Richard Dawkins and the ‘gay gene’
Amazing what you find on the internet.
I came across this familiar kind of attack on Richard Dawkins – complete with video clip:
The crucial bit missing from the video clip though is the question. The interview is edited so all we get is Dawkins’ response – which talks in terms of ‘possibilities’. Does anyone have any idea what the question was?
If for example it was: If there was a ‘gay gene’, how might it have been selected for?, then what Dawkins offers are what seem to me to be three coherent hypotheses, similar in structure to the kind of potential explanations evolutionary theorists typically give for what at first sight appear to be ‘difficult’ biological phenomena. Things like altruistic behaviour, the over-development of display plumage in some male birds, and the survival of the gene for sickle-cell anaemia.
For the blogger however Dawkins ‘assumes that there must be a gay gene’. I watched the video twice and could see no evidence that Dawkins himself was assuming there must be a gay gene. What he seemed to be doing was suggesting and evaluating three possible explanations of how a ‘gay gene’ – if there was such a thing – could have survived.
If that’s confusing to Dawkins-bashers, well that’s science. A lot of it is theoretical, what-if, speculation. Not dogma.
© Chris Lawrence 2010.