Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why it does not make evolutionary sense to demonize homosexuality

Note: This blog entry was originally titled "Evolution does not favor homosexuality". I decided to change the title after I realized how the original one had misled some readers and distracted them from my key message in the post.

From an evolutionary perspective, a tribe/species that persistently favors homosexuality inevitably would increasingly experience barrenness among the tribe/species members, which would ultimately lead to the demise of the tribe/species. It is for this reason that homosexuals (whether those in the animal kingdom or in human communities) have always been, and will always remain a minority.

Having said the above, I strongly believe that people with homosexual inclination should be treated with respect and understanding, and should not be discriminated against, denigrated or demonized.

Nevertheless, realistically speaking, I believe we must acknowledge that there will always be a bias among most of us (many a times unconsciously or sub-consciously) for heterosexuality and against homosexuality, given our evolutionary (natural) instinct for procreation and survival.

The more we are willing to admit this bias wired in our natural brain, the better able we will be to address it and override it, with our rational mind.


eekpil said...

Losheng wrote:

It's hard to be sure that evolution does not favor homosexuality. Evolution only addresses issues that affect the species' chance of survival - as a whole. Other than that, evolution seems to encourage, or at the very least, accommodate diversity, even if some characteristics may seem contrary to species survival. So, I would argue that if homosexuality, even at a small scale, is truly detrimental to the survival of the human species, then it would probably have evolved the trait out of existence long time ago. Alternatively, evolution may find another way to solve the reproduction problem - fishes are capable of changing sex when it need to!

To single out homosexuality as a problem for human existence is surely exaggerating the issue. There are more than enough heterosexuals to sustain the human race in the foreseeable future. The fact that many in the developing countries are not reproducing at replacement levels might be an issue more worthy of discussion.

And my humble opinion on the real threat of humanity - our insatiable desire to draw dividing lines, along religion, color, race, social status, region, sexual orientation, and anything that we can find, to create constant conflict and intolerance. Our divisive obsession coupled with our incredible talents in creating weapons is the most likely cause of our own destruction.

Homosexuality per se? That's too far down the list.

eekpil said...

Reply to Losheng:

Thanks for the comment, my friend. Just to clarify, I was NOT writing about homosexuality's threat to the survival of the human species. And I am FOR respecting every single human being - including the one who professes to be a homosexual.

In fact, if you had understood my logic accurately, I am actually REFUTING those who are using such an argument (that homosexuality would threaten the survival of the species) as an excuse to denigrate, discriminate and demonize the homosexuals. There is totally no grounds at all for such an argument.

Evolution has chosen for the human species the path of sexual reproduction. Members of the species who stick to this path will propagate their genes. Members who stray from it will not.

And assuming that homosexuality is a genetic trait (I know not everyone agrees on this, but let's just make this assumption for the sake of argument), it follows that such a trait will always have the odds stacked against its successful transmission to the next generations, given the "chosen" reproduction strategy of the species (which is sexual).

Hence, my conclusion that homosexuals (whether those in the animal kingdom or in human communities) have always been, and will always remain a minority.

eekpil said...

Rely to Losheng (cont'd):

Losheng, please understand that I am NOT knocking the homosexuals.

I am just trying to figure out why so many of us possess the "insatiable desire to draw dividing lines, along religion, color...sexual orientation". I believe when we find the reason, we can address the problem.

I think complaining about the symptom ("insatiable desire to draw dividing lines") does not really help the situation at all. Trying to put the blame on culture or education may lead us somewhere, but ultimately, I believe it would be helpful for us to trace the root all the way to our most basic biological/ evolutionary nature.

The NATURAL BRAIN has evolved (or has been designed) to prefer traits that increase the likelihood of the survival and propagation of the species.

Such natural preferences may make perfect sense in the evolutionary past due to the prevailing environmental factors and circumstances then, but they may not be deemed reasonable or moral or civilized or tasteful to the modern man and woman.

It is my belief that when we are aware of how the NATURAL BRAIN works, then we can learn to override some of its UNREASONABLE inclinations with our RATIONAL MIND. (Read also my next blog post "Are looks and age important".)