Emotional Links to Genetic Health: Biological Heaven and Hell

I wonder when someone over at the Human Genome Project will research and document the effect of prolonged emotional states on the health of the genes?

We already know that an emotional shock can trigger the onset of cancer by disrupting the immune system, which shows how closely the mind is linked to our biology.

Research in Europe has shown that children’s weight was influenced by interruptions to the diet of their grandparents.  From this it appears that our diets and lifestyles can change the expression of our genes, by influencing a system of chemical switches known as the epigenome.  The field of epigenetics was completely unknown only a decade ago, and certainly not suspected when the first test tube babies were announced.

But if it can be shown that negative emotions such as greed, selfishness and rage have a gradual degenerative effect on the genes, it would explain why pschopaths so often spring from wealthy families, and why genius seems to come from humble and unassuming backgrounds.

If so, it means religion was correct in at least this regard – that to voluntarily forego hatred and selfishness, “treating thy neighbour as thyself” tends to enhance whatever mechanism fosters the creative and emotional intelligence embedded in the genes, resulting in a healthier progeny.  Does this mean that “the meek will inherit the Earth” ?  Or that “the sins of the fathers” somehow do return to the children and grandchildren?  Revelation emerges from genius in tune with natural laws of evolution.  How could such warnings be expressed to the unsophisticated minds of the masses, at a time before literacy when dramatic, memorable images were needed, and taken on faith, since there was no medical knowledge to back it up?  (The atheist view is that “Revelation doesn’t exist.  End of story.  Buy my new book.”) Could the real meaning of “treasure in Heaven” actually mean, a golden harvest of creativity and genius within the genes?

Logically, the opposite could also be true: the degeneration particularly in Western societies might be a direct result of the aggression and greed which materialists laugh off as no big deal.  But what could be more Hellish than being trapped in the nightmare wilderness of insanity, stranded by a failure somewhere in your own brain?  Anyone who has experienced severe depression, which is probably mild compared to schizophrenia, will understand what I mean.

The mistake made by critics of religion is to assume that, because the fantastic dress these forms wore do not suit the modern, well-informed and hyper-critical intellectual mind, there can be no truth behind them.  They formed the cradle from which the modern mind grew – so how can it be possible that such time-honoured beliefs are empty of value?

This investigation would be the point at which the barriers between religions would start to melt away, and at which religion and science would become two sides of the same coin: we need to know what emotional states encourage a co-operation with progressive evolution, and which ones are responsible for the rapid decline.  In the past, great civilisations must have fallen victim to the exact same decay, which means that chemicals and pollution were not the culprits: the failure of the moral nature to keep pace meant the hard working builders of society were replaced by a load of useless addicts and degenerates.  This area of research could explain a lot!

The atheists will laugh and assert that this is an attempt to leverage superstition into society.  But as Christopher Hitchens rightly says, “what can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” A link between the mind and the genetics is plausible enough – after all, the mind emerges from the genetics to begin with.  On what else could its biology be based?  The atheists can scoff all they like at this idea: but without a proper investigation, by their own logic, they cannot dismiss it.

Further reading:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/01/16/epigenetics-a-turning-point-in-our-understanding-of-heredity/

Fathers eating a fatty diet can pass on health problems to daughters via epigenetics

Labs are finding that everything from being exposed to a toxic chemical, to smoking, being malnourished in childhood, or overeating—leaves an imprint on eggs or sperm, affecting not only those individuals’ children but their grandchildren as well

The Independent reports that 3000% more Britons are using cocaine than one decade ago. In “Addiction: the epigenetic effect” Ruth Williams reports that psychoactive drugs can rewrite the epigenetic code of your brain cells

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created www.scienceandreligion.com about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
This entry was posted in Atheism, Brain damage, Epigenetics, Evolution, Human Genome Project, Materialism, Science and Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Emotional Links to Genetic Health: Biological Heaven and Hell

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