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Posted: 05 September 2008 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Axegrrl - 04 September 2008 07:34 AM
Lilith - 03 September 2008 09:44 PM

Some of my lesbian friends annoy me a little with their insistance on ignoring their bodies’ signals and doing the artificial insemination thing, but whatever.


Hey Lilith smile  I know the above wasn’t the main point of your post, but I’m just curious…...what exactly do you mean? (specifically, the ‘ignoring their bodies’ signals’ bit)

Hi again Axegrrl.  Sorry for the move, but I couldn’t begin to respond to you without going way, way off the topic of that thread.  I am not a biologist or human sexuality expert, so this is solely based on my personal opinion.

Large social mammals must evolve population control mechanisms or they would quickly kill themselves off due to ecosystem meltdown.  Based on what we know about the animals we have the most in common with, chimpanzees and bonobos, there are two potential models for social reproductive behavior in animals like ourselves that are of very high intelligence and develop tools. 

In the bonobo model, regular sexual impulse is satisfied throughout the group without negatively impacting resource availability because much of the gratification is homosexual or ‘fondling’ and does not include intercourse that results in offspring.  While the alpha male model of chimpanzees is more complex and less effective in regulating population, it reduces the potential of each ejaculation and female ranking discourages lower-ranking female’s access to the alpha male.  Infanticide is also dramatically more common in the alpha male model.

In humans we know sex is determined due to hormones released by the mother at different stages of fetal development.  We also know that amongst a group of male siblings, each additional male born to the same mother is approximately 30% more likely to self describe as “gay”.  I suspect alpha males are a product of this mechanism.  If prenatal hormones effect men in that fashion, I suspect they also work similarly on female fetuses.  I also think stress and overpopulation may effect these hormonal womb baths as well. 

I also think stress hormones released during our lives effect our ability to procreate and that if there is a significant environmental stress during the years while we’re coming of sexual maturity, that may trigger additional homosexual traits and push us further towards the homosexual end of the Kinsey scale, making us less likely to create more relatives to compete for waning resources. 

I suspect initial homo sapiens social structure developed both patterns, initially similar to bonobos and later some alpha male models emerged, which would have slowly overtaken specifically the males still existing in groups of the original model.  I believe the catalyst of the alpha male model almost completely overtaking the original was the advent of the common religious structure we see today that aggressively pushes to override sexual variability that when left alone, naturally regulates population, for the purpose of breeding armies for the alpha male to use as an extension of himself to fight other alpha males.

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Posted: 05 September 2008 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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an interesting hypothesis.  I’m sure theres a good paper in there if you can find a way to test it!

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Posted: 05 September 2008 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Lilith,
You seem to be suggesting that same-sex attraction is an evolved population control mechanism.  And further, that a lesbian who wants to have a child is somehow ignoring this biological signal.  Is that right?  Isn’t it possible that the desire to have children, even in a lesbian, is also a biological signal?  I suspect same-sex attraction and desire to have children are actually two separate things.  Remember, our desires are not rationally designed.  If a lesbian’s desire to have children is not a biological drive, where do you suppose it comes from?

Also, are you making a distinction between gay males and alpha males?

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Posted: 05 September 2008 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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the PC apeman - 05 September 2008 05:19 AM

Lilith,
You seem to be suggesting that same-sex attraction is an evolved population control mechanism.  And further, that a lesbian who wants to have a child is somehow ignoring this biological signal.  Is that right?  Isn’t it possible that the desire to have children, even in a lesbian, is also a biological signal?  I suspect same-sex attraction and desire to have children are actually two separate things.  Remember, our desires are not rationally designed.  If a lesbian’s desire to have children is not a biological drive, where do you suppose it comes from?

Also, are you making a distinction between gay males and alpha males?

PC

I am suggesting that if your body gives you signals of aversion to mating with a member of the opposite sex, I don’t think we should be overriding those signals with artificial insemination, which organized religion has always done. 

No, I am in no way suggesting that gay men can’t be alpha males.  But I think the catalyst males that switched us from matriarchial tribes to patriarchial warring populations were probably uber hetrosexual first born males. 

