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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Modern Racism: DNA Testing

Here is a good example of why this kind of medical DNA testing is a joke (this is from the LA Times).

A careful of study of this shows the things that the test tells for sure: Whether you have wet ear wax or not, whether you're a slow coffee metabolizer, and whether your face does or does not flush when drinking alcohol.

All the rest represent some measurement of "risk" - a nonsense figure that doesn't tell you what will (or does) actually happen - just that there is some differing chance as compared to "others."  (See "Cholesterol, Heart Disease, and Magical Thinking.")

Yet today everyone is happy to use this to discriminate between people, for example, by insurance companies.  Certainly race and genetic heritage, for example, can also be detected using this kind of test.

But I imagine that making use of race and genetic heritage would be tantamount to a "hate crime."

So you have to ask yourself why?

Well, for one thing we can see what your race might be (though we cannot know for sure).

And apparently we can see you face flushing if you drink alcohol. 

Perhaps teenagers will test their friends before having them ride along in the car at night while drinking - we don't want the cops to see by our flushed faces we were drinking. 

Perhaps this makes them racists?

Risk means nothing to an individual - it does not say whether or not anything in particular will happen to you.

I might have a risk for some disease but that doesn't mean I will actually get it.

Yet this kind of nonsense is used to promote how wonderful medical testing is (and in this case "big data" which is the same kind of nonsensical data about "all of us").

Yet all it really does is masquerade what is really just racism.

No doubt everyone will rush to embrace this...

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