The Neuroscience of Intelligence (Cambridge Fundamentals of Neuroscience in Psychology)

Category: Medicine
Author: Richard J. Haier
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by anglercut   2020-01-18
The most valuable research on the topic of chilling effects has been done by Heterodox academy[1].

I especially recommend their recent article on "seizing the means of knowledge production"[2], because it explains how we got here and provides examples of some sort of suspension of skepticism: «For instance, training on microaggressions, white privilege, implicit bias (coined in 1993, fyi), etc. were institutionalized in the private sector, and even among government agencies, well before there was any kind of robust empirical literature validating these constructs or showing that the proposed interventions would be effective. Indeed, the available empirical evidence now suggests that there are deep problems across the board with these ideas and approaches (here, here, here, here, here, here, here for more on this point). However, these frameworks and interventions are already so deeply entrenched – including within institutions of higher learning — that the empirical research is now almost entirely beside the point». Of course, this open-mindedness was more than matched by extreme suspicion and demand for rigour in the other direction[3], which we also see here.

Also consider that personal views of experimenters affect what results they get, with a very large effect size – larger than most effect sizes actually discovered in social science[4], which, given political leanings in sciences such as psychology[5] and the replication crisis, makes one wonder how much trust should be given even to actual long-standing scientific arguments against politically unpopular ideas. But such arguments make an incredibly small contribution to the intellectual rejection of this research.

To people who argue on the topic of race & intelligence (which is indeed the most obvious, the most politicized, but not the only point of contention), bringing up arguments like "research did not control for environmental differences" or "g factor is meaningless" or "IQ tests are not fair", I want to say: you know almost nothing on the issue, you don't understand how little you know[6], and the fact that you perceive yourself as knowing enough to make confident judgements is precisely the testament to the power ideology has over popular reporting. But it does not yet have equal power over science, which is why actual researchers have views very different from yours[7], and of course all these criticisms were understood, and many addressed, decades ago, e.g.: «A 1999 literature review re-examined the conclusions of Bias in Mental Testing using new data. It concluded that empirical evidence strongly supported Jensen's conclusion that mental tests are equally valid measures of ability for all English-speaking people born in the United States. The review further argued that misinformation about bias in IQ tests is very pervasive, and thus it is important for the empirical data in this field to be clearly conveyed to the public»[8]. If you wish to learn about it, better read «The Neuroscience of Intelligence» by Richard J. Haier from Cambridge University Press, 2016[9], it's an excellent summary. Don't rely on Youtube videos and opinionated blog posts.

I could go on and on. But in general, HN's reaction to this topic is disappointing: obviously intelligent, well-meaning and skeptical people straining their eloquence to rationalize what amounts to journalists' ignorant, unhelpful [10] and politically biased[11] opinion on science, all (I presume) out of unconscious desire to not have a stain on one's career or being considered morally corrupt.

So it goes.

1: https://www.amazon.com/Neuroscience-Intelligence-Cambridge-F...

10: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/09/inequal...

11: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/jun/22/20040622-08...

by mrsamsa   2019-11-17

>> heritability isn't a measure of genetics. > >Now you're playing semantics to the utmost.

Not semantics, I'm literally just giving you the scientific definition to fix a common laymen myth. A heritability estimate tells us nothing about whether a trait has a genetic component.

>The fact of the matter is you inherit certain genes from your parents. Your idea that nothing is actually genetically inherited is strange. IQ has been shown to be heritable, as has height. I understand the societal expectations creating the earring "heritability" but I have no idea what you're talking about when you say IQ isn't at least partially inherited from your parents.

You've misunderstood my claim. I'm saying that confusing heritability with genetics is a common mistake - you can have a completely genetically determined trait with a heritability of zero, or an entirely environmentally determined trait with a heritability of 1. You simply can't say anything about genetics from a heritability estimate alone.

Iq undeniably has genetic components, nobody is denying that. However, like height of plants, just because individual differences might be caused by genetics, you can't use that as evidence that group differences are also caused by genetics (as illustrated in my example).

>Because a professor of genetics at Harvard isn't saying that the position that Christianity is false is scientifically untenable (I would refer you to Dr. David Reich, Ph.D's article in the New York Times). In fact, here's some of it, followed by a link: > >> I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.” > >https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opinion/sunday/genetics-race.html

An opinion piece from a single person can't refute an entire consensus. Again that's how creationists argue their point.