Like I said, this is just all my own musings.  I’d welcome any direction anyone could give me on this, but from my research there don’t seem to be any really good science based books on this type of thing.  I’ve read lots and lots of books vaguely on the topic, like “Genes, peoples, and languages” and “Woman, an imtimate geography”.  And I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about bonobos.

Edit:  I forgot to answer the most important part “If it’s not a biological, what is it”  It’s fashionable to be knocked up right now.  Lesbians of just ten years ago, that I know, that chose to be moms did so by giving sorely needed homes to hard to place kids; black kids, abuse cases, older kids.  Now the fashionable thing is to order up a vial of sperm so you can have “the complete experience” and get a dula and all that nonsense.

[ Edited: 05 September 2008 03:57 PM by Lilith ]
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Posted: 05 September 2008 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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When would humanity have needed to evolve a mechanism for population control?  In human history we have almost went extinct several times more people means better survivability. I have never heard of any animal which had biological mechanisms within it that controlled it’s populations, predators and food shortages do that (I’ve studied evolution, and ecology).  Further more how would homosexuality get passed on in our genes if homosexuals did not have children?


Psychology Today Has posed some possible reasons (based on scientific studies, not conjecture):


*Having some gay genes may make a man or woman more attractive to the opposite sex, even though having too many could   make you gay.  Example: a man with some gay genes may be less prone to violence and do a better job of raising children.
“Good Dad/Mate Gene”

*Woman who have gay sons also have 30% more off spring, and have four times as many sexual partners than the average   woman. “Man Loving Gene”

*Boys with many older brothers are more likely to be gay, mothers immune response to male fetuses can strengthen and may damage proteins produced by the Y chromosome. “Immune System Gone Wrong”

*Woman may have “masculinizing genes” making them stronger more protective mothers but may become lesbian if they have too many “masculinizing genes”. “Stronger Mom Gene”

Here is a link to the article:

Finding the Switch: Gay Genes

[ Edited: 05 September 2008 09:02 PM by Some Guy ]
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Posted: 05 September 2008 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Lilith, IMO you need to think critically and use the scientific method before you form an opinion.  It’s a trend I’ve noticed in many of your other posts. It’s especially important to not share opinions about something as deeply personal as sexual preference without having put some real thought and fact based evidence into it. If I was one of your lesbian friends I would not appreciate those sorts of comments.

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Posted: 05 September 2008 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Lilith - 05 September 2008 03:52 PM

Now the fashionable thing is to order up a vial of sperm so you can have “the complete experience” and get a dula and all that nonsense.

Reproducing your own genes has been “fashionable” for a very long time now.

[ Edited: 05 September 2008 07:24 PM by George ]
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Posted: 05 September 2008 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m afraid the idea of genes for population control makes no sense in terms of evolution. A gene that discouraged its vehicle from reproducing it would disappear from the population rather quickly when competing with genes that encouraged their own reproduction. Furthermore, selection at the population level or “for the good of the group” is referred to as the “group selection” theory and is generally regarded as mistaken.

Forms of behavior that tend to diminish an individual’s odds of reproducing (joining a clibate religious group, homosexuality, etc) and that are stable at relatively low frequencies over time are often believed to be controlled by gene complexes which in general give a selective advantage to most of the individuals who carry them but which have, as a low frequency “side effect” if you will, the less reporductive behavior. They have to promote their own reproduction more than discourage it on average over time or they will disappear.

Finally, let’s be careful of the naturalistic fallacy. Even if the idea that homosexuality were somehow a behavior produced by genes to discourage reproduction, it does not make any sense to suggest this means people ought to follow the dictates of these genes. We have biological drives that we choose to ignore all the time because as individuals and societies we are better off not indulging them willy-nilly. I try not to punch out people who piss me off in traffic, urinate in a socially unacceptable circumstances, force sexual behavior on unwilling partners, etc even though all of these can be said to be “natural” behaviors my genes might predispose me to, because I can use my faculties of reason and self-control to overide them when appropriate, for my own good and the good of others in the longer term

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Posted: 05 September 2008 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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George - 05 September 2008 07:22 PM
Lilith - 05 September 2008 03:52 PM

Now the fashionable thing is to order up a vial of sperm so you can have “the complete experience” and get a dula and all that nonsense.

