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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Home (not) Alone

Wendy McElroy in Fox's iFeminists writes of the Infidelity Gene: Sensational, but Science?. There is this lovely section on the paradox of the twin-based research at the root of the study:

If, as Spector concludes, specific behaviors such as infidelity are genetically based, then his conclusion calls the validity of his research methods into question. Why? Because the home environment is generally considered to be the primary source of nurture-based behavior; it is a primary check on what is nature-based. Behavior that cannot be ascribed to nurture such as behavior learned in the home is automatically ascribed to nature. A negative correlation is assumed.

The home environment is largely defined by the parents’ behavior. But according to Spector, that behavior may also be genetically based. The home, therefore, ceases to be a reliable measure of "nurture." In short, Spector’s study creates a paradox that calls itself into question.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 1, 2004 in Science | Permalink

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