July 31, 2013

Wired article on "Genetics of IQ"

John Bohannon in Wired profiles 21-year-old Chinese DNA prodigy Zhao Bowen in "Why Are Some People So Smart? The Answer Could Spawn a Generation of Superbabies."

In my experience, few things in modern medicine happen very fast.

45 comments:

anony-mouse said...

Genius boy smokes cigarettes. Bit too much of a denial of environment for me.

Cyril said...

"ZHAO BOWEN IS LATE FOR A SATANIC HEAVY METAL CONCERT."

gag, lame-ass "hook."

f@#king journalists.

Anonymous said...

Is it worth reading?

europeasant said...

Who's going to pick up the garbage?

dearieme said...

"Zhao’s goal is to use those machines to examine the genetic underpinnings of genius like his own." Is there yet any evidence that he is a genius? "Genius" doesn't mean (except perhaps in the US) being very clever - it implies remarkable creativity.

Education Realist said...

I enjoyed the article, but then, I'm in the study. I still have to figure out how to download my genome data, whatever that is.

I didn't think the article suggested rapid results, more that it was troubling, but interesting, research. And that the guy is really smart.

I'm reminded, as always, that while I'm smart, I'm not *that* kind of smart. My verbal slam dunks my spatial, which means that I can do advanced math, but it would take me years to internalize and figure out how to use it. Maybe if I'd started younger. Which is why I would like to see more attention paid to my particular combination of high IQ.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Jews are obsessed with the same subject but have Fu Man Chu spout off on it to make it sound like some grand yellow Dr. No plan.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger
Nerd.

Anonymous said...

Is this BS or not?

http://newsone.com/2649410/anala-beevers-mensa

Peter Johnson said...

Interesting article -- some countries in Asia including China have no hang-ups about HBD and accept the evidence for it as obvious. That might help them in the long run to build strong societies, perhaps. At least it is an optimistic forward-looking view. I wish him good luck but it seems pretty innovative so that means it has a low probability of success.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Mr ZB (or is it Mr BZ?)

"In my experience, few things in modern medicine happen very fast."

I wonder.

When the plutocrats realize individual genome based medicine could give them another 30 years of life i think it'll happen pretty fast.

Anonymous said...

Funny. Hipsters think eugenics is a good idea. Meanwhile, paying stupid people to have kids is "social justice."

AMac said...

> Is it worth reading?

Yes. Despite a few annoying stylistic hooks, author John Bohannon did an excellent job in telling this complex story. He cites Steve Hsu's role in the BGI project; go to his site for a fuller picture.

Anonymous said...

If the Chinese selecting high IQS to breed more they will have only high IQS and not geniuses. People need to learn to separate one thing from another and I think they should pay more attention to Professor Bruce Charlton who has written posts very interesting in relation to the profile of a typical genius.
Most high IQS people are not geniuses, they are only people with high intelligence convergent. From what Professor Charlton has said, being a genius is not only or especially have a high IQ, but present a combination of unusual features, ie, a personality with moderate to high psychoticism and high iq. I still would suggest that there is no specific limit to the type of iq genius, precisely because people usually notice this type is unique and unusual combination. And taking into account that creativity levels appear to be higher in the range of 120-150 ug then the geniuses classical will appear less between the very high IQS, because in this range, the incidence of strokes as psicoticism is much lower than for any other age.

JI said...

"In my experience, few things in modern medicine happen very fast."
At least not until some of those superbabies grow up to become doctors and scientists.

Power Child said...

@Anonymous of 7/31/13, 9:16 PM:

In my opinion this is the best article I've ever read in Wired.

Anonymous said...

As a former journalist, let me repeat what I've said many times: I fucking hate MSM journalist! A collection of self-satisfied, over-educated, head-in-the sand, low curiosity douchebags such as this likely has never been seen on this planet.

"For the most part, an IQ test—the most common of which today is called the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—is a series of brainteasers. You fit abstract shapes together, translate codes using a key, sort numbers or letters into ascending order in your mind. It’s a weirdly playful exercise, the sort of test you would expect to have no bearing on anything else."

