According To The Natural World — Homosexuality IS Natural

We are by-products of our environment.   I think even the religious minded will agree; what differentiates us from other species of Great Ape: religion.  Because as far as any of us can see, only humans require an explanation for everything, including the great unknown.

Human beings are rather like the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, or the Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz.”  All three already had what they wanted most,  but still felt they lacked.  This is true too, for humanity.   We already had the same understanding that all or most sentient animals have.  Christians call it “the Golden Rule,” but it’s been around forever, in every human civilization that’s ever been, and in the world of animals too.   Even despite the need to compete for food, we see animals work together, forming families or communities, building connections and bonds.  Elephants grieve their dead.   Many species of whales stay their entire lives in their family pods alongside parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts.  When an animal is sick, often another of its kind, a sibling or friend, stays beside it; even after it dies you might still find its loyal friend at its side, loathe to leave it behind.

Kindness to others, helping others, doing unto others as you would have others do unto you.  This is one of the basic laws of nature.  Not all animals have  it, but many animals do.  It doesn’t come from religion.  It comes from the instinct of knowing what it takes to survive in groups and get along.  Except religion wants the credit.   Without religion we’d all be savages, or so it’s said, murdering each other, not caring for anything beyond meeting our own primal needs.

Other intelligent animals aren’t like this without religion, so why would we be?

But we are conditioned to believe our goodness can’t come from within ourselves.  It must come from without, from above, from something greater than we.  Because we believe that we, unlike every other living thing on this planet, were born broken and in need of repair.  And if we don’t desire after or seek out the one way we can be repaired, we will be punished, forever, by the god who made us broken.

How close are we to other apes?   Very close.  Genetically two genes differentiate us from our closest cousins.  And in fact human beings are more closely related to Chimpanzees (or Bonobos) than Gorillas are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Chimpanzee   (AKA humans)

http://williamcalvin.com/teaching/bonobo.htm   (Bonobos)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee

The only apes that mate for life–Gibbon Apes and Gorillas.  And yet we are more closely related to the Chimpanzee than we are to either of these.

Animals that mate for life:

Gibbon Apes (nearest relative to humans (that mate for life)

Swans

Gorillas

Black Vultures

Wolves

French Angelfish

Albatrosses

Coyotes

Termites

Barn Owls

Beavers

Bald Eagles

Golden Eagles

Pigeons

Condors

Sandhill Cranes

Red Tailed Hawks

Ospreys

Prairie Voles

Chimpanzees do not mate for life.  Yet humans do.  I believe this is a direct result of religion.  It seems to me that the effort to stay loyal and loving to one partner all your life is a noble one, and in many cases it proves the key to a happy life . But is it natural?   Why is it so hard for 50% or more human couples to make their marriages last?   When did mating for life become the norm for human beings?   Did our prehistoric ancestors stay loyal to their mates?  If so, what encouraged this behavior?  This way of life?

It is a myth that only humans engage in sex for pleasure, just as it is a myth that homosexuality is not “natural:”

http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx

1,500 animal species practice homosexuality

Published on October 23, 2006 at 4:28 PM · 290 Comments

Homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom, especially among herding animals. Many animals solve conflicts by practicing same gender sex.

From the middle of October until next summer the Norwegian Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo will host the first exhibition that focuses on homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

“One fundamental premise in social debates has been that homosexuality is unnatural. This premise is wrong. Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species,” explains Petter Boeckman, who is the academic advisor for the “Against Nature’s Order?” exhibition.

The most well-known homosexual animal is the dwarf chimpanzee (Bonobo), one of humanity’s closes relatives. The entire species is bisexual. Sex plays an conspicuous role in all their activities and takes the focus away from violence, which is the most typical method of solving conflicts among primates and many other animals.

“Sex among dwarf chimpanzees is in fact the business of the whole family, and the cute little ones often lend a helping hand when they engage in oral sex with each other.”

Lions are also homosexual. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by often having sex with each other.

Homosexuality is also quite common among dolphins and killer whales. The pairing of males and females is fleeting, while between males, a pair can stay together for years. Homosexual sex between different species is not unusual either. Meetings between different dolphin species can be quite violent, but the tension is often broken by a “sex orgy”.

Homosexuality is a social phenomenon and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.

