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Scientific basis for homosexuality

Michael Nokes | Monday, April 12, 2010

In response to “Exploring only human sexuality,” (Michael O’Connor, April 9) I would like to assert the evidence, some of which can be gleaned from other animals, for a scientific and evolutionary basis for human homosexuality. O’Connor states that humans are significantly different from animals in many ways, the most significant of which lies in an awareness of right, wrong and consequences — essentially, the possession of morality. This, he claims, means we shouldn’t use the homosexuality observed in nature to analyze human homosexuality. Though humans do seem to be unique in the development of morality, we must remember that we are animals, albeit the finely tuned end-product of their evolutionary chain. Just because our capabilities seem so superior to those of other animals, however, does not mean we are exempt from all comparison. What if homosexuality is hard-wired in some individuals, at a level as fundamental as or even more so than that of our own morality?

Scientific evidence exists to support this notion; for example, studies in Oregon, Britain and other areas have isolated genes in sheep which, if manipulated, cause homosexuality, as well as differences in brain morphology and hormone production between heterosexual and homosexual sheep. Such genetic experiments could not be performed on humans, for obvious reasons, but the fact that sheep show a genetic disposition to homosexuality suggests that it could plausibly have genetic underpinnings in humans as well. The fact that much more closely-related primates also exhibit homosexuality simply augments this plausibility. More concretely, scientists have found differential levels of hormone production in response to certain stimuli between homosexual and heterosexual humans. From both humans and other animals, evidence certainly exists that homosexuality has a biological basis.

The definitive basis for human homosexuality is not conclusively known; however, to rule out facts that can be gleaned from the observation of other homosexual animals is to ignore relevant data. Humans are surely self-aware, moral creatures, but evidence suggests that homosexual individuals are likely as fundamentally so as heterosexual individuals. To suggest that they violate human morality by following that fundamental inclination is inappropriate.


Michael Nokes


Stanford Hall

April 11