Science Versus Ideology

Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, July 27, 2012

IdenticalTwins10_InTheWomb.jpg
The definitive account of the Minnesota twin study.

Nancy Segal, Born Together—Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study, Harvard University Press, 2012, 410 pp. $49.95.

The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA) was one of the most important psychological studies of the last 50 years. It began in 1979, at a time when it was widely believed that intelligence and personality were almost infinitely malleable by the environment. By the time the study ended 20 years later, it had played a key role in overthrowing this dogma. It established beyond any doubt that genes are crucial to who we are.

Born Together—Reared Apart is a detailed account of how MISTRA did its work and what was learned, and Nancy Segal is surely the best person to have written it. Herself a fraternal twin, she worked full time on the project from 1982 to 1991, and worked closely with it until it ended. She is a prominent twin researcher in her own right, and continues to make discoveries in the field.

 

The Design

MISTRA, carried out under the leadership of Professor Thomas J. Bouchard of the University of Minnesota, was based on the unique nature of twins. Monozygotic or MZ twins are genetically identical, while dizygotic or DZ twins share approximately half their genetic material, just like ordinary siblings. MZ twins occur when a single fertilized egg splits in two and becomes two fetuses in the same womb. DZ twins occur when there is double ovulation, and two eggs are fertilized and become fetuses.

Long before MISTRA, it was well known that MZ twins acted very similarly, but environmental theory held that this was because they had grown up in the same environment and had been treated similarly. Sometimes, however, twins have been separated at birth and reared in different households. If separated MZ twins have similar abilities and personalities, this cannot be because they had the same family environment; it must be because of their genes.

The basic design of MISTRA was to find monozygotic twins reared apart (MZA) and to see how similar they were. MISTRA also did the same for dizygotic twins reared apart (DZA), which they used as controls, for a total of 81 MZA and 56 DZA pairs. DZA twins were used as controls so that a shared gestation environment could be ruled out as the reason MZA twins are so similar.

The criteria for selection were that the twins had been separated before age four and spent their formative years apart. At the time of testing the 137 twin pairs had spent an average of 95 percent of their lives apart, and in some cases had grown up in different countries.

Most of the twins had been separated because they were illegitimate. Their mothers gave them up for adoption and they were taken into different homes. In many cases they never knew they had a twin, and each story of reunion was different. Some twins found each other because one started looking for his birth parents and learned he had a twin. Thirteen percent of the pairs learned of each other because of mistaken identity; someone who knew one twin bumped into the other and thought it was the same person. This happened almost exclusively with MZA twins; only one pair of DZA twins was so similar they caused this kind of confusion.

MISTRA learned about reunited twins mainly through news reports, and invited the twins to come to Minnesota for testing. After MSITRA became better known, some twin pairs who had discovered each other contacted the study team directly. In a few cases, MISTRA found separated twin pairs by looking through adoption records.

Thus, there was considerable variation in the amount of time twin pairs had been reunited before MISTRA tested them, and critics complained that this gave them time to study each other and to become more similar. In fact, this variable made it possible to test whether time spent together before testing really did make twins more similar. It did not.

Almost invariably, the reunion of identical twins was a joyful event. Some spoke of the “ecstatic shock” of discovering someone so similar. After just a short time together, most MZAs felt closer to their twin than to adoptive siblings they had known all their lives. When MISTRA itself brought MZAs together for the first time, staff filmed the reunions to capture this unique encounter. Reunions of DZA twins were not nearly so life-changing.

These twins were reunited at age 45.

The twins were brought to the University of Minnesota and put through a full week of testing. First they were given medical tests to determine whether they were MZ or DZ. Even people who work with twins cannot always tell identicals from fraternals. Prof. Segal writes that one of the best ways is to examine ear folds; if they are the same, twins are identical.

During the evaluation week, twins completed about 15,000 paper-and-pencil test items, and were examined for everything from gum disease and tooth formation to heart function and blood composition. There have been other studies of twins reared apart, but none that gathered so much information. MISTRA data are still being analyzed for research papers.

