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Genetic Determinism and Determining Genes

August 2nd, 2011 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Ted Peters, as quoted by Peter Leithart:

“The growing myth of genetic determinism blows first in one direction: if we are programmed totally by our DNA, then what we think is human freedom is in fact a delusion.  Then the myth blows the opposite way: if we can apply our best engineering technology to DNA, then we can gain control over nature and guide our own evolutionary future.  The genes determine the future; we want to determine the genes.”

That’s as perfect a description as I have seen of the way genetics get tossed about.

Scientific discoveries get deployed in moral debates with an almost unabashed confirmation bias.  Dislike the trait and genetic research can contribute to therapy.  Like the trait and genetics is deployed as the trump card against any objection to it.