The Science Instinct

I have four blood-relative aunts. Three of them are math teachers. One is a respiratory therapist.

My dad is a math/science teacher. Mom was an accountant.

I have cousins that went into nursing, forensics, and ‘organic chemistry‘.

My brother is an engineer.

And Im a researcher.

Im mostly Russian and British, with a bit of German.

Couple this with the fact ‘science‘ and ‘math’‘ were essential to the evolution of modern man, the only logical conclusion is that there are ‘math’ and ‘science’ genes which result in ‘adaptive phenomena’ that are selected for or against, depending on historical/geographical location.

I think theyre both on chromosome 30, right next to the ‘God gene’. Maybe Francis Collins can map them for us.

H/T to Razib and Jerry


  1. #1 James
    December 31, 2009

    But but but, this ruins my plan to market RNAi therapies aimed at reducing God gene expression!

    The increasing number of people identifying as atheist/agnostic/no-religion is clearly the result of a selective sweep for an evolutionarily advantageous god gene null allele. Rather than doom their children to evolutionary obsolescence people would pay me tens of thousands of dollars to artificially induce god gene silencing.

    Guess I need a new plan for future wealth and fame.

  2. #2 Robert Bruce Thompson
    December 31, 2009

    Hah. You put ‘organic chemist’ in quotes, but natural selection ensures that the folks who successfully manufacture crystal meth in underground labs are among the most skilled lab rats on the planet.

    A married couple that are good friends of ours are both organic chemists. He’s an organic chemistry professor at Wake Forest University and she’s a research organic chemist for Dow. When we were at dinner one night talking about Breaking Bad, both of them commented that there’s no way they’d even attempt to make meth in an underground lab because they didn’t have the lab skills to do it without blowing the place and themselves up.

  3. #3 Gabriel Hanna
    December 31, 2009

    I’m the only one in my immediate family with any math ability, or any inclination to the hard sciences. I have one sister with a master’s in criminal justice and another with an English degree.

    Am I a mutant, or is this gene recessive or something? I think musical ability is genetic:

    On a side note, it is very sad to see that of J. S. Bach’s twenty children, only half survived to adulthood.

  4. #4 ERV
    December 31, 2009

    Gabriel– Mutation doesnt make any sense. The odds of a beneficial mutation are ASTRONOMICAL, if not TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE (according to Creationists). I would hypothesize that everyone in your family has The Science Gene (maybe its recessive), but only you express it because of your particular epigenetic pattern.

    … ROFL!!!

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    December 31, 2009

    Crap, you’ve just set progressive politically aware blogging BACK TEN YEARZ!!!!

  6. #6 Rorschach
    December 31, 2009

    Is this the blagwar already? Or is that still coming ? I’m confused now…

  7. #7 ERV
    December 31, 2009

    This is just making fun of stupid things people say to rationalize religion.

    Blag war is still on, youll know it when you see it 🙂

  8. #8 dvrvm
    December 31, 2009

    the sample size for your conclusion might not be sufficient…

  9. #9 Paul Lundgren
    December 31, 2009

    Blag war is still on, youll know it when you see it 🙂

    I can’t wait.

  10. #10 Tyler DiPietro
    January 1, 2010

    In the phraseology of Family Guy, we’re all looking forward to a good, old fashioned blog hwar.

  11. #11 TotallyUncool
    January 1, 2010

    Wait a minute — where does it mention a blag war in Revelation? After all, if it’s going to happen, it has to be in Revelation.
    Oh. Wait. I found it:

    And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Blag, and Mablag, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

    Ok. That settles it. I guess it’s time for the Internet Apocalypse.

  12. #12 Gabriel Hanna
    January 1, 2010

    only you express it because of your particular epigenetic pattern.

    Abby, are you saying that it was a good thing my mom was drinking so much Sterno during my gestation? (Kidding, Mom. I kid because I love.)

  13. #13 mo
    January 2, 2010

    lol @ chromosome 30.

  14. #14 mo
    January 2, 2010

    Am I a mutant, or is this gene recessive or something? I think musical ability is genetic

    It’s a fallancy to equate familiar with genetic. familiar conditions can come from education, neighborhood, the same pollutant in the washing machine, genetics, etc. etc.

  15. #15 SimonG
    January 3, 2010

    It might be useful to claim that scientists are a seperate “race”. Maybe we could set up an almighty race vs religion war and do away with two lots of bigots in one fell swoop. I’m not sure into which camp the Discovery Institute would fall.

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