Tuesday 15 May 2007

Play your cards

Is there a God gene? A gay gene? A Murdering gene? People have long been fascinated with the question of whether genetics will show that we are not responsible for our behaviours. The evidence is producing a clearer picture: the answer is yes and no. Francis Collins, author of this and head of this has described the situation well: "There is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioural traits...for virtually none of them, is heredity ever close to predictive...Yes, we have all been dealt a particular set of cards, and the cards will eventually be revealed. But how we play the hand is up to us." Many traits (cognitive ability, agression, conscientiousness, etc) are estimated to be around 50% hereditary; in other words, we are roughly half-responsible for what we do. Or, to address the issue in the way it is often put to me as a Christian thinker, God is only about half-to-blame for the situation you find yourself in. More here.


Anonymous said...

One interesting thing I have observed is the pressure that the discussion puts on the tradition nature vs nurture debate. Will a greater sensitivity to the interconnectedness of life do away with this dichotomy?

Christopher said...

I know some identical twins one of whom is homosexual while the other isn't. If identical twins have the same genes, and homosexuality is genetic, then should they either both be homosexual or both be heterosexual?

But even it is nurture, one would assume that they both had very similar experiences growing up.