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In your view, is culture independent of genetics?


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Showing 76-100 of 597 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 5:35:08 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2014, 12:27:32 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 7:06:22 PM PST
Lessfatman says:
Of course the thing to do is to nurture the best out of everybody's capabilities. No dispute.

'African' is such an oversimplification that I do not even start to take it apart.
The continent has more genetic variation in its human populations than can be observed anywhere else.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 7:08:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012, 7:11:19 PM PST
Lessfatman says:
I did not realize that the question was about building automobiles.
I thought it was about how a genetic trait can develop into different strategies of living one's life. Let's not call a sprout a beanstalk.

Your last sentence builds a straw man. Nobody has presented such a statement here.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 7:31:42 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2014, 12:27:43 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 7:54:35 PM PST
Ataraxia says:
"The differences in cultures might in fact reflect some genetic traits of the population.
Why are the Ashkenazy Jews monopolizing the Nobel Prizes, why is their average IQ higher than most other ethnic groups including the Jews of Middle Eastern origin?"

I do think these are cultural differences. We don't just have cultural differences across geographic locales to compare. We can look at differences in the same people across time and relatively short periods of history.

For example, first generation Asian immigrants to the US tend to be far more hardworking and high-achieving than second and third generations. In fact, it's not just about work ethic. I think anyone who has met an immigrant family has been rather taken aback by the large cultural differences that occur in one or two generations in any number of parameters of culture.

Look at the culture of the Scandinavian Vikings about 1200 years ago (tough as nails, merciless, nomadic, barbarian, violent, looting thugs) to today's Scandinavians (very bleeding heart liberal, pacifist, quiet, highly educated and technologically advanced, etc...)

We can look at the culture of medieval Europe and compare it to today's Europeans.

We can compare the culture of feudal Japan to today's Japan.

The list can go on and on. The point is, genetic differences through such short periods of time (speaking from the perspective of evolutionary time) are almost non-existent. But the cultural differences are vast, which argues that genetic differences are playing a relatively minor role, if any.

"Nowadays, to say that we are clever animals is not to say something philosophical and pessimistic but something political and hopeful - namely, if we can work together, we can make ourselves into whatever we are clever and courageous enough to imagine ourselves becoming. This is to set aside Kant's question "What is man?" and to substitute the question "What sort of world can we prepare for our great grandchildren?"
-Richard Rorty

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 8:18:35 PM PST
I. Dunn says:
Jack Vix says:Exactly. Our mind and body are created by our genes. We're the vehicles for our genes. Culture is the result of genetic fecundity, expression, and selfishness.

Personally I lean toward the theory that Jack Vix is a Richard Dawkins impersonator.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 8:37:37 PM PST
Lessfatman says:
That again is a relevant question and the relevant answers that have been proposed have provoked a fury in the politically correct academics. I am referring to Linda Gottfredson's studies on how much you can improve the intellectual performance with programs such as Head Start. Also there is some depressing data from the U.S. Armed forces where there is a long experience with intelligence testing and a its correlates in career development.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 8:47:20 PM PST
Lessfatman says:
The mean IQ of Ashkenazy Jews is higher than for instance, Europeans.
The measured IQ is resistant to cultural effects and education. Seems that genetics play an important role there.
You cannot establish a culture based on reading and memorizing texts if an important part of the population does not learn to read. Who CANNOT learn to read, who lack the capacity.

Similarly, Chinese can speak Mandarin only because they have very accurate musical ear. There are more absolute ears in China than elsewhere. A coincidence? Genetic or epigenetic or both?

I am an immigrant.
Talking about Asian immigrants, you are making a generalization based on 'what everybody knows' rather than data.
Still after a couple of generations, you have an overrepresentation os Asians in the higher education. We all know how hard they work, don't we.
Incidentally, the Asians seem to have even higher measured IQs than the Ashkenazy Jews.
Causation/correlation/methodological mistake?

Posted on Nov 25, 2012, 9:21:27 PM PST
I. Dunn says:
This discussion is beginning to remind me of when people were running around in the Ninteenth Century measuring the crania of various races and attempting to link the results with culture. All very 'scientific'. Not.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012, 10:05:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012, 10:11:15 PM PST
Lessfatman says:
Negative. The research is advancing at a stupendous rate. The subject, the human brain is the most complicated entity in the known universe. There have been lots of idiotic things said about it in the past. The scientists do, however, revise their ideas as new data is being presented. We will see today's ideas rise and fall and that is as it should be.

Do you even know what you are disagreeing with?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 6:08:37 AM PST
Banished says:
I think you miss a certain amount of nuance here. The discussion is about whether or not children are born "racist." As you are using the term, a certain amount of indoctrination or experience seem necessary. I agree that children are born capable of perceiving differences and may even be able to prefer one over another (which one looks most like Mama?) It may be that we are also born with an innate tendency to judge our tribe as superior to others' and the perceived differences are how we recognize the others (and our "own.") I suspect there are survival benefits to this innate tendency/skill. We then may simply exaggerate this tendency under the influence of our culture. In that situation, our "innate racism", if it exists, can be overcome by our critical thinking skills - should we chose to exercise them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 6:41:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012, 6:55:18 AM PST
Ataraxia says:
"You cannot establish a culture based on reading and memorizing texts if an important part of the population does not learn to read. Who CANNOT learn to read, who lack the capacity. "

In any given population, there are going to be those who can read and those who can't, or just don't want to. In many high schools in the US today, reading too well is a sure recipe for getting beat up after class. But those same kids know by heart about 2 hours of lyrics from the latest raps. It's all about what is important in that culture.

"The measured IQ is resistant to cultural effects and education."

It is not clear at all what IQ is measuring, other than the ability to score high on IQ tests. Some of the most successful people don't have the highest IQs, and many of the people with high IQs don't do all that well in the real world.

