Archive for the ‘Genetics’ Category

From reddit www.reddit.com/r/genetics/comments/1z1tli/design_your_own_baby_a_genetic_ethics_dilemma/cfqrlol

Zorander22 writes:

1) I would wager a guess that most people are capable of far more than they’re current employment situations might indicate. The idea that machines are taking over increasingly complex tasks is an important one… which, depending on how wealth gets distributed, could ensure an easy future for many people, rather than spelling the doom of humanity. If machines and computers end up being able to do increasingly complex tasks without limit, it seems like they would soon outstrip people, even with substantial eugenics programs or genetic engineering in place.

2) People are still under selection processes. Many of these likely happen before birth (wombs and women may have built-in systems to stop supporting fetuses if there are signs there may be serious genetic problems). People are still dying in a non-random manner… and moreover, people are having children in a non-random matter, so sexual selection may play an important role. While there may be trends regarding intelligence and birth rates, it is likely that there are many other factors influencing birth rates and the success of offspring. Low intelligence may increase birth rates through poor implementation of birth control methods or planning, but there could be other hidden effects with high intelligence leading to more resources available for raising more children. As birth control gets easier to implement, you might soon see more intelligent people having more kids on average than less intelligent people.

What we are undergoing right now is an expansion in the variability within our gene pool. We have a huge number of organisms with new mutations cropping up. Far from being a bad thing, this variability is one of the key ingredients for evolution to take place – evolution doesn’t happen consistently throughout time, it often happens in response to changed environmental factors. For some organisms to have better success due to a changing environment, there needs to be a large amount of variability within the population, so that there are lots of phenotypes expressed, some of which will perform better than others. This increase in our genetic variability will serve us well if there’s ever a dramatic change in our environment.

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Deleetdk writes:

I would wager a guess that most people are capable of far more than they’re current employment situations might indicate.

No. This is a core belief of educational romanticism which Charles Murray talks about[1] .

More yes, not “far more”. There are limits. The primary area, I think, where talent is not using used is with the gifted children. There is an extreme lack of gifted programs in many countries. Khan Academy is changing this. The future is bright in this area. :)

The idea that machines are taking over increasingly complex tasks is an important one… which, depending on how wealth gets distributed, could ensure an easy future for many people, rather than spelling the doom of humanity.

Let’s say we’re 30 years into the future and no eugenics has been used for g. Now, maybe 30% of the working age population is leeching (e.g. via a basic income policy[2] ), which raises taxes further for the working part of the population. Keep also in mind that people are having fewer children, so the non-working age population is also much larger (subreplacement fertility[3] is a huge economic problem in the near future). Let’s say that in total 30% of the population is working, while the rest is leeching. Why would the workers pay so much of their income? Keep in mind that crypto-currencies will make it more or less impossible to effectively force them if they don’t want to. Do you think this is a bright future? I don’t. One solution would be artificial wombs[4] , but that technology might not be ready yet by then. I don’t know.

If machines and computers end up being able to do increasingly complex tasks without limit, it seems like they would soon outstrip people, even with substantial eugenics programs or genetic engineering in place.

Yes, nonbiological computers will eventually outperform biological computers no matter how much we use eugenics for g. My idea is that we need to get MUCH smarter before allowing this to happen. I think we can make it work, but the world population needs to improve, say, 5 SD in g first.

People are still under selection processes. Many of these likely happen before birth (wombs and women may have built-in systems to stop supporting fetuses if there are signs there may be serious genetic problems). People are still dying in a non-random manner…

Yes, but this selection force is very weak compared to the constant influx of de novo mutations. Welfare systems without eugenics are unstable, since they lead directly to dysgenics that will sooner or later make the welfare system economically untenable.

people are having children in a non-random matter, so sexual selection may play an important role.

I agree. This selection force is likely to be stronger in the future due to increased assortative mating from online dating like OKCupid[5] (this is an interesting research question: do people who met over netdating show stronger assortative mating than those who didn’t? AFAIK, no one knows!). This might itself increase dysgenics for g though. It depends on how fertility is a function of g. If the effect is multiplicative rather than additive, then bright people will have a very low fertility indeed. I currently don’t know the answer to this question.

While there may be trends regarding intelligence and birth rates, it is likely that there are many other factors influencing birth rates and the success of offspring. Low intelligence may increase birth rates through poor implementation of birth control methods or planning, but there could be other hidden effects with high intelligence leading to more resources available for raising more children. As birth control gets easier to implement, you might soon see more intelligent people having more kids on average than less intelligent people.

No. The trend has been going for 100 years or more. This is no change in the future for this trend. See: Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (Richard Lynn)[6] . PDF[7] .

What we are undergoing right now is an expansion in the variability within our gene pool. We have a huge number of organisms with new mutations cropping up. Far from being a bad thing, this variability is one of the key ingredients for evolution to take place – evolution doesn’t happen consistently throughout time, it often happens in response to changed environmental factors. For some organisms to have better success due to a changing environment, there needs to be a large amount of variability within the population, so that there are lots of phenotypes expressed, some of which will perform better than others. This increase in our genetic variability will serve us well if there’s ever a dramatic change in our environment.

Agreed about the variation (due to increased assortative mating which increases variation). Some evolution is more or less constant, selection for polygenic traits (height, g, weight, personality, etc.) is probably more or less constant and not ‘punctuated’ (in Gouldian sense).

There is plenty of variation currently in the human gene pools for evolution of more g. See also Steve Hsu on genetics of g[8] .

From Reddit.

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Two reasons.

1) Technological unemployment. This is going fast right now. Already a large part of the population is useless and can only leech on society economically. This percent is due to increase quickly soon when automated cars become mainstream which will shortly make most drivers workless. There are thousands of people who cannot handle complex work, and the simple work is going away.

See e.g.: www.etla.fi/en/publications/computerization-threatens-finnish-employment/, skills.oecd.org/skillsoutlook.html Figure 1.6.

2) Dysgenics. First off, the less intelligent are having more children boosting the problem with the above. But second, the contant de novo mutations are filling up in the human population genome. There is almost no natural selection to sort it away. This means that over time humans will become weak with a high rate of various genetic diseases.

The only future is with eugenics, so they will have to overcome their guilt by association fallacious reasoning[3] with Nazism, just as they did for vegetarianism and anti-smoking (Hitler was a vegetarian and the Nazis were the first to introduce anti-smoking campaigns).

 

Kuliev, Anver, and Yury Verlinsky. “Preimplantation diagnosis: a realistic option for assisted reproduction and genetic practice.” Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology 17.2 (2005): 179-183.
Purpose of review
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows genetically
disadvantaged couples to reproduce, while avoiding the
birth of children with targeted genetic disorders. By
ensuring unaffected pregnancies, PGD circumvents the
possible need and therefore risks of pregnancy termination.
This review will describe the current progress of PGD for
Mendelian and chromosomal disorders and its impact on
reproductive medicine.
Recent findings
Indications for PGD have expanded beyond those used in
prenatal diagnosis, which has also resulted in improved
access to HLA-compatible stem-cell transplantation for
siblings through preimplantation HLA typing. More than
1000 apparently healthy, unaffected children have been
born after PGD, suggesting its accuracy, reliability and
safety. PGD is currently the only hope for carriers of
balanced translocations. It also appears to be of special
value for avoiding age-related aneuploidies in in-vitro
fertilization patients who have a particularly poor prognosis
for a successful pregnancy; the accumulated experience of
thousands of PGD cycles strongly suggests that PGD can
improve clinical outcome for such patients.
Summary
PGD would particularly benefit poor prognosis in-vitro
fertilization patients and other at-risk couples by improving
reproductive outcomes and avoiding the birth of affected
offspring.
Verlinsky, Yury, et al. “Over a decade of experience with preimplantation genetic diagnosis: a multicenter report.” Fertility and sterility 82.2 (2004): 292-294.
Harper, Joyce C., and Sioban B. SenGupta. “Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: state of the art 2011.” Human genetics 131.2 (2012): 175-186.
I made this:

The Intelligence of Dogs A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions Stanley Coren 320p

 

This book is not very technical, has almost no numbers or sources in it. It contains a wealth of at times funny anecdotes. It also contains references to shitty science, mostly Gardner and Sternberg’s anti-g theories. It also has a wrong description of crytallized vs. fluid g. However, aside from all these flaws, it is well worth reading if one is interested in dog (canine) intelligence. I would have liked to see e.g. a factor analysis of the author’s proposed dog IQ test, to see if there is g factor for dogs as well.

 

 

As a psychologist, dog trainer, and avowed dog lover, I set out to de­

scribe the mental abilities that are present in every dog. I also went

one step further—namely, to explore how various breeds differ in their

capacities and behaviors. Before I could do this, though, a bit of

groundwork was in order. I began by looking at the origins of dogs,

because any animal’s mental ability is shaped and limited by its bio­

logical makeup and the forces of evolution that have worked on it.

Then I briefly examined how scientists have viewed dogs’ minds and

detailed some of the controversy about the nature of the canine mind

and consciousness. Finally, I looked at the various types of dog intelli­

gence and described how dog owners could actually measure their

own dog’s abilities. While I hoped to make it clear that no breed of

dog is without merit or purpose, I also pointed out that not all dog

breeds are created equal in terms of their cleverness and mental skills.

 

Starts out well.

 

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And then there was Lassie. . . .

 

The dog that may have done the most to shape the popular concep­

tion of dogs and their intelligence was a ch ara cter born in a short story

wri tten by Eric Knight in 1938. This story was la te r expanded into a

best-selling book, and, in 1943, it was translated into a heart-warming

tear jerker of a film called Lassie Come Home. Lassie, the wo r ld ’s best-

known collie, was not only affectionate and courageous but clearly

nearly human in her intelligence and understanding.

 

Actually, Lassie, as portrayed on the screen, is not a lovely female

dog at all, but ra th e r a deception perpetrated by a long line of female

impersonators. For nine generations, the dogs that have played Lassie

have all been male descendants of the first Lassie, actually a dog named

Pal. Male collies were preferred for the part, since they are larger and

less timid than females. The viewing audience seems never to have

noticed the relevant anatomical differences. In fact, all we seemed to

notice was th a t the dog we were watching was a collie with a white

blaze on its face. Changes in markings as one dog was substituted for

another for different stunts and tricks seem to have passed us by, just as

easily as the telltale signs that should have told us Lassie was a lad.

 

heh!

 

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At first glance, seventeen thousand years may not seem like a long

time—after all, dinosaurs roamed the e arth one hundred fifty million

years ago. Yet our own species, Homo sapiens, did not ap pea r until

three hundred thousand years ago. Neanderthal man was still predom­

inant in Europe until forty thousand years ago, and the first types of

humans physically indistinguishable from modern humans appeared

between thirty and thirty-five thousand years ago. Asian tribes first

crossed the Bering Strai t to begin human occupation of the Americas

twenty-five thousand years ago. It is interesting to note that the first

evidence of organized agriculture is only ten thousand years old—

which is three to seven thousand years after the ea rliest proof that

dogs had established their companionship with humans. Falling within

the same general time frame as these Russian fossils is a finding in

Iraq of domesticated dog remains th a t are dated at around fourteen

thousand years ago.

 

This date for modern humans is wrong.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomically_modern_humans

 

The term anatomically modern humans[1] (AMH) or anatomically modern Homo sapiens[2] (AMHS) refers in paleoanthropology to individual members of the species Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans.

Anatomically-modern humans evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago.[3] The emergence of anatomically-modern human marks the dawn of the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens,[4] i.e. the subspecies of Homo sapiens that includes all modern humans. The oldest fossil remains of anatomically-modern humans are the Omo remains, which date to 195,000 (±5,000) years ago and include two partial skulls as well as arm, leg, foot and pelvis bones.[5][6]

Other fossils include the proposed Homo sapiens idaltu from Herto in Ethiopia that are almost 160,000 years old[7] and remains from Skhul in Israel that are 90,000 years old.[8]

 

 

When mitochondrial DNA from dogs and wolves are compared,

they are found to differ by only around 1 to 2 percent. To give you an

idea of how close this similarity is, this is in the same range as the dif­

ferences found between different races of humans. Scientists consider

this to be clear evidence th a t the closest anc estor of dogs, and the

species th a t was probably domesticated first, was the wolf. Please note

th a t I said the “closest” and not necessarily the “only” ancestor of dogs

was the wolf.

 

very interesting, if true. No source given.

 

Searching a bit…

 

www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ggs/72/4/72_4_229/_article

 

To test the hypothesis that the domestic dogs are derived from several different ancestral gray wolf populations, we compared the sequence of the displacement (D)-loop region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 24 breeds of domestic dog (34 individual dogs) and 3 subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus lupus, C. l. pallipes and C. l. chanco; 19 individuals). The intraspecific sequence variations within domestic dogs (0.00~3.19%) and within wolves (0.00~2.88%) were comparable to the interspecific variations between domestic dogs and wolves (0.30~3.35%). A repetitive sequence with repeat units (TACACGTA/GCG) that causes the size variation in the D-loop region was also found in both dogs and wolves. However, no nucleotide substitutions or repetitive arrays were specific for domestic dogs or for wolves. These results showed that there is a close genetic relationship between dogs and wolves. Two major clades appeared in the phylogenetic trees constructed by neighbor-joining and by the maximum parsimony method; one clade containing Chinese wolf (C. l. chanco) showed extensive variations while the other showed only slight variation. This showed that there were two major genetic components both in domestic dogs and in wolves. However, neither clades nor haplotypes specific for any dog breed were observed, whereas subspecies-specific clades were found in Asiatic wolves. These results suggested that the extant breeds of domestic dogs have maintained a large degree of mtDNA polymorphisms introduced from their ancestral wolf populations, and that extensive interbreedings had occurred among multiple matriarchal origins.

 

So, yea, something like that.

 

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An interesting rep o r t of some Russian rese arch on foxes directly

bears on the issue of the domestication of dogs. The experiment was

started in the 1940s by the Russian geneticist Dmitri Belyaev, who

worked in a Siberian laboratory with other biologists who were trying

to domesticate silver foxes. Their aim was pract ical as w’ell as scien­

tific, since they wanted to breed these animals for th e ir beautiful fur,

which brings a high price on the world market. Since the wild fox can

be qu i te sn a p p ish an d ch u r l ish , th e sc ien t is ts w e re also try in g to c re a te

a more docile strain of silver foxes th a t would allow themselves to be

handled and more easily managed. For this reason, only the most gen­

tle of the foxes were allowed to breed. Over a span of only twenty gen­

erations, the scientists managed to develop tame, domesticated foxes.

 

Several surprises resulted from these breeding experiments. In their

behavior, these tame foxes became very doglike. They began to look for

human company ra th e r than running from it. They began to wag their

tails in response to the same types of situations th a t cause domestic

dogs to wag their tails. They also developed a tendency to lick people’s

faces. These domesticated foxes also began to vocalize with yips and

barks much like dogs and quite unlike adul t wild foxes and wolves,

which seldom vocalize. There were even important physical changes.

Females began to come into heat twice a year, ju s t as domestic dogs

do. The ears of some of the foxes became floppy and more doglike.

Unfortunately for the experimenters, also following the p a t te rn for

domestic dogs, these tamed foxes were often born with fur th a t was

multicolored with patches of different shades, which greatly lowered

their market value!

 

The domesticated silver fox experiment:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox

 

Original source: www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/1999/2/early-canid-domestication-the-farm-fox-experiment

 

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All canids also enjoy an occasional roll in ca r rio n and other foul­

smelling filth. It is likely that this behavior began as a hunting strategy.

Many prey animals, such as antelopes or gazelles, have a good sense of

smell and can detect an approaching canine predator. However, by

rolling in antelope or gazelle droppings, which of course give off a

safe, familiar smell, the h un te r masks its scent and so can get much

closer before he is detected.

 

In domestic dogs this behavior is no longer functional, but seems to

have persisted because dogs have an aesthetic appreciation of odors,

which some experts have compared to our own fondness for music; it

has no real purpose but seems to give the dog pleasure. Some owners

find the practice offensive and have tried to eliminate it by punishing

their dogs, but this generally is to no avail. Occasionally, one can find a

perfume or other scent th a t the dog likes (usually one with a musk

base), w h ich , w h e n d ab b e d on e i th e r sid e of the dog’s th roa t and

behind its ears, may cause the dog to pass up opportunit ies to roll in

the n eares t pile of dung or o th e r smelly refuse. This sometimes back­

fires, however.

 

My daughter by marriage, Kari, had a marvelous mixed-breed dog

named Tessa, whom we often took along when we went to our little

hideaway farm. At the re a r of the farm is a large drainage canal,

which, at various times of the year, takes on a ra th e r pungent odor if

st irred up. When the canal reached this pitch of smelliness, Tessa

always took the very first opportunity to plunge into the canal and coat

herself in the muck. This always resulted in our hosing her down and

then leaving h e r outside for several hours until the essence wore off.

Once, p r io r to a morning walk, I decided to see if I could avoid the

inevitable wallow in the smelly canal by p re trea ting her with some

aftershave lotion th a t smelled quite fine to me. She seemed a bit puz­

zled by all of this, and when I opened the gate, instead of the usual

chase-the-stick romp th a t starts our walks, she made a direct beeline

for the scum-filled canal. She re tu rn ed afterward, soaking wet and

odoriferous, ready to start our play. Apparently she felt a need to mask

her uncharacteristically perfumed aura with something more aestheti­

cally pleasing to her canine mind.

 

Interesting.

 

-

 

Much of the interbreeding across the canid species has been delib­

erately encouraged or arranged by human beings. Eskimos and natives

of the high north are known to cross th eir working dogs regularly with

wolves to try to get sled dogs with g re a ter stamina and larger size.

Usually this process involves tying a bitch in season to a stake in a

region th a t wolves are known to frequent. An interested male wolf will

often stop and partake of such an opportunity, and the bitches seem to

accept the at tention willingly. Of course, when times are h a rd e r and

food is scarce, the bitch may be viewed as a candidate for lunch, rather

than love, by the wolf pack.

 

*Chuckle*

 

-

 

Suppose we knew th a t one pa rt icula r member of the canid family (call

it canid X) was the sole ancestor of domestic dogs. You might think

th a t this would allow us to say th a t if canid X has a certain behavior or

shows a specific mental ability, the same behavior and mental ability

must exist in dogs. Sadly, this would not be true. Even if domestic dogs

contained the genes of only one of the wild canids, they would not be

simply tamed versions of the wild variety. The process of domestication

itself has made dogs different, not only physically but also psychologi­

cally, from their wild cousins.

 

In breeding dogs, people have systematically selected for puppylike

characteristics. The technical term for this is neoteny, meaning th a t the

adul t maintains many of the chara c te rist ic s of the immature animal.

This neoteny involves both physiology and behavior in the animals.

 

and also humans: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny

 

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Behaviorally, our domestic dogs are also more puppylike. When

dogs lick people’s faces, as most domestic dogs will, they are actually

mimicking the behavior of puppies, who will lick their m o th er ’s face to

get h e r to regurgitate food for them. Hence your dog’s kisses really

mean th a t it is trea tin g you as its p a ren t and, of course, asking for a

snack.

 

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A colleague of mine has pointed out th a t a book with the title The Intel­

ligence o f Dogs could be very short. He noted that, as a psychologist, I

could simply choose to define intelligence, or at least thought, as some­

thing th a t occurs only in humans, and this would spare me a lot of

work and research time. Many psychologists, biologists, and ethologists

(particularly those who like to call themselves “behaviorists”) do exactly

this. For instance, in a recent research book entitled Cognitive Psychol­

ogy and Information Processing, three research psychologists (R. Lach-

man, J. L. Lachman, and E. R. Butterfield) conclude th a t “whenever

higher mental processes are involved, we heartily disagree that human

and animal behavior are necessarily governed by the same principles.”

 

The situation is not simple, however, and many eminent scientists

have disagreed with this ra th e r negative conclusion. Charles Darwin,

for example, wrote in The Descent o f Man that the only difference

between the intelligence of humans and th a t of most of th e ir lower

mammalian cousins “is one of degree and not of k in d.” He went on to

say that “the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties,

such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of

which man boasts, may be found in an incipient or even sometimes in

a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.”

 

Obviously, ne i th er Darwin nor any sensible person will try to say

that the intelligence of dogs is the same as that of humans in all ways.

