Do Our Genes Determine Our Morality?

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For years scientists have sought to discover a genetic cause for homosexuality that would substantiate the oft heard claim that homosexuals are born gay, and as such, have no choice regarding their behavior. However, this has been a fruitless search. Even the pro-gay American Psychiatric Association has said, “To date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.”[1] Likewise, Dr. Neil Whitehead, after examining more than 10,000 scholarly papers and publications on the subject, concluded, “Geneticists, anthropologists, sociologists, endocrinologists, neuroanatomists, medical researchers into gender, and twin study researchers are in broad agreement about the role of genetics in homosexuality. Genes don’t make you do it. There is no genetic determinism, and genetic influence at most is minor.”[2]

Regarding the degree of influence that genetics may have compared to environmental factors, scientists vary in their assessments, crediting genes for 10–60% of the equation.[3] But this simply places homosexual orientation in the same category as many other orientations. Professor Warren Throckmorton explains:

Putting the questionable figure in perspective lets [sic] look at other traits and the estimated percent of difference attributable to genetic factors according to existing research found on the American Psychological Association web site.

* Attitudes toward reading books – 55%

* Feelings about abortion on demand – 54%

* Feelings about roller coaster rides – 50%

* Attitudes towards the death penalty for murder – 50%

* Humility – 58%

* Likelihood to engage in casual sex – 49%

* Attitudes toward equality – 55%[4]


Interestingly enough, every one of these things can be changed.  A person can learn to enjoy reading books. A person can change his opinion regarding abortion. A person can become more or less humble over time. So why would we assume that homosexuality, which is no more genetically predetermined than these other things, cannot be changed? How is it that a person is born gay—end of story?

The reasons why the born gay argument remains so pervasive today despite the overwhelming evidence against it is because it is a well-calculated strategy designed to absolve homosexuals of all responsibility for their actions. This is not my opinion. Rather, it is a stated objective in the book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 1990’s. This is a book, written by homosexual activists as a “practical agenda,” has proven to be incredibly successful.[5] These authors wrote that an important part of this agenda should be presenting homosexuals as having been born gay. They wrote:

We argue that, for all practical purposes, gays should be considered to have been born gay—even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the products of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence. And since no choice is involved, gayness can be no more blameworthy than straightness.[6]


In other words these homosexual activists proposed intentionally misrepresenting the science and purposefully deceiving Americans in order to absolve homosexuals of their responsibility. But even if it could one day be proven that homosexuals are born with a gay gene, does being born with a genetic pre-disposition truly absolve someone of responsibility for his behavior?

Virtually every human behavior, orientation, or tendency involves some genetic component, and yet this does not justify or normalize these behaviors, orientations, and tendencies, nor does it mean that people with these genetic components should not try to change their behavior, orientations, and tendencies. As the pro-gay psychologists Dr. J. Michael Bailey of Northwest University and Dr. Brian Mustanski of Indiana University righty observed, “No clear conclusions about the morality of a behavior can be made from the mere fact of biological causation, because all behavior is biologically caused.”[7] Likewise, Dr. Dean Hamer and Peter Copeland wrote in their book The Science of Desire: The Gay Gene and the Biology of Behavior, “In short, biology is amoral; it offers no help distinguishing between right and wrong. Only people, guided by their values and beliefs, can decide what is moral and what is not.”[8]

According to a 2010 Nature article, “Selfish dictators may owe their behavior partly to their genes, according to a study that claims to have found a genetic link to ruthlessness.”[9] Would we absolve Hitler of responsibility for his ruthless behavior if we discovered that he had a genetic pre-disposition to being ruthless? Of course not! But if Hitler’s behavior could not be condoned as normal and acceptable despite a genetic pre-disposition, then homosexual behavior also cannot be condoned as normal and acceptable simply because individuals may have a genetic pre-disposition.

Similarly, scientists have discovered possible genetic pre-dispositions to adultery, rape, violence, obesity, and even to being politically liberal.[10] Is anybody willing to accept adultery and rape as normal and acceptable simply because some people might be genetically pre-disposed to these behaviors? Or what about obesity? Should we celebrate and encourage over-eating because of a genetic pre-disposition to being obese? But if we do not accept and celebrate adultery, rape, and over-eating despite the genetic contribution to these behaviors, then why should we accept and celebrate homosexual behavior on the basis of a genetic component?

When the gay activist’s logic is applied to other behaviors, it becomes evident that a person’s biology cannot be our basis for determining the morality of any behavior. Instead, our morality is determined by our Creator.

Be sure to read Timothy Zebell’s book Laid Bare: Uncovering the Relationship Between Homosexuality & the Gospel.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Brown, Michael. A Queer Thing Happened to America, 201. Concord: EqualTime Books, 2011.

2. Brown, 202.

3. Brown, 215.

4. Brown, 215.

5. Kirk, Marshall and Hunter Madsen. After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, i. New York: Doubleday, 1989.

6. Brown, A Queer Thing Happened to America, 204.

7. Brown, 208–209.

8. Brown, 224.

9. Brown, 209.

10. Brown, 211–214.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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