Genetic inheritance matters

Overweight men may pass genetic obesity risk to their children

Well, yes, seems reasonable. Taller people tend to have taller children, so why not fatties popping out lardbuckets?

But of course this must never, ever, apply to intelligence. Despite the fact that this is the only way that intelligence could actually have emerged in the first place. Because, you know, the political pressures of the blank slate mean that it cannot apply to intelligence.

25 thoughts on “Genetic inheritance matters”

  1. If obesity is genetic, why weren’t there similar levels of obesity in the past?

    They aren’t passing on genes which make them obese, but an attitude. Kid grows up stuffing his face and seeing parents do the same, quite an influence.

  2. Yes, Rob, it could be cultural. Or it could be epigenetic.

    Incidentally, IIRC, we know from the Dutch famine of 1944 that people who experienced starvation then had children and grandchildren who were more prone to obesity (and other health problems). It seems some epigenetic markers were triggered in the famine victims. So, perhaps, dietary extremes – famine levels and morbid over-eating – trigger similar epigenetic markers.

  3. @Rob We know height has a genetic component. We also know it has an environmental component. A child growing up in a time of famine will be shorter than his identical twin growing up in a time of plenty.

    But once we have controlled the environmental factors and everybody has as much food as they want, we see the difference that genetics makes.

    I have observed that short children eat less than tall children. But I don’t think they are starving themselves into smallness. I suspect that tall children are producing more Human Growth Hormone which is triggering their hunger. The reason I think this is that there is a strong correlation between the height of the parents and the height of the children, and no correlation between the height of the parents and the amount of food on offer.

    My guess is obesity works in the same way.

  4. I think the politically correct stance is that intelligence doesn’t real, be’s racist badthink innit.

    Unless we’re talking about thicky right-wingers, who are all window-licking mongs who should be herded into camps and beaten with rolled-up copies of The Guardian.

  5. Come on Tim, you know the answer to this. Yes, intelligence has a genetic component but it’s not strong enough to be measurable except over thousands of years.

  6. “Yes, intelligence has a genetic component but it’s not strong enough to be measurable except over thousands of years.”

    Haha. Is that what they’re teaching kids these days?

  7. John77: Think about it. If intelligence potential increased measurably over a few generations, shouldn’t we be unfathomable super geniuses compared to the Romans? Evolution doesn’t work that way.

  8. If intelligence potential increased measurably over a few generations, shouldn’t we be unfathomable super geniuses compared to the Romans?

    That’s not how human heredity works, Matthew.

    Intelligence is at least partly heritable, we know that from studies on both humans and animals. How much is encoded in genes, and how much encultured by environment is a matter of debate. But we do know that we can’t fix stupid.

    As far as intelligence and evoluyion goes, we don’t choose our sexual partners based on how winsome their Mensa card looks. And above a certain IQ, intelligence is probably a negative when it comes to passing on your genes – look at how many kids your average egghead boffin has, and compare that to how many kids Mick Philpott sired.

  9. The estimated proportion of IQ variance associated with genetic factors in children is 40–60 per cent and in adults is approximately 80 per cent. The estimated proportion of IQ variance associated with shared environmental factors is relatively constant at approximately 30 per cent for ages up to 20 years but then drops to 0 per cent in adulthood. The nonshared environmental variance is relatively constant and close to 20 per cent. The upshot of this is that education and other social factors have zero effect on adult intelligence.

  10. “Think about it. If intelligence potential increased measurably over a few generations, shouldn’t we be unfathomable super geniuses compared to the Romans? Evolution doesn’t work that way.”

    Depends on evolutionary/selection pressures. There will be times, certainly in the past, where external causes exerted evolutionary pressures to increase intelligence measurably over a few generations. Other times, such as now I fear, external causes (e.g. dishing out cash to feckless retards for every kid they have) could exert evolutionary pressures to decrease overall intelligence. It’s still heredity, evolution isn’t consistent change, it happens in short bursts and long periods of no change.

