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    It seems few understand regression to the mean and how and why it works. Most people (and by most people, I mean most scholars – i.e., the people who should know better) have a vague understanding that it has something to do with IQ. They seem to have the impression it means that the children...
  • @BeyondTheRim
    Wouldn't assortative mating show itself in certain college populations such as the creation of traditional Black colleges creating an environment where higher IQ than average students tending to marry within the population and then sending their children to the same colleges create sustained increase in average IQ for the group? That would be a strong argument for certain types of environments supporting increased IQ, since assortative mating can be an environmental factor.

    The genetic impact of assortative mating is to decrease the non-additive genetic variance and increase the additive variance.

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  • Wouldn’t assortative mating show itself in certain college populations such as the creation of traditional Black colleges creating an environment where higher IQ than average students tending to marry within the population and then sending their children to the same colleges create sustained increase in average IQ for the group? That would be a strong argument for certain types of environments supporting increased IQ, since assortative mating can be an environmental factor.

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    The genetic impact of assortative mating is to decrease the non-additive genetic variance and increase the additive variance.
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  • Regression to the means happens due to unassortative mating. Regression to the mean is a statistical phenomenon not a biological one, there is no evidence IQ regresses towards the mean, it happens because highly intelligent and wealthy men marry attractive but less intelligent women, i see it everywhere around me. If mating is 100% assortative there will be NO regression. What happens is very simple, a man is born with a high IQ, his IQ puts him in a high status job, he marries a very attractive woman, with an above average IQ but not as high as his, and his offspring regress back to the mean of he and his wife’s IQ level. I’ll guarantee that since women don’t marry attractive and less intelligent men, that most offspring of very high IQ women don’t regress to the mean.

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  • The time has come for a review post on the laws of behavioral genetics. I will talk about why these laws are laws and why they are important. Eventually, this will be merged into my Behavioral Genetics Page, but for now, I will start with this primer. The five laws of behavioral genetics are: All...
  • @dearieme
    I read a history of MI6 recently. At the time of The War, one of their top coves apparently believed in hiring men raised in homes with the father missing: dead or divorced. The children grew up as more observant of human behaviour, he believed.

    Then I reread some John Le Carre spy novels: he alluded to the same belief. Obviously that sort of notion can hang on for a long time in an organisation.

    Ian Fleming refers to this as “orphans make the best agents”.
    It’s alluded to in more than one 007 novel; the scriptwriters for Skyfall put it in M’s mouth.

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  • Post updated, 7/23/15. See below! At long last, I reach my 200th blog post. It's been a quite a ride! Blogging on human biodiversity – or simply humanity – has taught me a great deal. Since the start, I hoped that I could offer some meager contribution to mankind with this blog. I will continue...
  • […] post 200 Blog Posts – Everything You Need to Know (To Start) is just that. Here I review the topics I’ve discussed in the preceding 100 posts, including the […]

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  • It seems few understand regression to the mean and how and why it works. Most people (and by most people, I mean most scholars – i.e., the people who should know better) have a vague understanding that it has something to do with IQ. They seem to have the impression it means that the children...
  • Jayman,

    I still have a question of your article regression to the mean. I accept the breeder equation to be correct if the model underlying it is accepted, but that may not be the case. You answered before, which was kind, I hope you answer still to this one. Let us take a selected population, say by an IQ test we discard
    half, all below 100. The accepted half has the mean sigma*sqrt(2/pi), where sigma is the standard deviation. Thus, with mean 100 and sigma=15, the mean is about 12. The variance is Var(1-2/pi),
    where Var=sigma*sigma. Clearly, the selection has reduced the variance, while if we measure SD
    from the higher part, it will seem to be 15 and there will be twice as many over any level, like 150,
    than in the general population. Then the regression to the mean reduces the mean for one generation,
    and we get the mean to 110. Hope this reminds you of the US Ashkenazi. Terman has twice as many Ashkenazi over 150 than non-Jewish whites and Lynn estimated the average to be 110, while before it was measured to about 12. Now the question.

    The distribution is truncated normal distribution with below 100 cut off. It cannot stay like that. For each pair of parents, the mean of the children is the mean of the parents, but is the distribution of
    the children IQ normal with SD=15, or is it more probably so that for very high IQ, or very low IQ,
    the distribution is skewed, because if genetic IQ is polygenic characteristics and both parents have
    the good or the bad genes, the offspring cannot have too wide a range, there is nothing to cause
    high variation. If so, the distribution is skewed, and therefore the average may actually not be the
    mean of the average of the parents, but there may be exactly what you tried to deny, regression
    to the mean over several generations.

    To say is again. Your breeder equation is correct, provided that the model under it is correct. If
    at the high and low ends of the distribition, the variance of IQ, or any property, is skewed, because
    the property is polygenic and there is nothing to vary if both parents have all good or bad, then there is a push to the center because of this distribution and it is not true that the average of the children is the average of the parents.

    hope I made this question clear enough. thanks for your previous answers, think if this is the case with the Ashkenazi.

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  • Slate recently featured an article written by Roy F. Baumeister, Do You Really Have Free Will? In it, he claims that human do indeed have free will, something that regular readers will know that I have emphatically argued against. Baumeister doesn't make any supernatural appeals in this article; he does not appeal to some sort...
  • […] No, You Don’t Have Free Will, and This Is Why […]

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The time has come for a review post on the laws of behavioral genetics. I will talk about why these laws are laws and why they are important. Eventually, this will be merged into my Behavioral Genetics Page, but for now, I will start with this primer. The five laws of behavioral genetics are: All...
  • @YetAnotherAnon
    Data on recorded crime 1900-1999 is here

    http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP99-111

    During the 70s and 80s there was a big debate about the numbers, with a school of left wing criminologists (i.e. most of them) arguing that the rising figures were a cultural artefact ("people report crimes now that they would ignore in the past", "domestic and sexual violence was common and unreported in the past" etc) - this approach inspired by Stanley Cohen's influential 1973 "Folk Devils And Moral Panics". It wasn't til the end of the 80s that it was generally accepted that the rise was real and substantial.

    The increase in crime in Britain is tracks very closely to the rates of immigration there:

    Modern immigration to the United Kingdom – Wikipedia

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    Well the cool experiment was performed for several generations of Christian kids in the Balkans, every few years an Ottoman inspector came round and selected kids of 10 or 11 for the Janissaries
     
    I mean specifically with twins - splitting them up.

    Yes, the native British crime rate went up dramatically between 1950 and 1980, when the UK was still pretty monoethnic. There just weren’t enough minorities to heavily tilt the scales in those years. By 2000 recorded crimes were ten times the 1950 levels.
     
    Interesting. Got data?

    Some of this will be down to fertility patterns – i.e. the cleverest girls having fewest kids, the dimmest having most (thanks to a post-war UK welfare state which made lots of kids a rational choice for a not too bright girl, which in pre-war times would not have been the case) – but again I don’t think it can explain such big increases.
     
    Probably not, but I'd like to see the data.

    Data on recorded crime 1900-1999 is here

    http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP99-111

    During the 70s and 80s there was a big debate about the numbers, with a school of left wing criminologists (i.e. most of them) arguing that the rising figures were a cultural artefact (“people report crimes now that they would ignore in the past”, “domestic and sexual violence was common and unreported in the past” etc) – this approach inspired by Stanley Cohen’s influential 1973 “Folk Devils And Moral Panics”. It wasn’t til the end of the 80s that it was generally accepted that the rise was real and substantial.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    The increase in crime in Britain is tracks very closely to the rates of immigration there:

    Modern immigration to the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @YetAnotherAnon
    Well the cool experiment was performed for several generations of Christian kids in the Balkans, every few years an Ottoman inspector came round and selected kids of 10 or 11 for the Janissaries - I imagine the criteria would have been intelligence plus stature. The Janissaries were the elite shock troops, the SAS or Airborne of the Ottoman forces - lived in celibate barracks, fanatical Muslim by conversion, "death before dishonour" types, scary enough that the regular Turkish forces were leery of them.

    Now whether their personal behaviours were very different from their siblings back home (apart from the small matter of slaughtering large numbers of Christians) I don't know - but their corporate behaviour was very different.

    "Is the native British crime rate all that different?"

    Yes, the native British crime rate went up dramatically between 1950 and 1980, when the UK was still pretty monoethnic. There just weren't enough minorities to heavily tilt the scales in those years. By 2000 recorded crimes were ten times the 1950 levels.

    Some of this will be down to fertility patterns - i.e. the cleverest girls having fewest kids, the dimmest having most (thanks to a post-war UK welfare state which made lots of kids a rational choice for a not too bright girl, which in pre-war times would not have been the case) - but again I don't think it can explain such big increases. Some of it would be due to the 1980/90s heroin epidemic, which affected even small towns - smack users need to steal a lot - but again, a ten times increase is way beyond, not enough smackheads.

    Well the cool experiment was performed for several generations of Christian kids in the Balkans, every few years an Ottoman inspector came round and selected kids of 10 or 11 for the Janissaries

    I mean specifically with twins – splitting them up.

    Yes, the native British crime rate went up dramatically between 1950 and 1980, when the UK was still pretty monoethnic. There just weren’t enough minorities to heavily tilt the scales in those years. By 2000 recorded crimes were ten times the 1950 levels.

    Interesting. Got data?

    Some of this will be down to fertility patterns – i.e. the cleverest girls having fewest kids, the dimmest having most (thanks to a post-war UK welfare state which made lots of kids a rational choice for a not too bright girl, which in pre-war times would not have been the case) – but again I don’t think it can explain such big increases.

    Probably not, but I’d like to see the data.

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Data on recorded crime 1900-1999 is here

    http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP99-111

    During the 70s and 80s there was a big debate about the numbers, with a school of left wing criminologists (i.e. most of them) arguing that the rising figures were a cultural artefact ("people report crimes now that they would ignore in the past", "domestic and sexual violence was common and unreported in the past" etc) - this approach inspired by Stanley Cohen's influential 1973 "Folk Devils And Moral Panics". It wasn't til the end of the 80s that it was generally accepted that the rise was real and substantial.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    The high-crime, low-church attendance British are (mostly, though it’s changing fast) the genetic descendants of the low-crime, (relatively) high church attendance Brits of the 1930s or 1950s
     
    Is the native British crime rate all that different?

    Also, why is that when I talk about behavioral genetics and the things that cause variation within a cohort, people bring up between cohort differences, which is a different animal entirely.


    I can see there might not be an effect on phenotype, but behavioural traits?
     
    Yes, behavioral traits.

    I guess it’s how you define it, but a Christian child in the Ottoman Empire selected at nine or ten for Janissary training would as an adult exhibit very different behaviour to his twin brother who was hidden or absent when the selectors turned up.
     
    An interesting point. That would be a cool experiment.

    That said, see Nancy Segal's Born Together—Reared Apart
     on reared-apart twins.

    Well the cool experiment was performed for several generations of Christian kids in the Balkans, every few years an Ottoman inspector came round and selected kids of 10 or 11 for the Janissaries – I imagine the criteria would have been intelligence plus stature. The Janissaries were the elite shock troops, the SAS or Airborne of the Ottoman forces – lived in celibate barracks, fanatical Muslim by conversion, “death before dishonour” types, scary enough that the regular Turkish forces were leery of them.

    Now whether their personal behaviours were very different from their siblings back home (apart from the small matter of slaughtering large numbers of Christians) I don’t know – but their corporate behaviour was very different.

    “Is the native British crime rate all that different?”

    Yes, the native British crime rate went up dramatically between 1950 and 1980, when the UK was still pretty monoethnic. There just weren’t enough minorities to heavily tilt the scales in those years. By 2000 recorded crimes were ten times the 1950 levels.

    Some of this will be down to fertility patterns – i.e. the cleverest girls having fewest kids, the dimmest having most (thanks to a post-war UK welfare state which made lots of kids a rational choice for a not too bright girl, which in pre-war times would not have been the case) – but again I don’t think it can explain such big increases. Some of it would be due to the 1980/90s heroin epidemic, which affected even small towns – smack users need to steal a lot – but again, a ten times increase is way beyond, not enough smackheads.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    Well the cool experiment was performed for several generations of Christian kids in the Balkans, every few years an Ottoman inspector came round and selected kids of 10 or 11 for the Janissaries
     
    I mean specifically with twins - splitting them up.

    Yes, the native British crime rate went up dramatically between 1950 and 1980, when the UK was still pretty monoethnic. There just weren’t enough minorities to heavily tilt the scales in those years. By 2000 recorded crimes were ten times the 1950 levels.
     
    Interesting. Got data?

    Some of this will be down to fertility patterns – i.e. the cleverest girls having fewest kids, the dimmest having most (thanks to a post-war UK welfare state which made lots of kids a rational choice for a not too bright girl, which in pre-war times would not have been the case) – but again I don’t think it can explain such big increases.
     
    Probably not, but I'd like to see the data.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @YetAnotherAnon
    "Also under appreciated, the Second Law talks about the “shared environment” – parents, peers, schools, neighborhoods – all the things children growing up in the same household share. The effect of all those things on any behavioral trait or other phenotype is nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. All the things people (especially in the modern West) think matter to children’s development have no effect at all."

