Tag Archives: genetics

Avila and the Devil

Daniel Avila claims the devil makes people gay. He makes this claim in an appeal to science, theology, and reason, all of which he bastardizes. And The Pilot, the Catholic newspaper for the archdiocese of Boston, has given him a voice.

Avila, pointing to the lack of a “gay gene,” says that “something other than the hardwiring found in the genetic code must explain [homosexuality].” But a trait does not have to be encoded by a single gene to be genetically influenced. Height and skin color are examples.

After getting his science wrong, Avila moves on to theology. He says that “the best natural evidence of what God causes and wants for us is our genetic code.” I knew that the Bible was required reading for Christian disciples, but I did not know about this accompanying natural text. Maybe it is the Bible 2.0 — organic and personalized.

Anything not genetically determined must, of course, be the work of the devil.

Disruptive imbalances in nature that thwart encoded processes point to supernatural actors who, unlike God, do not have the good of persons at heart… the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God.

If we follow this reasoning, God chooses to afflict some of us with genetic disorders while the devil is responsible for the Mozart effect. Avila creates for us a new and interesting moral universe.

But some things stay the same: the devil performs his best work in utero, inside the body of a woman.

Update (Nov. 2, 2011):

The Boston Pilot has retracted the article and Avila has issued an apology. However, it is the standard “sorry I caused hurt and confusion” apology and not an admission of factual inaccuracy or theological error.

Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese, thinks that “this one clearly just got away from [Avila]” and expects him to continue to write for The Pilot.

See also:
Slacktivist on facts in the opinion pages.

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