- A provocative and timely case for how the science of genetics can help create a more just and equal society.
- In recent years, scientists like Kathryn Paige Harden have shown that DNA makes us different, in our personalities and in our health — and in ways that matter for educational and economic success in our current society.
- In The Genetic Lottery, Harden introduces readers to the latest genetic science, dismantling dangerous ideas about racial superiority and challenging us to grapple with what equality really means in a world where people are born different. Weaving together personal stories with scientific evidence, Harden shows why our refusal to recognize the power of DNA perpetuates the myth of meritocracy, and argues that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society.
- Reclaiming genetic science from the legacy of eugenics, this groundbreaking book offers a bold new vision of society where everyone thrives, regardless of how one fares in the genetic lottery.
- “This brilliant book is without a doubt the very best exposition on our genes, how they influence quite literally everything about us, and why this means we should care more, not less, about the societal structures in which we live."
→ Angela Duckworth, author of Grit
- “To me, the aim of genetic research should be threefold: to find out which differences between people are real, which of those matter, and how to use that knowledge to get the best outcomes for all people. This fascinating book is a step toward that goal.”
→ David Epstein, author of Range
- “Harden expertly explains what we can — and importantly can’t — take away from genetic research, and does so without shying away from the complexities or controversies. Nobody should be allowed to opine about genetics in public until they’ve read this book.”
→ Stuart Richie, author of Science Fictions
- “A thoughtful, brave, and very engaging book. In contrast to those who see genetic differences as justifying hierarchy and to those who reject the study of the influence of genes on social stratification, Harden argues that understanding the findings of behavioral genetics is essential if we are to create a more just society.”
→ Peter Singer, Princeton University
- “The Genetic Lottery is a must-read for anyone who cares about understanding why humans differ from one another. Harden lights a clear path towards an anti-eugenic genetics that embraces human diversity and works towards equity for all humans.”
→ Russell A. Poldrack, author of Hard to Break
- “Compelling and highly readable. Harden dispels the myths that genes are destiny, that their influence is all-or-none, and that those who work an genetics are eugenicists. She makes a persuasive case that if we understand genes this can help us work towards a fairer society.”
→ Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford
- “Harden skillfully integrates genetic research and social science to address inequality. She demonstrates that empirical advances in understanding the role of biology and social influence in life outcomes can productively inform our moral debates and public policy decisions, if only we can forthrightly address the blinkered generalizations of the past.
→ Matt Grossmann, author of How Social Science Got Better
Publisher’s Blurb (Taken from Amazon, duplicates of above omitted)
- Argues [...] to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the lives of dignity and comfort.
- Harden introduces readers to the latest genetic science, dismantling dangerous ideas about racial superiority and challenging us to grapple with what equality really means in a world where people are born different. Harden shows why our refusal to recognize the power of DNA perpetuates the myth of meritocracy, and argues that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society.
- "The ultimate claim of The Genetic Lottery is an extraordinarily ambitious act of moral entrepreneurialism. Harden argues that an appreciation of the role of simple genetic luck — alongside all the other arbitrary lotteries of birth — will make us, as a society, more inclined to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy lives of dignity and comfort."
→ Gideon Lewis-Kraus, New Yorker
- "While acknowledging the roles our environment and experiences play in shaping our lives, Harden makes the case that social scientists who want to address the roots of inequality must reckon with genetics. . . . The more researchers understand about the myriad factors that influence how our lives turn out, the more they can help improve outcomes for everyone. Genetics is one of those factors, Harden argues: when we ignore it, the most vulnerable suffer. "
→ Jennifer Latson, Texas Monthly
- Kathryn Paige Harden is a professor in the Department of Psychology at UT, where she leads the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab and co-directs the Texas Twin Project. Harden received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School before moving to Austin in 2009. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the New Yorker, among others. In 2017, she was honored with a prestigious national award from the American Psychological Association for her distinguished scientific contributions to the study of genetics and human individual differences.
- PART I. TAKING GENETICS SERIOUSLY – 1
- Introduction – 3
- The Genetic Lottery – 27
- Cookbooks and College – 45
- Ancestry and Race – 72
- A Lottery of Life Chances – 96
- Random Assignment by Nature – 110
- The Mystery of How – 130
- PART II. TAKING EQUALITY SERIOUSLY – 151
Acknowledgments – 257
- Alternative Possible Worlds – 153
- Using Nature to Understand Nurture – 174
- Personal Responsibility – 193
- Difference without Hierarchy – 210
- Anti-Eugenic Science and Policy – 231
Notes – 261
Index – 295
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)