Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

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Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#1  Postby Sadegh » Jul 26, 2015 2:19 am

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015 ... tudy-shows

Of course this gets posted on The Guardian and the storm of analmad in the comment section is just golden.

I really cannot wait to see the day when prospective parents will be able to alter or select embryos to be brought to term based on detailed genetic knowledge, such is as being unearthed by the Beijing Genomics Institute's Cognitive Genomics branch, in order to enhance the intelligence of the resulting children.

People can then rage about the ethics of eugenics all they want but whatever scientific case they ever pretended to have that intelligence can't be inherited will have been razed to the earth, salt and sihlu having been scattered over it.

And that's the really important part.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#2  Postby tuco » Jul 26, 2015 7:22 pm

Gattaca

There is whole field of ethics need to be explored, just like in case robots for example. The thing is, like with IQ, the "build" indicates potential and actual performance may vary.

What is important part? The important part is, or will be or perhaps should be, as E O Wilson puts it:

'We are not compelled to believe in biological uniformity in order to affirm freedom and dignity'
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#3  Postby Sadegh » Jul 26, 2015 7:33 pm

This is just my personal stance, rooted in a berserk commitment to finding out the facts.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#4  Postby tuco » Jul 26, 2015 7:38 pm

As long as you affirm my freedom and dignity while doing that I am green ;) Seems we have similar point of interest.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#5  Postby Sadegh » Jul 26, 2015 7:54 pm

idk man ... Like for another example I kind of hope climate change gets as bad as I think it will just so I can hear what everyone should be able to hear from denialists: embarrassed silence.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#6  Postby Oldskeptic » Jul 27, 2015 1:36 am

Sadegh wrote:http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/23/genes-influence-academic-ability-across-all-subjects-latest-study-shows

Of course this gets posted on The Guardian and the storm of analmad in the comment section is just golden.

I really cannot wait to see the day when prospective parents will be able to alter or select embryos to be brought to term based on detailed genetic knowledge, such is as being unearthed by the Beijing Genomics Institute's Cognitive Genomics branch, in order to enhance the intelligence of the resulting children.


And I can't help but think that this will never come to pass. Not necessarily for ethical reasons, but I do see them as playing a part, especially when the outcomes of these experiments prove less than successful. Success could not be guaranteed. There are just too many variables, and combinations of the all possible alleles for all the gene cites might as well be described as infinite. Furthermore a gene cite and or allele that is responsible for one bit of intelligence could also be responsible for one or more traits that are related to intelligence, but could also be responsible for unrelated traits. This possibility was excellently demonstrated by accident in Dmitri Belyaev's selective breeding experiment with foxes.

There seem to be suites of genes not just individual genes. In Belyaev's experiments he selectively bred for tameness, and he got the results he hoped for and expected. But he also got things he didn't expect. Along with tameness he got tails that curled up instead of down, he got wagging tails, he got floppy ears, he got piebald coloration, and he got higher intelligence/trainability. In effect he turned wild foxes into border collies. All from only selecting for tameness.

We have no idea what else Belyaev would have gotten if he had only selected for intelligence. Maybe he would have gotten tameness and all the other things that he got when selected for tameness, but without doing that experiment we cannot know. Then there are the other things like upright tails, wagging tails, floppy ears, or piebald coloration, and until those experiment are done, again, there is no away to know the results.

The point here is the myriad of ways that gene location and alleles are or might be interdependent, and that in embryological development where the cell is in relation to other cells when a gene is switched on determines what effect it has.

So, it's not just a matter of selecting a gene. All human embryos have pretty much the same genes, what differs are the various alleles that can go at that gene cite and what those alleles do dependent on location.

My conclusion is that shopping for your baby's intelligence and or personality would be as much of a craps shoot as simply going about it the old fashioned way of picking mate with the qualities you desire.

A bit of selective genetic shopping does go on with women choosing sperm donors by viewing extensive profiles, but I'm not aware of any studies showing extraordinary results involving intelligence or talents because of this.

