Evolution vs. the ‘Gay Gene’ Myth (DNA)
Belief in the hypothesis of evolution is absolutely incompatible with a genetic basis for homosexuality. If there were a genetic basis for same-sex sexual orientation, it would have died out by now under natural selection. But more importantly, homosexuality would have to show a higher concentration in certain geographic areas and ethnic groups and low incidence elsewhere. But we do not see that pattern.
Is homosexuality a personal choice or a developmental pattern? Or is a person born homosexual? Much of the current attitude about same-sex marriage is driven by the cultural assumption that being homosexual is not a voluntary choice. Similarly, distortions of the Christian gospel to please homosexuals is based on the belief that they have no choice. Can the Church reasonably disfavor homosexuality if homosexuals were born that way?
So what would it look like if there were a genetic variation among some people causing them to be attracted to and to sexually desire members of the same sex instead of the opposite sex? How can we tell?
To create a “gay gene,” some genetic variation (anomaly) would have occurred at some point in time. The theory of evolution claims that genetic mutations occur regularly, possibly due to cosmic or other radiation or simply due to transcription errors in the cellular processes of DNA replication during cellular mitosis (division).
As a result, homosexuality would be more frequent in the geographic region where the variation originated and among the ethnic group in which the genetic variation first occurred. A genetic basis for homosexuality would have had to have started somewhere, among someone, at some point in time. It could have spread from there to other geographic regions and people groups. But the concentration would be higher where the genetic variation started, and lower elsewhere in the human race.
Of course, we do not see anything of the sort. We see a very small but uniform incidence of homosexual orientation spread evenly throughout the globe and across all ethnic groups. This is consistent with a development disorder, not a genetic basis, for same-sex attraction.
Furthermore, because reproduction by homosexuals must be – almost by definition – less frequent than heterosexuals, we would see incidence of homosexual orientation declining over time. Although we have only anectodal records across human history, homosexuality appears to be consistent throughout history. The percentage of people who are homosexual is very, very small, despite advocacy arguing the opposite. But the percentage appears to remain constant. We do not go back in time reading history and see a much larger presence of homosexuality thousands of years ago.
Evolution claims that a genetic variation will survive if the specimen is more viable in its environment than the previous genetic composition. The mechanism of survival is reproduction. A variation that results in more children being produced and/or children who are more likely to survive to the age where they have children themselves will persist and grow more prevalent. A variation that is less survivable will die out. Having children, who live long enough to have their own children, is the only mechanism for a gay gene to survive for more than one generation.
Evolutionary forces would quickly erase a genetic basis for homosexuality. If there were a genetic anomaly which occurred at some point in time causing an attraction to sexual partners of the same gender, that “gay gene” would quickly become extinct.
In fact, it is difficult to see how the genetic variation could ever become widespread to start with. If we imagine mechanisms by which a gay gene could last for some period of time, we must still wonder how it could have ever spread in the first place. The human population was much smaller in millennia past, lifespans were shorter, and existence more brutal. So the opportunity for a homosexuality gene to survive would face even more severe negative pressures than in our civilized world today.
Now, it is true that genetic influences in reproduction are complex. First, homosexual men and women are able to have children. And due to social pressures, many married and behaved like heterosexuals to avoid persecution.
Yet the very definition of evolutionary survival is the likelihood of having offspring. Those carrying a “gay gene” would typically have more than zero children, on average, but would have fewer children, on average, than those who do not carry a gene causing homosexuality. Even those participating in traditional marriages would – by definition – have a lower desire for engaging in sexual activity with a spouse of the opposite sex.
As a result, homosexuality would take several generations to become extinct. But the raw mathematics of reproduction would eventually erase a homosexuality gene from the human population after it arose.
Also, cultural pressures for homosexuals to marry in heterosexual unions would vary in intensity from society to society, contrasting for example societies with marriages arranged by parents against those leaving marriage to individual initiative. Some societies tolerate homosexuality more than others. Because a homosexual gene could only be reproduced through heterosexual intercourse, cultural differences would produce noticeably higher incidence of homosexuality in some ethnic groups compared with others.
Second, there are recessive genes. That is, people can be carrying a gene without it being expressed. This normally means that both parents must have the recessive gene for it to become active. This can cause traits to skip generations.
But the pressure against reproduction would still cause the genetic variation to die out. It might take longer, but extinction of the gene would result. Reproduction requires heterosexual intercourse – the very thing homosexuality hinders.
We also must note that females have two X-shaped chromosomes while males have one each, X-shaped and Y-shaped chromosome. Yet homosexuality occurs in both men and women. A gay gene would have to occur on the X chromosome. The opportunities for the gene to be passed on would be smaller, because a child could end up with either of the mother’s X chromosome, but not both.
Furthermore, we do not see a tendency of homosexuality to be concentrated in family lines. The incidence of homosexuality is no greater in a family line containing one homosexual than in the general population of humanity as a whole. A homosexual child has traditionally caused shock, not recognition that it runs in the family.
What we observe is more consistent with homosexuality being caused by emotional development of an individual from childhood. Homosexuality occurs throughout the world at about the same rate in all ethnic groups, about equally among men and women, and is apparently consistent throughout history.
Especially among genuine Christians, we must recognize and understand that humans are very complex. Emotions are very complex. The habits developed in our brains are very complex. And sexuality is mysterious and difficult to understand. Therefore, it is hard for an individual to truly recognize why they feel (today) what they are feeling.
We must also understand the complex changes that take place through habits long repeated. We understand from Biblical teaching that making wrong choices changes us and makes it harder and harder over time to choose differently later. Jesus and other parts of the New Testament tell us that we are slaves to sin.
Like the highs of narcotic drugs, repeated sexual experiences with the associated pleasure and release of chemicals in the brain like dopamine can alter our perceptions over time. It may be extremely difficult for someone to change any habit about anything. But the mere assumption – unproven – that homosexuals are born that way is in conflict with what we observe.
[Editor’s note: the author of this article asked to remain anonymous to avoid retribution in the workplace.]
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