I read Marilyn Vos Savant’s articles in Parade magazine purely for their humor- I find great pleasure in seeing smug, self-righteous and self-proclaimed “intellectuals” making fools of themselves. This week she (once again) went too far in spreading ignorance, and I feel it’s my duty to bring it to the SDMB’s attention.
Vos Savant was asked “why do you doubt the idea that certain people are genetically prone to alcoholism?”
Her reply: “One reason is that alcohol doesn’t exist in nature. Instead, alcohol is a creation of mankind: Our genes don’t know about it.”
WTF?! What has she been drinking? Some cocktail produced in the labs of Dow Chemicals? Has she never heard of yeast and fermentation? There’s certainly been naturally-produced alcohol on this planet longer than humankind has been here.
Plus, her answer is logically wrong beyond just being factually wrong. She seems to believe that because we aren’t passively exposed to alcohol in the natural environment that there would be no adaptive pressure to create a genetic change in the population that is more or less susceptible to alcoholism. However, I believe it’s just as likely that a genetically-determined propensity towards alcoholism might arise because the genetic mutations involved confers some yet-to-be-recognized survival ability…becoming an alcoholic is just an unhappy side-effect.
Where’s the petition to have her MENSA membership recalled?