SCIENCE

Bill Nye's Take On Whether Being Gay Makes Evolutionary Sense

The Science Guy doesn't always have the answers, but he does have good advice.

When you were a kid, did it seem like Bill Nye had all the answers?

Turns out “The Science Guy” is a still a great dude to go to with questions. On last week’s episode of Big Think’s web series “Tuesdays with Bill,” the bowtie-clad scientist responded to a reader’s question about whether being gay makes evolutionary sense.

The viewer wrote:

If the purpose of a species is to reproduce and survive, how would it make sense evolutionarily for humans to have same-sex preferences? Are humans the only ones who practice homosexuality? And if so does this mean that homosexuality is a product of human’s personal whim as opposed to instinct?

Nye notes that he’s “not an authority” on the subject, but points out that homosexuality has been documented among chimps and Bonobos.

He doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty on whether homosexuality makes “sense” evolutionary, but instead seems to come to the conclusion that the question isn’t that important -- at least when it comes to how we treat other people.

“Let’s celebrate being alive, everybody,” he says. “Apparently it’s something that happens in nature and look, we’re all here.”

There is scientific support for the idea that homosexuality has an evolutionary basis. Italian researchers found that the mothers and maternal aunts of gay men tend to have more children than other women. They theorize that the same gene that that might promote homosexuality in men may also promote fertility in women and make them more attractive to men.

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