[ExI] Genes aren't what we thought they were.......

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sun Jan 13 00:27:43 UTC 2019

BillK wrote:

> What he is objecting to is genetic determination.  Because someone
> doesn't have some genes that may be linked to intelligence they are told
> that they will not be successful in life and not given opportunities
> available to others. Similarly for culturally biased IQ tests. At present
> these are poor indicators of life 'success' - whatever that might mean.

Part of the problem here is sloppy terminology. To say that someone does
not have a particular gene is misleading. Almost all humans have the same
genes just not the same alleles or varieties of those genes. Just like
most people wear shoes although each might wear one type or brand of shoes
or another with slightly different characteristics between them.

So everyone has the intelligence genes, it is just some alleles of those
genes might give those individuals who bear them an advantage in one
aspect of intelligence instead of another. But for most people, those
differences would amount to a matter of degree, not of kind.

Some shoes are just better for some tasks than others. So just as
insulated hiking boots might perform better on a snowy mountainside, a
pair of sandals might perform better at the beach. This does not mean
someone wearing sandals can't climb mountains, it just means that they are
not particularly suited for the task.

That being said, ascribing predictive powers to a set of genes loosely
associated with the complex and poorly-defined trait of "intelligence"
with regards to the also poorly-defined outcome of "success" is
intellectually dishonest.

> Richardson is claiming that these tests are being used as a
> pseudo-scientific justification to deny opportunities to people for other
> more ignoble reasons.

Does he have any support for this claim? I have applied for a lot of jobs
in my time and have never had any potential employer ask me for IQ tests,
SAT scores, or to take a genetic test. The few tests I have had to do for
potential employers are more often personality tests and drug tests.

In fact, I would hypothesize that personality, social skills, and
relationships are much more predictive of success than I.Q.

> Of course that doesn't mean that he is claiming that
> everyone can be a rocket scientist. Society is a complex structure which
> needs people of many different abilities.

Yes. And this is where society really drops the ball. Society seems more
intent at identifying and weeding out people it doesn't want rather than
explicitly defining the abilities it needs, and identifying and nurturing
the people who have those abilities.

This is evident in the higher education system which effectively forces
young people to borrow money in order to speculate on what skill sets the
job market will demand 3-5 years down the line or up to twice that time if
they want to specialize in some field for a higher reward that in reality
they might ultimately never receive.

It is never a good idea to borrow money to gamble with unless you are a
banker who is too big to fail. But this what happens when you live in a
society where bankers hire lawyers to write laws that benefit bankers.

Stuart LaForge

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