a1 Rice University. E-mail: email@example.com
a2 Virginia Commonwealth University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
a3 University of Nebraska-Lincoln. E-mail: email@example.com
In the past, most political scientists have been oblivious to the growing empirical evidence challenging environmental determinism. Professor Charney, apparently as a result of the fact that genes and the environment interact in a complex fashion, advocates that this passive unawareness be replaced by active denial. Science, however, does not advance by avoiding important relationships merely because they are complicated and, fortunately, science is not heeding Charney's ideologically-based fears. Molecular geneticists, often working in tandem with political scientists, are quickly moving beyond twin studies to identify the specific suites of genes and biological systems that predict variation in core political preferences, whatever labels those preferences might be given in a particular culture at a particular time. We sympathize with the fact that our empirical findings, like those of so many behavioral geneticists, make Charney uncomfortable; still, his critique serves up nothing new—empirically or otherwise. Just as analyses of the roots of sexual preferences cannot presumptively ignore genetics, neither can analyses of the roots of political preferences.
John R. Alford is Associate Professor of Political Science, Rice University (firstname.lastname@example.org). Carolyn L. Funk is Associate Professor of Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University (email@example.com). John R. Hibbing is the Foundation Regents Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (firstname.lastname@example.org)