    I can see there might not be an effect on phenotype, but behavioural traits? I guess it's how you define it, but a Christian child in the Ottoman Empire selected at nine or ten for Janissary training would as an adult exhibit very different behaviour to his twin brother who was hidden or absent when the selectors turned up. Same I imagine with a child 'recruited' by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.

    The Chinese of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward were genetically pretty much the same as today's Chinese, yet I know which China would be better to live in. The high-crime, low-church attendance British are (mostly, though it's changing fast) the genetic descendants of the low-crime, (relatively) high church attendance Brits of the 1930s or 1950s - yet their behaviours are very different. You can recognise some ongoing behavioural traits, I'd agree - like relatively high trust in authority and a lack of clannishness - traits, once an advantage, which may now be the death of them.

    The high-crime, low-church attendance British are (mostly, though it’s changing fast) the genetic descendants of the low-crime, (relatively) high church attendance Brits of the 1930s or 1950s

    Is the native British crime rate all that different?

    Also, why is that when I talk about behavioral genetics and the things that cause variation within a cohort, people bring up between cohort differences, which is a different animal entirely.

    I can see there might not be an effect on phenotype, but behavioural traits?

    Yes, behavioral traits.

    I guess it’s how you define it, but a Christian child in the Ottoman Empire selected at nine or ten for Janissary training would as an adult exhibit very different behaviour to his twin brother who was hidden or absent when the selectors turned up.

    An interesting point. That would be a cool experiment.

    That said, see Nancy Segal’s Born Together—Reared Apart

    on reared-apart twins.

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Well the cool experiment was performed for several generations of Christian kids in the Balkans, every few years an Ottoman inspector came round and selected kids of 10 or 11 for the Janissaries - I imagine the criteria would have been intelligence plus stature. The Janissaries were the elite shock troops, the SAS or Airborne of the Ottoman forces - lived in celibate barracks, fanatical Muslim by conversion, "death before dishonour" types, scary enough that the regular Turkish forces were leery of them.

    Now whether their personal behaviours were very different from their siblings back home (apart from the small matter of slaughtering large numbers of Christians) I don't know - but their corporate behaviour was very different.

    "Is the native British crime rate all that different?"

    Yes, the native British crime rate went up dramatically between 1950 and 1980, when the UK was still pretty monoethnic. There just weren't enough minorities to heavily tilt the scales in those years. By 2000 recorded crimes were ten times the 1950 levels.

    Some of this will be down to fertility patterns - i.e. the cleverest girls having fewest kids, the dimmest having most (thanks to a post-war UK welfare state which made lots of kids a rational choice for a not too bright girl, which in pre-war times would not have been the case) - but again I don't think it can explain such big increases. Some of it would be due to the 1980/90s heroin epidemic, which affected even small towns - smack users need to steal a lot - but again, a ten times increase is way beyond, not enough smackheads.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • “Also under appreciated, the Second Law talks about the “shared environment” – parents, peers, schools, neighborhoods – all the things children growing up in the same household share. The effect of all those things on any behavioral trait or other phenotype is nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. All the things people (especially in the modern West) think matter to children’s development have no effect at all.”

    I can see there might not be an effect on phenotype, but behavioural traits? I guess it’s how you define it, but a Christian child in the Ottoman Empire selected at nine or ten for Janissary training would as an adult exhibit very different behaviour to his twin brother who was hidden or absent when the selectors turned up. Same I imagine with a child ‘recruited’ by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

    The Chinese of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward were genetically pretty much the same as today’s Chinese, yet I know which China would be better to live in. The high-crime, low-church attendance British are (mostly, though it’s changing fast) the genetic descendants of the low-crime, (relatively) high church attendance Brits of the 1930s or 1950s – yet their behaviours are very different. You can recognise some ongoing behavioural traits, I’d agree – like relatively high trust in authority and a lack of clannishness – traits, once an advantage, which may now be the death of them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    The high-crime, low-church attendance British are (mostly, though it’s changing fast) the genetic descendants of the low-crime, (relatively) high church attendance Brits of the 1930s or 1950s
     
    Is the native British crime rate all that different?

    Also, why is that when I talk about behavioral genetics and the things that cause variation within a cohort, people bring up between cohort differences, which is a different animal entirely.


    I can see there might not be an effect on phenotype, but behavioural traits?
     
    Yes, behavioral traits.

    I guess it’s how you define it, but a Christian child in the Ottoman Empire selected at nine or ten for Janissary training would as an adult exhibit very different behaviour to his twin brother who was hidden or absent when the selectors turned up.
     
    An interesting point. That would be a cool experiment.

    That said, see Nancy Segal's Born Together—Reared Apart
     on reared-apart twins.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • It seems few understand regression to the mean and how and why it works. Most people (and by most people, I mean most scholars – i.e., the people who should know better) have a vague understanding that it has something to do with IQ. They seem to have the impression it means that the children...
  • @J2
    Thanks for this answer. It is good enough. The simple formula actually is not the "real" formula,
    since it does not take everything into account (women are supposed to have a narrower IQ distribution, parents also should have IQ composed of these parts etc.) but let it be. Rushton and Jensen use a
    simpler formula, let it be. I guess this field is still too far from having any really correct formulas for anything.

    By the way, I read this your article of ivy collage admissions and the endless discussion of Jewish
    overrepresentation. Quite a discussion, so I will not continue this discussion any longer. Must be hard being a blogger.

    I guess this field is still too far from having any really correct formulas for anything.

    The breeder’s equation is correct. You’re asking it do something it can’t do. Within families, there will be individual variation about the predicted mean. That is, you can’t perfectly predict individual IQs from it, only probabilities.

    By the way, I read this your article of ivy collage admissions and the endless discussion of Jewish
    overrepresentation.

    That wasn’t by me.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Thanks for this answer. It is good enough. The simple formula actually is not the “real” formula,
    since it does not take everything into account (women are supposed to have a narrower IQ distribution, parents also should have IQ composed of these parts etc.) but let it be. Rushton and Jensen use a
    simpler formula, let it be. I guess this field is still too far from having any really correct formulas for anything.

    By the way, I read this your article of ivy collage admissions and the endless discussion of Jewish
    overrepresentation. Quite a discussion, so I will not continue this discussion any longer. Must be hard being a blogger.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    I guess this field is still too far from having any really correct formulas for anything.
     
    The breeder's equation is correct. You're asking it do something it can't do. Within families, there will be individual variation about the predicted mean. That is, you can't perfectly predict individual IQs from it, only probabilities.

    By the way, I read this your article of ivy collage admissions and the endless discussion of Jewish
    overrepresentation.
     
    That wasn't by me.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @J2
    Or let me present the question in a clearer way. Assume fathers/parents IQ is 2SD (130), son has
    3.6 SD (about 155). Does it mean that father/parents additive IQ heritage is 142 and non-additive
    heritage or environment lowered it to 130? This is because if additive is additive, there should not
    be any distribution any more. Genes are inherited. The reasons for distribution are A,B,C,D, not
    so that each or them has a distribution. Thus, father additive IQ 130 is inherited as son IQ od about
    118. Then comes max 50% other effects, which do not raise son's IQ to 155. So, father's real additive
    IQ is higher than 130. Is this what you mean?

    Or as I suspect, none of these is what you mean, because this is pseudoscience and one cannot make
    calculations with these half ready theories. If one does, very soon one can get to contradictions. Maybe
    this is what you mean?

    Anyway, I read your article and finally did not understand anything of regression to the mean.

    The components are A, D, C, and E

    A = additive heredity
    D = non-additive heredity
    C = Shared (common) environment
    E = Unique (or non-shared) evironment

    Assume fathers/parents IQ is 2SD (130), son has
    3.6 SD (about 155).

    The breeder’s equation, when applied to individuals, gives you probabilities. For parents of combined average of a trait +2σ, their offspring are expected to average (0.6 • 2 = +1.2)σ for the trait. But they will be normally distributed about that average (assuming a large number of offspring).

    But this is assuming you know nothing about the parents’s family background. It is how far the parents are off from their families’ averages that matters.

    The contribution of A,D, and E to a trait varies from family to family. Some families have very little non-additive genetics behind a given trait, while others have a lot. The values I used is for the population as a whole. In short, there’s a lot that goes into trait prediction for a given individual.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • In Rushton,Jensen 30 year of studies Section 9 (in the web) there is a more simple and maybe
    better verified version of regression to the mean. Assuming that an individual has IQ equal group mean+x, then full sibling (or parent-child) has IQ close to group mean=x/2. Using this one would
    calculate, group mean=100, son IQ 155, thus father IQ is close to 100=55/2, which is quite fine.
    Rushton, Jenkins claim the relation is linear and works from IQ 50 to 150, so there is no need to
    make the more compilated calculation with A,B,C,D, which probably works less well.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Or let me present the question in a clearer way. Assume fathers/parents IQ is 2SD (130), son has
    3.6 SD (about 155). Does it mean that father/parents additive IQ heritage is 142 and non-additive
    heritage or environment lowered it to 130? This is because if additive is additive, there should not
    be any distribution any more. Genes are inherited. The reasons for distribution are A,B,C,D, not
    so that each or them has a distribution. Thus, father additive IQ 130 is inherited as son IQ od about
    118. Then comes max 50% other effects, which do not raise son’s IQ to 155. So, father’s real additive
    IQ is higher than 130. Is this what you mean?

    Or as I suspect, none of these is what you mean, because this is pseudoscience and one cannot make
    calculations with these half ready theories. If one does, very soon one can get to contradictions. Maybe
    this is what you mean?

    Anyway, I read your article and finally did not understand anything of regression to the mean.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    The components are A, D, C, and E

    A = additive heredity
    D = non-additive heredity
    C = Shared (common) environment
    E = Unique (or non-shared) evironment


    Assume fathers/parents IQ is 2SD (130), son has
    3.6 SD (about 155).
     
    The breeder's equation, when applied to individuals, gives you probabilities. For parents of combined average of a trait +2σ, their offspring are expected to average (0.6 • 2 = +1.2)σ for the trait. But they will be normally distributed about that average (assuming a large number of offspring).

    But this is assuming you know nothing about the parents's family background. It is how far the parents are off from their families' averages that matters.

    The contribution of A,D, and E to a trait varies from family to family. Some families have very little non-additive genetics behind a given trait, while others have a lot. The values I used is for the population as a whole. In short, there's a lot that goes into trait prediction for a given individual.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    Is there not some inheritance of luck also, that is, the parents of IQ 130 are probably better off than average and give a better environment
     
    Shared environment is taken into account. But as I noted, the effect of shared environment (C in the ADCE system) is zero, so it doesn't matter.

    I can’t believe you actually answered to a discussion from 2015!!! That’s very good and probably rare. So I have to comment in some way, I guess.

    Assume the father (or the average or the parents) has IQ 130 and the son has IQ 155 (I know such a
    case), so the son inherited 118 points by additive heritance of IQ and 37 point, that is 67% of his IQ
    (about 3.6 SD) from non-additive heritance and nonshared environment. But you say nonshared environment is typically 20-30% and non-additive heritance is 10-20%, together 30-50%, somewhat
    smaller than 67%. Is it so that the numbers you give are means and they still have some variance, or
    can one count with them as constants and at the end assign some confidence to the result, such as:
    in this case the son should have IQ 100+x, where x<=18+0.5x with probability y (y=?). To simplify,
    x<=36 with probability y, and consequently x can be 155 with some probability y2. Is this what you
    mean?

    But there is another error here: in this calculation that follows your example the father has 130 in
    additive heritance, since 0.6 of 130 is inherited, but actually the father has 130 as a sum of all his
    three IQ components A,B,D (as C=0). So one could calculate as above only in the case of an average
    father, where B and D are zero. Is this also as you mean it?

    If you do not care to answer, do not do it, who cares anyway. I already was impressed finding an answer to my first comment.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @J2
    Is there not some inheritance of luck also, that is, the parents of IQ 130 are probably better off than average and give a better environment, so the breeder equation should not only take the genetic inheritance, set here to 0.6, but inverited environment set to something, like 0.2 maybe. If so, the prediction from two parents is better than from four grandparents.

    Is there not some inheritance of luck also, that is, the parents of IQ 130 are probably better off than average and give a better environment

    Shared environment is taken into account. But as I noted, the effect of shared environment (C in the ADCE system) is zero, so it doesn’t matter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @J2
    I can't believe you actually answered to a discussion from 2015!!! That's very good and probably rare. So I have to comment in some way, I guess.

    Assume the father (or the average or the parents) has IQ 130 and the son has IQ 155 (I know such a
    case), so the son inherited 118 points by additive heritance of IQ and 37 point, that is 67% of his IQ
    (about 3.6 SD) from non-additive heritance and nonshared environment. But you say nonshared environment is typically 20-30% and non-additive heritance is 10-20%, together 30-50%, somewhat
    smaller than 67%. Is it so that the numbers you give are means and they still have some variance, or
    can one count with them as constants and at the end assign some confidence to the result, such as:
    in this case the son should have IQ 100+x, where x<=18+0.5x with probability y (y=?). To simplify,
    x<=36 with probability y, and consequently x can be 155 with some probability y2. Is this what you
    mean?

    But there is another error here: in this calculation that follows your example the father has 130 in
    additive heritance, since 0.6 of 130 is inherited, but actually the father has 130 as a sum of all his
    three IQ components A,B,D (as C=0). So one could calculate as above only in the case of an average
    father, where B and D are zero. Is this also as you mean it?