>His article is a canary in the coalmine event. He claims to have NO IDEA! what we're going to find out about group differences going forward. Then why the hell is he so nervous? Because he knows that the odds are extremely high that the average IQ of a fully-nourished sub-Saharan African population and a fully-nourished Ashkenazi Jew population with equal access to education are not both 100.000000000000000000000000000000. You know that too, you just can't admit it, so you appeal to a scientific consensus that exists because people are terrified of having their careers destroyed. About that consensus...

Firstly, obviously I don't "know that" because I don't think there's any reason to suspect it's true.

Secondly, even accepting everything you say as completely true, notice that your "evidence" is a gut feeling from a single person. Why should I care if this guy thinks one day there will be evidence for your position?

>> Reich’s claim that we need to prepare for genetic evidence of racial differences in behavior or health ignores the trajectory of modern genetics. For several decades billions of dollars have been spent trying to find such differences. The result has been a preponderance of negative findings despite intrepid efforts to collect DNA data on millions of individuals in the hope of finding even the tiniest signals of difference. > >That is from the rebuttal letter 67 scientists "wrote" in response to Reich's article in the NYT. > >That rebuttal letter is here: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/bfopinion/race-genetics-david-reich > >Allow me to destroy that argument (and the credibility of that rebuttal letter): > >> Why so many African-Americans have high blood pressure >Theories include higher rates of obesity and diabetes among African-Americans. Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure as much as 5 mm Hg. > >https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/high-blood-pressure-and-african-americans > >Oops! I guess the American Heart Association is a eugenics society now.

Wow, that was such an odd "debunking" I actually spent a while looking at the articles trying to figure out what claim you were debunking.

Firstly, finding of genetically linked diseases doesn't affect the point as you need to show that those genes correspond to a scientifically valid concept of race, and since no such thing exists, that's a problem.

Secondly, even accepting everything you say as true, a throwaway word that's irrelevant to their point doesn't prove anything important. Address the substance of the argument.

>This is an ad hominem attack.

Indeed it is! But remember that not all ad hominems are fallacious, some are extremely strong arguments - like ones about conflict of interest.

>Does the medical literature back what he was saying, or not?

It does not, as explained with my reference to the consensus position of the evidence.

>Has "compensatory education" increased IQ, or not? According to Dr. Haier, it HAS NOT! He has explicity said that compensatory education has not closed the black/white IQ gap. Dr. Haier's position (and he reveals this in his latest book) is that IQ is heritable, and we can raise it using CRISPR. The most generous interpretations of IQ being raised by compensatory education grant that it raised IQ by 4 points in cases of the application of an extremely rigorous program. That's 1/3 of a deviation. According to Haier, what happens is in children it looks like you can increase IQ a great deal, but as the child gets older, IQ becomes more heritable. In other words they lose those "gains".

And that's all irrelevant to the question of whether the gap is caused by genetics or not, of course. Even if it's entirely environmentally caused there's no reason to expect schooling to necessarily be able to fix the gap.

>A description of Haier's book (it was published 2.5 years ago): > >> This book introduces new and provocative neuroscience research that advances our understanding of intelligence and the brain. Compelling evidence shows that genetics plays a more important role than environment as intelligence develops from childhood, and that intelligence test scores correspond strongly to specific features of the brain assessed with neuroimaging. In understandable language, Richard J. Haier explains cutting-edge techniques based on genetics, DNA, and imaging of brain connectivity and function. He dispels common misconceptions, such as the belief that IQ tests are biased or meaningless, and debunks simple interventions alleged to increase intelligence. Readers will learn about the real possibility of dramatically enhancing intelligence based on neuroscience findings and the positive implications this could have for education and social policy. The text also explores potential controversies surrounding neuro-poverty, neuro-socioeconomic status, and the morality of enhancing intelligence for everyone. > >https://www.amazon.com/Neuroscience-Intelligence-Cambridge-Fundamentals-Psychology/dp/110746143X/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=richard+haier+intelligence&qid=1562195024&s=gateway&sr=8-4

The summary doesn't mention group differences, just that intelligence has a genetic component (which as I proved above, is irrelevant to group differences!).

by KajikiaAudax   2019-11-17

> heritability isn't a measure of genetics.

