Monday, March 22, 2010

There Will Be No Gays In The Future

Oh boy, look at that title. People are going to go ape sh~t. Add in that this post touches upon abortion and maybe it’s time to head for the old bunker? No. It’s cold down there, and the television reception stinks. Let’s just plow ahead. When we started this blog ten months ago, one of the first articles I posted dealt with the reasons I felt that gays should be very cautious about joining hands with pro-abortion groups. In light of some recent statistical evidence out of China and India, it’s time to revisit that discussion.

At the start, let me say that I’m not talking today about the morality of abortion or homosexuality. So let’s leave those issues for other days. What I am talking about here is the intersection between political decisions today and the world of tomorrow. All I want to do is ask the question of whether or not there will be gays in the future.

Gendercide: The Parental War On Girls
In nature, there are around 105 males born for every 100 females. These numbers have been constant all over the world for many decades. Indeed, these numbers are so constant that scientists are now sure that this is nature’s way to ensure a 1 to 1 ratio at the time of puberty because males are more likely to die than females before reaching puberty.

But China and India are turning nature on its head. In China and India, there is a distinct preference for males. This has led to what has been called “Gendercide” in both countries. Girls in China and India are often considered too expensive to keep. They require a dowry to marry off and they are perceived as “leaving” the family to marry, whereas sons stick around to take care of the parents as they age. Thus, for a long time now, baby girls have often been murdered at birth or left to die (not coincidentally, this resulted in an abnormally high suicide rate among young mothers).

Until recently, however, the effects of this were not very pronounced on the population numbers. Indeed, as late as the 1980s, the sex numbers were only slightly skewed above the 105 to 100 ratio. But in the past decade or so, the effects have become shockingly obvious as the numbers have spiked. In China, the ratio of males to females in the younger generations now averages 124 to 100! In some provinces, this number is as high as 130.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of this problem, the China ratio will translate into 40 million surplus males (or missing females) of marrying age in 2020. That is equal to the total number of expected males of marrying age in Germany, France and Britain combined in 2020. That is also the same number of marrying age males expected to live in the United States in 2020. That’s really bad news for China, as single males mean crime and upheaval. And it could be even worse for China’s neighbors, as war is a great way to thin the male population and bride-napping is becoming big business in some parts of the world.

And before you blame China’s one child policy, that does not appear to be the problem. Indeed, India has a similar ratio, but no similar policy. South Korea hit 117 to 100. The Philippines hit 109. Even somewhat western countries like Serbia (108), Macedonia (108), Armenia (117), Azerbaijan (117), and Georgia (111) have reached unnatural levels. And lest you think this couldn’t happen here, there is evidence of similar ratios starting to appear in Asian-American communities.

So what has caused this sudden surge? Ultrasound equipment. The introduction of ultrasound has coincided with the spike in sex-selection based abortions. Indeed, this is borne out even within these countries, where abortions are much more prevalent where ultrasound machines are introduced. India has tried to combat this by making it illegal to abort a child to choose the sex of the child. But women have gotten around this by getting ultrasounds from one doctor and then having another abort the girls.

What all of this tells us is that people find early term abortion much more palatable than infanticide. We can conclude this because the preference for males has not changed in these countries, yet the number of abortions spiked with the introduction of ultrasound gear. That means that parents are much more willing to abort a fetus than they are to kill a child after it is born. Moreover, the massive numbers indicate that a shockingly large number of parents are willing to make this decision, perhaps as many as a third.
Gendercide Round II: The Coming Parental War On Gays
So what does this have to do with gays? Everything.

First, I accept the idea that homosexuality is genetic. I don’t accept this because gays claim to feel born that way. Indeed, our own justifications mean nothing when it comes to explaining human nature, because humans are inherently self-delusion and are extremely good at justifying their own behavior to themselves. What convinces me is the ever-more-proven fact that most of our impulses, especially when it comes to sex, are genetic in nature.

In fact, over the past few years, scientists have discovered that despite our culture’s obsession with skinniness, men and women do not prefer skinny partners. They prefer partners who have the “appropriate” proportion between hips and waist -- no matter what the size of the body. These results transcend culture, race and age, and, apparently, we don’t even consciously realize that we are using this as a search criteria. Similarly, a link has been found between race preferences and body fat percentage when people engage in interracial dating. Other recent studies have shown that all humans, again regardless of culture, find near-symmetry beautiful in humans (but not perfect symmetry, which we find disturbing). They have even found now that the biggest indicator of what will attract mates is smell, which may clue us in regarding the “genetic distance” and health of a potential partner. Interesting.

What all of this tells me is that our sexual impulses are hardwired by our genetic code, and that we are not even consciously aware of why we act the way we do. Thus, I have no reason to think that homosexuality isn’t anything more than a genetic variation.