There are clear limits to a dog’s intelligence. A dog has never written

an o pera or novel n o r ever designed bridges or explored cybernetic

theory. No dog has ever been elected as a president or p rem ier of a

country (except in an uncomplimentary metaphoric sense, as defined

by the opposition parties).

 

As I write this, it dawns on me that I might be wise to stay away from

the subject of dogs occupying political posts, since there are stories of

dog-kings. Probably the best known of these comes from an Icelandic

saga th a t tells of an upland king known as Eystein the Bad. Eystein con­

quered the people of Drontheim and then made his son Onund their

king. The people of Drontheim were not at all happy with this a rrange­

ment and ended Onund’s reign abruptly and violently. To show his dis­

pleasure at this turn of events, Eystein returned to Drontheim, ravaged

the land, and reduced the people to total subjugation. Then, to cap his

vengeance, he offered the survivors a truly dishonorable choice: They

would be ruled either by one of Eystein’s slaves or by one of his dogs.

The people of Drontheim apparently felt that they could more easily

manipulate the decisions of the dog. As kings go, the dog (whose name

was Saur) was apparently not a bad ruler. The saga claims th a t the dog

“had the wisdom of three men.” It also reports that the dog “spoke one

word for every two that it barked,” presumably meaning that it had dif­

ferent whimpers, growls, and other sounds that were interpreted as sig­

nifying different ideas and moods. The people responded by according

the dog all the expected pomp and ceremony that are due to a ruler.

They furnished him with a throne, so that he “sat upon a high place as

kings are wont to sit.” They also provided him with regal apparel, such

as a gold collar. His attendants or courtiers, whose duty it was to carry

their canine king on their shoulders whenever the weather turned bad,

wore silver chains to signify th eir office.

 

Unfortunately, the story ends ra th e r badly, with what has always

appeared to me to be the culmination of some form of plot or a secret

revolt against the dog-king. Obviously, such a revolt could not simply

involve assassination, since this might make Eystein suspicious and

cause him to re tu rn to mete out fur ther vengeance and perhaps even

to appoint a still less desirable king. Instead, the plotters capitalized on

a chance occurrence. One day, wolves broke into the royal cattle pens.

Instead of calling for help from the men-at-arms, the court iers ( trai­

tors?) rallied the dog-king to defend his livestock. With all of the brav­

ery th a t the sagas accord to one born into royalty, he immediately

mounted an attack, but, being badly outnumbered, he was killed in

battle. Thus ended the reign of Saur, the canine king.

 

There are also things like: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_Stubby,

 

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Primitive people, however, had no problem allowing dogs to have

intelligence and even suggested they had speech. For example, when

Europeans began to colonize the African Congo, they encountered

many indigenous stories about the dog as the bringer of fire, the great

hunter, and even as a teacher. A typical example comes from the

Nyanga people, whose folk hero Nkhango supposedly negotiated for

fire with the dog Rukuba: The dog would steal some fire from the high

god Nyamurairi in exchange for eternal friendship from humans. After

keeping his p a r t of the bargain, Rukuba joined with Nkhango on the

hunt, and together they achieved grea t success, even against danger ­

ous prey, such as the wild boar. As the dog’s cleverness became more

and more obvious, Nkhango learned to tru s t him with even more

tasks. Finally, Nkhango made a decision to use the dog as a messenger.

Rukuba, however, did not want to be a messenger; he wanted to lie by

the fire in comfort, and, since he was the one who had supplied the fire

in the first place, he felt that it was his right to do so. Musing th a t peo­

ple would always be sending him to this place o r th a t on errands,

because he was clever and trustworthy and could speak, the dog

Rukuba concluded, “If I could not speak, then I could not be a messen­

ger. So I will simply never speak again!” From that day on, the dog of

the Nyanga ceased speaking; he still has the intelligence and capacity

to do so but simply chooses not to.

 

-

 

Unfortunately, when Descartes threw out intellect, reason, and con­

sciousness for animals, it had more than scientific and intellectual con­

sequences. In denying animals these higher mental abilities, Descartes

also denied them feeling and emotion. According to him, the cry an

animal releases when struck does not indicate pain but is ra th e r the

equivalent of the clanging of springs or chimes you might h e a r after

you drop a mechanical clock or some wind-up toy. Nicolas de Male-

branche, a French philosopher who extended Descartes’s work, picked

up on this idea when he claimed th a t animals “eat without pleasure,

cry’ without pain, act without knowing it; they desire nothing, fear

nothing, know nothing.”

 

The upshot was that Descartes’s analysis was subsequently used to

justify massive cruelty to animals. B e rn a rd le Bovier de Fontenelle

once visited Malebranche a t the Oratory on the rue Saint-Honore.

While they were conversing, he saw Malebranche kick a p regnant dog

who had been rolling at his feet. The dog let out a cry of pain, and

Fontenelle sprang forward to defend it. Malebranche passed the inci­

dent off, saying “Don’t you know th a t it does not feel?” In due time,

such reasoning led to experiments where animals were nailed to

boards by their four paws in order to do surgery on them to see the cir­

culatory system working in a live being. People who pitied the poor

creatures for their pain were laughed at as unknowing fools. After all,

these were not to be considered sentient and feeling creatures; they

were only machines being disassembled for study. Accordingly, moral

concern was inappropriate, since the pain and suffering of animals

were not real.

 

One might be tempted to dismiss these attitudes as the unenlight­

ened thinking of the past. However, viewpoints ju s t this extreme are

still found today, nearly three hun d red fifty years after Descartes’s

theorizing. For instance, P. Carruthers, in the prestigious Journal o f

Philosophy, recently wrote of animals that, “since th e ir experiences,

including th e ir pains, are nonconscious ones, th e ir pains are of no

immediate moral concern. Indeed, since all of the mental states of

brutes are nonconscious, their injuries are lacking even in indirect

moral concern.”

 

It is interesting to note that scientists and philosophers with these

views often act and believe quite differently in their personal lives. The

extreme notion th a t only humans have consciousness and intelligence

and th a t only human pain and suffering is of any significance is ap pa r ­

ently much more difficult to hold in private life, especially if one is liv­

ing with a pet animal. For example, history tells us that Descartes had

a dog named Monsieur Grat—quite a pampered pet, to whom

Descartes spoke in the same manner th a t we speak to our own dogs.

He worried about the dog’s health and referred to things that the dog

liked o r did not like and sometimes privately speculated on what the

dog might be thinking. So much concern for an unconscious machine?

Would one talk to a machine such as a wristwatch and speculate on its

health and its likes? Obviously, in Descartes’s everyday interactions,

the presumption of consciousness for his dog was not only convenient,

but perhaps unavoidable.

 

Dont claim that filosofical beliefs have no effects on peoples behavior!

 

There is also Clarence Darrow: www.sfu.ca/~swartz/freewill1.htm#intro

 

-

 

I initially wrote this chapter during a very gray and rainy spring. The

day I finished it, more than a week had gone by without any noticeable

sunshine. That p a rt icular afternoon, though, the clouds seemed to part

and a burs t of afternoon sunshine shone through the window, forming

a big golden patch on the hardwood floor. Completing my work, I was

moving toward the kitchen to get a cup of coffee when I noticed my

Cavalier King Charles spaniel Wiz standing in the circle of light. He

looked up at the window and then down at the floor as if he were con­

templating something, and then he deliberately tu rned and ran from

the room. Within a mat te r of moments, however, he re appeared drag­

ging a large terry-cloth towel th a t he had stolen from the bathroom.

He pulled the towel into the cente r of the patch of sun, looked at it,

and then pushed at one lumpy section with both front paws. Having

ar ranged the towel to his satisfaction, he then circled around and set­

tled down for a nap on his newly created bed in the warm afternoon

sun. If one of my young grandchi ldren had done this, I would have

said th a t she felt the warmth of the sun and thought that it would be

nice to take a nap in it. Then, remembering the towel in the bathroom,

she went and retrieved it so that she could sunbathe more comfortably.

 

All this requires consciousness, intelligence, and planning. Does ray

dog Wiz have it? It is easier for me simply to recognize th a t my dog’s

behaviors in this situation were similar to behaviors th a t are accompa­

nied by consciousness in a human faced with the same situation. In the

absence of any evidence to the contrary, I will presume th a t I am deal­

ing with consciousness and intelligent behavior in my dog as well.

 

It seems to me that people requiring better evidence than this are setting an unreasonably high evidential standard.

 

-

 

Dogs can go even further than these kinds of assessments, to a point

where virtually everyone would concede th a t they are really counting.

One spring afternoon, I was part icipating in a dog obedience tr ial on

Vancouver Island in Bri tish Columbia, Canada. One of the o ther dog

competitors and I had finished for the day, and we were out walking in

a large nearby field with his lovely female Labrador retriever named

Poco. The man had a box of large rubber retrieving lures with him,

and he explained to me that he would use these to demonstrate that his

dog could count.

 

“She can count to four quite reliably and to five with only an occa­

sional miss,” he said. “I’ll show you how it works. Pick a number from

one to five.”

 

I picked the number three. While the dog watched, her master

tossed three lures out into the high grass of the field. The lures were

tossed in different directions and to different distances. After I got

down on my hands and knees and verified that the lures were not visi­

ble from the dog’s eye level at the starting position, my companion

simply told the dog, “Poco, fetch,” without pointing or other cues. The

dog went out to the most recently thrown lure, picked it up, and

brought it back. Her master took it from h e r and then repeated “Poco,

fetch,” causing the dog to s ta r t to cast about and search for the next

one. After she brought back the second lure, her master again com­

manded, “Poco, fetch,” and the dog went out after the th ird and last

lure. Removing the last lure from the dog’s mouth, he once again

ordered, “Poco, fetch.” At this, the dog simply looked at him, barked

once, and moved to his left side, to the usual heel position, and sat

down.

 

He then turned to me and said, “She knows th a t she’s retrieved all

three and that that is all there were. She keeps a running count. When

there are no more lures to search for, she lets me know with th a t

‘They’re all here, stupid’ bark and simply gets ready for the next thing

th a t I want her to d o .’’

 

We repeated the exercise for the bet ter p a rt of a half hour, varying

the number of lures up to five, with me and another spectator tossing

the lures and sending the dog to fetch as sort of a check to see if some­

thing hidden in the way the items were placed or the commands given

accounted for h e r success. Once we even had someone toss out a set of

lures in such a way that the dog saw where they landed but the person

giving Poco commands didn’t know how many lures were thrown and

therefore couldn’t give any covert clues to the dog like those Clever

Hans used in his counting tricks. None of these variations seemed to

matter, and even at five, the dog never missed the count once.

 

Dogs even seem to have a rudimentary ability to add and subtract.

Robert Young of the Pontifical Catholic University in Brazil and

Rebecca West of the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom used

a modified version of a test designed to determine that young humans

have such abilities. First the dog is shown a large treat, then a low

screen is p u t in front of it to block the dog’s view. While the dog

watches, the experimenter takes another treat, shows it to the dog, and

then lowers it down behind the screen. If the dog can count, he should

expect th a t when the screen is raised he should see two treats, and

sometimes he does. However, sometimes the experimenter secretly

removes one of the treats so that now when the screen is raised there

is only one t re a t visible. Thus instead of the expected 1 + 1=2, the

dog is presented with 1 + 1 = 1. Alternatively the experimenter can

secretly add an additional treat, giving the dog the result 1 + 1=3.

When any of the wrong answers appear, the dog reacts by staring at

the results for a much longer time than he does if the expected 1 + 1

= 2 appears. This is taken as evidence of surprise and puzzlement on

the p a r t of the dog, suggesting th a t he has done the mental addition

and know’s what the correct result should be. Such an ability would be

useful for mother dogs, which would then know if one or more of their

pups has gone missing from the litter, and by inference she would also

know how many of them were gone and must be found.

 

Creative experiment design. :) +1 for science

 

-

 

Recently a border collie named Rico was tested by Julia Fischer and

o ther psychologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary

Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. They found that he could u n d e r ­

stand over two hun d red words, most of w^hich corresponded to the

names of objects. Like a young human child, Rico would quickly form

a rough hypothesis about the meaning of a new word after a single

exposure by inferring th a t the new word is connected to an object he

is seeing for the first time. One example of this is learning by an exclu­

sionary principle. Suppose th a t we put out seven toys and say to Rico

“Go get the fram is.” Rico has never h ea rd the word “f ram is” before.

However, he goes out to the pile of objects and finds th a t he knows the

name of six of them. He then takes the next step and assumes that the

one he doesn’t recognize must be the framis. If we test him later, even

weeks later, with a new pile of objects th a t includes the one th a t we

labeled the framis, he will quickly identify it. This is a complex form of

language learning th a t th a t up to now we thought was possible only in

humans and language-learning apes.

 

One might wonder if this particular dog was super smart among her breed conspicifics.

 

-

 

The Chinese still tre a t meat from chow chows as a culinary delicacy.

According to popular folk belief, dogs with black coats are considered

to be more nutritious and to have better fat for frying. It is not difficult

to find dog farms, dog butchers, and restau rants th a t specialize in dog

meat throughout modern China and its neighboring countries. When

the Summer Olympic Games were held in Seoul, South Korea, in

1988, the government passed a temporary law forbidding re stau rants

in the city limits to serve dishes made with dog meat, fearing th a t such

menu items would offend th e ir Western visitors. Because of public

pressure, however, shortly after the Olympics had concluded, dog

dishes again became available, and dogs could again be seen hanging

in local butcher shops.

 

If you’re interested in dogs only as a food source, then the question

of the ir intelligence is moot. Who wants smar t food? What you want is

a slow-moving dog (who won’t b urn off much fat or become tough

through exercise or vigorous activity) th a t is not clever enough to make

itself h a rd to capture. Thus it is not surprising that the dogs primarily

used for food may well have been the re ta rdates of dogdom. It seems

th a t virtually every visitor to Polynesia and Micronesia who wrote

about the local poi dogs also commented on th eir absence of intelli­

gence. In A Voyage Around the World (written in 1777), for instance,

Johann Georg Adam Forster, one of the naturalists accompanying Cap­

tain Cook, described the dogs of Polynesia and the South Sea Islands

as “lazy” and “unintelligent.” Specifically, he commented:

 

This day we dined for the first time on a leg of it [dog] roasted, which

tasted so exactly like mutton, that it was absolutely indistinguishable.

. . . In New Zealand, and in the tropical isles of the South Sea, the dogs

are the most stupid, dull animals imaginable, and do not seem to have

the least advantage in point of sagacity over our sheep.

 

-

 

I have known dogs, especially puppies, who were almost

as stupid as humans in their mental reactions.

—ROBERT BENCHLEY

 

No source given. Not mentioned on Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_Benchley

 

Likely not genuine.

 

-

 

Before I describe what I learned about working or obedience intelli­

gence from these experts, I had best start with the caution th a t many

of them offered. All the judges recognized th a t there were definite dif­

ferences in the intelligence and trainability of the various breeds; how­

ever, they also noted th a t there is a lot of individual variation among

dogs. They noted th a t even in the dullest breeds, some dogs work

extremely well, while in some of the brightest breeds, certain individu­

als simply show no capacity to learn or perform. One judge told me, “A

lot has to do with the person training the dog. You can s ta r t with a

dumb breed and make them really quite clever if you are a good

enough trainer.” What this judge was actually describing was manifest

intelligence—th a t is, the sum total of all the dimensions of intelligence

th a t any dog displays. Ju s t like h uman beings, few dogs ever achieve

th e ir full psychological potential. The difference among the various

breeds, then, is how easily each can reach a certain level of perform­

ance and what the absolute maximum is th a t a dog of any given breed

may be expected to achieve. Good trainers can do a lot with any breed

of dog; they ju st find the job much easier if they s ta r t with one that has

high working and obedience intelligence.

 

Seems like a good paragraf to remember to quote in discussions of race and intellignece in humans.

 

-

 

In contemporary writing and discussions, it is considered rude,

biased, sexist, and politically incorre ct to refer to sex differences in

behavior, personality, or intelligence, especially in humans. Yet there

are clearly visible differences between male and female dogs (at least

for cer tain breeds) in terms of th e ir problem-solving and obedience

performance. Physically, males are often larger, stronger, and more

vigorous in th e ir activity th an the females. For some breeds, p a r t icu ­

larly Doberman pinschers and Labrador retrievers, the males perform

significantly better in problem-solving tests, such as those presented in

Chapter 9. Conversely, females of these breeds tend to do much better

in obedience and working tasks. One dog obedience judge, in listing

the top ten obedience breeds, noted next to his entry of Doberman pin­

schers, “females only, males tend to be too hard-headed and are more

difficult to control.” For some breeds, however, such as the poodle and

the English pointer, males are the “so f te r” sex and females are more

obstinate and difficult to train.

 

wud be interesting with more systematic data.

 

-

 

The case of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is not unique. Pfaffen-

berger kept careful records during his systematic breeding p rogram

for guide dogs. Because each dog was tested for both personality and

intelligence, this gave a marvelous opportunity to see if these ch a ra c ­

teristics were genetically based. His records show that many personal­

ity characteristics, including the willingness to work for humans, are

carried genetically. The personality of a lit ter was directly predictable

from the personality of the sire and dam. Pfaffenberger scored the will­

ingness to work using a scale th a t ran from a low of 0 to a high of 5 to

keep track of the personalities of the various dogs. In one instance he

mated a dog named Odin who scored 5 on this dimension with a bitch,

Gretchen, who scored 4. If the temperaments of the parents were

passed on to the offspring, then all the re su ltan t puppies would have

temperaments falling between these values. Sure enough, when Pfaf­

fenberger administered tests to the six puppies, he found th a t four of

them scored 5 and the remaining two scored 4.

 

Seems to miss the regression to the mean, and that it might not be entirely polygenetic. But sure, it is mostly polygenetic and regression effects might be small.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean

 

-

 

Deafness is more common in dogs than the casual pet owner might

recognize. Congenital hearing loss is mostly due to genetic factors. A

study by George Strain of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge

involving nearly seventeen thousand dogs confirmed th a t coat color is

associated with congenital deafness. The genetic defect that produces

deafness is closely linked with the genes th a t produce white coats,

roan (a dark color coat th a t has been liberally sprinkled with white),

merle (desaturated colors, especially where blacks become grays or

blues), and piebald (spotty, especially black and white) colors in dogs.

The classic example of a piebald dog is the Dalmatian. In this breed,

22 percent are deaf in one e ar and an additional 8 percent are deaf in

both ears, amounting to an amazing 30 percent born with some form

of hearing deficit. While all Dalmatians are more or less piebald, in

o ther breeds the white, roan, merle, or piebald genes are found in

some individuals but not others. In the bull terrier, for example, indi­

viduals can be either white o r can have prominent color patches.

Among those bull ter r iers who are white, the ra te of congenital deaf­

ness is 20 percent, while for those with color patches it is only around

1 percent.

 

www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/deafness

 

apparently legit.

 

-

 

If you are systematic about teaching your dog his name, its sound

will capture the dog’s attention and he will look at you. This attention

is vital when you w an t to teach the dog something or get him to do

something. If you are not systematic about teaching a dog its name,

then the dog will most likely assume th a t its name is the sound th a t it

hears most frequently directed at it by its family. There was a cartoon

th a t captured this idea when it depicted two dogs meeting on the

street. One introduces himself to the o ther saying, “My name is ‘No,

No, Bad Dog.’ What’s yours?”

 

:p

 

-

 

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, psychologists made a star-

tling discovery. They found that, for many jobs, high intelligence is

actually a handicap, especially where work is quite repetitive, where

the same actions or decisions are required many times during the day,

where work is interspersed with long periods of relative inactivity, or

where the rate of work-related activity is slow. Under these conditions,

an individual with higher general intelligence is actually apt to p e r ­

form worse than one with lower intelligence on a day-to-day basis. Not

only will the b righte r person perform less well, b u t he or she will be

considerably less satisfied with the work and the job as a whole.

 

satisfaction might be lower, but the other is just wrong.

 

cf. The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings.

Schmidt, Frank L.; Hunter, John E.