Really, the ability to play mental games and solve abstract problems is something that you wouldn't expect to have any bearing on anything else in a highly technological, service-oriented economy. I can't even begin to describe the levels of ignorance that statement involves.

We are a lost people.

sunbeam said...

I was kind of confused with someone calling Perl an advanced programming language that stymies people.

To me if you get Regular Expressions down, the rest of it is a piece of cake.

Amazingly useful Swiss Army Knife language for dealing with some types of problems that are very common.

But in my experience that same versatility and the fact that it is a common proficiency lead to it being shoehorned into doing things that would have really been better done with another language.

bjdubbs said...

This is a good snapshot of the current informed cw on IQ and character etc.

http://vimeo.com/53896305

What's interesting is the expectation by virtually everyone involved, from hosts to audience, that IQ dominates every other factor, and the idea that it doesn't (character matters) is somehow a new discovery of social science (breakthrough from the social sciences: IQ isn't everything!). In general though, it's good to see that both IQ and "non-cognitive skills" are getting more respect vs. the testing/more homework approach.

Anonymous said...

"gag, lame-ass 'hook.'"

Agreed. I would have enjoyed the article more if it read like a Wikipedia entry.

Anonymous said...

This will happen quickly, because so much is already known. It would have taken several generations if it was announced as soon as it was thought of, but it was politically incorrect up until the point at which it became inevitable.

Tay-Sachs heterozygotes get like 10 IQ points just for that. Making a Chinese baby a Tay-Sachs heterozygote would immediately boost his IQ while not making his immediate children liable for a horrible death within the first decade of life.

Anonymous said...

Perl is a famously complicated language that takes university students a full year to learn. So Li gave him a large DNA data set and a complicated statistical problem. That should do it. But Zhao returned later that day. “Finished.” Not only was it finished—and correct—but Zhao had even built a slick interface on top of the data.

The author is a fscking idiot.

It does not take a year to learn and calling someone who can deal with the complexities of Perl a genius suggests that Larry Wall is a super genius.

Anonymous said...

...boosting the IQ of unborn children by up to 20 points...

Utter nonsense. No child's IQ would be "boosted", rather only those with higher IQs would be allowed to live.

Melendwyr said...

The technical parts of the article verge on abject stupidity.

"The reason we haven’t found them, Hsu theorizes, is because there aren’t any single genes or even a handful of genes with a big effect on IQ. Instead, the thinking goes, there are as many as 10,000 different locations in the genome where a mutation can affect IQ. According to Hsu’s rough model, all humans carry a few hundred of those 10,000 possible mutations, and each mutation has a tiny negative cost to IQ, on the order of half an IQ point.

If this is right, then the difference between a brilliant 150-IQ person and an average 100-IQ person comes down to DNA typos at perhaps 100 of those 10,000 places.
"

Idiotic. There almost certainly isn't some kind of 'magic default' where even the slightest deviation from the standard is a costly error. Complex traits don't actually work like that.

pat said...

I think you're right. But of course I'm often wrong.

The reason I don't think much will happen in the IQ boosting business any time soon is that IQ is polygenic.

Over at 23andMe there is an IQ discussion group. But for your $100 genomic scan you only get one or two SNPs that bear on IQ. Most people think there at least hundreds of others. The amount of explained variance so far is only about 1 or 2%

Most of the posters in the IQ discussion group do two things: they denounce the very idea of IQ and then mention that they have the favorable genetic pattern for IQ. They are like the liberal blog commenters who are fond of saying "IQ is bogus and I have an IQ of 160".

The real IQ connection is in the Mendelian recessives like Huntington's. If you aren't homozygous recessive for that, you will certainly be brighter than some poor bastard who is - at least after a while.


Albertosaurus

Bill said...

"ZHAO BOWEN IS LATE FOR A SATANIC HEAVY METAL CONCERT."

gag, lame-ass "hook."

f@#king journalists.


Oh come on. If it's the same metal bar I used to hang out at on Xizhimen in Beijing in 97-99 when I was in my early 20s I think that's pretty cool. It does mean something there, and gives me a pretty clear idea of what kind of Beijing kid Zhao is.

Dai Alanye said...

