The subject of genetic inheritance provokes passionate debate. Those on the left have tended to downplay the significance of inherited traits for fear it could promote ideas about ethnic superiority, while some on the right have argued that variations in IQ and other cognitive markers can be traced to genetic differences between individuals.
Behavioural geneticist Kathryn Paige Harden believes both sides are getting it wrong. It’s possible, she will argue, to reclaim the science of genetics while avoiding the trap of categorising traits as superior or inferior. Drawing from her new book The Genetic Lottery, Harden will come to Intelligence Squared to discuss her research findings as head of the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab at University Texas. In conversation with Helen Lewis, Harden will argue that our refusal to recognise the power of DNA in shaping societal outcomes perpetuates a myth of meritocracy. Instead, she will outline a bold new alternative for a society where everyone thrives, regardless of how they fare in the genetic lottery.
Hear the arguments, ask your questions and join the debate.
Kathryn Paige Harden is professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is director of the Developmental Behavior Genetics Lab and codirector of the Texas Twin Project. She lives in Austin. Twitter @kph3k
Helen Lewis is staff writer on The Atlantic, and former associate editor of the New Statesman. Her first book is Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights.