A gene linked with sociality and novelty-seeking may make people more liberal in outlook, but only if they had plenty of friends during adolescence. The gene, DRD4-7R makes a dopamine receptor and was identified from DNA samples and a survey of 2547 adolescents.
It’s this kind of dross in New Scientist that sets my teeth gnashing. Admittedly it was taken from ‘The Journal of Politics’ and is little but a snippet, but that it appears in NS tells you something about the underlying mind set.
The words ‘linked with’ immediately remind me of the now famous words of Al Gore in his film when he informed us that ice core data shows a ‘correlation’ between CO2 rises and temperature rises, and then neglected to mention that the ice cores showed CO2 rising approximately 800 years after the temperature rise. How, precisely, is a gene that makes a dopamine receptor ‘linked with sociality and novelty-seeking’?
The next weasel word is ‘may’, as this gene ‘may make people more liberal in outlook’. Now what definition of 'liberal' are we talking about: the adjective in the dictionary, or espousing present day liberal views and politics, which tend to bear no relation to the aforementioned adjective? What exactly is being said here?
Then we get the bit about the necessity for having friends in adolescence for this gene to express its liberalism. Of course the implication here is that if you are ‘liberal’ you are probably sociable, novelty-seeking and not a Billy-no-mates. If you’re not ‘liberal’ you’re probably a sad fuck who had no friends when you were younger.
All this comes from a survey and DNA sampling of 2574 adolescents. So, how many of these adolescents did not have this gene? How many of them really ‘fessed up to having no friends? How did you establish any link at all between this particular scrap of DNA and the traits mentioned? And since when did opinion become science? Karl Popper must be revolving in his grave.