In a fascinating post last month, Randall Parker discussed scientific data showing a possible connection between "spirituality" and serotonin receptors in the brain:
Once it becomes possible to control what genetic variations people pass on to their offspring and once genetic variations are discovered that alter personality then at that point the average personality types born to people of different regions, countries, occupations, economic classes, and religious beliefs will diverge. People will make decisions to make their children more like what they want ideal children to be. Imagine religious believers choosing to make their children have personalities that are highly spiritual while at the same time scientists and engineers choose to have children who are highly rational and skeptical. This could lead to genetic religious wars.
If people in some regions of the world decide to make their children more spiritual and other regions make their children more rational and skeptical then one can imagine wars being fought as a result of conflicts of values that flow from fundamental differences in brain wiring. One can also imagine wars fought to stop the people or governments of opposing countries from creating offspring that are either seen as a security threat (e.g. a highly willing deeply spiritual suicide martyr personality type) or as a blasphemy against god.
Religious "freedom" may become an anachronism if the statisticians have their way.
I would like to know exactly how strong the correlation is.
I tend to distrust statistical correlations. There are always too many exceptions. I still haven't gotten over that study which showed statistical correlations between homosexuality and eye blinking. (I'd be willing to bet that men who masturbate blink at a different rate than men who don't — and that there are additional physical as well as emotional differences!)
Purportedly, the study showed that serotinin "binding potential" (an "index
for the density of available 5-HT1A receptors")
correlated inversely with scores for self-transcendence, a personality trait covering religious behavior and attitudes
Here is the "scientific" definition:
Self-Transcendence quantifies the extent to which individuals conceive themselves as integral parts of the universe as a whole. Self-transcendent individuals are spiritual, unpretentious, humble, and fulfilled. These traits are adaptively advantageous when people are confronted with suffering, illness, or death, which is inevitable with advancing age. They are disadvantageous in most modern societies where idealism, modesty, and meditative search for meaning might interfere with the acquisition of wealth and power. People who are low in Self-Transcendence are described as practical, self-conscious, materialistic, and controlling. Such individuals are expected to be well adapted in most Western societies because of their rational objectivity and materialistic success. However, they consistently have difficulty accepting suffering, loss of control, personal and material losses, and death, which lead to adjustment problems particularly with advancing age.
This is scientific? This is supposed to be measurable on tests?