On a recent visit to [genetic data website] DNA.Land, I scanned down the list of traits they offered to tell me about [my own DNA]. I stopped at intelligence. I took a breath before I clicked.
The bell curve was surrounded by notes, disclaimers, and symbols. But my eye stayed locked on that lavender hill—especially on that personalized marker that located me on the low side of the scale. What was I to make of this?
I called up Yaniv Erlich, the scientist who wrote the intelligence program.
Erlich explained that he designed the program to make people cautious about the connection between genes and intelligence. All those disclaimers and notes that surrounded the bell curve were intended to show that these predictions are, in a sense, worse than just wrong. They’re practically meaningless.
[W]ith millions of people flocking to sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com to get reports on their genes, we have to wonder what will happen if they start handing out intelligence predictions. After talking with Erlich, I fear it will turn out badly.
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