Religion and Genetics

Researchers have published a study of identical and fraternal twins which purports to show that our "genes contribute about 40% of the variability in a person's religiousness." Another study -- by Dean Harmer in his book The God Gene -- claims that there is specific genetic material that encourages spirituality.

It would not surprise me to find that genetics plays some part in religious belief, though pegging down numbers like "40%" seems far fetched to me. It would also not surprise me if the human genetic code encouraged at least an openness to some leve of spirituality. Of course, I have yet to see a study that claims that genetics plays a preponderant role in religiousity. Nor would I expect to. I myself have gone through periods of doubt and increased faith. Some Christians convert to atheism. Some atheists and agnostics, even leading atheists like Anthony Flew, convert to theism. Ultimately, though upbringing, exposure, and experience all play their roles, openness to religion is a matter of choice.

I also thought this comment was interesting:

About a dozen studies have shown that religious people tend to share other personality traits, although it is not clear whether these arise from genetic or environmental factors. These include the ability to get along well with others and being conscientious, working hard, being punctual, and controlling one's impulses.

Anyone else see the significance, if any, of a genetic predisposition towards religiousity? In all humans or in some more than others?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Many Children in Bethlehem Did Herod Kill?

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, Jonah and U2’s Pride in the Name of Love

How Should I Be A Sceptic -- belief and reason

Kierkegaard's Knights of Faith and the Account of Abraham

Bayes Theorem And Probability of God: No Dice!

Where did Jesus say "It is better to give than receive?"

The Meaning of the Manger

If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?

The Origin of Life and the Fallacy of Composition