Now here’s the catch. If this is true, then we will soon find the “gay gene.” If the gene can be repaired, then I have little doubt that parents will have it fixed before the child is born. Why? Because as genetics takes greater leaps into remaking the human being, we are already seeing parents opt for a variety of preferences. If it becomes common to remake children to be stronger or smarter or change their eye color, it will certainly become common to remove genetic defects that lead to diseases or other negative hereditary conditions -- like baldness or stuttering, for example. Under such circumstances, it is simply inconceivable that parents would leave in place a gay gene that gives the child impulses that run counter to what 97% of the general population possess.

In other words, even leaving morality out of this, it is inconceivable that parents would leave in place genes in their children that limit their chances of finding a happy mate to less than 3% of the population (a percentage that will shrink continually as other parents make similar choices).

More importantly, even if no fix is ever found for the gay gene, just being able to locate it will be enough to start the cascade of abortions that will eliminate homosexuality. Indeed, if parents think nothing of eliminating baby girls because they want to control the sex of the child, there is no reason to think that they would be any more troubled in eliminating children with the gay gene, especially if devices like ultrasound allow for the clearly more palatable choice of early term abortion.

Thus, it is likely that parents will start to eliminate homosexuality from our species through these practices, and I suspect that there will be no significant amount of homosexuality within a few generations.

Can this be stopped? Probably not. If you make abortion a right, then you can’t really say “except where we don’t like your reasoning.” Indeed, as I noted in my first article on this, Sweden has now ruled that if abortion is to be a right, then the state cannot prohibit sex selection as a motive. And even if you did prohibit abortion based on the presence of the gay gene, how do you keep parents from doctor shopping as they do in India?

Should this be stopped? I guess that’s up to you. But if you’re gay, then you might want to reconsider who your political friends are. Maybe helping to make abortion a right is not a great idea. In fact, as China and India are demonstrating now, maybe letting people select the “options” their kids will have is not a great idea for anyone?


ScottDS said...

Despite my previously stated opinions on the subjects of abortion and gay marriage, this whole thing makes me extremely uncomfortable. Even Boston Legal did an episode on gender-based abortions overseas. I don't like it one bit.

I also don't like the whole "designer baby" thing, where one can pick and choose options and colors like it's a car. Besides, like everything else, this just opens the door for abuse, tampering, bureaucracy, etc. - in other words, nothing good can come out of this. I also loathe the inevitable "How I Designed My Baby!" reality show.

On the other hand, if there were a way to eliminate the possibility of your child being born disabled, would you do it?

You know I'm not a religious man but if Star Trek has taught me anything, it's that some things weren't meant to be tampered with.

StanH said...

So what you’re saying is, in the future color coordination between your drapes and couch are going to suffer, and floral arrangements will be pedestrian.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, My point here is to show that, even leaving the moral and religious questions aside, there are some very big reasons to be wary of certain things.

Abortion has been turned into a political football, with certain groups insisting that it should be allowed without restriction or thought. At the same time, we're rushing ahead with all kinds of genetic advances without any thought to the ethics of it and the consequences. I think, as China and India have shown, these are areas that we need to tread on very carefully. But we aren't.

So that was really my point. And like you, this whole thing makes me extremely uneasy. What kind of world are we going to end up with if everyone is allowed to start designing their babies? Are we going to create a future race of pagent baby clones all with identical traits? Are the sex ratios going to get even worse? What other unintended consequences will there be?

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I don't recall making that point, but I guess you could. LOL!

Writer X said...

This is science fiction come to life. The next step is picking your baby from a department store catalog. It's coming. And it's disgusting.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I really hadn't given much thought to this aspect of abortion until you wrote about it. But it does fit in rather well with my objection to looking for prenatal "defects." It simply leaves too much to fickle human beings who want to decide what a "perfect" human being is. It also fits in with my belief that gays have not been very good at choosing their "friends."

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, It is like something out of science fiction. Worst of all, I suspect that we are only now seeing the tip of the coming iceberg of unintended consequences.

I'm generally all for science in any form, and I like the idea of curing genetic defects. But we need to develop a code of ethics very quickly before society at large starts tinkering around with the species and who knows what will develop. China and these other countries are a warning about what can happen if we don't think about these things now.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, This is one of those things that I've been watching for a while. In fact, as Writer X notes, science fiction has raised similar type issues for years. And now we're seeing it slowly starting to develop.

I'm all in favor of curing disease and preventing true defects, but once you start crossing over that line into designer babies, then it starts to get a little scary about what we could end up doing to ourselves.

I think abortion is definitely a part of this. Unfortunately, as I noted in response to Scott, abortion has become a political football, so no one is really looking at the consequences, just the politics. Even if you don't think it's a life, the things mentioned in the article should give anyone a cause for concern.

As for gays, I think you are right that they have chosen the wrong friends. That's the problem with choosing short term gain over long term gain. Sometimes, you help the very people who will ultimately destroy you.

Tennessee Jed said...

Let me start with a question: Do we know why male children are more likely to die before reaching puberty? I am merely curious.

I agree that homosexuality is most likely primarily a genetic mistake. My reasoning is that sexuality is so clearly imprinted in our DNA as a way to perpetuate ourselves. That said, I'm not so certain all aspects are 100% biological. Our culture can be a strong driving force as well. Jagger and David Bowie were as popular with men as women and were openly bi-.

