Scientist finds "god gene"

Dean Hamer, the same fellow who made headlines about a decade ago with his research into the supposed “gay gene,” has now found an alleged “faith gene.”

Maybe I should have started this in the Pit, because all sorts of sarcastic comments are coming to mind. But maybe it’s better I started it here to keep the sarcastic outbursts to a minimum.

Actually, I think it’s kinda neat. And shows how useless prostletyzing is.

It also explains how I was raised by two atheists (or maybe they’re hard agnostics) and yet am seriously the most spiritual person I know. Whereas many of my friends raised by parents of faith couldn’t give two squats about it.

Except - if my parents lack faith, where did I get the faith gene from? Does that mean it’s a recessive gene, and my parent’s each had a dominant “no-faith” gene that inactivated it? Like my blue-eyed friend with two brown-eyed parents?

If so, wouldn’t three-quarters of the world have “no-faith”? Seems like that’s not the case. Are they faking faith? Interesting questions this raises.

Or does it just mean that one or more of my parents has the faith gene, but it was overcome by cultural or biographic factors? If so, then it’s not a very strong gene.

Oooh, ooh, maybe there are “preferred color” genes as well? How many people do you suppose have “blue genes”?

Hey, it’s MPSIMS, you had to expect frivolous comments …

Well, it would explain a lot. I was raised religiously neutral and I cannot have faith. I’ve tried. Believe me, growing up in the bible belt, I’ve tried. It was very inconveniencing to not believe in God, and I even pretended (or, rather, convinced myself) for a couple years.

My genes are usually hanging on the bedpost in the morning, but I could use some help finding my keys.

How long before the Random Law of Sequential Thread Titles causes this one to hang out with the one Polycarp started about whether or not we let conservative evangelicals marry?

Wonder if this means a religion vaccine is possible?

Just for the most virulent strains.

I’m disappointed; I thought this thread would be about a gene marker that could be flipped on and then we would all become gods… the days of Olympus and the pantheon of immortals would come again.

So, is the implication that there’s a cure for religion or a cure for atheism?

Obviously it’s a combination of genetics and environment. My theory is that you were exposed to an unusual combination of pre-natal hormones triggered by your mother watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” while she was pregnant with you.

What color eyes does the milkman have?

It seems just a bit too convenient to me.

Sure let’s blame genetic makeup for all of our behaviors. What’s next? The “Laziness” gene that makes people not want to go out and get a job? “Hey I would love to be employed, but my genetic makeup prevents me from doing so.” How about those that have criminal tendancies: “I would love to be a law abiding citizen, but my genes just make me want to go out and stab somone 25 times.”

Now we have research suggesting that belief in a higher spiritual power is based on our genetic makeup. Yes, advances in genetic research have greatly improved modern medicine, but where is the line that separates behavior due to genetics from behavior I choose to do?

Nope, impossible! I was born in November before there where VCRs! But maybe she was inexplicably moved by Memorial Day or something. :smiley:

Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. Brown eyes can have a recessive not-brown gene that gets “overruled” by the brown. So each of Rebekah’s parents have one dominant (brown) gene and one recessive (not-brown, in this case, blue) gene. Each child has a 1 in 4 chance of being not-brown-eyed. (Whether “not-brown” means hazel or blue or green is rather more complicated, and I’ll leave it up to the geneticists to explain.)

Which is why, if this “faith gene” is a simple dominant/recessive thing, 3/4 of people should be not-faith or should be faith. It’s just the way the math works. Not all genes are dom/rec, though. There are other options. It could be an “extra” gene which arose from mutation. It could be on the X-chromosome, which means you inherit your faith status from your mother, like baldness and hemophellia. (Now that raises interesting support for the Jewish matrilineal thing, doesn’t it?)

Not that I believe (heh, heh) in the “god gene” as of now, but this line of reasoning is wrong.

Should we draw a line where we say “OK, we no longer like the results of this research, so it’s wrong.”?

A-ha! Somebody dosed her chocolate Easter bunny!

And she thought that filling was marshmallow fluff…

Eh? The point of prosetelyzing (sp?) is to convince people of faith that your beliefs are better than their current ones.

In any case, faith isn’t a simple, binary “On/Off” condition. There are varying degrees of faith. Some people have none; most people have a certain degree of faith (like me); and some have faith out the wazoo (like my dad).

Interestingly, traditional Christian theology considers faith to be a gift of the Holy Spirit, much like being a good athlete or being good at math. Some people have it, some people don’t.

Or to convince people without faith that having faith (specifically your faith) is better than having none, which I think was the point of the original comment.

It is, and Hamer is a fraud. His ‘gay gene’ didn’t stand up to scrutiny, and if he ever publishes this instead of just announcing what he claims is a discover, I’m betting this won’t either.

Well what’s the status on the “gay gene”? I’m usually afraid to ask because (depending on who you ask) the answer is almost invariably either:

“OF COURSE there’s a gay gene YOU FUCKING IDIOT!”


“OF COURSE there’s not a gay gene YOU FUCKING IDIOT!”

Well excuuu-use me for asking.

Now define ‘spiritual’. It’s always seemed to me that it’s one of those ‘blah’ words that people like to claim they are, but helpfully can’t be pinned down to actually meaning anything.

Which makes it a very difficult thing to go labelling genes with. Or, all too easy. Depending on your viewpoint.

How does the presence of this gene (which presumably is as old as humanity) explain the near 100% religiousity of our ancestors? Were a large number of them just going through the motions?

I predict this will go the way of that virus that makes you fat.