I have a new piece up on the Blowfish Blog. In it, I discuss the current scientific thinking about sexual orientation being genetically determined, at least partly if not mostly or entirely. I pose the question that this thinking automatically leads to: namely, if homosexuality evolved, why? What evolutionary purpose would it serve? And I point out that, when discussing the evolution of particular traits, we have to be sure we're asking the right question.
It's called Why Did Gayness Evolve?, and here's the teaser:
But when you accept the idea that homosexuality is genetically wired, you get faced with a very puzzling question:
Why would that be?
Why, from an evolutionary perspective, would a not-insignificant number of us have been born wanting to boff people we have zero chance of reproducing with?
Why wouldn't that trait have been selected out long ago?
There are lots of hypotheses as to why this might be. I'm not going to argue for or against any of them here (if for no other reason, it would make this piece way too long). Instead, I want to point a very important and often overlooked fact about evolution:
To ask "What is the evolutionary reason for (X)? Why did (X) evolve?" is often the entirely wrong question.
To find out why this might be the wrong question, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy! (Oh, and for the record: Someone has already corrected the error I made about spandrels being less likely to evolve out of existence. Please just ignore that. Thanks.)