Against Nature? An exhibition on animal homosexuality

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Few may have noticed that recently the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo opened an exhibition on homosexuality in the animal kingdom

The exhibit puts on display a small selection among the more than 1500 species where homosexuality have been observed. This fascinating story of the animals’ secret life is told by means of models, photos, texts and specimens. The visitor will be confronted with all sorts of creatures from tiny insects to enormous spermwhales.

The website shows some interesting examples of gay animals and provides some useful references.

For instance a recent book titled Homosexual Behaviour in Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective by Volker Sommer (Editor),Paul L. Vasey (Editor)

Book Description Behavioural observations from both the field and captivity indicate that same-sex sexual interactions are widespread throughout the animal kingdom, and occur quite frequently in certain non-human species. Proximate studies of these phenomena have yielded important insights into genetic, hormonal and neural correlates. In contrast, there has been a relative paucity of research on the evolutionary aspects. Homosexual Behaviour in Animals seeks to readdress this imbalance by exploring animal same-sex sexual behaviour from an evolutionary perspective. Contributions focus on animals that routinely engage in homosexual behaviour and include birds, dolphin, deer, bison and cats, as well as monkey and apes, such as macaques, gorillas and bonobos. A final chapter looks at human primates. This book will appeal to graduate students and researchers in evolutionary biology, biological anthropology, zoology, evolutionary psychology, animal behaviour and anyone interested in the current state of knowledge in this area of behavioural studies.

The studies have also caused some to doubt Darwin’s theory of sexual selection such as Joan Roughgarden who is mentioned in an older Seed article. Joan Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University, wrote a book on this topic titled Evolution’s Rainbow.

Professor Roughgarden proposes that Darwinian theory is flawed when it comes to sexual selection.

As Paul Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, put it, “I think much of what Roughgarden says is very interesting. But I think she discounts many of the modifications that have been made to sexual selection since Darwin originally proposed it. So in that sense, her Darwin is a straw man. You don’t have to dismiss the modern version of sexual selection in order to explain social bonding or homosexuality.”

I am looking forward to the days when the ID movement will embrace Professor Roughgarden into its big tent of Darwin Doubters

46 Comments

Roughgarden is transsexual. The ID movement most likely wouldn’t touch her with a 30 foot pole.

Boo, I know, hence my somewhat sarcastic comment. She recently released a book on evolution and christianity which calls for reconciliation. Hardly the kind of controversy ID would want to touch. A bit hypocritical don’t you think so?

From what I’ve read of the exhibition at World Science (http://www.world-science.net/), the organizers of the exhibition take a number of liberties. They call animals gay many times when they are in truth bisexual. They attribute human morality to animals, rejecting the idea of acts involving the penis between males as being demonstrations of dominance or bonding, and state that it must be sexual, just like in humans. And they have a seriously distorted idea of sex, using more an anthropological definition rather than the standard biological one of a mixture of gametes.

And they have a seriously distorted idea of sex, using more an anthropological definition rather than the standard biological one of a mixture of gametes.

I’ll try that one, next time the enraged father or husband busts into the room.

“Dude, there is totally No mixing of gametes going on here.”

Why can’t gay sex among humans be about bonding or dominance?

I thought most sex within a relationship was about bonding…

except for fundies i guess?

(skipping “dominance” joke because it’s too obvious)

Observing homosexual behavior among animals does NOT suggest that there are “gay animals,” i.e. individuals whose preferred (or only tolerable) sexual partners are of their same sex.

Jedidiah Palosaari Wrote:

From what I’ve read of the exhibition at World Science (http://www.world-science.net/), the organizers of the exhibition take a number of liberties. They call animals gay many times when they are in truth bisexual.

CCP Wrote:

Observing homosexual behavior among animals does NOT suggest that there are “gay animals,” i.e. individuals whose preferred (or only tolerable) sexual partners are of their same sex.

I think both of these comments are missing the point. It is argued that homosexual acts are immoral or unnatural. If they occur in nature, they aren’t unnatural. It doesn’t matter whether the animal is strictly gay, really bisexual, or just “bicurious”, the argument that homosexual acts are unnatural is undercut.

