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  1. What the hell is a “DNA Transplant”? Sounds like pretty much an awful understanding of biology by these psychology researchers.

    • Andrew says:


      The point is not to be biologically accurate but to frame these questions in a way with which the survey respondents can feel comfortable.

      • Well then, what supposedly is a “DNA Transplant” supposed to do to you? In order for the survey respondents to be comfortable, they must be imagining some practical effects of such a thing. But a DNA transplant? I mean that sounds really severe!

        If I replaced all your DNA with Hitler’s DNA in every cell in your body I promise you you would no longer be Andrew Gelman at all. For a short time you would look like the AG we all love, but then after a few cell cycles you would grow completely different hair, have skin that looked different, your hormone levels would change, you’d become someone else. not Hitler himself since you have a long developmental history, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if you developed all sorts of problems from insanity to cancer to autoimmune diseases to whatever. In fact most likely within a few hours you’d die of a massive autoimmune reaction.

        Such a thing is totally and utterly absurdly impossible, it’s sort of like asking someone if they would allow a brain transplant, or be cloned by a star-trek beaming device or … again something just ludicrous.

        It’s hard to determine much from a question that asks people about how they’d feel about a ludicrous and ill-specified treatment that is pretty much guaranteed to be detrimental.

        Heart transplants, and blood transfusions, sure, but DNA transplant?

  2. Wonks Anonymous says:

    I really hope the paper references “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” by the Adverts.