Sunday, November 08, 2009

Who thinks genes are important?

GSS respondents were asked about the reasons why someone's life turns out well or poorly. One of the options presented to them was worded like this: "Some people are born with better genes than others." The answer seems pretty obvious to me. For example, if you have the gene for Huntington's disease, things are going to turn out badly for you. Genes for autism are going to change the course of your life just a wee bit.

But the most common answer given was "not important at all" (31%).  We really do live in a gene minimizing culture. Most people think in terms of environnment or free will.

I was pleased to see that my kind of folks have more sense. I looked at two factors--political views and church attendance--and discovered that the mean score among whites for thinking genes are important is significantly higher for extreme conservatives, while all the other political categories--conservative through extremely liberal--do not differ. Second, when lumped together, those who attend church more than weekly, weekly, or almost weekly have a significantly higher mean than those who never go or who go no more than once a year. My guess is that PC thinking has infected my group the least.    

Black-white differences in glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive condition caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is the leading cause of irreversible bl...