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Thread: Homosexuality as an evolutionary trait?

  1. #1 Homosexuality as an evolutionary trait? 
    Forum Freshman piok_opze's Avatar
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    I have been reading these forums a lot, but this is my first post!
    I was goin thro the topic "Is Homosexuality wrong?"
    and i read the below post
    Pikkhaud:
    Homosexuality is just a bad mutaition.

    it sparked a thought that i would like to get opinions about.
    could homosexuality in humans actually evolve be a factor to keep human population in check?
    we know for real that in certain insect communities (typically one with large number of individuals forming a group), not all are capable of reprodution. there are workers, cleaners, hunters designated among them. only a few(in some cases, only one) reproduce.
    but, it makes sense in a way, that in an insect community, if every individual reproduce, it would eventually be detrimental to the whole population in that they cannot sustain such numbers.

    so, could humans be evolving a "homosexual" gene?
    ofcourse, children of homosexual people (if they do) need not turn out to be the same. and again, for it to evolve, it has to pass thro to the next generation. could we reach a stage were we give birth homosexual as well as hetrosexual offsprings?

    could we be at an initial stage were some parts of human population are sexually active, but they have gene which orient them towards the same sex, effectively acting as a means to keep the population in control?

    just a crazy idea,,
    [no offense to anyone, hope we can have a healthy discussion]


     

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  3. #2  
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    Interesting idea....I guess that would actually work as a population control method....but do you think that our bodies are able to realize all of the factors needed for it to make that decision? Don't you think it would be easier to just void our ability to reproduce genetically, instead of controlling our personality?


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    we know for real that in certain insect communities (typically one with large number of individuals forming a group), not all are capable of reprodution. there are workers, cleaners, hunters designated among them. only a few(in some cases, only one) reproduce.
    but, it makes sense in a way, that in an insect community, if every individual reproduce, it would eventually be detrimental to the whole population in that they cannot sustain such numbers.
    Though the environment may not be able to sustain such a population, that's not why non-reproductive castes evolved in eusocial insects.

    For any genetically determined trait to be maintained in a population, that trait must, in some way or another, bring a reproductive benefit to the individuals that have the genes for that trait. So, if homosexuality is meant to reduce population size, then the only way I could see it working is this: some people have fully expressed homosexuality, and they don't reproduce. Their relatives, however, have some of the genes for homosexuality but not enough to fully express it, so they can reproduce and pass on the homosexuality genes. The relatives of homosexuals reproduce better than the relatives of heterosexuals, because the relatives of homosexuals have less resource stress due to less adults in the group having children.

    But think about it. What is the bare minimum required for this situation to work? Say, for example, a family with two heterosexual children may yield four grandchildren - two each. But a family with one homosexual child and one heterosexual child would also have to yield at least four children - all from the heterosexual - in order for the homosexuality traits to be maintained in the population and not eventually be replaced by purely heterosexual genes. So the only real difference is that you have less people producing all the children, and the net population doesn't actually decrease.

    As it is in eusocial insects: just a few individuals, the queens, actually have children, but the total population might not get that much bigger if all the individuals reproduced; if they did, they could probably only fight out enough resources for themselves to just have a few offspring each. That's why working in a colony is more advantageous - your billions of sisters will give you far more reproductive benefit than a handful of your own offspring.

    I personally think that, genetics and evolution wise, homosexuality is probably more like sickle cell anemia - not that I'm trying to say homosexuality is a disease, just that the evolutionary mechanics are similar. In sickle cell, the heterozygous form (one allele for sickle cell, one allele for normal cells) has the advantage of slowing the spread of malaria. However, the homozygous form (two alleles for sickle cell) is disadvantageous and results in the disease. But, the advantage given to individuals with the heterozygous form was enough to maintain the sickle cell allele in the population, despite the cost to homozygous individuals.

    Similarly, fully homosexual individuals don't reproduce at all, but probably many heterosexuals have some of the alleles that contribute to homosexuality, that both allows them to reproduce with members of the opposite gender as well as gives them a reproductive advantage of some kind, enough to outweigh the complete lack of reproduction in fully homosexual individuals, and to keep the homosexual genes in the population.

    P.S. - why is this thread in the Philosophical Discussion forum? 0_o
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  5. #4  
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    The whole situation is made more complicated by the fact that for pretty much all of human history there were still strong incentives for homosexuals to reproduce, even if they didn't actually have a biological urge to have sex with women. Up until very recently everyone wanted a large family with many children so that you had plenty of people around to work on the farm/help raid the neighboring village/carry on the family name/marry off to end feuds or create alliances/whatever. So until recently there was a good chance that a homosexual would have realized that there were major advantages to having children and decide to reproduce regardless of his sexual orientation.

    And that's not even getting into the looooong periods were society viewed homosexuality as wrong and people needed to hide it - many homosexuals probably married and had children (and thus passed on their genes) simply to avoid suspicions.
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore jakesyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piok_opze View Post
    I have been reading these forums a lot, but this is my first post!
    I was goin thro the topic "Is Homosexuality wrong?"
    and i read the below post
    Pikkhaud:
    Homosexuality is just a bad mutaition.

    it sparked a thought that i would like to get opinions about.
    could homosexuality in humans actually evolve be a factor to keep human population in check?
    we know for real that in certain insect communities (typically one with large number of individuals forming a group), not all are capable of reprodution. there are workers, cleaners, hunters designated among them. only a few(in some cases, only one) reproduce.
    but, it makes sense in a way, that in an insect community, if every individual reproduce, it would eventually be detrimental to the whole population in that they cannot sustain such numbers.

    so, could humans be evolving a "homosexual" gene?
    ofcourse, children of homosexual people (if they do) need not turn out to be the same. and again, for it to evolve, it has to pass thro to the next generation. could we reach a stage were we give birth homosexual as well as hetrosexual offsprings?

    could we be at an initial stage were some parts of human population are sexually active, but they have gene which orient them towards the same sex, effectively acting as a means to keep the population in control?

    just a crazy idea,,
    [no offense to anyone, hope we can have a healthy discussion]
    That would make so much sense, population is growing exponentially and ecologically speaking the earth can only support a finite amount of people, and were halfway to the estimate.
    "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error; but who does strive to do deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
     

  7. #6  
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    If you're interested in this topic, do some research and start a new thread.

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    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
     

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