Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A Gene for Belief in God??

From the reviews for The God Gene : How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes by DEAN H. HAMER , on Amazon.com:

"The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God, expressing a conviction that has existed since the beginning of recorded time and is shared by billions around the world. In The God Gene, Dr. Dean Hamer reveals that this inclination toward religious faith is no accident; it is in good measure due to our genes. In fact, he argues, spiritual belief may offer an evolutionary advantage by providing humans with a sense of purpose and the courage and will to overcome hardship and loss. And, as a growing body of evidence suggests, belief also increases our chances of reproductive survival by helping to reduce stress, prevent disease, and extend life."

"...Popular science at its best, The God Gene is an in-depth, fully accessible inquiry into the cutting-edge research that is changing the way we think about ourselves, our world, and our culture. Written with balance and integrity, without seeking to confirm or deny the existence of God, The God Gene brilliantly illuminates the mechanism by which belief itself is biologically fostered."

"DR. DEAN HAMER is a preeminent geneticist and author of The Science of Desire, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Living with Our Genes. Together with his scientific collaborators at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, he has authored more than one hundred articles for popular and academic science journals. His television appearances include Good Morning America, Dateline, Oprah, the national news shows, and documentaries for HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. Dr. Hamer received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ariens Kappers Award for Neurobiology."

Those who, like myself, are not persuaded to "believe" are evidently condemned to live with more stress, more disease, and a shorter life. And evidently (almost) all cosmologists are likewise condemned. See Sean Carroll's straightforward arguments on "Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists."


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