Why do so many people fail to accept the overwhelming evidence that genes contribute to academic achievement and thereby social status, asks Jill Boucherby Jill Boucher / November 14, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
A bon mot that recently came my way and which I rather like is: “If you’re not angry, you haven’t been paying attention.” I get angry about many issues, and try hard not to pay attention to those that I can do absolutely nothing about, or know nothing about apart from what I may pick up from the media (an unreliable source). I do, however, pay attention to, and get irritated by, much of the discussion of social mobility. This is something I do know a bit about from my own research into neurodevelopmental disorders, learning abilities and disabilities; and which I have reasons to feel strongly about from my experience of adopting two children. My irritation recently led me to write a letter to Prospect (published in the November issue), as a result of which I was invited to write this article. I demurred at first, arguing that I lack qualifications in any of the critically relevant disciplines such as sociology, education, and behavioural genetics. Eventually, however, I agreed to write a personal opinion piece from the viewpoint of a reasonably well-informed outsider and adoptive parent.
Why do discussions of social mobility get under my skin? In the first place, I greatly dislike the polemical nature of what easily becomes a sterile nature versus nurture mud-slinging match. For example, a Guardian article o…