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Chapter

Levin - Homosexuality, Abnormality, and Civil Rights.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL243H1
Professor
Ronniede Sousa
Semester
Winter

Description
- Homosexuality is abnormal because the penis is for vaginal intercourse, not anal intercourse with men - If we can identify a natural function of an organ, then we can say it is behave abnormally when it fails to perform this function or performs an action thwarting this function - “Function” doesn’t necessarily imply a conscious creator who created an organism with a specific purpose - A thing’s functions are its effects that explain its existence, ex. a clock’s function is to tell time, because that’s why the clock exists - X is normal if it adheres to why this trait over others was selected via evolution (ex. a dull shark’s tooth would be abnormal because shark’s teeth are meant to sharply bite things) - Leading to reproduction got the sex drive selected in, so reproduction is its function - Genes are fit insofar as they produce copies of themselves and genes which programmed heterosexual intercourse were more likely to replicate than their competitors - Bisexual genes may have also replicated but would have been less fit than and eventually displaced by exclusively heterosexual ones - But then abnormality is only bad if fitness is good, which is a doubtful premise since adaptations which may have been advantageous in hunter gatherer societies can be problematic in modernity - Adaptive behaviors tend to be reinforcing; evolution makes us like what makes us fit, so while being normal isn’t “good” but is the preferred state because it is associated with positive affect and feelings of well being - Many homosexual tendencies such as difficulty forming lifelong monogamous bonds and preoccupation with youth suggest levels of emotional satisfaction below those of heterosexuals - The fact that men continue to have anal intercourse even though they know it causes AIDS is proof that this behavior is compulsive - Even if we accept a genetic basis for homosexuality, this doesn’t mean that homosexuality is normal, since some genetic traits (ex. autism) are abnormal - Heritability doesn’t even mean that homosexuality is adaptive, since the gene could survive through expression in more than one phenotype, which is called pleiotropy - The gene that codes for homosexuality ay also code for other traits that enhance fitness - Another speculation is that homosexuals are helpful to heterosexual kin, but there is little evidence of this - Alternatively the gene could express itself only rarely as homosexuality - Homosexuality still wouldn’t explain the survival of the gene that codes from it, since it would be a side effect fatal to any gene that coded for it alone, such as sickle cell anemia which has survived because its gene also confers immunity to malaria - Increased tolerance of homosexuality might select against such a gene by encouraging its expression as homosexuality rather than a correlate - If a gene has been protected by infrequency of expression, increasing this frequency may lead to deselection - Whether homosexuality is genetic or not is irrelevant to whether discrimination based on homosexuality should be allowed - Homosexuality is unchosen if fixed by genes, but equally unchosen if fixed by early childhood experiences - A homosexual, like a heterosexual, can choose to restrain his sex drive - We must first establish that discrimination based on immutable characteristics is wrong enough to forbid
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