MZA twins were so remarkably similar that MISTRA attracted a lot of media attention, but this did not lead to generous funding. It cost an average of $7,000 to fly a pair of twins to Minnesota for a week of tests, and MISTRA often ran out of money. There was intense resistance to research that contradicted the orthodox belief that in the right environment we can all be made happily equal and equally happy. One grant-application reviewer for the National Science Foundation wrote that MISTRA would “fan the controversy regarding heritibility [sic] of intelligence . . . rejection is the only intellectually defensible course for NSF.”

In the end, the Pioneer Fund, which is known for supporting such scholars as Arthur Jensen, Philippe Rushton, and Richard Lynn, provided $1.4 million of the total $2.3 million that MISTRA needed. Critics complained that Pioneer money was “tainted,” but Harry Wehyer, the New York lawyer who ran the fund, took no part in research design or interpretation of data. As Prof. Bouchard noted, “If not for Pioneer we would have folded long ago.” The critics of the Pioneer Fund were really critics of the research itself.

Dr. Thomas Bouchard

Findings

Although Prof. Segal does not put it in these terms, MISTRA yielded what amount to two different kinds of findings: quantitative and impressionistic. The former come from personality, intelligence, medical, and other testing, whereas the latter include the almost eerie, unmeasurable ways in which MZA twins are alike.

The first twin pair MISTRA evaluated was particularly striking. The two men met when they were 39, and found that both had been in law enforcement but were now working as firemen. Both had loved math in school and hated spelling. Both did woodworking as a hobby, and their favorite vacation spot was Pas Grille Beach in Florida. One had named his son James Alan and the other had named his James Allan. They looked very much alike, had the same smoking habits, and always held a beer can with a pinky under the can. Both had put on 10 pounds at the same age for no apparent reason.

Not all twins were so alike, but this book is full of astonishing similarities. In one MZA pair, one twin was reared in Germany and the other in Trinidad, and they had never met before they came to Minnesota for testing. When they arrived at the airport each was wearing a light blue shirt with epaulettes, and wire-rimmed glasses. They both collected rubber bands, which they wore around their wrists, and washed their hands both before and after using the bathroom. Both liked to startle people by sneezing loudly in elevators.

One pair of MZA women both wet the bed until age 12 or 13. When they were teenagers they started having nightmares about the same things: fishhooks and doorknobs. Both had problems with nightmares for more than ten years.

One pair of MZA men had been overweight until middle school and then became quite thin. They had speech problems for which they received therapy in kindergarten or grade school. Both were diagnosed as hyperactive at about the same age, and both were actively and openly homosexual.

A pair of female MZA twins from Australia found each other because of a case of mistaken identity. They both worked as fashion buyers for competing department stores, and a customer accused one of moonlight for the competition. They were both very elegant, dressed with the same style and the same kind of jewelry, smoked the same cigarettes, and had the same hairstyle, posture, tastes, and speaking voice. One MZA pair of male twins were both fitness fanatics who ran their own body-building gyms. MZA twins generally have the same posture and arrange their hands and legs in the same way while DT twins do not.

Prof. Bouchard, who ran MISTRA, once had occasion to meet a man who had run a smaller-scale MZA study in Denmark in the 1960s, and asked him if he had found such astonishing similarities. The man replied that he had, but he did not report them because was no way to measure such similarities—and he was afraid no one would believe him.

Prof. Segal writes that it was “thrilling” to get to know MZAs and discover how similar they were, but she, too, was frustrated because it was not possible to measure or assess similarities in complex behavior. She notes that when she interviewed MISTRA people to write this book, many looked back with nostalgia on the excitement of their discoveries. One researcher who administered intelligence tests to the twins wished that he had filmed them taking the tests. As he wrote:

I sat quietly behind them. The strategies [for answering test questions] were so different between pairs but within the MZA pairs they were so similar. Both twins vocalized or turned around or stared at the screen or solved the problems quickly. It was amazing. I smiled to myself when I saw these things, thinking no one would believe me.

Quantifiable Results

Of course, there were many findings that could be quantified, the most obvious being intelligence. There is no better way to measure the heritability of intelligence than to study MZA twins. (For a detailed discussion of the concept of heritability, please see this video.) Because their environments are completely different—though not so different as to include malnourishment or physical abuse—similarities in IQ can have only genetic causes. Test results of such twins are often so similar that it is like testing the same person twice, and MISTRA yielded a heritability of 0.70 for IQ. This is higher than figures in the 0.50 to 0.60 range that have come from other studies, but the difference is no doubt due to having studied adults rather than children. IQs of children can be affected by their family environments, but by adolescence, the effect of genes and non-shared environment (see below) dominate.

