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Should some research topics be banned or results censored?

With recent advancement of science and technology, especially related to full genome sequencing and detailed brain imagery, academic researchers are now exploring what makes us who we are in more detail than ever before. One research area of potential controversy is analyzing genes to see if they can predict things like intelligence, personality, and mental disorders. While it is clear that there is no SINGLE gene for brain-related differences, researchers are now able to predict some differences by looking at thousands of places in our genomes, and generating a "polygenetic score".

For example, Robert Plomin at King's College London, describes how school performance can be predicted from DNA. Preliminary work can predict about 10% of the difference. DNA can also now predict about 18% of the chance to develop schizophrenia (see [ajp.psychiatryonline.org] ).

While his team has examined only European DNA out of fear of backlash, other researches are currently using similar techniques to examine controversial topics like race and IQ/personality, gender differences, and the propensity to be gay or trans. If it turns out that this research result in findings that are in conflict with the social justice movement, what should be the response? Should some areas of research be off-limits for the greater good?

Research that may result in controversial findings...

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Admin 8 Dec 18
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14 comments

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1

No, people should be trained to be empathetic and ethical.

2

Actual knowledge is neutral and harmless. It is what is done with it by way of harm or improvement which makes the difference. If it is not there to open view then every person cannot see the planning which is needed to be done in order to maximize the benefits of knowing , That is surely the intention of the insurance company unless they add too big a premium - thus losing customers

Mcflewster Level 7 Dec 19, 2020
2

The issue that I have with this is employers and insurance companies using this information to discriminate against people.

kiramea Level 7 Dec 19, 2020

Agreed. However, isn't it similar to elite college admissions discriminating against people?

@Admin In a way, yes. But instead of paying the big bucks to get in, they're paying big bucks to stay out.

4

You enter a room that's filled with jars and in them are human brains. Can you identify them? DNA will win in the end and erase color issues and mankind has to deal with the root of the problem. The only thing that separates our species is how we think.

IAJO163 Level 8 Dec 18, 2020

Yes but one of those jars might be labelled Abi. AbiNormal.

@barjoe The viewpoint is dependent upon which side the hump is on.

@IAJO163 So says Eye-gor.

3

I do think mental illness from a chemical imbalance can be genetic. I think some gene pools carry a higher IQ. I don't support human cloning, any genetic engineering of people or eugenics. That should be banned. Environment plays a huge part. We don't know. Children from the same gene pool, raised by the same parents are different. Let's not anyone think they've got all the answers.

barjoe Level 9 Dec 18, 2020
5

I did not have time to listen to all of it, chickens to feed, clothes to wash, house to clean etc. But am thinking of getting his book. In Special Ed when dealing with parents we oft remind ourselves of the phrase, The apple does not fall far from the tree. Many of our parents have the same problems as our students.

Define controversial research.
Knowledge in and of itself is not the problem, how people get the knowledge (torturing others, barbaric practices etc) or use the knowledge (to exclude/exterminate) is the problem.

If children are screened at birth and those that show they are only going to be middling students are all sent to a poorly funded school where the curriculum is set at the basics or those that show they can excel are sent to a school that is funded at a higher level in order to provide an exciting and enriching education, that is a problem. This creates social problems and discrimination.

If children are screened at birth and those that show to be at risk are put into special programs early, parents are educated in how to help them at home before they come to school and schools are given extra funding to help them achieve all that they can then I am all for it. Early intervention has been shown to help many types of children with different conditions.

My fear is that we end up with the first scenario not the second.

Budgie Level 7 Dec 18, 2020

Currently, the predictive ability of polygenetic scores is not strong enough for proscriptive recommendations... but seems that there is potential. I agree with you that it's about what we do with this potential tool than the tool itself.

I may be 100% wrong in assuming that you may be referring to a kind of Eugenics system here.
And btw, I detest, loathe, abhor and am sickened by ANYTHING remotely resembling Eugenics.
For quite a few years I was a Tutor in a programme called T.T.A.L.L. ( Teach, Talk to a Literacy Learner) at the Public School near where I live.
Sadly, many of the other 'Tutors" selected and took on ONLY the Easy or relatively easy cases, i.e. kids with very minor learning problems or difficulties.
Me, always being one to shirk a challenge, I took on 5 of the hardest cases of them all.
Thought up, designed and even paid for from OWN pocket a Rewards system to encourage my students.
Absolutely no Boasting, Bragging nor Blowing my own Trumpet here BUT of the 5 of my Students, 1 is now a Researcher at the C.S.L. ( Commonwealth Serum Labs,), another is now a Geologists working in and with land restoration and re-generation AFTER Mining Companies have done their worst, another is a Science Teacher at an Exclusive High School in Sydney, the fourth is now a Doctor in General Practice and the fifth is a Nursing Manager in a large hospital in Perth, W.A., married to a Community Nurse, caring for twins of their own plus 3 adopted children as well.
All FIVE had their School Files marked as "Lost or Failed Causes".
Oh, and guess what, 3 of the 5 were of Aboriginal origin a well.

@Triphid Unfortunately I see this many times as children get labeled and as it costs money to help them there is no help available. Indigenous students even more so, although being in the Territory there were lots of programs specifically for them but even those have died out over time. We rely on outside organisations to help us. And yes it is using the information in Eugenics that worries me. You can not tell what will inspire someone and those that get things handed to them on a plate tend to fail when life gets tough. I teach Special Ed and these kids have known difficulties from day one they are so resilient that come the zombie apocolypse I want them on my team. They will McGyver any situation and will show such courage and heart that there are days you want to cry.

Eugenics can sadly be seen in our system already with private schools getting more and more money from the government while public schools rely on charity and the goodwill of people like yourself.