There are case reports of autistic "idiot savantes" who can score in the genius range on their IQ tests. Yet they cannot function in a social setting.

Richard Feynman was perhaps one of the most legendary, charismatic, and innvoative theoretical physicists of the second half of the 20th century. He provided many revolutionary and groundbreaking insights into particle physics, cosmology, and the relationships between relativity and quantum mechanics.

He took an IQ test. What do you think his IQ was? 150? 160? No. It was just 120. Just a little above average.

"The research is advancing at a stupendous rate. The subject, the human brain is the most complicated entity in the known universe. There have been lots of idiotic things said about it in the past."

Yes, and there are lots of idiotic things being said about it now. Make sure you don't fall victim. One of the biggest abuses of the terms "innate ability", "IQ", "human nature", or other such labels has traditionally been to advance certain very dangerous agendas to limit, abuse, or exploit a particular individual or group of people. If you say it enough, people will believe it.

"The mean IQ of Ashkenazy Jews is higher than for instance, Europeans."

I would remind you here, for example, that the Jewish holocaust was predicated on the common popular belief in the exact opposite. Einstein's theories were dismissed exactly as an example of how degenerate and crazy Jewish thought was to the real, "Aryan" science of the Nazis. Remember, Einstein had to flee Germany exactly because he was supposedly of the inferior races.

This is a very, very dangerous road you are treading down. I would ask you to reconsider. The science does not back you up.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 6:54:12 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 26, 2012, 6:54:48 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 9:12:00 AM PST
IL,

Yours: "It may be that we are also born with an innate tendency to judge our tribe as superior to others' and the perceived differences are how we recognize the others (and our "own.")"

Mine: Anecdotally, this is opposed by the many evidences of infants and very young children of different "races" playing quite equably together, apparently unable, unwilling, or indifferent to the "racial" differences evident to adult eyes. Since "race" is a social construction, not a biological fact, I think it's unlikely that racism is innate.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 11:10:10 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 11:14:33 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 11:17:15 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 11:19:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012, 11:20:34 AM PST
I recently came across an interesting study of the genetics of mathematical ability. It was a genome-wide association study which identified 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms accounting for about 3% of the variance of mathematical ability as assessed by teacher reports and standardized tests. One of the affected genes codes for a neuron adhesion molecule.

The study supports the concept that mathematical ability is a quantitative trait, i.e., one which is influenced by many genes, each making only a small contribution. One of the things about quantitative traits is they are typically affected significantly by the environment. Thus, someone born with a genetic predisposition to high mathematical ability could have that ability significantly enhanced by a suitably enriched environment. I think of Richard Feynman in that context. He was undoubtedly genetically highly endowed for mathematical ability, but he also benefitted from a highly enriched environment, including a father who was interested in everything and taught him at an early age to ask questions and figure out the answers.

A genome-wide association study identifies multiple loci associated with mathematics ability and disability
S J Docherty,*† O S P Davis,† Y Kovas,† E L Meaburn,† P S Dale,‡ S A Petrill,§ L C Schalkwyk,† and R Plomin†
Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ►
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Go to:
Abstract
Numeracy is as important as literacy and exhibits a similar frequency of disability. Although its etiology is relatively poorly understood, quantitative genetic research has demonstrated mathematical ability to be moderately heritable. In this first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of mathematical ability and disability, 10 out of 43 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associations nominated from two high- vs. low-ability (n = 600 10-year-olds each) scans of pooled DNA were validated (P < 0.05) in an individually genotyped sample of *2356 individuals spanning the entire distribution of mathematical ability, as assessed by teacher reports and online tests. Although the effects are of the modest sizes now expected for complex traits and require further replication, interesting candidate genes are implicated such as NRCAM which encodes a neuronal cell adhesion molecule. When combined into a set, the 10 SNPs account for 2.9% (F = 56.85; df = 1 and 1881; P = 7.277e-14) of the phenotypic variance. The association is linear across the distribution consistent with a quantitative trait locus (QTL) hypothesis; the third of children in our sample who harbour 10 or more of the 20 risk alleles identified are nearly twice as likely (OR = 1.96; df = 1; P = 3.696e-07) to be in the lowest performing 15% of the distribution. Our results correspond with those of quantitative genetic research in indicating that mathematical ability and disability are influenced by many genes generating small effects across the entire spectrum of ability, implying that more highly powered studies will be needed to detect and replicate these QTL associations.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855870/

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 11:20:32 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012, 11:21:14 AM PST
'probabilist says:
Hi, MMX -

You wrote:

> Conclusion -
> The desire to hang out
> with those who share our opinions
> is strongly hardwired into all of us.
>
> This desire is the core of racism.

I don't understand how the final sentence in this could be connected meaningfully to its first sentence.

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 11:24:18 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2014, 12:28:02 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 1:04:35 PM PST
'probabilist says:
MMX wrote:

> One of the most easily identifiable versions
> of people-who-are-like-us
> is people-who-look-like-us
> (i.e. - people of similar race).

I'm still puzzled.

How does "people who share our opinions" (as shown by a preference for graham crackers over cheerios) have anything to do with "people who look like us"?

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 1:09:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012, 1:09:50 PM PST
For opinions read "world views", then you won't make the mistake of bringing graham crackers into the discussion.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 1:21:00 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Clarissa wrote:

> then you won't make the mistake
> of bringing graham crackers into the discussion.

Heh. Graham crackers had already been introduced into the discussion.

,.-)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 1:27:29 PM PST
If you redraft using the words "world views" then you won't make the mistake of bringing graham crackers into the discussion.

Clarissa thinks "Groundhog Day".

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012, 1:51:11 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2014, 12:28:02 PM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
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Initial post:  Nov 20, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 16, 2013

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