The test results that certainly caused the most surprise were measures of personality. At the time, it was common to assume that personality was formed almost exclusively by family influence. It is not; it is formed in about equal parts by genes and by what is called “non-shared environment,” or the micro-environment each person makes for himself. Parents think they have a lot of influence over how their children turn out, but they flatter themselves.

MZT twins (identical twins reared together) have very similar—but not identical—personalities. People always assumed the similarities came from growing up in the same environment. But MZA twins also have very similar—but not identical—personalities, and there is no detectable difference in the degree of similarity between twins who grew up together and twins who grew up in different families—sometimes in different countries. The household, or the “shared environment,” has very little effect on personality, at least by the time people are adults.

Likewise, when biologically unrelated children are adopted and reared in the same home, they may resemble each other slightly when they are small, but as they grow up they become as different as complete strangers. It is well known that shared environment can have an early effect on IQ as well. “Virtual twins,” or unrelated children of the same age who grow up together, have a correlation of 0.3 for IQ at age five, which declines to 0.11 at age 11, and to essentially zero by adolescence.

And yet the personalities of MZA twins are not identical. Similarities are due to genes, and the degree of similarity is a direct measure of heritability. Dissimilarities must be the result of environment. But remember: The similarities and dissimilarities are about the same for MZA and MZT twins—that is to say, growing up in the same household has little effect on personality—so what makes twins dissimilar is the non-shared environment. This is different for all people and not entirely understood, but is thought to consist of peer groups, teachers, extracurricular activities etc.

It is not possible to distinguish the effects of shared and non-shared environment with only MZT and DZT twin pairs. However, it can be done with data from studies of twins reared apart, and by assessing other kin relationships, such as parents and ordinary siblings. By means of a technique called biometrical modeling, it is possible to calculate the effect of genes, shared environment, and non-shared environment on personality.

The table below, from page 103 of the book, gives results for a standard personality assessment tool called the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. Non-specialists can ignore the “C” column, which is the additivity-epistatic component of genetic contribution. The numbers in the other three columns add up to very close to 1.00, and indicate the estimated percentage of individual variation in a trait that is accounted for by genes and environment. To take the first personality component, “Well-being,” 48 percent is under genetic control, 13 percent is due to the shared environment, and 40 percent due to nonshared environment. The genetic and environmental contributions vary somewhat by trait, but the shared environment never contributes more than the 19 percent found for “Social closeness.” The warmth of a child’s family seems to have some effect on his own levels of warmth and closeness.

Tests of the “big five” personality traits (openness to new experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) as well as results from the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) also showed similar levels of heritability.

Needless to say, results of this kind infuriated egalitarians. The great liberal goal is to invent “programs” that will make every child grow up smart, law-abiding, hardworking, and happy. If intelligence and even personality are under substantial genetic control, and environmental influences come from micro-environments children make for themselves, it does not leave much room for uplift. Harvard psychologist Leon Kamin, who has devoted his life to trying to discredit the concept of race and the idea that anything other than such things as height and eye-color can be heritable, practically accused MISTRA researchers of fabricating data.

Other MISTRA evaluations found a very high heritability for drug and alcohol use—0.78—a figure that does not bode well for “programs” either. Traditionalism appears to have a heritability of 0.53. For measures of conservatism, there was a sex difference: 0.65 for men and 0.45 for women. The political views of women may therefore be more open to persuasion.

Most people adopt the religion of their parents, so this is under strong environmental control, but intensity of religious conviction seems to be about 0.50 heritable. Vocational interests are about 0.50 heritable, with very little family influence.

Heritable?

MISTRA also found that genes largely determine spelling ability and whether someone is a “morning person” or a “night person.” How well someone’s hand coordination improves with practice is also heritable, as is the frequency of headaches.

MISTRA contributed substantially to the “set point” theory of happiness. This is the view that we all have a more or less consistent level of happiness (or unhappiness). Life’s events make us temporarily happier or unhappier, but we tend revert to the base level, which appears to be under substantial genetic control. Education, achievement, marital status, income, religious faith, etc. have very little correlation with happiness. For MZA twins, the happiness level of one twin was a far better predictor of the happiness level of the other than were life circumstances.

Whether a man is homosexual or heterosexual appears to have a heritability of about 0.50, whereas the sexual orientation of women is under more environmental influence. Prof. Segal reports that none of the female MZA twins was concordant for homosexuality, and that the twin who was homosexual had had delayed puberty and was heavier. The author does not say so, but this suggests women may establish relations with other women if they are not so attractive to men.

Children who grow up together do not find each other sexually attractive—this anti-incest mechanism is known as the Westermarck Effect. Twins reared apart are not subject to this effect, and MISTRA found that DZA different-sex twins were often flirtatious when they were reunited. This is not surprising; genetic similarity theory predicts it. Biological fathers/daughters and mothers/sons can be sexually attracted if they have not lived together. In the case of reunited male MZA homosexual twins, attraction can lead to sexual relations.

MISTRA found great physiological similarities between MZA twins. The immune system is an example:  “In spite of different environmental exposures to antigens [because of being reared apart], the predominant factor(s) determining total immunoglobulin and isotypic antibody levels in these twins was genetic rather than environmental.” Even when their diets were different, the dental histories for MZA twins were very similar, and MISTRA found a substantial genetic contribution to the likelihood of gum disease.

The electrical conductance of the skin changes according to the activity of sweat glands, which in turn, changes with emotions such as fear or anger (this is the principle of the lie detector). MZA twins were very similar to each other in this respect, but men were more similar than women. Male MZA twins also had closer body weights than female MZA twins, and there appears to be a fairly high shared-environment effect on body weight.

The genetic contribution to what we eat and how often is about 0.33, and individual differences in metabolism influence weight gain. Prof. Segal reports an interesting experiment that was not part of MISTRA. Twelve MZT male twin pairs were put on a diet for 84 days that was 1,000 calories more than their usual intake. They were not allowed to exercise. All subjects gained weight, but the amount varied from 9.5 to 29.3 pounds. The amount of weight gain of one twin was much closer to that of his co-twin than to the other subjects, which suggests that metabolism rates are strongly heritable. Other studies have found only a weak link between food intake and body size, which also suggests differences in metabolism have a big influence on weight gain.

MZ twins are about 50 percent more likely than the general population to be left-handed: 15 percent as opposed to 10 percent. About 75 percent of both MZA and MZT twin pairs had the same handedness, which suggested there is no shared environment effect on handedness. What caused the other 25 percent not to have the same handedness is not fully understood.

A Scientific Legacy

MISTRA has left an enduring scientific legacy. Prof. Segal reminds us of a tragic event from 1965 that would surely never happen today. That year, a boy’s penis was destroyed during a bungled circumcision. Psychologist John Money convinced the parents that if their son were surgically given a vagina, treated with estrogen, and raised as a girl, he would grow into a normal woman. The project was a failure from the start, though Dr. Money claimed for years it had been a success. The subject of this sequence of misfortunes, then living openly as a man named David Reimer, killed himself in 2004.

It would be hard to find an example of greater faith in the power of environment, but such thinking was common 40 years ago. Today, thanks to studies such as MISTRA, no psychologist would attempt such a thing.

Unfortunately, a scientific legacy is not enough. The people who make laws, run schools, and write editorials still act as though MISTRA—and a hundred studies like it—had never been done.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Passed by huge majorities in both houses, the law requires that all normal students—those not in “special education”—read and do math at a level of “proficient” or better by 2014. In 2002, the year after the law passed, only 36 percent of 12th graders were “proficient” according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam (NAEP), the most commonly used standard. Not surprisingly, by July 2012, 24 states had already received federal waivers from the law’s requirements, and 13 more states had applied. Anyone with the slightest understanding of the heritability of intelligence knows that the goal of 100 percent “proficiency” was fantasy.

At the official level, the United States is still mired in 1960s illusions about universal human perfectibility. No one knows how long it will take to shed those illusions, but at least among scientists, MISTRA played a huge role in sweeping out the cobwebs.

