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October 18, 2013 / JayMan

A Quick Note on Heritability and Changeability, Courtesy “misdreavus”

People who follow me know that I stress the three laws of behavioral genetics, starting with the all-important First Law, all human behavioral traits are heritable.

OK, but that established, most people aren’t necessarily interested in heritability per se; they want to know about changeability. Can the trait in question be changed? Sure, there are non-genetic inputs to physical and behavioral traits, including “environmental” ones (note that I distinguish “non-genetic” from “environmental”). And indeed, human traits can certainly be affected by global and local environmental forces (again, notice that I distinguish the two).

That said, that doesn’t necessarily mean we can shape traits to be what we want them to be, even if we limit our target range. See this series of insightful tweets from Sam S/”misdreavus”, a regular commenter at HBD blogs who frequents Cochran’s & Harpending’s in particular. “misdreavus” is definitely one of the greatest – if not the greatest HBD commenter who doesn’t yet have his own blog (a title I would have given to Jason Malloy before he started blogging over at Human Varieties):

Good points. Expect more on the topic in the future.

See also: 100 Blog Posts – A Reflection on HBD Blogging And What Lies Ahead: Health wisdom and obesity

Even George W. Bush Has Heart Disease

My posts on free will:

What if it’s not their fault? The myth of free will.
Sam Harris on free will
No, You Don’t Have Free Will, and This is Why

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6 Comments

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  1. Jorge Videla / Oct 18 2013 7:44 PM

    this guy’s a moron.

    obesity itself ONLY shows up in the very artificial context of post neolithic/ag revolution human societies, that is civilization.

    shaming does work. it works in france. it worked in this country until ca 30 years ago. i always made fun of the fat kid until he cried. i wasn’t the only one. in my own family fatness was TOTALLY unacceptable, and fat people were viewed as subhuman.

    • JayMan / Oct 18 2013 7:50 PM

      @Jorge Videla:

      obesity itself ONLY shows up in the very artificial context of post neolithic/ag revolution human societies, that is civilization.

      Which is the context we live in. As Greg Cochran put it, it’s the only game in town.

      shaming does work. it works in france.

      You sure about that?

      i always made fun of the fat kid until he cried. i wasn’t the only one. in my own family fatness was TOTALLY unacceptable, and fat people were viewed as subhuman.

      Which just suggests you just enjoy being mean, and not much more.

    • Denise / Oct 18 2013 8:14 PM

      “i always made fun of the fat kid until he cried.”

      And so then he lost weight and never gained it back, proving your point?

  2. panjoomby / Oct 26 2013 11:06 AM

    very true about malleability – i always had to have plenty of examples of that (Japanese height after WW-II, comparing seed yield with fertile vs. unfertile fields, etc.) whenever discussing heritability in class. but what goes up can come down – the renorming of IQ tests – the US population was getting smarter, now it’s slowing/plateau-ing, & soon (or eventually) the drift will be in the OTHER direction, as demographics continue to change – at least in terms of how IQ tests are normed – the norms will ultimately have to get easier! You & I can see it coming – but it will be a surprise to most others:)

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  1. The Problem with HBD, the Dark Enlighment, Neoreactionism, Alt-Rightism, and that Jazz | JayMan's Blog
  2. Heritability, Changeability, and Cultural Shifts – A Quickie | JayMan's Blog

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