    Galapagos finches’ beaks being the obvious famous example.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    I know someone who though they try to eat healthily really struggle to keep their weight down. Maybe its metabolism or something else but the doctor shrugged and said some people are set up to survive famines. This probably didn’t matter much when we were all living hand to mouth and burning masses of calories just to survive, but now food is in abundance they are the ones who struggle most.

    Maybe its at the end of the distribution curve, the other end being skinny people who can’t put weight on with a great deal of effort, but I’m quite prepared to believe there’s something genetic going on in some, but not many, cases of obesity and its being passed down because of the benefits in evolutionary terms.

    That said, for most people its just over indulgence and/or lack of exercise that leads to overweight/obesity – a category to which I was a member for quite some time before a life style change and return to injury free running led to the shedding on 20kg.

  12. Other times, such as now I fear, external causes (e.g. dishing out cash to feckless retards for every kid they have) could exert evolutionary pressures to decrease overall intelligence

    Almost certainly. Also, high IQ can be a turn off, given how it tends to correlate with Aspergery personalities. Women select men based on their masculinity and status (tho a cheeky smile, tousled hair and rock-hard abs won’t hurt your chances). Men select women based on their youth and beauty.

    From an evolutionary perspective, intelligence is only useful to the degree it improves your chances of having children who will survive past puberty. If it leads you to geeky-obsessive squirrel-suited inceldom or upper-middle-class endless agonising over whether it’s the “right time” to procreate, it’s a handicap.

    Being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube or sing Tom Lehrer’s Elements Song never got anybody a shag.

  13. ML

    If intelligence potential increased measurably over a few generations, shouldn’t we be unfathomable super geniuses compared to the Romans? Evolution doesn’t work that way.

    Regression toward the mean.

  14. Another factor, as Europe is about to discover, is that religious groups will use reproduction as a means of becoming a majority in society.

    Osborne’s greatest legacy might be limiting benefits to the first two children in a family from 2017.

  15. @ Matthew L
    You are talking at right angles to reality.
    Inheritability of intelligence does not mean that the child is more intelligent than its parents. Just that regression analysis should work just as well on IQ 9or any better measure ofintelligence that you choose) as it does on height.
    You are demanding that acceleration should replace speed in an equation and that it should still hold true.
    Secondly for most of the last two millennia, strength has had greater evolutionary advantages than intelligence.

  16. Twin studies. Adoption studies. Why on earth make up your own facts when there’s a mass of data on the nearest things we can do to controlled trials?

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    Matthew L – “Yes, intelligence has a genetic component but it’s not strong enough to be measurable except over thousands of years.”

    Matthew L – “If intelligence potential increased measurably over a few generations, shouldn’t we be unfathomable super geniuses compared to the Romans? Evolution doesn’t work that way.”

    Actually evolution does work that way but that is beside the point. Notice that your two comments do not relate to each other. There is a genetic component. It could be 100% and still not have changed since the Romans. We have not been breeding for intelligence after all. You go from talking about intelligence to talking about increases in intelligence. Not the same thing.

    The Golden Social Justice Rule is that you can say anything about a minority as long as it is phrased as a complement. So there are people, mainly Jewish, who argue that Jewish people have been breeding for better intelligence over the past 2000 years.[1] In the West anyway. And so Jews are genetically more intelligent that other people. I assume no one is going to dispute that here.

    [1] And so Jews are more likely to get hereditary diseases related to the brain or spinal chord because if you breed for intelligence, you may well get all sorts of genes you don’t want interacting in ways you do not like.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “Twin studies. Adoption studies. Why on earth make up your own facts when there’s a mass of data on the nearest things we can do to controlled trials?”

    Because they do not produce the right results. So they must be ignored.

    The only robust result in social science is racial disparity in IQ tests. Why is the entire profession refusing to accept their only valid result but also so committed to bull!sh!t?

  19. @ Matthew L:
    We’re hardly talking about a few generations here.. though that could certainly happen, in a _very_ invasively rigorous eugenics program.

    Now, when you talk longer timescales.. have you ever interacted with an Aboriginal? Nuff said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *