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My Genes Made Me Do It3 min read

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USA Today reports on two recent studies on adultery, upon whose data Martie Haselton, assistant professor of communication and psychology at UCLA’s Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, concludes:
Along those evolutionary lines, men more than women desire a variety of sexual partners because genes carrying that trait were passed along in men.
The article is interesting, but it might lead some to say “Hey, I got an urge, must be evolutionary!  Why blame me?”  I just hope this isn’t more grist for the mill for those who think “if it’s genetic it must be OK” in order to justify sinful behaviors like pre-marital sex, adultery or homosexuality.  This is a nice case to examine how our assumptions color how we interpet scientific data, and what moral and ethical conclusions we draw from such data.

The “genetic” or “natural” argument is one of the arguments used to justify homosexuality.  It states that IF hx is found to have a genetic component (which it has not yet), that would prove that it is natural, and therefore morally OK.  But just because something is genetic does not make it normal and healthy, or intended by God. Disease is genetic too.

The “if it’s genetic or seen in nature it must be good” reasoning is overly simplistic – it’s like those who say “we see homosexuality in nature, so there!” – the response to this simplistic argument is “we see parents eating their young in the wild also – does that make it acceptable for humans?”

Luckily, the evolutionist quoted does a good job of not drawing any conclusions, but merely remarking that we should be aware of these tendencies, especially as they relate to the female cycle.

What does the Bible say about what we see in nature?
What is tough about using nature as a guide to what God intends is that, like mankind, it bears both the beauty of the original creation, and the falleness of sin.  So, some things in nature are to be seen as intended and beautiful, while others are considered part of the curse of disease and death.

Now, I’m not entirely comfortable with this theology, for a couple of reasons.  Does the fall of all creation w/ man mean that there were no meat or carrion eaters before the fall? If so, did God transform our current day meat and carrion eaters from vegetarians, re-engineering the entire global ecosystem to account for this new model? YECs believe this, while OEC’s do not.  I am a young-earth sympathizer, and I think that their theology is a bit better on this issue, and it is conceivable that, since God promises to make the “lion lie down w/ the lamb” that he may be restoring things to a pre-fall condition or better.  But it stretches the belief system a little.

But my main point stands – nature or genetics can not be our only guide to what is right or intended by the Creator (even evolution teaches that some things are selected against ;), and evolutionary views of science that use that type of assumption can lead us to doing things like justifying adultery, polygamy, or any other urge we get.