Another Ethics Dark Zone? Choosing a Child’s Sport by Science

2 12 2008

It must be Ethics for Evolved Homeschoolers week — we seem to be discussing all sorts of issues that involve undue influence over other people’s choices and life and death, not just family inculcation of their own kids a la Rob Reich and his theory of “ethical servility” but conflicting and ethically challenged influence from school and church, politics, corporate sales, even from military recruiters popping out during holiday shopping at the mall.

But this is a whole new one on me. The NYT story is slugged, “Born to Run.”

Guess I’ll file this under “School Is To Sports” and “Research-Science.”

DNA collected by swabbing the inside of a cheek can be used to determine whether a child is likely to excel at a particular sport. PHOTO by Juliet Macur

DNA collected by swabbing the inside of a cheek can be used to determine whether a child is likely to excel at a particular sport. PHOTO by Juliet Macur

p.s. Glenn Beck’s substitute host was ranting about Atlas Sports Genetics on my car radio this morning. He sounded like some grouchy anti-intellectual grandpa saying it wasn’t natural to want any genetic information about yourself or your kids, and it wasn’t possible such knowledge could help your child have more and better choices. It was like he thought it was either-or, so that once you get this information, it closes down possibilities rather than opening them up.

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4 responses

2 12 2008
COD

//Some experts say ACTN3 testing is in its infancy and virtually useless. Dr. Theodore Friedmann, the director of the University of California-San Diego Medical Center’s interdepartmental gene therapy program, called it “an opportunity to sell new versions of snake oil.”//

I think this about sums it up.

2 12 2008
JJ

You know how some people just open the bible and whatever verse is there seems to be chosen for them, like a mysteriously divine message that knows what they need to think about and leading them to the next level of understanding?

This is honest-to-Howard Gardner truth and very strange, but I just had that eerie cognitive experience with a science book, Michael Shermer’s “The Science of Good and Evil.” [evil grin]

I haven’t read it in a few years but it had a red bookmark in the middle somewhere and I was looking for something to take to Young Son’s bagpipe session, right after writing this post on genetic testing. (We have big stacks of books everywhere in our house.)

So I get there, and open it to the marker in the middle of a chapter, page 130, and here’s the first words my eyes fall on:

Free Will and Genetics

. . .the story is much more complex, and claims for genetic determinism are greatly exaggerated.

3 12 2008
Life On The Planet

Nearly fell out of the chair laughing when I read this. That test could have gotten me out of YEARS of phys. ed. I’m such a spazz.

3 12 2008
JJ

Yeah, why is it that every girl I knew except my friend the soon-to-discover-herself-to-be-lesbian girl, tried desperately to avoid taking PE in high school? Even the good athletes. I was a good athlete myself, tall and strong and fast and well-coordinated, but I didn’t want to take high school PE either. Too sweaty and rushed re-dressing for the rest of the day, where beauty and grace and sex appeal mattered.

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