Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reproductive Biology and the Far-Right Religious Fundamentalist Charge That Sexual Deviants Have Caused the Collapse of Civilizations, PART TWO

Part One Read more 
Part Three Read more 

Reproductive Biology and the Fundamentalist Charge That Sexual Deviants Have Caused the Collapse of Civilizations
by Bhakti Ananda Goswami / David M. Sherman

I have started this multi part letter to specifically address the charge that homosexuality, feminized males, and masculinized females CAUSE social decay and the collapse of high civilizations. The abundant evidence from animal studies, is that there is a marked RISE in same-sex partnering and pair bonding AS A RESULT OF INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION OR STRESS. Stress causes same-sex partner preference and pair-bonding to increase, as both an individual survival mechanism and a natural population control, in times of stress or danger to the species. The benefit to the species includes a temporary reduction in the fertility, which may SAVE IT from an external threat, or from over-population self-destruction!

I have long been studying and writing about the positive role that intersexed, sex-reversed, same-sex attracted and behaviorally trans-sexed individuals, and entire classes of individuals, play in the optimal survival of numerous species, and in the over-all interaction of species, in local ecosystems and throughout the entire biosphere. Over the years I have read more than a thousand research papers and abstracts of animal studies, beginning back in the 1960s when I was first interested in the research on fetal and young hormonally masculinized and feminized rodents and primates. some rodents and primates, like many other mammal, bird and insect species, may be highly social and exhibit very complex sex and 'gender' specific 'sex dimorphic' behaviors. While some of these behaviors are common throughout 'nature', occurring across countless social species from mammals and birds to insects and even aquatics, there may also be many unique behavioral adaptations and expressions within the various species, in their sub-species, and even from one local population to another local population within the same sub-species.

An example of this is in the singing and dancing (or displaying), which communicates important personal and social information throughout nature in general. Across species, sex signaling is often an important part of this common singing and dancing behavior. So countless species from mammals to birds and bugs may do it, and for example, a single globally common bird species may do it, but within that bird species there may be many sub-species all over the world, which have their own particular songs and dances. Even within those local sub-species again there may be seen unique versions of the family song and dance. In addition, these songs and dances may be modified over time, and of course, on the individual level, some birds are just better dancers and singers than others. And, there being no accounting for individual taste, some watchers and listeners will obviously be more critical or appreciative than others. The critic's receiving side of signaling behavior is biologically based, just the same as the performer's side. In HUMANS IT IS NO DIFFERENT. Both how we signal, and how we respond to signaling, is biologically based in us. In childhood we signal our pre-sexual sense of any gendered self, which may be strongly masculine or feminine, or not particularly 'gendered' at all, regardless of our actual anatomy. Such childhood signaling is primarily through things like our shyness or agressivity and other PLAY PREFERENCES. With the onset of puberty, we begin spontaneously responding to the reproductive sex signaling of others, and we begin voluntarily and unconsciously / involuntarily sex signaling to others. While such signaling and responding is biologically innate in us, the unique elements of our immediate tribe's or sub-culture's social signaling verbal and non-verbal displaying 'language' are learned.

The study of the relationship between signaling and response across species, in a species, in sub-species and between individuals is a very important kind of research. In human linguistic studies, we now have computer assisted comparative language 'Linguistic Super Family' studies. These comparative studies are finding astounding connections between language families that were once considered unrelated. These are the linguistic equivalent of the 'Y' chromosome and Mitochondrial genetic studies, which are now zeroing-in on a so-called biological adam and eve. As the basic life sciences rapidly progress, especially with the use of genetics, other testing technologies and computers now, what we are finding is a convergence of languages and the so-called 'races' (we are one human race) that developed them, more and more commonalities with Earth's other primates, and that we have more in common with all of Earth's other life forms, than we ever dared to imagine before.

With so-called sexually dimorphic species, social behaviors, sex-signaling and response is extremely important to the welfare of the individuals, the family or clan / tribe and the larger social order and even survival of the species itself sometimes. All that is BY NOW SCIENTIFICALLY KNOWN TO BE GENERALLY TRUE about this subject, among numerous social species and across species, is also known to be true among primates and human beings. So why is this vitally important information still essentially confined to academic discussion, and not a matter of general human knowledge? Why does modern political and religious thinking, and related legal social order, not reflect the SCIENTIFIC TRUTHS that we already KNOW about the 'natural world' and our own human place in it? Later on in this series of letters I will address this question.

