Saturday, June 4, 2011

Should governments protect us from our own stupidity? The DNA edition

It's a question that libertarians often ask - are citizens wise persons who can be left to their own devices, or are citizens stupid people who need guidance from politicians or others, rather than relying on their own devices?

Some scientists believe the latter:

Geneticists are pressing for a ban on mail-order DNA kits that claim to forecast your chances of developing chronic or life-threatening diseases.

The first independent research to look at the kits says the information they produce is of little meaningful benefit – and in some cases, plain wrong.

See News One for more details, including this surprising result:

Professor Cecile Janssens, of the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland ... said in five out of eight diseases deCODEme calculated some people had risks higher than 100 percent.

Apparently, some governments have already taken action. This disclaimer appears at the bottom of the deCODEme website:

The website is for informational purposes only and should NOT be used for medical decision making without consulting your physician. Some services are not available to residents of certain U.S. states.

Are these states blocking our right to information, or protecting us from unsubstantiated data?

H/T @crimelabproject.
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