Researchers in the field of behavioral genetics have asserted claims for a genetic basis to numerous behaviors, including homosexuality, aggression, alcoholism, and nurturing. Furthermore, a growing scientific and popular focus on genes and behavior has contributed to a resurgence of behavioral genetic determinism -- the belief that genetics is the major factor in determining behavior. Just recently commentators have blamed the international economic crisis on the innate greed of our consumer "have it all now" society.
Are behaviors inbred, written indelibly in our genes as immutable biological imperatives, or is the environment more important in shaping our thoughts and actions? What are the social consequences of genetic diagnoses of such traits as intelligence, criminality, or homosexuality? How much of our behavior can be attributed to our hardwiring?
Ronald Bailey is the award-winning science correspondent for
Reason magazine and Reason.com, where he writes a weekly
science and technology column.
Dr. Stuart Derbyshire is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham. Derbyshire has recently worked in the U.S. as Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in the Department of Anesthesiology, and as Assistant Professor at the UCLA/CURE Neuroenteric Disease Program in the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
Derbyshire has also been a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. Derbyshire has published extensively in the area of medicine, particularly around the scientific understanding of pain.
Dr. Kristene Doyle is the Associate Executive Director of the Albert Ellis Institute. She is also the Director of Clinical Services and Director of Child and Family Services at the Ellis Institute and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at St. John's University.
She received her Ph.D. in clinical and school psychology from Hofstra University and a Doctor of Science degree from the International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health. She has conducted seminars and workshops and given numerous presentations, both nationally and internationally, on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and its application to various mental disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Dr. Doyle has also appeared frequently on TV and radio and in newspapers across the country.
David Shenk is the national bestselling author of five previous books, including The Forgetting, Data Smog and The Immortal Game. He is a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com, and has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, NPR, and PBS.
Shenk's new book, The Genius in All of Us was published by Doubleday on March 9, 2010.
Shenk's book The Immortal Game: A History of Chess (Doubleday, 2006), was hailed as "superb," by The Wall Street Journal, "fresh and fascinating" by The Chicago Sun-Times, "engaging" by The Washington Post, and "a thrilling tour" by Entertainment Weekly. Shenk speaks frequently on the history, biology and social urgency of Alzheimer's disease. He has also advised the President's Council on Bioethics on dementia-related issues.
Prior to that, Shenk published two books and dozens of essays on the emotional, social and political ramifications of the information revolution.
Jean Smith is a fund raising director for a major health care institution in New York. Before settling in Brooklyn, Jean was based in London and Birmingham, England where she co-founded and directed a major volunteer led arts charity providing a platform for artists to show their work which otherwise might be ignored by mainstream venues.?Her work to challenge the perceptions about people who suffer mental health problems has provided an open platform for debate on the issue and she has developed practical strategies to enable more productive, independent living.