Not that determining homosexual acts to be natural actually means anything. Cancer is natural, we still oppose it. Murder of children is natural for some species, but it’s not moral to most human morality systems. Of course, it cuts both ways. A life without our guts crawling with parasites is unnatural, but I think most of us approve of it. Natural doesn’t mean good or moral, so the entire “Homosexuality is unnatural!” “No, it’s natural, see!” bickering is pointless. Being natural won’t justify homosexuality anymore than being unnatural would condemn it.

Jedidiah Palosaari Wrote:

From what I’ve read of the exhibition at World Science (http://www.world-science.net/), the organizers of the exhibition take a number of liberties. They call animals gay many times when they are in truth bisexual.

CCP Wrote:

Observing homosexual behavior among animals does NOT suggest that there are “gay animals,” i.e. individuals whose preferred (or only tolerable) sexual partners are of their same sex.

I think both of these comments are missing the point. It is argued that homosexual acts are immoral or unnatural. If they occur in nature, they aren’t unnatural. It doesn’t matter whether the animal is strictly gay, really bisexual, or just “bicurious”, the argument that homosexual acts are unnatural is undercut.

Not that determining homosexual acts to be natural actually means anything. Cancer is natural, we still oppose it. Murder of children is natural for some species, but it’s not moral to most human morality systems. Of course, it cuts both ways. A life without our guts crawling with parasites is unnatural, but I think most of us approve of it. Natural doesn’t mean good or moral, so the entire “Homosexuality is unnatural!” “No, it’s natural, see!” bickering is pointless. Being natural won’t justify homosexuality anymore than being unnatural would condemn it.

Some scientists have interpreted same-sex pairing as anything but sex. In a study of giraffes in Africa a researcher registered all cases where a male sniffed a female as “sexual interest” — while anal intercourse with ejaculation between males was registered as a form of ritualised fighting (“sparring”), despite the fact that 94% of all registered sexual activity in one area took place between males.

HaHa. Not sure why but this somehow reminds me of evangelical nutjobs Kent Hovind and the meth sniffing gay prostitute guy from colorado. hmmm.

CCP Wrote:

Observing homosexual behavior among animals does NOT suggest that there are “gay animals,” i.e. individuals whose preferred (or only tolerable) sexual partners are of their same sex.

No, but observing preferential homosexual behavior DOES suggest that there are “gay animals.” Unfortunately for CCP, such observations have, in fact, been made. In fact, researching this rebuttal to the “homosexuality is unnatural” argument is how I discovered Panda’s Thumb. My wife and I support gay marriage (because we want other people to have the opportunity to be as blissfully happy as we are), and I had become involved in opposing the recent Michigan amendment barring gay marriage.

Some scientists have interpreted same-sex pairing as anything but sex. In a study of giraffes in Africa a researcher registered all cases where a male sniffed a female as “sexual interest” — while anal intercourse with ejaculation between males was registered as a form of ritualised fighting (“sparring”), despite the fact that 94% of all registered sexual activity in one area took place between males.

HaHa. Not sure why but this somehow reminds me of evangelical nutjobs Kent Hovind and the meth sniffing gay prostitute guy from colorado. hmmm.

Kay said, “I thought most sex within a relationship was about bonding…”

I agree, and I was unclear. But I’d suggest an animal establishing that it is related to another animal, reaffirming the bonding, is different from a commitment to that animal, or of simply enjoying the orgasm. I’d say some animals are gay, in that they are completely committed to their own gender, as the exhibition helpfully shows us, and convincingly demolishes the argument that gayness is “not natural”, at least in reference to the animal kingdom. Others engage in homosexuality while being focused on heterosexuality, or are heterosexual only to produce offspring. But I don’t htink we could call the animal “gay” unless it was exclusive, anymore than we could call an human gay if he has some homosexual experiments in his past. There is a wide variation, and it seems not so clear cut as the exhibition would suggest. It’s the same problem that many run into in misinterpreting the Kinsey Report, suggesting that it states that 10% of Americans are gay.

