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Ask An Atheist: Is homosexuality logical?

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What do you want to ask an Atheist?  Fill out the form below or submit your question online

By Jim Downard

Just logically thinking, is homosexuality logical? If it is in our brains telling us our sexual orientation of choice that is not according to our birth given gender male or female wouldn’t it be in everyone’s brain.  By the next generation everyone would be homosexual and the human population would decrease dramatically.  What causes you/caused you to think this way or if not could you express the reasons another atheist has against this logical reason?

I’d be hesitant to characterize this question as all that “logical,” nor is this strictly a religion versus atheism matter (although it often is, at least among religious traditions that have conniption fits over sexual practices).  But don’t forget that Communist ideology (officially atheist, remember) was puritanically conservative about sexuality, regarding homosexuality as a product of Capitalism, and thus something that would disappear in the Socialist Utopia.  Fat chance on that one.  Thus this is an interesting sociological topic, so will give it a try.

Why are some people attracted to the same sex?  It’s not unrelated to why people are attracted to anyone at all, and that broader topic is an ongoing one in scientific research.  Genetics plays a role (and can be inherited heterosexually, as in a gene for what might end up in combination with others facilitating male same sex attraction, being transmitted along the female line of descent), hormonal reactions (such as MHC compatibility) and others, but in none of these does the “brain” just rush in and override everything.  And remember, while most human vertebrates are heterosexual, that is not so simplistically true for all vertebrates (such as many species of parthenogenic lesbian fish), or other phyla.  Don’t get me started on fungal sex diversity.

But I digress.

The relevant point regarding the question is that brain states (the things we believe) are not passed on genetically, though they are obviously part of the inherited landscape of culture.  But in no case can anyone’s mental convictions prompt others automatically to share them, so the notion that a homosexual tendency explicitly in the brain would, if real, somehow cause other brains to think likewise, in some Castro Street meme contagion, is not one supported by the scientific literature (or our common human experience, for that matter).

Being gay ain’t catching … but neither is it “unnatural” for those feeling it.  And that is today’s foray into being logical.


About Jim Downard

Jim Downard
Jim Downard is a Spokane native (with a sojourn in Southern California back in the early 1960s) who was raised in a secular family, so says had no personal faith to lose. He's always been a history and science buff (getting a bachelor's in the former area at what was then Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s).

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