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Humphrey Wakefield here expressing more scientifically illiterate genetic determinism. 1/x

This view of hereditary genius flowing through families was expressed most clearly by Francis Galton, an undoubtedly great scientist, who founded the principles of Eugenics, and was also a devoted racist. 2/n
His casualty denial of social (or non-genetic) influences for metrics of success is telling - ruling it out as political correctness. This is pure genetic determinism therefore, which is not scientifically correct, as even Galton knew. 3/n
Instead, it is a genetic basis for ‘great men of History’. There is no such thing as ancient families, of course, only inheritance of wealth and power in direct lineages. All families are exactly as old as each other, and have exactly the same ancestors after few generations 4/n
(Ironically, lineages of ancient families as he describes frequently have fewer immediate individual ancestors as they often have higher than average inbreeding coefficients) 5/n
This good genes version of inheritance, by the way, is also what Donald Trump believes, a sort of race horse breeding version of inheritance. 6/n
To attribute wealth and influence to genetics alone in this manner is a impressive display of confirmation bias, and brings to mind a phrase I think is important: 7/n
When all you have ever known is privilege, equality feels like oppression 8/n
Of course intelligence, wealth, influence, and power are heritable, because everything is, and part of that heritability is genetic. 9/n
Pretty much every human behaviour is a complex and almost inscrutable symphony of genetic factors and environmental, in Galton’s paralysingly un-useful phrase, nature vs nurture 10/n
Nature via nurture is a better expression of heritability, a phrase made popular by @mattwridley. 11/n
Bloodlines, talk of dog horse breeding, ancient families, these are all deeply outdated, scientifically bollocksy ways of self justification for unearned power structures. 12/n
I suppose we are all a bit shocked that such outmoded views persist (indeed that such people exist), as they are reflective of a Britain that has faded, but clearly still exists, and indeed maintains its tenacious grip on our politics. 13/n
Genetics, history and politics are inscrutably intertwined, and trying to understand heredity is one of the toughest gigs out there. This man has made no effort to, and his views should be taken for what they are: scientific illiteracy. 14/n
And for the record, that this man is the father of Dominic Cummings’ wife is only superficially relevant. That both Cummings and Mary Wakefield have lived lives of privilege and power is certainly partially a result of their inheritance, however 15/n
Cummings has written often about heritability and genetics, and has made a good fist of trying to understand some complex science. I have seen no evidence that he thinks the same things as Humphrey Wakefield 16/n
As I have said before though, my view is that Cummings is bewitched by science but has not engaged enough to recognise the true complexities of heritability. 17/n…
And that makes him an ideologue, not a scientist. 18/18
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