davegodfrey: Flying Spaghetti Monster : Touched by his noodly appendage (FSM)
[personal profile] davegodfrey
Remember Michael Medved? The chap who thought that slavery "wasn't so bad" and that the Native Americans weren't the victims of genocide?

He's at it again folks. This time, America is awesome because of its DNA. According to Peter C. Whybrow "immigrants to the United States and their descendents seemed to possess a distinctive makeup of their “dopamine receptor system – the pathway in the brain that figures centrally in boldness and novelty seeking.”" John D. Gartner adds that the laissez-faire capitalism with minimal or ineffectual governmental controls "sustains the influence of immigrant genetics."

On its own this is stupid. It's a classic example of when evolutionary psychology runs away with itself and gets it completely wrong. I don't know exactly how a particular version of your dopamine receptors controls preferring to move to a different continent to dying of famine, but I'm fairly sure the psychiatrists (or does he mean psychologists?) don't either. But this is Medved. The stupid doesn't stop there.

"The idea of a distinctive, unifying, risk-taking American DNA might also help to explain our most persistent and painful racial divide – between the progeny of every immigrant nationality that chose to come here, and the one significant group that exercised no choice in making their journey to the U.S."

Now I wonder which group he's talking about here? But its not all doom and gloom. There have been 3 million immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean to help mitigate the effect of the descendants of all those unselected people. Dare I mention the problems involving Native Americans? And what of the issues facing the Hispanics? A good proportion of their ancestors came from Spain, so its not as if they should be lacking in the "immigrant gene".

Medved's point, when he finally gets to it in the last paragraph, is that imposing a European-style welfare state "not only contradicts our proudest political and economic traditions, but the new revelations about American DNA suggest that such ill-starred schemes may go against our very nature."

Yeah. Because society is genetic. The Inca's? Predisposed to ridiculous amounts of polygamy, human sacrifice, and not using the wheel.

ETA: (Hat tip to Pharyngula again. Some of the comments are worth reading too. (Cue lots of people [including Americans] pointing out that by this logic Canada, India and New Zealand shouldn't have welfare states, or the alternative hypothesis- America is full of cowards who didn't want to stay and sort out their problems so legged it.)
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davegodfrey: South Park Me. (Default)
The Evil Atheist Your Mother Warned You About

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