 

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Thomas Jackson
Thomas Jackson lives in Virginia and has been writing for American Renaissance for more than 15 years.
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  • JohnEngelman

    Whenever I mention this study people people call me a racist. Nevertheless, the expensive, public failure of No Child Left Behind provides fresh evidence of this and related studies. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Clone/100001806626242 Larry Clone

      Just shows how ignorant they are. This study, and those similar to it, are cited in mainstream college psychology books in current use. 

      • JohnEngelman

        The facts keep piling up. Eventually they will push down the walls of political correctness. 

  • haroldcrews

    There are probably multiple factors that increase the likelihood to engage in homosexual behaviour; the exclusivity of homosexual behaviour; and the frequency in which it is engaged.  There are probably multiple genetic factors; multiple intrauterine factors; and multiple social factors.

  • Zanatose

    To be honest I think this might slightly overstate the case for genes.

    Hormone levels in the womb have an affect on personality too. The fact that homosexuality has a 50% genetic component for males but close to zero for females is highly suspect, mom’s body can’t make male hormones and this could explain this easily without any genes.

    • Danimalius

      Even though we group gay men and women together, perhaps the root causes differ.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KF2GEPKTFXMFDBPNH5AOYSJIXE D.K.

      The female body treats male zygotes as suspected pathogens, and it reacts accordingly. The base rate of (later) male homosexuality for a first-born son is about 2%. The rate increases for each subsequent son by about two-thirds. Since birth rates in the United States, and all other industrialized countries, these days, are near, or well below, replacement levels, the number of male homosexuals in all such societies is actually decreasing, and is regressing toward that ultimate base rate of about 2%.

  • robinbishop34

    “The political views of women may therefore be more open to persuasion.”

    The men who invented feminism figured this out a long time ago.

    • dmxinc

       And our Founding Fathers were wiser than any give them credit for today.

  • Fakeemail

    ” It established beyond any doubt that genes are crucial to who we are.”

    How could there be any doubt?  Genes are the blueprints of and very substance of which we EXIST IN REALITY!

    How could there be a question to their paramount nature?!    Res ipsa loquitur; the thing speaks for itself

    • Pandemonium

      When one is driven by ideology, any position is possible. Facts are of no consequence.

      Many ideologues will claim the “moral high ground” when losing an argument based on facts. They will retort with such statements as “that’s hateful”, “mean”, “stupid”, “neanderthal”. They will try to question your intelligence. I find their “morally superior” position to be the most frequently used. 

  • mikejones91

    The study found homosexuality is heritable. Please tell me WHY ANYONE would choose to be gay? 

    • Southron

      These days it’s become quite fashionable to be “gay.” If homosexuality were mainly genetic, those genes, given their strong disposition against reproduction, would have died out a long time ago.

      • mikejones91

        I used to baby sit a boy who is now gay. He’s 17 now. There was always something “off” as in flamboyant about him as a kid. He was 4 when I started watching him. The older he got, the more obvious it became he was gay. I think its safe to say a 4 year old isn’t really plugged in to pop culture. 

        • IstvanIN

           Yup, hormones and how they affect the brain in the first trimester.  Gays brains are just not completely masculinized during early development.  Not too many 4 year olds went to the gay recruiting center.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bardon-Kaldian/100003542251801 Bardon Kaldian

          What was strange about this kid ? I don’t know many gays, but from what I’ve seen, they fall into two categories: feminized men (higher pitched voice, sissy behavior etc.) & apparently ordinary men whose sexual orientation you wouldn’t know in formal circumstances.

      • JohnEngelman

        I believe homosexuality is transmitted the way sickle cell anemia is. A gene that is recessive for resistance to malaria is also dominant for sickle cell anemia. Those who have one or both genes are much less likely to die of malaria. Those who have both genes have sickle cell anemia. Because malaria is endemic to sub Saharan Africa, blacks are more likely to have sickle cell anemia than whites.
                          
        Homosexuals tend to have higher IQs than heterosexuals. Genes that are recessive for superior intelligence may be dominant for homosexuality.  Consequently, the heterosexual siblings of homosexuals are likely to be more intelligent. During human evolution superior intelligence has always given those with it evolutionary advantages. 

        • IstvanIN

           How could you possibly know if gays, as a group, have a higher IQ?  I would think that, since in general, men have higher IQ’s than women, that because male homosexuals, having a more feminized brain, would have an IQ distribution closer to that of women.

          • JohnEngelman

            This is from the American Psychological Association:
                       
            Most studies found the more homosexual S groups’ scores to be higher than those of the more heterosexual controls, and all exceptions to this trend are concentrated in one subgroup: prisoners. Moreover, the more representative the sample studied, and the less subject to challenge the methodology used, the clearer and more statistically significant was the superiority in intelligence of the more homosexual over the more heterosexual group. (2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) 
            http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1979-25934-001 
             

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W25W7Z72IPG34VCBTTORC7GE3U Steven

      To get affirmative action and scholorships

      • mikejones91

        You can’t be serious? I know rich people who are gay. I have friends who are gay and have been since they were 12. To actually think a person would have such dedicated/intentional foresight strictly for the purpose of “scholarships/AA” is ….beyond ridiculous..

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Clone/100001806626242 Larry Clone

          Considering I’ve met gays who turned as such admittedly because they were sexually abused, just about anything is possible at that point.

    • haroldcrews

      Why would anyone choose to be a drug addict or alcoholic?  People engage in self destructive behavior all the time without the behavior having a genetic origin.  If you haven’t noticed sex is pleasurable.  That is all the inducement that most people need.

      • IstvanIN

         Sex is pleasurable, yes, but it is also a strong biological instinct.  By implying that people will do something just because it is pleasurable is an overstatement.  Some heterosexual men may be able to achieve orgasm with another man, or some homosexual men may be able to achieve orgasm with woman, but does that mean they will take the first sexual partner, of either sex,  who says yes?  Of course not, generally there has to be some sort of attraction.  The pleasure principal suggests that we are all bisexual, which isn’t really true to any significant extent.  People can not be recruited from one team to the other.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Clone/100001806626242 Larry Clone

      Why do people choose to be prostitutes or other self-damaging things? They just do, and in some cases it is acting out of childhood sexual victimhood.

  • WmarkW

    Could I make a suggestion for AmRen, now that the website upgrade is a success?

    Create a section of research results with links to original sources, so that when I’m on another site discussion the genetic component of intelligence, I can link to a paper.  Too often, a discussion opponent claims “most scientific studies have found no difference by race”, and it would be good to have a place I can easily cite a reference from.

    Changing the free speech environment and the terms of discussion of our issues, has to come before any political actionable items, like separated communities. 

    • http://www.newnation.org/ sbuffalonative

      Whenever I get into an online discussion, I always try to stick to original, mainstream sources. If I make a reference to American Renaissance, my comments are dismissed as racist for citing a racist website.

      If, however, I cite the original source or the New York Times (for stastics on blacks and AIDS for example), my opponent has a much harder time dismissing the facts. 
       

      • WmarkW

         Agree totally, that’s what meant by including links to original sources.
        I’d just like to see them collected in one easy-to-find place.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KF2GEPKTFXMFDBPNH5AOYSJIXE D.K.

    There are very few things that are 100% certain because of genetics. Male homosexuality, as a disposition, has a concordance between identical male twins of about .50– which is about the same as for, say, schizophrenia. Were male homosexuality, as a disposition, purely the result of environmental influence(s), the concordance between identical twins raised apart would be about the same as the rate for random male strangers– circa .03, rather than .50!

    • IstvanIN

       Homosexuality is probably due to the brains reaction to testosterone in the womb causing a mis-wire, so to speak, and isn’t genetic.

  • godzillabloggs

    One grant-application reviewer for the National Science Foundation wrote that MISTRA would “fan the controversy regarding heritibility [sic] of intelligence . . . rejection is the only intellectually defensible course for NSF.”

    Or to put it more bluntly,  ”MISTRA might produce results that contradict what we want to believe regarding heritability of intelligence … rejection is the only politically defensible course for NSF”.

