Re: humans irreducibly complex?

Marcio Pie (
Tue, 25 May 1999 10:33:19 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 25 May 1999 wrote:

>> Moreover, if I got a gene that increases my propensity to do sin
>> (e.g. drug addiction), am I going to be judged by the same standards
>> people who do not have this gene?
>My personal understanding (and I stress the word personal) of the
>view of original sin (which is the view that predominates in modern
>Christianity) is that sin is not a set of proscribed actions, but a state
>being. This view argues that all are condemned because of the act of
>regardless of how they themselves act. Thus a man who leads a pure life
>who refuses to become a Christian is still condemned because he has
>sin nature as part of being human. This view would probably argue then
>genetics is irrelevent; if you are not a Christian you stand condemned in
>your sin even if you resist your genetic predisposition, but if you are a
>Christian you will not be condemned simply because you fall victim to a
>genetic defect.
>An alternative view, that preceeded Augustine, says that sin is a matter
>arrogance and selfishness, of the desire to follow one's own heart than
>follow God. Such a view would also disregard genetics, under the
>that one cannot be held responsible for behavior that is directed by
>defects any more than one can be held responsible for the color of their
>skin. Drug addiction would be sin only if you endulged in it willingly,
as a
>form of perverted pleasure or to escape reality; if it came about against
>your will then it would not be sin.

I guess I come from the "plesiomorphic" tradition :-). I don't think it is
fair to consider myself guilty of something that someone else did (Adam).
You mean that all the aborted children in the US today are going to hell
even though they never had the chance to do something, good or bad?
Anyway, evolutionists agree that there is a "human nature" and that it has
been shaped by natural selection over millions of years. How does this
human nature relate with the biblical concept?

>>From a more secular point of view, drug addiction in and of itself is
>complex to be blamed on any single one factor. A genetic predisposition
>no certainty that you will become a drug fiend; lack of same is no
>that you will not. Therefore, I cannot see God judging you on the basis
of a
>gene that at best plays only a minor role in whether you become an addict

I just gave a simple example to illustrate the fact that our genes
influence a lot our behavior. I know that genes do not *determine* whether
or not someone will be a drug addict, but they certainly play a
significant role. This was established in many studies of twins separated
at birth, for instance. I can give you some interesting references, if you
want. Many behavioral characteristics (novelty seeking, depression, drug
addiction - things that we consider parts of our "soul") have been shown
to be influenced by the metabolism of serotonin (e.g. prozac blocks the
receptor of serotonin). It seems that we are not *completely* free to do
whatever we want. This has some important implications about the way we
think about free will.