    If you do not care to answer, do not do it, who cares anyway. I already was impressed finding an answer to my first comment.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    Something’s gone wrong here. 0.6 • (2 – 1.3333)σ = 0.6 • (0.6667)σ = 0.4σ; by my calculation the second family should have children with mean IQ 126 (= 120 + 0.4*15). Then, 0.6 • (0.6667 – 1.3333)σ = 0.6 • (-0.6667)σ = -0.4σ, 6 points again, but… that makes the figure of mean child IQ 114 correct, which disagrees with the calculation for the middle family.
     
    Yup, you're right. I screwed up my math. I'll fix it.

    Regression to the mean in genetics can be viewed as a direct effect, caused by genes that were suppressed by dominant genes coming to the fore in later generations (in individuals that didn’t inherit the dominant genes that suppressed them), but it can also be viewed as a sampling effect, where dominant genes mask stuff that’s really there and make that stuff hard to sample. It all depends on your perspective.
     
    Among other things (particularly, E). Basically, "luck" is everything other than additive genetics.

    I’ve been wondering about that one-time-only population regression after a selective step. Regression to the mean is a tool for predicting one outcome given a related outcome, and we can straightforwardly predict a child’s IQ (even a distribution for it) from the parents’ IQ. Taking from the example above, we’d predict that the children of 2 130 IQ parents of unknown background would have a normal IQ distribution centered around 118. If the parents were perfect predictors, the children should all have IQ 130
     
    Umm, meiosis? Have we forgotten what sex does?

    One-time-only population regression seems to me to be equivalent to the statement that knowing a child’s four grandparents gives you exactly as much predictive power as knowing their two parents. This is hard to swallow; grandparents should be worse predictors than parents — and in fact in the domain of genetics specifically we can observe that, while every child receives exactly half of each parent’s genome, the contribution from each grandparent varies!
     
    Actually, grandparents (the average of all four, that is) are better predictors than parents, because they tell you about family background. They control for the "luck" that expressed itself in the parents (non-additive genetics, developmental noise, etc.).

    Is there not some inheritance of luck also, that is, the parents of IQ 130 are probably better off than average and give a better environment, so the breeder equation should not only take the genetic inheritance, set here to 0.6, but inverited environment set to something, like 0.2 maybe. If so, the prediction from two parents is better than from four grandparents.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    Is there not some inheritance of luck also, that is, the parents of IQ 130 are probably better off than average and give a better environment
     
    Shared environment is taken into account. But as I noted, the effect of shared environment (C in the ADCE system) is zero, so it doesn't matter.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The time has come for a review post on the laws of behavioral genetics. I will talk about why these laws are laws and why they are important. Eventually, this will be merged into my Behavioral Genetics Page, but for now, I will start with this primer. The five laws of behavioral genetics are: All...
  • @nickels
    Well one sort of has to be a creationist once they study DNA and they realize that overwhelming accumulation of deleterious mutations in the genome and the very impossibility of selection to affect such an accumulation means not only that humans are slowly going extinct, but that the entire pagan philosophy of evolution about as probable as me leaving my copy of Crime and Punishment in the garage and hoping several new chapters will spontaneously generate over a decade or so.
    That said, perhaps a more Orthodox understanding of the twin similarity is that, the fallen body essentially being a burden to the soul (people who have died and returned report a hightened sense of awareness), having very similar bodies may affect the souls with similar challenged and hence develop similar behaviours.
    But to go from there to full on Neo-Calvinistic determinism (which is the essence of your atheist philosophy), arguing against the idea of 'free will' is certainly not warranted.

    Amen. If I believed in Darwinism I’d keep my insults to a minimum.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Scotty
    Jay,

    Please do me a favor and explain things in more detail. I've spoken to another person about your article. She and I both don't understand what you're trying to say. And to the extent that we do understand, we find it hard to believe.

    What about religion: Clearly the religion you are born into plays a role in the religion you eventually adopt, right? I know you'll say the intensity of religion is genetically determined, but I'd just like you to say that, at least, the type of religion one adheres to is not!

    What about suicide rates: I've read that Koreans have a very high suicide rate. But Korean American suicide rates are about half as high as the American national average--and so presumably much lower than the Korean average. Aren't we talking about, in a sense, shared environment here?

    What about education: Suppose a family with one biological child and one adopted child decides to travel the world teaching their children about languages. As a result, both their kids learn Spanish, French, Russian, Flemish, Swahili, and Chinese. If they hadn't done this, perhaps the child with a propensity toward languages might learn one or two languages at most--assuming he's an American where learning one or two languages is considered an awesome accomplishment!

    A better example: Why are the Swiss so good with languages but Swiss Americans not so good with languages? Isn't the fact that they're Swiss, in a sense, shared environment?

    What good are parents, in your view? What exactly do you think parents do for children? (And what about the Romanian children raised in orphanages--didn't they have bad outcomes?) And what about sexual and physical abuse--doesn't this have an effect on outcomes? Suppose identical twins are reared apart--one is abused and one isn't. Are you saying that they will still be no more different than identical twins raised in non-abusive environments? Which types of environments are you considering so extreme that they should be culled out of the study?

    You got me curious!

    Clearly the religion you are born into plays a role in the religion you eventually adopt, right?

    Apparently not, given that the shared environment component (the thing that makes people growing up together different from people who didn’t, genes considering) is 0. Of course, I’d imagine if you look at it at the global level, you’d find a nonzero C, as you’re limited by what’s available, but there we are.

    What about suicide rates: I’ve read that Koreans have a very high suicide rate. But Korean American suicide rates are about half as high as the American national average–and so presumably much lower than the Korean average.

    The Korean-American rate is about half the South Korean rate.

    First thing to consider is that immigrants aren’t a representative slice of their source country. All migration in some way selects for a certain type of people. There’s not much more we can say about that.

    Why are the Swiss so good with languages but Swiss Americans not so good with languages?

    Is there any data indicating that Swiss Americans have a harder time learning languages than the Swiss?

    Language is heavily affected by your local environment. In particular, your childhood peers appear to be very important to language acquistion.

    What good are parents, in your view? What exactly do you think parents do for children?

    They keep their children safe, healthy, and reasonably happy, as well as (yes) educate. Of course, imparting knowledge is different from controlling what the student does with it.

    And what about the Romanian children raised in orphanages–didn’t they have bad outcomes?

    Interestingly enough, 80% of such children of Gypsies, and hence not at all representative of typical Romanians.

    And what about sexual and physical abuse–doesn’t this have an effect on outcomes?

    Oddly enough, this is unclear (actual permanent physical damage notwithstanding), thanks to the Fifth Law.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Jay,

    Please do me a favor and explain things in more detail. I’ve spoken to another person about your article. She and I both don’t understand what you’re trying to say. And to the extent that we do understand, we find it hard to believe.

    What about religion: Clearly the religion you are born into plays a role in the religion you eventually adopt, right? I know you’ll say the intensity of religion is genetically determined, but I’d just like you to say that, at least, the type of religion one adheres to is not!

    What about suicide rates: I’ve read that Koreans have a very high suicide rate. But Korean American suicide rates are about half as high as the American national average–and so presumably much lower than the Korean average. Aren’t we talking about, in a sense, shared environment here?

    What about education: Suppose a family with one biological child and one adopted child decides to travel the world teaching their children about languages. As a result, both their kids learn Spanish, French, Russian, Flemish, Swahili, and Chinese. If they hadn’t done this, perhaps the child with a propensity toward languages might learn one or two languages at most–assuming he’s an American where learning one or two languages is considered an awesome accomplishment!

    A better example: Why are the Swiss so good with languages but Swiss Americans not so good with languages? Isn’t the fact that they’re Swiss, in a sense, shared environment?

    What good are parents, in your view? What exactly do you think parents do for children? (And what about the Romanian children raised in orphanages–didn’t they have bad outcomes?) And what about sexual and physical abuse–doesn’t this have an effect on outcomes? Suppose identical twins are reared apart–one is abused and one isn’t. Are you saying that they will still be no more different than identical twins raised in non-abusive environments? Which types of environments are you considering so extreme that they should be culled out of the study?

    You got me curious!

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    Clearly the religion you are born into plays a role in the religion you eventually adopt, right?
     
    Apparently not, given that the shared environment component (the thing that makes people growing up together different from people who didn't, genes considering) is 0. Of course, I'd imagine if you look at it at the global level, you'd find a nonzero C, as you're limited by what's available, but there we are.

    What about suicide rates: I’ve read that Koreans have a very high suicide rate. But Korean American suicide rates are about half as high as the American national average–and so presumably much lower than the Korean average.
     
    The Korean-American rate is about half the South Korean rate.

    First thing to consider is that immigrants aren't a representative slice of their source country. All migration in some way selects for a certain type of people. There's not much more we can say about that.

    Why are the Swiss so good with languages but Swiss Americans not so good with languages?
     
    Is there any data indicating that Swiss Americans have a harder time learning languages than the Swiss?

    Language is heavily affected by your local environment. In particular, your childhood peers appear to be very important to language acquistion.

    What good are parents, in your view? What exactly do you think parents do for children?
     
    They keep their children safe, healthy, and reasonably happy, as well as (yes) educate. Of course, imparting knowledge is different from controlling what the student does with it.

    And what about the Romanian children raised in orphanages–didn’t they have bad outcomes?
     
    Interestingly enough, 80% of such children of Gypsies, and hence not at all representative of typical Romanians.

    And what about sexual and physical abuse–doesn’t this have an effect on outcomes?
     
    Oddly enough, this is unclear (actual permanent physical damage notwithstanding), thanks to the Fifth Law.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Art
    The genetic force of “free will” is more important than our lessor genetic traits. Every rational human has one goal – that is to extend their lives. Our rational nature compels us to live on and on. If we think about something we will “freely chose” the path to living longer. We naturally “will ourselves” into making decisions about the future.

    Making rational decisions about tomorrow is the ultimate genetic human trait. It overrides all other human traits. “Willing to get to tomorrow” is the trait the separates us from our fellow species.

    All biological entities have the trait of want to last – our human method of reaching that goal is “free will thinking.”

    Peace --- Art

    All biological entities have the trait of “want to last” – our human method of reaching that goal is “free will thinking.”

    The will to live – is “free will.” It is our defining trait.

    Our physical nature, our biological nature, and our intellectual nature drives us forward. Each entity in its own systems of organization, endeavors to go on and on.

    For we humans, the best way to go on and on is to be intellectual free!

    Jesus said it “the truth will set you free” – those are immortal words.

    For those words along – he deserves our love and thanks.

    Peace — Art

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    If you zoom in on an individual, then parenting does make a difference.
     
    -

    the only child doing anything like that in her school, which has clearly made her a bit heroic/dangerous in her saturated by Lara/Katnis/Kris peers’ eyes, as opposed to a conscientious academic girl that some girl-clique will inevitably decide to make this months’s
     
    Anecdotal evidence is always the best kind...

    Parents impart skills and knowledge, but what a kid does with such is very much out of the parents' hands.

    SOME parents impart knowledge and skills, you must mean.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @helena
    Are you seeing the (biochemical) pattern in your approach to (this) discussion?

    No ma’am. If I could see into that black box then I could put my thumb on the outcome that I wanted instead of just taking what I gave myself.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @iffen
    When I thought that I had free will I disagreed with you over the existence of free will and its nature.

    Now that I believe that I don't have free will, I disagree with you over the nature of its non-existence.

    Are you seeing the (biochemical) pattern in your approach to (this) discussion?

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    No ma'am. If I could see into that black box then I could put my thumb on the outcome that I wanted instead of just taking what I gave myself.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    I actually have “changed my mind”, but then my great grandfather knew that I would, rather he made me do it.
     
    I don't know how you people came up with the notion that the nonexistence of free will means you can't change your mind or make decisions.

    "Free will" has little to do with freedom of choice. You make decisions "freely." Free will does have something to do with why you make the decisions you do.

    When I thought that I had free will I disagreed with you over the existence of free will and its nature.

    Now that I believe that I don’t have free will, I disagree with you over the nature of its non-existence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @helena
    Are you seeing the (biochemical) pattern in your approach to (this) discussion?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @iffen
    I actually have "changed my mind", but then my great grandfather knew that I would, rather he made me do it.

    I like the idea that the concept of free will or agency allows us to pick and choose which behaviors we will reward or punish. We can see that what is granted agency and to what degree changes over time. We no longer impose capital punishment on animals that kill humans (no pig trials like in the olden days). On the other hand, more and more people have come to believe that blacks do not have agency and should not be held responsible for their behavior (some do have the decency to extend the belief to the lower classes of other races).

    I actually have “changed my mind”, but then my great grandfather knew that I would, rather he made me do it.

    I don’t know how you people came up with the notion that the nonexistence of free will means you can’t change your mind or make decisions.

    “Free will” has little to do with freedom of choice. You make decisions “freely.” Free will does have something to do with why you make the decisions you do.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    When I thought that I had free will I disagreed with you over the existence of free will and its nature.

    Now that I believe that I don't have free will, I disagree with you over the nature of its non-existence.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Stephen R. Diamond

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless...
     
