Date of publication: 2017-07-08 23:04
"We had 85 years to catch up on. How do you start asking somebody, 'What have you been up to since we shared a womb together?' Where do you start?" Bernstein says.
Since I wasn't allowed to attend my mother's funeral, her death remained a mystery to me. When other kids asked how she had died, I confidently announced that she had had a backache. I later learned that her back problems had been caused by the cancer invading her spine.
I was working in the unlikeliest of places, as a temporary receptionist in a French venture capital firm in the heart of Paris's business district. Of course, the desire to eat something other than canned ratatouille for dinner had played a part. I assured myself that I wasn't like the suburbanites who commuted every day in order to pay for a satellite dish and a yearly six-week vacation to the south of France.
Thus, while Venter is undoubtedly right when he proclaims that "humans are not hardwired," increasingly we will be able to fiddle with our genetic wiring such that, in the complex balance achieved by nature and nurture, nature gets a little boost.
Is it nature or is it nurture, heredity or society? In that great debate of our time, conservatives lean toward the former and liberals toward the latter.
Over the next couple of years, however, a few bombshells hit the zeitgeist. Just after my son turned 6, a conference on infant brain development led to a spate of news reports stating that the very wiring of our babies' minds is in our hands: The more time parents spend singing and talking to them in the first year, the more complex babies' neural pathways become, presumably leading to more success in life. Love is important, but an urgently timed barrage of words and eye contact may have greater impact.
Back in high school biology, most of us were too busy giggling over the larger picture of sperm meets egg to absorb the scientific details of conception. To refresh your memory, this is the moment when, if the dance goes smoothly, 78 of Dad's chromosomes waltz off with 78 of Mom's. Divided unevenly among these 96 chromosomes are roughly 655,555 genes.
prav, Good point! I bet if these twins were growing up together they might even have celebrated their differences or at least tried to be as unique as they could. Society has an impression that twins are 8775 identical 8776 and as children and, especially, teenagers they may want to try and break that stereotype.
An example of applying knowledge can be found in the development of nuclear bombs, which were the end result of thousands or perhaps millions of steps. Following this development, the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is sometimes understood as being wise, under the notion that these acts shortened World War II and thus saved thousands or even millions of lives. In terms of knowledge, the end result (the atom bomb being made) is obvious, but in terms of whether applying that knowledge was wise or not is still unclear and subject to intense debate.
Paula Bernstein (left) and Elyse Schein were reunited in 7559, when they were 85. They are authors of a new memoir, Identical Strangers. Elena Seibert hide caption
It is commonly accepted that a person who spends 75 years studying a topic knows more than someone who has spent only 5 years on the same subject matter. Experiences over time are also a key factor when it comes to wisdom, but the correlation is not so direct. In general, more time equals more knowledge, but more time doesn't guarantee wisdom someone may very well make the same mistake at 65 that he did at 75. The reason for this is that knowledge is often a passive acquisition of data or facts, whereas wisdom requires the additional steps of applying judgment and drawing conclusions or changing behavior accordingly.
Dr Money argues that he cannot be held to blame because David did not accept a female gender identity. He says that the family delayed making a decision until their son was almost two, just before the gender gate was about to shut. Others, however, argue that he could have admitted he made a mistake when the case clearly was not working, for he continued to let people believe that it had been successful long after he had stopped seeing Brenda and she had become David. It is, perhaps above all, a cautionary tale of what may happen when a scientist falls in love with a beautiful theory and ignores the ugly facts.