Perspectives on Politics

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The Threat of Genes: A Comment on Evan Charney's “Genes and Ideologies”

Rebecca J. Hannagana1 and Peter K. Hatemia2

a1 Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University. E-mail: rhannaga@niu.edu

a2 Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University. E-mail: Peter.Hatemi@qimr.edu.au

Abstract

In his essay, “Genes and Ideologies,” Evan Charney wrangles with the question of the role of genes in the formation of political attitudes via a critique of Alford, Funk, and Hibbing's 2005 American Political Science Review article. Although critical evaluations are necessary, his essay falls short of what is required of a scientific critique on both empirical and theoretical grounds. We offer a comment on his essay and further contend that it is naïve to proceed on the assumption that a barrier exists between the biological and social sciences, such that the biological sciences have nothing to offer the social sciences. If we look beyond our discipline's current theoretical models we may find a more thorough, and not just competing, explanation of political behavior.

Footnotes

Rebecca J. Hannagan is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University (rhannaga@niu.edu). Peter K. Hatemi is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University (Peter.Hatemi@qimr.edu.au).

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