Twin studies, molecular genetics, politics, and tolerance

A response to beckwith and morris

John R. Alford, Carolyn L. Funk, John R Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Beckwith and Morris raise concerns about the value of twin studies for understanding the role of genetics in complex human behavior, but virtually all of their concerns have been raised and rebutted before. When it comes to the equal environments assumption (EEA), the best approach is to test for and control possible violations of the EEA on heritability estimates rather than merely rejecting all empirical evidence because of the possibility of EEA violations. In many respects, since the study of the genetic basis of complex human behaviors now includes many methods in addition to twin studies, Beckwith and Morris's critique applies more to the behavioral genetics of a quarter century ago than to today's multifaceted behavioral genetics. Twin studies establish that there is a sizeable genetic component to political orientations, thereby giving cause to look further at the nature of that role by using other methodologies, including molecular genetics. We conclude by pointing out that the normative implications of the relevance of genes to human behavior are not nearly as worrisome as Beckwith and Morris seem to believe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-797
Number of pages5
JournalPerspectives on Politics
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Fingerprint

twin studies
tolerance
politics
political attitude
cause
methodology
evidence
Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Twin studies, molecular genetics, politics, and tolerance : A response to beckwith and morris. / Alford, John R.; Funk, Carolyn L.; Hibbing, John R.

In: Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 6, No. 4, 01.12.2008, p. 793-797.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{ed3439b7f4bb44ab9fd1538a4244755d,
title = "Twin studies, molecular genetics, politics, and tolerance: A response to beckwith and morris",
abstract = "Beckwith and Morris raise concerns about the value of twin studies for understanding the role of genetics in complex human behavior, but virtually all of their concerns have been raised and rebutted before. When it comes to the equal environments assumption (EEA), the best approach is to test for and control possible violations of the EEA on heritability estimates rather than merely rejecting all empirical evidence because of the possibility of EEA violations. In many respects, since the study of the genetic basis of complex human behaviors now includes many methods in addition to twin studies, Beckwith and Morris's critique applies more to the behavioral genetics of a quarter century ago than to today's multifaceted behavioral genetics. Twin studies establish that there is a sizeable genetic component to political orientations, thereby giving cause to look further at the nature of that role by using other methodologies, including molecular genetics. We conclude by pointing out that the normative implications of the relevance of genes to human behavior are not nearly as worrisome as Beckwith and Morris seem to believe.",
author = "Alford, {John R.} and Funk, {Carolyn L.} and Hibbing, {John R}",
year = "2008",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/S1537592708081929",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "793--797",
journal = "Perspectives on Politics",
issn = "1537-5927",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Twin studies, molecular genetics, politics, and tolerance

T2 - A response to beckwith and morris

AU - Alford, John R.

AU - Funk, Carolyn L.

AU - Hibbing, John R

PY - 2008/12/1

Y1 - 2008/12/1

N2 - Beckwith and Morris raise concerns about the value of twin studies for understanding the role of genetics in complex human behavior, but virtually all of their concerns have been raised and rebutted before. When it comes to the equal environments assumption (EEA), the best approach is to test for and control possible violations of the EEA on heritability estimates rather than merely rejecting all empirical evidence because of the possibility of EEA violations. In many respects, since the study of the genetic basis of complex human behaviors now includes many methods in addition to twin studies, Beckwith and Morris's critique applies more to the behavioral genetics of a quarter century ago than to today's multifaceted behavioral genetics. Twin studies establish that there is a sizeable genetic component to political orientations, thereby giving cause to look further at the nature of that role by using other methodologies, including molecular genetics. We conclude by pointing out that the normative implications of the relevance of genes to human behavior are not nearly as worrisome as Beckwith and Morris seem to believe.

AB - Beckwith and Morris raise concerns about the value of twin studies for understanding the role of genetics in complex human behavior, but virtually all of their concerns have been raised and rebutted before. When it comes to the equal environments assumption (EEA), the best approach is to test for and control possible violations of the EEA on heritability estimates rather than merely rejecting all empirical evidence because of the possibility of EEA violations. In many respects, since the study of the genetic basis of complex human behaviors now includes many methods in addition to twin studies, Beckwith and Morris's critique applies more to the behavioral genetics of a quarter century ago than to today's multifaceted behavioral genetics. Twin studies establish that there is a sizeable genetic component to political orientations, thereby giving cause to look further at the nature of that role by using other methodologies, including molecular genetics. We conclude by pointing out that the normative implications of the relevance of genes to human behavior are not nearly as worrisome as Beckwith and Morris seem to believe.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=56249095163&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=56249095163&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S1537592708081929

DO - 10.1017/S1537592708081929

M3 - Review article

VL - 6

SP - 793

EP - 797

JO - Perspectives on Politics

JF - Perspectives on Politics

SN - 1537-5927

IS - 4

ER -