Interesting theory

A man who carries a small dose of gay genes in his genome would, according to the theory, improve his success in the heterosexual mating game. That “certain something” that heightens sex appeal probably consist exactly of those essentials which make homosexuals different from heterosexuals in the first place. According to his theory, the alleged “gay genes” equip men who carry the heterozygous disposition with an above-average degree of feminine traits such as sensitivity, gentleness and friendliness. Gay genes therefore form a natural antidote against “hypermasculine” genes that turn men into rough machos. They would promote properties that appeal to women and indicate a good suitability as a father and significant other. A lesbian disposition lends women reversed traits that helps their reproductive success. Surveys have already shown that psychologically “masculine” women have more sex contacts.

Imagine, for example, there were five genes, each of which occurs in duplicate and increases the probability of homosexuality, Miller speculates. Only if a man had all five alleles in duplicate, he would be gay. “That would be an event that occurs with a probability of 1 to 32, meaning in 3 percent of all men.” Such a system would already be evolutionary stable if a hint of homosexual disposition would increase the genetic fitness of heterosexuals by only 2 percent.

Whether it’s right or not it does seem to make sense.

45 comments on “Interesting theory

  1. Yes, all evolutionary fairy-tales are interesting but they are three a penny, and few of them are provable (for the obvious reason that we don’t have sufficient fossil evidence for stuff like gayness, and can’t do experimental or field evolution on anything much more interesting than bacteria). This isn’t the only gay one by a long shot.

  2. According to his theory, the alleged “gay genes” equip men […] with above-average degree of feminine traits such as sensitivity, gentleness and friendliness. […] properties that appeal to women

    Doesn’t get out much, does he?

  3. we don’t have sufficient fossil evidence for stuff like gayness

    I dunno. Trilobites were pretty fabulous.

  4. And you can get these kind of myths in all branches of science. So what if you can Hardy-Weinberg a system which gives you something close to observed reality (proportion of gay men) and show it works with the assumption that it increases heterozygote fitness by X%? All you need to do is iterate the number of genes involved until you come to a plausible scenario, and any geneticist can do that on the back of a fag packet. There’s no demonstration that a bit of gaiety does increase heterozygote fitness (or that these days, we ask that you just find the genes).

    There is a similar one in economics, that Manhattan Island was purchased for 60 guilders in 1626, and that if you value Manhattan Island today, you get something close to the expected average rate of return from any investment made back then. Maybe you do, but what happens if you tweak that expected rate of return just up or just down?

  5. @SS,

    I love trilobites – I have one on my “work shrine”, along with a few other natural baubles.

  6. BiG – Me too. I find it lends a calming sense of perspective to the ups and downs of life.

  7. If there is a genetic reason for gayness, it probably originates in the asymmetrical inheretance of mitochondrial DNA and the DNA on the X chromosome, with consequent inter genomic conflict.

    Quite interesting really.

  8. No “if” Andy. The evidence is overwhelming that some men just naturally prefer sex with other men.

    How society deals with that is where it differs. In most they marry and have gay sex on the side.

  9. They’re trying to use the “sickle cell anemia argument”. Sickle cell anemia is caused by a gene that if you have one copy of it, gives you immunity to malaria, but if you have two makes you anemic. So long as there is only a small fraction of such genes in the gene pool, those who have it are unlikely to mate with someone else who has it, and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Too high or too low, and either the anemia or the malaria gets you.

    It’s not impossible, but it strikes me as unlikely. If feminine characteristics in men were more attractive to women, the rest of the men would soon develop them.

    A slightly more likely theory is that women with the genes that cause male gayness are more feminine, and hence more attractive. The advantage for women (who all reproduce) outweighs the disadvantage for men (only a minority of who reproduce anyway).

    But the simplest and most likely explanation is that a certain level of faults are tolerable, because the costs of perfection are even higher. It’s the same trade-off that any manufacturer will make. No manufacturing process ever has a 0% failure rate. There are impurities in materials, faults in casting, dust and grit in the machinery, misalignment and miscalibration, and of course, human error. But you can still get by pretty well with a 99% success rate, and then put up with a few returns and customer complaints. Biology is the same.

    The difference between 99% and 99.9% is less than 1%, not worth making a huge effort over.