It seems to me that a basic problem is that sexual orientation is being treated as a dichotomous variable, when in fact it is not. Unfortunately, public discussion seldom includes such subtleties.

There does seem to be some very interesting research about this sort of stuff going on, if the contents of my hormones and behavior book are to be trusted. For scientists, the more general question could be framed more like ‘how do the systems which control targeting of sexual behaviors work?’ This not only includes targeting the correct (from a fitness point of view) sex, to targeting receptive mates, targeting fertile mates, targeting mates of the right species, etc. There is some evidence among birds and mammals that hormones have an organizational effect in during early juvenile stages, followed by a bit of refinement during puberty-type life stages. In fact, researchers have found it relatively easy to make animals prefer to associate with, mount, or adopt receptive postures toward members of the same sex with hormonal treatments during early or juvenile development.

Re “For scientists, the more general question could be framed more like ‘how do the systems which control targeting of sexual behaviors work?’”

That sounds like a good question to me too. The impression I have right now is that there’s a set of genes that determine the physical equipments, and another set of genes that determine the behavior, and some regulatory something that, 90% or so of the time (for our species anyway), causes them to sync up in the opposites attract way. Is that more or less right, even if totally lacking in detail?

Henry

Jedidiah Palosaari Wrote:

I agree, and I was unclear. But I’d suggest an animal establishing that it is related to another animal, reaffirming the bonding, is different from a commitment to that animal, or of simply enjoying the orgasm.

Different but not necessarily contradictory. An animal can perform an activity simply because it’s fun, even through that activity also serves a larger purpose such as establishing dominance or bonding, which in turn is favored by evolution because it boosts reproductive success.

It’s like trying to decide whether a cat catches birds because it needs to eat them or because it’s fun. The answer is yes.

But I don’t htink we could call the animal “gay” unless it was exclusive, anymore than we could call an human gay if he has some homosexual experiments in his past.

Well, generally we call a human gay if the human calls hirself gay, regardless of hir ratio of homosexual to heterosexual encounters. Of course we can’t ask the animal what it would prefer to be called, but it probably won’t get offended if we use the wrong word.

In peer-reviewed research on the subject, so far as I know, the researchers just don’t bother trying to label the animals.

By golly, when I die, I want to come back as a bonobo.

What a life.

:)

Why on earth are the fundies so fixated and fascinated with willies and what people (and, apparently, animals) do with them, anyway?

I think they’re just full of impure thoughts. (shrug)

I don’t get this “but the animals aren’t gay, they’re bisexual!” thing. Even if that were the case, would the existence of bisexual animals be any less interesting or socially relevant than the existence of gay ones?

Why bother focusing on that? Is there any meaningful difference between a same-sex relationship held by an exclusively gay individual and a same-sex relationship held by a bisexual individual?

The impression I have right now is that there’s a set of genes that determine the physical equipments, and another set of genes that determine the behavior, and some regulatory something that, 90% or so of the time (for our species anyway), causes them to sync up in the opposites attract way. Is that more or less right, even if totally lacking in detail?

It’s not my field, so all I can do is parrot the contents of the books on my desk. Actually, I think that a reasonable percentage of the genes involved in morphological versus behavioral sex determination are the same. In mammalian development, genes (principally the gene sry on the y chromosome - if you have it you are generally male, if not, female) tell the gonads to become either testes or ovaries. Later in development, the differentiated gonads start sending hormones out to tell the rest of the body (including the brain) what sex to become. This all requires producing certain quantities of certain hormones, having certain numbers of hormone receptors on certain cells, having certain quantities of inhibitors or chaperones in certain tissues, having certain levels of the proteins that turn hormones into other hormones, etc. I don’t think it is yet known how many genes are involved in the whole process, nor in what parts of the process are they involved; it is a very active area of research, though. It has all been complicated by the relatively recent discovery that the brain can produce hormones too. Given the temporal and spatial separation between sexual differentiation of the reproductive organs and the brain, however, it would probably be physiologically fairly easy to get a differently sexed body and brain combination. The whole process appears to be extremely complicated, and many old ideas are being overturned. For example, testosterone isn’t as ‘male’ a hormone as commonly believed. In fact, much of it is turned into estrogen in the brain, and it is this estrogen which is responsible for masculinizing portions of the brain. The role of testosterone in this case is simply to ferry estrogen to the right places at the right times. And of course, nowadays our environment is full of hormone mimicing compounds of human origin. Most of these compounds (called endocrine disruptors) mimic the effects of estrogens, and have been shown to affect human development. I bet that someone out there has tried to explain the greater numbers of outed male homosexuals that we see today as being the consequence of environmental endocrine disruptors (though I prefer the more parsimonious explanation that gays are simply more likely to out themselves because social condemnation of homosexuality is fading away rapidly). Despite this, I somehow doubt that we will see many evangelicals issuing fire-and-brimstone condemnations of the plastics industry.

