November 4, 2006

Are you born a Marxist or a Muslim?

Are you an accused Maoist or Islamic terrorist? Whatever Dawkins might have to say on this, you can now plead that you are helpless, because you are genetically predisposed to be one. That is if you agreed with John R. Hibbing, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Based on the data collected from 8000 identical or fraternal twins, Hibbing and his co-workers have concluded that man is indeed by nature a political animal, as Aristotle had asserted 2000 years ago.

This reminds me of an presentation that I sat through incredulously several years ago at the University of Minnesota, where a professor from the department of industrial relations, based on data from identical twins again, asserted that job satisfaction was genetic. That is, one or more yet-to-be identified genes could be behind a disgruntled whistle blower, for example!

And the nature vs. nurture controversy goes on.

1 comment :
  1. There may be a nature v. nurture controversy, but I don't think this research is part of it. It argues that some of the variability in political orientation is correlated with genetic factors, and that some other variability is correlated with environment factors. The research argues that some political behavior is heavily environmental, and does not address free will at all.

    The industrial research sounds interesting. Perhaps it interacts with variability in DRD47R, a genotypic polymorphism associated with ADHD?

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