Monday, April 19, 2010

A benefit to procreation

My friend and debate partner asked me to share my thoughts on this article from the New York Times. It is a look into the research on homosexuality in animals. I've encountered most of the basic ideas before, but even with the length I read it all. There are a couple new ideas which I'll share.

Much of the article is about Laysan albatrosses in Hawaii. The researcher, Lindsay Young, noted many nests under the care of two females instead of a male and female pair. Young is very careful in describing what she found to make sure she isn't imposing the human perspective on what the birds are doing. It's a wise move, but the article shows how difficult it is to pull off.

One reason why homosexual behavior in animals was dismissed for so long is because it is so difficult to reconcile such behavior with what we know of evolution. That same difficulty has been noted with human homosexuality and debated extensively. Another researcher, Paul Vasey, says the answer for a particular species does not necessarily translate to any other species. Each one may have developed its own evolutionary reason for same-sex pairing.

The difficulties of gays and evolution got me thinking about the Fundie insistence that marriage is only for procreation. When considering behavior through the lens of evolution the major question is how does a certain behavior benefit procreation. And Fundies don't believe in evolution?

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