People can then rage about the ethics of eugenics all they want but whatever scientific case they ever pretended to have that intelligence can't be inhered will have been razed to the earth, salt and sihlu having been scattered over it.

And that's the really important part.


Who are these people raging that intelligence isn't heritable? Of course it is, but there's a problem where prediction comes into it. That's your point isn't it? That with a sufficient amount of genetic knowledge people could choose an embryo that will be highly intelligent across the board. I see this as highly unlikely, and, besides what I've already pointed out, here's why; all levels of intelligence are inherited, but that in no way means that that they are predictable. People of low intelligence can and do have children of high intelligence, and it works the other way round too. The same parents can have multiple children of varying intelligence. And while genetics may play a 60% role in intelligence and personality, that other 40%, that is comprised mostly of physical environment, parenting, and socializing, is very powerful.

You can have a family of unfortunate circumstances with one stand out "intelligent' child or more than one. And you can have a family with all the advantages and have a child or children that fail/s at what could be described as normal expectations given the parents success and intelligence.

Eugenics failed mostly because while it reared its ugly head in Brittan where Galton and others gave birth to it, and the industrial revolution and state funded schools were putting the lie to it as it was being preached. It wasn't just that eugenics was unethical, it was bad science. And it appears to me that you are falling for what amounts to more bad science.
Last edited by Oldskeptic on Jul 27, 2015 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#7  Postby Oldskeptic » Jul 27, 2015 1:54 am

Sadegh wrote:This is just my personal stance, rooted in a berserk commitment to finding out the facts.


Facts are useless if you can't put them together in a coherent model.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#8  Postby tuco » Jul 27, 2015 2:43 am

And coherent model basically is:

My conclusion is that shopping for your baby's intelligence and or personality would be as much of a craps shoot as simply going about it the old fashioned way of picking mate with the qualities you desire.


For the reasons stated. In field which is, basically, few decades old. Alright, I remain skeptical as I see no reason (because its complex or because we dont know enough yet is no reason) for the kind of genetic manipulation we talk about to be impossible in future.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#9  Postby Sadegh » Jul 28, 2015 12:12 am

Oldskeptic wrote:
Sadegh wrote:http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/23/genes-influence-academic-ability-across-all-subjects-latest-study-shows

Of course this gets posted on The Guardian and the storm of analmad in the comment section is just golden.

I really cannot wait to see the day when prospective parents will be able to alter or select embryos to be brought to term based on detailed genetic knowledge, such is as being unearthed by the Beijing Genomics Institute's Cognitive Genomics branch, in order to enhance the intelligence of the resulting children.


And I can't help but think that this will never come to pass. Not necessarily for ethical reasons, but I do see them as playing a part, especially when the outcomes of these experiments prove less than successful. Success could not be guaranteed. There are just too many variables, and combinations of the all possible alleles for all the gene cites might as well be described as infinite. Furthermore a gene cite and or allele that is responsible for one bit of intelligence could also be responsible for one or more traits that are related to intelligence, but could also be responsible for unrelated traits. This possibility was excellently demonstrated by accident in Dmitri Belyaev's selective breeding experiment with foxes.

There seem to be suites of genes not just individual genes. In Belyaev's experiments he selectively bred for tameness, and he got the results he hoped for and expected. But he also got things he didn't expect. Along with tameness he got tails that curled up instead of down, he got wagging tails, he got floppy ears, he got piebald coloration, and he got higher intelligence/trainability. In effect he turned wild foxes into border collies. All from only selecting for tameness.


I'm reminded of the following:

Image

That he got such results as he did from traditional breeding is hardly surprising because of the quantity of genes affected in each go.

Do you think these other organisms that are currently being genetically modified, successfully, don't broadly speaking have the same sort of complex gene-gene interactions that exist in humans? And do you think no one is aware of or cataloguing information about them in general? I would say not:

http://biology.stackexchange.com/questi ... ork-graphs

Per your reasoning, traditional breeding, to say nothing of highly targeted genetic modifications, which of course have been done quite successfully in the past decades, should only ever wreak havoc on the tremendously fragile and volatile systems biology of the cell.

