Followups

There’s an interesting quote from page two of this article:

Gay men have fewer children, meaning that in Darwinian terms, any genetic variant that promotes homosexuality should be quickly eliminated from the population. Dr. Hamer believes that such genes may nevertheless persist because, although in men they reduce the number of descendants, in women they act to increase fertility.

After the post about social evolution’s purpose for gay people a few days ago I thought it was quite an interesting theory, and not one I’ve heard before.

On the subject of real hackers versus script kiddies, and the way that many people don’t know the difference:

“It was inconvenient,” she said of the loss of her e-mail, “and it’s the thing that seems to happen when you have malicious teenage hackers running around with no sense of ethics.”

From the end of this article. ‘Malicious’ and ‘hacker’ are technically contradictions, but that’s just the way that people are changing the use of the word. Apparently hackers are terrorists too, according to the Bush administration, which is amusing because it means that they should go and arrest the majority of the leaders in technology, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Bush himself is attempting to hack the social system of the planet and rewire it the way he wants, maybe we should arrest him too?

Actually, that’s not a bad idea…

5 thoughts on “Followups”

  1. Language changes. “Nice” first meant “silly”. Then “scrupulously exact”. Now it means “blandly pleasant”. You could campaign for the original meaning to be reinstated, but I’m not sure how far you’d get.

  2. I think there will always be people who use the old versions of words, for example I’ve occasionally used the word ‘gay’ to mean happy. I’m not sure that it’s a case of needing to change the world, just wanting to continue the existence of something like a rock in the tide.

  3. Mmm, I’m not sure I bought the social evolutionary purpose for homosexuality — it seemed a bit too Lamarckian for my tastes. Sure, it may have played a role in the survival of the species post-development-of-rudimentary-society, but that doesn’t explain why it developed in the first place. This explanation is a bit better, but I still think it’s lacking. It also doesn’t explain why homosexuality is so extremely commonplace amongst animals.

    An interesting, but also probably simplistic explanation, that I once read was that it’s a simple method of population control.

    On another note, I’ve actually heard it hypothesized that homosexuality may be congenital, but not genetic in origin — that is, the development of homosexuality has more to do with changes in utero than in the fetus’s genetic code. This is (apparently) backed up by the statistical increased incidence of homosexuality in the second and third sons born to mothers (I’d like to find the source for those statistics, however). However, we also know that many gay children have gay uncles — but this, of course, may be partially due to a more accepting environment in certain families which allows the gay children to be aware of their out uncles and also speak freely of their own homosexuality.

  4. We’re still a long way from working out the reasons for people’s sexuality.

    If it is purely a method of population control then how do we explain bisexuality? Also, that theory would presume that there is a higher likelihood of homosexuality occuring in children raised in an urban or overcrowded environments.

    The trouble is that there is no such thing as a control in the study. No one is ever isolated from the culture of the society around them, so even if it was found that there are more gay people in cities than rural villages it still wouldn’t be possible to say if that is a reflection on a population response or simply the more cosmopolitan options available to people in cities.

  5. It would work the same way that any other trait works — that is, even though it’s a method of population control, it doesn’t preclude the fact that for a bell curve distrubution of traits, some people would _have_ to be bisexual. Let’s say having a small segment of your population having big noses provides an evolutionary advantage — it doesn’t stop people from having medium sized noses as well.

    Also, the urban/overcrowded environments theory would only work if a population was stable in that environment for thousands and thousands of years, in order to select for that trait. But as you say, you can never isolate a person from their societal culture, so the point is rather moot anyway.

    Personally, I don’t think there’s ever been an adequate explanation of why homosexuality occurs in the population. I suppose it could just be some sort of freak side-effect, like a spontaneous mutation, but that really doesn’t explain why there would be such a high number (relatively speaking, compared to, say, genetic illnesses or disorders) of gay people.

Leave a Reply