Recently, PETA and tennis star, Navratilovra, have called for a cessation of research into gay sheep here at O(regon)SU. More on gay sheep research here. I haven’t closely followed the story because my family is Irish, not Scottish, but I had heard about the research. But I remember being in my office, grading papers, when one of my office mate’s students came in to explain why he had missed the mid-term exam. It seems this brainiac football player had been arrested for stealing a ram. The gay ram. I tried, really I did, to keep a straight face as this poor lad had to explain what he was doing with the ram. At the time he didn’t know he was gay. ‘onest. I made it until he had left and then lost my composure and my office mate and I had a gay ole time at this poor boy’s expense.

”…observing preferential homosexual behavior DOES suggest that there are “gay animals.” Unfortunately for CCP, such observations have, in fact, been made. In fact, researching this rebuttal to the “homosexuality is unnatural” argument…”

uh… Not “unfortunate” for me at all, since I was NOT arguing that homosexuality is unnatural, and nor do I have any particular stake in the veracity of that argument. All I meant to say is contained in the words I typed; it’s a statement of fact, and one that I stand by. Referring to “gay animals” is misleading and wrong if it is based solely on anecdotal observation of behavior.

That said, I would be most surprised to learn of exclusively homosexual wild animals other than humans. Captive situations don’t count. I have not read Roughgarden, and I do not find mere assertions that such individuals have been observed persuasive… can you surprise me with specifics?

…oh, and the reason I think exclusively homosexual animals WOULD be more interesting than bisexuals or occasional dabblers is that genetic homosexuality ought to be selected out pretty quickly (for, I hope, obvious reasons) unless some sort of very special social circumstances apply.

@CCP: you could probably get some evidenced examples at the web site for the show :)

Captive situations don’t count.

As an ecologist, I would normally agree fully with this criterion. Animals in captivity, especially ones that grew up in captivity, don’t act like other animals. They simply don’t get the right environmental cues to shape their behavior. It is a thousand times worse when you get those horribly inbred strains of lab rats or drosophila that have almost nothing to do with real animals.

However, when making comparisons to humans, I think that this criterion needs to me relaxed. Why? Because humans are no longer in a natural situation, and our behaviors are shaped by an environment that is wildly different from that in which we evolved; just like captive animals. Thus, we need not limit ourselves to comparisons with animals in natural habitats. We should still avoid those crazily inbred ones though.

In any case, I agree with what others have posted here and elsewhere. What is natural is a poor arbiter of what is ethical.

Anton Mates Wrote:

Of course we can’t ask the animal what it would prefer to be called, but it probably won’t get offended if we use the wrong word.

It can! My cat, Alex, not only knows his name, he knows the name of our other cat, Max. Alex gets offended if you call him Max.

