“Man, being the servant and interpreter of Nature, can do and understand so much, and so much only, as he has observed in fact or in thought of the course of nature. Beyond this he neither knows anything nor can do anything.”
The first of these quotes is from an educational website for children. The second quote is from one of the first modern philosopher's of science. Francis Bacon, the 17th century author, wrote the Novum Organum (The New Method), one of the first books about how to do science.
Although Bacon writes in more abstract language, he agrees that “everything starts with a question.” He asserts that a person is “the interpreter of nature” and that the only way to interpret nature is to observe it. In Bacon's view, nature generates questions for the scientist. Nature calls out for interpretation. Both quotes paint a picture of a person who observes an aspect of nature that requires explanation.
Both quotes assume that questions about nature will come up. “Everything starts with a question.” Nature is something that obviously calls for interpretation. But as soon as we start asking questions, as soon as we begin to develop interpretations,we have to make difficult choices. How should we decide what aspects of the world are worth explaining? Which phenomena require interpretation and which are just common sense?The scientists who research albatross mating behavior and who develop hypotheses to explain why there are female-female pairs, have decided that female-female pairing is a phenomenon that requires interpretation. We have to explain why two female albatrosses would work together to raise a chick, but we don't have to explain why a female and a male albatross would work together to raise a chick. The fact that there are female-female pairs says something about us, but the fact that there are female-male pairs doesn't. Female-male pairs don't seem worthy of investigation on their own.
Scientists ask the questions they do because a phenomenon strikes them as being unusual. What might be anthropomorphically called “homosexual” behavior in animals seems like something we have to explain only because we assume that “heterosexual” behavior is the norm. Scientific disciplines often generate questions as they go along. For example, one cannot ask which gene causes homosexuality if one doesn't know what a gene is. However, scientific disciplines need to start from somewhere. A question has to seem worth asking. And what questions seem worth asking will depend on what culture a person lives in.
For example, there have been societies where sexual activity between men is commonplace and accepted. Would scientists from these cultures find homosexuality in nature worth investigating? Perhaps they would want to investigate species that don't exhibit “homosexual” behavior.
Because scientists have to choose which questions to ask and which questions have common sense answers, scientific research necessarily bears the mark of the society that produces it. A society that assumes homosexuality as an aberrant behavior, will have a different science than a society that assumes homosexuality as a normal, “natural” behavior. But how different? Different in what ways?