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Genes or Dads?

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

A new study by researchers at the University of Oregon asserts that genetic factors are more important in determining when a child will first have sex than whether or not they have a father in the home. According to a BBC story on the report, "The more genes the children shared, the more similar their ages of first intercourse, regardless of whether or not the children had an absent father."

I have a few problems with their conclusions:
1) On just about everything else where there is a genetic predisposition towards a behavior, we do not allow that genetic predisposition to act as an excuse for the behavior. Think about addictions. Drug addiction has genetic markers. Yet we don't say that a drug addict therefore has no control over whether or not he uses drugs. That would be letting the genes act as an excuse for bad choices.

2) Simon Blake, from a sexual health nonprofit called "Brook Advisory Centre," while disagreeing that genes are the overriding factor, does not then conclude that father involvement is important - even though the study showed clear correlation between early sexual activity and father absence. He instead points to the need for "better education." I guess it is hard to disagree with that, but it ignores the clear father factor that exists here.

I guess this gets back to the age old "nature versus nurture" question. What do you think? Is it genes or dads?

Topics: father absence, research, teens

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