Max is unaware that he or anything else has a name. :-)

I looked at the website, and found it a muddled mush of false equivalents. The only long-term relationships mentioned are same-sex bird pairs raising young. Far from proving there are “homosexual animals,” that’s not even “homosexual behavior” in my book, since there is no indication that sexual behavior is involved in the pair bond, and in each case eggs were obtained by heterosexual coupling (as all must be). I would discount captive situations not only because behavior is altered, but because choices are fewer. In humans, homosexual behavior occurs at much higher frequency in places like prisons and boarding schools. Look, I do not believe that human homosexuality is “unnatural”–like other commenters, I’m not even sure what that might mean. Human social systems are more complex than those of most (all?) animals, and human sexual behavior is extraordinarily plastic (not only is gay-or-straight a false dichotomy, but face it–some folks get off on shoes, or sheep…clearly an attraction to zip-up polymer clothing cannot have an evolutionary or genetic basis!). Homosexual behavior in animals is a fascinating ethological subject, but bears barely at all on questions of human behavior. And on the subjext of false dichotomies, “choice-or-genetic” is another doozy. There are many mechanisms by which a behavior or preference might be biologically based without invoking selection for genetic underpinnings (see plasticity, above). OK, I’ll shut up.

I looked at the website, and found it a muddled mush of false equivalents. The only long-term relationships mentioned are same-sex bird pairs raising young. Far from proving there are “homosexual animals,” that’s not even “homosexual behavior” in my book, since there is no indication that sexual behavior is involved in the pair bond, and in each case eggs were obtained by heterosexual coupling (as all must be).

Well there goes the argument against same sex adoptions and same sex in vitro fertilization.

This is a good point:

I looked at the website, and found it a muddled mush of false equivalents. The only long-term relationships mentioned are same-sex bird pairs raising young.

The point is that when one takes a liberal interpretation of animal sexuality, then a liberal view of human sexuality is easier to grasp. This seemed to me a bit circular until someone mentioned the Giraffes.

Comment # 142897

CCP Wrote:

Comment #142897 Posted by CCP on November 6, 2006 9:36 PM (e) …oh, and the reason I think exclusively homosexual animals WOULD be more interesting than bisexuals or occasional dabblers is that genetic homosexuality ought to be selected out pretty quickly (for, I hope, obvious reasons) unless some sort of very special social circumstances apply.

ding ding ding.…well it appears that there is a causal link to male homosexuality with hyper sexuality of said individuals mothers. It seems that mothers may genetically affect male’s preference to other males. In short the more your mom is into sex the more homosexual tendencies you may have.

Sex is a very unusual thing. There is no black and white. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but there is no true completely straight or homosexual person. Most of us are near the edges but there is a VERY large grey area. There is so much evidence that disputes the “2 sexes” model. Stating that animals really aren’t gay but are bisexual is true. Stating that humans are the only animal that is capable of homosexuality is false. I’ve got many “gay” friends. Even the self proclaimed “flaming gay” friends I still consider bi. They can claim their complete homosexuality all they want. To me it is no different the 2 stupid people having a chilli eating contest. They can eat the chillies all they and claim it doesn’t effect them but at the end of the day their eyes are still watering just like I’ve witness just about every “flaming gay” friend I have, both male and female, hit 2nd or 3rd base with someone of the opposite sex. So please define what you mean by “exclusively homosexual”.

Having a Y chromosome doesn’t make you male. There are documented cases of XX males where the SRY gene was found on the X chromosome. XY females are far more common then you could imagine. XY females can occur because a number of reasons. They could have a displaced or missing SRY gene, they could to have no or reduced numbers of testosterone receptors. Hell there are documented cases of girls hitting puberty and transforming into boys. This interesting situation comes from the person having some problem with testosterone receptors. When they hit puberty and the testosterone levels jump it is enough for testis to drop and the penis to start actually enlarging. Gender ambiguity is a common term for a person that has outwardly visible gentile problems.

Sexual preference is influenced by gonad development but it isn’t black or white. There are many factors that play into it. There is nothing immoral about someone sexual preferences as long as they are not hurting themselves or someone else IMHO.

I’m agree with the Rev. Bring me back as a bonobo. The scientists actually don’t even class them as bisexual but more pan-sexual. Don’t be surprised if you fall into that group. I’ve actually got a “female” friend that has Swyer syndrome and I’d bet most “straight” guys would find her very attractive (9 or 10). She not only looks like a female in all respects she perceives herself to be a female and is sexually attracted to males. The only reason I wouldn’t have a “relationship” with her is a few of her personality traits. While we are good friends we wouldn’t make a good couple. But I can say that of 99% of my female friends.

