Term 'God gene' may have been misleading

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A Church of Scotland official says the U.S. scientist who coined the phrase "God gene" has admitted it is misleading.

Dean Hamer, director of the gene structure and regulation unit of the National Cancer Institute in the United States, advanced the idea that a specific gene, VMAT2, predisposes those who possess it to believe in spiritual realities, the Scotsman reported Monday.


But Dr. Donald Bruce, the church's society, religious and technology project director, says he and Hamer both participated in a 2003 conference, during which Hamer made a surprising disclosure about the 1993 book, "The God Gene: How Faith is Hard-Wired into Our Genes."

Bruce said, "I asked him if he thought the book's title was irresponsible. Dr. Hamer agreed the words 'God gene,' as well as the book's title, were misleading."

The Church of Scotland is a Presbyterian denomination, which traces its roots to John Knox, the Scottish Reformer who studied with John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 16th century.

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