    Except, if this theory is right, the sense of blame logically depends on the concept of free will; the concept that created blame can't be its cause. However, apart from any sense of blame, it is amazingly hard for most humans to kill another human. So substitute for "feel blameless," "feel praiseworthy."

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless…

    Except, if this theory is right, the sense of blame logically depends on the concept of free will; the concept that created blame can’t be its cause

    Not “we”.

    We as agents and executioners of what “works” in an evolutionary sense. Assigning blame lets us do what we want against our fellows and do it guilt free.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The genetic force of “free will” is more important than our lessor genetic traits. Every rational human has one goal – that is to extend their lives. Our rational nature compels us to live on and on. If we think about something we will “freely chose” the path to living longer. We naturally “will ourselves” into making decisions about the future.

    Making rational decisions about tomorrow is the ultimate genetic human trait. It overrides all other human traits. “Willing to get to tomorrow” is the trait the separates us from our fellow species.

    All biological entities have the trait of want to last – our human method of reaching that goal is “free will thinking.”

    Peace — Art

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art
    All biological entities have the trait of "want to last" – our human method of reaching that goal is “free will thinking.”

    The will to live - is "free will." It is our defining trait.

    Our physical nature, our biological nature, and our intellectual nature drives us forward. Each entity in its own systems of organization, endeavors to go on and on.

    For we humans, the best way to go on and on is to be intellectual free!

    Jesus said it “the truth will set you free” – those are immortal words.

    For those words along – he deserves our love and thanks.

    Peace -- Art
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Stephen R. Diamond

    I did not choose to write the previous sentence and I deny and denounce whoever or whatever it was that made me type it.
     
    After you wrote this (if not before - in which case it was a joke), you probably realized that the same logic (if valid) would preclude you from denying or denouncing, as these behaviors too involve "choice."

    But perhaps you are onto something. Belief isn't something you choose, but something that happens to you.

    I actually have “changed my mind”, but then my great grandfather knew that I would, rather he made me do it.

    I like the idea that the concept of free will or agency allows us to pick and choose which behaviors we will reward or punish. We can see that what is granted agency and to what degree changes over time. We no longer impose capital punishment on animals that kill humans (no pig trials like in the olden days). On the other hand, more and more people have come to believe that blacks do not have agency and should not be held responsible for their behavior (some do have the decency to extend the belief to the lower classes of other races).

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    I actually have “changed my mind”, but then my great grandfather knew that I would, rather he made me do it.
     
    I don't know how you people came up with the notion that the nonexistence of free will means you can't change your mind or make decisions.

    "Free will" has little to do with freedom of choice. You make decisions "freely." Free will does have something to do with why you make the decisions you do.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @iffen
    This is supported by the observation that one seems less likely to experience the sense of blame when one thoroughly (as thoroughly as possible for humans, that is) rejects the existence of free will.

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless in getting rid of people whose behaviors earned disapproval? It's okay to kill them off because they are to blame for what they did.

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless…

    Except, if this theory is right, the sense of blame logically depends on the concept of free will; the concept that created blame can’t be its cause. However, apart from any sense of blame, it is amazingly hard for most humans to kill another human. So substitute for “feel blameless,” “feel praiseworthy.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless…

    Except, if this theory is right, the sense of blame logically depends on the concept of free will; the concept that created blame can’t be its cause

     

    Not "we".

    We as agents and executioners of what "works" in an evolutionary sense. Assigning blame lets us do what we want against our fellows and do it guilt free.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @iffen
    With the limited faculties available to me, I have considered the current comments, past comments, readings on the subject and the Jayman's writings and I am ready to "switch" sides.

    The problem that I have now is that I apparently can't make the choice to write, "I have no free will."

    I did not choose to write the previous sentence and I deny and denounce whoever or whatever it was that made me type it.

    I can now "see" that I don't have free will, I just can't, can't ...

    I did not choose to write the previous sentence and I deny and denounce whoever or whatever it was that made me type it.

    After you wrote this (if not before – in which case it was a joke), you probably realized that the same logic (if valid) would preclude you from denying or denouncing, as these behaviors too involve “choice.”

    But perhaps you are onto something. Belief isn’t something you choose, but something that happens to you.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    I actually have "changed my mind", but then my great grandfather knew that I would, rather he made me do it.

    I like the idea that the concept of free will or agency allows us to pick and choose which behaviors we will reward or punish. We can see that what is granted agency and to what degree changes over time. We no longer impose capital punishment on animals that kill humans (no pig trials like in the olden days). On the other hand, more and more people have come to believe that blacks do not have agency and should not be held responsible for their behavior (some do have the decency to extend the belief to the lower classes of other races).

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Stephen R. Diamond

    And if it’s merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?
     
    Important question. But remember that not every evolved trait has a direct benefit, some being byproducts of accomplishing other purposes. Think visual illusions, like the Muller-Lyer. (Or to take a common example, the fact that we have 10 fingers and 10 toes, despite there being no reason to think the same number of minor appendages are optimal for both types of subappendages.)

    I see two main possibilities. One is that the illusion of free will evolved to support the practices of praising and blaming. This is supported by the observation that one seems less likely to experience the sense of blame when one thoroughly (as thoroughly as possible for humans, that is) rejects the existence of free will. [Something like this was the basis for Albert Ellis's rational-emotive psychotherapy.]

    The other is that the illusion of free will developed by a classical conditioning process operating on the sense of effort and behavior. This results in mistaking the sense of effort for the cause of the behavior. I develop the latter in Why Free Will? - http://juridicalcoherence.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-how-and-why-of-free-will.html

    Some philosophers have sketched a version of free will that is deterministic. The Wizard of Oz alludes to one such effort by a physicist, and Jayman says some free will concepts are useful. This is called compatibilism, which I think involves a fairly subtle confusion but which probably needs here to be distinguished from voluntarism, which is the object of Jayman's contempt. But the philosophical refutation of voluntarism (as opposed to that of compatibilism) is very simple. The doctrine is incoherent because, of the two logical possibilities, determinism and randomness, voluntarist free will can be neither and be true to its concept. It's incoherence (like that of qualia, which I wonder whether Jayman will admit he experiences) doesn't stop us from feeling as though we have it when we act.

    This is supported by the observation that one seems less likely to experience the sense of blame when one thoroughly (as thoroughly as possible for humans, that is) rejects the existence of free will.

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless in getting rid of people whose behaviors earned disapproval? It’s okay to kill them off because they are to blame for what they did.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless...
     
    Except, if this theory is right, the sense of blame logically depends on the concept of free will; the concept that created blame can't be its cause. However, apart from any sense of blame, it is amazingly hard for most humans to kill another human. So substitute for "feel blameless," "feel praiseworthy."
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • With the limited faculties available to me, I have considered the current comments, past comments, readings on the subject and the Jayman’s writings and I am ready to “switch” sides.

    The problem that I have now is that I apparently can’t make the choice to write, “I have no free will.”

    I did not choose to write the previous sentence and I deny and denounce whoever or whatever it was that made me type it.

    I can now “see” that I don’t have free will, I just can’t, can’t …

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    I did not choose to write the previous sentence and I deny and denounce whoever or whatever it was that made me type it.
     
    After you wrote this (if not before - in which case it was a joke), you probably realized that the same logic (if valid) would preclude you from denying or denouncing, as these behaviors too involve "choice."

    But perhaps you are onto something. Belief isn't something you choose, but something that happens to you.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @helena
    If I understand you, yes there has to be a working definition of free will. It's like The Truman Show producers deciding how to run Truman's life. We have the ability to decide how we will run society, what is legitimate and what mitigating circumstances are allowed. In fact the whole liberal debate hinges on this. How many excuses can liberals come up with for gangs - austerity, closure of youth centres, lack of role models, institutional racism, single mothers, absent fathers, poverty, peer-group pressure - ? Free will is only going to be the product of the organism so if as hbders suggest there may be a lower level of 'future orientation', then in that case 'free will' will operate on a shorter time scale. Have I gone off topic?

    I think a future orientation which is short term for genetic or other congenital reasons certainly has to be considered relevant to some aspect(s) of our assessments of an individual when we consider how the billions of neuronal connections in his head have led to his decisions. That’s ttue particularly if we put protection of other people well before retributive emotions and huffing and puffing about “evil”.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JayMan

    Look, speaking the Swahili language is a phenotype, yet it is primarily determined by family environment.
     
    You picked a bad example, since language is one thing that is heavily affected by peers.

    But if we are to speak of behavioral traits or phenotypes generally, we’re free not only to speak of ‘language’ as a trait but also specifically of speaking Swahili. Each language will yield its own partition into familial and peer effects that will be distinct from the average over all languages. (Please correct me if that’s wrong.)

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  • @dc.sunsets
    You missed my point.

    Not getting killed in a car crash is part of my past, but it sure as heck isn't a behavioral trait.

    Behavior and experiences are two different things.

    A woman can be low on the spectrum of novelty-seeking but if she gets married at 25 having had two prior "adult" relationships, she's not likely chaste. If she got married out of the first relationship, she would have been. (This applies to men, as well.) Is her behavior different? I don't see why I'd expect it to be.

    My point: Events matter, and become part of what we must work with forever. Behaviors, however, are HOW we operate in the presence of the past. It's the difference between data in a warehouse and the software that utilizes it. The data isn't the software instructions.

    My quibble with Jayman's claim that "parenting doesn't matter" is that if he believed this, he'd let his kids do whatever the heck they wanted. After all, "parenting doesn't matter," and if his son was slated to grow up into a self-controlled man, good household discipline didn't teach him squat, while zero discipline won't spoil him, and a zero discipline household wouldn't hurt him.

    Seriously? Bull.

    I'd believe that if I saw it. Having raised three kids, I damn well know better.

    "Parenting doesn't matter" is a statement only an ideologue lacking experience could maintain. I wonder how many kids raised in an "anything goes" home live to see adulthood (where presumably cease expression of teenage stupidity.)

    Not getting killed in a car crash is part of my past, but it sure as heck isn’t a behavioral trait.

    Sure it is. And I’m confident it’s heritable.

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  • @Wizard of Oz
    Yes, but maybe "free will" [note the quotes] is a tool for allowing us to distinguish various actions for socisl or legal purposes. How would you describe their correspondence?

    If I understand you, yes there has to be a working definition of free will. It’s like The Truman Show producers deciding how to run Truman’s life. We have the ability to decide how we will run society, what is legitimate and what mitigating circumstances are allowed. In fact the whole liberal debate hinges on this. How many excuses can liberals come up with for gangs – austerity, closure of youth centres, lack of role models, institutional racism, single mothers, absent fathers, poverty, peer-group pressure – ? Free will is only going to be the product of the organism so if as hbders suggest there may be a lower level of ‘future orientation’, then in that case ‘free will’ will operate on a shorter time scale. Have I gone off topic?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I think a future orientation which is short term for genetic or other congenital reasons certainly has to be considered relevant to some aspect(s) of our assessments of an individual when we consider how the billions of neuronal connections in his head have led to his decisions. That's ttue particularly if we put protection of other people well before retributive emotions and huffing and puffing about "evil".
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @iffen
    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity

    How did decision making capacity evolve if there are no decisions to be made?

    And if it's merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?

    What's the benefit in thinking one is making decisions when one is not?

    And if it’s merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?

    Important question. But remember that not every evolved trait has a direct benefit, some being byproducts of accomplishing other purposes. Think visual illusions, like the Muller-Lyer. (Or to take a common example, the fact that we have 10 fingers and 10 toes, despite there being no reason to think the same number of minor appendages are optimal for both types of subappendages.)

    I see two main possibilities. One is that the illusion of free will evolved to support the practices of praising and blaming. This is supported by the observation that one seems less likely to experience the sense of blame when one thoroughly (as thoroughly as possible for humans, that is) rejects the existence of free will. [Something like this was the basis for Albert Ellis's rational-emotive psychotherapy.]

    The other is that the illusion of free will developed by a classical conditioning process operating on the sense of effort and behavior. This results in mistaking the sense of effort for the cause of the behavior. I develop the latter in Why Free Will?http://juridicalcoherence.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-how-and-why-of-free-will.html

    Some philosophers have sketched a version of free will that is deterministic. The Wizard of Oz alludes to one such effort by a physicist, and Jayman says some free will concepts are useful. This is called compatibilism, which I think involves a fairly subtle confusion but which probably needs here to be distinguished from voluntarism, which is the object of Jayman’s contempt. But the philosophical refutation of voluntarism (as opposed to that of compatibilism) is very simple. The doctrine is incoherent because, of the two logical possibilities, determinism and randomness, voluntarist free will can be neither and be true to its concept. It’s incoherence (like that of qualia, which I wonder whether Jayman will admit he experiences) doesn’t stop us from feeling as though we have it when we act.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    This is supported by the observation that one seems less likely to experience the sense of blame when one thoroughly (as thoroughly as possible for humans, that is) rejects the existence of free will.

    So we came up with the concept of free will to enable us to feel blameless in getting rid of people whose behaviors earned disapproval? It's okay to kill them off because they are to blame for what they did.
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  • @JayMan

    I’d bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act.
     
    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity but I don't for a second believe I have free will, since I don't, like everyone else.

    To my thinking, that’s rather like saying you don’t experience the Muller-Lyer visual illusion because you know it’s not veridical. [You mean to tell me you don't feel as though you could do something different from what you in fact do? Maybe you have evolved differently!]

