Genetic determinism and time travel

Everyone who’s watched a movie knows that if you travel back in time, you can’t interfere with what’s happening or you’ll totally screw up the future.

For some reason, I was thinking about the movie-physics of time travel while I was reading this post from Bryan Caplan on his disagreement with Charles Murray.

The basic question is: does divorce have a negative impact on kids?

Murray says ‘yes.’ Caplan says ‘no’ because because genetics for divorce are already baked into the kid.

In general, Caplan seems to take the line that: genetics explain a lot of our behavior, so we shouldn’t worry too much about stuff. For example, you should have more kids and worry less about them.

But if we take this approach and modify our behavior since we know everything is determined by genetics anyway, are we undermining genetics?

The mind boggles.

5 Responses to Genetic determinism and time travel

  1. Handle says:

    90% of people won’t be genetically-determined to even ponder the question.

  2. Erik says:

    Appears to be an instance of this problem, which I’ll refer you to since the people there have done a lot of work on it:
    >Naive causal decision theory says “yes”, and naive evidential decision theory says “no”.

  3. K(yle) says:

    The problem with the genetic determinism argument in most cases is that mankind isn’t a product of ‘nature’ as a wild animal is.

    I’m sure the more impulsive and low future-time oriented people divorce more, but their ancestors did not despite passing on these divorce-prone genes from generation to generation.

    The whole conversation over at Caplan’s is so ass backwards as to be intractable.

  4. Tschafer says:

    “The whole conversation over at Caplan’s is so ass backwards as to be intractable.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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