  10. I live in one of the more deeply Mormon parts of Utah. Here, non-Mormons openly wonder if that church’s strong encouragement that men who would otherwise practice homosexuality stay in heterosexual marriages will lead to an increase in homosexual tendencies. It’s a big natural experiment in nature vs. nurture.

  11. It is definitely correct-think to say that gayness is genetic in origin. In fact, gayness is the only human behavioral trait that genetic in origin. Everything else is “socially constructed”.

  12. A complete load of shit. Except for a recent and culturally limited exception of us in the west, the opinion of women on who they will marry or have children with has been entirely up to men. The strongest and most brutal get their way and the effeminate get killed.

  13. “feminine traits such as sensitivity, gentleness and friendliness.”

    Sensitivity, gentleness & friendliness are traits almost completely absent in women. Any one who says they are has little experience of women.

  14. I don’t know if this theory is out there or I’ve just made it up.

    1. Gay men don’t have more heterosexual sex than straights.
    2. Gays are often absent fathers, not good for childrens’ reproductive success.

    So how to explain persistence of characteristic or genes?

    Could it be that having some gay allelles protects mother and foetus in some way, reducing miscarriage, one very large part of failed reproduction?

  15. I’m looking forward to the embarrassed silence from our scientific overlords when it becomes fashionable to say that genes are socially constructed. It won’t take much for that to become a ‘consensus’ either – a few bricks thrown through scientific grants, the odd carrot dangled here and there, sympathetic coverage in the BBC and Guardian.

  16. “I’m looking forward to the embarrassed silence from our scientific overlords when it becomes fashionable to say that genes are socially constructed.”

    They’d just ask to see your evidence.

  17. Chester Draws – “The evidence is overwhelming that some men just naturally prefer sex with other men.”

    Is it? Says who?

  18. No. It doesn’t make sense. It does not make sense that there is even one gene that increases predilection towards not wanting to perform one’s biological role.

    If a gene decreases genetic fitness in this way- and it is utterly implausible that such a gene could have some compensatory increase in fitness to those who were not afflicted with homosexuality which compensated for the decrease in fitness from faggotry- it would be ruthlessly culled from the genome by natural selection.

    What does make sense is some combination of the effects of homosexual rape, and some parasite akin to that which causes toxoplasmosis. Not something innate to ‘humanity’, but a disease that hijacks our brains, especially in ‘civilized’ societies where disease transmission is so much more rapid.
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/2013/04/16/gay-gene-vs-gay-germ/

    There is a good reason many primitive tribes know nothing of male homosexuality- like cholera it is a problem that only occurs when many people congregate in a confined space. There is a good reason the homosexual lobby movement wants to prevent the discovery of the real causes of homosexuality.

    It will be funny to see what happens to suspected homosexuals in the third world when it is proven that a virus or protozoic parasite is the cause of male homosexuality.

  19. SMFS: Chester’s evidence is that he’s a fag since his first experiences with his schoolmaster at age 11, and he has NEVER WANTED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE, FUCK YOU MOM AND DAD!

  20. Paul Rain

    A gene which normally is disadvatageous, yet persists, must have some advantages. We don’t know what they are yet. Sickle cell is about the simplest case, but a blunt instrument.

    A similar conundrum is for the low level persistence of psychopathy. (The full blown kind, not a bit of sociopathy + criminality.) It’s hard to point to long term survival advantage, (maybe bravery?).

    Being totally incurable it seems a priori congenital.

    Disadvatages are huge: Poor parenting (even infanticide), total lack of loyalty, etc. Nowadays we lock them up (ergo, sexual opportunity is rare) but previous generations were less tolerant. Eskimos would kick them out of camp and murder them.

    And yet the “gene” survives, at about 3% of the population curiously close to rates of homosexuality.

  21. SMFS

    You think homosexuality is a modern thing?

    Do we ignore all the previous societies where gay sex was common (albeit that they still married)? Because the ancients had it, and either accepted it (Greeks, Romans) or didn’t but had to do so specifically because it happened despite their prohibitions (Jews, Chinese).

    And I know that many here think gayness is somehow made by modern blackness, but you actually need to have some desire first.

    Despite Paul Rain’s ad hominem I couldn’t do it regardless of how much it might advance me. Others are, literally, different.

    To deny the plainly obvious just makes you a fool.

    In my part of the world there are fafafine. It’s difficult to believe that arose due to western modes of thought.