Would you know it: I had this very same argument with a New Ager going and comparing Monsanto to Sauron by the way.

Oldskeptic wrote:Who are these people raging that intelligence isn't heritable?


You can see them trying feebly to make their point in the comments section on that Guardian article. I've come across numerous people who have flatly denied that heredity has much of anything to do with intelligence.

Oldskeptic wrote:And it appears to me that you are falling for what amounts to more bad science.


No, I'm not falling for "bad science", I'm falling for bringing into the human realm what has already been done successfully in other organisms.

Because it's not like there has been no success in giving other mammals enhanced intelligence:

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014 ... rning-mice

Or strength:

http://www.salk.edu/news/pressrelease_d ... ess_id=530

It's going to happen eventually. I suspect the People's Republic of China will be the first out of the gate. Then everyone else will be forced to keep up.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#10  Postby EmilOWK » Aug 21, 2015 8:08 am

Sadegh wrote:I really cannot wait to see the day when prospective parents will be able to alter or select embryos to be brought to term based on detailed genetic knowledge, such is as being unearthed by the Beijing Genomics Institute's Cognitive Genomics branch, in order to enhance the intelligence of the resulting children.


This will happen within 10 years.

---

Oldskeptic,

And I can't help but think that this will never come to pass. Not necessarily for ethical reasons, but I do see them as playing a part, especially when the outcomes of these experiments prove less than successful. Success could not be guaranteed. There are just too many variables, and combinations of the all possible alleles for all the gene cites might as well be described as infinite. Furthermore a gene cite and or allele that is responsible for one bit of intelligence could also be responsible for one or more traits that are related to intelligence, but could also be responsible for unrelated traits. This possibility was excellently demonstrated by accident in Dmitri Belyaev's selective breeding experiment with foxes.

There seem to be suites of genes not just individual genes. In Belyaev's experiments he selectively bred for tameness, and he got the results he hoped for and expected. But he also got things he didn't expect. Along with tameness he got tails that curled up instead of down, he got wagging tails, he got floppy ears, he got piebald coloration, and he got higher intelligence/trainability. In effect he turned wild foxes into border collies. All from only selecting for tameness.


You are talking about pleiotropy. It is surely the case, but won't impact selection for polygenic traits too much when the genetic correlation between the traits is not very strong. We know this because we have been doing lots of experiments on crops and animals. See for review: http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/?p=5372

E.g. fat in swine. Image

Code: Select all
The point here is the myriad of ways that gene location and alleles are or might be interdependent, and that in embryological development where the cell is in relation to other cells when a gene is switched on determines what effect it has.


You are talking about epistasis. However it is already known that GMA is mostly additive or pseudoadditive which is sufficient.

A bit of selective genetic shopping does go on with women choosing sperm donors by viewing extensive profiles, but I'm not aware of any studies showing extraordinary results involving intelligence or talents because of this.


It was never widely used.

Who are these people raging that intelligence isn't heritable? Of course it is, but there's a problem where prediction comes into it. That's your point isn't it? That with a sufficient amount of genetic knowledge people could choose an embryo that will be highly intelligent across the board. I see this as highly unlikely, and, besides what I've already pointed out, here's why; all levels of intelligence are inherited, but that in no way means that that they are predictable. People of low intelligence can and do have children of high intelligence, and it works the other way round too. The same parents can have multiple children of varying intelligence. And while genetics may play a 60% role in intelligence and personality, that other 40%, that is comprised mostly of physical environment, parenting, and socializing, is very powerful.


Heritability of GMA is higher for adults in the 80%s range. Of the rest, none of that is shared environment (which includes parenting), so no, that stuff isn't powerful (for adults). No one actually knows what the remaining 20% or so is, but we know that some of it is measurement error. Other parts are probably peer, teacher, and school effects as well as just developmental noise.

There are lots of people who deny heritability, or try to lower the estimates by using child samples. Heritability increases with age you see, so if you want a lower value, report on young children. Likewise, since estimates are based on twin similarity (usually), to decrease the heritability simply increase the measurement error (use a shorter or otherwise worse test).

