Sunday, December 05, 2004

Did God Create Genes or Did Genes Create God?

Today it seems that everything we do demands a deep analysis of how our genes forced us to do it. Why do I like eating Brie? Well you see, I have the Brie gene. Why do I smoke? My genes predetermined me to be a fiend. Why do I always want to have sex at 11:28pm? At that time, my telomeres are simply peeling off in such a way as to give you that irresistable jenesaisquoi. In the 60's or whenever they had this theory that males with an extra Y chromosome were more aggressive and brutal. They were just a homicidal lot. Now I think they figured out that an extra Y wouldn't really do anything.

Dean Hamer Geneticist claims to have found 'God gene' in humans
used a bunch of surveys and compared twins with their genes to come up with this theory that people are more receptive to spirituality depending on their genes.

What about people who are just plain religious though? There are lots of people that I know that believe in God although they aren't particularly spiritual. Spirituality seems to be a ritualistic/meditative urge. Anyone can feel that the world has a divine harmony regardless of whether they believe in god. To me this theory just seems useless. On the other hand, there's been brain scans done that show a correlation between feelings of spirituality and specific regions of the brain. I do believe that the qualia of spirituality has a certain specificity to it but I don't believe in a god gene. Spirituality is a subjective thing which I don't think will ever be quantified by science even though science can give a perspective to spirituality and vice-versa.

This gets back to what I was thinking earlier today about the rivalry that always seems to be raging between the artsies and the scientists of the world. There's mutual skepticism. I feel that being very spiritual has a negative connotation with being overly dreamy, artsy, illogical, etc. It doesn't have to be this way though. On the other hand, there's also a negative connotation associated with the logical, anal, skeptical, paranoid scientists. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!!! Self-expression will always be a part of someone's spiritual journey and some religions focus on the mentality whereas others focus on their works making them vary in the degree to which sects are politicized. There is an interesting debate that I read this morning about Darwin. He's a hot topic because he shakes up the whole scene with his controversial/uncontroversial implications about evolutionary history and the origin of species.

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