  22. zut alors – “A similar conundrum is for the low level persistence of psychopathy. (The full blown kind, not a bit of sociopathy + criminality.) It’s hard to point to long term survival advantage, (maybe bravery?).”

    Well obviously low level psychopathy is very good for the low level psychopath. It is just not for society – or more accurately the sort of stable, agricultural-based (and then urban-based) society we have developed. Being a low level psychopath is obviously a good thing for hunters and gatherers. Look at the Yanomami.

    “Nowadays we lock them up (ergo, sexual opportunity is rare) but previous generations were less tolerant. Eskimos would kick them out of camp and murder them.”

    Prisoners in America have more children than the law abiding. I bet the same is true for non-White people in Britain. It is easy to be intolerant of the psychopath, but it is harder to do something about it. Well, before he does something else about it, pre-emptively. Eskimos killed each other at really respectable rates. One of the leading causes of death was other Eskimo men. Looks to me like the psychopaths were doing nicely.

    The most likely cause of homosexuality is awful mothers. Which drives some young men into passive aggression and a refusal to develop any sort of normal sexual relationship.

  23. Modern laxness. Not blackness.

    I really have to disable my autocorrect. I have never knowingly typed blackness. It is a SJC conspiracy.

  24. Jesus SMFS, have you never met any gay people?

    Because the idea that it is their awful mothers is a disgraceful slander.

    Your child is gay, you must be an awful mother!

    That’s up with “autism is caused by frigid mothers”.

  25. Chester Draws – “You think homosexuality is a modern thing? Do we ignore all the previous societies where gay sex was common (albeit that they still married)? Because the ancients had it, and either accepted it (Greeks, Romans) or didn’t but had to do so specifically because it happened despite their prohibitions (Jews, Chinese).”

    Yes I do think it is modern. Because the ancient world did not have it. They did not have homosexuals. Even the West only had men who may or may not have had sex with other men. Not exclusively. Not flamboyantly. I think it came from somewhere around the Mediterranean world and spread all over Eurasia and then to the Americas.

    “In my part of the world there are fafafine. It’s difficult to believe that arose due to western modes of thought.”

    You live in Samoa? Let’s do an elementary check

    A recognized gender identity/gender role since at least the early 20th century in Samoan society, and some theorize an integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine are assigned male at birth, and explicitly embody both masculine and feminine gender traits, fashioned in a way unique to this part of the world. Their behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to conventionally masculine.[1]

    Since the early 20th century? That long.

    Traditionally, if a family had more boys than girls or not enough girls to help with women’s duties about the house, male children would be chosen to be raised as fa’afafine.

    So …. nothing to do with identity at all but an odd and very primitive form of family planning? One not chosen by the boy concerned?

    In Samoa, the Samoans believe that there is no such thing as being “gay” or “homosexual.”[1] Fa’afafine, as a third gender, have sexual relationships almost exclusively with men who do not identify as fa’afafine, and sometimes with women, but apparently not with other fa’afafine.

    So no homosexuals in Samoa then. Let’s go to one of the sources that Wikipedia quotes:

    Samoa’s social acceptance of fa’afafine has evolved from the tradition of raising some boys as girls. These boys, were not necessarily homosexual, or noticeably effeminate, and they may never have felt like dressing as women. They became transvestites because they were born into families that had plenty of boys and not enough girls.

    In families of all male children (or where the only daughter was too young to assist with the ‘women’s’ work), parents would often choose one or more of their sons to help the mother. Because these boys would perform tasks that were strictly the work of women they were raised as if they were female. Although their true gender was widely known, they would usually be dressed as girls.

    As they grew older, their duties would not change. They would continue performing ‘women’s’ work, even if they eventually married (which would be to a woman).

    So weird, yes, but not homosexuality. In the traditional practice there is not even much of a hint of hot boy-on-boy sex much less homosexuality.

    Modern fa’afafine differ in two fundamental ways from their traditional counterparts. First, they are more likely to have chosen to live as women, and, secondly, they are more likely to be homosexual. These days, young Samoan boys who appear effeminate, or enjoy dressing as girls, may be recognised as fa’afafine by their parents. If they are, they will usually be neither encouraged nor discouraged to dress and behave as women. They will simply be allowed to follow the path they choose.

    And it becomes clear – modern Samoa is the unfortunate recipient of Western missionaries. Not Christian ones it is sad to say, but LGBT ones. They have convinced these Samoans that they are Gay. Even though traditionally they were not.

