Re: memetics-digest V1 #1527

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Tue 01 Mar 2005 - 12:59:58 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Homosexual genes and memes."

    Fantastic {applauds loudly}.

    Even rounded off with a nice analogy. Superb analysis.

    Cheers, Chris.

    Peter Baker wrote:
    > In message <200502281850.SAA24389@localhost.localdomain>,
    > writes
    >> But the animal should always prefer an opposite sex partner unless the
    >> homosexual behavior has some adaptive function other than breeding.
    >> This function may be to practice sexual skills without being pregnant,
    >> or it may be to form alliances, or whatever.
    > Obviously if the most frequent function of sex were procreation, then
    > one would expect a partner of the opposite sex to be strongly selected
    > for... But is it the most frequent use of sex?
    > Given our own personal experience of the matter it is so strange that
    > people still have this biblical view that sex is 99% for procreation,
    > and 1% for sin, or other marginal reasons. Look at it this way... How
    > many times does the average human have sex in a lifetime? At a very
    > rough guess, once a week for 50 years? Say 2500 times in all? And how
    > many children on average? 2.5? So procreation accounts for about 0.1% of
    > human sexual activity. What the hell were we doing it for all the rest
    > of the time? And if it wasn't for procreation, then does it matter
    > whether it is with a partner of the same or different sex?
    > Only if there is an adaptive benefit... and what Bagemihl shows
    > (ignoring the shortcomings you mention) is that evolution favours
    > diversity on this issue. Many, if not all mammals - including us - have
    > the potential for bisexual activity and relationships, and we swing one
    > way or the other as the situation requires. As humans, our MEMETIC
    > makeup may predispose us to deny it (and as an aside there is good
    > scientific evidence that closet bisexuals are the most vociferous in
    > promoting anti-gay memes) - but that doesn't change the fact that we are
    > all bisexual.
    > I think my point here is to challenge the assumption that we need to
    > explain homosexual behaviour MORE than we need to explain other
    > non-procreative sex. Homosexual behaviour is less frequent than
    > heterosexual behaviour, that's all. But orders of magnitude more
    > frequent than procreative sexual activity. I suspect if we sat down and
    > seriously thought about why we personally do what we do, and listed all
    > the uses we put sex to - (yes, you!)... wanting to get/keep a partner;
    > peace making (nothing like making love after an argument!); conversely,
    > avoiding an argument with an amorous partner; showing off to one's mates
    > (and if a guy having non-procreative sex with a woman in order to
    > impress his mates isn't homosexual behaviour, I don't know what is!),
    > showing off to oneself; indulging an unobtainable fantasy; 'scratching
    > an itch'; or as a substitute for a good wank (pleasurable, and you might
    > know how to do it better yourself, but of low memetic status)... I think
    > we would find that when it comes down to it, most of the reasons for sex
    > with someone of the same sex are the same as for with one of the
    > opposite. We are not so different as some memes lead us to think.
    > [Particularly those originating with a certain celibate brotherhood in
    > Rome, but I've covered promotion of anti-gay memes above, so enough.] In
    > fact - the memes in our heads are the largest difference we have, far
    > greater than our biological diversity when it comes to sexual orientation.
    > The problem lies in thinking that procreation is still the 'main' reason
    > for sex. Feathers may have evolved to keep dinosaurs warm, but do we
    > feel the need to explain the outrageous use that birds find for them?
    > And in our puzzlement at such unorthodox use, would we suggest that one
    > reason birds fly is in order to keep their feathers in trim for a cold
    > night?
    > :-)

      Chris Taylor (
      HUPO PSI: GPS --
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