Neuroscientist: DNA Is Destiny. What We Call Free-Will Is A Self-Satisfying Myth

Pixabay / Public Domain

Cambridge neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow says that nearly everything about your life is decided before being born.

In Telegraph, Cambridge neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow says that almost everything that happens in your life is already decided before you are born. Likelihood of disease, intelligence, and likely lifespan are essentially dictated by DNA.

In her new book The Science of Fate Critchlow explains that everything about a person may already be hard-wired into their brain, including who you marry, who you eat, and how you vote.

“Learning that things are quite written, and prescribed into, us can be very liberating,” she argues. As the mother of a three-year old son, she can relinquish most of her anxiety because “A huge amount of his temperament, of his skills, of his differences” is already “done and dusted”.

Our DNA controls how our unique neural circuitry is constructed while in the womb. The DNA primes us to make all of our decisions, even political ones. “People who vote in a more conservative way are much more likely to have a hyperreactive amygdala region of the brain, which is involved in fear response,” she says.

A project has already begun to non-invasively scan the brains of fetuses while they are in the womb to observe their connections as they take shape. Critchlow says there are dangers to such technology. “It’s not helpful to suggest a single gene, single brain region or, indeed, single anything is responsible for any aspect of human behaviour,” she writes.

The brain’s pre-destiny may be discouraging for some people, but Dr. Roger Kievit gives some tips for how to build the brain’s resilience as aging occurs. The tips include being physically active, getting enough sleep, staying socially active, checking your diet, continue learning, and staying positive.

Read more here.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Seems like an excuse to absolve one's self of his or her responsibility in life. It's rather convenient when you think about it: whatever I do in life I'm not responsible for because I have no choice in the matter-- it has been programmed in my DNA since birth. I think there is some truth to the argument regarding destiny, but this isn't it.