Bill Nye Made An Amazing Point About Homosexuality

July 10th 2015

I can honestly say that one of the only good things about junior high was that my teacher let us watch "Bill Nye the Science Guy" every once in a while. Fourteen years later, Nye still doesn't disappoint. Nye did a video interview with Big Think about human sexuality and perfectly explained how complicated and fluid it is.

Answering a Big Think reader who asked whether it "make[s] sense evolutionarily for humans to have same-sex" orientations, Nye cited a book titled "The Naked Ape," which reports homosexuality among primates.

"[T]he answer nowadays we give to everybody about this is it’s a spectrum," Nye said. "I don’t know about you, but I have known a great many gay men who are married, who have babies, who have kids. So apparently — I’m not an authority on this. I’m an observer of the human condition. Apparently, there’s a spectrum. Some people are more inclined to have sex with people of their same sex than others. And I think if you just watch the news right now, you can see that for yourself. And so being somewhere on the spectrum of heterosexual with homosexual being on that it’s not genetically lethal; you still have kids anyway."

Nye went on to say that it's "something that happens in nature," noting that "The Naked Ape" author Desmond Morris was bold to talk openly about sex in the 1960s. It was also huge that Morris claimed he saw more homosexuality in zoos than out in the wild.

"And that may be just because we happen to capture a couple of homosexual Bonobos or whatever," Nye said. "[L]et’s celebrate being alive everybody. Apparently it’s just something that happens in nature and look, we’re all here."

Two years ago, zoologist Petter Bøckman said in an interview that there has yet to be a species that hasn't engaged in homosexuality. So far, homosexuality has been identified in roughly 1,500 species. That does not mean, however, that these animals are necessarily exclusively homosexual. 

“No species has been found in which homosexual behavior has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis," he said. "Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue.”

Dwarf chimpanzees, which are closely related to humans in species, demonstrate both homosexual and heterosexual behaviors in their lifespans.

"Sex among dwarf chimpanzees is in fact the business of the whole family, and the cute little ones often lend a helping hand when they engage in oral sex with each other," Beckman said.

Neuroscientist Simon Levy has also observed domesticated sheep that only mate with other sheep of the same sex.

“About 10% of rams (males) refuse to mate with ewes (females) but do readily mate with other rams,” he said.

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