To even throw you a bigger curve ball the go to wikipedia they’ve got photographic proof of a mouse with necrophilia. I’m sure that someone will try to say that’s because of “the fall”

Sex is a very unusual thing. There is no black and white. Sorry to burst anyones bubble but there is no true completely straight or homosexual person. Most of use are near the edges but there is a VERY large grey area. There is so much evidence that disputes the “2 sexes” model.

Well, you can go on and on about whether (nonhuman) animals are gay, or bisexual, or whatever. But I don’t think you can argue they’re not into… bestiality!

CCP wrote:

Comment #142897 Posted by CCP on November 6, 2006 9:36 PM (e) …oh, and the reason I think exclusively homosexual animals WOULD be more interesting than bisexuals or occasional dabblers is that genetic homosexuality ought to be selected out pretty quickly (for, I hope, obvious reasons) unless some sort of very special social circumstances apply.

I don’t think it is an obvious reason. Just as an analogy, consider the well known example of sickle cell anemia. Even though two copies of the gene prevent an individual from reproducing, the gene stays in the population because of its benefits to individuals inheriting only one copy.

Sexuality has many factors controlling it, that probably overlap with other traits (such as sex for reproduction vs. bonding). So if a side effect of the mixing of all those factors is to occasionally produce a homosexual individual, I don’t see it as obvious that there would be a negative selection pressure for those factors if they have a benefit to others in the population.

Jeff- good point. pleiotropy could also play a role. but I promised to shut up.

Russell Wrote:

Well, you can go on and on about whether (nonhuman) animals are gay, or bisexual, or whatever. But I don’t think you can argue they’re not into… bestiality!

I think that should be defined as outside of your own species as opposed to outside of the human species. Otherwise, it would only be moral for animals to mate with humans, while that would be immoral for the human!

However, bestiality, by that definition, is still natural! There is a species (or more, I don’t know) of fish that, rather than mate with other fish of it’s species, mates with clams. EXCLUSIVELY!

However, bestiality, by that definition, is still natural! There is a species (or more, I don’t know) of fish that, rather than mate with other fish of it’s species, mates with clams. EXCLUSIVELY!

Huh.

Why does it do that?

Why does it do that?

Possibly for a “reason” similar to the “reason” why some male dogs will hump a human’s leg.

The fish have external fertilization. The female lays her eggs inside a clam shell, the male then comes over and sheds his milt into the shell as well. The eggs are then fertilized in a relatively protected environment, far safer than just doing it outside. As I recall, the fish don’t require the presence of another fish of the opposite sex, they just find clam shells and mate with them.

No consent is garnered from the clam, proving that rape is also natural.

Homosexual rape occurs in some mites where large males inject their sperm into the reproductive organs of other males, so that when the other male mates, he’s spreading his rapist’s sperm!

Yes, if it’s natural, it must be good!

Re “There is a species (or more, I don’t know) of fish that, rather than mate with other fish of it’s species, mates with clams.”

Sounds like a shelfish thing to do.

Well, you can go on and on about whether (nonhuman) animals are gay, or bisexual, or whatever. But I don’t think you can argue they’re not into… bestiality!

But they only do it for England.

No consent is garnered from the clam, proving that rape is also natural.

if you’re going to use an example, at least use it right:

-they don’t mate WITH the clam, they use it as a nest.

so obviously it ISN’T rape.

it could be considered a form of ammensalism bordering on parastism, however.

or do you also consider parasitism of all kinds to be a form of “rape”, provided reproduction is involved in some sense?

if it was a joke, it was “Kerryesque” in its botchedness.

Wayne F:

I had a girlfriend once who told me (later) that when she had hit puberty she’d had a ovidectomy, for some haywire hormonal reason. Later when she got her own records from her family’s doctor it turned out she had testes where her ovaries were supposed to be. She was all female anatomically. Something called ‘androgyny intolerance syndrome’ caused her body to reject the nuts.