Why not do it the enjoyable way? Marry a bright woman and create gifted children by the natural method.

Worked for me.

NOTA said...

I fully expect that there will be people selling techniques for geting genius babies in the near future. But I expect many of them will be overt snake oil, and most or all will be the kind of accidental snake oil where the seller has convinced himself he has a successful technique. See "The Mozart Effect" for why I expect this.

Anonymous said...

unrelated but couldn't not pass this on: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/01/opinion/israel-immigration-reform

Harry Baldwin said...

Mickey Kaus worries about the genetic component of IQ:

All but a few biggies–like Obamacare–seem unlikely to have a non-trivial impact on inequality. That’s especially true if you worry that money disparities are now also the product of divergent affluent and poor cultures and–the great unspoken fear–intergenerational stratification of smarts (including “IQ”).

If he's "worried" about it it's because he knows it's true and doesn't want to admit it. (It's not the first time he's mentioned it, either.)

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that commenters who harp on the difference between super high IQ and 'genius' may be trying to tell us something about themselves.

It's a seductive idea for us 99th-percentile-verbal-70-something-quant guys, with mild antisocial tendencies, to think that we spiritual Kerouacs are really more brilliant than any double 99 nerd drone; but it's no more than a slightly stupid vanity.

Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

http://nancyandreasen.com/id2.html

elaine said...

" get the feeling that commenters who harp on the difference between super high IQ and 'genius' may be trying to tell us something about themselves.

It's a seductive idea for us 99th-percentile-verbal-70-something-quant guys, with mild antisocial tendencies, to think that we spiritual Kerouacs are really more brilliant than any double 99 nerd drone; but it's no more than a slightly stupid vanity.
"

Nobody knows who anybody is personally here. Never meet each other, or know each other. So no. For me the appeal of proving the HBD basis of IQ would be that would get the crazy liberals (or whatever you want to call the psychos who keep forcing the least and stupidest down our throats) to stop blaming whites because blacks (and others) cannot make the grade without Affirmative Action. To stop trying to shame and tax us into sending our kids in hell-hole schools and other such environments. To prove that and get said "libs" off our backs and their hands out of our pockets, would be worth in gold, the price of admission to to that scientific truth (imo).

Matt said...

It's a seductive idea for us 99th-percentile-verbal-70-something-quant guys, with mild antisocial tendencies, to think that we spiritual Kerouacs are really more brilliant than any double 99 nerd drone; but it's no more than a slightly stupid vanity.
What's the big deal here?

IQ tests are deliberately designed to test for basic cognitive abilities like memory (long and short term), quick reactions, pattern recognition, etc.

They're not designed (and specifically not designed) to test for the ability to orient oneself and have an interest in intellectually and aesthetically stimulating topics, which in any case is hard to test outside of simply asking people whether they are interested in them or not.

Nor the desire to break the mold and develop new insights and new art, nor the social ability to work with a community of others to do so, when necessary.

As such, IQ tests are only really testing one aspect of "genius" (to the extent this even exists as a trait of an individual).

They're a great tool but high IQ is obviously distinct from, while contributing to, genius.

If the Chinese selecting high IQS to breed more they will have only high IQS and not geniuses. People need to learn to separate one thing from another and I think they should pay more attention to Professor Bruce Charlton who has written posts very interesting in relation to the profile of a typical genius.

High IQ isn't sufficient for genius, but does contribute to it.

Selecting for high IQ on its own would increase the number of geniuses, simply because the number of people who currently have many of the other attributes for genius, but insufficient IQ, would have increased IQ.

There are a number of completely intellectually engaged, dull and stolid people in our society for who it would do nothing to increase their chances of genius to have more IQ, if their personality and intellectual interest didn't change. The 110 IQ pure Mensa nerd, rather unambitious and anti-social, who goes to 150 IQ might not achieve much more.

But there are just as many, people who have low IQs but good levels of interest. What happens when the 100 IQ standard average White chick who's obsessed with novels goes to 140 IQ? Probably a huge increase in her novel related achievement (even if it's just, god, literary criticism).

Even though IQ is not the only factor in genius, it is the "limiting factor" for many people.

Anonymous said...

