It is always refreshing when science catches up with common sense. For a long time, specialists of one stripe or another argued that what makes us who we are happened as a result of heredity. Or they argued that it is all a matter of environment, of learned behavior. At the same time, I think most of us intuitively believed that it was a matter of heredity, environment and experience that shaped our character. Now, with the human genome project making enormous progress, we are learning that common sense evaluation was pretty much on the mark.
Matt Ridley, writing in Time magazine summarizes the emerging story and it is a fascinating tale indeed.
This is a new understanding of the fundamental building blocks of life based on the discovery that genes are not immutable things handed down from our parents like Moses’ stone tablets, but are active participants in our lives, designed to take their cues from everything that happens to us from the moment of our conception.
I can almost hear someone saying,
So? And I understand the reaction. But what this can mean to parents, educators, and healthcare workers may turn out to be as profound as Matt Ridley thinks it is.