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Thread: Homosexuality, Nature's way of controling overpopulation?
Jinx 02:08 PM 03-24-2009
Is homosexuality nature's way of controlling overpopulation? Let's face it, there are a lot of humans on the planet and there are more being born every day. This could be nature's way of controlling population growth. Thoughts?

This is my initial thought on the subject, and I admit it may be wildly inaccurate. I'm rather ignorant in the area of homosexuality and wanted to get some other views. Hence posting here to get feedback on this theory.

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fake 02:13 PM 03-24-2009
Nature does not have a mind. So nature can to nothing goal directed such as controlling the population.

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Jobeth66 02:29 PM 03-24-2009
Homosexuality is not confined to the human population, and it has been theorized that stress from overcrowding may be a factor in producing offspring that are unlikely to propogate.

Whether it can be categorically shown is something else.

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doom1701 02:29 PM 03-24-2009
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?

Nature's way of correcting overpopulation would be making those that have wild unprotected sex sterile...or too sickly to reproduce (ie, perhaps we shouldn't be striving so hard to control STDs).

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fake 02:35 PM 03-24-2009
Originally Posted by doom1701:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?

Nature's way of correcting overpopulation would be making those that have wild unprotected sex sterile...or too sickly to reproduce (ie, perhaps we shouldn't be striving so hard to control STDs).
OH my. Perhaps we shouldn't strive to control any disease? I know how you conservatives think the poor, weak, and immoral should suffer and die. If you are too poor to buy food starve. To weak to work or protect yourself suffer and starve. If you are immoral you should get what's coming to you. People may attack you, or better you get disease suffer and die.

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mercurial 02:36 PM 03-24-2009
Except for (and I can't find the article or thread discussing it right now) there was a recent study that showed the sisters of homosexual males tended to be MORE fertile and have MORE offspring than the sisters of heterosexual males. The theory they put forth was this was nature's way to balance out the 'reproductive loss' of the homosexual male.

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JP 02:39 PM 03-24-2009
Originally Posted by doom1701:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?
Civilization in those times could support far fewer people than it does now, though. I'm not saying there's anything to the theory in the OP, but population pressure then could happen with far fewer numbers than it does now.

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Jinx 02:44 PM 03-24-2009
Gus and JP, how is the theory wrong? I was hoping to hear some other theories and I'm keeping an open mind here.

NM: Looks like Gus deleted his post

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ruidh 02:48 PM 03-24-2009
I've speculated that this was the case. It may have to do with chemical signals of crowded population in the environment during gestation. I don't know how someone would even begin to test this hypothesis.

doom, in the Greek and Roman empires, urbanization was already beginning.

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JP 03:59 PM 03-24-2009
Originally Posted by Jinx:
Gus and JP, how is the theory wrong? I was hoping to hear some other theories and I'm keeping an open mind here.
I'm not saying it's wrong, I just don't know enough to say whether there's anything to it.

It's certainly acceptable as a conjecture for discussion. As Jobeth points out homosexuality occurs in other species, so there's some reason to consider whether there is or was an evolutionary benefit of some sort. Population pressure is just one of the ideas I've heard, another is that gay males can help hunt and protect the tribe without being driven off by dominant males due to competition for females.

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procrastinator 04:39 PM 03-24-2009
Actually, wasn't the active promotion of homosexuality used by the government to control the population in The Forever War? (Not that I believe it to be realistic that homosexuality can be successfully "promoted".) So the concept has been touched on before.

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HeyItsCory 04:57 PM 03-24-2009
Disclaimer: I am not an anthropologist, biologist or any sort of scientist or psychologist.

I've often heard the question posed (usually by Christians who believe homosexuality must be a choice, and who may or may not believe in natural selection) "If homosexuality is genetic, how does it help the species (or how is it not a genetic flaw)?"

Preface: Always remember that just because a genetic trait's purpose is not apparent doesn't mean there isn't one. We know why parrots have x-shaped feet. We can guess why dogs spin around a few times before laying down. We even have an idea why yawning is "contagious".

We have no idea why the hammerhead shark is shaped like that.

My theory: Our ancestors had a family group society where there was alpha couples, but alpha couples did not have exclusive breeding rights. (i.e. If you are the daughter of the alpha female, you would not be disowned for being pregnant.) Our species had two problems at this time. First, ever since we started walking upright, our gestational period was shortened, which meant that offspring wasn't very developed and needed to be taken care of extra well for the first couple years, and still needed a lot of supervision for another 4 or 5 years. The other problem is that it was very easy for us to breed. We could do it at a young age, we could do it all year round. This is recipe for disaster. Two people could be outnumbered by their children by the time they were 17, and when you're taking care of babies, you're not hunting, you're not gathering and you're not watching for danger.

This is one explanation for menopause. When an older female loses her ability to breed, she's probably had quite a few offspring. She has life experience, but no longer has to worry about her own babies. She can protect her genes by taking care of her childrens' babies so the rest of the group can hunt and gather, stand sentry, eat, socialize and even die without risking the life of the young which are safe with the grandmother. This illustrates a genetic advantage to not being able to breed. So, "controlling the population" is oversimplifying it, but yes, fewer children and more experienced adults to take care of them worked better for this family structure.

So, let's assume there is a genetic component to homosexuality. When a homosexual person is born, they grow up into someone who can hunt and/or gather (perhaps a man who gathers or a woman who hunts even), who forms social relationships, including sexual relationships and who does not have to worry about taking care of their own offspring, they can do a lot of work to care for the family group, which would protect their own genetic material that lives in their siblings, neices, nephews, etc. Bisexuality is also an advantage to this family structure, because such a person would still have fewer children, but could create social bonds with either gender.

