There are various forms of genetics denialism that deny the importance of genetic influences.
- 1 "The Blank Slate"
- 2 Heritability of human traits
- 3 Genetics denialism in sociology
- 4 Genetics denialism in criminology
- 5 Genetics denialism in American anthropology
- 6 Personality and apparent IQ
- 7 g denialism
- 8 Creationism
- 9 "Morally wrong" results and censorship demands
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
"The Blank Slate"
Such denialism is particular common regarding the human mind, which is sometimes seen as a completely "Blank Slate", which is claimed to only be affected by environmental factors.
Somewhat less extreme forms may accept that individuals may differ due to genetic factors, but deny that genetics influence politically sensitive group differences, and in particular deny an influence on politically sensitive race and sex differences.
Heritability of human traits
"Heritability" refers to the proportion of the variation of a trait that is due to genetic factors. A 2015 meta-analysis of 17,804 human traits (both physical and mental), based on 2,748 publications that studied 14,558,903 twin pairs, found on average a heritability of 49%. The study concluded that "Our results provide compelling evidence that all human traits are heritable: not one trait had a weighted heritability estimate of zero."
Thus, the so-called "blank slate" theory is incorrect for every studied human trait.
See Other race differences: On human traits in general on implications for group differences.
Another aspect of heritability is that the environmental part of the variation can be divided into two parts. One part is due to factors affecting the siblings (such as the twins in twin studies) in a family similarly (including popular and often politically correct factors like social class, religion, culture, absence or not of a father, and educational method). Another part is due to factors only affecting one sibling (such as only one twin), such as an accident or a disease.
The above mentioned meta-analysis concluded that the data were inconsistent with substantial influences from shared (family) environmental factors. See also Race and intelligence: The genetics or not debate: Shared and unshared environmental factors on shared (family) environmental factors decreasing in importance with age.
Furthermore, the non-shared "environmental" factors can consist of factors that are essentially random noise and thus not easily predicted or influenced, factors that cause "hard-wiring" effects that are not easily changed after occurring, and factors that may even consist of new random mutations that can he inherited by the next generation. Such factors are often less politically correct, despite being "environmental", since they are difficult to influence.
Genetics denialism in sociology
A 2014 study surveyed sociology professors and found that 81% supported that genetics influence intelligence differences between individuals. 60% supported that taste for fats/sugars has a genetic component. 50% supported that fear of snakes/spiders has a genetic component. Less than 50% supported an effect of genetics on sex differences, such as regarding promiscuity, jealousy, verbal abilities, and spatial abilities. Only 32% supported that genetics is an explanation for sex differences regarding violent criminality. 70% supported that sexual orientation has biological roots, which appeared to be a substantial increase compared to an earlier survey (and may reflect that the politically correct position is now that homosexuality is hardwired).
The study stated that "the theorists least inclined to find evolutionary accounts plausible are those who identify as politically radical and those who examine the social world principally through a feminist theoretical lens" and "a few expressed their worries openly-that recognition of biological difference would undermine efforts to bring about social justice and equality. Consider the following comments: "By emphasizing hard wiring due to evolution, there is an implicit acceptance of the behavior as if there is nothing or very little that can be done to alter the behavior or as if any such attempts are doomed and misguided. There is no incentive to consider the possibility of altering social environments to reduce the likelihood of fighting, or bullying, or raping, or veiling=segregating women, etc." / "This way of posing the issue might be unproductive. For me, the more important question is the kind of political possibilities and the ethical imperatives the two oppositional perspectives (sociobiology vs. cultural determinists) make available. The cultural determinist view offers more progressive possibilities alive to issues of social justice, while the biological determinist view undermines human agency and is most often enlisted to justify hierarchy.""
See also The sociologist's fallacy.
Genetics denialism in criminology
Another field that has been criticized for denying the role of genetics and censorship of biological/genetic views is criminology.
Genetics denialism in American anthropology
See Arguments regarding the existence of races: 2016 AAA survey on widespread lack of basic knowledge of race and genetic population research by American anthropologists.
Personality and apparent IQ
The g factor (general factor) is the argued underlying general mental ability that is measured more or less well by different cognitive tests. Despite very strong evidence supporting the existence of g and its strong practical significance, it has sometimes been shunned due to its association with genetics and racial differences. This also when the focus is not primarily on race differences.