Psychological Bulletin, Vol 124(2), Sep 1998, 262-274. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.124.2.262

 

psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1998-10661-006

Found here: whatwemaybe.org/

The homepage is really weird, but the book turned out to be… pretty good. At first I was not impressed, especially because he went into insufficient details with the g factor and stuff related to that. But really g factor or not, is somewhat unrelated to eugenics. It contains some interesting quotes too. Here’s two of them:

We do our utmost to check the process of elimination;
we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the
sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert
their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last
moment…. Thus the weak members of civilized socie-
ties propagate their kind. No one who has attended to
the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this
must be highly injurious to the race of man. (Darwin)

Democracy demands that all of its citizens begin the race even.
Egalitarianism insists that they all finish even.
Roger Price, “The Great Roob Revolution”

I recommend reading this book for its focus on eugenics history, and why it is not quite how we were told in Nazi Germany. There was a lot I didn’t know there. Richard Lynn’s 2001 book on the same topic is also worth reading. It is more dry, but goes more into detail about the methods.

Me? I still think we should employ population wide, state funded (to make sure the poor can do it too), non-coercive (because I don’t trust states to do this properly) methods using not sterilization, but embryo selection, selective abortion (more than we do now), germ-line genetic engineering.

I have/had this conversation on OKCupid. It seemed shareworthy. I’m red, and the other person is blue.

Your profile mentions eugenics as an interest… is that from a pro or anti stance? Or neutral?

-

Pro, although not like how eugenics was practiced in Europe in the 30′s. Big supporter of liberal eugenics, with embryo selection being the most interesting current proposal if we don’t go straight to gene-therapy.

-

Hm, liberal eugenics. So you don’t see a problem with social stratification as the practical result? Or is my American capitalistic environment just influencing my thinking on that one?

-

There is already social stratification because of better genes among different groups. Indeed, this is the topic of The Bell Curve. :)

Of course, in the beginning this technology will be for the rich people, who will by that have even smarter+healthier children than they already have. The same is true for better schools. But such biotech falls quickly in price (say, logarithmic speeds cf. price of genome sequencing) and will soon benefit large parts of society, in the sense that people can have smarter and more healthy kids. But even when only the rich will get it, this will also benefit the rest, since society as a whole benefits from having smarter+more healthy people (to begin with, it will give society a larger pool of potential leaders).

In practice, one would start by expanding the battle against hereditary diseases for the simple reason that these are the easiest to find the genes for. For instance, screening for certain diseases during pregnancy is already widely practiced, e.g. Down’s syndrome. In Denmark 99% of women who are diagnosed as being pregnant with a Down’s syndrome fetus abort it. This has dramatically lowered the number of Down’s syndrome people in Denmark, thus saving parents from the hassle, and saving society (=everybody) from the economic disadvantage such a person is/would be.

We already know of many such genes for diseases/disease risks, while we don’t know of a single well-confirmed case for intelligence. We will find them in the next few decades. The reason they are hard to find is that there are probably 1000s of genes that affect intelligence, but a single gene has only a tiny effect (positive or negative), say 0.5 IQ. This means that one needs a huge sample to spot them from statistical noise (i.e. high powered studies).

Of course, USA is really fucked up in the relative wealth department. :) I particularly liked this video about that problem: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oOwjN9qV2ls

-Emil :)

-

I’m curious about your interpretation of “better genes” and exactly in what way they contribute to one’s social standing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your perspective sounds a bit deterministic if you’re convinced that the dominant influence on where you end up in the hierarchy is genetics, especially if your interpretation of “better genes” is centered around IQ (considering IQs in the very highest ranges are actually negatively correlated with success). It also sounds like you don’t believe environmental factors make much of a dent overall, am I correct?

Tangent: it seems you’re pretty focused on meritocracy, and while that’s a noble sentiment and a nice idea (like Marxist communism), it unfortunately doesn’t exist in the wild (also like Marxist communism). It’s been my observation that under the facade of well-meaning plans, every large community, social structure, organization, etc. is essentially based on a Hollywood mentality: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I’m not arrogant enough to assume that my own experience is representative of the entire range of experiences, but I have yet to find a self-proclaimed “meritocracy” that truly *was* that.

But back on the topic of social stratification, assuming we were able to influence the leadership potential of a given group, is it not true that when an individual or group acquires power they are unlikely to give that power up voluntarily? And will, generally speaking, restrict the ability of other individuals or groups to attain power as well?

And yes, the USA is fucked up in a lot of areas, but wealth is a pretty big one. Also, sorry if I seem a bit contentious, devil’s advocacy is just a beloved pastime of mine. And the better informed your conversation partner, the more fun it tends to be. I don’t need attribution, but if the anonymity was bothering you, my name’s ****** :)

-

With better genes, I just mean those that code for higher intelligence, health, and attractiveness. This is not quite what biologists mean by better genes, because they are talking about what fits with the environment. In that sense, genes for intelligence are bad genes, since there is selection for lower intelligence in most western countries (smarter people have fewer children). The movie Idiocracy is a description of what will happen in the far future unless we do something. :) I however, think that we definitely will do something to stop the dysgenic trend (as it is called).Not deterministic, stochastic/probabilistic. No one thinks that such things are deterministic (well, no serious scholar, fatalists of course do!), but the evidence is very strong that it is highly predictable, although not perfectly so.
As for social stratification, yes, since IQ-tests are the best measure of intelligence (=df pure g-factor), that is what I’m referring to. :) No, shared environment has no effect on adult intelligence, unless it’s an extremely bad environment (think really bad inner city black neighborhood). This was a surprise to researchers when they found it. It means that the usual sociological theories about it are all wrong. Perhaps needless to say, I think very lowly of sociology. A pity, since it’s an important field of study. Only the quality of the research is so low.As for environment overall, it accounts for about ~20% of the variance. But this is non-shared environment, not shared environment (like poverty). It is currently unknown what this mysterious 20% non-shared env. consists of. Presumably, it’s things like avoiding diseases in one’s childhood, avoiding head injury, having good friends/teachers in school.You seem to have been inflicted with the Malcolm Gladwell myth about high IQs. It is in fact wrong, higher intelligence is always better for success. We actually do have data for >120 (90th percentile, white population), and intelligence still makes a difference, in much the same way as below whatever hypothetical threshold.

See e.g. infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

-

You are wrong about it not existing in the wild. Many online communities are explicitly meritocratic (e.g. Mozilla). ;) Also, in a broader sense, our democracies are somewhat meritocratic. Politicians are generally well-educated compared to the population.

Perhaps you have not looked hard enough? ;) I spent some time researching the issue somewhat thoroughly on Google. There isn’t much academic written on the subject for some reason. Weird. However, China had clearly meritocratic policies for the selection of officials in the past. Cf. Wikipedia.

-

Social stratification, in theory, yes. And we also see some of that in practice. For instance, many democracies have a election threshold. The way it works is that any party that receives less than that amount of votes do not get into parliament, even if they ought to have a seat based on the math alone. This helps keeping newcomers out of the political system. It is an issue that surprisingly have not received any notable attention in the academic literature. I’m mentioning it because I did some research on that issue today. :)

-

Yes, I normally joke (in seriousness) that the US is the worst western country. It is not wrong. It is difficult to find a single thing the US does better than say, any north European country. Sad especially because the US is the dominant country in the world right now. Although that will change to China in the near future. Not sure that’s much better. :P

-

That was a long message. :P Let me know if you need sources for whatever. I have sources, it is just such a hassle to insert them into OKC posts. :P Especially, if one wants to keep it ‘somewhat’ casual (I always fail :D).

(I guess I could use end notes…)

Also hi ******.

-

I was actually aware of the data on the impact of environmental factors on IQ. I was addressing the fact that a very high IQ quite often leads to social maladjustment, and that the ability to operate effectively in social situations is a much greater predictor of success than intelligence alone. (prometheussociety.org/cms/articles/the-outsiders) So to say that higher intelligence is “always” better for success as if there were a linear correlation between success and IQ is to leave out a relevant chunk of information that could potentially explain *why* instead of just *how*. Human relationships are essentially based on power dynamics, no? If success can be interpreted as the amount of power one wields in one’s social environment, then it makes sense that the scales would be tipped in the favor of the moderately intelligent, rather than the highly intelligent, who tend to relate poorly to the vast majority of people and thus have a weaker hold on them from a leadership standpoint.

I am not acquainted with Malcolm Gladwell’s myth, would you care to elaborate?

-

I will concede your point about online communities, though with no real interaction I’m not sure they qualify as actual “communities”. And the idea that education constitutes merit may not be misguided in the Danish educational system, but it certainly is in the American system. Our difference of opinion here is very likely due to our respective environments. American “democracy” is a dog-and-pony show. I’m sure everything is wonderful and lovely in Denmark though :)

-

Ya wonder why there isn’t any research on what’s keeping the little guys out of power, huh? Y’know, even scientists need funding…
(When in doubt, follow the money)

So your idea that the technology would diffuse to those outside the upper class is on shaky ground… the precedent set by other forms of technology doesn’t necessarily apply here, since the affordability of a smartphone isn’t nearly as threatening to the controlling interests as the power shift that would come as the result of making previously scarce abilities (that translate directly into leadership potential) common.

-

Yes, it is sad… it’s especially frustrating to live in the dominant country in the world and then go abroad to find that everyone and their mother has a firmly entrenched opinion on your politics :P But I agree, northern Europe is generally a much better place on a number of metrics.

-

I am certainly curious about your sources, on principle, and because I’m just curious and like to read. So anything you’d like to pass along is appreciated.

-

I’ll respond to this later. I read the message and was impressed. But I’m too drunk to respond intelligently right now. :p

-

… drunk at 2pm on a Thursday? That’s Danes for you, I suppose… :P

-

Today is a holy day (<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Jesus” target=”_blank”>This one</a> ), so yesterday I went drinking. And I drank so much I woke up drunk after sleeping. That’s why. ;)

The physics friday bar (my favorite) has this system: Open on all fridays. Every work day followed by a non-work day counts as a friday. So this means that this week there are two fridays (wednesday and friday).

Also, trying to see if links in HTML works…

-

That’s a negative apparently. Would make for easier referencing…

-

Hi [NAME],

 

Much less drunk now. Hopefully more intelligent (phenotype at least!). :)

 

—- Intelligence and social maladjustment —-

 

I didn’t know that Terman studied social maladjustment in his famous study. So you managed to find something about intelligence that I didn’t know! That doesn’t happen often. :P I knew that high IQ societies have higher rates of social maladjustment, but that could be due to self-selection effects. After all, it seems that socially maladjusted people are exactly the kind of people who would want to be members of high IQ clubs. Socially well-adapted people would seem to have less need for them. No? I think I read a study of that before, but don’t recall the exact source.

 

As for success, I am referring to data like these: infoproc.blogspot.dk/2011/04/earnings-effects-of-personality.html It’s from the same study as before, and it shows that IQ holds just fine as a predictor even within a >135 IQ group. It even seems to be slightly non-linear as in curving upwards, making intelligence even more important at the ultra high end.

 

Anyway, the most interesting thing about that study is how the five personality factors predict income. N very oddly has no effect at all, it seems. Very strange! The others are not too surprising, except for the slightly negative correlation with O. Perhaps that’s due to people with high O selecting less well paying jobs (say, professors), not because they do worse at the same kind of jobs. Testable, but I don’t know of any data.

 

The Gladwell myth is the idea that there is a ceiling effect for IQ/intelligence such that more doesn’t give any benefits. This makes little sense to intelligence researchers and is flatly contracted by empirical evidence as shown above: both income and number of publications and patents. Although apparently not in the humanities… I leave the inference to the reader. :)

 

But since you said you like sources, I tried to locate the precise whereabouts of the original claim. It is mentioned in many places, say, here: www.drjonathanreed.co.uk/wordpress/tag/malcolm-gladwell/ but I downloaded the book and took a look myself. Unfortunately, it isn’t on Bookos.org (deleted by copyright), but it’s on torrent.

 

The claim is in chapter 3, here:

But there’s a catch. The relationship between success and IQ works only up to a point. Once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around 120, having additional IQ points doesn’t seem to translate into any measurable real-world advantage.8

 

The endnote is:

The “IQ fundamentalist” Arthur Jensen put it thusly in his 1980 book Bias in Mental Testing (p. 113): “The four socially and personally most important threshold regions on the IQ scale are those that differentiate with high probability between persons who, because of their level of general mental ability, can or cannot attend a regular school (about IQ 50), can or cannot master the traditional subject matter of elementary school (about IQ 75), can or cannot succeed in the academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school (about IQ 105), can or cannot graduate from an accredited four-year college with grades that would qualify for admission to a professional or graduate school (about IQ 115). Beyond this, the IQ level becomes relatively unimportant in terms of ordinary occupational aspirations and criteria of success. That is not to say that there are not real differences between the intellectual capabilities represented by IQs of 115 and 150 or even between IQs of 150 and 180. But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.””

 

Actually, his reference is to EXACTLY the book that I am currently reading! Not only is Gladwell’s claim not supported by the evidence cited, but it is also contradicted by the evidence from the Terman study. The reason the reference does not help his case is that Jensen is talking about thresholds for getting through education systems. It is true that once you get past, say, 130, college will be highly manageable, even a hard subject like physics. Jensen was not talking about other real life achievements such as patents or income or publications, etc. Obviously, with major advances in science, a higher intelligence than 120 is a great idea. Studies also show that, since Nobel price winners are usually way beyond 120.

 

infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

 

But it seems that I was wrong to say that more intelligence is always better. It seems to be better for the things mentioned and things like them, but bad for social adjustment. It might not make them less happy though. The correlation between intelligence and happiness is an active research question with seemingly contradictory results.

 

dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291712002139

 

—- Power dynamics —-

 

I have no opinion, but it sounds like sociology and I googled it and it was sociology. As someone very interested in behavioral genetics, I am understandably not too impressed by that field of study. There is a reason why psychometricians have coined two fallacies named after sociology. :)

 

occidentalascent.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/the-sociologists-first-and-second-fallacies/

 

—- Meritocracy, education —-

 

Education is a decent predictor of intelligence, so that will make it measure merit if we think that it is a good idea to have smarter rulers. I certainly think so. :p But, of course, in countries where there is no free education, education is also a function of (parental) wealth, which is however also correlated with intelligence of the children, but to a much smaller degree. I like free education systems because it increases social mobility, which is necessary for any meritocratic society. :) By the way, I’m not rich and my social background are ‘divorced’ parents without fancy jobs or educations. I am the first person in the family to attend university. No economic privilege here.

 

Yes, the US democracy is notoriously bad. Actually most democracies are really bad compared to what they could be. Have you looked into liquid democracy?

 

This is a pretty decent introduction.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0_Vhldz-8

Can of course also just read on the official site:

liquidfeedback.org/

 

There are many faults with the Danish system that I can point out if that area interests you. :P For starters, to be put on the voting ballot, one needs to gather a ridiculous amount of signatures (20,500) in complicated way. This basically means that to be put on the ballot, one needs a considerable amount of money, probably in the order of tens of thousands of dollars (>100k DKK). This is the reason why my party (Pirate Party Denmark) is not on the ballot.

 

Are you familiar with CGPGrey’s great series of videos on voting systems?

www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey

 

The US system is of course FPTP (first past the post), and this always leads to two party systems, which are horrible forms of democracy. Perhaps the worst kind aside from outright corrupt ones or with voter fraud (say, Russia).

 

—- Eugenics’ political aspects —-

 

Things like embryo selection will not make talent non-scarce. It will however improve the general intelligence levels of societies if widely employed. I also don’t think it would be possible to keep such a technology super expensive no matter which power interests want that. There will quickly be a huge demand for such technology, meaning that companies can earn money by making it available, even if illegal (like illegal drugs). The technology necessary for that is not particularly difficult to operate or large etc.

 

In any case, since generations take time, even if the rich have a window of opportunity of, say, 20 years before it’s so cheap as to be affordable for most people, or even free in countries with free health care, that will only be a single generation.

 

With the price curves for similar technology, it won’t take long before it’s dirt cheap. Actually, the time is somewhat predictable already. Since embryo selection would at least require a number of genome sequences, any number >1 will do, but more is better of course (larger variety to select from). Right now such full genome sequences are pretty expensive, but the 1,000 dollar mark is close. In 10 years, it will be very cheap so that everybody can afford it. For efficient embryo selection, one would need something like 100 or so. So, it will have to be very cheap. But it will be. :)

 

Then comes the price of egg extraction or some other method of getting eggs (grow them perhaps? stem cells?). I don’t think it’s very expensive even now. Sperm is obviously easy to get a hold of :P. Then they have to be combine separately. Can’t be too expensive.

 

In general the only expensive thing will be the sequencing, and it is falling logarithmicly in price.

 

I don’t think my belief is on shaky ground at all. I think it is more or less certain, but we can make a bet on it, and you can come find me in 30 years or so. :P

 

I got the idea from Richard Lynn’s Eugenics: A reassessment. It’s on page 252ff. I quote the beginning:

 

”Embryo selection consists of growing a number of embryos in vitro, testing

them for their genetic characteristics, and selecting for implantation those

with genetic characteristics regarded as desirable, while at the same time

discarding those with genetic characteristics regarded as undesirable. This

procedure is also known as embryo biopsy, which entails growing several blas-

tocysts (embryos grown in vitro to eight cells), removing one of the eight

cells, and testing it for genetic and chromosomal defects. Verlinksy, Pergament,

and Strom (1990) reported the use of this procedure to screen out embryos

with genes for Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and Down’s syndrome, so an

embryo free of these disorders could be implanted in the mother. At about

the same time, another use of this technique was reported by Handyside and

his colleagues at London University. They used IVF (in vitro fertilization) for

two couples in which the female was a carrier for an X-linked recessive dis-

ease, which is expressed only in males. To avoid the potential birth of a boy

with the X-linked disorder, the physicians tested for the sex of the embryos

and implanted only females. This technique allows couples to choose the sex

of their babies, whether this is to avoid having babies likely to inherit serious

disorders, or simply because they prefer one sex rather than the other.”

 

So, actually, it has already been tested, just without sequencing. One can of course detect other problems without a full genome sequencing.

 

I got the term ”liberal eugenics” from Wikipedia and from the book mentioned on Wikipedia which I also read:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_eugenics

Agar, Nicholas (2004). Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. ISBN 1-4051-2390-7.

 

Lynn’s book is much better. Liberal here is just non-coercive eugenics. I dislike coercive eugenics — I’m a freedom kind of person. :)

 

Also, since we don’t actually know the genes for intelligence yet, but do know a lot of genes for genetic diseases — genetic diseases will be the first thing to fix with this kind of selection. And actually it was, as seen above. Genetic diseases are more common among the poor/dumb people, so they will benefit the most of this technology. Societies with free health care have an interest in making this technology available, for the simple reason that it saves money in the long run. It is very expensive to treat many chronic diseases (say, diabetes), but this technology is once per person.

 

Eugenics is also becoming more mainstream, just under other names. See e.g.: www.ted.com/talks/harvey_fineberg_are_we_ready_for_neo_evolution.html

 

—- US compared to real countries :P —-

 

You don’t have a state church, or a monarchy. Denmark has both, but not too much trouble in practice. Still, there are some things. :P

 

—- Sources —-

 

I have an e-library here: emilkirkegaard.dk/books/. Probably there are many things on that that should interest you. At least if you share any of my interests, which it looks like. :) You can also take a look at my Goodreads profile if you didn’t already.

 

www.goodreads.com/user/show/8884040-emil-ow-kirkegaard

 

Some of the links are broken due to a flaw in the php-script that I don’t know how to fix.

 

Of course, you can also just ask me. I have tried to list the major works I got the ideas from above.

 

PS. You should share some pictures with me. :)

Social maladjustment in high IQ societies may be due in part to self-selection, yes, particularly in the case of Mensa and the “2 percenters”, who one could argue are not qualitatively different from those of average IQ, and whose IQs do not create an intrinsic barrier to communication with the 98 percent. However, I do not think it is unlikely that there exists a threshold above which some degree of social maladjustment is unavoidable; a person whose intelligence is in the range of 160-170 would relate to a person of average IQ in much the same way a person in the 130-140 range would relate to a mentally retarded person. It seems to follow that an individual who relates to 98% of their peer group the way “gifted” people relate to the mentally retarded faces probably insurmountable obstacles in their social development. (Tangent: forgive me for presuming to diagnose a stranger over the internet, and also for presuming that the stranger in question has any interest or need for my diagnosis, but your self-described “mild case of Gregory House” sounds a bit like a manifestation of this very phenomenon, no? That is, assuming you are above the 2 percent mark :P)

I don’t think this conversation can progress until we reach a mutually satisfying definition of “success”. Are you emphasising earnings as an indicator because this is the easiest to quantify? Or do you actually believe that earning power is synonymous with success? For the record, I don’t consider this discussion a “debate” in that I am not neccessarily looking for tangible proof. In fact, it is my belief that constraining the terms of the conversation to only that which can be tangibly proven is unneccesarily restrictive, and even detrimental to creative problem solving. Not that statistics should be ignored… but the skepticism with which you regard sociological research should perhaps be extended more broadly, as bad science is not the exclusive domain of sociology (and even interpreting “good” science can be tricky).

