The sociogenomics revolution is upon us, we are told. Whether revolutionary or not, sociogenomics is poised to flourish given the ease of incorporating polygenic scores (or PGSs) as ‘genetic propensities’ for complex traits into social science research. Pointing to evidence of ubiquitous heritability and the accessibility of genetic data, scholars have argued that social scientists not only have an opportunity but a duty to add PGSs to social science research. Social science research that ignores genetics is, some proponents argue, at best partial and likely scientifically flawed, misleading, and wasteful.
Here, I challenge arguments about the value of genetics for social science and with it the claimed necessity of incorporating PGSs into social science models as measures of genetic influences. In so doing, I discuss the impracticability of distinguishing genetic influences from environmental influences due to non-causal gene-environment correlations, especially population stratification, familial confounding, and downward causation. I explain how environmental effects masquerade as genetic influences in PGSs, which undermines their raison d’être as measures of genetic propensity, especially for complex socially contingent behaviors that are the subject of sociogenomics. Additionally, I draw attention to the partial, unknown biology, while highlighting the persistence of an implicit, unavoidable reductionist genes versus environments approach. I argue that leaving sociopolitical and ethical concerns aside, the potential scientific rewards of adding PGSs to social science are few and greatly overstated and the scientific costs, which include obscuring structural disadvantages and cultural influences, outweigh these meager benefits for most social science applications.