Sunday, March 2, 2014

Taboos in Genetic Research

A feature in Nature last fall sought to open a discussion regarding whether or not scientists should avoid undertaking research into "taboo" subjects. The subjects considered in the piece were intelligence, race, violence, and sexuality. Noting a sordid history of pseudoscience with devastating sociopolitical consequences, particularly in the case of the first two topics,  the author recounts the stigma experienced by contemporary researchers attempting to apply what they believe to be rigorous scientific methods to the study of related subjects. Accompanying public polls on Nature's website indicate that readers believe that these subjects should not be avoided.

An interesting response piece in Scientific American can be read here.

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