98% of our achievements are due to non-genetic factors - so why are we not being told this?
EXCERPT from important article summarised below:
According to ... research, fully 98% of all variation in educational attainment is accounted for by factors other than a person’s simple genetic makeup.
This implies that most of student success is a consequence of potentially alterable social or environmental factors. This is an important and perhaps surprising observation, of high interest to parents, teachers, and policymakers alike; but it did not make the headlines.
The likely reason is that the authors of the study failed to mention the 98% figure in the title, or in the summary. Nor was it mentioned in the accompanying press release.
Instead, their discussion and interest focused almost entirely on a different aspect of their findings: that three gene variants each contribute just 0.02% (one part in 5,000) to variation in educational attainment.
Science and social control: Political paralysis and the genetics agenda
by Jonathan Latham, PhD
Independent Science News, 31 July 2013
Synopsis: Over the last twenty years, human genetic research has convinced the public that genetic factors often underly disease and human behavior. Yet this genomic research project, which is one of the most expensive science programs ever conceived, has almost entirely failed to identify the important genes that geneticists predicted, or to account for the occurrence of human illness. Thus the BRCA1 equals breast cancer example, which remains the most cited example of a genetic contribution to common disease, plays a role in less than 10% of all breast cancer cases. This contrast between the hype of genetics and the meagre reality exposes, first a failure of geneticists to honestly report their results, and second a failure of the science media. It also brings into focus the disturbing historical fact that human disease genetics first attained prominence with money from the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry had decided it urgently needed to find alternative explanations for lung cancer and tobacco addiction that were capable of dissipating public opprobrium and derailing potential legal actions.
The relevance of this experience, in which geneticists probably saved the tobacco industry, was that it positioned human genetics as the go-to science of polluters and reactionary governments. That is because human genetics plausibly offered to locate the blame for unwanted social behaviors, inequality, and human diseases in the genomes of victims rather than in their external experiences of unequal opportunity, social stress and toxic environments. Thus the political impetus of democratic and social movements has successfully been blunted even while the underlying science has never materialized.