Homosexuality Is Not In Our Genes

In the news this week are reports concerning a scientific study spanning two decades which allegedly proves that homosexuality is not genetic. There is no single gene in the human genome, so the articles go, that causes homosexuality. But this story is not news, as scientists have known this for years.

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After reading one particular article, I was perplexed as to why scientists are considering this recent report to be breaking news. In 1984, highly acclaimed evolutionary geneticist at Harvard University Richard Lewontin, neuroscientist Steven Rose, and clinical psychologist Leon Kamin wrote in their book, Not In Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature, that homosexuals cannot pass on their genes within a homosexual relationship, and therefore, the genes should have died off years ago if “being gay” was genetic (their ideas not mine).

Decades later, artificial means of reproducing now exist, but the point of their argument is that homosexuality cannot be genetically based or predetermined. My intention here is not to discuss the moral nature of lifestyles, but to expose a worldview that materialistic scientists wish to propagate with this recent and global “breaking news.”

The reason people are discrediting the genetic etiology for homosexuality is because of the billions of dollars that have poured into genetic research in the last several decades. Specifically, The Human Genome Project is the principal investment. The idea of the project was to map the human genome so that this understanding could both explain all of human nature as well as to potentially save humanity from any distress, impairment, disease, criminality, mass shootings, and supposedly even wars.

This goal is still their theory’s intention, which is why Lewontin wrote another book, Biology As Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. The reason that this significant study is news today is that humanists desire the doctrine of DNA to flourish, and they long for the immense financial investment into the Human Genome Project to pay off. If people can begin to see themselves as products of their genes, they will also start to embrace the evolutionary view. This perspective is the sociobiology worldview or “scientism” (the belief that science will save us from all evil and explain all of human nature). As Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin explain, this worldview is a foundational evolutionary faith:

Sociobiology, drawing its principles directly from Darwinian natural selection, claims that tribalism, entrepreneurial activity, xenophobia, male domination, and social stratification are dictated by the human genotype as molded during the course of evolution (Not in Our Genes, 74).

Lewontin also remarks in his book Biology as Ideology:

The claim that all of human existence is control by our DNA is a popular one. It has the effect of legitimizing the structures of society in which we live, because it does not stop with the assertion that the differences in temperament, ability, and physical and mental health between us are coded in our genes. It also claims that the political structures of society—the competitive, entrepreneurial, hierarchical society in which we live and which differentially rewards different temperaments, different cognitive abilities, and different mental attitudes—is also determined by our DNA and that it is, therefore, unchangeable . . . . We have to have a theory of unchangeable human nature, a human nature that is coded in our genes (87).

The fact that our genes do not determine lifestyles, faith, and personalities, does not discredit that valid diseases can be caused by genetic variances and defects. Cancer can be transmitted through the genes and passed on through generations. Other legitimate diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s chorea, though rare, are caused by gene mutations.

Despite the published results of the study and various interpretations of the facts, many geneticists are holding to the doctrine of sociobiology. Take, for example, the article published in the Psychiatric Times in response to the “no Single ‘Gay Gene’” reports:

With this study, “we see how large-scale GWAS studies can give insights into the biological underpinnings of behavior, but at the same time we are warned that behavior phenotypes are complex and we cannot draw simplistic conclusions,” Valda Vinson, PhD, research editor for Science, said at the briefing (emphasis added) (Medscape Psychiatry).

Despite the fact that research has shown that moral behavior is not the result of biological underpinnings, those who hold to bio-determinism or the sociobiological view must continue to insist that it is.

There is a clear motive behind why mainstream media released news that was already known for decades. Geneticists and reductionists desire that you further your faith in materialism—believing that we are entirely evolved products of our genes rather than created in the image of God. Lewontin states in his book, Biology as Ideology, that,

The problem for political philosophers has always been to try to justify their particular view of human nature. Before the seventeenth century, the appeal was made to divine wisdom. God had made people in a certain way. Indeed, they are made in God’s image, although a rather blurred one, and moreover, human beings were basically sinful from the time of Adam and Eve’s Fall. But modern secular technological society cannot draw its political claims from divine justification” (Biology as Ideology, 87-88).

What Christians must be aware of and reject is secularists’ attempt to frame all of human nature—including metaphysical/spiritual realities (e.g., mindsets, emotions, moral behavior, and relationships)—within a constricted metaphysical framework. This practice is called materialism, reductionism, or scientism, and it is an approach to human nature that rejects the psychosomatic or dualistic reality of how God has made us. We must understand genetic theories of human nature that construct metaphysical/spiritual realities into “phenotypes” (a type of phenomenon) or “syndromes” (a group of syndromes that is constructed into alleged disorders) as part of this anthropology.

If secularism can convince you that your decisions and beliefs should be founded on scientific technology and alleged scientific discovery rather than on God’s Word, then faith in scientism, materialism, and bio-determinism can prosper. As Christians, we are in no way opposed to approaching and studying the natural world, discovering truths that physically exist, and learning from scientific research. But “science” exists as God’s common grace rather than opposing it or being something apart from it.

We did not need science to know that our preferences (sexual or not) are not caused by our genes, but by our immaterial souls that God created in His image. Moreover, we should expect that valid scientific conclusions will always agree with God’s Word. When scientists make their findings known and their conclusions oppose God’s Word, we should understand that it is not the natural world that conflicts with Scripture but the scientists’ presuppositional faith that demands his/her reductionistic approach.

What Lewontin’s findings and the recent reports in the news verify, is that God has made us in his image (a spirit) and given us a physical body to carry out our heart’s desires/preferences.

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