There are few things as irritating as scientists taking complex topics and reducing them to sound bites that are invariably wrong.  They pick up the wrong data, manipulate it with a bit of correlation and suddenly they're off and running on a new study which promises to be as ridiculous as the last.

Currently there is one entitled "The role of Genes in Political Behavior", that would have people rolling in the aisles if it weren't so pathetic.

How do things get so goofy?  Apparently it's that the people practicing "social science" can't be bothered to do the hard work necessary to understand any particular phenomenon.  They perform some basic survey, or conduct a simplistic correlation study and immediately are ready to make profound statements on human behaviors.

While real scientists are struggling with acquiring the necessary understanding to provide useful information about the human cognitive processes and to try developing a better understanding of the subtleties involved, these social "scientists" are already claiming that they can predict what a particular individual will do.

So, without any understanding of the underlying cognitive processes, they're already prepared to argue that they know what an individual is thinking.

However, this isn't really surprising since this seems to be a trend that is increasing, where those that engage in the "soft" sciences are trying to find more and more elements to rationalize their results to create the illusion that they are "hard" sciences.  So we find an increasing use of irrelevant mathematical models, and much hand-waving about how a particular behavior is related to genetics [after all, genetics is considered more "hard" than just claiming a biological connection].  Genetics has become the "catch-all" for any biological postulate that one cares to formulate.  Since genes can be "selfish", then obviously we can make them do anything we like, and we can argue about why particular genes should have a desire to vote Republican or Democrat.  Thank you Richard Dawkins.  [NOTE:  The other "catch-all" is to merely mention game theory to cover whatever still needs explaining]

Overall ... it's simply nonsense.

In a nutshell, this is what comes of making science a career choice.  Invariably one attracts those that stick it out simply to have a job.  Their mediocrity will never result in any great discoveries or work, so they simply try to acquire some modicum of "fame" or notoriety simply so that they can continue to find work to pay their bills.  It isn't about a quest for knowledge in general.  It's about having a successful career.

Properly done, a scientist would have taken a significantly more conservative view.  Recognizing that human beings are social animals [and arguably even eusocial] it is quite reasonable to suggest that there is a biological advantage to individuals that can fit in with the social group.  Such a fitness advantage could arguably be used as a rational argument to postulate why a genetic predisposition to group participation could be more advantageous than genes that keep individuals more socially isolated. 

While hardly definitive, there are legitimate reasons to consider how both biological, cultural, and social selection have worked throughout history to shape the type of individuals that are better suited for participation in groups and consequently make up the demographic of our modern society.  Of course, it is a far cry to argue about genetic tendencies amidst the influence of cultural and behavioral learning systems.

This could mark a reasonable beginning to the discussion.

Instead we find that these "scientists" have simply leaped over the hard work, and are quite comfortable in asserting that such simple understandings are not the beginning, but can already address questions like political orientation and voter turn-out.

All I can do is shake my head and hope that I wake up from this horrible dream of the joke they are making of science.

"Therefore, although it may not surprise behavior geneticsts that participation is heritable, it seems premature to argue that heritability studies will not bear fruit in political science.  These studies provide the first step needed to excite the imaginations of a discipline not used to thinking about the role of biology in human behavior."
I found this particular quote at the end of this paper most telling. Instead of urging caution with the interpretation of the data, they argue caution only in those that might be skeptical of it's applicability to political science.  So, without having established any reasonable basis by which to assess the data, they are already advancing the argument that this could be a great boost to those working in social science to get their imaginations going.  I can well imagine that their excitement about this kind of data has more to do with granting them legitimacy than promoting any understanding of human beings.

Total amateur hour.