Is the 'God gene' a good argument against God? Does the 'God gene' disprove God?
The notion that something within human genetics disproves God is not true. It is only by assuming a very narrow, unsubstantiated, and materialistically reductive form of scientism (belief that only the physical sciences are the arbiters of truth and knowledge) that such a claim can even arise. Dean Hamer, author of The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes, states the following about his research: "This is a book about why humans believe, not whether those beliefs are true…This book is about whether God genes exist, not about whether there is a God" (New York: Doubleday, 2004, p. 16). This refreshingly sober disclosure about his aim shows that using Hamer's research as a means to disprove God is simply wrong.
Skeptics frequently point to evolutionary biology and genetic studies to show that belief in God is irrational. This argument typically holds that human beliefs are the products of natural selection acting on random genetic mutations over vast periods of time. If this is true, so the skeptic argues, then we have good reasons to think that belief in God, life after death, and other religious claims are false. However, if human beliefs are the product of natural selection, then this would apply to all human beliefs, including those related to atheism, science, or reason itself.
If "beliefs," secular or spiritual, are merely outputs of an undirected process aimed at survival and reproduction, we should not think they are anything other than material brain states which aided reproduction or are merely benign byproducts of evolution. To reject the existence of God because we "evolved" to believe is to potentially reject all human knowledge, as well as reason.
In short, this line of argumentation has many problems, most obviously self-contradiction. But it is quite different than 'disproving' God. One claim relates to an objective state of affairs (i.e. disproving), the other relates to rationality of belief.
As Hamer notes, there is nothing within genetics itself that would provide a basis for saying "God does not exist." Assessing the truth of that proposition is not within the purview of the geneticist or any other physical scientist. God is spirit (John 4:24) and immaterial. That God exists can be established starting with the sensible things of our everyday experience (Romans 1:18–20). But the conclusion does not end in the physical realm. Assuming from the outset that there is no immaterial aspect of existence begs the question.
It should be noted that some scientists who study molecular biology and information theory present strong evidence that the human genetic code and its operation would be impossible without a Divine Creator/Designer (See William Dembski, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2004).) There is simply no merit to the claim that the "God gene" exists, let alone disproves God. Those trafficking in this line of thought show a high level of detachment from the substantive issues at hand. Given the wide criticism of Hamer's research even within the secular scientific field, there is little merit to the "God gene" hypothesis.
Copyright 2011-2021 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.