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When the science of sexuality meets the politics of gay rights

By Brian Earp

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Gay genes and gay rights: On the science and politics of sexuality

If homosexuality has a genetic basis, and if gay sex produces no offspring, why hasn’t the culling force of natural selection bred it right out of the species? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay has recently taken to the electronic pages of the Huffington Post to tout his latest book and offer a few hypotheses.

In light of the article’s popularity, Professor LeVay was asked to join a panel of speakers to discuss not only the genetics of sexual preference, but also the social and political implications of such research. Since I had written on this topic on the Practical Ethics blog, I was invited to take part as well.

Here is a preview video of my argument, with a further link to the complete debate on HuffPost Live. Other speakers included John Aravosis, an American Democratic political consultant and editor of AMERICABlog; Jeff Rudell, a New York writer and blogger; and Jennie Mustafa-Julock, the Audacity Coach.

For more, see:

Link to the HuffPost Live video preview.

Earp, B. D.  (2012, January 26). Choosing one’s own (sexual) identity: Shifting the terms of the ‘gay rights’ debate. Practical Ethics. University of Oxford.

Rousseau, J. (2012, February 14). The tyranny of labels. The Daily Maverick.

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2 Comment on this post

  1. Well, I am not an educated man and have not studied the science, so this is purely opinion okay?

    I think “I thought this was Oxford?” has got a good point and may be right.

    The processes of evolution are not something we know about comprehensively and with absolute, empirical detail. I know many priests in the Church of Rational Science would disagree on this point , but anyways; I am right and they are wrong, obviously! (which is a joke, but inverted is probably what many such advocates of “scientific” dogma live by as their creed!)
    I base my opinions on my observations for the most part and what I see is this.

    A species that has outgrown it’s need or any concievable positive use for the masculinity that protected and provided for it’s smaller, weaker human companions (women and kids). We have outgrown it because we no longer need brute strength and agression to survive or to thrive.

    The act of reproduction itself has become a threat to our species existence! We are too successful for our own good! (Of course, if the ruling 0.00001% had not spent the last century or so repressing information and exercising unwarranted and un-justified control over humanity, then maybe this wouldn’t have happened? Maybe we’d be colonizing other worlds by now, or perhaps we would have grown spiritually/psychologically(take your pick) to the extent that we could control and censor our own urges and desires effectively?)

    To be a sentient being is to desire and require company with other sentient beings. We need “love”.tTat is to say, we need a sense of being wanted and valued and respected by a select group of others that we want, value and respect. If we lose this we stop being, in any profound sense, sentient beings.

    The sexual drive in any animal is pretty strong, and evolutionary (or whatever) forces would struggle to quench that in time to save us from self destruction.

    The same emotional and psychological/spiritual (take your pick) needs for connection and intimacy can be obtained by any human from any human, regardless of gender, so long as they are able to connect on a personal and honest level.

    Seems to me then, that the progression itowards ever more liberally defined intimate relationships is an inevitable consequence of our refusal to gain any kind of self control over our reproductive urge, even in the face of the evidence that it is no longer justified.

    Or maybe I am just trying to make an excuse for myself for being such a debauched and deviant individual? 🙂

    As I said, this is nothing but opinion. I have no science to back it up so take it for what it is and Gods bless!

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