Skip to comments.'God gene' discovered by scientist behind gay DNA theory (reader beware)
Posted on 11/13/2004 7:47:12 PM PST by Former Military Chick
Religious belief is determined by a person's genetic make-up according to a study by a leading scientist.
After comparing more than 2,000 DNA samples, an American molecular geneticist has concluded that a person's capacity to believe in God is linked to brain chemicals.
His findings were criticised last night by leading clerics, who challenge the existence of a "god gene" and say that the research undermines a fundamental tenet of faith - that spiritual enlightenment is achieved through divine transformation rather than the brain's electrical impulses.
Dr Dean Hamer, the director of the Gene Structure and Regulation Unit at the National Cancer Institute in America, asked volunteers 226 questions in order to determine how spiritually connected they felt to the universe. The higher their score, the greater a person's ability to believe in a greater spiritual force and, Dr Hamer found, the more likely they were to share the gene, VMAT2.
Studies on twins showed that those with this gene, a vesicular monoamine transporter that regulates the flow of mood-altering chemicals in the brain, were more likely to develop a spiritual belief.
Growing up in a religious environment was said to have little effect on belief. Dr Hamer, who in 1993 claimed to have identified a DNA sequence linked to male homosexuality, said the existence of the "god gene" explained why some people had more aptitude for spirituality than others.
"Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus all shared a series of mystical experiences or alterations in consciousness and thus probably carried the gene," he said. "This means that the tendency to be spiritual is part of genetic make-up. This is not a thing that is strictly handed down from parents to children. It could skip a generation - it's like intelligence."
His findings, published in a book, The God Gene: How Faith Is Hard-Wired Into Our Genes, were greeted sceptically by many in the religious establishment.
The Rev Dr John Polkinghorne, a fellow of the Royal Society and a Canon Theologian at Liverpool Cathedral, said: "The idea of a god gene goes against all my personal theological convictions. You can't cut faith down to the lowest common denominator of genetic survival. It shows the poverty of reductionist thinking."
The Rev Dr Walter Houston, the chaplain of Mansfield College, Oxford, and a fellow in theology, said: "Religious belief is not just related to a person's constitution; it's related to society, tradition, character - everything's involved. Having a gene that could do all that seems pretty unlikely to me."
Dr Hamer insisted, however, that his research was not antithetical to a belief in God. He pointed out: "Religious believers can point to the existence of god genes as one more sign of the creator's ingenuity - a clever way to help humans acknowledge and embrace a divine presence."
13 October 2004: Homosexual link to fertility genes
Hmmmmmmm. And all this time I thought it was faith?
I guess I still do.
So does that mean there is an atheist gene too? And what about people who are atheists and later in life become religious? Does this mean they underwent a genetic change? Inquiring minds want to know.
At least this would explain how people believe in crack pot theories outside the mainstream or even rational. They have a hard-wired need to believe.
ehhh I have gas....
Turn it around. Those with an absence of this gene may be predisposed to a reluctance accepting a higher authority than themselves.
It's amazing the extremes some will go to justify a lifestyle.
Bunk. But can we use it to get special rights? :)
"..(1) From Dr. Dean Hamer, the "gay gene" researcher, and himself a gay man:
"Genes are hardware...the data of life's experiences are processed through the sexual software into the circuits of identity. I suspect the sexual software is a mixture of both genes and environment, in much the same way the software of a computer is a mixture of what's installed at the factory and what's added by the user." .."
Oh, brother. One more kooky theory from the same guy who brought us the gay gene. I think he's got some kind of gene that gives him a stubborn ability to come to bizarre conclusions based on flimsy evidence. He needs a transfusion of common sense.
Simple pedigree studies - conducted for centuries past - would have shown this by now if it were true.
It sounds to me as if there are some people who are making science into a religion.
Ooooo... You may be on to something here!
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, WEB
The good doctor is a fool.