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Posts Tagged ‘genetics’

This for some reason has become the cause of our time. We’re told it’s getting more and more prevalent.  I personally think the reason is simple:  kids that were once labeled severely retarded are now more and more being called autistic.  It has less of a hopeless ring to it, as if your kid may one day start banging out Bach’s concerto’s on the piano or solve Fermat’s Last Theorem in between sessions of muteness and dysfunction.

It must be very frustrating and painful to have a severely disabled child.  I mean this sincerely.  No one plans for it, and this is especially so among secular, “can do” Americans.  We believe, as a people, that the force of optimism can overcome all.  That all the world’s tragedies are simply problems seeking to be solved.  (Of course, death, our inevitable fate, remains elusive).

And parents of “autistic” children have fallen prey to various snake-oil salesman and con artists, selling magic elixers and poorly reasoned explanations for the “causes” of autism.  It turns out one of the biggest sources of false hope was the belief that this is all rooted in vaccines–which have saved countless lives–and their alleged affects of development.  Surely some other nonsense is around the corner, as if all those diagnosed with autism have a single identifiable disease.  Of course, the mildly Aspergerish science nerd is quite distinguishable from the 16 year old in diapers.

I suspect the cause of many of these defects is genetic, and that as the genetic codes become more readily known, the abortion-promoting “genetic counseling” industry will find more and more imperfect children to terminate.  So, slowly and without much for most of us to witness, our visions of a perfect world, devoid of challenges and problems and imperfect people, won’t become spoiled.  And we, as a people, will become more and more incapable of dealing with setbacks, imperfection, mystery, and the opportunities for grace in the most imperfect of people.

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A Real Education Lesson

A rather forthright young lady at Harvard Law mistakenly thought the school was serious about its motto: Veritas.  She calmly and dispassionately explained her views on racial differences, genetics, and various related social problems.  She used no epithets or coarse language.  A member of the Black Law Students Association, and similar associations at other elite law schools, responded by literally trying to ruin her life, in part, by trying to get her federal judicial clerkship yanked.

This is utterly monstrous behavior by weak, thin-skinned, anti-intellectual, and evil people, whose feelings and belief structure is so incredibly fragile because it’s built on the very falsehoods which this young lady dared to challenge.  But oh how the school and its professors and its students congratulate themselves on their intellectual daring and cutting-edge beliefs.  Cutting edge 50 years ago perhaps.  Liberalism is now the official religion of elite America, it takes no courage to embrace, and anyone that dares to deviate from its premises on equality, race, nature versus nurture, and much else is responded to not with sound argument and evidence but Soviet-style attempts to ruin one’s life and livelihood.

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Nobel-prize-winning genetics professor James Watson–as in Watson and Crick–speaks out about IQ and genetics and the like in a measured, scientific way.

Professor promptly gets suspended from job, viz.:

Earlier this evening, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Board of Trustees decided to suspend the administrative responsibilities of Chancellor James D. Watson, Ph.D., pending further deliberation by the Board.

This action follows the Board’s public statement yesterday disagreeing with the comments attributed to Dr. Watson in the October 14, 2007 edition of The Sunday Times U.K.

I watched The Lives of Others with interest recently. It told the story of how an East German Stasi officer, whose job consisted in part of listening to the bugged apartment of a famous artist, realized the venality of this invasion in the name of state security. Like the often anonymous posters on Gene Expression and other websites, the artist simply wanted to tell a story that was embarrassing to the official partly line, in this case the rampant suicide rate in the workers “paradise.”

Amazingly, today’s politically correct commissars are little better. But being decentralized, and often having power only in the business and academic world, we continue to think we’re free. After all, these commissars–HR “professionals,” university deans, tenure committees, newspaper editors–can’t throw anyone in jail, at least not in the United States. But when a wide range of thoughts, beliefs, and sentiments will quickly lead one to a life of penury and scorn if expressed openly, then clearly a type of power and social control is being exercised. When the media and local government collude to hide certain unpleasant facts from view and promulgate myths instead, then insecurity on the part of certain cultural and other authorities exists about the truth. From blogs to books to magazine subscriptions, club memberships, and opinions, all must be hidden from the “powers that be” as cleverly as opinions were once hidden in communist countries or terrible consequences will follow. We sometimes forget that communist regimes exercised most of their control not through threats but through the ability to keep a “subversive” from going to university, buying a car, or getting a decent job.

What a conceit to call modern America a free country. A free country needs a free thinking culture, and the fact that political correctness is now invading the once-immune hard sciences is a very bad sign indeed.

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This is an amazing story about how the FBI and other law enforcement agencies spent months looking for a white rape-murder suspect in Baton Rouge, Louisiana until DNA evidence conclusively established that the killer had black ancestry. The real killer was found months later. Five women were raped and killed during the wild goose chase for the imaginary white suspect. Discredited folk wisdom that inter-racial rape is rare and that most serial killers are white undoubtedly contributed to this fiasco.

One disturbing example of willful blindness emerged in the article. The original nationwide DNA testing and database system used by law enforcement deliberately did not track ethnic information, even though such information is obviously very useful for law enforcement to clear suspects and also to keep their focus on whoever the real offender is. After years of being told that “race is a social construct,” even police and administrators forgot something most people learn in ninth grade biology:  that our skin color, appearance, and ancestry all correlates strongly with identifiable genetic markers. The article reports:

Tony Frudakis first heard about the Baton Rouge serial killer just like everyone else outside of Louisiana — on cable news. As months went by, the body count climbed, Frudakis followed the case, thinking “why on earth can’t they catch this guy?”

Several years earlier, Frudakis’ father was shot when he confronted a would-be car thief in the driveway of his Long Beach, California, home. The thief escaped but dropped his driver’s license at the scene and was apprehended quickly. The serial killer had also left behind his identification in his DNA but, unlike a driver’s license, his genetic ID revealed nothing about his physical characteristics — or at least it revealed nothing the police could use.

The DNA forensic products available at the time could only be used to match DNA specimens in the CODIS, or Combined DNA Index System, database which contains about 5 million DNA profiles. If investigators have a crime scene sample but no suspect, they run it against those in the database to see if it matches a sample already on file.

But while CODIS is good at linking the criminals who are already catalogued from other crimes, the system is useless in identifying physical characteristics. It says nothing about race. It has been specifically set up to reveal no racial information whatsoever, in part so that the test would be consistently accurate irrespective of race.

But non-scientific considerations also factored into how the system was established. When the national DNA Advisory Board selected the gene markers, or DNA sequences which have a known location on a chromosome, for CODIS, they deliberately chose not to include markers associated with ancestral geographic origins to avoid any political maelstrom.

We’ve overcompensated, moving from a time when law enforcement often employed crude stereotypes against minorities to one where verifiable negative facts about minorities are ignored and suppressed, even when they will aid in the discovery of active serial killers.  Oh well, as the SDS, Lenin, and the other authors of political correctness said so often:  “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

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