Rich Engle Posted December 30, 2005 Share Posted December 30, 2005 This ought to be good for a few turns around the dance floor:http://tinyurl.com/3lkbf'God gene' discovered by scientist Dr Dean HamerBy Elizabeth Day(Filed: 14/11/2004)Religious belief is determined by a person's genetic make-up accordingto a study by a leading scientist.After comparing more than 2,000 DNA samples, an American moleculargeneticist has concluded that a person's capacity to believe in God islinked to brain chemicals.His findings were criticised last night by leading clerics, whochallenge the existence of a "god gene" and say that the researchundermines a fundamental tenet of faith - that spiritual enlightenmentis achieved through divine transformation rather than the brain'selectrical impulses.Dr Dean Hamer, the director of the Gene Structure and Regulation Unitat the National Cancer Institute in America, asked volunteers 226questions in order to determine how spiritually connected they felt tothe universe. The higher their score, the greater a person's ability tobelieve in a greater spiritual force and, Dr Hamer found, the morelikely they were to share the gene, VMAT2.Studies on twins showed that those with this gene, a vesicularmonoamine transporter that regulates the flow of mood-alteringchemicals in the brain, were more likely to develop a spiritual belief.Growing up in a religious environment was said to have little effect onbelief. Dr Hamer, who in 1993 claimed to have identified a DNA sequencelinked to male homosexuality, said the existence of the "god gene"explained why some people had more aptitude for spirituality thanothers."Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus all shared a series of mystical experiencesor alterations in consciousness and thus probably carried the gene," hesaid. "This means that the tendency to be spiritual is part of geneticmake-up. This is not a thing that is strictly handed down from parentsto children. It could skip a generation - it's like intelligence."His findings, published in a book, The God Gene: How Faith IsHard-Wired Into Our Genes, were greeted sceptically by many in thereligious establishment.The Rev Dr John Polkinghorne, a fellow of the Royal Society and a CanonTheologian at Liverpool Cathedral, said: "The idea of a god gene goesagainst all my personal theological convictions. You can't cut faithdown to the lowest common denominator of genetic survival. It shows thepoverty 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 relatedto a person's constitution; it's related to society, tradition,character - everything's involved. Having a gene that could do all thatseems pretty unlikely to me."Dr Hamer insisted, however, that his research was not antithetical to abelief in God. He pointed out: "Religious believers can point to theexistence of god genes as one more sign of the creator's ingenuity - aclever way to help humans acknowledge and embrace a divine presence." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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