What is "genetic determinism"?
As you may be aware, the behaviour geneticist Paige Harden has a new book out titled The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality. I haven’t read it, but her basic argument is that since nobody chooses the genes they’re born with, inequality stemming from genetic differences between individuals is in some sense unjust, and should therefore be reduced via state intervention. It’s a version of luck egalitarianism, in other words. (Here are five thoughtful reviews by Razib Khan, Damien Morris, Bo Winegard, Emil Kirkegaard and Steve Sailer.)
Now, you might have assumed that Harden’s thesis would be welcomed by her fellow progressives. “A real-life scientist arguing that behaviour genetics supports leftism? Great!” As it turns out, reviews from left-wing commentators have been rather hostile and nitpicky. This seems to be because such commentators are more interested in denying the role of genes than of putting their own ideology on secure scientific footing. Harden, you see, went off-script: as a leftist with some scientific street cred, you’re supposed to downplay the role of genes, and argue that your discipline is kind of pointless.