uncomfortable questions

Forbidding social scientists from asking those uncomfortable questions—such as how our DNA might play a role, though not necessarily determine, who we become (beyond the obvious basics, such as height, eye color, hair color, or whether we are lactose intolerant)—is the logical and moral equivalent to a firefighter who refuses to admit the usefulness of water in putting out fires, a doctor who ignores certain disorders out of some moral concern for how it might make the patient feel, and a physicist who brushes off gravity. You simply cannot do science and conveniently leave out key variables. You simply cannot. But if you do, your outcomes will always be half baked, if not flat out wrong, and the progress you are seeking will be denied to the very people you are trying to help. Having good intentions is not enough, one must also desire to be right. It is shortsighted to assume that, just because a finding challenges our cherished notions, new moral and ethical frameworks cannot be adopted to prevent some real or perceived “ethical Armageddon”. People can learn to embrace that which makes them initially uncomfortable, and the world can be better. But we must first learn to ask those questions.

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