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  • @helena
    Think of free will like the person who announces trains arriving at the station (do you have that in USA?). Most of the time the announcer announces the right trains. But they are not his personal trains or schedules. Sometimes somebody might misunderstand the schedule and announce the wrong trains - i.e. sometimes people simply make the wrong decisions, their wires are literally crossed. Free will is a tool produced by the functioning of the complex organism to enable it to function at that level of complexity. Say what? No me neither, God.

    Yes, but maybe “free will” [note the quotes] is a tool for allowing us to distinguish various actions for socisl or legal purposes. How would you describe their correspondence?

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    • Replies: @helena
    If I understand you, yes there has to be a working definition of free will. It's like The Truman Show producers deciding how to run Truman's life. We have the ability to decide how we will run society, what is legitimate and what mitigating circumstances are allowed. In fact the whole liberal debate hinges on this. How many excuses can liberals come up with for gangs - austerity, closure of youth centres, lack of role models, institutional racism, single mothers, absent fathers, poverty, peer-group pressure - ? Free will is only going to be the product of the organism so if as hbders suggest there may be a lower level of 'future orientation', then in that case 'free will' will operate on a shorter time scale. Have I gone off topic?
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  • Thanks everyone for your comments. I learn so much from all of you and I especially like the fact that most commenters focus on substance rather than personal attacks. Raising my own children, I have concluded that the variations in their behavioral traits are largely genetic coupled with their unshared environments which they had an innate propensity to select.

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  • @dc.sunsets
    So parenting does matter?

    [FTR, I found much better success in paying my sons respect (when earned) rather than getting them accustomed to praise, per se. Yes, my sons are part of a lineage of very bright, capable, highly productive people so they were likely to exhibit respect-worthy behaviors and accomplishments. But in my experience, since all successful human relationships are based on mutual respect, getting them accustomed to "trading" in this medium seemed wise...and the results are quite gratifying.]

    PS: I didn't raise girls, but boys are born barbarians. Parents either socialize it out of them (teaching self-control, because the only alternative is "others-control," and they often come with badges, guns and bad attitudes) or they spawn demons on the world at large.

    A male human is the single most dangerous animal on the planet. Spawning a feral one is far worse than mistreating a 90 lb pitbull terrier.

    The idea that parents can necessarily teach “self-control” is nonsense. I have two younger brothers who have very little self-control and very short time horizons, despite my parents’ best efforts.

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  • @dc.sunsets
    You missed my point.

    Not getting killed in a car crash is part of my past, but it sure as heck isn't a behavioral trait.

    Behavior and experiences are two different things.

    A woman can be low on the spectrum of novelty-seeking but if she gets married at 25 having had two prior "adult" relationships, she's not likely chaste. If she got married out of the first relationship, she would have been. (This applies to men, as well.) Is her behavior different? I don't see why I'd expect it to be.

    My point: Events matter, and become part of what we must work with forever. Behaviors, however, are HOW we operate in the presence of the past. It's the difference between data in a warehouse and the software that utilizes it. The data isn't the software instructions.

    My quibble with Jayman's claim that "parenting doesn't matter" is that if he believed this, he'd let his kids do whatever the heck they wanted. After all, "parenting doesn't matter," and if his son was slated to grow up into a self-controlled man, good household discipline didn't teach him squat, while zero discipline won't spoil him, and a zero discipline household wouldn't hurt him.

    Seriously? Bull.

    I'd believe that if I saw it. Having raised three kids, I damn well know better.

    "Parenting doesn't matter" is a statement only an ideologue lacking experience could maintain. I wonder how many kids raised in an "anything goes" home live to see adulthood (where presumably cease expression of teenage stupidity.)

    Parents are responsible for keeping their kids healthy and safe. However, my parents didn’t have too many rules for me. But I had no desire to smoke, shoplift, have sex with girls, be a juvenile delinquent or not attend school, so any rules they had against such things were irrelevant.

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  • @JayMan

    Blaming or praising people for their behavior seems to depend on some notion of an autonomous will.
     
    Do you have any interest in affecting their future behavior? If so, not so odd a notion after all.

    So parenting does matter?

    [FTR, I found much better success in paying my sons respect (when earned) rather than getting them accustomed to praise, per se. Yes, my sons are part of a lineage of very bright, capable, highly productive people so they were likely to exhibit respect-worthy behaviors and accomplishments. But in my experience, since all successful human relationships are based on mutual respect, getting them accustomed to "trading" in this medium seemed wise...and the results are quite gratifying.]

    PS: I didn’t raise girls, but boys are born barbarians. Parents either socialize it out of them (teaching self-control, because the only alternative is “others-control,” and they often come with badges, guns and bad attitudes) or they spawn demons on the world at large.

    A male human is the single most dangerous animal on the planet. Spawning a feral one is far worse than mistreating a 90 lb pitbull terrier.

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    • Replies: @Mark F.
    The idea that parents can necessarily teach "self-control" is nonsense. I have two younger brothers who have very little self-control and very short time horizons, despite my parents' best efforts.
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  • @Stephen R. Diamond

    None of it matters to behavioral traits.

    It does matter in specific ways too numerous to list. An axiom of LIFE is, “Everything we do becomes a part of us.”
     
    If it becomes part of us, it constitutes a behaviorial trait. (You really can't have it both ways.) Jayman, it seems to me, equivocates on whether a behaviorial trait is any behavioral description or one of the general "traits of personality." (Where to draw the line should be of concern.) But in fact literally every behavioral trait (in the second sense) is (probably) heritable. But some obviously are transmitted substantially by family environment.

    [Example. "Honesty" is probably devoid of familial influence. But "mannerliness" - it would be surprising indeed if families didn't differentially inculcate manners.]

    You missed my point.

    Not getting killed in a car crash is part of my past, but it sure as heck isn’t a behavioral trait.

    Behavior and experiences are two different things.

    A woman can be low on the spectrum of novelty-seeking but if she gets married at 25 having had two prior “adult” relationships, she’s not likely chaste. If she got married out of the first relationship, she would have been. (This applies to men, as well.) Is her behavior different? I don’t see why I’d expect it to be.

    My point: Events matter, and become part of what we must work with forever. Behaviors, however, are HOW we operate in the presence of the past. It’s the difference between data in a warehouse and the software that utilizes it. The data isn’t the software instructions.

    My quibble with Jayman’s claim that “parenting doesn’t matter” is that if he believed this, he’d let his kids do whatever the heck they wanted. After all, “parenting doesn’t matter,” and if his son was slated to grow up into a self-controlled man, good household discipline didn’t teach him squat, while zero discipline won’t spoil him, and a zero discipline household wouldn’t hurt him.

    Seriously? Bull.

    I’d believe that if I saw it. Having raised three kids, I damn well know better.

    “Parenting doesn’t matter” is a statement only an ideologue lacking experience could maintain. I wonder how many kids raised in an “anything goes” home live to see adulthood (where presumably cease expression of teenage stupidity.)

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    • Replies: @Mark F.
    Parents are responsible for keeping their kids healthy and safe. However, my parents didn't have too many rules for me. But I had no desire to smoke, shoplift, have sex with girls, be a juvenile delinquent or not attend school, so any rules they had against such things were irrelevant.
    , @Stephen R. Diamond

    Not getting killed in a car crash is part of my past, but it sure as heck isn’t a behavioral trait.
     
    Sure it is. And I'm confident it's heritable.
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  • @RaceRealist88
    "Indeed, we see this with health and lifestyle: people who exercise more have fewer/later health problems and live longer, so naturally conventional wisdom interprets this to mean that exercise leads to health and longer life, when in reality healthy people are driven to exercise and have better health due to their genes."

    So in Jayman's world, diet and exercise has absolutely no benefits?

    Also what do you know about behavioral therapy?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263194/

    I've used these guidelines with great success for people.

    Would you say not to diet and exercise because in the end it's genetic anyway?

    https://notpoliticallycorrect.me/2017/07/30/diet-and-exercise-dont-do-it/

    This doesn't even touch on obesogenic environments and the food reward hypothesis. I may get into that later.

    Would you say not to diet and exercise because in the end it’s genetic anyway?

    I am not sure what he is saying. The only thing I could see as plausible is that diet and exercise will have differing effects/levels of success based upon genetic predisposition. Subject A, who follows the same diet/exercise regimen as subject B, may have better results (higher muscle gain/fat loss, etc.) than subject B due to genes. Still, subject B who diets and exercises will be better off than subject B who doesn’t.

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  • @S.H.A.Prodi
    <<As [Rovelli] puts it “I decide” because it would be absurd to suppose that I could do something different from what the whole complex of my neurons decides.>>

    So now neurons "decide"? Can anybody explain to me by which "laws" the pixels on my computer screen that represented the quoted sentence caused my neurons to cause themselves to move my fingers to type a reply to the quoted sentence? Is there any doubt about the fact that the sentence and the reply to it are as incomprehensible to my neurons as they are to my fingers? Are we supposed to assume that neurons are capable of "understanding", "thinking" and "self-criticism"?
    But then, what's the point of neuronizing yourself, if you must humanize neurons even to pretend to be able to express yourself meaningfully?

    What would be a scientific demonstration of the thesis "Free will does not exist"?
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of another person's brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? No, it would not. In order to set up and run a scientific experiment, he would have to be able to control certain parameters at will. If he had no free will, he would not be able to do so. His experiment would merely demonstrate his free will in addition to his power to override the other person's will.
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of his own brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? To ask the question is to answer it.
    Are we, then, supposed to take it as Gospel truth that science and scientific experiments are impossible (because free will does not exist)?

    All that Jayman and Rovelli are entitled to conclude is that many, perhaps most people are weak-willed most of the time. But, surely, that is hardly a discovery of modern science.

    The experiment one should try to determine the extent of modern man’s understanding of intelligence and free will is to go talk to one of the more advanced ‘bots’ that people have on the internet.

    This immediately will banish any delusions that brilliant modern genius science man has any clue either how the brain, cognition, free will, or intelligence works.

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  • @iffen
    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity

    How did decision making capacity evolve if there are no decisions to be made?

    And if it's merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?

    What's the benefit in thinking one is making decisions when one is not?

    Think of free will like the person who announces trains arriving at the station (do you have that in USA?). Most of the time the announcer announces the right trains. But they are not his personal trains or schedules. Sometimes somebody might misunderstand the schedule and announce the wrong trains – i.e. sometimes people simply make the wrong decisions, their wires are literally crossed. Free will is a tool produced by the functioning of the complex organism to enable it to function at that level of complexity. Say what? No me neither, God.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Yes, but maybe "free will" [note the quotes] is a tool for allowing us to distinguish various actions for socisl or legal purposes. How would you describe their correspondence?
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  • @S.H.A.Prodi
    <<As [Rovelli] puts it “I decide” because it would be absurd to suppose that I could do something different from what the whole complex of my neurons decides.>>

    So now neurons "decide"? Can anybody explain to me by which "laws" the pixels on my computer screen that represented the quoted sentence caused my neurons to cause themselves to move my fingers to type a reply to the quoted sentence? Is there any doubt about the fact that the sentence and the reply to it are as incomprehensible to my neurons as they are to my fingers? Are we supposed to assume that neurons are capable of "understanding", "thinking" and "self-criticism"?
    But then, what's the point of neuronizing yourself, if you must humanize neurons even to pretend to be able to express yourself meaningfully?

    What would be a scientific demonstration of the thesis "Free will does not exist"?
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of another person's brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? No, it would not. In order to set up and run a scientific experiment, he would have to be able to control certain parameters at will. If he had no free will, he would not be able to do so. His experiment would merely demonstrate his free will in addition to his power to override the other person's will.
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of his own brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? To ask the question is to answer it.
    Are we, then, supposed to take it as Gospel truth that science and scientific experiments are impossible (because free will does not exist)?

    All that Jayman and Rovelli are entitled to conclude is that many, perhaps most people are weak-willed most of the time. But, surely, that is hardly a discovery of modern science.

    https://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/free-will/

    I went to a lecture by Susan and she demonstrated that our brains think before our minds know what they have thought. I can’t remember what we did exactly. The audience was divided into groups and we each had to think something and there was a time element …it was very convincing even if this isn’t!

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  • Hi Jayman … Always like your posts.

    I have spent a lot of time in Costa Rica. When Americans go down there — especially to the hippie compounds — they get super thin. Happens to me every time. Inflammation goes down, my whole body feels better. Costa Rica is a blue zone and reportedly people live longer there.

    Secondly … how does your theory handle the explosion in obesity in the US? Clearly this is insane what is happening. Is it not related to GMOs?

    Tx …

    PS Sorry if you’ve covered this in the comments — I read most of them but not all as there are quite a few now.

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  • @PennTothal

    So it is totally irrelevant how JayMan views were determined.
     
    But it still renders meaningless JayMan's action of posting his views here.

    If we are all nodes in a deterministic matrix, rather than independent beings (minds / souls/ whatever you prefer), then what effect will JayMan's words here have on our biologically-predetermined views on the subject?

    Whether JayMan’s word will or will not have any effects had been predetermined.
    The fact that JayMan will post his article was predetermined by the time of Big Bang, and so were your complaints about it.