"In my experience, few things in modern medicine happen very fast." At least not until some of those superbabies grow up to become doctors and scientists.

Or kill themselves at the age of 16 due to public school "socialization" (bullying).

Society needs to change to accommodate more high-IQ persons, and meet their special needs, or at least be aware of them. If I had a dime for every ignorant yahoo (or semi-ignorant middle class yuppie) who says "we need more geniuses", I would be a millionaire. How many of these yahoos and yuppies have any idea of what 120 IQ (much less 160 IQ) people are really like? They are not "normal people" with extra brain cells tacked on.

Anonymous said...

''High IQ isn't sufficient for genius, but does contribute to it.
Selecting for high IQ on its own would increase the number of geniuses, simply because the number of people who currently have many of the other attributes for genius, but insufficient IQ, would have increased IQ.''

I think the kind of genius indeed must submit a bell curve, because the type genius is a sort of ''mental disorder'' such as autism and bipolar disorder. Of course I do not believe there are mental disorders, because it depends on the hegemonic values​​ in a hypothetical society. It is also evident that the extreme forms of each'' mental disorder'' are disabling and are at the limit of the spectrum of pathology. However, it is clear to me that the genius classic type (different of the type genius-IQ or genius-intelligence convergent) presents a variety of cognitive types but with the main trait of creativity.
What has happened here is that people outside the community HBD (amateur scientists and reporters, with tendencies politically correct) has erroneously found to be genius is to have a high IQ.
But not only is this microcosm of the web who commits these errors, but also the HBD community itself, assigning as sole and decisive value of genius the high iq.
I get hate when I see a list of'' geniuses'' high iq (Angelina Jolie?) or even attempt to estimate the IQ of the geniuses of the past such as Van Gogh and Galileo. We do not know what the iq of them but simply assign high creative ability with a high IQ is not the smartest way to understand that, from the moment that you understand the complexity measurable of intelligence.
I do not doubt that many of the geniuses of the past should have a high IQ, but many others due to their psychological profiles most likely had no '' super high iq''.


Anonymous said...

''There are a number of completely intellectually engaged, dull and stolid people in our society for who it would do nothing to increase their chances of genius to have more IQ, if their personality and intellectual interest didn't change. The 110 IQ pure Mensa nerd, rather unambitious and anti-social, who goes to 150 IQ might not achieve much more.
But there are just as many, people who have low IQs but good levels of interest. What happens when the 100 IQ standard average White chick who's obsessed with novels goes to 140 IQ? Probably a huge increase in her novel related achievement (even if it's just, god, literary criticism).
Even though IQ is not the only factor in genius, it is the "limiting factor" for many people.''

As Nancy Andreasen and other authors have already proposed, creativity is a trait that is not fully related to intelligence. People with super high IQS, no doubt, are very intelligent but very probably not be very creative. Clearly the super high IQS will be more creative than most people iq average, the same way that the average liberal is smarter than the average conservative. Are averages, we should not consider the whole group and also must know which variables are dealing.
I understand that you are smart not to risk it and I realize that intelligent iq 130-160 tend to be more conservative than average. Pragmatism is smart, do not risk it if you do not need. Asians are well and most likely there are more Asian high iq than whites. However, Asians do not seem super creative. Ok, today there are many inventions made by Asians, but I think that creativity is expressed even more in their most natural and pure state, through culture. The other day I was listening to Asian pop music and noticed they copied almost completely Western pop music. I thought, because the Chinese or the Japanese do not develop their own modern cultures?
Here we see that most Asians do not seem to mind. We have two key factors that explain the lack of creativity Asian

Submissive personality (introverted, low psychoticism, low divergent thinking, high levels of social and cultural homogeneity)

Low incidence of moderately high to high IQS with high psychoticism (kinda genius classic, acclaimed by the media)

The type nerd educated, intelligent and gifted that takes high grades in high school and could have a bright life is not the same kind genius, bipolar, psychotic, always angry, ego high and with little chance of success in life. (Note that many Asian students are well)

The type nerd born to significantly improve cognitive knowledge (and to a lesser extent in intellectual knowledge, these I call mixed type, nerd-classic genius).
The classic type genius is one that by focusing on some aspect intellectual it will tend inexorably to abruptly change everything that is established. And in this case creativity combined with psychological anxiety are the most important components, not high iq.

