There is a gene for that


It’s all in our genes

DNAI was listening to a local sports talk radio show on my way to an appointment. The host of the show was doing an interview with a sports writer who wrote a book on cats. The author of the book (who’s name I do not remember) was questioned as to why he liked animals and would write such a book.

The author attributed his like of animals to genetics. He grew up in a family that had pets. What caught my attention was his next statement. He said, “just as there is a gene that makes some people bad and a gene that makes some people good, there is a gene that makes some people like pets.”

Genetic research is not something that I spend a lot of time following, so I may have missed the announcement of this discovery. It seems to me that the author’s statement is hyperbole at best and a patent falsehood at worst.

The sad part is that such a statement would go unchallenged and would be so blindly accepted. From my perspective it takes a large degree of faith to bridge the gap between current knowledge and such a confident assertion. Yet dogma such as the book author proclaimed is widely accepted in America without critical thought.

Thoughts have consequences

Perhaps some thought should go into the repercussions of such a belief. If genetics determine who is bad, then why do we have rehabilitation programs in prisons? If genetics determines who is bad, then why not isolate the gene and kill all the babies that carry that gene? You might think that this is an absurd extreme yet the 20th Century has plenty of examples of mass killing of those with undesirable traits.

If there is no objective moral standard, who determines what it bad? We have seen the devastation when a totalitarian state defines who should live and who should die. The use of genetics could be a “scientific” means to the same end. In the totalitarian state, the state is the final arbiter of who is good and who is bad. Do you want to live in a world where decisions about you are made based on a genetic test?

You can’t believe in nothing

“When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything” is a phrase (perhaps wrongly) attributed to G. K. Chesterton, but is none the less true. Because we do not want God to have any input into our existence, we need to find some other means of explaining why people go wrong.

It must be pointed out that there have been cases of convicts who have turned their lives around. I recently found the story of Mary Kay Beard, the founder of Angel Tree. She went from being on the FBI’s most wanted list to being an advocate for the children of prison inmates. This turnaround in her life can be directly attributed to her faith in Jesus Christ.

So even if it were proved that there is a genetic predisposition to crime, there is something or someone stronger than genetics.