Wednesday, July 25, 2018

No one earned his or her DNA

Texas Psychology professor Kathryn Paige Harden writes in the NY Times:
Over 99 percent of our DNA is identical in all humans, but researchers focused on the remaining 1 percent and found thousands of DNA variants that are correlated with educational attainment. This information can be combined into a single number, called a polygenic score. ...

No one earned his or her DNA sequence, yet some of us are benefiting enormously from it. ...

Our genes shape nearly every aspect of our lives — our weight, fertility, health, life span and, yes, our intelligence and success in school. Scientists have known this for years, based on results from twin and adoption studies, but it’s only recently that we have been able to measure DNA directly and use it to predict outcomes with any degree of certainty.

Genetic differences in human life are a scientific fact, like climate change. Many progressives resist acknowledging this when it comes to education, fearing that it will compromise their egalitarian beliefs. But just like acknowledging the reality of climate change is necessary to ensure a sustainably habitable planet, acknowledging the reality of genetic differences between people is a necessary step for us to ensure a more just society.
So if you are benefiting from your education, then you are really benefiting from your DNA and your polygenic score.

Likewise, you did not earn your character, personality, industriousness, or anything else. There are polygenic scores for those, also.

Yes, genetic research is incompatible with progressive egalitarian beliefs.

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