Regarding the general and specific, or the remote and proximate examples of a 'vocal' system or 'language' of signaling and response, let me use the example of whales. Marine biologists now say that some whale's songs can be heard more than a thousand miles in the ocean! Why would this amazing ability exist at all? Well, these whales actually migrate from Arctic waters to the Equator, and even further, swimming thousands of miles, all of the while maintaining voice contact with their family members, and other whale families, throughout their vast territorial ranges. Whales, like elephants, generally live in matriarchal societies, except when the males become reproductively mature and go off on their own. Like whales, elephants who may also migrate long distances, can similarly communicate with vocalizations that travel for many miles. Both whales and elephants can produce long-distance sounds that cannot really be 'heard' by humans. But, the point of this comparison, is that both whale and elephant species and sub-species, families and individuals have their own unique physical abilities to sing, the 'instinct' or basic program for it, and then learn their actual language and dialect from their own mothers and families. Within the regional and more 'local' dialects of families, even 'word' or expression usages can be observed to change over time. So as in human language, the 'vocal' languages of these other creatures is a living thing, with unique vocabularies (showing local or regional descriptive need and word innovation) grammars and even inflections, that may actually change from region to region and over time!

All of these whale, elephant, bird and other species' vocalization, and related dancing/displaying and other communication related behaviors, have astounding parallels to the various means of communication found in the human family. Humans have their specific range of physical abilities to communicate with their own, and other species. They are born with the 'instinct' or essential programmable ability to most easily learn the language(s) that they are exposed to during the most critical period of their mother-tongue language development. They also learn the particular non-verbal language and dialect of their clan/tribe and immediate family. Individuals then differ in their own mastery and use of these family, tribal, regional and more 'global' human verbal, pre-verbal and non-verbal ways of communication. Because sex-signaling is an important part of this entire 'universal' phenomenon of 'vocal' and non-'vocal' communication in social species, from insects to birds and mammals, including primates and humans, we need to look at how and what humans communicate both in their verbal languages, and in their non-verbal, non-vocal means of 'signaling' as well.

It is no insult to the dignity or personal autonomy and worth of humans to compare their innate species-inherited abilities, and developed personal abilities, to those of other species and individuals. However, in the last 40+ years I have encountered just as much viciousness and damning hostility from radical feminists, who have resented my animal-human comparisons regarding innate sex-dimorphic behaviors, as I have from Fundamentalist Christians and other religionists, who also cannot stand to hear or read about the biological truth of our sex-related behaviors. Humans have the absolutely unique ability, among all of Earth's creatures, to transcend their gross physical biology. Not physically equipped to fly, to dive deep into the waters breathing and swimming like the fish, to move at high speeds, or communicate over thousands of miles, to change our bodies like some species can, to remember things from generations or thousands of years before, to see the Earth from outside its atmosphere, to peer into deep space or into diseased organs tissues molecules and atoms, to build vast habitats modifying whole ecosystems, or for countless other tasks, humans are equipped mentally to imagine and to do all of these things and more, through the use of their unique intelligence. Individually, we each cannot make more than a small range of natural sounds, but with our musical instruments we can make sounds that thrill us and challenge our range of hearing. What is the natural range of the human voice? It is not very far and it physically endures only seconds, but communicated, its message can last in memory for lifetimes and millennia. Through art and other written forms of communication, we can also non-verbally transcend time. We can transmit what is essential to physical survival, and beyond this we can communicate what is profoundly immaterial and essentially aesthetic or 'spiritual'. So in matters of need or desire, for physical survival, metaphysical need or pure pleasure, humans are not bound by the biology of their gross bodies. If we can imagine something, and desire it enough, there is a good chance that we can and will actually achieve it. How then, does an honest discussion of our basic biology, which we share in common with the rest of Earth's community of creation, HOW then can any honest discussion of our physicality be any insult to the unique dignity, freedom and individuality of humankind?

We Need to Get Over Our Denial: A Few Examples Of Animal-Human Parallels

Attached below is the link to an article about yet another research project that is exploring a traditionally supportive social role performed by exclusively homosexual nurturing human males. Note that this study is being conducted in the Samoan Islands of the Pacific. In social species the sexually non reproductive individuals or classes have important roles in their social orders. These are analogous to the family and occupational places that such non-reproductive individuals inhabited, and still inhabit, in many ancient traditional human societies. In Part 3 of this letter, I will list some of these family and clan or tribal social roles, traditionally occupied by sexual and gender atypical persons, and show how these roles actually do persist in our modern technologically advanced, feminist-influenced and 'politically correct', and even in today's still superstitious, religiously repressive and sexist puritanical societies.