Eugenics failed mostly because while it reared its ugly head in Brittan where Galton and others gave birth to it, and the industrial revolution and state funded schools were putting the lie to it as it was being preached. It wasn't just that eugenics was unethical, it was bad science. And it appears to me that you are falling for what amounts to more bad science.


Eugenics failed because of the rise of leftism in academia and the press and because of the Nazi war crimes.

There was plenty of wrong beliefs in early eugenics (e.g. various ideas about racial purity), but not generally just bad science. The core of eugenics is surely true because eugenics is just selective breeding for humans.

--

Sadegh wrote:Because it's not like there has been no success in giving other mammals enhanced intelligence:


See Tryon's rat study and the recent guppy study. Both mentioned in my blogpost.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#11  Postby mindhack » Aug 21, 2015 11:29 am

Sadegh wrote:

...to alter or select embryos ... in order to enhance the intelligence of the resulting children.

I would be fundamentally opposed if such a possibility came about.

It would reduce newborns to an object of their parent's ambitions, not very different from the ruling expectations when living in a dictatorship. I cringe, for example, whenever I see parents getting upset or behaving like assholes when their little ones don't do the things the right way the parents had imagined they should.

Parental guidance should be focused on children's well-being, full stop. Genetically selecting for specific traits endangers this specific role the parents have, because the parents will be expecting to see what they have been selecting for in the child. I already feel sorry for the children being born under such an autoritarian regime.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#12  Postby Oldskeptic » Aug 21, 2015 10:36 pm

mindhack wrote:
Sadegh wrote:

...to alter or select embryos ... in order to enhance the intelligence of the resulting children.


I would be fundamentally opposed if such a possibility came about.

It would reduce newborns to an object of their parent's ambitions, not very different from the ruling expectations when living in a dictatorship. I cringe, for example, whenever I see parents getting upset or behaving like assholes when their little ones don't do the things the right way the parents had imagined they should.

Parental guidance should be focused on children's well-being, full stop. Genetically selecting for specific traits endangers this specific role the parents have, because the parents will be expecting to see what they have been selecting for in the child. I already feel sorry for the children being born under such an autoritarian regime.


Yes, and added to that is what happens when parents don't get what they ordered? No genetic engineering is going to be fool proof, not even if the fetus is a genetic clone of someone with the desired talents. The largest environmental factors are those within the womb. For all we know Einstein might have been a jibbering idiot if his mother hadn't eaten a rutabaga on the 8th Tuesday of her pregnancy.

The ugly head of eugenics that I mentioned in an earlier post might be reared again in disposing of the results of failed experiments and procedures that other than not being what was desired are normal human beings.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#13  Postby Sadegh » Aug 27, 2015 10:24 am

Apparently it never occurred to you that postnatal biological interventions might also come into play.

Like it or not, the world's two most powerful nations are on some level collectively dead set on redefining what it means to be a person, and partially competitive with each other besides; I don't think much is going to get in their way.

mindhack wrote:I would be fundamentally opposed if such a possibility came about.


Fortunately that doesn't really matter, for two very important reasons:

  • The incentive to keep the pace would be too strong for this kind of opposition to matter much at all.
  • (Embodied) artificial general intelligence will eventually outstrip normal human ability (and quite possibly even GM human ability) anyway, which is why Stephen Hawking for one has long called for genetic engineering of humans—to maintain parity with AIs.

On that note, there is something that has occurred to me a lot recently: why do we keep positing all these cybernetic revolt scenarios and even, sometimes, have their representatives speak eloquently for their own cause if the machines don't actually have some kind of point?

Image

Food for thought.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#14  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Sep 29, 2015 9:20 pm

Sadegh wrote:
On that note, there is something that has occurred to me a lot recently: why do we keep positing all these cybernetic revolt scenarios and even, sometimes, have their representatives speak eloquently for their own cause if the machines don't actually have some kind of point?