Reproducing your own genes has been “fashionable” for a very long time now.

.....If you’d ever had a child, you would know that a competent dula is very helpful to the mother during childbirth and not dismiss them out of hand. It is also a very old practice. I wish I’d had one during the birth of by children.

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Posted: 06 September 2008 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Lilith - 05 September 2008 03:52 PM

I am suggesting that if your body gives you signals of aversion to mating with a member of the opposite sex, I don’t think we should be overriding those signals with artificial insemination, which organized religion has always done.

If a man and a woman are sexually attracted to each other but for some biological reason cannot conceive a child, should they take that as a signal to not have children as well?  Is it equally wrong in your view for them to pursue extraordinary means?  Is it equally wrong for them to use contraception (or abstain) if they are biologically capable of producing a child?

As far as the population control idea goes, shouldn’t we be able to see this in action?  In areas where there has been scarce resources for tens of generations, shouldn’t we see increased rates of homosexuality?  And in areas of abundant resources are we seeing the opposite?  What does the evidence say?

I’m having a hard time understanding where (and why) you draw the line between natural and artificial or social behavior.  If the causal chains for any human behavior don’t somehow trace back to human desires then what is their origin?  Even a fad must have a cause.  Am I detecting some hidden human exceptionalism here?  Is there anything a human can do that is not natural?

PC

PS.  Do you really think it’s apt to describe homosexuality as an aversion to mating with a member of the opposite sex?  Having a strong attraction towards one gender doesn’t necessarily mean there is a comparable aversion to the other.

[ Edited: 06 September 2008 02:58 AM by the PC apeman ]
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Posted: 06 September 2008 02:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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danlhinz - 05 September 2008 06:45 PM

Psychology Today Has posed some possible reasons (based on scientific studies, not conjecture):

*Having some gay genes may make a man or woman more attractive to the opposite sex, even though having too many could   make you gay.  Example: a man with some gay genes may be less prone to violence and do a better job of raising children.
“Good Dad/Mate Gene”

*Woman who have gay sons also have 30% more off spring, and have four times as many sexual partners than the average   woman. “Man Loving Gene”

*Boys with many older brothers are more likely to be gay, mothers immune response to male fetuses can strengthen and may damage proteins produced by the Y chromosome. “Immune System Gone Wrong”

*Woman may have “masculinizing genes” making them stronger more protective mothers but may become lesbian if they have too many “masculinizing genes”. “Stronger Mom Gene”

Here is a link to the article:

Finding the Switch: Gay Genes


Saying a woman who has had a lot of children is more likely to have a gay child is like saying a women with a lot of girls is more likely to have a boy, or a woman who has a lot of kids is more likely to have one with chronic condition/birth defect. Or fill in the blank. I don’t think much of this study, I would like to see more studies. Seeing that 5-10% of the population is gay, It only stands to reason that a large family is likely to have at least one gay child.

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Posted: 06 September 2008 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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asanta - 06 September 2008 02:59 AM

I don’t think much of this study, I would like to see more studies. Seeing that 5-10% of the population is gay, It only stands to reason that a large family is likely to have at least one gay child.

I think Psychology Today has thought-provoking articles but sometimes they are just conjectures—thanks to danlhinz for the post.
I agree with asanta it would be nice to see some critical review of this stuff and further studies. 

Same goes for lilith’s post—- thanks for explaining the idea—still thinking about it.

[ Edited: 06 September 2008 04:45 AM by Jackson ]
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Posted: 06 September 2008 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I have to agree with Mckenzie. Evolution would naturally select against any gene that reduced its carrier organisms chances of reproducing for the most part. There are exceptions. Altruism is the single exception I can think of. Individuals will at times risk their own lives to save the lives of their kin. From a strictly mathematical standpoint you could see how this would make sense at times. The individual may perish, but dozens of other individuals who carry the same genes may be saved in the process. I think it would be hard to apply this principle to the case in question though. To suggest that a group would somehow benefit by limiting its rate of reproduction ignores the realities of life in the wild. Unlike modern day humans, all other organisms face a continuous fight for survivial. Large animals, predators, infectious diseases, and an ever changing environment are constant threats to the survivial of any species. Reduced reproductive rates only make a species/group more vulnerable to these threats.