On the personality factors front, I would suggest that “O” might translate into higher usage of recreational substances, particularly in the college years that are so formative to one’s career path (in the US, anyway), potentially leading to lower academic success rates. Alternately, people with high “O” scores may be prone to boredom and would be less likely to specialize, specialization (supposedly) being key to success in modern society.

Yes, Gladwell sounds like an idiot. An idiot or a politician. The contempt with which you regard sociology is similar to the contempt with which I regard politics.

Hm, happiness… I believe the notion that happiness is objectively quantifiable is a mistaken one.

Your refusal to engage any argument that smacks of sociology does not render it moot, it simply narrows your field of vision. I do not suffer under the delusion that the vast majority of sociological research is devoid of fallacy, or even particularly useful at all in an academic sense (more often than not, anything politically useful is actually academically harmful). But I also don’t allow the absence of reliable statistics to preclude any sort of observation or speculation, because absolute certainty is not always possible. And also because leaning on figures as a crutch is the hallmark of those incapable of original thought :)

-

This article may interest you, and will also probably seal your judgement of America as the Worst Western Country (TM):

www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

As a disclaimer, I do not regularly read the American Conservative, nor do I identify as a conservative.

Your educational system is probably my favorite aspect of Scandinavian style socialism. At least it sounds good from an outside perspective, and apparently it’s worked well for at least one member of your society :)

Liquid democracy is an interesting form, but it does not solve the real problem: there are too many people, and too many of those people are idiots. The average person can’t be trusted to deliver my mail properly, let alone make national policy decisions. Populism is in vogue right now, and while I am not an elitist, I don’t particularly trust any populist philosophy on its face, as populism is often anti-intellectuallism masquerading as some “noble savage” ground-swelling. As presented by your video, liquid democracy has a significant populist component.

I understand your frustration with the Danish system, and I believe you that it has its faults, but the US’s system is closer to the Russian system than you might think. Indeed, for all our posturing, American and Russian culture are not too dissimilar (I and a Russian friend of mine have fun comparing and contrasting our respective backgrounds, and we are often shocked). For instance, both Kennedy and Bush faced charges of voter fraud that were not without substance… but corruption in American politics is deep-rooted and generally not an appropriate conversation topic in polite company, so I will merely say this: whatever your woes up there in your nordic bubble, they do not compare with the clusterfuck that is American politics.

-

Just because something “should” happen doesn’t mean it will. I think you underestimate the ability of those in power (be it political or economic) to abuse that power… but perhaps that is tempered in a socialistic system. It is also important to keep in mind that taboo is a powerful tool. Many cultures, especially those with strong populist sentiment, harbor an innate distrust of scientists and, by extension, technology. The industrial revolution eradicated feudalism and created the middle class, and what thanks did the scientists get? Luddites burning down the mills! The strongest form of control is not necessarily the most direct one. Look at what religion has done for the past 10,000 years.

Your point about fixing genetic diseases (especially in the case of state-subsidized health care) does seem to be more solidly based in reality, though. And by reality I mean money.

-

You have quite a collection there…

A Billion Wicked Thoughts is fascinating, definitely pick that up if you haven’t. Also, if you haven’t read Sex at Dawn, that is fascinating as well. Gives us poly people some ammunition when the monogamists start moralizing or telling us it’s “unnatural” :)

And I suppose it’s only fair…

[Pictures]

The causes of high g social maladjustment

I’m thinking that the high g social maladjustment is due to loneliness, lack of similar friends and stuff like that. Although it could be a case of ‘direct’ pleiotropy as well (one gene with multiple phenotypic effects).

The trouble with IQ’s as a measure of intelligence is that it is not a ratio scale. So one cannot conclude that a, say, person at 70 IQ is twice as unintelligent as a person of 140, and the other way around with twice as smart. This bothered Jensen who wanted to make psychology a regular hard science (a branch of biology/physiology), so he spent much of his career trying to establish a connection with something that does use a ratio scale: reaction times. It turns out that reaction times are related to g, and in systematic ways. This of course fits with conventional wisdom with the bright people being “quick-witted” as well. Although this technical aspect of intelligence research does not interest me particularly.

I cite: Jensen’s Clocking the mind: Mental Chronometry and Individual Differences (2006), which I read some parts of. It is also discussed at length in Jensen 1998.

But I agree that there is a kind of communication barrier between people of different g levels, but perhaps it is not linear. Suppose there is a barrier between, say, 140 and 100 such that persons that different almost never get along. It seems to me that it doesn’t follow from that, that there must be a similar barrier between ex. 140 and 180.
The cause of such barriers, IMO, is that the normal folks lack academic interests and simply don’t know much about anything academic. This makes conversation difficult. A person of 140 is surely capable of great knowledge of academic interests, although a 180 is without a doubt much better at it. But still, there is a good chance of mutual interests.
Self assessment of intelligence is very difficult. Not just because we are naturally inclined to overrate ourselves (self serving bias, men especially), but it is also known that ‘smart people’ 75 percentile) tend to underestimate themselves in experiments (cf. Dunning-Kruger effect). But we also know that the higher we put the number, the lower is the base rate, which makes it more difficult to have convincing evidence (cf. base rate fallacy). Together with the above, there is a lack of good, high ceiling IQ tests on the web for free. It is also not wise to rely on friend’s judgments as they are also biased (in one’s favor). University grades don’t correlate too well with IQ (0.3ish), so not too useful of a guide either. General achievement in life is also the function of things like motivation, creativity, opportunity and chance. So, difficult to use that too.

But I did take Mensa’s test and got a passing grade. :p I’m not a member though.

Success
I am of course not defining success as earnings. I just picked an example of something that is usually regarded as one measure of success (because people want money), and which there is correlational data about with IQ. I also mentioned patents and STEM publications. In any case, my goals are polymathy (very difficult), and leading the Pirate Party to election in Denmark. Both are going well IMO. I did create a spelling reform proposal that multiple respectful people said nice things about, so I’m pretty proud of that. Especially because it was something I did alone+without help, before entering university, before studying linguistics in a more serious way. I also created an innovative logic system, although much of that work is unpublished sitting on my desktop because I lost interest in it. I think it’s cool and useful for philosophy, but philosophy no longer holds my main interest.
I looked up “success”. Wiktionary just reports “The achievement of one’s aim or goal. [from 16th c.]“. So, being a high earner can be a success, if that was one’s goal. I don’t care too much about money. I tend to donate it. For instance, to Wikipedia, Wikileaks and the like.

Personality and earnings
I checked our suggestion on O and drug usage, well, drinking. It is borne out by what appears to be a decent study. Decent sample size. Higher O does correlate with more drinking. Also as expected higher C correlates negatively with more drinking. Higher N also positively.
postimg.org/image/pjpgryhml/full/
emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Trajectories-of-alcohol-and-drug-use-and-dependence-from-adolescence-to-adulthood-The-effects-of-familial-alcoholism-and-personality.pdf
Well, more work is needed for path analysis. I didn’t read the study, just checked the statistics.

Happiness
How come? Anyway, it seems it is. Although it is not so simple as previously thought. The heritability of happiness is also known with some certainly from twin studies and the like. It is usually put in the 50-80% range. Similar to IQ. Height is something like 90%.
www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory.html
blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/06/heritability-of-behavioral-traits/#.UZMeSso_Qe4

Sociology
I don’t disagree with what you say, but I don’t really know enough about “power” as thought about in sociology to say anything. I read much of the Wikipedia article on power. It has 14 sections for “Theories” the last of which is called “Other theories”. I knew of some of the research though (ultimatum and dictator games), because these are employed in evolutionary psychology in studies of cheater detection.

Meritocracy in the US
I already read that article. :P I read texts from all over the political spectrum. Something about now being narrow minded? :p Being in an information bubble is a bad idea, as it leads to confirmation bias.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble

Education in Scandinavia
Free education is the best meritocratic system for the reason that it being free maximizes the chances that a poor/bad SES but gifted person gets the best education. It is the best way to have social mobility. According to the equality people (of The Spirit Level fame), social mobility is good. From an intelligence research perspective, it is a good idea because the variance in human abilities is so large, even within families (average sibling IQ difference is 12, compared with 15 in the population).

Liquid democracy
You say you’re not an elitist, but then you say elitist things. :P Actually, I think (hope) that liquid democracy can solve a problem not possible to form with regular representative democracies. It is connected with the thing we were talking about earlier: the communication between different g groups. The idea is that one has a certain range where one can see who is the smartest/best leader. I would explain it, but someone explained it here:

news.yahoo.com/people-arent-smart-enough-democracy-flourish-scientists-185601411.html
The study is here: emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/A-Mathematical-Model-of-Democratic-Elections.pdf

His assumption of complete inability to judge who is a better leader than oneself is without a doubt wrong, but there is truth to the idea that there is a range based on oneself, which doesn’t extend too far rightward. Given that, the results should be somewhat mediocre (to fit with reality). However, if people could delegate votes recursively, one could see a delegation of votes from a person at x level, to someone higher at y, who would delegate it to someone higher at z, and so on for a few delegations. That would enable the vote to go to someone much higher than x could ‘see’. In theory, that should work very well.

I have no idea how well that idea would work in practice. Worth a try?

As for too many dumb people, yes. See e.g. this for depressing reading.

emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Deliberative-Democracy-and-Political-Ignorance.pdf

It does have a populist component, if only because there is no way else to get such a system implemented. It will also benefit the current system for other reasons than the above. For instance, the majority of the Danish population supports cannabis legalization, but the politicians are against it. With LD they could vote on it themselves. Similar for e.g. active euthanasia. Might also give other bad results though… As with other large changes, it is too difficult to predict with certainty, and the best way is to try it out. My idea is to get it implemented in some local governments, and then see how it goes. The more near-term goal is to get it implemented in the Danish Pirate Party.

-Emil

I recently got interested in a new field en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_epidemiology

Cognitive epidemiology is a field of research that examines the associations between intelligence test scores (IQ scores or extracted g-factors) and health, more specifically morbidity (mental and physical) and mortality. Typically, test scores are obtained at an early age, and compared to later morbidity and mortality. In addition to exploring and establishing these associations, cognitive epidemiology seeks to understand causal relationships between intelligence and health outcomes. Researchers in the field argue that intelligence measured at an early age is an important predictor of later health and mortality differences.[1][2]

-

I decided to scout the academic literature. Here’s some for those also curious.

Special issue of Intelligence, 2009, about cognitive epidemiology.

1. Introduction to the special issue on cognitive epidemiology

2. The association of childhood intelligence with mortality risk from adolescence to middle age Findings from the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s cohor

3. Cognition and incident coronary heart disease in late midlife The Whitehall II study

4. Can we understand why cognitive function predicts mortality Results from the Caerphilly Prospective Study (CaPS)

5. Cognition and survival in a biracial urban population of old people

6. Fluid intelligence is independently associated with all-cause mortality over 17 years in an elderly community sample

7. Reaction time and established risk factors for total and cardiovascular disease mortality

8. IQ in childhood and the metabolic syndrome in middle age Extended follow-up of the 1946 British Birth Cohort Study

9. The association between IQ in adolescence and a range of health outcomes at 40 in the 1979 US National Longitudinal Study of Youth

10. Does a fitness factor contribute to the association between intelligence and health outcomes

11. Intelligence in childhood and risk of psychological distress in adulthood The 1958 National Child Development Survey and the 1970 British Cohort S

12. Level of cognitive performance as a correlate and predictor of health behaviors that protect against cognitive decline in late life The path through life study

13. Intelligence and persisting with medication for two years Analysis in a randomised controlled trial

14. How intelligence and education contribute to substance use Hints from the Minnesota Twin family study

15. Cognitive epidemiology With emphasis on untangling cognitive ability and socioeconomic status

Some other papers that i found:

Why is intelligence correlated with semen quality Biochemical pathways common to sperm and neuron function and their vulnerability to pleiotropic mutations

Why do intelligent people live longer

The relationships between cognitive ability and dental status in a national sample of USA adults

Rare Copy Number Deletions Predict Individual Variation in Intelligence

Looking for ‘System Integrity’ in Cognitive Epidemiology

Intelligence and semen quality are positively correlated

Intelligence Is It the Epidemiologists’ Elusive Fundamental Cause of Social Class Inequalities in Health

Does IQ explain socioeconomic inequalities in health Evidence from a population based cohort study in the west of Scotland

Cognitive epidemiology J Epidemiol Community Health-2007-Deary-378-84

GALTON AND THE COMING OF EMPIRICAL PSYCHOLOGY
All the early influences on differential psychology mentioned so far came
from philosophers. None was an empirical scientist. Darwin was, of course, but
Darwinian ideas were introduced into psychology by Herbert Spencer, a pro­
fessional philosopher. The empirical study of mental ability and individual dif­
ferences could not begin until someone took up the methods of empirical
science, that is, asking definite questions of nature and discovering the answers
through analysis of data based on systematic observation, objective measure­
ment, and experimentation. The first person to do this was the Victorian eccen­
tric, polymath, and genius Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911).3 Galton was Charles
Darwin’s younger half-cousin—half-cousin because they had only one grand­
parent in common, Erasmus Darwin, a noted physician, physiologist, naturalist,
and poet. Born into a prominent and wealthy family, Galton was a child prodigy,
who could read and write before the age of four. He intensely disliked school,
however, and his parents transferred him from one private boarding school to
another, each as boring and frustrating to him as the others, and he begged his
parents to let him quit. In his Memories o f My Life (1908), written when he was
86, he still complained of his unsatisfying school experience. At age fifteen, he
was sent away to college, which offered more challenge. To satisfy his parents’
ambition that he follow in his eminent grandfather’s footsteps and become a
physician, he entered medical school. There he soon discovered that the basic
sciences—physics, chemistry, biology, and physiology—were far more to his
liking than medical practice. So he left medical school for Cambridge Univer­
sity, there to major in mathematics in preparation for a career in science.

Soon after Galton graduated, at age twenty-one, his father died, and Galton
received a large inheritance that made him independently wealthy for the rest
of his very long life. It allowed him to pursue his extremely varied interests
freely in all things scientific. His enthusiastic and catholic curiosity about natural
phenomena drove him to became perhaps the greatest scientific dilettante of all
time. Because he was also a genius, he made original contributions to many
fields, some of them important enough to be accorded chapters in books on the
history of several fields: criminology, eugenics, genetics, meteorology, psy­
chology, and statistics. He first gained fame in geography, as an explorer, ex­
pertly describing, surveying, and mapping previously unexplored parts of Africa.
For this activity, his name is engraved on the granite facade of the Royal Ge­
ographical Society’s building in London, along with the names of the most
famous explorers in British history. (His fascinating book  The Art o f Travel
[1855] was a long-time best seller and went through nine editions.) He also
made contributions to meteorology, inventing isobar mapping, being the first to
write a daily newspaper weather report, and formulating a widely accepted the­
ory of the anticyclone. He made other original contributions to photography,
fingerprint classification, genetics, statistics, anthropology, and psychometrics.
His prolific achievements and publications brought worldwide recognition and
many honors, including knighthood, Fellow of the Royal Society, and several
gold medals awarded by scientific societies in England and Europe. As a famous
man in his own lifetime, Galton also had what Hollywood calls “ star quality.”

Biographies of Galton also reveal his charming eccentricities. His profuse
intellectual energy spilled over into lesser achievements or activities that often
seem trivial. He was almost obsessed with counting and measuring things (his
motto: “When you can, count!” ), and he devised mechanical counters and other
devices to help in counting and tabulating. He loved data. On his first visit to
a city, for example, he would walk around with a small, hand-held mechanical
counter and tally the number of people passing by, tabulating their character­
istics—tall, medium, short; blond, brunette, redhead—separately for males and
females, the latter also rated for attractiveness. To be able to manage all these
data while walking about, he had his tailor make a special vest with many little
pockets, each one for a particular tabulated characteristic. He could temporarily
store the data from his counters by putting into designated pockets the appro­
priate number of dried peas. Back in his hotel room, he counted the peas in
each pocket and entered the numerical results in his notebook for later statistical
calculations.

He devised an objective measure of the degree to which a lecturer bored the
audience, and tried it out at meetings of the Royal Society. It consisted of
counting the involuntary noises—coughs, feet shuffling, and the like—that is­
sued from the audience, and, with a specially rigged protractor, he measured the
angle that listeners’ heads were tilted from a vertical position during the lecture.
A score derived from the data obtained with this procedure showed that even
the most eloquently written lecture, if read verbatim, was more boring than an
extempore lecture, however rambling and inelegant.

He also invented a special whistle (now called a Galton whistle), which is
familiar to many dog owners. Its high-frequency pitch is beyond humans’ au­
dible range and can be heard only by dogs and certain other animals. Galton
made a series of these whistles, ranging widely in pitch, and used them to find
the upper limits of pitch that could be heard by humans of different ages. To
compare the results on humans with the auditory capacities of many species in
the London Zoo, he would attach the whistles to the end of a tube that could
be extended like a telescope, so it could reach into a cage and direct the sound
right at the animal’s ear. While quickly squeezing a rubber bulb attached to one
end of the long tube to force a standard puff of air through the whistle attached
to the other end, he would note whether or not the animal reacted to a particular
pitch.

In another amusing project, he used the mathematics of solid geometry to
figure out the optimal way to cut a cake of any particular shape and dimensions
into any given number of pieces to preserve the freshness of each piece. He
published his clever solution in a mathematics journal. There are many other
quaint anecdotes about Galton’s amazing scientific curiosity and originality, but
the several already mentioned should suffice to round out the picture of his
extraordinary personality.

Although he died (at age ninety) as long ago as 1911, his legacy remains
remarkably vivid. It comprises not only his many pioneering ideas and statistical
inventions, still in use, but also the important endowments, permitted by his
personal wealth, for advancing the kinds of research he thought would be of
greatest benefit to human welfare. He founded the Department of Eugenics (now
Genetics) at the University of London and endowed its Chair, which has been
occupied by such luminaries as Karl Pearson, Sir Ronald Fisher, and Lionel
Penrose; he furnished a psychological laboratory in University College, London;
he founded two prestigious journals that are still active,  Biometrika and  The
Annals o f Human Genetics’, and he founded (in 1904) the Eugenics Society
(recently renamed The Galton Institute), which maintains an extensive library,
publishes journals and books, and sponsors many symposia, all related to the
field now known as social biology.

THE TWO DISCIPLINES OF SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY

Galton’s position in the history of behavioral science is stellar. He is ac­
knowledged as one of the two founding fathers of empirical psychology, along
with Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who established the first laboratory of ex­
perimental psychology in 1879 in Leipzig. As Wundt is recognized as the father
of experimental psychology, Galton can certainly be called the father of differ­
ential psychology, including psychometrics and behavioral genetics. Each is now
a major branch of modern behavioral science. The leading historian of experi­
mental psychology, Edwin G. Boring (1950), drew the following interesting
contrast between the scientific personalities of Galton and Wundt:

Wundt was erudite where Galton was original; Wundt overcame massive obstacles
by the weight of his attack; Galton dispatched a difficulty by a thrust of insight.
Wundt was forever armored by his system; Galton had no system. Wundt was
methodical; Galton was versatile. Wundt’s science was interpenetrated by his
philosophy; Galton’s science was discursive and unstructured. Wundt was
interminably arguing; Galton was forever observing. Wundt had a school, a formal
self-conscious school; Galton had friends, influence and effects only. Thus, Wundt
was personally intolerant and controversial, whereas Galton was tolerant and ready
to be convicted of error, (pp. 461-62)

Wundt and Galton were the progenitors of the two main branches of scientific
psychology—experimental (Wundt) and differential (Galton). These two disci­
plines have advanced along separate tracks throughout the history of psychology.
Their methodological and even philosophical differences run deep, although
both branches embrace the scientific tradition of objective testing of hypotheses.

