• Faith & Science/Human Need for Religion

    Pages: 10

    A 10 page research paper/essay that discusses current scientific research into the genetic basis for spiritual belief. The research of Dean H. Hamer is summarized and its implications are discussed. Bibliography lists 7 sources.

    File: D0_khhamer.rtf

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    Sample Text:
    religion as adversaries, saw these two human endeavors as reverse sides of the same coin; one informing the other. This certainly appears to be the case in regards to one  area of current scientific research, which has connected the human need for religion with a specific gene, which suggests that religion fulfills a fundamental evolutionary need. Dean H. Hamer,  a scientist at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, has found what he believes to be a genetic basis for spiritual belief. The parameters of Hamers  empirical research are sound and follow established scientific protocol. This is not, in other words, simply theoretical speculation or assumptions based purely on the philosophical orientation of an author. Rather,  Hamer instituted a scientific study designed to provide a scientific basis for all of his findings. First of all, Hamers account of his study (The God Gene, Doubleday, 2004), explains  how he defined spirituality, which refers to the three elements of spirituality first introduced by Robert Cloninger. These are: "self-forgetfulness (being in the flow), transpersonal identification (a sense of being  connected to other things, which gives us a reverence for life" and mysticism (intuitive insight not explainable by science)" (Keener 37). In understanding Hamers research, it is important to  note that he differentiates between "religion" and "spirituality." Hamer maintains that "spirituality is genetic, while religion is based on culture, traditions, beliefs and ideas" (Keener 37). In other words, Hamers  research pertains to a general tendency in human beings to formulate concepts pertaining to transcendence, and Hamer argues that this innate longing may fulfill an evolutionary purpose. What Hamer refers  to in his research is the impetus to religious expression and not the manifestation of any particular religious belief. To offer a bodily analogy, Hamer investigates a human "itch" that 

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