Sunday, April 08, 2007

Trying to mold your kids... good luck!

This just in:  Your kids will be themselves, in spite of your best efforts!

A new study of adult twins shows that nature might beat nurture when it comes to selfless and social behaviour. 

The study at more than 300 sets of twins, both identical and fraternal. 

According to study author Laura Koenig, the popular idea that religious individuals are more social and giving because of the behavioral mandates set for them is incorrect. “This study shows that religiousness occurs with these behaviors also because there are genes that predispose them to it.

This research is another example of the way that genes have an impact
on behavior. “Society as a whole assumes that home environments have
large impacts on behavior, but studies in behavior genetics are
repeatedly showing that our behavior is also influenced by our genes,”
says Koenig.

There are a couple of important things to think about here.  Ultimately the fact that religious upbringing and "good" social behaviour are not linked (at least in this study) does not surprise me. If you've read my posts (here and here) on articles by Sam Harris, you'll know where I stand on that subject.

Don't get me wrong.  Parenting and family life are essential in order to provide kids with the opportunity to develop into mature adults.  I just don't buy the idea that religion in and of itself does the job.  Children need support, community, love, structure and limits.  Religion can provide these things.  It can also add in an unhealthy dose of misogyny, homophobia and shame. 

Good Behavior, Religiousness May be Genetic ::ScienceDaily

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