After that experience and seeing another friend go from male to female makes me agree: gender is not binary.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

No consent is garnered from the clam, proving that rape is also natural.

if you’re going to use an example, at least use it right:

-they don’t mate WITH the clam, they use it as a nest.

Well, they do use it as a nest, but I don’t see how that contradicts what I said. It is a sexual act for the fish. They are getting sexually excited by the presence of the clam, not a conspecific mate, they are acting as if a conspecific mate were present in a sexual manner.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

so obviously it ISN’T rape.

Arguable. It’s not a sexual act for the clam, so that’s a point. Given that the clam isn’t aware enough to care, isn’t emotionally hurt, and isn’t in any way harmed, the term is probably overkill, but I was trying to make a point.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

it could be considered a form of ammensalism bordering on parastism, however.

Closer to commensalism, the clam hardly notices the eggs hiding in it’s mantle folds (unless they get way too numerous) and I expect more milt goes to feeding the clam than fertilizing the eggs.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

or do you also consider parasitism of all kinds to be a form of “rape”, provided reproduction is involved in some sense?

In the literal sense, it is.1

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

if it was a joke, it was “Kerryesque” in its botchedness.

Not so much a joke as me showing up the naturalistic fallacy and pointing out how claiming “It’s found in nature so it must be good” is fundamentally meaningless.

1For those who don’t know, “rape” actually means “plunder”, as in the old phrase about what vikings did to towns they raided: rape and pillage. The phrase is not meant to suggest sexual rape of the inhabitants (though this certainly did occur).

Rape as an act of non-consensual sex is a metaphor (and a somewhat dehumanizing one if you think about it), albeit one that has almost totally replaced the original meaning of the word in our culture.

Well, they do use it as a nest, but I don’t see how that contradicts what I said. It is a sexual act for the fish

uh, so when they make a nest on a rock, are they raping the rock?

really, I assume you are pursuing this out of sheer ridiculousness.

my point is, unless you meant it as a joke, you haven’t done a good job of providing an example of the fallacy that natural=good.

stop, already, you’re embarrasing yourself.

there are literally thousands of clear examples of animal behavior you could use that are much clearer if you want to apply subjective values of good and evil to them.

like the classic example of infancticide in lions.

perfectly logical from the lion’s point of view, but would subjectively certainly not be labeled as “good” from the standpoint of most human societies.

in fact, the very use of rape as an example is a poor one, as there are quite a few human societies where rape as a means of controll still is considered acceptable.

Everybody understands the point you are trying to make, I just say you are completely flailing with your specific examples.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

uh, so when they make a nest on a rock, are they raping the rock?

That would depend on whether the rock alone was enough to sexually excite the fish, wouldn’t it?

I suppose it would also depend on whether you were defining rape on the basis of the emotional consequence, in which case neither rock nor clam care a whit. I’m using “non-consensual sex with another organism”.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

really, I assume you are pursuing this out of sheer ridiculousness.

And stubborn pigheadedness!

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

my point is, unless you meant it as a joke, you haven’t done a good job of providing an example of the fallacy that natural=good.

Had I been writing an article on the naturalistic fallacy, I wouldn’t have used it. In fact, when I did write such an article, I didn’t use it. HOWEVER, it is a subject that came up independently about which I made an observation on an issue that had also already come up in the discussion.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

stop, already, you’re embarrasing yourself.

That would require awareness of a serious problem, which I so far lack, either through stubborn pigheadedness (see above) or your insufficiency in making your case.

Or both, of course.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

there are literally thousands of clear examples of animal behavior you could use that are much clearer if you want to apply subjective values of good and evil to them.

All that’s really necessary is to use the reader’s values of good and evil to show that the fallacy is valueless for them. It is, indeed, fairly easy to find examples of nature violating typical Western mores.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

like the classic example of infancticide in lions.

perfectly logical from the lion’s point of view, but would subjectively certainly not be labeled as “good” from the standpoint of most human societies.