  26. Chester Draws – “have you never met any gay people? Because the idea that it is their awful mothers is a disgraceful slander.”

    Whether it is a slander or not is irrelevant. Whether it is true or not is what counts. And yes I have met many Gay people. They often do live the stereotype of passive aggressive misogyny actually. Which does strongly suggest problems with their mothers.

    “Your child is gay, you must be an awful mother! That’s up with “autism is caused by frigid mothers”.”

    The Freudians can be wrong about autism and yet right about homosexuality.

  27. @ Chester Draws

    Did the Greeks/Romans have same sex marriage as well or weren’t they that ‘enlightened’?

    Perhaps they just fancied children as it seems most ‘gay’ relationships were between adult men and pubescent or adolescent boys.

    Pederasty is probably the root of more modern words…

  28. @NiV,

    That’s why this particular “theory” grants advantage to any level of gayness up to all five genes homozygous. Equilibrium of heterozygous fitness is one of the oldest genetic theories and taught in school, backed up by real-world proof (like the one you give of sickle-cell anaemia), but anyone can make up numbers that work plausibly for any trait you care for. That doesn’t constitute evidence for the particular theory. The selective pressure against something that only reduces reproductive fitness (and probably not by much) when homozygous at 5 loci is going to be pretty minimal.

    @Dave Tufte – are you related to Prof. Ed by any chance?

  29. Re David Tufte. He’s a professor himself, but not related – as far as I know. Think he’s written about it on his blog (Voluntary Exchange….voluntaryXchange)

  30. Alpha females are now deemed “masculine.” That sounds patriarchal to me. The sweet little things may not possess such traits as assertiveness, aggression, defiance, independence or initiative. The female equivalent of a “man cave” being a “kitchen.”

  31. Homosexuality is most likely a very early imprint as are many paraphillias. The mother may be a help or a hindrance to the paraphilia or have no effect. Imprints are not well understood.

  32. “Homosexuality is most likely a very early imprint as are many paraphillias.”

    Heterosexuality, too.

    This is the “sexual orientation is socially constructed” theory, isn’t it?

    I’m guessing you’re blaming The Matriarchy

    😀

  33. “There is almost no evidence that homosexuality is a case of ‘born that way’.”

    So true! Heterosexuality too. You don’t get any noticeable heterosexuality in newborns, do you? 🙂

    I think some people are not thinking about the implications of what they’re saying. If the homosexual/heterosexual distinction/choice is nurture rather than nature, it must by definition be so for both. Heterosexuality and gender is socially constructed.

    The hypothesis has considerable psychological appeal – it was very popular with the post-modern Marxist feminists in the 90s. But it turned out the post-modern Marxist feminists were wrong.

    As ought to be obvious. Sexual attraction is a complex pattern recognition problem linked to some pretty complicated and specific motivations, and there’s no logical or rational reasoning for it – it’s wired in to the brain. Kids with no sex-ed figure it out on their own. Animals figure it out with no rationalisation or education whatsoever. And conversely, kids before puberty don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, and find the whole subject ‘icky’. It’s caused by secondary sexual brain development at puberty, triggered (in boys) by a massive increase in testosterone. Growing those new brain structures is like growing a beard – you don’t have to think about it for it to happen.

    So the idea that some girls suddenly grow beards during puberty because they’ve been “imprinted” by their parents is just weird. You can’t change the structure of your brain or your sex hormone levels just by really, really believing it. That’s magical thinking.

    Nor can you explain the small number of girls who grow beards as some sort of super-cunning evolutionary strategy. (like, it gives babies something to hang on to in case their mother’s accidentally drop them…?) The simple fact is that the decisions about body form are built in and automatic, but biology is imperfect and sometimes goes wrong. Development of complex structures can be turned on or off when they shouldn’t be.

    Just because you can’t see brain structures as easily as you can a full and bushy beard doesn’t make it any less true.

  34. Give it a rest NiV.

    “Heterosexuality, too.”

    Yeah and eating is a choice too–you don’t have to–try it sometime.

  35. “Give it a rest NiV.”

    After you…

    “Yeah and eating is a choice too–you don’t have to–try it sometime.”

    The *desire* to eat isn’t a choice, though. It’s wired in.

  36. As is heterosexuality.

    The fact that –likely–an imprint can twist around the normal course of events is irrelevant.

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