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DH 05:42 PM 03-24-2009
Originally Posted by HeyItsCory:

So, let's assume there is a genetic component to homosexuality. When a homosexual person is born, they grow up into someone who can hunt and/or gather (perhaps a man who gathers or a woman who hunts even), who forms social relationships, including sexual relationships and who does not have to worry about taking care of their own offspring, they can do a lot of work to care for the family group, which would protect their own genetic material that lives in their siblings, neices, nephews, etc.
And they can redecorate the cave quite nicely.

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HeyItsCory 08:47 PM 03-24-2009
Originally Posted by danielhart:
And they can redecorate the cave quite nicely.
Oh yeah.



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heySkippy 08:59 PM 03-24-2009
Almost all the lesbians I know are mothers.

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Agatha 12:06 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by doom1701:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?

Nature's way of correcting overpopulation would be making those that have wild unprotected sex sterile...or too sickly to reproduce (ie, perhaps we shouldn't be striving so hard to control STDs).
During the Roman and Greek empires, homosexual sex occurred frequently between men (unknown about women). Part of that was a lack of birth control. You had sex with your buds for recreation (and bonding within military units) and had sex with your wife for procreation (some recreation there, too). Considering that birth control in Roman times was tying a dead cat to your ankle (I kid you not), it isn't surprising that men would have sex with men instead.

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DH 12:26 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by Agatha:
Originally Posted by doom1701:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?

Nature's way of correcting overpopulation would be making those that have wild unprotected sex sterile...or too sickly to reproduce (ie, perhaps we shouldn't be striving so hard to control STDs).
During the Roman and Greek empires, homosexual sex occurred frequently between men (unknown about women). Part of that was a lack of birth control. You had sex with your buds for recreation (and bonding within military units) and had sex with your wife for procreation (some recreation there, too). Considering that birth control in Roman times was tying a dead cat to your ankle (I kid you not), it isn't surprising that men would have sex with men instead.
Women have rectums too.

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Agatha 12:49 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by danielhart:
Originally Posted by Agatha:
Originally Posted by doom1701:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?

Nature's way of correcting overpopulation would be making those that have wild unprotected sex sterile...or too sickly to reproduce (ie, perhaps we shouldn't be striving so hard to control STDs).
During the Roman and Greek empires, homosexual sex occurred frequently between men (unknown about women). Part of that was a lack of birth control. You had sex with your buds for recreation (and bonding within military units) and had sex with your wife for procreation (some recreation there, too). Considering that birth control in Roman times was tying a dead cat to your ankle (I kid you not), it isn't surprising that men would have sex with men instead.
Women have rectums too.
True. But when the other hole is right there.....

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Snowman 02:15 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by Agatha:
True. But when the other hole is right there.....
Me, I go for the hot and juicy one... wait, that didn't come out right. I go for the CLEAN but hot and juicy one .

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procrastinator 07:43 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by danielhart:
Originally Posted by Agatha:
Originally Posted by doom1701:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't homosexuality just as prevalent (as a percentage of the population) during the Roman and Greek empires?

Nature's way of correcting overpopulation would be making those that have wild unprotected sex sterile...or too sickly to reproduce (ie, perhaps we shouldn't be striving so hard to control STDs).
During the Roman and Greek empires, homosexual sex occurred frequently between men (unknown about women). Part of that was a lack of birth control. You had sex with your buds for recreation (and bonding within military units) and had sex with your wife for procreation (some recreation there, too). Considering that birth control in Roman times was tying a dead cat to your ankle (I kid you not), it isn't surprising that men would have sex with men instead.
Women have rectums too.
Yeah, but then your wife might think you were gay.

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mercurial 10:13 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by heySkippy:
Almost all the lesbians I know are mothers.
Yes, but if homosexuality was a evolutionary method to curb overpopulation, then I doubt it takes into account things like artificial insemination and adoption. Though I guess the "sex just to get pregnant" angle would have been there.

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heySkippy 10:17 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by mercurial:
Yes, but if homosexuality was a evolutionary method to curb overpopulation, then I doubt it takes into account things like artificial insemination and adoption. Though I guess the "sex just to get pregnant" angle would have been there.
A good number of our lesbian friends had a life as a married/mother before.

Besides, homosexuality as a means of population control would be horribly inefficient for nature. Why bother with that when you have mosquitos carrying malaria and rodent-borne plague and drought and so on?

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mercurial 10:33 AM 03-25-2009
Originally Posted by heySkippy:
Originally Posted by mercurial:
Yes, but if homosexuality was a evolutionary method to curb overpopulation, then I doubt it takes into account things like artificial insemination and adoption. Though I guess the "sex just to get pregnant" angle would have been there.
A good number of our lesbian friends had a life as a married/mother before.

Besides, homosexuality as a means of population control would be horribly inefficient for nature. Why bother with that when you have mosquitos carrying malaria and rodent-borne plague and drought and so on?
I agree and, in fact, mentioned a study showing the contrary above. I was just pointing out that the face that many lesbians are mothers didn't DISPROVE that possibility either. And in the case of previously married lesbian is with children (or gay man in that same situation), isn't due to natural forces but societal that likely made it hard for them to realize/except/express their true orientation until later in life.

All that said, the bottom line really is, no matter what mechanism causes some folks to be be born heterosexual, and some homosexual, and some somewhere in between, one should has to accept people regardless of their orientation.

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