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the gene hustlers strike again
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Published: 17 years ago

the gene hustlers strike again


NOVEMBER 29, 2004. MSNBC reports on a new study that claims genes play a major role in female infidelity.

What's next? The p 0 r n gene?

Genetic researchers and their PR machine continue to assert larger and larger numbers of human traits and behaviors are caused by the action of genes.

Based on, at best, shoddy evidence.

But hey, biotech companies have money to raise from investors, and government researchers need to be included in Congressional budgets, and university researchers must publish or perish. So they have to to fabricate a steady stream of "advances."

As in the TV biz, the worst sin is dead air. Better keep the chatter going.

This latest excuse for a study of course covers its ass by saying that upbringing and environment also play a role in later infidelity. That's called hodge-podge causation.

"The driver of the car in the accident was drunk. Also, there was no sign posted on the curve where he crashed. He was on his Cell Phone at the time, and one of his headlights was burned out. It was raining, and he had just been told he was fired from his job. His father was known to get into car accidents, and he was genetically predisposed to incautious driving..."

I love the conclusion of the study authors that attributes about a 40% influence to genes in female infidelity. How do they know that?

"We have to say something. Fifty percent? Eighty percent? Hell, let's go with forty."

Which gives you a ludicrous vector-map, where one arrow leading to infidelty "comes from" upbringing (say 20%) and another arrow "comes from" environment (say 40%), and the third arrow is genes (40%). But where is this map, except in the minds of the researchers?

And oh yes. The study authors suspect that a number of genes may be involved. Ah. They haven't really isolated any specific genes in this project. It's just PR masquerading as science.

Finally, the underlying assumption in this hash of nonsense is, infidelity (or any other behavior---fill in the blank yourself) is predetermined. In other words, no one makes a choice. Choice is out. Choice would mean the researchers don't have a role and don't get money. Because if a person has the freedom to be fidel or un-fidel, there is no scientific model. It's outside the boundaries of locked-down causative factors. Very, very bad for business.

I can imagine the geniuses behind this study discussing parameters before they began to work.

"Should we do this project on women or men?"

"Hmm. Women, I think."


"Because with men, we already know that infidelity is the result of the dick factor."

Genes may play key role in female infidelity
Upbringing, environment also factors, researchers say

Updated: 2:37 p.m. ET Nov. 24, 2004
Genetic factors influence female infidelity and the number of sexual partners women have, British scientists said on Wednesday.

They studied the responses of 1,600 pairs of identical and non-identical twins in a confidential survey to look at the impact of genes on behavior.

“We found that around 40 percent of the influence on the number of sexual partners and infidelity were due to genetic factors,” Professor Tim Spector, director of the Twin Research Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, told a news conference.

But he added that environment and upbringing also play a part in explaining the variation in infidelity between women.

“The fact that psychosocial traits such as number of sexual partners and infidelity appear to behave as other common complex genetic traits in humans ... lends support to evolutionary psychologists’ theories on the origin of human behavior,” Spector said.

The scientists questioned the twins about their sexual behavior, total number of partners and their attitudes about infidelity. Twenty-two percent admitted that they had been unfaithful.

Genetic factors did not appear to influence the women’s attitudes to infidelity. Many of the women in the study, even those who admitted being unfaithful, said they thought it was wrong.

The average age of the women was 50. A quarter were divorced. Women who had been faithful had about four sexual partners, compared to eight in the infidelity group.

“More than 90 percent of the women admitted to having had thoughts of infidelity at some time,” said Spector, who reported the findings in the journal Twin Research.

The scientists suspect that many genes could be associated with sexual behavior. They believe genes on chromosomes 3, 7 and 20 could be involved.

end of MSNBC article excerpt



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