On BioScience and Life and Such

I wish I wrote this

In Uncategorized on October 8, 2009 at 7:42 am

post to news.thinkgene.com

An excellent excellent opinion piece in Nature by Bruce T. Lahn & Lanny Ebenstein. Since I cannot write as elegantly as they have, I’ll just urge anyone reading this to go and read the whole thing because it contains grains of gold like this on “biological egalitarianism”:

We believe that this position, although well-intentioned, is illogical and even dangerous, as it implies that if significant group diversity were established, discrimination might thereby be justified. We reject this position. Equality of opportunity and respect for human dignity should be humankind’s common aspirations, notwithstanding human differences no matter how big or small.

and this:

For now, to intentionally overlook the influence of group diversity on disease susceptibilities and treatment outcomes is to practise poor medicine.

followed by this:

….there is a much larger reason to embrace human diversity in all its forms, in our view. Humanity’s genetic diversity — small or large, within or among groups — is a resource for, rather than a detriment to, creating a more fulfilling and prosperous society. Just as people have come over time to cherish cultural diversity, so we hope that attitudes will warm towards genetic diversity.

topped off by this:

For example, although IQ is a useful metric of some aspects of intelligence and it is partly heritable, it is far from a complete measure of total mental capacity. Therefore, acceptance of human genetic diversity in its totality necessarily leads to the rejection of unidimensional rankings of the capacity of human individuals or groups. If anything, the study of genetics is taking us towards an ever greater appreciation of the multidimensional nature of human potential.

And summarized like this:

  • Promoting biological sameness in humans is illogical, even dangerous
  • To ignore the possibility of group diversity is to do poor science and poor medicine
  • A robust moral position is one that embraces this diversity as among humanity’s great assets

Beautiful reasoning. I hope it impacts like a large meteor.

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