Actually Hadley, most of us say thanks Mum and Dad

Hadley Freeman: so the privately educated are the new underclass? Spare me the sob story

No one likes to think that their success has at least as much to do with their parents forking out as it does their own hard work

52 thoughts on “Actually Hadley, most of us say thanks Mum and Dad”

  1. She’s lived in Britain for 25 years and she can’t understand the names we give our TV programmes?

    She’s the US revenge for Piers Morgan, isn’t she?

  2. “In my experience, private education bestows boys with self-confidence and social ease (although they’re always happier with their own kind, hence their tendency to hire each other). It gives girls self-loathing and eating disorders or, alternatively, brassy bossiness and a belief they can change the world. “

    That must be why so many of them write for the ‘Guardian’ and ‘Indy’ then…

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    I wonder. Suppose we all agreed some large part of our success is due to our genes. Which our parents had some control over but not much. Would that make us feel better or worse about ourselves?

    I would think better. Which is why the Guardianistas can’t stand the idea. But why should our genes make us proud but our upper middle class origins don’t?

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    umber one: why do so many of your classic TV shows have such bizarre titles? Last Of The Summer Wine? Only Fools And Horses?

    I always assumed the Last of the Summer Wine was Shakespearean but I can’t think what it might be or why. Either way its name is more or less self-explanatory so you would have to be an idiot not to get it.

    However only Fools and Horses is half an American saying. It is not odd she does not recognise it, but I don’t think we can really deny Ms Freeman’s fellow Americans credit.

  5. On the other hand, why do so many US show have such banal, and often descriptive titles? “The Bold and the Beautiful”…”Dallas”…”Baywatch”…”The Jimmy McWhatever show”.

    It’s a basic principle of branding that a “fantasy” trademark is far more powerful on the consumer than something banal or descriptive. But given that she’s moaning in the Groaniad, I don’t wonder why she hasn’t the faintest scooby about this.

  6. SMSF

    Your appearance is what defined by your genes. Everything else unfortunately not at all. I.e. take a child of a male and female with genuis IQ and abandon it to live with dogs for first few years of his or her life and you’ll end up with nothing more than a dog looking like a human being.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    abacab – “On the other hand, why do so many US show have such banal, and often descriptive titles? “

    Like Coronation Street or Eastenders? Or Neighbours?

    Paul Fussell’s really very good “The Great War and Modern Memory” sort of pointed out that British poets used to be raised on their national poetic legacy. So modern poems used to habitually refer back to and were influenced by previous poems. Americans did not do this – having so little poetry to fall back on. It would not surprise me if the same thing worked with TV show titles. So something like The Darling Buds of May is Shakespearean even if The Last of the Summer Wine is not.

    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
    And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

    In the same way that Brave New World is influenced by Shakespeare.

    Dain – “Your appearance is what defined by your genes. Everything else unfortunately not at all. I.e. take a child of a male and female with genuis IQ and abandon it to live with dogs for first few years of his or her life and you’ll end up with nothing more than a dog looking like a human being.”

    And if I cut the legs off a West African he won’t be able to run very fast. But that does not change the fact that there may well be genes for running fast. The child of two people with genius IQs is substantially more likely to be intelligent than average. Intelligence clearly has a genetic component although how much is debatable. After all, shaving some of those dogs, putting them in uniform and sending them to the best comprehensives in the land won’t result in a canine Einstein.

  8. SMSF

    There is no segment in human DNA that is responcible for or determines intelligence, so its all up to education.

  9. Gunker

    What’s contentious in that statement ?

    I’ve already gave you simplest possible example that proves it, there are well known facts of children raised by animals that prove that. In less extreme form – if noone taught child to talk and read no matter how smart parents were chances of this poor child reaching above intellectual level of chimpansee are diminishingly small.

    Are you going to disagre with said above ?

    If intelligence of human beings was inheritable that would not be the case, would it ?

  10. @Dain

    “There is no segment in human DNA that is responcible for or determines intelligence, so its all up to education.”

    I think that “intelligence” probably needs some definition to have this discussion, but last Monday’s moral maze covered off the whole debate quite well, IIRC.

    The view from two professors who seemed to know their eggs was that there is a degree or heritability in intelligence, and this seems to be down to combinations of genes across the entire genome. How heritable it is is up for debate: 30% was the high water mark, if memory serves.

    There is the side of this discussion though about non-genetic heritability: clever parents invest time and effort in preparing their kids for school and supporting them through it. Dim parents don’t. Those clever kids do the same for their kids and Lo! A bloodline of clever* kids.

    Chances of all this behaviour being tied to a group of genes? Approaching zero. But in effect, it’s the same thing: parental attributes being passed down to offspring.

    *measured however you like- exam results, uni places, job success, life outcomes.

  11. Js

    Yes, they are passed. Through learning process, nothing else. Of course there are mutations of DNA that might define learning abilities but without learning itself they are useless.

    Note that there are well known in nature mechanisms of genetic memory, fish for example do not have to learn how to be fish, however in case of human bring every single aspect that defines human being starting with walking on two legs requires learning.

  12. Oh, Dain:

    “there are well known facts of children raised by animals that prove that. In less extreme form – if noone taught child to talk and read no matter how smart parents were chances of this poor child reaching above intellectual level of chimpansee are diminishingly small.”

    There are other factors at play: linguists already know that there is a small developmental window for language acquisition in humans: Wolf children miss this (what with spending their time being raised by wolves over that window), and they never catch up properly.

    Wernicke (or was it Brocha? My wife is the specialist in child language acquisition, not me) did work in this area, and I know of case studies of feral kids who did become far more able than chimps once rescued.

    So, with respect, I think you are stretching what actually goes on with your analogy. Also, abusive neglect of a child (not teaching it to talk) is obviously going to have a big impact on outcomes.

  13. Only someone who doesn’t know any parents, or children, could believe that intelligence isn’t heritable (to some degree). Education isn’t irrelevant but Dain is confusing horse and cart.

  14. And at the risk of being a boor:

    “Note that there are well known in nature mechanisms of genetic memory, fish for example do not have to learn how to be fish, however in case of human bring every single aspect that defines human being starting with walking on two legs requires learning.”

    I think evolution explains why fish just know how to be fish, and we need to learn how to become tax accountants. Fish need a very all range of skills to survive: swimming is about it.
    Humans set their goals higher, thus the requires skills are higher, and not all of these skills are directly related to what evolution would view as survival. That’s what we call social skills. So they are different things.

  15. Beleifs have nothing to do with it.

    Take human genome sequence and find there gene responcible for inheritance of intelligence.

    That easy.

  16. And intelligence did evolve: it’s not a function of brain mass: neanderthals had bigger brains than we did.

    The shape of the brain is proof it evolved in order to support intelligence of the kind most of us have.

  17. The Meissen Bison

    Dain: find there gene responcible for inheritance of intelligence

    Were you brought up by wolves or just a genetic dud?

  18. “Take human genome sequence and find there gene responcible for inheritance of intelligence.”

    There’s not a single gene responsible for cleverness (although if there was, I can think of at least one person who would top the list for replacement therapy): the most studies seem to show is that groups of genes produce the effects of intelligence, when activated in certain combinations. As I said, intelligence needs to be defined- it’s not like height, in order to have a sensible discussion, but one school of thought is that there’s something like a 70:30 split between inherited clever and learned or environmental clever.

  19. CJ Nerd

    “@Dain – If intelligence isn’t at least partly inheritable, then how did it evolve?”

    Natural variation from the norm. Success of “better” variants. Isn’t that what evolution is? (btw, that’s not denying “some” element of inherited, however large or small that % is?).

    Dain

    “CJN – It did not.”

    What?

  20. “so the privately educated are the new underclass?”

    Straw Man of the Year. Even Murphy cannot compete at this level.

  21. @Dain

    ‘Take human genome sequence and find there gene responcible for inheritance of intelligence. That easy.’

    Ha ha. I see. You have an intimate understanding of the purpose and impact of every gene in every human, and all of the infinite and infinitely complex interactions between them.

    Where do you keep the Nobel? (Or Nobels.)

    PS I’m taking the piss. Nature: We don’t yet know, but ‘the high heritability of intelligence differences has been made increasingly clear.’ (http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v14/n6/full/5201588a.html)

  22. @Dain
    “I’ve already gave you simplest possible example that proves it, there are well known facts of children raised by animals that prove that. In less extreme form – if noone taught child to talk and read no matter how smart parents were chances of this poor child reaching above intellectual level of chimpansee are diminishingly small.”

    This doesn’t prove your contention at all and I am surprised you think it does. SMFS pretty much explains in his post why.

    “Take human genome sequence and find there gene responcible for inheritance of intelligence.”

    I think you will find that there are very few individual genes that are responsible for individual characteristics. Many genes combine for each characteristic.

    Your world view is very akin to the sixties psychological mindset, that nurture not nature was 100% for brain development. It has long been superseded.

  23. @interested

    Good paper:
    “IQ test scores are life-long stable traits with important predictive validity. A 68-year follow-up of almost 500 people who took part in the Scottish Mental Survey of 1932 found a correlation (stability coefficient) of 0.66 between IQ scores on the same test taken at age 11 years and 79 years.6 Intelligence test scores are strongly associated with academic success.7 They are about the single best predictor of job success.8 Childhood IQ is significantly related to how long people live.9”

    The two things there that caught my eye were that intelligence is stable over a lifetime, arguing for heritability in some shape (as it seems set at birth), and how useful a proxy IQ appears for a whole set of outcomes.

  24. Dain

    Two observations:

    1. You are confusing actual and potential. Wolf kids have potential (genetic) intelligence that has not been made actual (by environmental stimuli).

    2. Intelligence is not one faculty but a cluster. There are different types of intelligence: eg analytical, mathematical, musical, artistic, linguistic, social, practical….A good plumber or carpenter can solve problems that will defeat a good mathematician or musician. So, unsurprisingly, there is no one gene or genes or genome segment.

  25. @theo

    This is dovetailing with what I said up top about non-genetic inherited traits. I think the discovery of DNA has taught humans to be very mechanistic about how skills and attributes are learnt and developed.

  26. Hadley Freeman describes the privately edumacated as boys with self-confidence and social ease versus brassy, bossy girls with a belief they can change the world.

    Why define them so differently?

    And why on earth would you want a private education to instill a guilty conscience on those who pass through it? I sincerely doubt the market would support the Hadley Freeman School for Sour Faced Pansies.

  27. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    In my experience, private education bestows boys with self-confidence and social ease…. It gives girls self-loathing and eating disorders or, alternatively, brassy bossiness and a belief they can change the world.

    Whoops. Looks like Hadley missed the memo from the SJW Language Police .

    “Bossy” is hardly the only culprit, but it is one of those gender-coded words we use too often to discourage girls from being assertive… Behind the allegations of “bossiness” – behind the hostility toward women who are seen as aggressive or self-promotional – is a regressive view of what a woman should be. And a white view at that.

    Bad Hadley.

  28. “I bet those wolf kids run rings round the rest of the pack, too.”

    Droll and true, Interested. Presumably, the wolves don’t eat the kid because the kid brings advantages to the pack. Symbiosis, in other words.

    JS: exactly.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “Presumably, the wolves don’t eat the kid because the kid brings advantages to the pack. Symbiosis, in other words.”

    I bet the child doesn’t. I would think that some female wolf’s maternal instincts kicked in and she protected the child. A mechanism that evolved to protect cubs is just working awry to protect the human. Like the cuckoo.

    I mean, what could a child do that would be useful for a wolf? We can’t run, we can’t hunt, we are kind of useless

    But first class trolling by Dain. Well done.

  30. The Meissen Bison

    SMFS: I mean, what could a child do that would be useful for a wolf? We can’t run, we can’t hunt, we are kind of useless

    Well, there is the legend of Romulus and Remus but then as some wise wolf was probably saying only the other day, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    The Meissen Bison – “Well, there is the legend of Romulus and Remus but then as some wise wolf was probably saying only the other day, “What have the Romans ever done for us?””

    Well it is better than asking what the Romulans have ever done for us. But all that proves is that the idea of wolves adopting children has been around for some time. The legend doesn’t say Remus was really good at picking ticks off wolves or that Romulus was adept at catching salmon.

    We have a great many biological triggers that often get triggered inappropriately these days. Porn being a good example. Wolves are probably the same. But with less sex.

  32. You’re certainly right about the maternal kicking in, SMFS. However, I dimly recall reading something about a wolf kid who had smashed open bones that lupine jaws couldn’t crack and who had been seen driving prey towards the wolves. So I think opposable thumbs and a bigger brain could be of use to a wolf pack; and I do wonder how a weaned wolf kid would avoid becoming a snack if there was no symbiosis at all. But then I am not familiar with the literature on wolf kids, so I’m just speculating.

  33. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Your appearance is what defined by your genes. Everything else unfortunately not at all. I.e. take a child of a male and female with genuis IQ and abandon it to live with dogs for first few years of his or her life and you’ll end up with nothing more than a dog looking like a human being.”

    We don’t need to imagine wolf kids, there’s been a natural experiment recently that was reported in the excellent Brain program – Romanian orphanages.

    It really does like like getting it wrong in the first 2 years of a child’s life condemns them to be forever behind the development curve with no hope of catching up.

  34. SMFS:

    “What could a child do that would be useful to a wolf?”

    Hell, man,–he could get us in the papers, maybe even on TV!

  35. So Much For Subtlety

    Gene Berman – “Hell, man,–he could get us in the papers, maybe even on TV!”

    Oh come on. We know the wolves are smarter than that. They know that as soon as he makes it big on Broadway he will forget all the little people who helped him on the way up.

    That is what is wrong with the modern world. No gratitude for suckling any more.

    “You were abandoned on a mountain top when I met you,
    I picked you out, shook you up,
    And turned you around,
    Turned you into someone new”

  36. JS

    “And intelligence did evolve: it’s not a function of brain mass: neanderthals had bigger brains than we did. ”

    You mean devolve then ? Because the only reason why nature would decrease brain size is that supporting bigger brain is a waste of energy if it is not required for anything. Obviously neanderthals needed bigger brain for survival in their environment.

    Forget about neanderthals, we know next to nothing about them. Take Australian aboriginals and compare children raised in bush and in urban environment, there is abundance of examples and studies to pick from.

    One of them will be able to survive in harshest conditions on earth but would be absolutely useless in what we call modern life, second will be perfectly adapted to said life but won’t last more than 12 hours in a desert.

    Three questions for you to answer.
    Would their level of intelligence from point of view of modern society be different ?
    Was it determined by genetics ?
    What was the reason for difference ?

  37. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Saying intelligence is not heritable would be about as daft as saying tallness wasn’t heritable, except there’s a greater correlation between smart parents and smart kids than between tall parents and tall kids. It’s about the most strongly heritable human trait apart from skin colour.

  38. BICR

    “except there’s a greater correlation between smart parents and smart kids than between tall parents and tall kids.”

    Unfortunately for your point of view studies prove that adopted children of smart foster parents are smarter than their siblings that were not that lucky.

  39. So Much For Subtlety

    Dain – “Because the only reason why nature would decrease brain size is that supporting bigger brain is a waste of energy if it is not required for anything. Obviously neanderthals needed bigger brain for survival in their environment.”

    Obviously? Maybe they were smarter than us. Maybe not. You can’t look at absolute brain size. You have to look at the ratio of brain size to body mass.

    “One of them will be able to survive in harshest conditions on earth but would be absolutely useless in what we call modern life, second will be perfectly adapted to said life but won’t last more than 12 hours in a desert.”

    I kind of doubt that. Myself. Given no one in Australia lives a traditional Aboriginal life. Rural Aboriginals live off welfare and pretty much all they do is drink.

    Dain – “Unfortunately for your point of view studies prove that adopted children of smart foster parents are smarter than their siblings that were not that lucky.”

    I am not sure that is true. But if it is true it merely proves that intelligence is not 100% genetic. No one said it was. However the adopted children of smart foster parents are not usually as smart as their adopted parents or siblings. Indeed mass adoption of Black children has not resulted in large numbers of gifted Black adults. Despite middle class Whites spending all they can.

  40. SMSF

    “I kind of doubt that. Myself. Given no one in Australia lives a traditional Aboriginal life.”

    After that everything you say can’t be taken seriously.

  41. So Much For Subtlety

    Dain – “After that everything you say can’t be taken seriously.”

    You know, the quality of your trolling is in decline. You can do better. But just to humour you and show you have not wasted your time completely, where in Australia might I go to see anyone living a traditional life style?

    If you go to the Australian government webpage and look at the diseases that disproportionately affect “indigenous” Australians, they are things like sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease, kidney failure and diabetes. Apart from the STDs these are rare diseases among people who walk around a lot eating grubs and roots. They are very common among indigenous peoples all over the world who have given up their life style for Western diets paid for by welfare.

  42. SMSF

    Are you trying to prove on your own example that intelligence is not inheritable in general or that your case was just a failure in that process ?

    If you want to see real aboriginals living traditional way of life you should head to Cape York. But be careful, your fragile view of world may shatter once you learn that they do not accept any welfare payments and do not tolerate alcohol on their land.

  43. The Meissen Bison

    Dain: Are you trying to prove on your own example that intelligence is not inheritable in general or that your case was just a failure in that process ?

    Hang on a bit. SMFS can fight his own battles, of course, but you are asking him the same question that I asked you 24 hours ago but which you didn’t respond to.

    So lets have another crack at it: which are you – wolf-child or genetic woopsie?

  44. So Much For Subtlety

    Dain – “Are you trying to prove on your own example that intelligence is not inheritable in general or that your case was just a failure in that process ?”

    I do not need to prove anything. The level of evidence for the inheritance of intelligence is over whelming and undeniable. It speaks for itself.

    “If you want to see real aboriginals living traditional way of life you should head to Cape York. But be careful, your fragile view of world may shatter once you learn that they do not accept any welfare payments and do not tolerate alcohol on their land.”

    Like f**k I will. You are really not doing well today are you? I could go to Cape York. I might find Aboriginal leaders like Noel Pearson who goes a long way with objections to “passive welfare”. Objections I agree with entirely. What I will not find is a single Aboriginal community that can or does do without welfare. Not one. Because there aren’t any.

    Although all over Australia there are communities that try to keep alcohol out. Good for them.

  45. Would anyone like to explain to Dain that some kids just cannot do maths?
    Therefore some intelligence is not down to education or environment.

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