We were honored to be invited to write an essay for Aeon Magazine. The invitation was based, the editor told us, on what she saw here on MT. If you don't know Aeon yet, a smart new digital magazine of "ideas and culture," do check them out. And not just today, but every day. They publish one longform essay every week day, on subjects ranging from addiction to Zen; memoir, science, social commentary and more. No subscription required. It is diverse, entertaining, yet substantial. And, of course, it's free.
Aeon is yet another manifestation of the accelerating race to quality online creativity, that challenges, or even threatens, the standard ways of doing business that we owe to Gutenberg and the Middle Ages. We have been posting on this recently as manifestations of the new way the world is going--and that our area, the academic and research world, will need to adjust and welcome the changes.
So we took our invitation quite seriously. And what we're calling today's post is up on their site today. Our essay is on DNA as a metaphor for our time. We write about how the belief in genetic determinism is pervasive and deep, and yet, by and large it's highly overstated. It's a de facto belief in simple inherited destiny. Even when things are expressed in probabilities (like disease risk) and even when they're small, they are widely perceived as major, stable, and essentially deterministic. We try to explain our view on these things.