Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sept 15 Ridley Ch 4, 5, 6 (Fate, Environment, Intelligence)

I apologize in advance for how disjointed this response is; I wish to react to a particular section of each chapter assigned and thus will jump from one thing to the next showing little if any correlation. I find it very sad that the woman would choose to kill herself rather than live with Huntington’s Disease. While she had to watch her relatives live through it to their deaths, would it not be better to experience life in whatever aspects it comes at you than to self terminate and not experience anything? It is interesting to me that asthma, eczema, allergies, and anaphylactic shock are all caused by the same genes. This explains why I suffer from eczema and allergies while my mother and sisters suffer from asthma and different allergies and one sister got rushed to the hospital for anaphylactic shock to a bee sting this summer. I think one of the biggest messages to take home from this diverse representation of the same genetic trait is how much we don’t know about genetics. Scientists have developed multiple theories of what causes asthma, for example, but none of their support seems strong enough to claim they’ve discovered the mechanisms at work because there have been so many exceptions to their proposed theories. Perhaps this is one of those cases where theorizing then testing is less efficient than collecting information with an open mind and then stepping back to interpret it in a grander scheme. I want to know where they got all the sets of twins for testing the hypothesis about nature vs. nurture with regards to intelligence. How many parents are so supportive of science that they willingly separate their twin children? Or, if the twin children are orphans to begin with, whose idea was it to tear them away from one another? Most orphans are lucky to have a brother or sister stay with them because most are alone and know absolutely no family. The psychological benefits of knowing a twin and sharing a sibling bond would, I think, far surpass the benefits to the scientific community about intellectual similarity of separated twins.

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