  • JohnEngelman

     One grant-application reviewer for the National Science Foundation wrote that MISTRA would “fan the controversy regarding heritibility [sic] of intelligence . . . rejection is the only intellectually defensible course for NSF.”                                                 
    - Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, July 27, 2012     
                                                                       
       It is spelled “heritability.”             
                                                                       
        How much does anyone want to bet this was written by a beneficiary of affirmative action? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.e.romer Steven E.Romer

    One thing never considered is the genetics of the parents and siblings ALSO have an effect that is GENETIC on the child being reared. What I mean is that the parents who have their own children have similar genetcs that interact with their own offspring in certain ways. SO, the original family is a genetic unit also. We know from epigenetic studies that all sorts of things cross generations with gene activators and such.. but how can we study this? Genetics have MORE effect than we realize. Remember that certain TYPES of people with certain TYPES of genetics think it is a good idea to set up schools and to try to bootstrap themselves into higher learning by having an intrinsic motivation for truth, meaning, and information beyond urges to material or physical gain. SO, even these so-called “environmental” manipulations are GENETIC! As an example, we know the “Head Start” program can raise IQ, for a few years anyway, as the children reap the benefits of OTHER PEOPLES motivations. Then years later we find these same people dropping IQ to land where they would have been if the head-start program had never happened. The motivation did not come from within them. People tend to live in genetic CONTEXTS of similar people with similar motives — in families and in cultures. These can act like feed-back systems and lead to new levels of function with the right genetc motives. This happened in Europeans when science, freedom, justice based on truth, etc. was invented etc. Now that all may come crashing down with mass-immigration from non-Europeans. This is the ONLY reason I think immigration to European-majority countries might be bad for us ALL. We cannot afford to lose that — or those that sustain such things. Peoples develop into harmonious “superorganisms” over tme when they live together isolated in a certain area fro thousands of years as the Europeans did (as reflected in the beauty of a symphony). We need to change our perspective, see the larger picture. Motives and temperment can be much more important than IQ — OVER TIME, beyond single lives, even beyond families. We wouldnt study a single ant and say we know everything about ants, would we? It is all about meaning and contexts and the magic of interactions over time — genetic engines that serve a larger purpose. This is what we have lost because of politics of political-correctness also.

    • mikejones91

      Excellent view point Steven. Welcome to Amren.

  • Church_of_Jed

    “At the official level, the United States is still mired in 1960s illusions about universal human perfectibility. No one knows how long it will take to shed those illusions, but at least among scientists, MISTRA played a huge role in sweeping out the cobwebs.”

    We must stop giving our enemies the benefit of the doubt that they actually believe the illusions and myths of Equality. They don’t believe it and they don’t need to in order to keep on scamming the system.

    They say what they are supposed to say and get paid for it. Belief has nothing to do with it.

    And by their becoming elites who manage the bureaucracy of Progress, they get to rule over us and make us miserable through their power to tax, legislate, and regulate, and enforce.

    “Equality” and “universal human perfectibility” really just mean, for them, that “we have power to Equalize our more deserving selves up to the highest possible standard of living with the lowest amount of real productivity as we progress toward particularizing ourselves with more perfect lives while universalizing misery for those whom we’ve stepped on and over.”

    Whitey Fail! when we don’t see their material hopes and aspirations from their perspective. Elites want privilege, and they get it by taking it away from us. Wake Up!

  • dukem1

    There’s a lot of food for thought here, but just as a matter of general  strangeness, 13% of these folks meeting each other due to random kinds of stuff seems really amazing.
    It would be probably beyond the scope of any researchers (to say nothing of the horrible anti-pc-ness of it all), but I wonder what identifiable traits that could be found in just regular ol’ siblings who were raised apart would reveal.
    This is just amazing kinds of stuff….unfortunately, it would seem that in our present world it’s impossible to present such material to a wide audience…guess it all depends on whose ox is gettin’ gored.

  • Athling

    I believe homosexuality is a choice. Heritable factors toward making that choice seem to be confirmed by this study in much the same way as twins having the same favorite ice cream.

    To say that homosexuality is under complete genetic control ala “I was born that way,” is profound in several ways. One is religious — how could a just God condemn homosexual activity (and He clearly does) when a person is born that way, i.e., its not a choice, its genetic?

    Could we also say being a pedophile is under genetic determination? We must be careful here gentlemen of the “My genes made me do it,” argument.

