Genes, Determinism, and God
Over the past centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics,...
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Over the past centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics and our increased understanding of neuronal plasticity have all helped to subvert such dichotomous notions. Nevertheless, the media still report the discovery of a gene 'for' this or that behaviour, and the field of behavioural genetics continues to extend its reach into the social sciences, reporting the heritability of such human traits as religiosity and political affiliation. There are many continuing challenges to notions of human freedom and moral responsibility, with consequent implications for social flourishing, the legal system and religious beliefs. In this book, Denis Alexander critically examines these challenges, concluding that genuine free will, often influenced by genetic variation, emerges from an integrated view of human personhood derived from contemporary biology.
Dr Denis Alexander is the Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmunds College, Cambridge, where he is a Fellow. Dr Alexander was previously Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at The Babraham Institute, Cambridge. He is the author of Rebuilding the Matrix (Lion), co-author of Beyond Belief, Science, Faith and Ethical Challenges (Lion) and Editor of the journal, Science and Christian Belief.
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- 1. Human Personhood Fragmented?: Nature-nurture Discourse From Antiquity To Galton; 2. Reifying The Fragments?: Nature-nurture Discourse From Galton To The Twenty-first Century; 3. The Impact Of The New Genetics?: How Contemporary Biology Is Changing The Landscape Of Ideas; 4. Reshaping The Matrix: Integrating The Human In Contemporary Biology; 5. Is The Worm Determined?: Gene Variation And Behaviour In Animals; 6. Prisoners Of The Genes?: Understanding Quantitative Behavioural Genetics; 7. Behavioural Molecules?: Understanding Molecular Behavioural Genetics; 8. Mensa, Mediocrity Or Meritocracy?: The Genetics Of Intelligence, Religion And Politics; 9. Gay Genes?: Genetics And Sexual Orientation; 10. Not My Fault?: The Use Of Genetics In The Legal System; 11. Causality, Emergence And Freedom?: Tackling Some Tough Philosophical Questions; 12. Made In The Image Of God?: A Conversation Between Genetics And Theology.