Experimental psychology searches for general laws of behavior. Therefore, it
treats individual differences as unwanted variance, termed “ error variance,”
which must be minimized or averaged out to permit the discovery of universal
regularities in the relation between stimulus and response. The method of ex­
perimental psychology consists of controlling variables (or treatment conditions)
and randomizing the assignment of subjects to the different treatments. The
experimental conditions are intentionally manipulated to discover their average
effects, unconfounded by individual differences. In general, the stimulus pre­
sented to the subject is varied by the experimenter, while the subject’s responses
are recorded or measured. But the data of primary interest to the experimental
psychologist consist of the averaged performance of the many subjects randomly
assigned to each condition.

Differential psychology, on the other hand, seeks to classify, measure, and
then explain the variety and nature of both individual and group differences in
behavioral traits as phenomena worthy of investigation in their own right. It uses
statistical analysis, such as correlation, multiple regression, and factor analysis,
applied to data obtained under natural conditions, rather than the controlled
conditions of the laboratory. Obviously, when human characteristics are of in­
terest, individual differences and many other aspects of behavior cannot feasibly
or ethically be controlled or manipulated by the investigator. Therefore, scien­
tists must study human variation as it occurs under natural conditions. During
the latter half of this century, however, a rapprochement has begun between the
two disciplines. Both experimental and correlational methods are being used in
the study of cognition.

G al to n ’s Methodological Contributions. Galton made enduring contribu­
tions to the methodology of differential psychology. He was the first to devise
a precise quantitative index of the degree of relationship, or  co-relation (as he
called it) between any two metric variables obtained from the same individuals
(or relatives) in a given population. Examples are individuals’ height and weight
or the resemblance between parents and children, or between siblings, in a given
trait.

In 1896, Karl Pearson (1857-1936), a noted mathematician, who became a
Galton disciple and has been rightly called the “ father of statistics,” revamped
Galton’s formulation of co-relation, to make it mathematically more elegant and
enhance its general applicability. Pearson’s formula yields what now is called
“ the Pearson product-moment coefficient of correlation.” In the technical lit­
erature, however, the word  correlation, without a modifier, always signifies
Pearson’s coefficient.4 (The many other types of correlation coefficient are al­
ways specified, e.g.,  intraclass correlation,  rank-order correlation,  tetrachoric
correlation,  biserial correlation,  point-biserial correlation,  partial correlation,
semipartial correlation,  multiple correlation,  canonical correlation, correlation
ratio, phi coefficient,  contingency coefficient,  tau coefficient,  concordance co­
efficient, and  congruence coefficient. Each has its specialized use, depending on
the type of data.) Pearson’s correlation is the most generally used. Universally
symbolized by a lower-case italic  r (derived from Galton’s term  regression), it
is a ubiquitous tool in the biological and behavioral sciences. In differential
psychology, it is absolutely essential.

Galton invented many other statistical and psychometric concepts and meth­
ods familiar to all present-day researchers, including the bivariate scatter dia­
gram, regression (related to correlation), multiple regression and multiple
correlation (by which two or more different variables are used to predict another
variable), the conversion of measurements or ranks to percentiles, standardized
or scale-free measurements or scores, various types of rating scales, the use of
the now familiar normal or bell-shaped curve (originally formulated by the great
mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss [1777-1855]) as a basis for quantifying
psychological traits on an equal-interval scale, and using either the median or
the geometric mean (instead of the arithmetic mean) as the indicator of central
tendency of measurements that have a markedly skewed frequency distribution.

In his  Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development (1883), Galton
described an odd assortment of clever tests and techniques, devised mostly by
himself, for measuring basic human capacities, particularly keenness of sensory
discrimination in the different modalities, imagery, and reaction times to audi­
tory and visual stimuli. Although Galton’s use of gadgetry has been disparaged
as “ brass instrument psychology,” it was a seminal innovation—the  objective
measurement of human capacities. Compared with modern technology, of
course, Galton’s methods were fairly crude, sometimes even inadequate for their
purpose. His intense interest in human variation and his passion for quantitative
data, however, led him to apply his “ brass instrument” techniques to almost
every physical and mental characteristic that could be counted, ranked, or mea­
sured.

Galton obtained many types of data on more than 9,000 persons who, from
1884 to 1890, went through his Anthropometric Laboratory in London’s South
Kensington Science Museum. Each had to pay threepence to serve as subjects
for these tests and measurements. Unfortunately, Galton lacked the powerful
tools of statistical inference that were later developed by Karl Pearson (1857-
1936) and Sir Ronald A. Fisher (1890-1962), and therefore he could only draw
much weaker conclusions than the quality of his massive data really warranted.
He was dismayed that the measurements of sensory discrimination and speed of
reaction appeared to show so little relationship to a person’s level of general
mental ability (as indicated by educational and occupational attainments). It soon
became a widely accepted and long-lasting conclusion that the simple functions
assessed by Galton are unrelated to individual differences in the higher mental
processes, or intelligence. Galton’s “ brass instrument” approach to the study
of human abilities, therefore, was abandoned for nearly a century.

Recently, Galton’s original data have been analyzed by modern methods of
statistical inference.151 It turned out that his original hypotheses were largely
correct after all. R. A. Fisher’s method known as analysis o f variance revealed
highly significant differences between groups differing in educational and oc­
cupational level on Galton’s discrimination and reaction-time tests. Galton’s
scientific intuitions were remarkably good, but the psychometric and statistical
methods then available were not always up to the task of validating them.

Galton Introduces Genetics into Psychology. Galton’s most famous work,
Hereditary Genius (1869), was the forerunner of behavior genetics, nearly a
century before either the term or the field of behavior genetics came into being.
Galton was especially interested in the inheritance of mental ability. Because
there was then no objective scale for measuring mental ability, he devised an­
other criterion of high-level ability:  eminence, based on illustrious achievements
that would justify published biographies, encyclopedia articles, and the like. By
this criterion, he selected many of the most famous intellects of the nineteenth
century, whom he classed as “ illustrious,” and he obtained information about
their ancestors, descendants, and other relatives. His extensive biographical and
genealogical research revealed that the relatives of his illustrious probands were
much more likely to attain eminence than would a random sample of the pop­
ulation with comparable social background. More telling, he noticed that the
probability of eminence in a relative of an illustrious person decreased in a
regular stepwise fashion as the degree of kinship was more remote. Galton
noticed that the same pattern was also true for physical stature and athletic
performance.

Galton made other observations that gave some indication of the power of
family background in producing eminence. In an earlier period of history, it was
customary for popes to adopt orphan boys and rear them like sons, with all the
advantages of culture and education that papal privilege could command. Galton
noted that far fewer of these adopted boys ever attained eminence than did the
natural sons of fathers whose eminence was comparable to a pope’s. From such
circumstantial evidence, Galton concluded that mental ability is inherited in
much the same manner, and to about the same degree, as physical traits.

Galton further concluded that what was inherited was essentially a  general
ability, because eminent relatives in the same family line were often famous in
quite different fields, such as literature, mathematics, and music. He supposed
that this hereditary general ability could be channeled by circumstance or interest
into different kinds of intellectual endeavor. He also recognized special abilities,
or talent, in fields like art and music, but considered them less important than
general ability in explaining outstanding accomplishment, because a high level
of general ability characterized all of his illustrious persons. (Galton noted that
they were also characterized by the unusual zeal and persistence they brought
to their endeavors.) He argued, for example, that the inborn musical gift of a
Beethoven could not have been expressed in works of genius were it not ac­
companied by superior general ability. In Hereditary Genius, he summarized his
concept of general ability in his typically quaint style: “ Numerous instances
recorded in this book show in how small a degree eminence can be considered
as due to purely special powers. People lay too much stress on apparent spe­
cialities, thinking that because a man is devoted to some particular pursuit he
would not have succeeded in anything else. They might as well say that, because
a youth has fallen in love with a brunette, he could not possibly have fallen in
love with a blonde. As likely as not the affair was mainly or wholly due to a
general amorousness” (p. 64).

Ga l to n ’s Anecdotal Report on Twins. The use of twins to study the inher­
itance of behavioral traits was another of Galton’s important “ firsts.” He noted
that there were two types of twins, judging from their degree of resemblance.
“ Identical” twins come from one egg (hence they are now called monozygotic,
or MZ, twins), which divides in two shortly after fertilization. Their genetic
makeup is identical; thus their genetic correlation is unity (r = 1). And they are
very alike in appearance. “ Fraternal” twins (now called dizygotic, or DZ) come
from two different fertilized eggs and have the same genetic relationship as
ordinary siblings, with a genetic correlation of about one-half (on average). That
is, DZ twins are, on average, about one-half as similar, genetically, as MZ twins.
DZ twins are no more alike in appearance than ordinary siblings when they are
compared at the same age.

Galton was interested in twins’ similarities and differences, especially in MZ
twins, as any difference would reflect only the influence of environment or
nongenetic factors. He located some eighty pairs of twins whose close physical
resemblance suggested they were MZ, and he collected anecdotal data on their
behavioral characteristics from their relatives and friends and from the twins
themselves. He concluded that since the twins were so strikingly similar in their
traits, compared to ordinary siblings, heredity was the predominant cause of
differences in individuals’ psychological characteristics.

Because Galton obtained no actual measurements, systematic observations, or
quantitative data, his conclusions are of course liable to the well-known short­
comings of all anecdotal reports. Later research, however, based on the more
precise methods of modern psychometrics and biometrical genetics, has largely
substantiated Galton’s surmise about the relative importance of heredity and
environment for individual differences in general mental ability. But Galton’s
research on heredity is cited nowadays only for its historical interest as the
prototype of the essential questions and methods that gave rise to modern be­
havioral genetics. It is a fact that most of the questions of present interest to
researchers in behavioral genetics and differential psychology were originally
thought of by Galton. His own answers to many of the questions, admittedly
based on inadequate evidence, have proved to be remarkably close to the con­
clusions of present-day researchers. In the history of science, of course, the
persons remembered as great pioneers are those who asked the fundamental
questions, thought of novel ways to find the answers, and, in retrospect, had
many correct and fruitful ideas. By these criteria, Galton unquestionably quali­
fies.

Ga l to n ’s Concept of Mental Ability. Galton seldom used the word  intelli­
gence and never offered a formal definition. From everything he wrote about
ability, however, we can well imagine that, if he had felt a definition necessary,
he would have said something like  innate, general, cognitive ability. The term
cognitive clearly distinguishes it from the two other attributes of Plato’s triarchic
conception of the mind, the affective and conative. Galton’s favored term, men­
tal ability, comprises both general ability and a number of special abilities—he
mentioned linguistic, mathematical, musical, artistic, and memorial. General
ability denotes a power of mind that affects (to some degree) the quality of
virtually everything a person does that requires more than simple sensory acuity
or sheer physical strength, endurance, dexterity, or coordination.

Analogizing from the normal, bell-shaped distribution of large-sample data
on physical features, such as stature, Galton assumed that the frequency distri­
bution of ability in the population would approximate the normal curve. He
divided the normal curve’s baseline into sixteen equal intervals (a purely arbi­
trary, but convenient, number) to create a scale for quantifying individual and
group differences in general ability. But Galton’s scale is no longer used. Ever
since Karl Pearson, in 1893, invented the  standard deviation, the baseline of
the normal distribution has been interval-scaled in units of the standard devia­
tion, symbolized by c (the lower-case Greek letter sigma). Simple calculation
shows that each interval of Galton’s scale is equal to 0.696o, which is equivalent
to 10.44 IQ points, when the o of IQ is 15 IQ points. Hence Galton’s scale of
mental ability, in terms of IQ, ranges from about 16 to 184.

Galton was unsuccessful, however, in actually  measuring individual differ­
ences in intelligence. We can easily see with hindsight that his particular battery
of simple tests was unsuited for assessing the higher mental processes that peo­
ple think of as “ intelligence.” Where did Galton go wrong? Like Herbert Spen­
cer, he was immensely impressed by Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the
mechanism of evolution. And hereditary individual variation is the raw material
on which natural selection works by, in Darwinian terms, “ selection of the fittest
in the struggle for survival.” Also, Galton was influenced by Locke’s teaching
that the mind’s content is originally gained through the avenue of the five senses,
which provide all the raw material for the association of impressions to form
ideas, knowledge, and intelligence. From Darwin’s and Locke’s theories, Galton
theorized that, in his words, “ the more perceptive the senses are of differences,
the larger is the field upon which our judgement and intelligence can act”
{Human Faculty, 1883, p. 19). Among many other factors that conferred advan­
tages in the competition for survival, individual variation in keenness of sensory
discrimination, as well as quickness of reaction to external stimuli, would have
been positively selected in the evolution of human intelligence.

It seemed to Galton a reasonable hypothesis, therefore, that tests of fine sen­
sory  discrimination (not just simple acuity) and of reaction time to visual and
auditory stimuli would provide objective measures of individual differences in
the elemental components of mental ability, unaffected by education, occupation,
or social status. The previously described battery of tests Galton devised for this
purpose, it turned out, yielded measurements that correlated so poorly with com-
monsense criteria of intellectual distinction (such as election to the Royal So­
ciety) as to be unconvincing as a measure of intelligence, much less having any
practical value. Statistical techniques were not then available to prove the the­
oretical significance, if any, of the slight relationship that existed between the
laboratory measures and independent estimates of ability. Galton had tested
thousands of subjects, and all of his data were carefully preserved. When re­
cently they were analyzed by modern statistical methods, highly significant (that
is, nonchance) differences were found between the  average scores obtained by
various groups of people aggregated by age, education, and occupation.151 This
finding lent considerable theoretical interest to Galton’s tests, although they
would have no practical validity for individual assessment.

Binet and the F irs t Practical Test of Intelligence. At the behest of the Paris
school system, Alfred Binet in 1905 invented the first valid and practically useful
test of intelligence. Influenced by Galton and aware of his disappointing results,
Binet (1857-1911) borrowed a few of Galton’s more promising tests (for ex­
ample, memory span for digits and the discrimination of weights) but also de­
vised new tests of much greater mental complexity so as to engage the higher
mental processes—reasoning, judgment, planning, verbal comprehension, and
acquisition of knowledge. Test scores scaled in units of mental age derived from
Binet’s battery proved to have practical value in identifying mentally retarded
children and in assessing children’s readiness for schoolwork. The story of Bi­
net’s practical ingenuity, clinical wisdom, and the lasting influence of his test
is deservedly well known to students of mental measurement.171 The reason that
Binet’s test worked so well, however, remained unexplained by Binet, except
in intuitive and commonsense terms. A truly theory-based explanation had to
wait for the British psychologist Charles Spearman (1863-1945), whose mo­
mentous contributions are reviewed in the next chapter.

Galton on Race Differences in Ability. The discussion of Galton’s work in
differential psychology would be incomplete without mentioning one other topic
that interested him—race differences in mental ability. The title itself of his
chapter on this subject in  Hereditary Genius would be extremely unacceptable
today: “ The Comparative Worth of Different Races.” But Galton’s style of
writing about race was common among nineteenth-century intellectuals, without
(he slightest implication that they were mean-spirited, unkindly, or at all un­
friendly toward people of another race. A style like Galton’s is seen in state­
ments about race made by even such democratic and humanitarian heroes as
Jefferson and Lincoln.

Galton had no tests for obtaining direct measurements of cognitive ability.
Yet he tried to estimate the mean levels of mental capacity possessed by different
racial and national groups on his interval scale of the normal curve. His esti­
mates—many would say guesses—were based on his observations of people of
different races encountered on his extensive travels in Europe and Africa, on
anecdotal reports of other travelers, on the number and quality of the inventions
and intellectual accomplishments of different racial groups, and on the percent­
age of eminent men in each group, culled from biographical sources. He ven­
tured that the level of ability among the ancient Athenian Greeks averaged “ two
grades” higher than that of the average Englishmen of his own day. (Two grades
on Galton’s scale is equivalent to 20.9 IQ points.) Obviously, there is no pos­
sibility of ever determining if Galton’s estimate was anywhere near correct. He
also estimated that African Negroes averaged “ at least two grades” (i.e., 1.39a,
or 20.9 IQ points) below the English average. This estimate appears remarkably
close to the results for phenotypic ability assessed by culture-reduced IQ tests.
Studies in sub-Saharan Africa indicate an average difference (on culture-reduced
nonverbal tests of reasoning) equivalent to 1.43a, or 21.5 IQ points between
blacks and whites.8 U.S. data from the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT),
obtained in 1980 on large representative samples of black and white youths,
show an average difference of 1.36a (equivalent to 20.4 IQ points)—not far
from Galton’s estimate (1.39a, or 20.9 IQ points).9 But intuition and informed
guesses, though valuable in generating hypotheses, are never acceptable as ev­
idence in scientific research. Present-day scientists, therefore, properly dismiss
Galton’s opinions on race. Except as hypotheses, their interest is now purely
biographical and historical.

NOTE 3

3. The literature on Galton is extensive. The most accessible biography is by Forrest
(1974). Fancher (1985a) gives a shorter and highly readable account. A still briefer
account of Galton’s life and contributions to psychology is given in Jensen (1994a),
which also lists the principal biographical references to Galton. His own memoir (Galton,
1908) is good reading, but does not particularly detail his contributions to psychology,
a subject reviewed most thoroughly by Cyril Burt (1962). Galton’s activities in each of
the branches o f science to which he made original contributions are detailed in a collec­
tion o f essays, each by one o f fourteen experts in the relevant fields; the book also
includes a complete bibliography o f Galton’s published works, edited by Keynes (1993).
Fancher (1983a, 1983b, 1983c, 1984) has provided fascinating and probing essays about
quite specific but less well-known aspects o f Galton’s life and contributions to psychol­
ogy. Lewis M. Terman (1877-1956), who is responsible for the Stanford-Binet IQ test,
tried to estimate Galton’s IQ in childhood from a few of his remarkably precocious
achievements even long before he went to school. These are detailed in Terman’s (1917)
article, in which he concluded that Galton’s childhood IQ was “ not far from 200” (p.
212). One o f Galton’s biographers, Forrest (1974), however, has noted, “ Terman was
misled by Francis’ letter to [his sister] Adele which begins, ‘I am four years old.’ The
date shows that it was only one day short of his fifth birthday. The calculations should
therefore by emended to give an I.Q. of about 160” (p. 7). (Note: Terman estimated IQ
as 100  X  estimated Mental Age (MA)/Chronological Age (CA); he estimated Galton’s
MA as 8 years based on his purported capabilities at CA 5 years, so 100 x 8/5 = 160.)

(all from The g factor, the science of mental ability – Arthur R. Jensen,, chapter 1).

The Keynes book is: The Legacy of His Ideas  by Francis Galton; ed. Milo Keynes.

I found a review of it, here: Sir Francis Galton, FRS The legacy of his ideas. review

I was particular struck by this:

Some contributors  suggest  that  he spread  himself  too  thinly:  that  he did  too many
things and followed up too few. Perhaps  so, but many great  scientists have been
polymaths.  Could  it be something  more  insidious?  That  his major  work  has become
too politically incorrect  to mention?

I am much like Galton, except that im not that smart. I seem to be around 2.3sd above the white mean, but share his mental energy and diverse interests.

The g factor, the science of mental ability – Arthur R. Jensen, ebook download pdf free

 

This is a very interesting book. Without a doubt the best about intelligence that i hav read so far. I definitely recommend reading it if one is interested in psychometrics. It can serve as a long, good, but a bit dated introduction to the subject. For shorter introductions, probably Gottfredson’s why g matters is better.

 

 

Quotes and comments below. Red text = quotes.

——-

 

Galton had no tests for obtaining direct measurements of cognitive ability.

Yet he tried to estimate the mean levels of mental capacity possessed by different

racial and national groups on his interval scale of the normal curve. His esti­

mates—many would say guesses—were based on his observations of people of

different races encountered on his extensive travels in Europe and Africa, on

anecdotal reports of other travelers, on the number and quality of the inventions

and intellectual accomplishments of different racial groups, and on the percent­

age of eminent men in each group, culled from biographical sources. He ven­

tured that the level of ability among the ancient Athenian Greeks averaged “ two

grades” higher than that of the average Englishmen of his own day. (Two grades

on Galton’s scale is equivalent to 20.9 IQ points.) Obviously, there is no pos­

sibility of ever determining if Galton’s estimate was anywhere near correct. He

also estimated that African Negroes averaged “ at least two grades” (i.e., 1.39a,

or 20.9 IQ points) below the English average. This estimate appears remarkably

close to the results for phenotypic ability assessed by culture-reduced IQ tests.