    Whoever Allah guides – he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray – it is those who are the losers.

    https://quran.com/7/178

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  • @S.H.A.Prodi
    <<As [Rovelli] puts it “I decide” because it would be absurd to suppose that I could do something different from what the whole complex of my neurons decides.>>

    So now neurons "decide"? Can anybody explain to me by which "laws" the pixels on my computer screen that represented the quoted sentence caused my neurons to cause themselves to move my fingers to type a reply to the quoted sentence? Is there any doubt about the fact that the sentence and the reply to it are as incomprehensible to my neurons as they are to my fingers? Are we supposed to assume that neurons are capable of "understanding", "thinking" and "self-criticism"?
    But then, what's the point of neuronizing yourself, if you must humanize neurons even to pretend to be able to express yourself meaningfully?

    What would be a scientific demonstration of the thesis "Free will does not exist"?
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of another person's brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? No, it would not. In order to set up and run a scientific experiment, he would have to be able to control certain parameters at will. If he had no free will, he would not be able to do so. His experiment would merely demonstrate his free will in addition to his power to override the other person's will.
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of his own brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? To ask the question is to answer it.
    Are we, then, supposed to take it as Gospel truth that science and scientific experiments are impossible (because free will does not exist)?

    All that Jayman and Rovelli are entitled to conclude is that many, perhaps most people are weak-willed most of the time. But, surely, that is hardly a discovery of modern science.

    I hear what you say. Now please tackle the quote from Rovelli beginning “To be free doesn’t mean……”.

    Do you disagree with him?

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  • @JayMan

    1. That severe neglect or abuse can have profound affects on a child is well documented and denied by few, if any.
     
    Don't be so sure. See the Fifth Law above.

    Unless we're talking actual brain damage, I wouldn't say that.


    It seems to me that we might profit from realizing that, while it is difficult, if not impossible, to scientifically discuss things we cannot quantify
     
    Every single thing in the universe can be quantified! That includes human behavioral traits.

    I think it was from Steven Pinker’s “How the Mind Works” about 20 years ago that I picked up reference to and quoting of Judith Rich Harris’s work concluding that genes counted for about 50 per cent of personality (behavioural manifestations I assume), peers [presumably including close siblings] for 45 per cent and parents about 5 per cent. I seem to remember David Rowe coming into it also.

    Is there more up to date research you would care to cite? Is what I have quoted/cited compatible with your findings?

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  • @JayMan

    I’d bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act.
     
    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity but I don't for a second believe I have free will, since I don't, like everyone else.

    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity

    How did decision making capacity evolve if there are no decisions to be made?

    And if it’s merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?

    What’s the benefit in thinking one is making decisions when one is not?

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    • Replies: @helena
    Think of free will like the person who announces trains arriving at the station (do you have that in USA?). Most of the time the announcer announces the right trains. But they are not his personal trains or schedules. Sometimes somebody might misunderstand the schedule and announce the wrong trains - i.e. sometimes people simply make the wrong decisions, their wires are literally crossed. Free will is a tool produced by the functioning of the complex organism to enable it to function at that level of complexity. Say what? No me neither, God.
    , @Stephen R. Diamond

    And if it’s merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?
     
    Important question. But remember that not every evolved trait has a direct benefit, some being byproducts of accomplishing other purposes. Think visual illusions, like the Muller-Lyer. (Or to take a common example, the fact that we have 10 fingers and 10 toes, despite there being no reason to think the same number of minor appendages are optimal for both types of subappendages.)

    I see two main possibilities. One is that the illusion of free will evolved to support the practices of praising and blaming. This is supported by the observation that one seems less likely to experience the sense of blame when one thoroughly (as thoroughly as possible for humans, that is) rejects the existence of free will. [Something like this was the basis for Albert Ellis's rational-emotive psychotherapy.]

    The other is that the illusion of free will developed by a classical conditioning process operating on the sense of effort and behavior. This results in mistaking the sense of effort for the cause of the behavior. I develop the latter in Why Free Will? - http://juridicalcoherence.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-how-and-why-of-free-will.html

    Some philosophers have sketched a version of free will that is deterministic. The Wizard of Oz alludes to one such effort by a physicist, and Jayman says some free will concepts are useful. This is called compatibilism, which I think involves a fairly subtle confusion but which probably needs here to be distinguished from voluntarism, which is the object of Jayman's contempt. But the philosophical refutation of voluntarism (as opposed to that of compatibilism) is very simple. The doctrine is incoherent because, of the two logical possibilities, determinism and randomness, voluntarist free will can be neither and be true to its concept. It's incoherence (like that of qualia, which I wonder whether Jayman will admit he experiences) doesn't stop us from feeling as though we have it when we act.
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  • @Wizard of Oz
    The delightful little book "Seven Brief Lessons on Physics" by Carlo Rovelli says in a supplementary chapter "To be free doesn't mean that our behaviour is not determined by the laws of nature. It means that it is determined by the laws of nature acting in our brains". As he puts it "I decide" because it would be absurd to suppose that I could do something different from what the ehole complex of my neurons decides..

    It is interesting to make this kind of rationality fit with the social and legal reasoning by which we decide to attribute responsibility for what we take to be intentional acts. One could start by noting that sn exculpation on the ground that someone spiked a non dtinker's drink before he killed someone is, in Rovelli's terms, the result of someone adding something to the billions of neurons and their connections which "I" had nothing to do with.

    <<As [Rovelli] puts it “I decide” because it would be absurd to suppose that I could do something different from what the whole complex of my neurons decides.>>

    So now neurons “decide”? Can anybody explain to me by which “laws” the pixels on my computer screen that represented the quoted sentence caused my neurons to cause themselves to move my fingers to type a reply to the quoted sentence? Is there any doubt about the fact that the sentence and the reply to it are as incomprehensible to my neurons as they are to my fingers? Are we supposed to assume that neurons are capable of “understanding”, “thinking” and “self-criticism”?
    But then, what’s the point of neuronizing yourself, if you must humanize neurons even to pretend to be able to express yourself meaningfully?

    What would be a scientific demonstration of the thesis “Free will does not exist”?
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of another person’s brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? No, it would not. In order to set up and run a scientific experiment, he would have to be able to control certain parameters at will. If he had no free will, he would not be able to do so. His experiment would merely demonstrate his free will in addition to his power to override the other person’s will.
    Suppose a neuroscientist succeeds in taking physical control of his own brain. Would that be an empirical, experimental refutation of free will? To ask the question is to answer it.
    Are we, then, supposed to take it as Gospel truth that science and scientific experiments are impossible (because free will does not exist)?

    All that Jayman and Rovelli are entitled to conclude is that many, perhaps most people are weak-willed most of the time. But, surely, that is hardly a discovery of modern science.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I hear what you say. Now please tackle the quote from Rovelli beginning "To be free doesn't mean......".

    Do you disagree with him?
    , @helena
    https://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/free-will/

    I went to a lecture by Susan and she demonstrated that our brains think before our minds know what they have thought. I can't remember what we did exactly. The audience was divided into groups and we each had to think something and there was a time element ...it was very convincing even if this isn't!

    , @nickels
    The experiment one should try to determine the extent of modern man's understanding of intelligence and free will is to go talk to one of the more advanced 'bots' that people have on the internet.

    This immediately will banish any delusions that brilliant modern genius science man has any clue either how the brain, cognition, free will, or intelligence works.
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  • @Jim
    But that JayMan's views are completely determined by biology doesn't constitute any evidence against them. How people arrive at their views has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of their views. I could determine my views by throwing darts at a dart board. That doesn't demonstrate that my views are false.

    So it is totally irrelevant how JayMan views were determined.

    So it is totally irrelevant how JayMan views were determined.

    But it still renders meaningless JayMan’s action of posting his views here.

    If we are all nodes in a deterministic matrix, rather than independent beings (minds / souls/ whatever you prefer), then what effect will JayMan’s words here have on our biologically-predetermined views on the subject?

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    • Replies: @Darin
    Whether JayMan's word will or will not have any effects had been predetermined.
    The fact that JayMan will post his article was predetermined by the time of Big Bang, and so were your complaints about it.

    Whoever Allah guides - he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray - it is those who are the losers.

    https://quran.com/7/178
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  • @Stephen R. Diamond

    Well, people are stupid.
     
    I'd bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act. As with perception, there are inevitable illusions of cognition. What's stupid is elevating an illusion into a doctrine.

    I’d bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act.

    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity but I don’t for a second believe I have free will, since I don’t, like everyone else.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity

    How did decision making capacity evolve if there are no decisions to be made?

    And if it's merely an illusion of capacity where is the benefit to the illusion?

    What's the benefit in thinking one is making decisions when one is not?

    , @Stephen R. Diamond
    To my thinking, that's rather like saying you don't experience the Muller-Lyer visual illusion because you know it's not veridical. [You mean to tell me you don't feel as though you could do something different from what you in fact do? Maybe you have evolved differently!]
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  • @Stephen R. Diamond
    Jayman's claim does have some earthshaking implications, but (as I've stressed in a couple of earlier comments) it isn't nearly as strong as the statement that every behavioral trait or phenotype has no variance attributable to family environment.

    This is very obvious. (Perhaps the only reason it isn't obvious to some is the tendency to dismiss obvious counter-examples as trivial.) Look, speaking the Swahili language is a phenotype, yet it is primarily determined by family environment. (I don't speak it, and the main reason is my family didn't.) If there are no behavioral genetic studies of this phenotype, it is because 1) it is too narrow to be of interest; 2) it is obviously a largely family-environment trait. (But there are likely to be nonobvious example.)

    The claim is striking enough without overstating it to the absurd.

    Look, speaking the Swahili language is a phenotype, yet it is primarily determined by family environment.

    You picked a bad example, since language is one thing that is heavily affected by peers.

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    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
    But if we are to speak of behavioral traits or phenotypes generally, we're free not only to speak of 'language' as a trait but also specifically of speaking Swahili. Each language will yield its own partition into familial and peer effects that will be distinct from the average over all languages. (Please correct me if that's wrong.)
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  • @JayMan

    To many people, probably most, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to blame me unless my vicious behavior was the result of the choice of my autonomous will.
     
    Well, people are stupid.

    More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior.

    Well, people are stupid.

    I’d bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act. As with perception, there are inevitable illusions of cognition. What’s stupid is elevating an illusion into a doctrine.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    I’d bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act.
     
    I believe I have judgment and decision making capacity but I don't for a second believe I have free will, since I don't, like everyone else.
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  • @Astuteobservor II

    The effect of all those things on any behavioral trait or other phenotype is nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero.
     
    that is pretty incredible if true. just threw all my previous thoughts on the matter into the trash.

    Jayman’s claim does have some earthshaking implications, but (as I’ve stressed in a couple of earlier comments) it isn’t nearly as strong as the statement that every behavioral trait or phenotype has no variance attributable to family environment.

    This is very obvious. (Perhaps the only reason it isn’t obvious to some is the tendency to dismiss obvious counter-examples as trivial.) Look, speaking the Swahili language is a phenotype, yet it is primarily determined by family environment. (I don’t speak it, and the main reason is my family didn’t.) If there are no behavioral genetic studies of this phenotype, it is because 1) it is too narrow to be of interest; 2) it is obviously a largely family-environment trait. (But there are likely to be nonobvious example.)

    The claim is striking enough without overstating it to the absurd.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    Look, speaking the Swahili language is a phenotype, yet it is primarily determined by family environment.
     
    You picked a bad example, since language is one thing that is heavily affected by peers.
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  • @helena
    "More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior."

    So what are we trying to do? Are we not evolved?

    So what are we trying to do? Are we not evolved

    Indeed, very good point. The answer is some people evolved to be different than others…

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  • @JayMan

    To many people, probably most, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to blame me unless my vicious behavior was the result of the choice of my autonomous will.
     
    Well, people are stupid.

    More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior.

    “More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior.”

    So what are we trying to do? Are we not evolved?

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    So what are we trying to do? Are we not evolved
     
    Indeed, very good point. The answer is some people evolved to be different than others...
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  • @Jim
    Hume famously argued that correlation and causation are identical. Hume's critics were quick to point out the flaws of this view. For example correlation is a symmetrical relation whereas causation is not. But Hume's insight is important. Correlation is the only empirical aspect of causation. The rest of causation is metaphysics.

    Isn’t the point that correlations attach themselves to causes – I was taught that when incomes rise the consumption of televisions and toilet paper goes up (in the 1980s anyway). But there is no causal link between TV and toilet. The causal link is, income to toilet and income to TV. i.e. watching TV doesn’t make one use the toilet more. Although perhaps that isn’t even true! After all, TV encourages snacking. But I digress. Perhaps another example would have been less confusing.

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  • @Jim
    Actually environmental determinism would create exactly the same problem about praise or blame. I might be a vicious thug because my genetic endowment strongly predisposes me to vicious behavior or I might be a vicious thug because I was grossly abused as a child. To many people, probably most, it wouldn't seem to make sense to blame me unless my vicious behavior was the result of the choice of my autonomous will.

    To many people, probably most, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to blame me unless my vicious behavior was the result of the choice of my autonomous will.

    Well, people are stupid.

    More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior.

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    • Replies: @helena
    "More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior."

    So what are we trying to do? Are we not evolved?
    , @Stephen R. Diamond

    Well, people are stupid.
     
