Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Choice is in our genes

That (to the left) is Google's tribute to Gregor Mendel whose 189th birthday is being celebrated today in biological circles.
It is to Mendel, that we attribute our first understandings of the rules of Genetics. By using simple mathematical concepts after observing generations of garden peas, Mendel made Genetics into a science. He showed that his hypotheses could be turned into theories and eventually rules or laws that had predictive value. Good Science, occurs whenever a prediction can be made from a theory and shown to concur with reality. Many of you may recall studying Mendelian Genetics in school.
So it was interesting to me reading the National Post this morning, to learn that a Rutger's University study shows that a human behavioural trait is likely hard-wired in our genes. That's right, genes seem to influence other thing besides physical traits, like eye colour, or hair colour. This behaviour is our (humanity's) apparent desire to have "choices." This of course is interesting to me as a member of The Party of Choice - Ontario Libertarian Party. Choice is something all libertarians would cherish, and as one of the researchers, Lauren Leotti says:
"It makes sense that we would evolve to find choice rewarding, since the perception of control is so adaptive. If we didn't feel that we were capable of effectively acting on our environment to achieve our desired goals, there would be little incentive to face even the slightest challenge."
For me, that explains a lot.

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