I can give you a couple of other examples. Humans seem to have an ability to creatively logically think that separates from all other animals. Yes, we are a product of our instinct, but still pride ourselves on our ability to deprive ourselves pleasure or act in a manner that clearly is different than our instinct. (Think of the soldier who jumps on a grenade to smother the explosion and save his friends.)

Let's look at the case of Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. This is the lesbian capital of the world. Many women may go in there straight and get convinced through faculty, political correctness, and peer pressure that they are gay.

Many humans deliberately do some pretty kinky stuff to get off. Tell me that what David Carradine did to himself was instinctive. Or consider cheating spouses who get off on the danger of getting caught, or the allure of forbidden fruit. Just like there is a little larceny in all our hearts, there is a little kinkiness as well, and what is gayness if not the ultimate kinkiness.

Or . . . maybe not; what do I know (lol.)

p.s. to Stan. You are right, Andrew absolutely made your point, just not in so many words! ;-}

ArmChairGeneral said...

"Other recent studies have shown that all humans, again regardless of culture, find near-symmetry beautiful in humans (but not perfect symmetry, which we find disturbing)."

I watched a study on this on one of the documentary channels and found it absolutely fascinating. We really do seem to find perfect symmetry unpleasant.

As far as the rest of your argument for the abortion or change of genetic code to have designer babies and eliminate unwanted mutations (as some would call anything that they did not understand, like, agree with or appreciate), I completely see your point and shudder at the remembrance of Jude Law in Gattica.

Tennessee Jed said...

Regarding abortion, I don't know if one can really think of abortion without the morality of it, but would concede the point for sake of discussion. Is what you say a concern, vis-a-vis the "slippery slope?" Quite possibly. I can only tell you, from my own experience, it is an agonizing and difficult choice that I would only wish none of you are ever required to make. Having said that, I am more convinced that the choice should be made by the parents, not the state, and choose not to elaborate further on the topic.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, There is certainly a cultural aspect. Humans are able to convince themselves of many things, and we are always subject to peer pressure. But I tend to believe that homosexuality is almost entirely genetic, with the rest being an insignificant percentage of the total.

(FYI, I think a lot of the rest of sexual dysfunction can be explained as biological as well. Take for example masochism, which apparently is caused by electric impulses jumping from the pain receptors to the pleasure receptors.)

If the genetic component starts to be removed from the species, then I suspect that the opportunity for those who are simply talking themselves into it will vanish. I could be wrong, but I think that's likely. We've seen in other species where traits have been bread into and out of those species and that those traits do eventually disappear entirely or become the dominant traits. Dogs in particular are easy to manipulate in that manner.

As for males being more likely to die, the problem with males is the Y chromosome, which is more susceptible to the inclusion of certain hereditary diseases. This leads to a higher infant mortality rate among males. There may be other reasons, but that is the one I've heard the most.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Re abortion, we will certainly respect your wishes.

The reason I separated out the morality of it was because I think you don't even need to discuss the morality to see the dangers.

In terms of parents v. the state, I don't know what the solution is at this point, but I am suggesting that we start thinking more about the consequences of our scientific decisions and maybe develop a stronger code of ethics that takes into account the unintended consequences of billions of people making these kinds of decisions. It might be that the best solution involves trying to steer a cultural change, just like they did with littering?

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, I was thinking of Gattica as well.

When I first heard about the symmetry thing, I thought that makes sense I guess. Then they said that we find perfect symmetry disturbing and I thought -- what? Then they showed computer models of perfectly symmetrical faces and, indeed, they were very, very strange and downright creepy. Interesting huh?

ArmChairGeneral said...

jed.. HERE HERE!

Individualist said...

"And last fall, Italian scientists offered a possible explanation for the persistence of gay genes — even though evolution tends to weed out traits that discourage reproduction. The team from the University of Padua found that mothers and aunts of gay men had more offspring than female relatives of heterosexuals, suggesting genes that influence homosexuality in men may increase fertility in females."


This I found ....

I beleive it is Discover or Scientific American magazine a year ago where I read this but I apologize I don't have the aritcle reference.

Anyways it stated that the "gay gene" found in animals appears to be as likely to express itself as same sex preference as opposite sex preference. This meant that there was thought to be an environmental trigger as well.

Also I think I saw or read something on Chimpanzees that stated that "homosexuality" was developed so that youger chimpanzees could "let off steam" as it were becuase the older stronger males guarded their harems. They would practive on males until they were able to command a harem. N ot sure of the validity of the third.

Individualist said...


AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, Interesting articles. There has been a lot of really interesting genetic work reported lately. They really are changing our understanding of humans.

But like I said above, I just hope that we understand the ethics of these things before we move too far ahead and start creating problems.

Individualist said...

'But like I said above, I just hope that we understand the ethics of these things before we move too far ahead and start creating problems."

Well I guess there is a first time for everything!

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