    I'd bet that you, Jayman, believe in your own free will whenever you act. As with perception, there are inevitable illusions of cognition. What's stupid is elevating an illusion into a doctrine.
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  • @Jim
    Blaming or praising people as well for example as punishing or rewarding them materially may very well affect people's behavior. It may very well explain how praising or blaming as a human behavior itself arose. But people generally do not conceptualize praise or blame in instrumental terms. They may praise or blame say Julius Caesar for the things he did even though affecting his behavior is no longer relevant.

    But people generally do not conceptualize praise or blame in instrumental terms. They may praise or blame say Julius Caesar for the things he did even though affecting his behavior is no longer relevant.

    Affecting other people’s behavior is, though.

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  • The effect of all those things on any behavioral trait or other phenotype is nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero.

    that is pretty incredible if true. just threw all my previous thoughts on the matter into the trash.

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    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
    Jayman's claim does have some earthshaking implications, but (as I've stressed in a couple of earlier comments) it isn't nearly as strong as the statement that every behavioral trait or phenotype has no variance attributable to family environment.

    This is very obvious. (Perhaps the only reason it isn't obvious to some is the tendency to dismiss obvious counter-examples as trivial.) Look, speaking the Swahili language is a phenotype, yet it is primarily determined by family environment. (I don't speak it, and the main reason is my family didn't.) If there are no behavioral genetic studies of this phenotype, it is because 1) it is too narrow to be of interest; 2) it is obviously a largely family-environment trait. (But there are likely to be nonobvious example.)

    The claim is striking enough without overstating it to the absurd.

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  • @JayMan

    “Free will doesn’t exist” -JayMan

    If there is no such thing as free will, then JayMay is 100% biologically determined to hold the opinions he holds, and forced by biology to form the conclusions he has shared here is this blog post.
     

    Even if behavior was 100% environmentally determined, there would still be no free will.

    Actually environmental determinism would create exactly the same problem about praise or blame. I might be a vicious thug because my genetic endowment strongly predisposes me to vicious behavior or I might be a vicious thug because I was grossly abused as a child. To many people, probably most, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to blame me unless my vicious behavior was the result of the choice of my autonomous will.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    To many people, probably most, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to blame me unless my vicious behavior was the result of the choice of my autonomous will.
     
    Well, people are stupid.

    More to the point, people evolved to create and enforce social rules that allow for a functioning society. Not to understand the deep causes of behavior.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @PennTothal
    "Free will doesn't exist" -JayMan

    If there is no such thing as free will, then JayMay is 100% biologically determined to hold the opinions he holds, and forced by biology to form the conclusions he has shared here is this blog post.

    His conclusions cannot be considered the thoughtful result of careful study and judgement to discern true facts from false. Rather, they are the inevitable and inescapable result of his biology, determined only by genes and other inescapable material forces.

    Free will exists but is often constrained by biological factors to a degree not widely appreciated in society. JayMan is doing a service in highlighting these forces and the evidence for them. If free will doesn't exist, then JayMan isn't "doing" anything and his posting (and my reply) are meaningless runs of predetermined functions.

    But that JayMan’s views are completely determined by biology doesn’t constitute any evidence against them. How people arrive at their views has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of their views. I could determine my views by throwing darts at a dart board. That doesn’t demonstrate that my views are false.

    So it is totally irrelevant how JayMan views were determined.

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    • Replies: @PennTothal

    So it is totally irrelevant how JayMan views were determined.
     
    But it still renders meaningless JayMan's action of posting his views here.

    If we are all nodes in a deterministic matrix, rather than independent beings (minds / souls/ whatever you prefer), then what effect will JayMan's words here have on our biologically-predetermined views on the subject?
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  • @JayMan

    Blaming or praising people for their behavior seems to depend on some notion of an autonomous will.
     
    Do you have any interest in affecting their future behavior? If so, not so odd a notion after all.

    Blaming or praising people as well for example as punishing or rewarding them materially may very well affect people’s behavior. It may very well explain how praising or blaming as a human behavior itself arose. But people generally do not conceptualize praise or blame in instrumental terms. They may praise or blame say Julius Caesar for the things he did even though affecting his behavior is no longer relevant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    But people generally do not conceptualize praise or blame in instrumental terms. They may praise or blame say Julius Caesar for the things he did even though affecting his behavior is no longer relevant.
     
    Affecting other people's behavior is, though.
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  • @JayMan

    ‘Correlation does not equal causation.’

    Proceeds to write an entire article of statistical mumbo jumbo (zero understanding of mechanics) that does nothing but try to argue correlation is causation.
     

    This one is sort of fair.

    The answer is that there are times when it's OK to infer causation from correlation. One reason in this case is because the various environmental factors couldn't have caused genes. So the causal arrow couldn't have run in that direction. That and other evidence (e.g., studies demonstrating the validity of twin studies, such as misclassified twin studies and doppleganger studies, in addition to adoption studies and modern genomic quantification studies) demonstrate the causal role of genes.

    Hume famously argued that correlation and causation are identical. Hume’s critics were quick to point out the flaws of this view. For example correlation is a symmetrical relation whereas causation is not. But Hume’s insight is important. Correlation is the only empirical aspect of causation. The rest of causation is metaphysics.

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    • Replies: @helena
    Isn't the point that correlations attach themselves to causes - I was taught that when incomes rise the consumption of televisions and toilet paper goes up (in the 1980s anyway). But there is no causal link between TV and toilet. The causal link is, income to toilet and income to TV. i.e. watching TV doesn't make one use the toilet more. Although perhaps that isn't even true! After all, TV encourages snacking. But I digress. Perhaps another example would have been less confusing.
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  • @Jim
    Blaming or praising people for their behavior seems to depend on some notion of an autonomous will. But it's hard from a scientific perspective to see how an autonomous will can be a true cause of any behavior.

    Blaming or praising people for their behavior seems to depend on some notion of an autonomous will.

    Do you have any interest in affecting their future behavior? If so, not so odd a notion after all.

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    • Replies: @Jim
    Blaming or praising people as well for example as punishing or rewarding them materially may very well affect people's behavior. It may very well explain how praising or blaming as a human behavior itself arose. But people generally do not conceptualize praise or blame in instrumental terms. They may praise or blame say Julius Caesar for the things he did even though affecting his behavior is no longer relevant.
    , @dc.sunsets
    So parenting does matter?

    [FTR, I found much better success in paying my sons respect (when earned) rather than getting them accustomed to praise, per se. Yes, my sons are part of a lineage of very bright, capable, highly productive people so they were likely to exhibit respect-worthy behaviors and accomplishments. But in my experience, since all successful human relationships are based on mutual respect, getting them accustomed to "trading" in this medium seemed wise...and the results are quite gratifying.]

    PS: I didn't raise girls, but boys are born barbarians. Parents either socialize it out of them (teaching self-control, because the only alternative is "others-control," and they often come with badges, guns and bad attitudes) or they spawn demons on the world at large.

    A male human is the single most dangerous animal on the planet. Spawning a feral one is far worse than mistreating a 90 lb pitbull terrier.
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  • @nickels
    'Identical twins raised apart will be similar – and usually highly similar in every conceivable measurement'

    This proves nothing.
    First, i challenge you science worshipers to understand the brain and how it functions (you don't and you can't).
    Second, describe to me how the gene's manifest the brain organization from the first task (you can't--scientist don't have a clue hiw DNA works beyond building protiens, snipping them, etc...).

    We don't understand how each soul is assigned its body for the journey in this world. These studies seem to indicate there may be some ties between such souls.

    Now you can criticize my take, but we can both explain the mechanics of our differing theories to the same degree: zero.

    Actually an awful lot of understanding is available about how polynucleotides function in living creatures. I don’t deny that biochemistry is extremely complicated and an awful lot remains to be learned but there have been huge advances in the understanding of biochemical processes over the last 50 years.

    You should read a good text on biochemistry.

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  • @anon
    You are, as the saying goes, 'not even wrong' about free will.
    Because free will is not a scientifically identifiable quality. It's simply a description of the way it feels to humans as they go about their business and make decisions. We are complex creatures, and have, as Daniel Dennett puts it, 'all the free will we need' in order to be held responsible for our actions.

    Blaming or praising people for their behavior seems to depend on some notion of an autonomous will. But it’s hard from a scientific perspective to see how an autonomous will can be a true cause of any behavior.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    Blaming or praising people for their behavior seems to depend on some notion of an autonomous will.
     
    Do you have any interest in affecting their future behavior? If so, not so odd a notion after all.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Free will doesn’t exist

    (Sarcasm On)

    Disabled Bitches and Bastards of America (DBBA)

    Hear us America – we are your bad people. We are the bitches and bastards who every day abuse your goodness. We are your liars and conmen, your swindles and thieves, your rapists and murderers, your lawyers and game wardens, your politicians and generals, your Jews and Jihadists, your KKK and Nazis.

    For 26,000 years you good folks have wrongly looked down on us, jailed us, hung us, ostracized us, and banished us.

    Now we learn that we have no fee will. We are bad because of our genetic make-up. With no free will we cannot help ourselves – we are stuck being what we are – we are disabled – it has always been so. We are the ultimate disabled group. How can you be so cruel to us?

    We are the greatest victims of mankind ever. You owe us bigtime – we demand reparations from your government. We are going to become the strongest lobby in America. We have the conning, knowhow, and money to do it. We will bury you in shame – you will be our Stockholm victims.

    Yours, Disabled Bitches and Bastards of America — (DBBA)

    p.s. Thank god for college professors.

    (Sarcasm Off)

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  • @JayMan

    One complex thing the 30% could be (I’d guess it is) has to do with the social networks outside the family one adventitiously enters into.
     
    Why would that serve to make identical twins growing up together more different, which is what that left over variance means?

    I’m not sure I understand the question. Any adventitiously different influence would make them more different.

    Aaron and Cal are identical twins. In high school Aaron befriends an extravert in the Drama Club and Cal befriends an introvert in the Chess Club. Aaron becomes more extraverted and Cal more introverted. Which twin befriends which alternative is (assumed to be) pretty much a coin toss.

    [And if Aaron's friend also turns out to be homosexual...]

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  • @Stephen R. Diamond
    Anyone can tell anyone "what to do" about anything. It's called free speech. What's not necessarily legal is selling that advice.

    You are trying to portray (and have convinced yourself that) anyone who offers free advice of the sort for which you charge an arm and a leg is a criminal. You are really a rather despicable person.

    “Anyone can tell anyone “what to do” about anything. It’s called free speech. What’s not necessarily legal is selling that advice.”

    If someone gives advice to one with diabetes, re lifestyle advice, then that’s illegal. That’s giving medical advice.

    “You are trying to portray (and have convinced yourself that) anyone who offers free advice of the sort for which you charge an arm and a leg is a criminal. You are really a rather despicable person.”

    Not a criminal, just giving “advice” that only trained professionals are to give under certain pretexts. This is why last history, current diet and exercise regimen, etc are taken into account before professional advice is given. One may be a layman but think he had the knowledge to give lifestyle advice to someone with, say, type II diabetes, but that advice may be horrible for that specific person in that specific situation.

    My prices are fair and I’m cheaper than most. I don’t keep clients for long I want a revolving door of people to help as many people as possible while following up on people I’ve worked with in the past.

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  • @dc.sunsets

    This includes expensive schools, nice homes, strict discipline, religious indoctrination – none of it matters.
     
    None of it matters to behavioral traits.

    It does matter in specific ways too numerous to list. An axiom of LIFE is, "Everything we do becomes a part of us." Parental guidance during adolescence can and should work to protect kids from exercising youthful folly.

    Insuring your kid is unable to fully engage in risk taking excess can help them live to outgrown the immature assessment of danger common in teens.

    Specific events in our lives make a huge difference.

    None of it matters to behavioral traits.

    It does matter in specific ways too numerous to list. An axiom of LIFE is, “Everything we do becomes a part of us.”

    If it becomes part of us, it constitutes a behaviorial trait. (You really can’t have it both ways.) Jayman, it seems to me, equivocates on whether a behaviorial trait is any behavioral description or one of the general “traits of personality.” (Where to draw the line should be of concern.) But in fact literally every behavioral trait (in the second sense) is (probably) heritable. But some obviously are transmitted substantially by family environment.

    [Example. "Honesty" is probably devoid of familial influence. But "mannerliness" - it would be surprising indeed if families didn't differentially inculcate manners.]

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    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
    You missed my point.

    Not getting killed in a car crash is part of my past, but it sure as heck isn't a behavioral trait.

    Behavior and experiences are two different things.

    A woman can be low on the spectrum of novelty-seeking but if she gets married at 25 having had two prior "adult" relationships, she's not likely chaste. If she got married out of the first relationship, she would have been. (This applies to men, as well.) Is her behavior different? I don't see why I'd expect it to be.

    My point: Events matter, and become part of what we must work with forever. Behaviors, however, are HOW we operate in the presence of the past. It's the difference between data in a warehouse and the software that utilizes it. The data isn't the software instructions.

    My quibble with Jayman's claim that "parenting doesn't matter" is that if he believed this, he'd let his kids do whatever the heck they wanted. After all, "parenting doesn't matter," and if his son was slated to grow up into a self-controlled man, good household discipline didn't teach him squat, while zero discipline won't spoil him, and a zero discipline household wouldn't hurt him.

