Genetic Homophobia

this is just being put out for descussion, please do not pull my skin off for this… I don’t belive it myself… okay?

could homophobia have a evolutionary advantage?

especially in trying to keep your children from ‘turning’ gay. from an evolutionary point of view wouldn’t a gay child be a total ‘failure’. it would use your resources and time like a child but never pass on your genetic information, causeing any genes that force or shame kids into being straight to be more representitive. (like, if you as a parent force your kid to have children and like women… you unlose the resources and that kid passes genes on) wouldn’t on adverage even truely gay people be more likely to have a child anyway if they were told their whole life that they HAD to do that and anything else was entirely evil?

is that possibly why there is such a violent aditude towards homosexuality all over the earth through most of history? why people object more violently to that idea than to the idea of other things they dislike. could it be like the incest taboo? possibly evolved?

now back to the disclaimer from the start: I don’t really think like this, but I am takeing an evolutionary psychology class this semester… and it shows ALOT of evil behavior can be explained by evolution (rape is the big one, men who have genes that raise hormones and produce a wish to rape have more children who have genes that make them more rapist.)

something in me really hates these explanations, that things like that would be genetic… but it DOES make sense… natural selection wise. if you rape girls you get more children… men who rape are selected for, and people that say its immoral to be gay have children who have children… if they force them to supress their sexuality.

I strongly feel this a repulsive idea… that such horrible behaviors can be explained as advantages in evolution … but something tells me that finding that idea repulsive also could be evolved… somehow (sort of the so long and thanks for the fish “we will replace your brain with a computer” “but I’ll nodice!” “we will program it not to”)

Remember that genes are complicated bastards. Even pinning down the definition of one isn’t as easy as people commonly believe. Genes interact with eachother, the enviironment, don’t always act as predictably as models would hope and so on. Genetics certainly influence basic cognitive processes and those influence social interaction and complex behavior but that doesn’t mean you are genetically determined to be homophobic.

I’d recomend, if it isn’t integrated strongly with the evolutionary psychology course, taking a Behavioral Genetics class. Also for another replicator, but not gene, based explanation of behavior there are some good resources on memes. “The Meme Machine” by Susan Blackwel is a good place to start.

There’s the first problem. I can think of a few societies where homosexuality isn’t condemned (ancient Greece comes to mind) and most societies quietly tolerate it, even if they put on a big outward show against it.

And, as The Tim points out, genetics and evolution really isn’t a simple equation. Right now biological determinism is pretty trendy in pop-science. But the argument of “it’s human nature” is probably the oldest argument there is, and without scientific proof it carries no weight no matter how logical it may seem. Often times, a culture’s history and environment yields more clues about the origins of it’s behavoirs then trying to pin everything down on genetics.

of course genetics are not a definite thing. nature vs nurture and all that. And there are cultures and people that do not feel homophobic (I don’t) but maybe I simply lack the set of genes.

there ARE some behaviors that are biological, like the incest taboo, most (but not 100%) of people find anyone they grew up with as a child in a family setting to be sexually repulsive, and even more with their parent. this is something apes and other animals without culture do as well, they never mate with their parents and rarely mate with siblings. and then there are things like fear of snakes and spiders and heights… humans seem to be predisposed to learning that fear, but still need to learn it, even if it is easyer to learn than any other fear (doesn’t take alot to get someone to learn it)

and this doesn’t seem like the giraffee getting a little bit longer neck and eatting more leaves and leaveing on adverage more children in a very slow and nebulus way like most evolutionary traits. this is one that actually could show a large and countable number of more children. (10% of kids you have don’t pass on any matterial and don’t get to ‘vote’ with your genes in natural selection. if you call everyone “dirty faggots” and scare them into finding a girl you become a horrible person but your horrible person genes are passed on fully 10% more often becomeing more respresntitive).

it could be a meme thing as well, if 10% of people are gay… then societys that supress that grow 10% faster and have a 10% higher population and can beat out gay freindly neighbors (and then tell their kids how wimpy the gays are and how darn right they are)

I don’t belive in heavy genetic determinism, but I could almost see SOME defence to try to keep your genes going against a ‘threat’ that takes 10% of your children out of the gene pool AND doesn’t even make them die so your resources are ‘wasted’ by raiseing them like you would a reproduceing child(from the gene’s point of view)

sigh… we need a devil’s advocate board… somewhere to post and argue for something you don’t belive, topics like this are interesting, but they make me seem bad… like I am advocateing that homophobia is natural… and therefore okay.

First off owlofcreamcheese, I see no cause for you to feel morally tainted for entertaining this hypothesis. If biologists were to prove that there are genes for rape it would do nothing to condone the practice. While genetics and other sciences may provide clues as to why we exhibit certain tendencies they don’t compel us to adopt any particular moral precepts.

As far as there being any kind of evolutionary advantage to homophobia: I doubt it. The theory rests on the assumption that homo/heterosexual are exclusive, mutually exhaustive definitions (i.e. you can only be one or the other and there is nothing in between), and that they they are hardwired. Take the Athenians for example. They (at least the aristocratic class) may have had male lovers but most of them were married with children. They viewed marriage with women as being useful for producing children and in creating a household but for true “love” (in the modern sense of a relationship entailing friendship and intellectual stimulation) they turned to men. In Spartan society homosexual relationships between members of the military was actually encouraged as it was supposed to create a stronger tie of loyalty among the troops, even though they all had wives and children back home as well. In this kind of a setup, where you don’t view yourself as being exclusively “gay” or “straight”, you’re still passing on your genes just as well as in our own society without any need for homophobia.

Also sex in human beings seems to be used for cementing social ties as well as for procreation so there’s no reason why homosexual sex couldn’t be evolutionarily beneficial (e.g. if it promoted cohesiveness and trust in a group of hunters who have to rely on team work to bring down large game) so long as it wasn’t the exclusive form of sex.

I have posted a thread over in General Questions, based on a related and far more obvious poser: How can homosexuality be hereditary? Lots of responses so far, check it out.

Whoops! That thread appears to have been closed . . . how long do threads last on this message board, anyway? I’m new here.

:dubious: Looks like your thread’s right here.