Development

When We Think Like Karl Pilkington

When We Think Like Karl Pilkington

In my last post, I dismissed a common objection to the study of the genetics of behavior, political or otherwise: complexity—as in, development is too complex for genes to affect behavior. I hope that I managed to convey the certainty with which scientists have answered the question “does genetic variation affect behavior?” in the affirmative. There is a considerable body of evidence substantiating this claim, from the most basic (centuries of animal husbandry by domestication) to the most extraordinary (myriad knock outknock downknock in, and transgenic experiments). We are no longer dealing with correlations alone but with unambiguous cause and effect: polygamous voles turn monogamous, anxious mice relax, and heterosexual fruit flies become bisexual, all at the turn of a gene or three.

Cake, Complexity, And The Genetics Of Political Behavior

Cake, Complexity, And The Genetics Of Political Behavior

Cake is a marvelous thing. It comes in all varieties of shape and size, understated or ornamented, whole or tiered, vanillaed or chocolated or anything-ed in between, and it always seems to deliver. One especially satisfying feature of the mighty cake is that it presents itself to the taster as a unified whole, rather than as a mere assemblage of ingredients, baked at a specified temperature for a specified time.