John Horgan reports at the Scientific American website,
Yes, the inevitable has happened. Just before Election Day—surely not a coincidence—scientists report an association between liberal political views and DRD4, a gene that produces a receptor for the neurotransmitter dopamine.
He reports, and then critiques. Single genes associated with single characteristics have rarely if ever held up to further investigation. Science journalism often needs reality checks like this. Give Horgan high credit for that.
Here’s what really interested me, though. It’s spoken tongue-in-cheek, so I don’t know quite how much to make of it.
I hope the liberal-gene finding—unlike all previous gene-whiz claims—holds up, because then we can create a utopia by genetically engineering liberal designer babies. We could even pay for it with Obama’s health care plan! But alas, this vision—like the liberal gene itself—is just a fantasy.
Translated that means: eugenics = utopia. Implied: Engineering an entire way of thinking out of the next generation = utopia. Making sure half or more of the population doesn’t reproduce after their own kind = utopia.
Worldview/attitude genocide = utopia.
“Alas,” says Horgan, “this vision… is just a fantasy.”
The charitable view, which I’m willing to grant, is that Horgan didn’t intend us to take this too seriously. But really, how often do we joke that way about genocide? How often do editors let jokes like this pass? What makes it okay this time?
Also posted at Thinking Christian