High psicoticism not associated with high intelligence, the vast majority of people who are highly intelligent, have not ''mental disorders'', however, they are healthier than the majority of the population.

These two types are definitely different, presenting only a relationship of high intelligence, either convergent or divergent (creative).

Anonymous said...

The type nerd educated, intelligent and gifted that takes high grades in high school and could have a bright life is not the same kind genius, bipolar, psychotic, always angry, ego high and with little chance of success in life. (Note that many Asian students are TYPE NERD)

Correction...

Anonymous said...

The Chinese have selected the high iq type-nerd ever since then, I predict when selecting high IQS. This relates to their typical pragmatism, I think someone should create for pragmatism as a kind of psycho-social trait. I think Asians are extremely pragmatic and it is acute because they are much more homogeneous than Caucasians are much more diversified. As a result, we have a large population of people technically intelligent (intelligence convergent) and pragmatic, in fact the two traits are correlated because as said before, being pragmatic is to be smart. Creativity appears much deeper right where there is a need for urgency cognitive problem-solving. For example, literary culture, thinking pragmatically, is superfluous and can only be considered essential from the moment she has a purpose, for example, an ideological purpose.
Highly intelligent and creative people generally make their intellectual activities for own pleasure, without any objective finality.

Anonymous said...

Pragmatism is smart, do not risk it if you do not need.

That depends on the situation. Pragmatism is not the same as risk aversion, and audacity and an interest in depth can be rewarded.

...

Generally, I don't know if you're right about mental illness and genius.

Mental illness can properly be defined on only two grounds, either our normal cultural one where mental illness is what causes suffering or delusions or the Greg Cochran one where mental illness is defined as causing fitness decreases (relative to other states). I don't if either of these are true of geniuses.

On Asians, the theory I heard which I liked was that Asian societies tended to be precarious, and not reward risk or spontaneity, and that Asian societies tended to need jacks of all trades, so didn't reward people developing singular obsessions and drives.

But even though I like the theory, there are plenty of obsessive Japanese and Chinese around, who are obsessed with technical perfection and the right way of doing things beyond the necessary (but both risk taking, dominant and obsessive, perhaps not so much).

Anonymous said...

An associate of mine was involved in the standardization in China more than 20 years ago of a well known non-verbal IQ test published in the West. The Chinese psychologists seemed fully mindful of the work of Arthur Jensen, Hans Eysenck, R. T. Osborne, Cyril Burt, and many others. Not then government by copyright observances, works of Jensen and Eysenck, for example, were widely translated and passed about in photocopies and discussed. It is correct to note that Chinese psychology appears not to have any pervasive hangup re Human Biodiversity.

Anonymous said...

''That depends on the situation. Pragmatism is not the same as risk aversion, and audacity and an interest in depth can be rewarded.''

Pragmatism is no undue risk-taking. A colleague of mine made ​​a remark the other day at a club in LA. He said that while whites jumped without measuring risks on the ramp of the trampoline, Asians tended to avoid jumping on the trampoline. If you think about it, it's smarter not to jump on the trampoline because giving something wrong and you get hurt unnecessarily.
I read the theory, Asians are a subspecies specializing in cold weather, while the Europeans have evolved into a diversified environment. This resulted in the first group homogeneity and diversity of traits in the second. It is what we see today, Europeans appear in more extreme, there are more of them with unusual cognitive traits than Asians.
Living in Mongolian Plateau biting wind and extremely dangerous nature, Asians eliminated much of the behavioral phenotypes that require creativity, because as I said, creativity is best perceived, especially in activities that do not require great responsibility. Pragmatism is the best choice while creativity is the unusual choice in a particular way, is contrary to rational choice. Creativity is mostly recreational, and most creative people tend to focus on these types of activities.

Anonymous said...

''Generally, I don't know if you're right about mental illness and genius.
Mental illness can properly be defined on only two grounds, either our normal cultural one where mental illness is what causes suffering or delusions or the Greg Cochran one where mental illness is defined as causing fitness decreases (relative to other states). I don't if either of these are true of geniuses.''

