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The average person may define spirituality as a feeling or state of mind. The scientist may see it as an adaptive trait, benefetting our survival for generations. But Dean Hamer, a molecular biologist and geneticist at the National Cancer Institute, offers a different perspective. Author of The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired Into Our Genes, Hamer claims to have uncovered "The" gene responsible for feelings of unity and connection to a higher power. Naturally, Hamer has become somewhat of a controversial figure for this notion, but can science--the very tool he touts--truly back his claim?
As is often the case, popular press paints science using a very different color palette. While the media scarfed up Hamer's exhaltation of VMAT2, scientific literature provides no support for this role of the gene. In fact, Hamer has not published his findings in any peer-reviewed journal, much to the dissatisfaction of many scientifically inclined minds.
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