This morning, Ed Yong published an article that takes on issues that we at the The Mermaid's Tale care very deeply about.
|Link to article|
I have lots of other thoughts… like about how this fits in so nicely with (not all of) the right's racist/eugenics inclinations.
And juxtapose this view from the political right where there is full-on acceptance of actually-more-than-genetics-can-even-deliver against their anti-science politics and policy…
It's like science is totally fine for Republicans as long as Mother Nature is a dictator.
If it's more complicated than that, then deny it, defund it, bulldoze it. The reality is, genetics is largely probabilistic; it is not a dictatorship. It's just so hard to convince people that it isn't. The ideological drive to justify behavioral differences and socioeconomic inequality with Nature above all is just too strong. If it's Nature, then we don't have to do the hard work of addressing the problems because Nature is Nature is Nature. This is really old thinking that really new knowledge (both through lots of science and lots of lived experience and lots of humanities and lots of art) has overturned but has not managed to catch on all that well. Part of the trouble is that new knowledge includes increasing understanding of genetics so the ancient beliefs can just be spouted in new-fangled science jargon.
This is really hard to write about today as all the stories about the proposed (and highly probable) budget cuts to science and the arts are blasting through my newsfeeds. It's overwhelming me today. I'm feeling hopeless and angry on behalf of science, art, knowledge, medicine, humanity, humans, children, teenagers, grown-ups, geezers. It's too much today.
But, back to Ed's article, I do need to put this here because it was mentioned that I used to teach with 23andMe:
I don't teach with 23andMe anymore. I was doing it for as long as my university would pay for the kits. It was totally voluntary and they had to read Misha Angrist's book before deciding whether to go through with the testing. It was so powerful for teaching evolution, genetics, anthropology, etc… and we critiqued the hell out of it. My university said I needed to pay for the kits through course fees from now on. Before any of these threats to GINA, I decided not to do that and to stop using 23andMe. Now, even if my university reconsidered and funded the kits, I still wouldn't take it up again as a teaching tool.