Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rule Number One

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

'Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time 'twas hanging for the colour that it is;
Though hanging isn't bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.

(A. E. Housman)

Arguing axiomatically, from the position that life is a treasure and thou shalt not kill, the statement of Clam – 7 is perfectly correct. But, given my operational definition of the ‘tao’ in terms of ‘not doing things that, if everyone did them, would mean society would cease to exist’, it seems obvious that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered.* Homosexuality as a ‘lifestyle choice’ might plausibly therefore be a greater threat to society than the mass murder of people we do not see and cannot talk to, and it might well be necessary to fight it tooth and nail.
So it is incumbent on me to come down on the ‘Nature’ side of the Nature/Nurture debate in this instance. If one does not chose to be homosexual, but it is a genetic inheritance that one cannot help, it is not conceivably a condition that is likely to spread through society to such an extent that it will cease to exist, and does not contravene the ‘operational tao’. In fact, if it is genetic, it would seem that the best way to get rid of it would be to encourage everyone with any homosexual tendencies whatsoever to behave as homosexually as possible, so that they are removed from the gene pool. I was speculating about a future history where such an outcome had come to pass, and homosexuals were a strange historical curiosity, when I realised that the more interesting question was how a genetic predisposition to homosexuality could have arisen in the first place.

This is no problem for me because I can come up with all sorts of ‘just so’ stories to explain how group or kin selection could make homosexuality adaptive.

But it is a problem for those evolutionary biologists, like Richard Dawkins, who have an unreasoning prejudice against all forms of group selection. I can only see them explaining homosexuality as something like sickle-cell anaemia, a maladaptive by-product of some gene for ‘demihomosexuality’ that somehow confers a reproductive advantage on individuals. I wonder how popular that makes them?

With regard to my other assertions of seven years ago, there is a whole other post in how the world has reacted to the election of President Wossname; and I am still quietly confident that those WMDs will turn up in post-Assad Syria somewhere...

And I promise to get on to the deconstruction of the Roddenberry Utopia, real soon now.

*: I have realised this is really only a failure of imagination, since the rules of society are not immutable constants, and even with 1st century technology it is easy to postulate rules for a functioning society in which all sexual behaviour is homosexual but that would be recognisable as Christian in all other respects by a member of the 21st century Australian religious right. So it is not as incumbent on me to believe homosexuality is genetic as I first thought.

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