There are two kinds of geniuses, the creative geniuses and geniuses high iq. The high-IQ geniuses, was as I had said earlier, are mostly people with high average IQ, or high intelligence technique. Of course most of them tend to have too high creativity, but their intelligence technique, is pragmatic and rational neutralizes their creative potential. So rationally high iq geniuses tend to work their cognitive exceptionality through certainties. Therefore, most of our scientists are geniuses high iq.
However, the creative genius stands out especially for its high creativity. As I also suggested above, there must be a boundary between general intelligence and creativity (as explained earlier in this review). The greater the general intelligence, greater attachment to rationality, pragmatism, less creativity. There should be a natural mechanism that drives the creative potential of high iq for jobs convergent functional.
The creative geniuses, do not work with certainties, they are trailblazers. This requires certain characteristics that are associated with the spectrum of eccentric personalities (aka, mental disorders). The creative genius is associated in my opinion a combination cognitive unusual, exceptional and results in emotional disarray.
It seems that ordinary people usually do not exhibit large differences between their types of intelligences.
I need not ask you to go very far, just look for aspergers. I think this category should fit into any spectrum of genius.
You do not want to connect the idea of ​​mental disorder with genius, because they are only focusing on a kind of genius, which is the most acclaimed community hbd, but it is urgently necessary to understand that they are not the only ones. Yes, they are super important, but I honestly have a passion for creative genius.
Yes, the higher the IQ, healthier, less psychological problems and less psychoticism person will tend to be, but I repeat, this is the kind-genius IQ. That's why the creative genius is so much less numerous than the genius-iq. Because, statistically speaking it is already difficult to find high IQS with high psychoticism, for the simple fact that it is already difficult to find high IQS. But do not just super high IQ, you must have a super high CQ (creativitity quotient) combined with a high IQ, but not much.
I sign under the theory of Nancy Andreasen and others, of course, the creative geniuses must display a bell curve, where there is a concentration of them among the moderate high IQS (120) and a decreasing amount above or below this level.

Anonymous said...

''Mental illness can properly be defined on only two grounds, either our normal cultural one where mental illness is what causes suffering or delusions or the Greg Cochran one where mental illness is defined as causing fitness decreases (relative to other states). I don't if either of these are true of geniuses.''


You should read the blog of Bruce Charton. It has a very interesting discussion there that one of the commentators concluded that the creative genius (or high CQ) is rare because it is necessary that they are both empathetic and psychotic.
Mental disorders in their disabling versions tend to push the creative explosion of their affected to diseases, hence we see that many famous writers wrote about their emotional distress. But usually it is necessary that there is a tenuous line between madness and normality for the creative genius appear. It is as if the person had to stand in the middle of two dimensions, so you can condense different worldviews, from one dimension to another.

The word genius since a long time has been associated with creative intelligence and honestly, most of the high IQS non-geniuses do not seem super creative, super intelligent but they improve and refine the already established knowledge. In my opinion, the real or the original is the creative genius, at least in a historical context.

Anonymous said...

''On Asians, the theory I heard which I liked was that Asian societies tended to be precarious, and not reward risk or spontaneity, and that Asian societies tended to need jacks of all trades, so didn't reward people developing singular obsessions and drives.''

I think the cultural factors on Asians, are not entirely account for the blatant lack of original creativity. It is only the result of its biology. Asians have little phenotypic variation, little variation in personality and little variation in cognitive styles, because it was necessary and advantageous to survive in extremely cold environment that evolved. I think they are creative, but only when necessary and with lack of quality. Again pragmatism.


''But even though I like the theory, there are plenty of obsessive Japanese and Chinese around, who are obsessed with technical perfection and the right way of doing things beyond the necessary (but both risk taking, dominant and obsessive, perhaps not so much).''

Creativity is often the wrong way to do things, or rather a way which is not established as certain, full of risks.

Anonymous said...

''Generally, I don't know if you're right about mental illness and genius.''

http://psychcentral.com/lib/intelligence-linked-to-bipolar-disorder/0005518