Among the apes it is the females that create the continuity within the group. The social network is maintained not only by sharing food and the child rearing, but also by having sex. Among many of the female apes the sex organs swell up. So they rub their abdomens against each other,” explains Petter Bockman and points out that animals have sex because they have the desire to, just like we humans.

Homosexual behaviour has been observed in 1,500 animal species.

“We’re talking about everything from mammals to crabs and worms. The actual number is of course much higher. Among some animals homosexual behaviour is rare, some having sex with the same gender only a part of their life, while other animals, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, homosexuality is practiced throughout their lives.”

Animals that live a completely homosexual life can also be found. This occurs especially among birds that will pair with one partner for life, which is the case with geese and ducks. Four to five percent of the couples are homosexual. Single females will lay eggs in a homosexual pair’s nest. It has been observced that the homosexual couple are often better at raising the young than heterosexual couples.

When you see a colony of black-headed gulls, you can be sure that almost every tenth pair is lesbian. The females have no problems with being impregnated, although, according to Petter Boeckman they cannot be defined as bisexual.

“If a female has sex with a male one time, but thousands of times with another female, is she bisexual or homosexual? This is the same way to have children is not unknown among homosexual people.”

Indeed, there is a number of animals in which homosexual behaviour has never been observed, such as many insects, passerine birds and small mammals.

“To turn the approach on its head: No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue.”

Petter Bockman regrets that there is too little research about homosexuality among animals.

“The theme has long been taboo. The problem is that researchers have not seen for themselves that the phenomenon exists or they have been confused when observing homosexual behaviour or that they are fearful of being ridiculed by their colleagues. Many therefore overlook the abundance of material that is found. Many researchers have described homosexuality as something altogether different from sex. They must realize that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher’s ethical principles.”

One example of overlooking behaviour noted by Petter Bockman is a description of mating among giraffes, when nine out of ten pairings occur between males.

“Every male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only “revolving around” dominance, competition or greetings.

Masturbation is common in the animal kingdom.

“Masturbation is the simplest method of self pleasure. We have a Darwinist mentality that all animals only have sex to procreate. But there are plenty of animals who will masturbate when they have nothing better to do. Masturbation has been observed among primates, deer, killer whales and penguins, and we’re talking about both males and females. They rub themselves against stones and roots. Orangutans are especially inventive. They make dildos of wood and bark,” says Petter Boeckman of the Norwegian Natural History Museum.

END OF ARTICLE

So back to the religion thing.  Is homosexuality “unnatural?  NO, it is not.   And the only reason human beings are under the impression that it is– religion.

Whether various religions want to acknowledge this or not, human beings are animals and are a part of nature, part of the natural world.   Religion has taken what is natural for humans and changed the rules, directed the rules, put fear of punishment or hope for reward as motivations to bring about this change, this desire in all of us to shun our natural animal selves and behave contrary to nature.

That’s all fine and well, but not every human is the same as every other human, and not all humans are born homosexual, whereas some humans are.  And of the humans born gay, not all of them are capable of denying what and who they are, to live within the box created for all of humankind by organized religion.

So, for those people, do we have the right to punish them?  To deny them equal rights as human beings?  To judge them, label them “abominations?”  Tell them that their god (if they believe in him), or creator, hates them?  Yes, like any creator would create a thing he hates.

For this reason among many, I disagree that religious dogma and indoctrination has been healthy for humankind.  I submit that this artificial way of living that denies what nature designed us to be, causes hatred, bigotry, sexism–all manner of intolerance for our fellow human beings.   Do Bonobos shun or stone to death members of their tribes for being gay?  No.  Only humans do that.  Only humans stand up behind pulpits and preach that homosexuals are  unnatural and an abomination and evil and should be put behind fences or be killed by their own governments for being born as the natural world intended them to be!   Only humans use religion and made up doctrine as justification to kill or punish or gleefully and indignantly spread the poison of hate.

http://www.hlntv.com/video/2012/05/23/pastor-put-gays-behind-electric-fence

http://www.inquisitr.com/245722/kansas-pastor-curtis-knapp-government-should-kill-gays-audio/

Your Equal Rights? Majority Vote Shall Decide!

I am disgusted and angered at North Carolina and any other State that makes equal human rights for all, subject to a majority vote.   Do straight people have to wait and hope that a majority of the population all agree that they should be able to marry?  No.   So why do gays?  Why do some people have to depend on other people agreeing what their rights should be, while some of us do not?   I thought this was America.  Bad enough that women in this day and age still have to battle every four years to hold on to their right to control their own body.  But to say some Americans have the right to express their love for each other through marriage, and some do not–how absurd.

The “sanctity of marriage” only applies to people who believe in a god.  And as usual, whenever god or religion is added to the mix we get hatred, intolerance, and a complete disregard for the pursuit of happiness for anyone who isn’t the same as we are.

I wrote this story this morning.  Homosexuality is as natural to human beings as it is to any other warm blooded species on this planet.  The very fact some human beings are born with a preference for their own gender proves this is natural because human beings, despite how artificial we’ve made our world, are still very much a part of the natural world.

I just thought–write a story to illustrate this same kind of discrimination toward people born “different” in a more obvious way–a way they obviously can’t help and don’t have any choice about.  Does this scenario seem cruel, unfair and absurd?  Well I know several gay people.  This is not a lifestyle choice.  This is not a choice at all.  It is who they are; how they were born.  For them it is as natural as being straight is for us.  Can a straight person suddenly decide not to be straight anymore?  Then how is it fair to treat gays like simply being who they are is somehow a choice?

Anyway, here’s the story:

 

A whisper of cool air.  I turned my head to see Janie cracking her window.  The old black van was fearsome hot in the blistering sun, the fabric of the front seat sticking to my thighs.  I too, put a hand to the crank and let in some air.  But it was only the van’s speed that made it seem cool.  When I leaned my cheek close to the open air, it was warm.  Easy Bake Oven warm.

“Are we there yet?” Ben asked from the back seat.  I turned to see his flushed face.  He was twisting where he sat, clearly uncomfortable.  Beside him his twin Charlie sat with his eyes closed, his cheek resting on Ben’s shoulder.  Being just twelve, the two boys had little patience for long drives, let alone in the summer heat.

“Almost.”  Janie.flipped on her turn signal.  I could see the kids in the stopped car next to us.  They were bouncing up and down in their seats, obviously headed for the same destination as we.

“It’ll be packed,” Janie said.

“At this point I don’t care!” I returned.  I kept my eye on my two little brothers.  Their life had not been easy; every day I felt more protective of them.  When at last the car crunched its way into the gravel parking lot beside the public pool, I saw Ben give Charlie a poke.  The slightly smaller boy awoke with a jolt, looked to where Ben was pointing and grinned.  As if on cue both boys seized their towels.

Getting out of the car was always awkward, but today it seemed my two little brothers had wings.  I laughed at Charlie when he suddenly lost a flip flop in his haste to get in line.   Ben at once stopped, and lowered himself just a bit so his brother could slip it back on.

The kids in front and behind looked curiously at my brothers.  Ben stuck out his tongue.  He was used to it.  Charlie was luckily turned in such a way that very often he didn’t get to see.   They were conjoined twins, both sharing one heart.  It was possible when they were older and stronger they might be separated; both twins were on the waiting list for a heart.

I came first to the ticket window.   “Three!” I sang out.  From behind the fence I could see the sunlight on the water, the play of its rays across the cool blue surface.  It was as packed as Janie predicted.  In some places kids were shoulder to shoulder.  Behind me I felt Ben pressing against me in his eagerness.  It was almost a hundred degrees and it was Wisconsin.  The heat itself turned to sweat beneath our clothes. 

The balding man behind the window eyed my two brothers.   I saw his eyes fix on the place where the two boys’ ribcages merged together.  A look of disgust raised his upper lip.   “You can go in,” he said curtly.  “But not them.  They’re not… natural.”

I felt a chill in that horrible heat.  Starting at the back of my neck it shot straight through my stomach.  “What?”  I stared at the man, not believing what I’d just heard.

“Sam,” Janie said softly beside me.  “Let’s go.”

“No way!”  I put myself between my brothers and the man’s cruel scrutiny.  “What is your problem?  Who are you to tell us we can’t go in?”

“YOU can,” the man barked.  “But not them.  Not them!   Holy shit, little girl, they’re unnatural.  I don’t want them in the water with my kids.  I don’t want the other kids seeing that!”

I took a step back, put my hands on my hips.  “Look,” I said, trying to suppress the anger in my voice.  I felt my body trembling: rage took me then.  I could hardly form words.  “This is America.  We are Americans.  My brothers have just as much right to go in that pool as anyone else!”

