The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired Into Our Genes

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Doubleday, 2004 - Science - 241 pages
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LEADING GENETICIST DEAN HAMER CRACKS THE “CODE” BEHIND WHY WE ARE PREDISPOSED TO BELIEVE IN GOD. IN A BOOK THAT BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN RELIGION AND SCIENCE, HAMER BRILLIANTLY ILLUMINATES HOW OUR INCLINATION TOWARD FAITH IS INFLUENCED BY OUR GENES.

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.
Hamer shows that new discoveries in behavioral genetics and neurobiology indicate that humans inherit a set of predispositions that make their brains ready and eager to embrace a higher power. By analyzing the genetic makeup of over a thousand people of different ages and backgrounds, and comparing their DNA samples against a scale that measures spirituality, Hamer actually identified a specific “God gene” that appears to influence spirituality.
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. It’s a book that bridges the gap between science and religion, and one that will appeal to the readers of Genesis and Genome alike.

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I didn't like this book; hard to say why, but in neither writing style or scientific evidence did it deliver what I hoped. I guess I expected a more anthropological approach. I would not recommend the book.

The God gene: how faith is hardwired into our genes

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The chief of Gene Structure at the Cancer Institute argues that spiritual belief has an evolutionary advantage. ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

DEAN H. HAMER, Chief of Gene Structure at the National Cancer Institute, is the author of The Science of Desire and Living with Our Genes and more than one hundred scientific articles. He has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Dateline, the national news shows, and documentaries that aired on HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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