Studies in sub-Saharan Africa indicate an average difference (on culture-reduced
nonverbal tests of reasoning) equivalent to 1.43a, or 21.5 IQ points between

blacks and whites.8 U.S. data from the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT),

obtained in 1980 on large representative samples of black and white youths,

show an average difference of 1.36a (equivalent to 20.4 IQ points)—not far

from Galton’s estimate (1.39a, or 20.9 IQ points).9 But intuition and informed

guesses, though valuable in generating hypotheses, are never acceptable as ev­

idence in scientific research. Present-day scientists, therefore, properly dismiss

Galton’s opinions on race. Except as hypotheses, their interest is now purely

biographical and historical.

 

yes there is. first, one can check the historical record to look for dysgenic effects. if the british are less smart than the ancient greeks, there wud probably hav been som dysgenic effects somwher in history. still, this is not a good method, since the population groups are somwhat different.

 

second, soon we will know the genes that cause different levels of intelligence. we can then analyze the remains of ancient greeks to see which genes they had. this shud giv a pretty good estimate, altho not perfect since, that 1) new mutations hav com by since then, 2) som gene variants hav perhaps disappeared, 3) the difficulty of getting a representativ sample of ancient greeks to test from, 4) the problems with getting good enuf quality DNA to run tests on. still, i dont think these are impossible to overcom, and i predict that som decent estimate can be made.

 

-

 

A General Factor Is Not Inevitable. Factor analysis is not by its nature

bound to produce a general factor regardless of the nature of the correlation

matrix that is analyzed. A general factor emerges from a hierarchical factor

analysis if, and only if, a general factor is truly latent in the particular correlation

matrix. A general factor derived from a hierarchical analysis should be based

on a matrix of positive correlations that has at least three latent roots (eigen­

values) greater than 1.

For proof that a general factor is not inevitable, one need only turn to studies

of personality. The myriad of inventories that measure various personality traits

have been subjected to every type of factor analysis, yet no general factor has

ever emerged in the personality domain. There are, however, a great many first-

order group factors and several clearly identified second-order group factors, or

“ superfactors” (e.g., introversion-extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism),

but no general factor. In the abilities domain, on the other hand, a general factor,

g, always emerges, provided the number and variety of mental tests are sufficient

to allow a proper factor analysis. The domain of body measurements (including

every externally measurable feature of anatomy) when factor analyzed also

shows a large general factor (besides several small group factors). Similarly, the

correlations among various measures of athletic ability show a substantial gen­

eral factor.

 

 

Jensen was wrong about this, altho the significance of that is disputed afaict. see:

How important is the General Factor of Personality? A General Critique (William Revelle and Joshua Wilt), PDF

 

-

 

In jobs where assurance of competence is absolutely critical, however, such

as airline pilots and nuclear reactor operators, government agencies seem to have

recognized that specific skills, no matter how well trained, though essential for

job performance, are risky if they are not accompanied by a fairly high level of

g. For example, the TVA, a leader in the selection and training of reactor op­

erators, concluded that results of tests of mechanical aptitude and specific job

knowledge were inadequate for predicting an operator’s actual performance on

the job. A TVA task force on the selection and training of reactor operators

stated: “ intelligence will be stressed as one of the most important characteristics

of superior reactor operators.. . . intelligence distinguishes those who have

merely memorized a series of discrete manual operations from those who can

think through a problem and conceptualize solutions based on a fundamental

understanding of possible contingencies.” 161 This reminds one of Carl Bereiter’s

clever definition of “ intelligence” as “ what you use when you don’t know

what to do.”

 

funny and true

 

-

 

The causal underpinnings of mental development take place at the neurolog­

ical level even in the absence of any specific environmental inputs such as those

that could possibly explain mental growth in something like figure copying in

terms of transfer from prior learning. The well-known “ Case of Isabel” is a

classic example.181 From birth to age six, Isabel was totally confined to a dimly

lighted attic room, where she lived alone with her deaf-mute mother, who was

her only social contact. Except for food, shelter, and the presence of her mother,

Isabel was reared in what amounted to a totally deprived environment. There

were no toys, picture books, or gadgets of any kind for her to play with. When

found by the authorities, at age six, Isabel was tested and found to have a mental

age of one year and seven months and an IQ of about 30, which is barely at

the imbecile level. In many ways she behaved like a very young child; she had

no speech and made only croaking sounds. When handed toys or other unfa­

miliar objects, she would immediately put them in her mouth, as infants nor­

mally do. Yet as soon as she was exposed to educational experiences she

acquired speech, vocabulary, and syntax at an astonishing rate and gained six

years of tested mental age within just two years. By the age of eight, she had

come up to a mental age of eight, and her level of achievement in school was

on a par with her age-mates. This means that her rate of mental development—

gaining six years of mental age in only two years—was three times faster than

that of the average child. As she approached the age of eight, however, her

mental development and scholastic performance drastically slowed down and

proceeded thereafter at the rate of an average child. She graduated from high

school as an average student.

 

What all this means to the g controversy is that the neurological basis of

information processing continued developing autonomously throughout the six

years of Isabel’s environmental deprivation, so that as soon as she was exposed

to a normal environment she was able to learn those things for which she was

developmentally “ ready” at an extraordinarily fast rate, far beyond the rate for

typically reared children over the period of six years during which their mental

age normally increases from two to eight years. But the fast rate of manifest

mental development slowed down to an average rate at the point where the level

of mental development caught up with the level of neurological development.

Clearly, the rate of mental development during childhood is not just the result

of accumulating various learned skills that transfer to the acquisition of new

skills, but is largely based on the maturation of neural structures.

 

this reminds me of the person who suggested that we delay teaching math in schools for the same reason. it is simply more time-effective, and time is costly, both for the child who has limited freedom in the time spent in school, and for soceity becus that time cud hav been spent on teaching somthing else, or not spent at all and thus saved money on teachers.

 

the idea is that som math subjects takes very long to teach, say, 8 year olds, but can rapidly to taught to 12 year olds. so, using som invented numbers, the idea is that instead of spending 10 hours teaching long division to 8 year olds, we cud spend 2 hours teaching long division to 12 year olds, thus saving 8 eights that can be either used on somthing else that can be taught easily to 8 year olds, or simply freeing up the time for non-teaching activities.

 

see: www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sanjoy/benezet/ for the original papers

 

-

 

Perhaps the most problematic test of overlapping neural elements posited by

the sampling theory would be to find two (or more) abilities, say, A and B, that

are highly correlated in the general population, and then find some individuals

in whom ability A is severely impaired without there being any impairment of

ability B. For example, looking back at Figure 5.2, which illustrates sampling

theory, we see a large area of overlap between the elements in Test A and the

elements in Test B. But if many of the elements in A are eliminated, some of

its elements that are shared with the correlated Test B will also be eliminated,

and so performance on Test B (and also on Test C in this diagram) will be

diminished accordingly. Yet it has been noted that there are cases of extreme

impairment in a particular ability due to brain damage, or sensory deprivation

due to blindness or deafness, or a failure in development of a certain ability due

to certain chromosomal anomalies, without any sign of a corresponding deficit

in other highly correlated abilities.22 On this point, behavioral geneticists Will-

erman and Bailey comment: “ Correlations between phenotypically different

mental tests may arise, not because of any causal connection among the mental

elements required for correct solutions or because of the physical sharing of

neural tissue, but because each test in part requires the same ‘qualities’ of brain

for successful performance. For example, the efficiency of neural conduction or

the extent of neuronal arborization may be correlated in different parts of the

brain because of a similar epigenetic matrix, not because of concurrent func­

tional overlap.” 22 A simple analogy to this would be two independent electric

motors (analogous to specific brain functions) that perform different functions

both running off the same battery (analogous to g). As the battery runs down,

both motors slow down at the same rate in performing their functions, which

are thus perfectly correlated although the motors themselves have no parts in

common. But a malfunction of one machine would have no effect on the other

machine, although a sampling theory would have predicted impaired perform­

ance for both machines.

 

i know its only an analogy, but whether ther ar one or two motors tapping from one battery might hav an effect on their speed. that depends on the setup, i think.

 

-

 

Gc is most highly loaded in tests based on scholastic knowledge and cultural

content where the relation-eduction demands of the items are fairly simple. Here

are two examples of verbal analogy problems, both of about equal difficulty in

terms of percentage of correct responses in the English-speaking general pop­

ulation, but the first is more highly loaded on G f and the second is more highly

loaded on Gc.

 

1. Temperature is to cold as Height is to

(a) hot (b) inches (c) size (d) tall (e) weight

2. Bizet is to Carmen as Verdi is to

(a) Aida (b) Elektra (c) Lakme (d) Manon (e) Tosca

 

first one, i wanted to answer <small>, since <cold> is on the bottum of the scale of temperature, so i wanted somthing that was on the bottom of the scale of height. but ther is no such option, but tall is also on the scale of height, just as cold is on the scale of temperature. with no other better option, i went with (d), which was correct.

 

second one, however, made no sense to me. i did look for patterns in spelling, vowels, length, etc., found nothing. i then googled it. its composers and their operas.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Bizet

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Verdi

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aida

 

-

 

Another blood variable of interest is the amount of uric acid in the blood

(serum urate level). Many studies have shown it to have only a slight positive

correlation with IQ. But it is considerably more correlated with measures of

ambition and achievement. Uric acid, which has a chemical structure similar to

caffeine, seems to act as a brain stimulant, and its stimulating effect over the

course of the individual’s life span results in more notable achievements than

are seen in persons of comparable IQ, social and cultural background, and gen­

eral life-style, but who have a lower serum urate level. High school students

with elevated serum urate levels, for example, obtain higher grades than their

IQ-matched peers with an average or below-average serum urate level, and,

amusingly, one study found a positive correlation between university professors’

serum urate levels and their publication rates. The undesirable aspect of high

serum urate level is that it predisposes to gout. In fact, that is how the association

was originally discovered. The English scientist Havelock Ellis, in studying the

lives and accomplishments of the most famous Britishers, discovered that they

had a much higher incidence of gout than occurs in the general population.

Asthma and other allergies have a much-higher-than-average frequency in

children with higher IQs (over 130), particularly those who are mathematically

gifted, and this is an intrinsic relationship. The intellectually gifted show some

15 to 20 percent more allergies than their siblings and parents. The gifted are

also more apt to be left-handed, as are the mentally retarded; the reason seems

to be that the IQ variance of left-handed persons is slightly greater than that of

the right-handed, hence more of the left-handed are found in the lower and upper

extremes of the normal distribution of IQ.

 

Then there are also a number of odd and less-well-established physical cor­

relates of IQ that have each shown up in only one or two studies, such as vital

capacity (i.e., the amount of air that can be expelled from the lungs), handgrip

strength, symmetrical facial features, light hair color, light eye color, above-

average basic metabolic rate (all these are positively correlated with IQ), and

being unable to taste the synthetic chemical phenylthiocarbamide (nontasters are

higher both in g and in spatial ability than tasters; the two types do not differ

in tests of clerical speed and accuracy). The correlations are small and it is not

yet known whether any of them are within-family correlations. Therefore, no

causal connection with g has been established.

 

Finally, there is substantial evidence of a positive relation between g and

general health or physical well-being.[36] In a very large national sample of high

school students (about 10,000 of each sex) there was a correlation of +.381

between a forty-three-item health questionnaire and the composite score on a

large number of diverse mental tests, which is virtually a measure of g. By

comparison, the correlation between the health index and the students’ socio­

economic status (SES) was only +.222. Partialing out g leaves a very small

correlation ( + .076) between SES and health status. In contrast, the correlation

between health and g when SES is partialed out is +.326.

 

how very curius!

 

-

 

Certainly psychometric tests were never constructed with the intention of

measuring inbreeding depression. Yet they most certainly do. At least fourteen

studies of the effects of inbreeding on mental ability test scores—mostly IQ—

have been reported in the literature.132′ Without exception, all of the studies show

inbreeding depression both of IQ and of IQ-correlated variables such as scho­

lastic achievement. As predicted by genetic theory, the IQ variance of the inbred

is greater than that of the noninbred samples. Moreover, the degree to which

IQ is depressed is an increasing monotonic function of the coefficient of in-

breeding. The severest effects are seen in the offspring of first-degree incestuous

matings (e.g., father-daughter, brother-sister); the effect is much less for first-

cousin matings and still less for second-cousin matings. The degree of IQ de­

pression for first cousins is about half a standard deviation (seven or eight IQ

points).

 

In most of these studies, social class and other environmental factors are well

controlled. Studies in Muslim populations in the Middle East and India are

especially pertinent. Cousin marriages there are more prevalent in the higher

social classes, as a means of keeping wealth in family lines, so inbreeding and

high SES would tend to have opposite and canceling effects. The observed effect

of inbreeding depression on IQ in the studies conducted in these groups,

therefore, cannot be attributed to the environmental effects of SES that are often

claimed to explain IQ differences between socioeconomically advantaged and

disadvantaged groups.

 

These studies unquestionably show inbreeding depression for IQ and other

single measures of mental ability. The next question, then, concerns the extent

to which g itself is affected by inbreeding. Inbreeding depression could be

mainly manifested in factors other than g, possibly even in each test’s specificity.

To answer this question, we can apply the method of correlated vectors to in-

breeding data based on a suitable battery of diverse tests from which g can be

extracted in a hierarchical factor analysis. I performed these analyses1331 for the

several large samples of children born to first-and second-cousin matings in

Japan, for whom the effects of inbreeding were intensively studied by geneticists

William Schull and James Neel (1965). All of the inbred children and compa­

rable control groups of noninbred children were tested on the Japanese version

of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). The correlations among

the eleven subtests of the WISC were subjected to a hierarchical factor analysis,

separately for boys and girls, and for different age groups, and the overall av­

erage g loadings were obtained as the most reliable estimates of g for each

subtest. The analysis revealed the typical factor structure of the WISC—a large

g factor and two significant group factors: Verbal and Spatial (Performance).

(The Memory factor could not emerge because the Digit Span subtest was not

used.) Schull and Neel had determined an index of inbreeding depression on

each of the subtests. In each subject sample, the column vector of the eleven

subtests’ g loadings was correlated with the column vector of the subtests’ index

of inbreeding depression (ID). (Subtest reliabilities were partialed out of these

correlations.) The resulting rank-order correlation between subtests’ g loadings

and their degree of inbreeding depression was + .79 (p < .025). The correlation

of ID with the Verbal factor loadings (independent of g) was +.50 and with the

Spatial (or Performance) factor the correlation was —.46. (The latter two cor­

relations are nonsignificant, each with p < .05.) Although this negative corre­

lation of ID with the spatial factor (independent of g) falls short of significance,

the negative correlation was found in all four independent samples. Moreover,

it is consistent with the hypothesis that spatial visualization ability is affected

by an X-linked recessive allele.34 Therefore, it is probably not a fluke.

 

A more recent study1351 of inbreeding depression, performed in India, was

based entirely on the male offspring of first-cousin parents and a control group

of the male offspring of genetically unrelated parents. Because no children of

second-cousin marriages were included, the degree of inbreeding depression was

considerably greater than in the previous study, which included offspring of

second-cousin marriages. The average inbreeding effect on the WISC-R Full

Scale IQ was about ten points, or about two-third of a standard deviation.1361

The inbreeding index was reported for the ten subtests of the WISC-R used in

this study. To apply the method of correlated vectors, however, the correlations

among the subtests for this sample are needed to calculate their g loadings.

Because these correlations were not reported, I have used the g loadings obtained

from a hierarchical factor analysis of the 1,868 white subjects in the WISC-R

standardization sample.1371 The column vector of these g loadings and the column

vector of the ID index have a rank-order correlation (with the tests’ reliability

coefficients partialed out) of +.83 (p < .01), which is only slightly larger than

the corresponding correlation between the g and ID vectors in the Japanese

study.

 

In sum, then, the g factor significantly predicts the degree to which perform­

ance on various mental tests is affected by inbreeding depression, a theoretically

predictable effect for traits that manifest genetic dominance. The larger a test’s

g loading, the greater is the depression of the test scores of the inbred offspring

of consanguineous parents, as compared with the scores of noninbred persons.

The evidence in these studies of inbreeding rules out environmental variables

as contributing to the observed depression of test scores. Environmental differ­

ences were controlled statistically, or by matching the inbred and noninbred

groups on relevant indices of environmental advantage.

 

pretty large effects. the footnote with the 14 studies mentioned is:

 

Adams & Neel, 1967; Afzal, 1988; Afzal & Sinha, 1984; Agrawal et al., 1984;

Badaruddoza & Afzil, 1993; Bashi, 1977; Book, 1957; Carter, 1967; Cohen et al., 1963;

Inbaraj & Rao, 1978; Neel, et al., 1970; Schull & Neel, 1965; Seemanova, 1971; Slatis

& Hoene, 1961.

 

-

 

Semantic Verification Test. The SVT uses the binary response console (Fig­

ure 8.3) and a computer display screen. Following the preparatory “ beep,” a

simple statement appears on the screen. The statement involves the relative

positions of the three letters A, B, C as they may appear (equally spaced) in a

horizontal array. Each trial uses one of the six possible permutations of these

three letters chosen at random. The statement appears on the screen for three

seconds, allowing more than enough time for the subject to read it. There are

fourteen possible statements of the following types: “ A after B,” “ C before

A,” “ A between B and C,” “ B first,” “ B last,” “ C before A and B,” “ C

after B and A” ; and the negative form of each of these statements, for instance,

“ A not after B.” Following the three-second appearance of one of these state­

ments, the screen goes blank for one second and then one of the permutations

of the letters A B C appears. The subject responds by pressing either the TRUE

or FALSE button, depending on whether the positions of the letters does or does

not agree with the immediately previous statement.

 

Although the SVT is the most complex of the many ECTs that have been

tried in my lab, the average RT for university students is still less than 1 second.

The various “ problems” differ widely in difficulty, with average RTs ranging

from 650 msec to 1,400 msec. Negative statements take about 200 msec longer

than the corresponding positive statements. MT, on the other hand, is virtually

constant across conditions, indicating that it represents something other than

speed of information processing.

 

The overall median RT and RTSD as measured in the SVT each correlates

about —.50 with scores on the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices given

without time limit. The average RT on the SVT also shows large differences

between Navy recruits and university students,1201 and between academically

gifted children and their less gifted siblings.1211 The fact that there is a within-

families correlation between RT and IQ indicates that these variables are intrin­

sically and functionally related.

 

One study20 reveals that the average processing time for each of the fourteen

types of SVT statements in university students predicts the difficulty level of

the statements (in terms of error responses) in children (third-graders) who were

given the SVT as a nonspeeded paper-and-pencil test. While the SVT is of such

trivial difficulty for college students that individual differences are much more

reliably reflected by RT rather than by errors, the SVT items are relatively

difficult for young children. Even when they take the SVT as a nonspeeded

paper-and-pencil test, young children make errors on about 20 percent of the

trials. (The few university students who made even a single error under these

conditions, given as a pretest, were screened out.) The fact that the rank order

of the children’s error rates on the various types of SVT statements closely

corresponds to the rank order of the college students’ average RTs on the same

statements indicates that item difficulty is related to speed of processing, even

when the test is nonspeeded.

 

It appears that if information exceeds a critical level of complexity for the in­

dividual, the individual’s speed of processing is too slow to handle the infor­

mation all at once; the system becomes overloaded and processing breaks

down, with resulting errors, even for nonspeeded tests on which subjects are

told to take all the time they need. There are some items in Raven’s Advanced

Matrices, for example, that the majority of college students cannot solve with

greater than chance success, even when given any amount of time, although the

problems do not call for the retrieval of any particular knowledge. As already

noted, the scores on such nonspeeded tests are correlated with the speed of in­

formation processing in simple ECTs that are easily performed by all subjects

in the study.

 

interesting test. the threshold hypothesis is also interesting for makers of IQ tests.