The man glared at me.  A slow cruel smile bent his lips.  He closed the window, came out of his chair; as I watched he came through the doorway to where we stood.  With a rigid set to his shoulders he went to the metal gate and thumbed it open.   “Ok!” he snarled.  “Right!”   I let out a yelp as he grabbed my arm, pushed me aside.  Then his hard hands caught Ben and Charlie by the shoulders.  With rough jerks of his arms he pulled the two boys through the gate, into the hard brightness of the sun.

A silence fell as the kids in the water stopped splashing, as the kids playing in the puddles beside the pool looked up.  Even the boy on the diving board stopped and looked down.  Suddenly everyone was looking at my little brothers as beside Ben, Charlie began to cry.

“Everyone!”  the big man shouted.  “This is America…that means we get a vote!   Who here’s in favor of these two freaks getting in the water with you?”

I stood rooted to the spot. Not a single kid raised their hands.   They stared at the man who they knew owned the pool, his loathing and hatred twisting his face, and not a kid raised their hand.  Even the lifeguards at their various stations were dumbstruck; too afraid of losing their jobs to make a sound.

Finally I found my voice.  “Come on, guys.”  I bit hard on each word.  “We don’t need their stupid pool.  There’s the lake, just down the road and I’m betting no one’s peed in it, either!”

I took Charlie’s hand.  He lurched beside me, hiding his face against my arm.  We turned away from the sight of the water, but then had to stop.  I saw Ben still standing with hope on his face, gazing at the other kids he ached to play with, the cool water he craved.  

“Please,” I heard him whisper.

I looked at the adult who had done his best to humiliate my brothers.   He was grinning now, and with gestures, getting many of the other kids to laugh.

“Come on, Ben,” I said gently.  With a look of pain and confusion, my little brother turned away. 

 

 

 

 

And Yes, Who We Pick As Mates = Natural Selection

As far as I know (and I’m going by my layman’s (or woman’s) understanding of things) three things cause / contribute to the process of evolution.  Natural selection, climate change and TIME.

Interracial marriage is not an example of evolution, it is an example of natural selection which, over time, contributes to changes to a species, and that process of change over time is called evolution.

A hundred years ago the percentage of people who had to wear corrective lenses was less.  The further back in time you go, very likely the less people you find with impaired vision.  Why?    Because visually impaired humans living more closely with nature are a lot more likely to become bear fodder and never reproduce.   Because before we invented our way to the top of the food-chain, we needed our senses a lot more to survive; our ability to hear, and see, and RUN.  So, just like it is still in nature, survival of the fittest.

Of course this doesn’t apply today.  People like myself who get laughed out of the building when we try to enlist in the Navy (for being too blind) still manage to cope quite well thanks to corrective lenses.  We hold down jobs, we raise children–who likely will also inherit our weak vision.  Over time we have more and more people needing corrective lenses because it no longer happens that the weak sighted humans are killed off by bears, or by accidentally falling off cliffs or, whatever perils our ancestors had to face who didn’t have the benefit of corrective lenses, seeing eye dogs or white canes.

This is an example of natural selection working against a species.  Because those of us with weak vision are able to live and procreate we are creating more visually impaired people.  Usually the opposite effect comes from natural selection.   Weaker traits do not get passed on because the individual with that weaker trait doesn’t get to survive.  Not in the natural world.  Anyone who knows anything about wolves or lions or any of the big predators knows–it is the sick or the aged or the weak that predators target and go after.  Why?  Because predators naturally do not want to have their rib cages kicked in or their skulls crushed, and the bigger stronger younger prey are more likely to cause serious harm–assuming they can catch them at all.

So natural selection, over time, does change a species.  If you go to Europe and check out the doorways of those cool old castles, I hear the doorways are very short.  Like….people over 5 feet tall have to stoop over to walk through them.  Why?   Because people were shorter back then.

Even in my lifetime…I was the tallest girl in my school growing up.  That was back in the day when there weren’t any professional women sports teams and girls were just beginning to have the same kind of physical education/fitness programs in schools as boys.   in the 30 years since I graduated I have seen more and more taller young women.  Girls that make me look short.   My guess is because women are finally “allowed” and even encouraged to use their bodies more–push themselves like boys to discover what they can do–they are getting stronger.   Or maybe it’s just that the human race is still just getting a little bigger with each passing generation.  This is evolution.  Environmental changes or natural selection over time causes species to adapt physically.  That changing process is evolution.  If human beings survived another million years (highly doubtful) or more, those humans of the future might look a lot different than we do now.   Especially as we replace what we used to do physically to survive, with machines to do it for us.

