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Unread August 8th, 2006, 11:17 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Cat parasite may be responsible for cultural traits

From Wiki—
The Pathogenic hypothesis of homosexuality, or the gay germ hypothesis, argues that a pathogenic cause of homosexuality is pointed to by the reduced number of offspring produced by homosexuality, meaning evolution would strongly select against it, by the low identical twin concordance for homosexuality, which further argues against genetic influence, and by analogue with diseases that alter brain structure and behavior, such as narcolepsy, which are suspected of being triggered by viral infection. It is inaccurate to refer to this hypothesis as a theory, as a theory represents a well-tested and verified hypothesis that has withstood all currently possibly scientific scrutiny and inquiry.

Gregory Cochran, who has generated attention for his ideas in evolutionary medicine and genetic anthropology, and Paul Ewald, professor of biology at Amherst College, have advocated a number of pathogenic theories of disease, and conclude that this is a "feasible hypothesis". They do not assert that there is sufficient evidence to show that it is factually correct. As of 2005, no experiments or studies have yet been attempted. At present, it is a speculative hypothesis. (Crain, 1999)

Cochran points out that conditions which strongly affect the ability to reproduce fall into two categories - those that are very rare (affecting about 1 in 10,000 births or less), and those that result from genes which actually confer evolutionary advantage in certain situations, and disadvantage in others. (Such as sickle cell anemia.) Homosexuality is reportedly present in more than 1 in 100 people. Assuming it is not caused by a recent mutation, and that it does not fall into the selective advantage category, a reasonable explanation would be that it is caused by a germ or other environmental factor.

Cochran claims that theories of the cause of narcolepsy - that it is an auto-immune disease triggered by a virus - make the mechanism of selective brain modification plausible. He also claims that only humans and sheep exhibit homosexual behavior at population levels near 1% or greater. He says that given their physical proximity, it would be plausible to expect a pathogen that affected both species.

Proponents cite the cases of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which was recently discovered to contribute to most peptic ulcers; the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae, which may cause atherosclerosis; Nanobacter, which might cause kidney stones; and various viruses linked to cervical cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). (Crain, 1999)
Of course there are those that are distressed by such an hypothesis, seeing it as “pathologizing homosexuality.” But really, MM, Carey, Tom, and Todd, let’s face it: Natural Selection is a bitch.
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