Scientists Discover God Genes in Humans

Scientists Discover God Genes in Humans


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Scientists Discover God Genes in Humans

By Matthew - Far North Queensland, Australia

It appears that the scientists have started to discover the genes in Humans that govern their spirituality. The Time Magazine article called “Is God in Our Genes?” by Jeffrey Klugger from the October 2004 issue explores the topic of God and spirituality being visible in our Genes.

Most of the article is focused around research done by a molecular biologist named Dean Hamer who published a book called The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes. The article is very non-judgmental in its style and takes the views of many different people from all kinds of areas.

The Time Magazine article states “Chief of gene structure at the National Cancer Institute, Hamer not only claims that human spirituality is an adaptive trait, but he also says he has located one of the genes responsible, a gene that just happens to also code for production of the neurotransmitters that regulate our moods.”

Hamer’s research began in 1998 when he was conducting research for the National Cancer Institute on smoking and addiction. 1000 smokers were selected to do a Temperament and Character test. One part of the test, which is kind of like the spiritual part of the test, measures the participants self-forgetfulness, which is their ability to get lost in an experience, their transpersonal identification, or a feeling of connectedness to a larger universe; and mysticism, or an openness to things not literally provable. After conducting the test Hamer then ranked the participants in terms of their spirituality and analyzed their genes to try to find a correlation. Considering there is billions of genes, and sorting through them all would be slightly time consuming, Hamer decided to focus on the ones which he knew were related to the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, the mood controlling chemicals.

After putting all the data together Hamer hit the jackpot. A variation in a gene known as vmat2—for vesicular monoamine transporter—was directly related to how the volunteers scored on the spirituality test. Those with the nucleic acid cytosine in one spot on the gene ranked high. Those with the nucleic acid adenine in the same spot ranked lower.

In other studies by different scientists it was discovered that genetically identical twins that were separated at birth have many similar traits, even down to small ones like flushing the toilet before and after they use it. This particular experiment did stumble upon a very interesting fact. Although genetically identical twins showed remarkable similarities in all kinds of situations and ways, they did not show similarities in their religious ways. This research, combined with the research by Hamer suggests that spirituality is something we are born with, yet religion is not. From the research it was concluded that religion is governed by our parents and society but it is not intrinsic.

In an experiment on meditation mentioned in an article by Jennifer Warner (WebMD Medical News), it was noted that the experienced meditation practitioners tested showed the highest gamma wave activity ever recorded in the brain. Gamma wave activity is responsible for mental processes including attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception. It was also found that the gamma wave activity was a function of how many hours the monks had spent practicing, as the new practitioners did not have as high readings.

Hamer is quick to point out in his work that the gene he has discovered is not the only one that governs a person’s spirituality. He says there are many, which suggests that his work is just the tip of an iceberg, a preview of what’s to come.

It is commonly accepted in scientific circles that no-one ever has a totally unique idea. All ideas are made up of smaller ideas or building blocks which were put in place by the people, or beings, before them. So although the latest discover may not be the final union of science and spirituality, it is certainly a huge breakthrough and a preview of what’s to come. Maybe in the future all the genetic scientists will be meditation practitioners.