But not all, of course. Many cultures (historical and modern) have practiced quite excessive infanticide

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

in fact, the very use of rape as an example is a poor one, as there are quite a few human societies where rape as a means of controll still is considered acceptable.

It wasn’t that long ago that rape of a spouse was acceptable in our culture. Scary!

And stubborn pigheadedness!

ahh, got it.

HETEROSEXISTS HATE FACTS

FACT: There is no sexual instinct to guide sexual behaviour one way or the other. All behaviour is learned (read “The Homosexual Matrix” by Dr C A Tripp, colleague of Alfred Kinsey).

FACT: Bottlenose dolphins, gizzly bears, cheetahs and other animals only pair-bond with the same sex for life, where there are no heterosexual role models in these species. This also shows that sexual behaviour is learned (read “Biological Exuberance : Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity” by Bruce Bagemihl).

FACT: Of the many human cultures studied by such scientists as Ford & Beech, and Edgar Gregersen, many are Exclusively Homosexual. The Siwan tribe of North Africa “will kill for a boy, but never a woman”. The ancient Greeks idealised homosexuality.

FACT: Socio-biologist, Vern Bullough, in an attempt to explain the ‘Eternal Battle of the Sexes’ since the dawn of humankind, stated “If males and females were created for each other, they would have been created much more alike, both mentally and physically”. Dr Tripp also draws our attention to the ‘Eternal Charges against Women’ and the ‘Eternal Male Bond’ across all cultures and time periods.

FACT: Men and women can not have sex for pleasure naturally, as a condom, pill or other artificial device has to be used (pulling out does not achieve the full pleasurable effect - the rythm method was not known until recent times, where to even employ this method, only again shows that recreational sex was simply not meant to be as regards men and women). The same sexes can however enjoy recreational sex naturally. Men and women can only have procreational sex naturally, but that is the end of it.

HETEROSEXISTS HATE FACTS

FACT: There is no sexual instinct to guide sexual behaviour one way or the other. All behaviour is learned (read “The Homosexual Matrix” by Dr C A Tripp, colleague of Alfred Kinsey).

FACT: Bottlenose dolphins, gizzly bears, cheetahs and other animals only pair-bond with the same sex for life, where there are no heterosexual role models in these species. This also shows that sexual behaviour is learned (read “Biological Exuberance : Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity” by Bruce Bagemihl).

FACT: Of the many human cultures studied by such scientists as Ford & Beech, and Edgar Gregersen, many are Exclusively Homosexual. The Siwan tribe of North Africa “will kill for a boy, but never a woman”. The ancient Greeks idealised homosexuality.

FACT: So much for Sexual Dimorphism. Socio-biologist, Vern Bullough, in an attempt to explain the ‘Eternal Battle of the Sexes’ since the dawn of humankind, stated “If males and females were created for each other, they would have been created much more alike, both mentally and physically”. Dr Tripp also draws our attention to the ‘Eternal Charges against Women’ and the ‘Eternal Male Bond’ across all cultures and time periods.

FACT: Clifford Jolly’s model of prehistoric sex stated that “Men and women lived apart for countless hundreds of thousands of years”. Heterosexist athropologists threw this model out. However in Prof Lewis Binford’s ‘New Archeology’ it has been found that Neanderthal men and women did indeed live apart, in fact miles apart. Of course this has upset many especially since a link has been found between Neanderhtals and ourselves. Depending on which chimps we emerged from, we would surely follow their learned patterns of sexual behaviour, and so far we have not found any heterosexual chimps.

FACT: Men and women can not have sex for pleasure naturally, as a condom, pill or other artificial device has to be used (pulling out does not achieve the full pleasurable effect - the rythm method was not known until recent times, where to even employ this method, only again shows that recreational sex was simply not meant to be as regards men and women). The same sexes can however enjoy recreational sex naturally. Men and women can only have procreational sex naturally, but that is the end of it. Anatomically and Biologically, that is the way humans were ‘created’, or better put, evolved.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on November 5, 2006 2:17 PM.

Critical Analysis of Evolution = Intelligent Design. was the previous entry in this blog.

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