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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Biological Determinism Part 4,328

Another in a very long list of biological determinism news bits.

...the work strengthens the idea that transsexualism has a biological basis.

A mistake both sides of the "culture war" makes: a biological basis for anything must mean God ordains whatever it entails. This is why so many religious people are so apprehensive about the idea that gay (or transgendered in this case) people might actually have a genetic basis for being so. They assume a sort of biological determinism; the belief that we are who our genes make us to be and as such God (who we must apparently must assume puts all these genes together for us) would not cause us to be born with such a biological inclination.

I can see how secularist scientists can ascribe to biological determinism - in fact I know many of them. But how this sort of data is necessarily damaging to the Christian view of personhood is absolutely beyond me. We "scientists" are studying a world we KNOW to be fallen...and in fact abnormal, and yet we do by default use terms such as
"normal" to basically refer to the majority. There is of course a much deeper and Christian meaning to the word normal.

Fr. C's homily this weekend talked about the Earthquake in Constantinople which was commemorated yesterday. He spoke of two erroneous theological worldviews: one which is essentially deistic and the other essentially mechanistic. In the former earthquakes just happen to happen and in the latter God makes them happen explicitly. Reality isn't quite as clear as all that, and I see genetics as being very much the same.

I can no more theologically explain a "transgendered gene" than I can a Down Syndrome gene (typically an extra copy of all or part of chromosome 21). I cannot wrap my head around why some may have a genetic predisposition toward anger or depression or addiction or physical beauty or a wonderful singing voice or Williams syndrome etc etc.

What I do think I can explain though is that our biology does not determine us. Who we are is wrapped up far more in what we do than what our genes say we should do. In other words, what we do with what our genes have given to us makes all the difference and somehow in THAT process God's grace and love may be found. Miracles - REAL miracles - are also found there.

All of this said, I will also note that this article is typically titles misleadingly.

"Male-to-female transsexualism gene found"

And then the details: "While the genetic link was statistically significant, it was weak – 55% of the transsexuals had the long version of the gene, compared with 50% of normal men."

I would have personally inserted the word "very" in front of weak...but I'm no expert. I would however take issues with the overly grand and sweeping conclusion of the title.

But, in my theological worldview, the article is of little account.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:42 AM [+]
+++
3 comments


3 Comments:

Mother Raphaela talked about this on Saturday too.

By Blogger Mimi, at 12:06 PM  

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Alas, we still have a church so Byzanto-centrist that only tragedies that happen on the Golden Horn get remembered. An earthquake in San Francisco in 1903? Why would *that* be remembered?

By Blogger bob, at 6:32 PM  

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Maybe 'cuz nobody remembers one from 1903?
:)

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 9:03 PM  

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