Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A History of Genetic Degeneration Theories

Posted by Darin Hayton on 11/21 at 02:24 PM

And thus, scientists do not appear to be getting any smarter. Despite the enriched environs of the modern biomedical laboratory, with gleaming toys and stimulating colleagues publishing a rich literature that has dismantled the simplistic genetic models and eugenic prejudices of yore, researchers such as Crabtree continue to believe the same old same old: that we’re getting dumber–or in danger of doing so.

In other words, sometimes the data don’t seem to matter. Prejudices and preconceptions leak into the laboratory, particularly on explosive issues such as intelligence and/or race, regardless of how heredity is constructed. Plenty of scientists are plenty smart, of course. But rehashing the degeneracy theory of IQ does not demonstrate it.

Go read Nathaniel Comfort’s New Findings Suggest Scientists not Getting Smarter, where he calls out Crabtree for “handwaving so vigorous[ly] it calls to mind the semaphore version of Wuthering Heights.”

Tags: degeneration theories, gerald crabtree, nathaniel comfort, trends in genetics