How to compete with ducks and other important life lessons

If homosexuality spreads it can cause evolutionary standstill. It could threaten the human position on the evolutionary ladder, and say, ducks could take over the world.

This is the wisdom of Jasmin, aged 14 who wrote a letter to the editor that was published on October 3rd in the Northern Outlook a New Zealand paper. As I read the article (linked from the quote) I found myself laughing – it had to be a hoax or poorly thought out satire, I mean she signs off: If you believe in evolution you can’t believe in homosexuality or the ducks will get you in the end”  Just imagine if people actually thought that? It’s beyond a joke. However, it transpires that people more invested than me have sent emails to verify Jasmin’s existence and the editor of the Northern Outlook has confirmed that both letter and child author are real.

This is deeply disturbing on a number of levels.

First how could anyone believe what she (and presumably her mother who agreed to let Northern Outlook print the letter) profess to believe. While I am aware there is still, unfortunately, a significant portion of the population who believe homosexuality is wrong her particular justification borders on insane. Well, more insane than usual, given what comes out of these people’s mouths on a daily basis.

Secondly she has a deeply flawed grasp of logic and history. To paraphrase one of her points: homosexuality is unevolved because Romans did it. I hate to break it to her and anyone else but a) she means the greeks (not exclusively but generally) and b) the Greeks and Romans did a lot of things like democracy, eating and, oh yeah, heterosexual sex/marriage are we going to stop doing those too? If we stop eating we’ll hit an evolutionary dead end a long time before we hit one from the terrible spread of homosexuality.

Thirdly she is home schooled. Though I have never personally experienced home schooling, I’m sure it can be a great thing. Just look at Felicia Day, definitely an example of home schooling that works. Not so for Jasmin I think. Her parents, the ones who taught her this stuff in the first place, are her the only voices she’s ever going to know and they just don’t seem that bright (see above).  I think Jasmin’s views are horrifying and laughable but it turns from comedy to tragedy when you consider that home schooled as she is, with the parents she has, she will never ever be able to evolve beyond this point of view. She will never learn anything outside her parent’s narrow world view. I pity Jasmin and girls like her, I really do.

Fourthly ducks are not a good example. According to Dutch researcher Kees Moeliker, 1 in 10 Mallard couples are gay. His research, which gained him an Ig Nobel prize in 2008, shows that in ducks frequently indulge in rape and occasional necrophilia so perhaps Jasmin should have thought twice about her claim “ducks always nest in pairs”. In fact more than 130 bird species engage in, at least occasional, homosexual behaviour.

Jasmin is young it’s true, so maybe you will think I’m overly harsh to call her out for something she said at 14, but I disagree. Her views are toxic, wrong and, possibly worse, they are stupid and her parents taught her to be that way. To mangle a quote: her life is tough, but it’ll be tougher if she stays stupid.

But then again, I don’t want my hypothetical children to have to compete with ducks either.

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