Tuesday, February 25, 2003


Charles Murtaugh gives cautious approval to the notion that IQ is both important and genetically heritable -- which is rather big of him given the mountain of scientific findings to that effect -- but he seems to give first priority in his thinking to showing that he is not a racist. That is understandable I suppose, but it would surely be better for us all if he and those like him gave top priority to finding and reporting the facts -- palatable or unpalatable as they may be. But his commentary is interesting and he does have some interesting links.

Marc Miyake also has an interesting discussion of the genetics of race but seems to me to be too optimistic about how much choice people have in determining what they become. Undoubtedly genetics is only one factor. Different environments do have an effect. But anybody who knows the twin studies will know that identical twins reared apart are nearly as similar as identical twins reared together. That does not leave a lot of room for environmental influences. The studies by Martin and others have shown that even political ideology is highly heritable genetically.

Eaves, L.J., Martin, N.G., Meyer, J.M. & Corey, L.A. (1999) Biological and cultural inheritance of stature and attitudes. In: Cloninger, C.R., Personality and psychopathology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.
Martin, N. & Jardine, R. (1986) Eysenck's contribution to behaviour genetics. In: S & C. Modgil (Eds.) Hans Eysenck: Consensus and controversy. Lewes, E. Sussex: Falmer


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