    We also know that neither homosexuality nor pedophilia serves a natural function. That is, normal sexual relations between a man and woman has the natural function of producing babies. Homosexuality and pedophilia have no natural function. Only self gratification.

    In any event, we should not confuse genetic causation with predisposition.

    • Eagle_Eyed

       What needs to change is the paradigm of “being gay.”  As not only a conservative but Evangelical Christian, I accept that people have different proclivities and predispositions–but this doesn’t make homosexuality as a behavior any more a non-choice than heterosexuality is.

      So as you see, the supposed theological problem disappears once we realize God condemns the behavior and heart of someone who seeks out homo sex when it is clearly against His natural law.  Although men are more prone to violent behavior than women, no one defends the actions of wife-beaters as being “born violent.”  In the West, men who beat women are largely looked down upon; our collective moral worldview views women as intrinsic persons with rights and privileges.

      Now contrast this with Islamic society.  Women have little rights, are dressed in veils, and stoned if caught in adultery while the man gets off with little punishment.  The point is that the cultural paradigm is how people view morality, and that someone in Islam can use the exact argument the gay mafia makes.  Because men are more violent (genetically), can you blame them for treating women this way?  Not if you are a modern liberal and you want to be consistent with the belief people are “born gay.”

       In a pre-1960s West, the cultural paradigm didn’t see homosexuality as natural or “free sex” as an acceptable part of society.  It saw sexual perversions as disastrous for civilization.   In this milieu, homosexuality was a disease to be treated.

      • IstvanIN

         I always find it very interesting how Christians use the Jewish Bible when it suits them, such as condemning gays, and ignore other admonitions that do not suit their world view.

        We should live according to the words of Christ.

    • IstvanIN

       Not all birth defects are genetic in nature.  Homosexuals are born.  It is frequently easy to tell which boys will grow up gay very early in life.

    • EvolvedApe

      Uhm, except that there is no “god,” be it Abrahamic, or dharmic, or Sumerian.

      Whatever mythical deity one has been brainwashed to worship, it has no relevance to the question of homosexuality, or to any other public policy matter.

      Also, the “natural function” argument posited above is absolute nonsense and show general lack of understanding of the subject.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Clone/100001806626242 Larry Clone

    Persecuted? I think such words are too loosely defined and thrown around. The major persecution I see is from radical gay groups.

    • IstvanIN

       Up until the 1970s gays were treated extremely poorly and were persecuted.  Consensual homosexual acts between adults were not only subject to imprisonment in some states well into the 1980s but in some states could result in life imprisonment.  In many countries homosexuals are killed.  So persecution is an accurate term.

  • JohnEngelman

    If a gene is recessive for intelligence and dominant for homosexuality, heterosexual relatives of homosexuals will carry one of those genes, and be more intelligent. 
     
    My relatives are reasonably bright. Two of my cousins were gay. 

    E.O. Wilson, the author of Sociobiology the New Synthesis has suggested that during human evolution homosexuals helped their heterosexual siblings raise their children, and so preserved their homosexual genes that way.

  • IstvanIN

     You can not stomach the thought of men?  You may be a homosexual but there is also something else going on psychologically with you and your sister if you have such a revulsion to 50% of the population.  Same sex sexual attraction and a revulsion to the opposite sex do not go hand-in-hand.

  • IstvanIN

     The one’s who were seduced by older men were already gay, otherwise they would have been grossed out by the seduction and would have considered it molestation: think Menendez brothers.  As for hostility to women: how do you explain all the heterosexual men who beat and abuse women?  Certainly a man who brutalizes women yet is sexually attracted to them harbors some hostility.  Hostility to the opposite sex and sexual attraction are two separate issues.

  • TWells

    Twin studies have not fallen out of favor because of ideology –but because of newer evidence that supersedes and better explains their findings (especially when related to behavior). New technologies such as fMRIs and other instruments of measure have helped us to better understand the interplay between genes and environments in affecting outcomes.

    http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp10/

    http://scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/2-3/111.full.pdf

    http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp5/

    If we do not want to be guilty of allowing our ideologies to cloud our views, then we must be willing to review our understanding in light of new evidence.