I say ‘heritability’, you say ‘determinism’, let’s call the whole thing off?

The website This Meets That “scours the Wikipedia links between two terms to find the midpoint between even the most contrary of concepts.” What happens when ‘genetics’ meets ‘education’…?

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The first time I did this a few days ago, the answer came back ‘EUGENICS’. Wikipedia seems to have somewhat shifted its philosophy over the weekend; the answer is now:

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Still, talk about the genetics of intelligence and someone is bound to shout ‘EUGENICS’ at you. It’s science’s close relative of Godwin’s law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

Two weeks ago, the Education Secretary’s outgoing special adviser, Dominic Cummings released or leaked his thoughts about education policy. In the essay, Cummings cited Robert Plomin’s and Kathryn Asbury’s research looking at the genetic heritability of intelligence, leading to widespread brouhaha.

Last week, Radio 4’s Moral Maze tackled the issue. The moral dilemma, in essence, is: “how should your genetic makeup be of significance when it comes to education?” We too readily lose sight of that under all the ideology, discomfort and shouting. I review the episode for BioNews. Have a read.

Matt Thomas (2013). Radio Review: Moral Maze – Genetics and Education BioNews (729)