Monday, June 08, 2009

Let's hear it for family values!

Keepers at Germany's Bremerhaven zoo couldn't get two penguin parents to take care of their egg, so they're trying an experiment — they gave the egg to a gay male penguin couple.

The biological parents "always rolled the egg out of their nest, they kicked it out again and again," zoo veterinarian Joachim Schoene said.

"Then we made the decision not to give it up and instead try to give it two fathers."

So far, the experiment has been a success. The two foster dads incubated the egg for 30 days until it hatched and have continued to care for the newborn chick. Read the rest here ... and then bookmark this story for the next time someone tries the "but it just isn't natural" argument.

Two male Humboldt penguins guard the entrance to their cave in the zoological park in Bremerhaven, here they are foster dads to a six-week-old penguin chick. (Focke Strangmann/Associated Press)




16 comments:

Mark Andrews said...

I don't get this. How can animal behavior be labeled like human behavior? Animals aren't "gay," "straight," or "bisexual," they just do what they've always done.

BJ said...

The point is that the behavior "ain't no new-fangled" thing created by humans -- it exists and has existed -- from the beginnings of time probably. You see, it is true: God doesn't create junk! "Birds do it, bees do it," -- can't remember any more lyrics until "Let's do it; let's fall in love." Now, that's what it is about -- falling in love and sharing a life.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Don't we?

;=)

James said...

And Tango Makes Three (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_Tango_Makes_Three), by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole, is the delightful (true) story of chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo, who were given an egg to hatch after incubating a rock. The book itself is horribly 'controversial' and a number of public school libraries of either banned it or placed it in 'restricted' access sections.

[N.B., There is no word as to whether or not either Roy or Silo (or Tango) will seek Episcopal orders.]

RonF said...

You are presenting behavior by two animals confined in a zoo and potentiated by human intervention (taking the egg away from it's natural parents and giving it to them) as natural? That's a rather odd viewpoint and is more an argument for the other side.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Oh for heaven's sake ... lighten up! It's a cute, heartwarming story about two male penguins who are mates and who are providing nurture for an egg the biological parents kicked out of the nest.

A great example that even in the "animal kingdom" there are family values that transcend heterosexuality ... AND a rebuttal to the argument that homosexual erotic and affectional attraction is "not natural."

seraph said...

This is kinda cute too and just as natural... in the continuing story of sexual orientation in penguins. What could we learn from it...?

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-84.html

That gay male penguin relationships can be as impermanent as those of male humans?

That there is such thing as "ex"-gay penguins...?

There are so many possibilities...!

many blessings

Seraph

IT said...

RonF, there is a substantial scholarship on same-sex behavior in a very wide variety of animals in their natural environment. Like it or not, it is a "normal" variant of creatures with complex behaviors. Minority behavior, to be sure but it certainly occurs widely.

Indeed, in domestic sheep, something like 5-8% of rams exclusively mount other rams. Another similar number aren't interested in mounting anything. There is a substantial research effort in agricultural schools about this, becasue it's quite expensive to the sheep farmer to have a ram "uninterested" in ewes. And they haven't figured out how to avoid it. Hmmmmm.

"Evolution's Raiinbow" and "Biological Exuberance" are two books discussing this. At some point I will write a genetics primer on my blog to explain the current theories, but I don't have time right now.

It would just be most honest if your side admitted what science and medicine ahve established: homosexuality is a natural biological variant affecting a fraction of people in all human populations. ( So is being left-handed). The question really is not whether it is natural, but whether it can be moral. We say yes and you say no. And that's what the fight is really about.

This attempt to describe being gay as some sort of evil human "choice" (why anyone would CHOOSE it given people like you, is beyond me) is stcking your fingers in your ears and shouting "lalala" in the face of countervailing evidence.

Science now also tells us that the earth revolves around the sun, regardless of what the church used to think. You might have missed that one too.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Or maybe we don't know as much as we think we do about sexuality in general. Maybe it's much more of a continuum than anyone on EITHER side of the "gay/straight" divide wants to admit.

Maybe some people are "wired" gay and some people are "wired" straight and MOST people are "wired" somewhere in the middle.

And maybe what matters is not who you love, but DO you love.

Not who you commit to love, honor and cherish til death do you part but DO you commit ...

And maybe if we could spend less time labelling each other and more time letting each other go in peace to love and serve the Lord we'd get some work done on this "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" stuff.

Maybe.

IT said...

Actually, Susan, you are right. Most people do experience sexuality on a continuum, not on a binary, and it is much more fluid. Complex traits generally are, well, cmplex.

Same thing for handedness, actually, A few people are actually ambidextrous, most people can do a few tasks with the "unfavored" task, relatively few are strictly one way or the other.

I agree completely that getting rid of this label stuff would be welcome.

Why can't we celebrate variety and love, in all it's beauty, and simply encourage people to live in honesty and integrity?

There is not enough love in this world that we can afford to squander any of it.

LGMarshall said...

News Flash -- there is no such thing as a gay male penguin couple. Anthropomorphism is thoroughly Un-Biblical. Cute story though. By the way, God instructs us to go AGAINST our (sin) nature, not WITH it.

Also....lets talk about something important. Salvation! Available to Human Beings (only). Repent & Believe. John 3:16.

uffda51 said...

“Anthropomorphism is thoroughly Un-Biblical.”

Anthropomorphism - the representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits.

Daniel, Chapter 7, verse 9

As I looked,
thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.

On another topic, some conservatives still believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and that torture is justified, but even Dick Cheney (The Washington Post, 6/6/09) supports marriage equality.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

"Anthropomorphism is thoroughly Un-Biblical"???????????

REALLY!!!!

Then ... just for STARTERS ... where does "God the Father" fit in?

LGMarshall said...

Is there some alternative-dictionary that you use at TEC?

God the Father is not an object, he is a Person.

def: anthropomorphism -- 'The describing of human motivation and characteristics to Inanimate Objects, Animals or Natural Phenomenon' -- (i.e., weather, storms, floods, earthquakes.)

Which dictionary says... 'especially a god' in the definition?

(Note: 'god' small 'g', connotes capricious pagan gods -- or false gods.)

Maybe your confusing it with 'anthropomorhous: having or suggesting human form and appearance.' (Jesus God in Human form?)

uffda51 said...

Xenophanes - "If horses had Gods, they would look like horses."

WilliamK said...

In TEC, (I would hope!) we use the Oxford English Dictionary! We're Anglicans, after all! ;-)

The Oxford English Dictionary has THIS as its FIRST entry under "anthropomorphism."

Attribution of human form or character. a. Ascription of a human form and attributes to the Deity.

Further down in the entry, the following quote from Pusey appears: 1860 PUSEY Min. Proph. 433 "Thou didst walk through the sea with Thine horses...Such anthropomorphisms have a truth, which men's favourite abstractions have not."

Mr. Pusey here is identifying the biblical statement that God walked through the sea with horses as an "anthropomorphism." That, of course, is what it is ... unless one wants to argue that God actually does "walk" and have horses!

In any case, the grumble about the reference to "gay" penguins is a red herring (I wonder if penguins like to eat red herring?) .... The point Mother Susan was making, using colloquial language to make that point clear, is that we find same-sex pair-bonding in the animal world, and that such pair-bonding has been found to serve positive functions, as in the example cited.

WilliamK