A 2015 study thus stated that "We hypothesize the existence of a “somebody else’s problem” in management education for the sub-discipline of organizational behavior (OB). The problem regards human intelligence, specifically, the general factor, g. Although g is arguably the most powerful variable in social science, OB educators largely ignore it. To demonstrate the former, we review a vast literature establishing g’s construct validity. To demonstrate the latter, we show that current OB textbooks place far less emphasis on g relative to a popular but less potent predictor of organizational success, emotional intelligence. We also show that when textbooks do reference g, it is often just to offer criticism. Misconceptions about empirical data on intelligence testing, denial that a general factor of intelligence exists, the reality of mean racial differences in mental ability, and the finding that genes play a non-trivial role in causing intelligence, seem to make OB’s treatment of this topic “somebody else’s problem.”"
A different form of genetics denialism is creationism. However, creationists may at the same time possibly be more accepting than liberals of genetics influencing characteristics, such as politically sensitive sex differences.
"Morally wrong" results and censorship demands
Another form of genetics denialism may be denial and censorship of empirical results from genetic research due to the empirical results being perceived as morally wrong, because they may allow more advanced forms of eugenics. See the Eugenics article regarding this.
Several early and very influential critics of sociobiology were Jews and/or Marxists, often both, such as Leon Kamin, Richard Lewontin, and Stephen Jay Gould. One explanation is that Marxism was viewed as incompatible with sociobiology.
Many genetics denialists seem to believe in some kind of domino theory, apparently believing that if genetics is admitted to have even the smallest influence on even one politically sensitive (group) characteristic, then this will cause a domino effect leading to a Holocaust. The reasoning is unclear. Groups conflicts, mass killings, and genocides have occurred throughout history, despite the absence of modern genetics knowledge. The Jewish Bible approvingly describes exterminations of various perceived enemies of Jews. Communists exterminated various groups perceived as obstacles to the future communist utopia, despite communists opposing genetics and Darwinian evolutionary theory by supporting Lysenkoism. Instead of creating phenomena such as slavery, the scientific study of race occurred at the same time as slavery was abolished by Western countries in both Western and non-Western countries.
- Magic dirt - A variant of the blank slate theory.
- Cultural Marxism
- Political correctness
- Race denialism - A more specific form of genetics denialism.
- Skeptical movement
- Polderman TJ, Benyamin B, de Leeuw CA, Sullivan PF, van Bochoven A, Visscher PM et al. (2015) Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies. Nat Genet 47 (7):702-9. DOI:10.1038/ng.3285 http://pubmed.gov/25985137
- Gone with the Wind http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.com/2015/05/gone-with-wind.html
- r.i.p. blank slate (and what does “the environment” mean anyway?) https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/r-i-p-blank-slate-and-what-does-the-environment-mean-anyway/
- Horowitz, Mark, William Yaworsky, and Kenneth Kickham. “Whither the Blank Slate? A Report on the Reception of Evolutionary Biological Ideas among Sociological Theorists.” Sociological Spectrum 34.6 (2014): 489-509. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02732173.2014.947451
- Liberals deny science, too. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/28/liberals-deny-science-too/
- How Criminologists Who Study Biology Are Shunned by Their Field http://www.amren.com/news/2015/12/how-criminologists-who-study-biology-are-shunned-by-their-field/
- Bryan J Pesta, Michael A McDaniel, Peter J. Poznanski, Timothy DeGroot. (2015). Discounting IQ’s Relevance to Organizational Behavior: The “Somebody Else’s Problem” in Management Education. Open Differential Psychology, Submitted: April 29th, 2015. Published: May 26th, 2015,. http://openpsych.net/ODP/2015/05/discounting-iqs-relevance-to-organizational-behavior-the-somebody-elses-problem-in-management-education/
- The moral imperative to research editing embryos: The need to modify Nature and Science. http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2015/04/the-moral-imperative-to-research-editing-embryos-the-need-to-modify-nature-and-science/
- The Animal in the Man https://www.amren.com/news/2018/09/defenders-of-truth-ullica-segerstrale-edward-o-wilson/