quote for the day

“The meaning of findings in behavioral genetics for our understanding of human nature has to be worked out for each case. An aberrant gene that causes a disorder shows that the standard version of the gene is necessary to have a normal human mind. But what the standard version does is not immediately obvious. If a gear with a broken tooth goes clunk on every turn, we do not conclude that the tooth in its intact form was a clunk-suppressor. And so a gene that disrupts a mental ability need not be a defective version of a gene that is ‘for’ that ability. It may produce a toxin that interferes with normal brain development, or it may leave a chink in the immune system that allows a pathogen to infect the brain, or it may make the person look stupid or sinister and thereby affect how other people react to him.” – Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate