Why genetic determinism is bad for humans


Genes determine a lot of things about your life.

Do you prefer to run in packs or operate as a loner? Your answer is determined by your genes, a new study claims. It’s a big shift in social behavior theory, since scientists previously thought the environment determined social behavior.

For example, scientists thought that where food was sparsely spread around, primates would live in large groups to more efficiently forage. But according to the new findings, which were published in the journal Nature, primates will behave the way their genes tell them to, regardless of food availability.

It’s evidence for genetic determinism—the idea that our genes dictate our behavior. But it seems wrong, right? I know I tend to go with the behavior that helps me to avoid hunger most effectively. But Nicholas Wade in The New York Times sums it up thusly…

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