Saturday, 5 October 2013

Why we should not move away from tabooo science

I was reading a commentary piece online at Nature about the Ethics behind certain genetics studies. The were talking about genetic studies on intelligence, race, crime and sexuality and how these topics are very taboo. They can be so taboo in fact that often geneticists will not even attempt to study them as they are aware of the potential fallout and ostracisation This  got me to thinking about what should be studied and what subjects are too taboo that they should not be studied. Here is my conclusion which I came to very easily and it is that everything should be studied. I base this on the opinion that all information is important and as such should be studied.

However, I can see why some people would be against some of these genetic studies. It is simple to see how genetic sexuality studies could be used by the church. For example if it was shown that there was no genetic link to homosexuality, it would be a crowning achievement for the church to crow about how it is not natural. However, what they would fail to realise is a result like this does not make it wrong. BTW, it seems very likely that there is a link between genetics and homosexuality, but we should remember that sexuality is a spectrum hence, gay, bi and straight and all the others in between I am missing.

Or what about the justice system convicting people if there were links found between crime and genetics? This would mean that people have no way to control their emotions and we know that is not true.

The biggest problem with any knowledge is that many people use this obtained knowledge for very bad reasons. Just look at the atomic theory which got harnessed for atomic energy and the atomic bomb. So in conclusion, all knowledge is good, it really just comes down to the people who use it and how they rationalise using this knowledge. This is one reason why we should encourage rational thinking, because you want rational people using information, not a bunch of crazies draped in their superstitions.

Disclaimer if you want to study people dying, I would not consider that a valid study. I add this disclaimer as I am sure someone will say "Oh, so its OK to study anything, so I want to study people dying" or something similarly stupid.