There it is. I am disappointed. We didn't make it past page one of this thread without transhumanism popping up, either. :roll:

postnatal biological interventions

We call that killing. Or murders. Depending on the emotional context and the animal being killed. While you'll find quite a bit of disagreement regarding when it's okay to kill a fetus, that disagreement falls away pretty quickly when you start talking about killing babies. Funny thing: I used Malthus as an example of how you're wrong in that other thread in which you used a provocative title to attempt to lure people into a conversation about transhumanism as well, and Malthus talked about killing babies. That's a fun coincidence.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#15  Postby Sadegh » Sep 29, 2015 11:04 pm

By postnatal biological interventions I refer of course not to euthanasia or anything more brutal than that but those "Gigeresque" developments our very own military is seriously entertaining, and researching.

Incidentally, though, infanticide was and to some extent still is an entirely widespread practice. You could even say it's essentially ... human, perhaps but for the fact that it occurs throughout the animal kingdom.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#16  Postby Sadegh » Sep 29, 2015 11:05 pm

You should keep some kind of scorecard or tally or something on how many times you've misrepresented things I've said, you know, that thing you claim I'm always doing to you.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#17  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Oct 02, 2015 6:13 pm

Sadegh wrote:By postnatal biological interventions I refer of course not to euthanasia or anything more brutal than that but those "Gigeresque" developments our very own military is seriously entertaining, and researching.

Incidentally, though, infanticide was and to some extent still is an entirely widespread practice. You could even say it's essentially ... human, perhaps but for the fact that it occurs throughout the animal kingdom.

Euthanasia is killing. Or murder. All you've done is switched one euphemism for another.

If a thing occurs throughout the animal kingdom, it makes no sense to call it essentially human, unless you wish to express that the animal kingdom is essentially human. Some people do go that far, but I think they're full of shit. Consequently, I think you're full of shit. I am not, however, going to generalize from one to the other.

Categories appear to be difficult for you.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#18  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Oct 02, 2015 6:13 pm

Sadegh wrote:You should keep some kind of scorecard or tally or something on how many times you've misrepresented things I've said, you know, that thing you claim I'm always doing to you.


:lol:
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#19  Postby Sadegh » Oct 02, 2015 6:32 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:Euthanasia is killing. Or murder. All you've done is switched one euphemism for another.


I don't feel the need to speak euphemistically about such things. For the record, I don't think that euthanizing people is necessarily always a great idea especially when the lollercoaster of overpopulation could be allowed to run its course instead.

The more important point here is that "postnatal biological interventions" was never a euphemism for euthanasia. It wasn't a euphemism at all, just a fairly straightforward way of saying that people's heads could one day be unfucked with gene therapy or implants or anything of that nature.

And so you have, in fact, misrepresented me. But rather than taking this as a sign that you are a liar, to say nothing of a pathological liar, I am entirely willing to interpret this statement in good faith, despite my extreme misanthropy, especially given the axiom I talked about earlier: "never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence instead". The fact that you are not willing to do similar things is telling.
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Re: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects

#20  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Oct 02, 2015 7:20 pm

Sadegh wrote:
The more important point here is that "postnatal biological interventions" was never a euphemism for euthanasia. It wasn't a euphemism at all, just a fairly straightforward way of saying that people's heads could one day be unfucked with gene therapy or implants or anything of that nature.

You may well have saved yourself some effort and said this rather than that other bullshit. Honestly, I stop paying attention whenever you mention the military. I just switch off. Zzzt. "Not this bullshit again," says I, and I skim forward to try to see where the bullshit stops and you begin talking sense again. Sometimes this response takes me clear past the end of your post, because the bullshit hasn't stopped.

If your goal is for people to pay attention to what you're saying, maybe try learning to avoid those detours which lose your audience and sticking to straight-forward exposition. We don't care about your human augmentation wet dreams. In this conversation we are talking about how genes influence academic ability across all subjects, or how they don't. Not that other shit. In fact, I don't even care about this topic. I'm not even here for THAT much. I just popped in to razz you for inserting your trans-humanist silliness into yet another discussion where it has no relevance to anyone but you.

That finished, I may or may not decide to leave this conversation alone, depending upon whether you stick to your professed topic or attempt another bait-and-switch.
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