Now you're playing semantics to the utmost. The fact of the matter is you inherit certain genes from your parents. Your idea that nothing is actually genetically inherited is strange. IQ has been shown to be heritable, as has height. I understand the societal expectations creating the earring "heritability" but I have no idea what you're talking about when you say IQ isn't at least partially inherited from your parents.

> If you're going to so easily dismiss all the relevant scientists on this topic then what differentiates your position from creationism?

Because a professor of genetics at Harvard isn't saying that the position that Christianity is false is scientifically untenable (I would refer you to Dr. David Reich, Ph.D's article in the New York Times). In fact, here's some of it, followed by a link:

> I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opinion/sunday/genetics-race.html

His article is a canary in the coalmine event. He claims to have NO IDEA! what we're going to find out about group differences going forward. Then why the hell is he so nervous? Because he knows that the odds are extremely high that the average IQ of a fully-nourished sub-Saharan African population and a fully-nourished Ashkenazi Jew population with equal access to education are not both 100.000000000000000000000000000000. You know that too, you just can't admit it, so you appeal to a scientific consensus that exists because people are terrified of having their careers destroyed. About that consensus...

> Reich’s claim that we need to prepare for genetic evidence of racial differences in behavior or health ignores the trajectory of modern genetics. For several decades billions of dollars have been spent trying to find such differences. The result has been a preponderance of negative findings despite intrepid efforts to collect DNA data on millions of individuals in the hope of finding even the tiniest signals of difference.

That is from the rebuttal letter 67 scientists "wrote" in response to Reich's article in the NYT.

That rebuttal letter is here: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/bfopinion/race-genetics-david-reich

Allow me to destroy that argument (and the credibility of that rebuttal letter):

> Why so many African-Americans have high blood pressure Theories include higher rates of obesity and diabetes among African-Americans. Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure as much as 5 mm Hg.

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/high-blood-pressure-and-african-americans

Oops! I guess the American Heart Association is a eugenics society now.

> As for people like Jensen and Rushton, how do you feel about the concept of "conflict of interest"? Are you aware of the Pioneer Fund?

This is an ad hominem attack. Does the medical literature back what he was saying, or not? Has "compensatory education" increased IQ, or not? According to Dr. Haier, it HAS NOT! He has explicity said that compensatory education has not closed the black/white IQ gap. Dr. Haier's position (and he reveals this in his latest book) is that IQ is heritable, and we can raise it using CRISPR. The most generous interpretations of IQ being raised by compensatory education grant that it raised IQ by 4 points in cases of the application of an extremely rigorous program. That's 1/3 of a deviation. According to Haier, what happens is in children it looks like you can increase IQ a great deal, but as the child gets older, IQ becomes more heritable. In other words they lose those "gains".

A description of Haier's book (it was published 2.5 years ago):

> This book introduces new and provocative neuroscience research that advances our understanding of intelligence and the brain. Compelling evidence shows that genetics plays a more important role than environment as intelligence develops from childhood, and that intelligence test scores correspond strongly to specific features of the brain assessed with neuroimaging. In understandable language, Richard J. Haier explains cutting-edge techniques based on genetics, DNA, and imaging of brain connectivity and function. He dispels common misconceptions, such as the belief that IQ tests are biased or meaningless, and debunks simple interventions alleged to increase intelligence. Readers will learn about the real possibility of dramatically enhancing intelligence based on neuroscience findings and the positive implications this could have for education and social policy. The text also explores potential controversies surrounding neuro-poverty, neuro-socioeconomic status, and the morality of enhancing intelligence for everyone.

https://www.amazon.com/Neuroscience-Intelligence-Cambridge-Fundamentals-Psychology/dp/110746143X/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=richard+haier+intelligence&qid=1562195024&s=gateway&sr=8-4

by slphil   2017-11-29
You've heard nonsense. Please read some of the literature on intelligence research (1). Steven Pinker has also written a great book on why the ideas of the blank slate and social constructivism are purely ideological and do not hold up to analysis (2).

IQ is a very strong metric predictor of pretty much every aspect of personal success, from successful marriages to income to academic achievement to interpersonal skills. By no means is the relationship deterministic, but that isn't what we mean by predictors. (Many other psychological metrics, like the nonsensical "emotional intelligence", predict nothing when IQ is included in the mix.)

1: https://www.amazon.com/Neuroscience-Intelligence-Cambridge-F...

2: https://www.amazon.com/Blank-Slate-Modern-Denial-Nature/dp/0...