s not sexy enough for some people, so instead the original website has a whole section dedicated to failing to explain “Homosexuality’s Darwinian Paradox.”

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Responses

  1. […] to discount the direct adaptionist explanations for homosexuality (and lefties) and to back a model that explains them as simply errant phenotypic outcomes of a larger, broadly beneficial […]

  2. […] endorse the most biologically bankrupt of the three adaptionist explanations for homosexuality (the male-bonding theory) because it coheres nicely with their sexually promiscuous man theories (the same can be said for […]

  3. […] Simon LeVay, former Harvard neuroscientist, has some interesting things to say on about one of our regular topics.  He seems to basically agree that a pleiotropic explanation for homosexuality suffices to […]

  4. […] Lure has been critical of sophistical evolutionary logic in the past, so when I came across Jesse Bering’s article about the evolution of rape […]

  5. […] biological origins of homosexuality* (and the evolutionary accounting for the same) are a popular topic in these parts.  My preferred hypothesis is a mix of neurological genes and prenatal hormones for […]


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