BTW as a teacher Thank you for helping those kids I will never give up on a student but will cry myself to sleep trying to think of ways that I can help them. Actually no I don't sleep I spend half the night tossing and turning trying to think of ways to help them.

3

In my opinion research usually paves the way to knowledge, and knowledge is generally a good thing to have, so I'm against the banning of any sort of research. With that said, I do strongly think that certain researchers/research organizations should be funded privately, as Government money (aka the taxpayer dollars) needs to be spent wisely (fiscally responsible in other words).

SpikeTalon Level 9 Dec 18, 2020
8

The findings cannot be controversial in and of themselves. If the emergent facts make certain people uncomfortable because it challenges their beliefs and prejudices, then that says something unfortunate about those individuals.

It was the denial of facts by churches throughout the ages that has resulted in torture, rape, murder and genocide.

And who is to define what constitutes "the greater good" in this context?

anglophone Level 8 Dec 18, 2020

I agree. It's interpreting the findings where the problems always start.

2

So the only potential conflict you see is with the idea of social justice? You don't see a potential conflict with religion, hierarchy, etc.? This sounds as if either researchers and/or interpreters have an agenda against social justice.

Krish55 Level 7 Dec 18, 2020

I think religion is maxed out of conflicts with science to care what new stuff comes out. Views about hierarchy/meritocracy could also be affected depending on what researchers find. Are hierarchies merit based?

2

accept that what most folks think just ain't gonna matter. researchers are gonna do the research one way or another. those that stand to gain from it probably will and the rest just blindly follow.

hankster Level 9 Dec 18, 2020
16

Too late. Research has already concluded that there is no genetic basis for race. There is more genetic diversity inside Africa than in the rest of the world combined. That ship has sailed. What we call race is due only to evolutionary time spent at different latitudes. If we find a class of humans who are genetically limited in intelligence we should direct them to join the Republican Party where they can be seamlessly assimilated. 🤣🤣🤣

skado Level 9 Dec 18, 2020

What IS race?
Are WE ALL not of the exact same species, i.e.. Homo Sapiens?
Imo, there is NO such thing as 'RACE' just external difference such as skin tone, etc, etc, resultant from the causative effects of the environments in which these things were found to beneficial by evolutionary processes.
Cut any one of us and we WILL bleed RED blood, kills any one of us and we still die the same way.

@Triphid Last I checked, chickens, pigs, and cows also bleed red blood. At least among white Europeans, genes alone can predict some differences in intelligence. What should be the response IF genetics show a similar difference between groups of people? Results will be out within a year or two...

@Admin Yes, of course most mammals have and bleed red blood due the haemoglobin present in the blood cells.
My QUESTION was, WHAT IS Race.
And, btw, so do birds, reptiles and even some species of fish bleed red blood.
IF anyone can produce a definitive, irrefutable, tried, tested and PROVEN beyond a shadow of a doubt EVIDENCE that we ARE NOT ALL members of the same species, i.e. Homo Sapiens and as such ALL members of the HUMAN Race, then I'd love to debate their conclusions with them.
So, Have at IT.

@Triphid Of course, all humans today are members of the same species. However, some of the differences between people result from their genes. Those differences do not change the value of the person as a human being.

Regarding your question about race. Race is both a social construct (e.g., we could divide humanity into 3, 5, or 500 races) and based on clusters of people who share more similar genes.

Apology for not putting a wink after the chickens/pigs/cows statement 🙂

@Admin Of course genes/genetics play a big role in how we look, how we turn out since IF they did NOT would we not all look pretty much the same?
I also think you might well find that ALL Homo Sapiens carry the same/ similar genes BUT it IS how that genomes combine that actually make those subtle/not so subtle differences.
If I remember correctly we ARE basically a combination of 4 main genetic chemicals, those being A.G.C. and T., it is how those arrange themselves that decides how we have become who and what we are.
You, for example, share genes both from your mother and your father as well as from their parents and their parents before them and so on back through your familial history just as we all do.
Why even a puppy born today, right at this very second, will have genes that trace back to the earliest of its canine ancestors and even further back to even the very earliest forms of life that started this whole thing off in the first place.
The problem, as I se it, with all the hoo-haha in regards to the subject of the O.P. is that there are still, unfortunately, those that see/view Genetics/Genetic Research, etc, as being akin to Eugenics OR as Science and Scientists TRYING to "Play at being God."
Those unfortunately deluded peoples have not come to nor able to come to the understanding that,
a) God never truly existed EXCEPT in the minds of those who created the idea, and,
b) sciences and Scientists are NOT trying to play at being God or anything even remotely Divine -like, they ARE trying their darnedest understand, adjust and even rectify, if at possible, the errors made by Evolutionary Processes.

@Admin

"...and based on clusters of people who share more similar genes."

I'm under the impression ( I don't claim to know for certain ) that the statement above is not the case. I'll see if I can find the article that gave me that impression. If you could scare up some reference that supports that claim, I'd love to take a look at it. I'm here to learn.

This 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌

6

No censorship, nothing but full disclosure and accountability. Science is neither good nor bad, it simply is. It's how we humans use that knowledge that determines a good or bad outcomes.

Having knowledge is beneficial if you use it that way. If we find out "what", can "why" be far behind. We are already having a crisis of anti-science and anti-intelligence, those battles must be fought with all the tools we can muster.... including learning not so pleasant things about ourselves.

Leelu Level 7 Dec 18, 2020
1

The poll issue of funding does not address who (government vs private) is funding the research.

Who funds the research should always be divulged.

5

Has anybody, ever, been able to restore the contents of Pandora's Box?

AnneWimsey Level 9 Dec 18, 2020

How do we know how many times the time machine has been used 😉

You need to treat it like overstuffed luggage, sit on the lid and get someone to lock it😉

Has anyone ever been able to keep the contents from escaping?

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