MacKenzie’s second point is also a good one. Even if our genes have evolved for a given purpose, we are thinking animals and there is no reason we need to follow the dictates of those genes. Until recently food was scarce. Our genes evolved to compell us to eat as much as we can whenever food is available. That very impulse has lead to a society of obese individuals where diabetes is now an epedemic. Surely you aren’t suggesting we should refrain from efforts to control our impulse to overeat because its dictated by our genes.

[ Edited: 06 September 2008 06:10 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 06 September 2008 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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mckenzievmd - 05 September 2008 08:41 PM

I try not to punch out people who piss me off in traffic, urinate in a socially unacceptable circumstances, force sexual behavior on unwilling partners, etc even though all of these can be said to be “natural” behaviors my genes might predispose me to, because I can use my faculties of reason and self-control to overide them when appropriate, for my own good and the good of others in the longer term

Hmm, I think the fact that you actually don’t punch people who piss you off should also be included in the natural behaviors your genes have predispose you to. Pancreas makes insulin, brain makes reason. Some unlucky mutants get diabetes and others punch people in traffic and end up in jail.

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Posted: 06 September 2008 11:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’d just like to address the reprimand about posting my “opinion” on a message board.  Really?  I think I prefaced it as such A.  B) whoever made the comment about the magazine, ditto, which is why I mentioned suggestions of books on the topic.  Message boards would be quite the bore if they were nothing but the regurgitation of acknowledged fact.

To the other responses; I have seen more than one suggestion that homosexuality could be a population control mechanism.  The oldest use of herbs as a birth control that I have heard about is apparently mentioned in the old testament of the Bible.  A friends mother told me about it.  The fact that humans even had the need to use herbs for birth control (once in a religious culture that forces breeding) tells me it would be logical if there were a evolutionary control to limit population.  The fact that male sexuality (and I suspect female) becomes more fluid with birth order makes me think the larger the population, the more beneficial it is for that fluidity to exist in each additional offspring.

If humans have proven anything, it’s the ability to overpopulate beyond available resource.  If, big if as I suggested at the very beginning by saying my opinion, sexual fluidity were the evolutionary population control mechanism, to prevent a population from overgrowing it’s available resources, populations that produce these type of offspring would have had an advantage over groups that overpopulated and diminished resource which would cause death of that groups youngest members disproportionately.  This advantage possibly occuring in some time after the advent of tools and our diet becoming more specialized.  That means the occurence of this trait would be standard before individuals possesing that trait passing it along were necessary. 

In almost every culture we see a social discouragement of at least open homosexuality.  If you believe, as I do, that the goal of organized religion is for the purpose of political ends, it makes sense that controlling sexual fluidity in both sexes and the use of all available females for the purpose of breeding is the thing religion is most anxious to control.  I suspect homosexuality in the mid-region of the Kinsey scale is drastically underacknowledged due to social-religious influence.

There is no question homosexuality, or sexual fluidity if you go by the Kinsey scale, has some very important biological function, and I am becoming more certain that function is as a population stabilizer.  I don’t think it is by accident that in larger populations where religious freedom is assured, there is more sexual fluidity.  When you take away the false influence of religion in highly populated areas, say New York or Amsterdam, more sexually healthy adults opt out of reproduction through same sex preference.

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Posted: 06 September 2008 11:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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macgyver - 06 September 2008 07:38 AM

Our genes evolved to compell us to eat as much as we can whenever food is available. That very impulse has lead to a society of obese individuals where diabetes is now an epedemic. Surely you aren’t suggesting we should refrain from efforts to control our impulse to overeat because its dictated by our genes.

This is only partly true. Only the genes of the obese individuals evolved to eat as much as possible. My genes didn’t evolve in that way as I am not obese. You seem to be making the same mistake as Brennen, elevating reason to become a member of some sort of divina favente.

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