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October 24, 2003


In The Warren

It's the Demographics, Stupid

Despite the recent passage of the ban, we have not reached the "tipping point" just yet. It will almost certainly occur sometime during the next 20 years, as the hard-core, 60's-era feminists either die or retire from their positions of authority. And there will not be a "pro-choice" generation to replace them, as some 20 million baby girls have been aborted by their mothers over the past 30 years. Ironically, the feminists, by exercising their "right to choose", have unwittingly helped destroy that same right.

I think there's a flaw in the reasoning here, though I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the way that the culture, despite the "every sperm is sacred" growth rate of conservative familes, keeps getting more liberal, and has been doing so for hundreds of years.

But all that aside, could not the same basic argument be made for the eventual disappearance of homosexuality? I should hasten to add, a la Jerry and George, "not that there's anything wrong with it."

If homosexuality is determined by genetics, and homosexuals do not by definition breed, what's to prevent the gay gene from slowly disappearing from the population? Or does the gay gene provide some benefit to a possessor of it, perhaps something along the lines of how the sickle cell trait protects its possessor against malaria?

Posted by Bigwig at October 24, 2003 12:04 AM | TrackBack
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If that's the case, then it might mean that homosexuality is caused by a genetic "mutation," as it were. And that this mutation occurs naturally and spontaneously, often enough to overcome the fact that it can't be passed on.

Posted by: lotus at October 24, 2003 02:36 PM

The question is whether abortion as practiced skews the population so that the "pro-choice majority" isn't. It can do that even if there continue to be large numbers of pro-choice people. (Abortion as practiced is unlikely to eliminate all pro-choice children because both pro-life and pro-choice parents can have pr-choice children.)

Posted by: Andy Freeman at October 24, 2003 03:43 PM

Two comments: First, while it is true that society does seem to continuously "progress" (or regress) towards more "liberal" attitudes, it is certainly not the case with abortion. As the poll I linked showed, for the first time since the Roe decision, 18-25 year old Americans are mostly opposed to abortion. And each year the number of abortions continues to drop, and has done so every year since 1987. There have been some 40 million babies aborted in the US since 1973, more than 10% of the current US population. One cannot ignore the socio-political effects of such a massive demographic shift, especially one that affects almost exclusively one half of the political spectrum.

Second: If homosexuality is indeed solely determined by genetics (and the jury is still out on that question), then part of the reason why it continues to persist in the population might be the fact that social stigmas, until recently, prevented gay men from living openly in society. In order to hide their orientation, or have some form of sexual fulfillment, or to even "cure" themselves, it is likely that most gay men of previous generations got married and raised families, thus passing on their genes to the next generation.

When one considers that gay men now have much less motivation to hide their orientation, and can live openly as gay men, that does indeed call into question if the "gay gene" can be passed on in sufficient numbers to maintain itself in the population.

Posted by: Captain Holly at October 24, 2003 07:02 PM

As for random, spontaneous genetic mutations explaining the persistence of homosexuality, it is highly unlikely that such a mutation would recur so frequently in so many different individuals. If homosexuality is genetic, it would be due to a mutation in a single gene or set of genes that has been passed down through generations.

I personally don't think there is a single "gay" gene. Human reproductive behavior is a complex interplay of environment, genetics, and even personal choice. Humans are one of the few species that volutarily breed whenever they want to; almost all other species of mammals have breeding times restricted by climate, food availability, and other environmental factors.

I'll post more on this subject in The Warren over the weekend.

Posted by: Captain Holly at October 24, 2003 07:14 PM

you made me smile. :)

Posted by: esteban at October 24, 2003 10:04 PM

I'm not sure the general sense of "genetics" is at play (exclusively) re: homosexuality. I think the term "biological" might be more apt. I believe that the complex interaction of hormones in utero has a role. I don't think homosexuality is a "choice" but I don't think it is "inherited" in the usual sense (or not solely due to that). Genes are only one issue -- the expression of proteins (proteomics), is another.

Not that I'm an expert on genetics/proteomics...

Posted by: cj at October 27, 2003 12:59 AM
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