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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Dec 14, 2021

All human beings are 99.9 percent identical in their genetic makeup. All our differences are found in the remaining .1 percent. Our DNA makes us different in our personalities and in our health, and both matter when it comes to educational and economic success in our current society.

In The Genetic Lottery, clinical psychology professor Paige Harden aimed to reclaim genetic science from the legacy of eugenics and dismantle dangerous ideas about racial superiority. She argued that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society. Genetically associated inequalities, Harden brought forth, can be viewed through a lens of “luck egalitarianism.” This philosophical perspective on fair versus unfair inequality is already manifest in current research and policy. She proposed that genetic research can be used to advance equity goals. Regardless of the .1 percent, we can all be equal.

Paige Harden, Ph.D. is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is the director of the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab and co-directs the Texas Twin Project.

Buy the Book: The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality (Hardcover) from Third Place Books

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