An old ballad sung by Joan Baez many years back went something like this: Show me the prison/Show me the jail/Show me the hobo/who sleeps down by the rail/ And I’ll show you a young man/With so many reasons why/There but for fortune, go you and I.
Baez was gently telling us, in her beautiful, elegiac voice, that we are made not by genes alone, but by contingency and above all by our environment. Around the same time, erupted a nasty debate called the Bell Curve debate when psychologist Richard J. Hernstein and political scientist Charles Murray argued that human intelligence—and therefore employment, incomes, involvement in crime etc.,—is largely an outcome of inherited factors and went on to discuss racial differences in intelligence. Even during Trumpsian times of political incorrectness, it is doubtful if such claims could be made today.
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