 

-

 

There are many other kinds of simple tasks that do not resemble the con­

tents of conventional psychometric tests but that have significant correlations

with IQ. Many studies have confirmed Spearman’s finding that pitch discrim­

ination is g-loaded, and other musical discriminations, in duration, timbre,

rhythmic pattern, pitch interval, and harmony, are correlated with IQ, indepen­

dently of musical training.28 The strength of certain optical illusions is also

significantly related to IQ.1291 Surprisingly, higher-IQ subjects experience cer­

tain illusions more strongly than subjects with lower IQ, probably because

seeing the illusion implies a greater amount of mental transformation of the

stimulus, and tasks that involve transformation of information (e.g., backward

digit span) are typically more g loaded than tasks involving less transforma­

tion of the input (e.g., forward digit span). The positive correlation between

IQ and susceptibility to illusions is consistent with the fact that susceptibility

to optical illusions also increases with age, from childhood to maturity, and

then decreases in old age—the same trajectory we see for raw-score perform­

ance on IQ tests and for speed and intraindividual consistency of RT in ECTs.

The speed and consistency of information processing generally show an in­

verted U curve across the life span.

 

interesting.

 

-

 

Jensen mentions the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerkes-Dodson_law

interesting. i link to Wikipedia since i think its explanation of the law is better than Jensens, who just briefly mentions it.

 

-

 

[...Localized damage to the brain

areas that normally subserve one of these group factors can leave the person

severely impaired in the expression of the abilities loaded on the group factor,

but with little or no impairment of abilities that are loaded on other group factors

or on g.]

 

A classic example of this is females who are born with a chromosomal anom­

aly known as Turner’s syndrome.1701 Instead of having the two normal female

sex chromosomes (designated XX), they lack one X chromosome (hence are

designated XO). Provided no spatial visualization tests are included in the IQ

battery, the IQs of these women (and presumably their levels of g) are normally

distributed and virtually indistinguishable from that of the general population.

Yet their performance on all tests that are highly loaded on the spatial-

visualization factor is extremely low, typically borderline retarded, even in

Turner’s syndrome women with verbal IQs above 130. It is as if their level of

g is almost totally unreflected in their level of performance on spatial tasks.

 

It is much harder to imagine the behavior of persons who are especially

deficient in all abilities involving g and all of the major group factors, but have

only one group factor that remains intact. In our everyday experience, persons

who are highly verbal, fluent, articulate, and use a highly varied vocabulary,

speaking with perfect syntax and appropriate expression, are judged to be of at

least average or probably superior IQ. But there is a rare and, until recently,

little-known genetic anomaly, Williams syndrome,1711 in which the above-listed

characteristics of high verbal ability are present in persons who are otherwise

severely mentally deficient, with IQs averaging about 50. In most ways, Wil­

liams syndrome persons appear to behave with no more general capability of

getting along in the world than most other persons with similarly low IQs. As

adults, they display only the most rudimentary scholastic skills and must live

under supervision. Only their spoken verbal ability has been spared by this

genetic defect. But their verbal ability appears to be “ hollow” with respect to

g. They speak in complete, often complex, sentences, with good syntax, and

even use unusual words appropriately. (They do surprisingly well on the Pea­

body Picture Vocabulary Test.) In response to a series of pictures, they can tell

a connected and fully elaborated story, accompanied by appropriate, if somewhat

exaggerated, emotional expression. Yet they have exceedingly little ability to

reason, or to explain or summarize the meaning of what they say. On most

spatial ability tests they generally perform on a par with Down syndrome persons

of comparable IQ, but they also differ markedly from Down persons in peculiar

ways. Williams syndrome subjects are more handicapped than IQ-matched

Down subjects in figure copying and block designs.

 

Comparing Turner’s syndrome with Williams syndrome obviously suggests

the generalization that a severe deficiency of one group factor in the presence

of an average level of g is far less a handicap than an intact group factor in the

presence of a very low level of g.

 

never heard of Williams syndrome befor.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_syndrome

 

-

 

The correlation of IQ with grades and achievement test scores is highest (.60

to .70) in elementary school, which includes virtually the entire child population

and hence the full range of mental ability. At each more advanced educational

level, more and more pupils from the lower end of the IQ distribution drop out,

thereby restricting the range of IQs. The average validity coefficients decrease

accordingly: high school (.50 to .60), college (.40 to .50), graduate school (.30

to .40). All of these are quite high, as validity coefficients go, but they permit

far less than accurate prediction of a specific individual. (The standard error of

estimate is quite large for validity coefficients in this range.)

 

interesting. one thing that i hav been thinking about is that my GPA thruout my life has always been a bit abov average, but not close to the top. given that the intelligence requirement for each new step on the way thru the school system increases, one wud hav expected a drop in GPA, but no such thing happened. in fact, its the other way around. my GPA is the danish elementary school is 9.3 (9th grade) the average is ~8.1. this includes grades from non-intellectual subjects such as the ‘subject’ of having a nice hand-writing (yes seriusly). in 10th grade my average was 8.7, and the average is ~6.6. the max is 13 in all cases, altho normally grades abov 11 wer not given.

 

in gymnasiet (high school equiv.ish), my GPA was 7.8 and the average is 7.0. the slightly slower grades is becus the system was changed from a 13-step to a 7-step scale. and for comparison reasons, one can note that i went to HTX which has lower grades. the percentile level is 65th.

 

my university grades befor dropping out of filosofy were rather good, lots of 10′s, but i dont know the average, so cant compare. i suspect they were abov average again.

 

-

 

Unless an individual has made the transition from word reading to reading

comprehension of sentences and paragraphs, reading is neither pleasurable nor

practically useful. Few adults with an IQ of eighty (the tenth percentile of the

overall population norm) ever make the transition from word reading skill to

reading comprehension. The problem of adult illiteracy (defined as less than a

fourth-grade level of reading comprehension) in a society that provides an ele­

mentary school education to virtually its entire population is therefore largely a

problem of the lower segment of the population distribution of g. In the vast

majority of people with low reading comprehension, the problem is not word

reading per se, but lack of comprehension. These individuals score about the

same on tests of reading comprehension even if the test paragraphs are read

aloud to them by the examiner. In other words, individual differences in oral

comprehension and in reading comprehension are highly correlated.12’1

 

80.. but the american black average is only about 85. is it really true that ~37% of them ar too dull to learn to read properly? compared with ~10% of whites.

 

-

 

Virtually every type of work calls for behavior that is guided by cognitive

processes. As all such processes reflect g to some extent, work proficiency is g

loaded. The degree depends on the level of novelty and cognitive complexity

the job demands. No job is so simple as to be totally without a cognitive com­

ponent. Several decades of empirical studies have shown thousands of correla­

tions of various mental tests with work proficiency. One of the most important

conclusions that can be drawn from all this research is that mental ability tests

in general have a higher success rate in predicting job performance than any

other variables that have been researched in this context, including (in descend­

ing order of average predictive validity) skill testing, reference checks, class

rank or grade-point average, experience, interview, education, and interest meas­

ures.1221 In recent years, one personality constellation, characterized as “ consci­

entiousness,” has emerged near the top of the list (just after general mental

ability) as a predictor of occupational success.

 

reminds me that i ought to look into this field of psychology. its called I/O psychology. som time back i talked with a phd (i think) on 4chan who studied that area. he said that if he had his way, he wud just rely on g alone to predict job performance, training etc. he recommended me a textbook, which i found on the internet.

 

Psychology Applied to Work, An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology – Paul M. Muchinsky

 

it seems decent.

 

-

 

A person cannot perform a job successfully without the specific knowledge

required by the job. Possibly such job knowledge could be acquired on the job

after a long period of trial-and-error learning. For all but the very simplest jobs,

however, trial-and-error learning is simply too costly, both in time and in errors.

Job training inculcates the basic knowledge much more efficiently, provided that

later on-the-job experience further enhances the knowledge or skills acquired in

prior job training. Because knowledge and skill acquisition depend on learning,

and because the rate of learning is related to g, it is a reasonable hypothesis that

g should be an effective predictor of individuals’ relative success in any specific

training program.

 

The best studies for testing this hypothesis have been performed in the armed

forces. Many thousands of recruits have been selected for entering different

training programs for dozens of highly specialized jobs based on their perform­

ance on a variety of mental tests. As the amount of time for training is limited,

efficiency dictates assigning military personnel to the various training schools

so as to maximize the number who can complete the training successfully and

minimize the number who fail in any given specialized school. When a failed

trainee must be rerouted to a different training school better suited to his apti­

tude, it wastes time and money. Because the various schools make quite differing

demands on cognitive abilities, the armed services employ psychometric re­

searchers to develop and validate tests to best predict an individual’s probability

of success in one or another of the various specialized schools.

 

 

one is tempted to say ”common sense”, but apparently, only the military dares to do such things.

 

-

 

A rough analogy may help to make the essential point. Suppose that for some

reason it was impossible to measure persons’ heights directly in the usual way,

with a measuring stick. However, we still could accurately measure the length

of the shadow cast by each person when the person is standing outdoors in the

sunlight. Provided everyone’s shadow is measured at the same time of day, at

the same day of the year, and at the same latitude on the earth’s surface, the

shadow measurements would show exactly the same correlations with persons’

weight, shoe size, suit or dress size, as if we had measured everyone directly

with a yardstick; and the shadow measurements could be used to predict per­

fectly whether or not a given person had to stoop when walking through a door

that is only 5 ‘/2 -feet high. However, if one group of persons’ shadows were

measured at 9:00 a .m . and another group’s at 10:00 a .m ., the pooled measure­

ments would show a much smaller correlation with weight and other factors

than if they were all measured at the same time, date, and place, and the meas­

urements would have poor validity for predicting which persons could walk

through a 5 ‘/2 -foot door without stooping. We would say, correctly, that these

measurements are biased. In order to make them usefully accurate as predictors

of a person’s weight and so forth, we would have to know the time the person’s

shadow was measured and could then add or subtract a value that would adjust

the measurement so as to make it commensurate with measurements obtained

at some other specific time, date, and location. This procedure would permit the

standardized shadow measurements of height, which in principle would be as

good as the measurements obtained directly with a measuring stick.

 

Standardized IQs are somewhat analogous to the standardized shadow meas­

urements of height, while the raw scores on IQ tests are more analogous to the

raw measurements of the shadows themselves. If we naively remain unaware

that the shadow measurements vary with the time of day, the day of the year,

and the degrees of latitude, our raw measurements would prove practically

worthless for comparing individuals or groups tested at different times, dates,

or places. Correlations and predictions could be accurate only within each unique

group of persons whose shadows were measured at the same time, date, and

place. Since psychologists do not yet have the equivalent of a yardstick for

measuring mental ability directly, their vehicles of mental measurement—IQ

scores—are necessarily “ shadow” measurements, as in our height analogy, al­

beit with amply demonstrated practical predictive validity and construct validity

within certain temporal and cultural limits.

 

 

interesting. however, biologically based tests shud allow for absolut measurement, say tests based on RT in ECTs, or tests based on the amount of mylianation in the brain, or brain ph levels, brain size via brain imaging scans if we can make them better measurements of g, etc.

 

-

 

Many possible factors determine whether a person passes or fails a particular

test item. Does the person understand the item at all (e.g., “What is the sum of

all the latent roots of a 7 X 7 R matrix?” )? Has the person acquired the specific

knowledge called for by the item (e.g., “Who wrote Faust?”), or perhaps has

he acquired it in the past and has since forgotten it? Did the person really know

the answer, but just couldn’t recall it at the moment of being tested? Does the

item call for a cognitive skill the person either never acquired or has forgotten

through disuse (e.g., “ How much of a whole apple is two-thirds of one-half of

the apple?” )? Does the person understand the problem and know how to solve

it, but is unable to do it within the allotted time limit (e.g., substituting the

corresponding letter of the alphabet for each of the numbers from one to twenty-

six listed in a random order in one minute)? Or even when there is a liberal

time limit does the person give up on the item or just guess at the answer

prematurely, perhaps because the item looks too complicated at first glance (e.g.,

“ If it takes six garden hoses, all running for three hours and thirty minutes to

fill a tank, how many additional hoses would be needed to fill the tank in thirty

minutes?” )?

 

1) dunno

2) Goethe

3) 2/3*1/2=4/6*3/6=12/36=1/3

4) #hose*time=tank size

6*3.5=21

21 is the size of the tank

21=0.5*#hose, solve #hose

42=#hose

42-6=36

36 more hoses

 

-

 

The only study I have found that investigated whether there has been a secular

change (over thirty years) in the heritability of g-loaded test scores concluded

that “ the results revealed no unambiguous evidence for secular trends in the

heritability of intelligence test scores.” 1351 However, the heritability coefficients

(based on twenty-two same-age cohort samples of MZ and DZ male twins born

in Norway between 1930 and 1960) showed some statistically reliable nonlinear

trends over the thirty-year period, as shown in Figure 10.2. The overall trend

line goes equally down-up-down-up with heritability coefficients ranging from

slightly above .80 to slightly below .40. The heritability coefficient was the same

for the cohort born in 1930 as for the cohort born in 1960 (for both, h2 = .80).

The authors offer only weak ad hoc speculations about possible causes of this

erratic fluctuation of h2 across 22 points in time.

 

the hole is the german occupation of norway. the data from the 30s make sense to me, the depression wud result in civil unrest and the changing up of society. after a period of such, heritabilities shud stabilize again, as seen in the after war period. i dont understand the 50s down swing in heritability.

 

so, i thought it might be somthing economic. i gathered GDP data, and looked at the data. nope, not true.

 

www.norges-bank.no/pages/77409/p1_c6.xlsx

 

data from 1901 to 2000 looks like this:

gdp norway 50s

 

doesnt fit with the GDP hypothesis at all, except for missing data in the war.

 

i dunno, perhaps www.newsinenglish.no/2010/06/16/the-50s-in-norway-werent-so-nifty/

 

the authors of the study that found the drop in heritability also dont know ”We are, however, quite at a loss in explaining the dip from about 1950 to 1954. Thus, we feel that the best strategy at present is to leave the issue of secular trends open. ”

On the question of secular trends in the heritability of intelligence scores A study of Norwegian twins

-

 

Head Start. The federal preschool intervention known as Head Start, which

has been in continual existence now since 1964, is undoubtedly the largest-

scale, though not the most intensive, educational intervention program ever un­

dertaken, with an annual expenditure over $2 billion. The program is aimed at

improving the health status and the learning and social skills of preschoolers

from poor backgrounds so they can begin regular school more on a par with

children from more privileged backgrounds. The intervention is typically short­

term, with various programs lasting anywhere from a few months to two years.

 

The general conclusion of the hundreds of studies based on Head Start data

is that the program has little, if any, effect on IQ or scholastic achievement that

endures beyond more than two to three years after exposure to Head Start. The

program does, however, have some potential health benefits, such as inoculations

of enrollees against common childhood diseases and improved nutrition (by

school-provided breakfast or lunch). The documented behavioral effects are less

retention-in-grade and lower dropout rates. The cause(s) of these effects are

uncertain. Because eligible children were not randomly enrolled in Head Start,

but were selected by parents and program administrators, these scholastic cor­

relates of Head Start are uninterpretable from a causal standpoint. Selection,

rather than direct causation by the educational intervention itself, could be the

explanation of Head Start’s beneficial outcomes.

 

crazy amount of money spent for som slight health benefits. perhaps ther is a cheaper way to get such benefits.

 

-

 

The Milwaukee Project. Aside from Head Start, this is the most highly

publicized of all intervention experiments. It was the most intensive and exten­

sive educational intervention ever conducted for which the final results have

been published.55 It was also the most costly single experiment in the history of

psychology and education—over $14 million. In terms of the highest peak of

IQ gains for the seventeen children in the treatment condition (before the gains

began to vanish), the cost was an estimated $23,000 per IQ point per child.

 

holy shit. even tho i think iv seen this figur befor (in The g Factor by Chris Brand).

 

Jensen also doesnt mention the end of the project, but Wikipedia does:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_Project

 

The Milwaukee Project’s claimed success was celebrated in the popular media and by famous psychologists. However, later in the project Rick Heber, the principal investigator, was discharged from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and convicted and imprisoned for large-scale abuse of federal funding for private gain. Two of Heber’s colleagues in the project were also convicted for similar abuses. The project’s results were not published in any refereed scientific journals, and Heber did not respond to requests from colleagues for raw data and technical details of the study. Consequently, even the existence of the project as described by Heber has been called into question. Nevertheless, many college textbooks in psychology and education have uncritically reported the project’s results.[3][4]

 

this reminds me why open data is necessary in science.

 

-

 

[The Abecedarian Early Intervention Project.]

Both the T and C groups (each with about fifty subjects) were given age-

appropriate mental tests (Bayley, Stanford-Binet, McCarthy, WPPSI) at

six-month intervals from age six months to sixty months. The important com­

parisons here are the mean T-C differences at each testing. (Because the test

scores do not have the same factor composition across this wide age range,

the absolute scores of the T group alone are not as informative of the efficacy

of the intervention as are the mean T-C differences.) At every testing from six

months to five years of age, the T group outperformed the C group, and the

overall average T-C difference (103.3 — 95.5 = 7.8 IQ points) was highly

significant (p < .001). Peculiarly, however, the largest T-C differences (aver­

aging fifteen IQ points) occurred between eighteen and thirty-six months of

age and then declined during the last two years of intervention. At sixty

months, the average T-C difference was 7.5 IQ points. This decrease might

simply reflect the fact that with the children’s increasing age the tests become

increasingly more g-Ioaded. The tests used before two or three years of age

measure mainly perceptual-motor functions that have relatively little g satura­

tion. Only later does g becomes the predominant component of variance in

IQ. In follow-up studies at eight and twelve years of age, the T-C difference

on the WISC-R was about five IQ points,1571 a difference that has remained up

to age fifteen. At the last reported testing, the T-C difference was 4.6 IQ

points, or a difference of 0.35ct. Scholastic achievement test scores showed a

somewhat larger effect of the intervention up to age fifteen.1571 The interven­

tion effect on other criteria of the project’s success was demonstrated by the

decreased percentage of children who repeated at least one grade by age

twelve (T = 28 percent, C = 55 percent) and the percentage of children with

borderline or retarded intelligence (IQ < 85) (T = 12.8 percent, C = 44.2

percent).1561

 

Thus this five-year program of intensive intervention beginning in early in­

fancy increased IQ (at age fifteen years) by about five points. Judging from a

comparable gain in scholastic achievement, the effect had broad transfer, sug­

gesting that it probably raised the level of g to some extent. The finding that

the T subjects did better than the C subjects on a battery of Piaget’s tests of

conservation, which reflect important stages in mental development, is further

evidence. The Piagetian tests are not only very different in task demands from

anything in the conventional IQ tests used in the conventional assessments, but

are also highly g loaded.1571 The mean T-C difference on the Piagetian conser­

vation tests was equal to 0.33a (equivalent to five IQ points). Assuming that

the instructional materials in the intervention program did not closely resemble

Piaget’s tests, it is a warranted conclusion that the intervention appreciably

raised the Level of g.

 

im still skeptical as to the g effects. id like to see the data about them as adults, and a larger sample size.

 

again, Wikipedia has mor on the issue, both positiv and negativ:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abecedarian_Early_Intervention_Project

Significant findings

Follow-up assessment of the participants involved in the project has been ongoing. So far, outcomes have been measured at ages 3, 4, 5, 6.5, 8, 12, 15, 21, and 30.[5] The areas covered were cognitive functioning, academic skills, educational attainment, employment, parenthood, and social adjustment. The significant findings of the experiment were as follows:[6][7]

Impact of child care/preschool on reading and math achievement, and cognitive ability, at age 21:

  • An increase of 1.8 grade levels in reading achievement
  • An increase of 1.3 grade levels in math achievement
  • A modest increase in Full-Scale IQ (4.4 points), and in Verbal IQ (4.2 points).

Impact of child care/preschool on life outcomes at age 21:

  • Completion of a half-year more of education
  • Much higher percentage enrolled in school at age 21 (42 percent vs. 20 percent)
  • Much higher percentage attended, or still attending, a 4-year college (36 percent vs. 14 percent)
  • Much higher percentage engaged in skilled jobs (47 percent vs. 27 percent)
  • Much lower percentage of teen-aged parents (26 percent vs. 45 percent)
  • Reduction of criminal activity

Statistically significant outcomes at age 30:

  • Four times more likely to have graduated from a four-year college (23 percent vs. 6 percent)
  • More likely to have been employed consistently over the previous two years (74 percent vs. 53 percent)
  • Five times less likely to have used public assistance in the previous seven years (4 percent vs. 20 percent)
  • Delayed becoming parents by average of almost two years

(Most recent information from Developmental Psychology, January 18, 2012, cited in uncnews.unc.edu, January 19, 2012)

The project concluded that high quality, educational child care from early infancy was therefore of utmost importance.

