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The Genetic Lottery: Debunking Myths about DNA, with Kathryn Paige Harden and Helen Lewis

A bold new alternative for a society where everyone thrives, regardless of how they fare in the genetic lottery

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 argued, 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 came 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 argued 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.


Speakers

Speaker

Kathryn Paige Harden

Psychologist and behavioural geneticist


Psychologist and behavioural geneticist. She is Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also the leader of the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab and the co-director of the Texas Twin Project. Her new book is The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality.
Chair

Helen Lewis

Staff writer on The Atlantic. Former associate editor of the New Statesman


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.

 

Speakers subject to change.