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Twins and a gene for religiosity……?

June 28, 2011

My non-identical twins were born in 1963, and are part of the Australian Twins Study, so I have been following  twins research for some time!

My Twins Boys: 1964

Scientists have been debating for a long time on the relative contribution of nature versus nurture in human development. They have examined the behaviour of monozygotic twins (identical twins) and dizygotic twins (non-identical twins derived from two separate ova) who have either been reared together or reared apart for many years.

Now of course we have the human genome which changes things considerably.

Thomas Bouchard : “my most important discovery on the behaviour of identical twins “

Thomas Bouchard, Director of the Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research has spent the whole of his life working on the behaviour of identical twins reared together or apart.

At an international twins conference Thomas challenged the 600 experts on twins, that they would not know the answer to the following question

What is the only type of behaviour that will always be identical in both twins, regardless of whether they have been adopted into different environments or not? There is only one of all the types of behaviour in which both twins always behave identically.

There was absolute silence, and Thomas Bouchard said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you. It’s religiosity.’

A Gene that controls Faith

The experts nearly fell through the floor. (“How amazing that there’s a God gene.”)
They now think they’ve got it mapped on chromosome 9. It is a gene or a group of genes that controls faith.

A Common Spiritual Belief System which unites

Nicholas Wade, author of The Faith Instinct, has looked at all human societies and has shown how it was absolutely essential to live as a society with this common belief system which unites us.  He shows that the concept of faith in something is deep within our genes and has been responsible for social cohesion of communities. We are after all, social beings. In Australia,  Aboriginal belief systems do not have a God, but they have a real spiritual concept that is a unifying theme and it differs a bit between differing communities. It seems to be something far more cultural and widespread rather than God-like.
What do you think? Does this give you a new perspective on religion or perhaps a new respect for religion?

The Science Show: abc Radio National:

A New Perspective on Religion :

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 19, 2011 5:50 pm

    Or a healthy-skepticism gene. A ‘God gene’ smacks of sensationalism.

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