July 01, 2014

Charisma News Is Talking Evolution
What a trip

When I saw a Charisma News article trying to disprove homosexuality by saying it wasn't evolutionarily beneficial, I had to click. There was no other choice.

I was not disappointed.

Charisma News describes itself as:
To passionate, Spirit-filled Christians, Charisma News is the most trusted source for credible news and insight from a charismatic perspective.
We've referenced them a few times in the past, from talking about demons of rape to talking about homosexuality to talking about how women can make churches safer for men (spoiler! wear more clothes!). So to see them bringing up homosexuality and evolution...well, I was not disappointed, as I've said.

Let's take a look.

Charisma says (Do Not Link):
Let's face a stark yet unspeakable fact: Homosexuals do not reproduce—not because of happenstance nor infirmity, but by the design of nature. Judging it strictly by secular and scientific criteria, homosexuality is the definition of a maladaptive behavior. For a society to sanction or enshrine it is not only scientifically unwise but, from an evolutionary standpoint, devolutionary to the point of being suicidal. 
So we have a clear basis here for where the arguments are going to go.

Let's start with the idea that homosexuals do not reproduce. This is quite true--they don't. Not naturally, per se, anyway. It's a question that scientists have pursued with some interest. Homosexuality appears in a number of species--over 1500, actually--but not at nearly the proportions that it is found in humanity. Why do humans have such a propensity towards the orientation when, if it's genetic, it should breed itself out, right?

We recently discussed that we may have seen some light shined on the topic when scientists linked a specific area of genes to perhaps creating a tendency to be "male-loving"--in females, it would make them more likely to mate because they are attracted to males. When it appears in a male, though...it makes them, also, love males. It's still in a very early stages of research, but it makes sense. It would also explain why we continue to see homosexuality at the rates that we do, at least in males.

The latter part of the statement above indicates that homosexuality is devolutionary. Here's a look at the stats straight from Charisma:
To begin with, their lives are far shorter than their straight counterparts. Two studies have found thathomosexuals have the same life expectancy as someone born in 1871, dying an average of 8-21 years younger than heterosexuals. They are 44-times more likely to have AIDS, and they have elevated rates of other sexually transmitted diseases. Studies have found they are between 50 and 200 percent more likely to seek treatment for mental health or substance abuse. Gay teens are five times more likely to attempt suicide. 
First the idea that the life expectancy is so much shorter. It's true. Or rather, it was. As Politifact explains:

The study found that life expectancy at age 20 among gay and bisexual men in Vancouver was 8 to 21 years shorter than that of all men in the Canadian city. The researchers also said their conclusion probably underestimated the life expectancy deficit among gay and bisexual men because AIDS cases were underreported. 
But that’s not the end of the story. 
The report’s authors, in 2001, took exception to conservatives who used their study to condemn the lifestyle of gay and bisexual men. The researchers said circumstances had changed since their study ended in the early 1990s.
"If we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved," the authors wrote. "Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996." 
The researchers, however, did not conduct a new study on the life expectancy for gay and bisexual men. 
We spoke to Julio Montaner, a co-author of the study and director of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDs. He said Marshall’s statement is a "gross misrepresentation" of the research. 
"To use my report to support the notion that gay and bisexual sex is somehow the reason why people die early is misusing the data," Montaner said.
 So the study authors themselves have said that this is a gross misrepresentation of their research and have also said that the results would reasonably be much different now than they were.

They are more likely to have AIDS. Well, no shit. It's not because they are homosexual. It's because AIDS is easier to transmit through unprotected sex, and homosexuals were a population that was at risk for having unprotected sex at high rates for a very long time.

More likely to seek treatment for mental health or substance abuse? Imagine that. So many people disapprove of your lifestyle, you find that your relationships have little social support, and you feel like you can't cope on your own. Totally unreasonable. Must be the gay.

And finally, Charisma points out that 32% of homosexuals have been abused by at least one partner in their lifetime. Well, so have 25% of women--at least. Imagine that. People in relationships with men get abused at higher rates than people that aren't.

 So we have an explanation for why evolution "allows" homosexuality, and also have alternative explanations (that are more plausible) for the author's "issues" with homosexuality.

So...what was the point again?

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