Another thing that creates change–diet.  In the horse example I gave in my previous blog, what I copied for that from Wikipedia describes how horses teeth changed as the horse’s diet changed.

If only brown haired, brown eyed people were allowed to have children, eventually blue or green eyed people would disappear–with maybe the occasional throw back now and then.  If interracial marriage became more and more accepted and popular, over time it is very possible the races now existing on this planet might be effected.  There might not be white people one day.  Because the more interracial couplings that happen, the more mixing of the races occurs, over a short amount of time, like 50 years or 100 years or 200 years, the face of humanity will change.  If all tall people were forbidden to procreate and only short people had children, the human race would likely start to get shorter again.

If the climate changes and the sun becomes more intense, again, white people might find it harder to survive than people with more pigment in their skin.  This would be a case where environment change is reshaping a species.   If the gravity on this planet were to change and become stronger…very likely many species would die out altogether, while other species might have a few individuals with stronger thicker bones, survive.  Those individuals with the stockier bone structure would mate with other individuals with stockier bone structure and that species would slowly adapt more and more to the new gravity, producing stockier offspring–and any offspring born without the thicker bone structure would die and not pro-create, until one day a stockier thicker boned version would exist, completely replacing the lighter framed earlier version of that same species that could not survive.

This is evolution or what causes evolution, as I understand it.  When you have the conditions of survival change and the life in that environment must adapt to the changes or die.

Another example–river dolphins.  Copied from Wikipedia:

Differences between marine and river dolphins

Both river dolphins and marine dolphins belong to a group of mammals called cetaceans, but they differ somewhat in appearance. For example, the snout of a river dolphin measures about 58 centimeters (2 ft) long, approximately four times as long as that of most marine dolphins. River dolphins have smaller eyes than marine dolphins, and their vision is poorly developed because they live in dark, muddy water. This environment also makes river dolphins less active than marine dolphins. River dolphins feed primarily on fish.[1

 
So….dolphins who do not use their vision very much because their environment doesn’t let them see, develop smaller eyes and weaker eye sight than dolphins in clear water who need and use their vision to survive.   Two examples of marine mammals very different from each other because of their environment.  And yet, both are dolphins.

Another example of animals who have adapted to suit their environment–Siberian tigers.  Gorgeous cats.  The largest of the big cats.  He has feet the size of platters–great big huge feet, why?  Because he travels on snow–needs to be able to run on snow.  So his feet have adapted.  Where humans have to wear snow shoes to walk on snow, the Siberian Tiger has his larger paws to achieve the same result.

An interesting animal to watch is the polar bear.  Either he will become extinct in the next 50 years, or he will adapt to his radically changing environment.  If he adapts he will physically change.   His diet will have to change.  How he gets fresh water to survive will have to change.  How well he can endure warmer temperatures will have to change.  If he can’t adapt fast enough, he will die and there will no longer be polar bears.

But there will be other bears.

Just like once upon a time there were Neanderthals and now there are not, while other species of humans who lived alongside Neanderthals did not die but endured.  Neanderthals didn’t become us…but they did leave their genetic signature behind and contributed to what has made humans what we are today.

I don’t know how to end this.  I hope this makes some kind of point. I guess what I’m trying to describe is, the ingredient Creationists don’t want to take into account is time.  Creationists are used to thinking a deity said “let there be–” and there it suddenly was.  They apply that same kind of thinking to evolution.  They think one species just suddenly becomes something else. That’s not how it happens.  It takes time–millions of years.   Over time creatures that looked rather like wolves started hunting more and more in the water, started feeding more on fish than prey animals on land.  Over time these animals adapted to hunting in water, and came out onto dry land less and less.  Over time these animals developed limbs more like paddles instead of legs, and longer leaner bodies to make them cut through the water more swiftly.   And over a really long period of time these animals became cetaceans–dolphins, Orcas, whales.  Warm blooded mammals that live like fish in the sea.

Given enough time, a species will adapt itself to its changing environment.   Because if it doesn’t, or if the change happens too soon, it goes the other route.  It becomes extinct.  Or changes to the point that it hits a roadblock and cannot change or adapt anymore, which is what they guess happened to the Neanderthal.