November 06, 2005

Elementary, My Dear Dr. Watson

'Dr. Watson is less perturbed [than E. O. Wilson] that so many Americans do not believe in evolution. "Oh, but eventually they will," he said [...]. "As people get themselves genetically tested and see that it helps them, they will realize their biological instructions work this way."' (James D. Watson quoted in a recent NYT Science section).

What an odd thing to say. True Believers won't be swayed by anything as mundane as this -- after all, isn't that just another sign that God's there in the details? -- and, given the way US health insurance works, most Americans will probably end up more motivated to curse a science that gives yet another way to deny medical insurance to people because of things entirely beyond their control. Identifying evolution with a series of tests that will mark you as a serious (and expensive) health risk from birth -- and therefore probably uninsurable in the US under the current schemes -- hardly seems a positive way to get people to believe in evolution (but perhaps it's a way to start evolving the health system in this country into something a little more equitable and a little less barbaric. I'm not holding my breath...).

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