Other, less intensive programs, notably the Head Start Program, but also others, have not been as successful. It may be that they provided too little too late compared with the Abecedarian program.[4]

Criticisms

Some researchers have advised caution about the reported positive results of the project. Among other things, they have pointed out analytical discrepancies in published reports, including unexplained changes in sample sizes between different assessments and publications. It has also been noted that the intervention group’s reported 4.6 point advantage in mean IQ at age 15 was not statistically significant. Herman Spitz has noted that a mean IQ difference of similar magnitude to the final difference between the intervention and control groups was apparent already at age six months, indicating that “4 1/2 years of massive intervention ended with virtually no effect.” Spitz has suggested that the IQ difference between the intervention and control groups may have been present from the outset due to faulty randomization.[8]

 

not quite sure what to think. the sample sizes ar still kind small, and if Spitz is right in his criticism, the studies hav not shown much.

 

the reason that im skeptical to begin with is that the modern twin studies show, that shared environment, which is what these studies change to a large degree, has no effect on adult IQ.

 

in any case, if it requires so expensiv spendings to get slightly less dumb kids, its hard to justify as a public policy. at the very least, id like to see the calculation that finds that this has a net positiv benefit for society. it is possible, for instance, becus crime rates ar (supposedly) down, and job retention up which leads to mor taxes being paid, and so on.

 

-

 

Error distractors in multiple-choice answers are of interest as a method of

discovering bias. When a person fails to select the correct answer but instead

chooses one of the alternative erroneous responses (called “ distractors” ) offered

for an item in a multiple-choice test, the person’s incorrect choice is not random,

but is about as reliable as is the choice of the correct answer. In other words,

error responses, like correct responses, are not just a matter of chance, but reflect

certain information processes (or the failure of certain crucial steps in infor­

mation processing) that lead the person to choose not just any distractor, but a

particular one. Some types of errors result from a solution strategy that is more

naive or less sophisticated than other types of errors. For example, consider the

following test item:

 

If you mix a pint of water at 50° temperature with two pints of water at 80°

measured on the same thermometer, what will be the temperature of the mix­

ture? (a) 65°, (b) 70°, (c) 90°, (d) 130°, (e) Can’t say without knowing

whether the temperatures are Centigrade or Fahrenheit.

 

We see that the four distractors differ in the level of sophistication in mental

processing that would lead to their choice. The most naive distractor, for ex­

ample, is D, which is arrived at by simple addition of 50° and 80°. The answer

A at least shows that the subject realized the necessity for averaging the tem­

peratures. The answer 90° is the most sophisticated distractor, as it reveals that

the subject had a glimmer of the necessity for a weighted average (i.e., 50° +

8072 = 90°) but didn’t know how to go about calculating it. (The correct

answer, of course, is B, because the weighted average is [1 pint X 50° + 2

pints X 80°]/3 pints = 70°.) Preference for selecting different distractors changes

across age groups, with younger children being attracted to the less sophisticated

type of distractor, as indicated by comparing the percentage of children in dif­

ferent age groups that select each distractor. The kinds of errors made, therefore,

appear to reflect something about the children’s level of cognitive development.

 

interesting.

 

-

 

What is termed a cline results where groups overlap at their fuzzy boundaries

in some characteristic, with intermediate gradations of the phenotypic charac­

teristic, often making the classification of many individuals ambiguous or even

impossible, unless they are classified by some arbitrary rule that ignores biology.

The fact that there are intermediate gradations or blends between racial groups,

however, does not contradict the genetic and statistical concept of race. The

different colors of a rainbow do not consist of discrete bands but are a perfect

continuum, yet we readily distinguish different regions of this continuum as

blue, green, yellow, and red, and we effectively classify many things according

to these colors. The validity of such distinctions and of the categories based on

them obviously need not require that they form perfectly discrete Platonic cat­

egories.

 

while the rainbow analogy works to som extent, it is not that good. the reason is that with rainbows, all the colors (groups) ar on a continuum in such a way that ther isnt a blend between every two colors (groups). this is not how races work, as ther is always the possibility of a blend between any two groups, even odd groups such as amerindians and aboriginals.

 

-

 

Of the approximately 100,000 human polymorphic genes, about 50,000 are

functional in the brain and about 30,000 are unique to brain functions.[12] The

brain is by far the structurally and functionally most complex organ in the human

body and the greater part of this complexity resides in the neural structures of

the cerebral hemispheres, which, in humans, are much larger relative to total

brain size than in any other species. A general principle of neural organization

states that, within a given species, the size and complexity of a structure reflect

the behavioral importance of that structure. The reason, again, is that structure

and function have evolved conjointly as an integrated adaptive mechanism. But

as there are only some 50,000 genes involved in the brain’s development and

there are at least 200 billion neurons and trillions of synaptic connections in the

brain, it is clear that any single gene must influence some huge number of

neurons— not just any neurons selected at random, but complex systems of

neurons organized to serve special functions related to behavioral capacities.

 

It is extremely improbable that the evolution of racial differences since the

advent of Homo sapiens excluded allelic changes only in those 50,000 genes

that are involved with the brain.

 

the same point was made, altho less technically, in Hjernevask. ther is no good apriori reason to think that natural selection for som reason only worked on non-brain, non-behavioral genes. it simply makes no sense at all to suppose that.

 

-

 

Bear in mind that, from the standpoint of natural selection, a larger brain

size (and its corresponding larger head size) is in many ways decidedly disad­

vantageous. A large brain is metabolically very expensive, requiring a high-

calorie diet. Though the human brain is less than 2 percent of total body weight,

it accounts for some 20 percent of the body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR). In

other primates, the brain accounts for about 10 percent of the BMR, and for

most carnivores, less than 5 percent. A larger head also greatly increases the

difficulty of giving birth and incurs much greater risk of perinatal trauma or

even fetal death, which are much more frequent in humans than in any other

animal species. A larger head also puts a greater strain on the skeletal and

muscular support. Further, it increases the chances of being fatally hit by an

enemy’s club or missile. Despite such disadvantages of larger head size, the

human brain, in fact, evolved markedly in size, with its cortical layer accom­

modating to a relatively lesser increase in head size by becoming highly con­

voluted in the endocranial vault. In the evolution of the brain, the effects of

natural selection had to have reflected the net selective pressures that made an

increase in brain size disadvantageous versus those that were advantageous. The

advantages obviously outweighed the disadvantages to some degree or the in­

crease in hominid brain size would not have occurred.

 

this brain must hav been very useful for somthing. if som of this use has to do with non-social things, like environment, one wud expect to see different levels of ‘brain adaptation’ due to the relative differences in selection pressure in populations that evolved in different environments.

 

-

 

How then can the default hypothesis be tested empirically? It is tested exactly

as is any other scientific hypothesis; no hypothesis is regarded as scientific unless

predictions derived from it are capable of risking refutation by an empirical test.

Certain predictions can be made from the default hypothesis that are capable of

empirical test. I f the observed result differs significantly from the prediction, the

hypothesis is considered disproved, unless it can be shown that the tested pre­

diction was an incorrect deduction from the hypothesis, or that there are artifacts

in the data or methodological flaws in their analysis that could account for the

observed result. If the observed result does in fact accord with the prediction,

the hypothesis survives, although it cannot be said to be proven. This is because

it is logically impossible to prove the null hypothesis, which states that there is

no difference between the predicted and the observed result. If there is an al­

ternative hypothesis, it can also be tested against the same observed result.

 

For example, if we hypothesize that no tiger is living in the Sherwood Forest

and a hundred people searching the forest fail to find a tiger, we have not proved

the null hypothesis, because the searchers might have failed to look in the right

places. I f someone actually found a tiger in the forest, however, the hypothesis

is absolutely disproved. The alternative hypothesis is that a tiger does live in

the forest; finding a tiger clearly proves the hypothesis. The failure of searchers

to find the tiger decreases the probability of its existence, and the more search­

ing, the lower is the probability, but it can never prove the tiger’s nonexistence.

 

Similarly, the default hypothesis predicts certain outcomes under specified

conditions. If the observed outcome does not differ significantly from the pre­

dicted outcomes, the default hypothesis is upheld but not proved. If the predic­

tion differs significantly from the observed result, the hypothesis must be

rejected. Typically, it is modified to accord better with the existing evidence,

and then its modified predictions are empirically tested with new data. If it

survives numerous tests, it conventionally becomes a “ fact.” In this sense, for

example, it is a “ fact” that the earth revolves around the sun, and it is a “ fact”

that all present-day organisms have evolved from primitive forms.

 

meh, mediocre or bad filosofy of science.

 

-

 

 

 

the problem with this data is that the women were not don having children. the data is from women aged 34. since especially smart women (and so mor whites) hav children later than that age, their fertility estimates ar spuriusly low. see also the data in Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences (Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, 2012).

 

-

 

Whites perform significantly better than blacks on the subtests called Com­

prehension, Block Design, Object Assembly, and Mazes. The latter three tests

are loaded on the spatial visualization factor of the WISC-R. Blacks perform

significantly better than whites on Arithmetic and Digit Span. Both of these tests

are loaded on the short-term memory factor of the WISC-R. (As the test of

arithmetic reasoning is given orally, the subject must remember the key elements

of the problem long enough to solve it.) It is noteworthy that Vocabulary is the

one test that shows zero W-B difference when g is removed. Along with Infor­

mation and Similarities, which even show a slight (but nonsignificant) advantage

for blacks, these are the subtests most often claimed to be culturally biased

against blacks. The same profile differences on the WISC-R were found in

another study|8lbl based on 270 whites and 270 blacks who were perfectly

matched on Full Scale IQ.

 

seems inconsistent with typical environment only theories.

 

-

 

 

The 10000 year explosion – Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, download, free, ebook, pdf

 

This is a nontechnical overall introduction to how human evolution has happened. it mentions a lot of stuff i didnt know. i wud have liked more references. the book is openly race realist, and i was waiting for it to mention that the reason Africa is so backwards is that africans are so dumb, but it was only hinted at. instead, the authors focused the last chapter on a higher than average group, the jews. this is probably a smart move. once it has been acknowledged that the asians and jews are smarter than whites, one cannot shrug off other racial differences as being due to white racism, white supremacy, biased IQ tests, and so on.

 

Quotes and comments below.

 

There’s been no biological change in humans in 40,000 or

50,000 years. Everything we call culture and civilization

we’ve built with the same body and brain.

—Stephen Jay Gould

 

wat. even supposing that natural selection (lack of reproduction due to death/injury) was set out of motion (as it nearly is in todays welfare states), there wud still be sexual selection.

 

but it does fit with Goulds punctuated equilibrium ideas.

 

-

 

Their behavior has changed as well: Dogs are good at read­

ing human voice and gestures, while wolves can’t understand us

at all. Male wolves pair-bond with females and put a lot of ef­

fort into helping raise their pups, but male dogs—well, call

them irresponsible. There have been substantial changes in dogs

in just the past couple of centuries: Most of the breeds we know

today are no older than that.

 

In an extreme example, the Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev

succeeded in developing a domesticated fox in only forty years.5

In each generation he selected for tameness (and only tame­

ness); this eventually resulted in foxes that were friendly and

enjoyed human contact, in strong contrast to wild foxes. This

strain of tame foxes also changed in other ways: Their coat color

lightened, their skulls became rounder, and some of them were

born with floppy ears. It seems that some of the genes influenc­

ing behavior (tameness in this case) also affect other traits—so

when Belyaev selected for tameness, he automatically got changes

in those other traits as well. Many of these changes have occurred

as side effects of domestication in a number of species—possibly

including humans, as we shall see.

 

very cool. more here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tame_Silver_Fox

 

-

 

Changes in domesticated plants can be just as impressive.

Corn, or maize, which is derived from a wild grass named

teosinte, has changed wildly in only 7,000 years. I t ’s hard to be­

lieve that maize and teosinte are closely related.

Such dramatic responses to selection aren’t isolated cases—

they’ve occurred in many domesticated species and continue to

occur today. Evolutionary genetics predicts that substantial

change in almost any trait is possible in a few tens of genera­

tions, and those predictions are confirmed every day. Selection is

used routinely in many kinds of agriculture, and it works: It

grows more corn, lots more. You can’t argue with corn.

chuckle

 

-

 

While there has probably not been enough time for dogs to

develop wholly new complex adaptations, there has certainly

been enough time to lose some, sometimes in all breeds, but

other times only in a subset of dog breeds. Wolf bitches dig

birthing dens; a few breeds of dogs still do, but most do not.

Wolves go into season in a predictable way, at a fixed time of the

year; a few dog breeds do, but most do not. Wolves regurgitate

food for weaned cubs, but dogs no longer do so. Male wolves

help care for their offspring, but male dogs do not. Any adapta­

tion, whether physical or behavioral, that loses its utility in a

new environment can be lost rapidly, especially if it has any no­

ticeable cost. Fish in lightless caves lose their sight over a few

thousand years at most—much less time than it took for eyes to

evolve in the first place.

 

In some sense these are evolutionarily shallow changes,

mostly involving loss of function or exaggerations and redirec­

tions of function. Although such changes will not produce gills

or sonar, they can accomplish amazing things. Dogs are all one

species, but as we have noted, they vary more in morphology

than any other mammal and have developed many odd abilities,

including learning abilities: Dog breeds vary greatly in learning

speed and capacity. The number of repetitions required to learn

a new command can vary by factors of ten or more from one

breed to another. The typical Border collie can learn a new com­

mand after 5 repetitions and respond correctly 95 percent of

the time, whereas a basset hound takes 80-100 repetitions to

achieve a 25 percent accuracy rate.

 

very interesting! see also:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Collie

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_intelligence

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs

 

im definitely going to add the last book to my to read list: Coren, Stanley (1995). The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide To The Thoughts, Emotions, And Inner Lives Of Our Canine Companions. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-37452-4.

 

as for the rankings listed in the third article above. it seems obvious that they shud be compared for cranium and brain size (measured by brain scans) and see if that correlates with their intelligence rankings. ill bet that it does, just like for both between and within human populations.

 

-

 

But even then, we knew from our experience with animal

and plant breeding, along with observation of many examples of

rapid evolution in nature, that there could be significant evolu­

tionary change in 10,000 years or less. It was also clear that

modest genetic differences between groups could cause big trait

differences. Indeed, entirely divergent life strategies can be

caused by differences in a single gene, as we see in fire ants,

where ants with one version of a pheromone receptor live in in­

dependent colonies, each having a single queen, while those

with the other version live in a sprawling metacolony with many

queens.17 Well before the revolution in genomics, it was clear

enough that there could be significant differences between human

populations in almost any trait, despite recent common ancestry.

It was clear that this was entirely compatible with what we knew

of genetics, and it was also clear that at least some such differ­

ences existed in skin color, size, morphology, and metabolism.

 

Very cool. the cite given is: Laurent Keller and Kenneth G. Ross, “Selfish Genes: A Green

Beard in the Red Fire Ant,” Nature 394 (1998): 573; Michael J. B.

Krieger and Kenneth G. Ross, “Identification of a Major Gene Regulat­

ing Complex Social Behavior,” Science 295, no. 5553 (2002): 328-332.

 

-

 

BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE PART NEANDERTHAL!

There is often a visceral reaction to the idea that we carry some

Neanderthal genes. Probably this is due to the general impres­

sion that Neanderthals were backward and apelike. Neanderthals

weren’t really apelike, although they were behind the times—but

since it looks, in any case, as if we’ve absorbed only their best

(most useful) traits, we can be happy about our Neanderthal

ancestry, proud even. At any rate, it could be worse: We could

have picked up genes from a virus. In fact, it is worse: We have.

Most viruses (which are basically just bags full of DNA or

RNA) slip into cells and then take over, making copies of them­

selves and usually killing the host cells in the process. But some

RNA viruses (retroviruses, like HIV) copy their RNA into

DNA and then, sometimes, integrate that DNA into the host

cell’s genome. I f the retrovirus happens to occupy a reproduc­

tive cell, one that makes sperm or eggs, the retroviral genes can

actually become part of the next generation’s genome. This has

happened in the past: Humans have many genetic remnants of

retroviruses that at one time inserted copies of themselves into

the human genome. Most do not seem to have any real func­

tion, but a few do. For example, both humans and apes have

syncytin, derived from a retroviral envelope protein that our an­

cestors picked up roughly 30 million years ago. It plays a role in

the development of the placenta—in particular, the process that

leads to the development of a fused cell layer. Anyone who’s

overly worried about possible Neanderthal ancestry should re­

member that we’re certainly descended from viruses. As usual,

the facts don’t care about our feelings.

 

thats cool

 

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When you think about it, the whole process is rather

strange: Northern Europeans and some sub-Saharan Africans

have become “mampires,” mutants that live off the milk of an­

other species. We think lactose-tolerance mutations played an

important role in history, a subject we will treat at some length

in Chapter 6.

 

i hav often thought the same.

 

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Science as we know it got its official start in Europe in the

sixteenth century with the publication of Copernicus’s work De

revolutionibus in 1543. The closest thing to modern science seen

before that would have been the protoscience practiced by the

Greek and, later, Arab civilizations—but they’re not that close.

The productivity and intensity of modern science far outshines

earlier efforts. Some of the most important European scien­

tists, such as Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Charles

Darwin, made larger intellectual contributions as individuals

than other entire civilizations did over a period of centuries.

 

true, but kinda mean. think about it!

 

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Technical and social factors must have been important in

increasing social connectivity: Better transportation, regular

mail services, and the printing press, for example, played essen­

tial roles. Although inventions such as the printing press were

undoubtedly important, they seem to have been necessary rather

than sufficient, since science either does not exist or is appallingly

feeble in the majority of the world’s populations, even among

those that have access to those favorable technological factors. If

a region or population produces major advances in knowledge,

science there is real and alive, otherwise not. By that standard,

science does not exist in sub-Saharan Africa or in the Islamic

world today. As Pervez Hoodbhoy (head of the physics depart­

ment in Islamabad) has written, “No major invention or discov­

ery has emerged from the Muslim world for well over seven

centuries now.”30

 

the reference is presumably this: islamicvoice.com/January2008/Islam&Science/index.php

its worth a read. try f.i.:

 

Let us look at the state of science in the current Islamic world. A study by academics at the International Islamic University, Malaysia, showed that OIC countries have 8.5 scientists, engineers, and technicians per 1,000 population, compared with a world average of 40.7, and 139.3 for countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Forty-six Muslim countries contributed 1.17 per cent of the world’s science literature, whereas 1.66 per cent came from India alone and 1.48 per cent from Spain. Twenty Arab countries contributed 0.55 per cent, compared with 0.89 per cent by Israel alone. Of the 28 lowest producers of scientific articles in 2003, half belong to the OIC.

 

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Every selective sweep starts out as a change in the DNA of a

sperm or egg. Such changes can be caused by chemicals, radia­

tion, or just random jostling of molecules—but what matters to

us is that such changes do occur. Mutations favorable enough

to initiate a sweep are extremely rare. One set of human DNA

has about 3 billion nucleotides, and an average person has about

100 new mutations. Most of those changes are in DNA that ap­

parently does nothing at all—only 2 percent of our DNA does

anything (as far as we know)—but on average, two or three of

those mutations affect functional DNA. Still, they do not usu­

ally make a significant difference, either in a positive or a nega­

tive way.

 

hasnt this simplistic notion of junk DNA been disproven?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_DNA

 

see especially www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6099/1159

 

This week, 30 research papers, including six in Nature and additional papers published online by Science, sound the death knell for the idea that our DNA is mostly littered with useless bases. A decade-long project, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), has found that 80% of the human genome serves some purpose, biochemically speaking. Beyond defining proteins, the DNA bases highlighted by ENCODE specify landing spots for proteins that influence gene activity, strands of RNA with myriad roles, or simply places where chemical modifications serve to silence stretches of our chromosomes.

 

that the authors apparently do not know this raises some doubts about their other knowledge of genetics. they also dont provide a source for their claim, indicating that they think it is common knowledge. well, it was common belief but it turned out to be wrong (so it wasnt knowledge at all).

 

a very favorable reading of their claim wud take it that they were simply refering to non-coding DNA, for which the 98% number holds true. but being non-coding (for proteins) does not exactly imply that it “does nothing at all”.

 

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the authors mention the interesting case of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ApoA-1_Milano

 

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