My observation has always been that world-wide there is a higher population rate of similarly sexually receptive, or variously feminized males, intersexed (including genetically sex-reversed) and other sexually atypical persons on ISLANDS and in other restricted / isolated population areas. Compare the population of 'penis at twelve' intersexed people on an Island of the Dominican Republic. This is obviously linked to the restricted gene-pool in that restricted island habitat. Island and other such geographically isolated populations that cannot leave their habitations, must have some other way to prevent themselves from eventually exceeding the limited carrying capacity of the environment to support them. When an increasing population cannot spread out to find more optimal nesting habitat, fresh water, food or other necessities, and their gene pool is also restricted by geographical isolation, there are only a few ways to control the population, and avoid mass die-off, self destruction through territorial and mating or nesting and food competition aggression, or even extinction due to total habitat exhaustion from over population. Some species actually reduce their over-populations by mass killing in war-like orgies of aggression (ant wars) or other anti-social destructive behaviors. However, a temporary rise in the base-line rate of non-reproductive pair-bonding and same-sex partner sexual preference can also accomplish a reduction in population without any such violence or disease and habitat destruction-related mass dying-off.

Numerous social animal studies have long shown that their usual base-line population of intersexed, sex-reversed, same-sex attracted and behaviorally trans-sexed individuals often shows marked increase along with increased same-sex partner preference and same-sex pair bonding, when their species is under duress. From the micro-cosm of the single pair to the social macrocosm of an entire regional population, certain stresses predictably result in increases of such beings and behaviors, which then have a real survival benefit to both the individuals and the species.

For example, if habitat is stressed by drought, with reduced food and water available, instead of normal pairing, with normal fertility rates leading to the massive starvation and die-off of the parents and next generation(s), a temporary rise will occur in the number of 'monogamous' same-sex pairs bonding, or in other sex-act partner preferences. This results in the specie's local or regional area's reduced fertility, and a smaller new generation, which can survive on the reduced resources available. Such strategies have a win-win outcome for both the individuals and the species, because for the individuals their own needs, drives / biological imperatives are met, while the greater good of the species is also served.

Especially in social species with 'monogamous' pair-bonding, the survival of individuals requires co-operative nest-building, food gathering, mutual protection and other such pairing behaviors. Without a mate, in these societies the individual is at a great disadvantage, and often suffers and dies prematurely as a result. However, if the individuals same-sex pair bond, they still perform the necessary co-operative activities and do well, but producing no offspring, they reduce their own survival stress, their environmental impact, and thus the over-all stress on the next generation(s) of their species.

In addition to acting as this, just described, stand-by ready strategy for population control (when there is a threat to the optimal health and even survival of the species), such individuals, and whole classes of beings, perform regular base-line population number functions, especially in protection, habitat modification, food gathering, nurturing and other such roles in social species. Examples of this can be seen as the non-reproductive classes of warriors, builders, food-gatherers, nurses and other workers in the ant and wasp related species, bees, and most of the other highly SOCIAL and biosphere ESSENTIAL pollinator species.

Without the fruits of flowering plants, the life-forms dependent on these would not exist. Without the pollinators, many of these plants could not exist. Without their complex social orders, with their highly specialized divisions of labor, dependent on a few reproductive females and males, supported by vast numbers of non-reproductive helpers, these pollinator species could not perform their highly effective services to the rest of the Earth's community of creation. So, throughout the complex web of life on Earth, one can observe that among the species of the water, the air and land, countless numbers of entire classes of non-reproductive beings exist, who live to serve both their own needs and those of their species.

While some radical feminists and fundamentalist religionists may be in deep denial about the basic biology and neuro-endocrinology of human behavior, and they may be deeply offended by the discussion of sex-linked behaviors or the comparison of human beings and their societies, to animals and their societies, feeling that the unique dignity of humanity should not be de-valued by such reductionism, it is important to remember that our bodies are made of the same stuff as all of our other Earthly companions, with whom we share most of our own DNA, and 100% of the same laws of physics and biochemistry etc. To investigate objectively the wonders of life on Earth, and humankind among those wonders, is not reductionism. No person should be offended by the truth. So relative to the attached article, in Part 3 of this missive, I want to make some observations about feminized, intersexed, sex-reversed and/or transsexual or transgendered XY people. In general, highly organized social species have complex and symbiotic social roles, with divisions of labor reflected in the body-type of the individuals in that role. Sex hormones (their balance, changing, presence or absence) are usually the proximate cause and regulators of such different bodies and behaviors within the same species. Across species certain behaviors can be observed as being more often associated with, or as typically 'female' or 'feminine, and other behaviors can be observed as being more often associated with, or observed as 'male' or 'masculine'. But again, these behaviors may not be absolutely tied to a certain phenotype, the presence of male or female genitalia or the XX-female or XY-male general rule for karyotype or 'sex chromosomes'.

The below referenced Samoan study of the social foster-parenting or nurturing role of one class of exclusively homosexual males, is one example of such a mutually beneficial place for non-reproducing persons in a traditional island tribal society.

Sa­mo­an lovers hint at ev­o­lu­tion­ary mech­a­nisms, sci­en­tists claim

Paul Vasey and colleagues at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta

No comments: