Well, fancy that

Genes are inherited:

Genetics plays a significant role in whether young adults choose to go to university, which university they choose to attend and how well they do, a new study suggests.

Previous studies have shown that genetics plays a major role in academic achievement at school, with 58 per cent of individual differences between students in GCSE scores due to genetic factors.

This does presuppose that intelligence is genetics related but you’d have to be a complete idiot – like say Danny Dorling and his belief in the tabula rasa – to not believe that.

23 thoughts on “Well, fancy that”

  1. Mathematically what does that imply for expected levels of intergenerational social mobility?

    (Though the swot at school only learns later that other skills are as important for making money)

  2. Genetics plays a significant role in whether young adults choose to go to university, which university they choose to attend and how well they do

    Then explain the rise in proportions of people going to university, especially considering the more well off now have fewer kids than the less well off.

    *note: could not read the article as I do not have a Telegraph account

  3. explain the rise in proportions of people going to university, especially considering the more well off now have fewer kids than the less well off

    Lower standards? The proliferation of ‘studies’ degrees designed especially for thickos? 20 years ago you could assume that most people with a university degree were reasonably intelligent. Not so now.

  4. In the last 15 years at least 3 English test cricketers – Simon Jones, Stuart Broad and Johnny Bairstow have been sons of former test cricketers – obviously that must be partially genetic.
    Simon Jones’ father even had significant injury troubles – like Simon.

  5. Genes play a role in which university they choose? Fuck off. Which gene determines they take a useless grievance studies degree? Is there a gene which determines if they join the Debating Society or decide to dress up as a Goth half-way through the first term?

    A large genetic factor in determining intelligence, yes. Anything else is bollocks. Which evolutionary circumstances 50,000 years ago favoured people who would choose Loughborough over Leicester, I wonder?

  6. Rob: Both were literally swamps back then I imagine. Perhaps the crayfish were better in one swamp over the other.

  7. Anon
    You are massively understating the serious problem that the England selectors choose the children and grandchildren of Test cricketers. Both of Sir Len Hutton’s sons played for Yorkshire and Richard played for England as did Colin Cowdray’s son, Denis Compton’s grandson – that’s three members of the same XI having children/grandchildren selected.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    Anon,

    Two factors at play.

    Children being steeped in their parent’s profession and more likely to favour it.

    More importantly, they the have to demonstrate ability to a 3rd party eg exams or selection in the case of sport. The medical profession is another case in point.

    The exception being politics, where the offspring of politicians just wander in to key positions irrespective of ability as there’s no external assessment of ability. This seems to be a particular problem on the left cf Labour’s red princes (although many are now out of favour with Momentum).

  9. “58 per cent of individual differences between students in GCSE scores due to genetic factors”: I’m mildly surprised that it’s not a bit bigger.

  10. I know a pair of Identical twins. Both bright. Not quite Oxbridge level but next spoke down. Parents met at Oxbridge though and let’s say expectations were not quite met. I’m fairly sure the standard for Oxbridge acceptance has gone way up.

  11. @john 77
    “You are massively understating the serious problem that the England selectors choose the children and grandchildren of Test cricketers.”
    It is not a problem for me, providing they play well – a great shame that Simon Jones did not play a lot more for England.
    (Although as Stuart Broad is a bowler and his dad a batter, was there really a genetic element?)

  12. @ Anon
    It is a problem to the likes of Danny Dorling and all the SJWs who insist that those of us with middle-class parents who got into a good university only did so due to the advantage our parents’ income gave us. I did so only due to the advantage that an inherited ability to do maths gave me.

  13. @ Hallowed Be
    The standard for Oxbridge acceptance has risen a bit because fewer working-class children are undernourished adversely affecting their physical and mental development and fewer bright working-class children have to leave school to earn money instead of going on to ‘A’ levels and there just are more children competing for the same number of places (but effectively fewer since the increase in overseas students has outweighed the increase in undergraduate places) but I strongly doubt that it has gone way up.
    What *has* changed is the selection criteria: more weight on the interview (I was interviewed *after* being given a place), lower exam standards required from pupils from under-performing state schools, some colleges taking into consideration admirable extra-curricular activities (but only those tolerable in a PC environment). Oh, and less weight on an independent unbiased test of ability in the form of an uncheatable entrance exam. I had to be good at my subject – maths – but now they look at the candidate’s performance over a wide range of, mostly irrelevant, subjects.

  14. The new NMiTE (Hereford) uni is planning to specialise in STEM subjects without requiring maths or physics A-level (some spokesbeing on Today this morning). WT-actual-F?

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    Chris.

    Perhaps it’s a way of saying maths and physics teach is no so bad it’s not worth worrying about the level of the intake? Some universities started doing remedial maths for students to get up to speed back in the 2002.

  16. @ Smithy
    But regression to the mean was due to the mother’s height being an independent variable that was weakly or only moderately correlated with the father’s height. So the *average* height of the sons of men of any given height was closer to the mean than their father’s. Interestingly the converse also applies – the average height of the father of sons of a given height is closer to the mean than their sons.
    Hallowed Be’s example is of twins born to parents who were both Oxbridge: simplistic Probability theory would suggest at least a 50% probability that the twins’ IQ would be intermediate between that of their parents, with the smaller balance divided equally between the probabilities that it would be higher or lower than both.

  17. “The exception being politics”

    True. Nepotism can get you a job, BUT you have to do the work. There is no real work with politics.

    A similar case I’ve seen. Children of TV personalities/presenters who died. Kids take over the show. In some cases, I like the kids better than the originals. In others, the kids suck, and the shows are soon canceled.

  18. @BiND
    Yes, I’ve heard the same (remedial) story from academics. On the A-levels, I recently helped a friend’s daughter to prepare for her A-level maths exam – past papers didn’t look too different from what I remember of mine from 50 years ago, but the pass mark may not be the same :). And we had S-levels to sort out the wheat from the chaff (when did they stop?)

  19. When I did A levels in the 1980s those of us doing Maths were also put on Further Maths – not to get a Further Maths A level, put to push out Maths grade up. The extra mind stretching resulted in all of us getting As and Bs. Most of us got Cs and Ds in Further Maths, but uni admission only looked at your three main subjects.

  20. @ Chris Miller
    After my time but they were technically redundant after they abolished State Scholarships as they were, in theory, the reason for ‘S’ levels. Definitely the means of sorting of the wheat from the chaff.

  21. John 77: Ok it makes sense that the top 1% of the the top 20% will still be the top 1% of the top 50%. But as you say the competition element has risen and that has forced them to look outside just the results, but unfortunately that’s where all the subjective and political stuff creeps in. What would be awful if your chance of admittance was artificially lowered if your parents went there or raised if they didn’t (same outcome).

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