This morning I visited Get Real Post to check on how my readers responded to my recent article on the Pacquiao vs gay community fiasco. I was pleased to see that my piece has piqued so many interests from so many people. However, I may have touched a nerve amongst some of my pro-gay readers. For that I hope they can forgive my “heresy” and appreciate my intent of questioning the seeming intolerance of the pro-gay community against those whom they label as “homophobes” and not homosexuality itself. But since the debate has shifted to the nature of homosexuality, whether it is natural or not, then please allow me to play Devil’s Advocate.
I have read some interesting and “science-based” explanations regarding homosexuality. Most of the folks who rely on science more than faith seem to argue that homosexuality is natural and there is genetic basis for it. It certainly sounds plausible that the ‘gay gene’ got passed on down to the next generations when homosexuals chose to have sex with the opposite sex. Now, let’s not even go to the question whether there is indeed a ‘gay gene’ or not. The truth is, the theory for this has not really been definitively tested and proven yet. Just October of last year, a supposedly breakthrough study on the quest for the ‘gay gene’ was met with derision from geneticists who criticized the methods presented, the validity of the results, and the coverage in the press. It appears that the whole thing was so hyped up by the media but the study doesn’t really do what it says it does. But again, just for the sake of discussion, let’s grant (without necessarily accepting yet) that there is indeed a ‘gay gene’.
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So, how do we test this idea of a ‘gay gene’ and its propagation? How do we test the fascinating theories that support homosexuality’s natural status? Do these theories pass the evolution under the natural selection framework test? It seems to me that it would be a fair test to subject homosexuality under since we are trying to “scientifically validate” the claim that homosexuality is natural.
The late Harvard University Professor, Dr. Stephen Gould, who was also an evolutionary biologist (or more accurately, a comparative zoologist) and a professing Darwinian (but not necessarily a Darwinian apologist), said that Darwin did two separate things. First, he convinced the scientific world that evolution had occurred and second, he proposed the theory of natural selection as its mechanism. Fossil records are indicators that evolution has occurred. As for natural selection, Gould tells that it offers no guarantee on the rightness of principles. Gould said:
“Natural selection is a theory of local adaptation to changing environments. It proposes no perfecting principles, no guarantee of general improvement; …”
“Darwin’s independent criterion of fitness is, indeed, `improved design,’ but not `improved’ in the cosmic sense that contemporary Britain favored. To Darwin, improved meant only `better designed for immediate, local environment.’ Local environments change consistently: they get colder or hotter, wetter or drier, more grassy or more forested. Evolution by natural selection is no more than a tracking of these changing environments by differential preservation of organisms better designed to live in them: hair on a mammoth is not progressive in any cosmic sense. Natural selection can produce a trend that tempts us to think of more general progress…”
Again, as I understand it, evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. Natural selection is the mechanism behind evolution and it is a theory of local adaptation to changing environments. Local environments change consistently. The Earth has become hotter and colder throughout time. Environments have become wetter and drier, etc. The empirical data we have certainly shows how different species have adopted to the changing environments. The evolutionary history of the elephant family gives a good insight for how natural selection worked.
So in essence, evolution by natural selection tracks changing environments by differential preservation of organisms better designed to live in them.
Now, is there any empirical data that shows how the changing temperature throughout the planet’s history, for instance, has changed sexuality? Or why homosexuality emerged from the change in our planet’s historical climate? Can fossils of Australopithecus afarensis and Homo habilis and Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sapiens be correlated to the changing climates from their respective periods for us to see why homosexuality is what it is today? Do we have empirical data to show that human sexuality is directly proportional to natural selection from changing local environments? What empirical evidence do we have to show that the ‘gay gene’ favorably propagated from whatever ideal change in local environment or climate?
While we are out looking for empirical evidence for the evolutionary under the natural selection framework basis for homosexuality, let’s also look for the same for cannibalism, bestiality, and necrophilia. Hey, they do occur and there is evidence of their occurrence so they must be fair game to be deemed as natural, right? Let’s look for empirical evidence for the ‘cannibalism gene’, ‘bestiality gene’, and the ‘necrophilia gene’!
So people, can’t we see how dangerous it is to bash a belief (however antiquated and silly they may sound to us) prematurely without making sure that what we bash others with may also be flawed or at least may be inconclusive?
Ah yes, but in reality this whole controversy is not really about religious versus scientific belief, isn’t it? It really isn’t whether homosexuality is natural or not. It is really about tolerance. Both sides cannot really make any claims in holding the truth regarding homosexuality. Like I said, homosexuality and its nature are still being debated. So really, this is about how people ought to tolerate difference of beliefs. Tolerance matters when it comes to actions and ideas we don’t like or believe in. Pacquiao doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage and thinks that homosexuality is not natural. Aiza Seguerra is a strong advocate of same-sex marriage and in all likelihood, she strongly believes that homosexuality is natural. From my vantage point, Pacquiao only stated his opinion and he never tried to repress other people’s opposing opinion on the matter. (He even apologized and offered his love and prayer to those who may have been offended by his remarks.) That seems more tolerant than the actions of his bashers who spewed vitriol and words of hate directly at him (words such as ignorant, bigoted, hypocrite, and homophobe).
As a parting shot, based on what I have seen, I think that the real intolerance is coming from those accusing Pacquiao of intolerance (or homophobia, ignorance, bigotry, hypocrisy, etc.). These folks are supposed to be the “tolerant” bunch yet they are the ones who are showing refusal to respect or “tolerate” an opposing opinion. Boy, have pro-gay folks evolved into such a sophisticated bunch! I really have to hand it to them. These folks quickly realized they can use “tolerance” as a weapon to subdue even its nicest critics like Pacquiao. But I wonder how they would feel about welcoming a branch of the Westboro Baptist Church or even a mosque for Sunni Fundamentalists right next to the Chélu (a popular gay bar in Malate, Manila)? That is certainly interesting.
(Image taken from Patriot Update)
Calling a spade, a spade…