Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adultery, voles, and allele 334

I warned you just a couple of months back, in an article entitled “Addicts waiting to happen,” that scientists would one day find genetic explanations for a range of deviant behaviors. Unfortunately, about as soon as I said that, tongue firmly planted in cheek, my comments were vindicated. A recent study published by the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm, Sweden, suggested that gene allele 334 “regulates the activity of a hormone in the brain that can affect a man’s attitudes toward fidelity and monogamy." http://www.wnbc.com/news/17378987/detail.html

Apparently, men with two copies of the allele were twice as likely to cheat as a man without the allele, on account of the fact that it seems to have something to do with the regulation of hormones in the brain that affect attitudes about sex and feelings toward one’s spouse. Another interesting detail from this study is that the presence of this particular gene in a mouse-like varmint called a "vole" was an indicator of whether the vole was a "cheatin kind." In other words, animal behavior is triumphantly appealed to in order to confirm this study on marital fidelity among humans.

Okay, lots to digest here obviously. First, doesn't anyone think that a double dose of allele 334 in men is an incredibly insufficient explanation of why men cheat? There are so many factors which contribute to the decision to "cheat," not the least of which, is a desensitized conscience, that it seems incredibly unscientific to assign its cause to the presence of a mutated gene. This is a too facile explanation. Second, comparing the mating activities of varmints to the sexual immorality of human beings is a total stretch. It is very hard to conceive of how the mating patterns of voles, which as far as I know don't have a conscience, don't have a signed marriage contract, and don't have a complex sociological element to their existence which puts negative pressure on them for cheating, bears any reasonable similarity to infidelity perpetrated against a marriage partner. Third, I was completely amazed by the double standard that some so-called marriage and family experts maintained in view of this study. Dr. Phil is a case in point. In the midst of his interview with the Today show, on this very topic he said, "genetics are not a free pass for inappropriate behavior."http://www.wnbc.com/news/17381424/detail.html Now, don't get me wrong, I fully agree with his point, but it is a double standard. When people get drunk once, they call them wreckless, but when they get drunk every day, they are called alcoholics, and then they are defended and coddled because they are victims with a "disease" owing to a genetic deficiency. When homosexual's commit sexually immoral acts, that is not called deviant behavior, that is simply defended as acting according the genetic hand they have been dealt. But, when it comes to sexual immorality among married couples, well, genes are no excuse. I agree, genes are no excuse! However, this is also an inexcusable double standard. It is glaringly inconsistent on one hand to use genes as an excuse for behavior if the activity in question is politically correct, and then, on the other hand to argue that genes are no excuse for adultery.

I have a better explanation for why some men and women just can't keep it in their pants, and it is not about what is in their genes, it is about what is in their heart. Jesus said, "out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries....." (Mark 7:24). What the Pharisees of Jesus' day explained away according to external factors in the name of their religion, the modern secular Pharisees explain away according to genetic factors in the name of their religion, science. The problem with both is that they miss the mark because they both willfully refuse the real explanation for sin, a dark heart. Interesting, isn't it, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

1 comment:

Lawrence said...

Why do some have a double dose, while others have a single dose?

Is a double dose normal, or is a single dose the norm?

Could it be that it was planned from the start?

"Modern" science teaches there is absolutely no (and could never possibly be any) link between the physical and the spiritual. So it could never be possible for the spiritual to intercede, interfere, or purposely plan what phisical anomalies one might have.

As you so clearly note, the Bible talks about this in context of sin whereby sin/evil drive the physical anomalies we must deal with in our mortal existence.

But then Satan doesn't care whether or not we believe in him or believe in evil, he simply cares that we not believe in Christ.

And... like you point out... science changes nothing when it comes to man's true nature.