Friday, January 19, 2018
23andme and weird confirmation bias
So this young woman decided that because she had a grandmother who had Parkinson's disease, she should get this genetic test done to see.....if she might get it to? Ok, let's definitely get back to that at the end of this post.
She spends a lot of time these days thinking about what her life might be like in forty years when she's a senior citizen, which I bet makes her a real hit with her friends who wonder why she can't enjoy her youth and insists on living in the year 2058 and worrying in advance about things she really can't do anything about and which might not even be problems by the time she gets there (maybe Parkinson's is cured by then. Maybe she gets run over by a bus next week because she was daydreaming about what her health might be like when she's seventy. We really don't know, do we?)
Anyway, the tests come back and it turns out that she's low risk for Parkinson's, but may be high risk for Alzheimer's (at least I think that's what she's saying here.) She's not sad about it, she's not happy about it, she's just kind of relieved.....to know what to obsess about for the next several decades, assuming she doesn't get run over by that bus. I guess.
The way I figure it, this woman's quest to uncover the future before it happens results in nothing of any value. Ok, so she's more likely to get Alzheimer's instead of Parkinson's. So what is she going to do with that information? Spend her family's money on New Age Homeopathic "medications?" Bore her friends to death with contant blather about how she's "not sad" that she has a slightly better chance of contracting Alzheimer's and is going to "deal with this" in a brave manner Please Don't Pity Me Let Me Tell You Again About My Test Results Wait Where Are You Going?
This commercial seems to be a very good advertisement for saving your money and admitting that you really can't buy peace of mind unless that means purchasing life insurance or savings bonds. You aren't going to get good news from a 23andme report- the best you can hope for is news that there's not a lot of history of cancer or other life-shortening diseases in your family. It can't tell you YOU won't get cancer or another disease, any more than it can tell you you aren't going to get run over by that bus. All it can do is take money out of your wallet and reward you with a little trivia about your family. Maybe that's valuable to someone. It's way too important to this stupid woman, who has decided that DNA is Destiny. Armed with that philosophy, she's going to march through whatever time she has left with this stoic, self-important, self-absorbed look on her face, pretending to stare down a threat which may or may not be lurking around the corner. What a waste of time.