• Question: do you think that genetics are edvidence that god exsists?

    Asked by fish stew to Remsha, Oliver, Lisa, Kieran, Fiana, David on 8 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Lisa

      Lisa answered on 8 Nov 2018:

      In my opinion, I think genetics is evidence that god doesn’t exist. By comparing our genes to other species we can observe how we’ve evolved over thousands of years. This disproves creationism (that god created the earth and humankind). This is my opinion and I respect other people’s beliefs on the matter, however!

    • Photo: Oliver

      Oliver answered on 8 Nov 2018:

      I agree with Lisa’s point regarding genes and creationism versus evolution. I share the disbelief in the existence of a god, or gods. However, it is also worth noting that some see genetics as proof for god, via the concept of ‘Intelligent Design’ – see here for one such example: http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/

      What do you think of the arguments Meyer makes (in the link) – is it science or belief?

      In any case, I do work alongside Christian, Jewish and Muslim bioethicists as well as atheist and agnostic bioethicists and, when done respectfully, our differences in perspectives create very interesting disagreements and discussions.

    • Photo: Remsha Afzal

      Remsha Afzal answered on 11 Nov 2018: last edited 11 Nov 2018 5:27 pm

      I think genetics and evolution teach us how the idea of an all-powerful god (or gods) came into our minds. We know that humans started believing in higher powers or god(s) very early on in human history, but why we did so has been debated. One reason is that religion evolved because of natural selection and is hence, an adaptation. An adaptation is anything that gives us a survival advantage. Belief in a higher power could have evolved to calm the mind when presented with complex, unknown situations. So, that raises a hotly debated question: What came first: God or just our need for a God? In other words, did humans create religion because of a divine message from the heavens, or did evolution put in us that “feeling” of a higher power so that we could all have something to believe in together and follow a set of rules so our species could continue to survive together as a unit in harmony?
      Another idea is that religious beliefs may have resulted as a by-product of other adaptive traits. Human beings are clever at seeing patterns, whether or not they are actually there. (An easy example is how we can easily see a face or cow in the moon). This trait of seeing patterns was useful for hunters in the past because, for example, they could see deer footprints and realize there must have been a deer there even if they couldn’t see the deer. Then as a by-product of this ability, a belief in supernatural like gods, spirits, and ghosts may have resulted, i.e. seeing or believing things to be there when they weren’t really there.
      A scientist called Dean Hamer (who has been Chief of gene structure at the National Cancer Institute) certainly believes that spirituality is an adaptation by evolution. Plus, he also found a gene called VMAT2 that is responsible for production of chemicals in our brain called neurotransmitters that control our mood. He found depending on the version of this gene you get, you were more or less likely to be spiritual. He also said this was one of the MANY possible genes that could be responsible in making a person more or less likely to believe in a god. Also, scientists from the USA, UK, and Netherlands carried out studies on identical twins (who share their DNA) but were raised apart in different environments. They found that 40 to 50% of the time twins had a similar level of spirituality even if they were raised in different environments. That means there is a 40 to 50% genetic component to belief in God.