    Seriously? Bull.

    I'd believe that if I saw it. Having raised three kids, I damn well know better.

    "Parenting doesn't matter" is a statement only an ideologue lacking experience could maintain. I wonder how many kids raised in an "anything goes" home live to see adulthood (where presumably cease expression of teenage stupidity.)
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  • @Stephen R. Diamond

    But if shared environment is close to zero, then reductionism suggests the other 30% should mostly be something pretty simple.
     
    Could you spell out your reductionist argument? One complex thing the 30% could be (I'd guess it is) has to do with the social networks outside the family one adventitiously enters into.

    One complex thing the 30% could be (I’d guess it is) has to do with the social networks outside the family one adventitiously enters into.

    Why would that serve to make identical twins growing up together more different, which is what that left over variance means?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
    I'm not sure I understand the question. Any adventitiously different influence would make them more different.

    Aaron and Cal are identical twins. In high school Aaron befriends an extravert in the Drama Club and Cal befriends an introvert in the Chess Club. Aaron becomes more extraverted and Cal more introverted. Which twin befriends which alternative is (assumed to be) pretty much a coin toss.

    [And if Aaron's friend also turns out to be homosexual...]

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  • @RaceRealist88
    One can give general health advice but to tell people to do X is illegal without having the right credentials.

    What is not legal – except for Medical Doctors (MDs) and Registered Dietitians (RDs) – is to provide medical nutritional therapy. That is, to prescribe nutritional changes specifically to treat disease.

    http://nutritioncertificationreviews.com/nutrition-advice-qualifications/

    Anyone can tell anyone “what to do” about anything. It’s called free speech. What’s not necessarily legal is selling that advice.

    You are trying to portray (and have convinced yourself that) anyone who offers free advice of the sort for which you charge an arm and a leg is a criminal. You are really a rather despicable person.

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    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
    "Anyone can tell anyone “what to do” about anything. It’s called free speech. What’s not necessarily legal is selling that advice."

    If someone gives advice to one with diabetes, re lifestyle advice, then that's illegal. That's giving medical advice.

    "You are trying to portray (and have convinced yourself that) anyone who offers free advice of the sort for which you charge an arm and a leg is a criminal. You are really a rather despicable person."

    Not a criminal, just giving "advice" that only trained professionals are to give under certain pretexts. This is why last history, current diet and exercise regimen, etc are taken into account before professional advice is given. One may be a layman but think he had the knowledge to give lifestyle advice to someone with, say, type II diabetes, but that advice may be horrible for that specific person in that specific situation.

    My prices are fair and I'm cheaper than most. I don't keep clients for long I want a revolving door of people to help as many people as possible while following up on people I've worked with in the past.
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  • I must admit this entire line of thought sounds suspiciously like the difference between public health and individual medical decision.

    Population studies reveal one thing, but it is but tangentially relevant to choices made by individuals.

    Free will is not relevant to populations of people, but positing that personal choice doesn’t exist is akin to claiming that it doesn’t matter whether I chose to shoot someone simply because history will continue unaffected.

    We have degrees of freedom. Jayman in other contexts has agreed with this.

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  • @Jack Highlands
    Thanks: it seems we are moving to far less cautious formulations: no objection from reductionist me.

    On the subject of which, I like to use this estimate: 'genes are about 70% of everything' because that's pretty close to the personality data from twin studies and the voluminous, multi-source, IQ data.

    But if shared environment is close to zero, then reductionism suggests the other 30% should mostly be something pretty simple. One strong possibility flows from stuff like Cochran's gay germ theory, Flegr's Toxoplasma work, congenital rubella syndrome etc: most of the other 30% is microbial effect that is more subtle than the classical syndromes. Regarding other possibilities, I'd sure like to know the mechanism of First-Born Advantage.

    But if shared environment is close to zero, then reductionism suggests the other 30% should mostly be something pretty simple.

    Could you spell out your reductionist argument? One complex thing the 30% could be (I’d guess it is) has to do with the social networks outside the family one adventitiously enters into.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    One complex thing the 30% could be (I’d guess it is) has to do with the social networks outside the family one adventitiously enters into.
     
    Why would that serve to make identical twins growing up together more different, which is what that left over variance means?
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  • @JayMan

    There appears to be a problem in keeping the story straight
     
    Like I said in the post, Turkheimer has been spending his time trying to undermine his own findings:

    Did Turkheimer et al (2003) replicate? – Clear Language, Clear Mind

    It is interesting that Turkheimer seems to have mutated towards the behavioral and social justice’y side.
    Not surprising, though.
    After all, considering the grant pipeline–claiming its all genes is not as conducive to the social engineers as is ascribing everything to behavior and environment.
    Money in America has a long tradition of ringing the bell for the little salivating doggies.

    Anything but free will, because that leaves the conundrum of having to treat people like humans.

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  • @JayMan

    There appears to be a problem in keeping the story straight
     
    Like I said in the post, Turkheimer has been spending his time trying to undermine his own findings:

    Did Turkheimer et al (2003) replicate? – Clear Language, Clear Mind

    Turkheimer seems to have decided to become a goodthinker: https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/5/18/15655638/charles-murray-race-iq-sam-harris-science-free-speech
    I wonder if that was a result of the reaction to the heresy of his three laws.

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  • @dc.sunsets
    Anecdotally, it's apparent to me that each of us is born to a specific segment on the spectrum of each human attribute.

    Each of us enjoys a segment of mathematical aptitude, neuroticism, musical ability, etc., on the 0-100 spectrum available.

    We have a choice of where, ON THAT SEGMENT, we exhibit each attribute. Persons born on the border of addictive behavior might choose the path eschewing the addiction, or people born with musical talent might never encounter conditions to nurture it.

    Life experiences (including those offered by parents) matter, because so much of life becomes path dependent.

    I think the liability threshold model provides a good way to think about that: http://www.wikilectures.eu/index.php/Genetic_Liability,_Threshold_Model.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_model#Liability_threshold_model

    IMHO more accurate to envision the threshold as being soft with environmental factors modifying where the phenotype appears (as you observe).

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  • @JayMan

    There appears to be a large logico-linguistic gap between your wording of the second law – “the effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes [my emphasis]” and your commentary on the second law: ‘the effect of shared environment is nil
     
    The first three laws are copied from Turkheimer verbatim, who, as Steven Pinker put it, was being cautious when he coined the Second Law.

    Thanks: it seems we are moving to far less cautious formulations: no objection from reductionist me.

    On the subject of which, I like to use this estimate: ‘genes are about 70% of everything’ because that’s pretty close to the personality data from twin studies and the voluminous, multi-source, IQ data.

    But if shared environment is close to zero, then reductionism suggests the other 30% should mostly be something pretty simple. One strong possibility flows from stuff like Cochran’s gay germ theory, Flegr’s Toxoplasma work, congenital rubella syndrome etc: most of the other 30% is microbial effect that is more subtle than the classical syndromes. Regarding other possibilities, I’d sure like to know the mechanism of First-Born Advantage.

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    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    But if shared environment is close to zero, then reductionism suggests the other 30% should mostly be something pretty simple.
     
    Could you spell out your reductionist argument? One complex thing the 30% could be (I'd guess it is) has to do with the social networks outside the family one adventitiously enters into.
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  • @Logan
    Thanks. I've been banned, but not from this site!

    I’m not quite sure how I keep replying to myself.

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  • @nickels
    There appears to be a problem in keeping the story straight:


    The models suggest that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is accounted for by the shared environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero

     

    It isn't science when the number of degrees of freedom swamp (infinitely) the number of knowns.
    It's just another curve fit.

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.0956-7976.2003.psci_1475.x

    There appears to be a problem in keeping the story straight

    Like I said in the post, Turkheimer has been spending his time trying to undermine his own findings:

    Did Turkheimer et al (2003) replicate? – Clear Language, Clear Mind

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    • Replies: @res
    Turkheimer seems to have decided to become a goodthinker: https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/5/18/15655638/charles-murray-race-iq-sam-harris-science-free-speech
    I wonder if that was a result of the reaction to the heresy of his three laws.
    , @nickels
    It is interesting that Turkheimer seems to have mutated towards the behavioral and social justice'y side.
    Not surprising, though.
    After all, considering the grant pipeline--claiming its all genes is not as conducive to the social engineers as is ascribing everything to behavior and environment.
    Money in America has a long tradition of ringing the bell for the little salivating doggies.

    Anything but free will, because that leaves the conundrum of having to treat people like humans.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There appears to be a problem in keeping the story straight:

    The models suggest that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is accounted for by the shared environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero

    It isn’t science when the number of degrees of freedom swamp (infinitely) the number of knowns.
    It’s just another curve fit.

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.0956-7976.2003.psci_1475.x

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    There appears to be a problem in keeping the story straight
     
    Like I said in the post, Turkheimer has been spending his time trying to undermine his own findings:

    Did Turkheimer et al (2003) replicate? – Clear Language, Clear Mind
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  • Anecdotally, it’s apparent to me that each of us is born to a specific segment on the spectrum of each human attribute.

    Each of us enjoys a segment of mathematical aptitude, neuroticism, musical ability, etc., on the 0-100 spectrum available.

    We have a choice of where, ON THAT SEGMENT, we exhibit each attribute. Persons born on the border of addictive behavior might choose the path eschewing the addiction, or people born with musical talent might never encounter conditions to nurture it.

    Life experiences (including those offered by parents) matter, because so much of life becomes path dependent.

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    • Replies: @res
    I think the liability threshold model provides a good way to think about that: http://www.wikilectures.eu/index.php/Genetic_Liability,_Threshold_Model.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_model#Liability_threshold_model
    IMHO more accurate to envision the threshold as being soft with environmental factors modifying where the phenotype appears (as you observe).
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  • @Jack Highlands
    There appears to be a large logico-linguistic gap between your wording of the second law - "the effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes [my emphasis]" and your commentary on the second law: 'the effect of shared environment is nil'.

    You seem to have transitioned from a number that could logically be as high as 49.999 etc percent to zero, with insufficient explanation. If there is good evidence that the effect of shared environment is zero, then should not the second law be re-formulated 'there is no effect from being raised in the same family'? And if the effect of shared environment is low but not zero, should it not read, 'the effect of being raised in the same family is far smaller than the effect of the genes'?

    There appears to be a large logico-linguistic gap between your wording of the second law – “the effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes [my emphasis]” and your commentary on the second law: ‘the effect of shared environment is nil

    The first three laws are copied from Turkheimer verbatim, who, as Steven Pinker put it, was being cautious when he coined the Second Law.

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    • Replies: @Jack Highlands
    Thanks: it seems we are moving to far less cautious formulations: no objection from reductionist me.

    On the subject of which, I like to use this estimate: 'genes are about 70% of everything' because that's pretty close to the personality data from twin studies and the voluminous, multi-source, IQ data.

    But if shared environment is close to zero, then reductionism suggests the other 30% should mostly be something pretty simple. One strong possibility flows from stuff like Cochran's gay germ theory, Flegr's Toxoplasma work, congenital rubella syndrome etc: most of the other 30% is microbial effect that is more subtle than the classical syndromes. Regarding other possibilities, I'd sure like to know the mechanism of First-Born Advantage.
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  • This includes expensive schools, nice homes, strict discipline, religious indoctrination – none of it matters.

    None of it matters to behavioral traits.

    It does matter in specific ways too numerous to list. An axiom of LIFE is, “Everything we do becomes a part of us.” Parental guidance during adolescence can and should work to protect kids from exercising youthful folly.

    Insuring your kid is unable to fully engage in risk taking excess can help them live to outgrown the immature assessment of danger common in teens.

    Specific events in our lives make a huge difference.

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    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    None of it matters to behavioral traits.

    It does matter in specific ways too numerous to list. An axiom of LIFE is, “Everything we do becomes a part of us.”
     
    If it becomes part of us, it constitutes a behaviorial trait. (You really can't have it both ways.) Jayman, it seems to me, equivocates on whether a behaviorial trait is any behavioral description or one of the general "traits of personality." (Where to draw the line should be of concern.) But in fact literally every behavioral trait (in the second sense) is (probably) heritable. But some obviously are transmitted substantially by family environment.

    [Example. "Honesty" is probably devoid of familial influence. But "mannerliness" - it would be surprising indeed if families didn't differentially inculcate manners.]
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  • There appears to be a large logico-linguistic gap between your wording of the second law – “the effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes [my emphasis]” and your commentary on the second law: ‘the effect of shared environment is nil‘.

    You seem to have transitioned from a number that could logically be as high as 49.999 etc percent to zero, with insufficient explanation. If there is good evidence that the effect of shared environment is zero, then should not the second law be re-formulated ‘there is no effect from being raised in the same family’? And if the effect of shared environment is low but not zero, should it not read, ‘the effect of being raised in the same family is far smaller than the effect of the genes’?

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    There appears to be a large logico-linguistic gap between your wording of the second law – “the effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes [my emphasis]” and your commentary on the second law: ‘the effect of shared environment is nil
     
    The first three laws are copied from Turkheimer verbatim, who, as Steven Pinker put it, was being cautious when he coined the Second Law.
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  • @Delinquent Snail
    Its probably the content thats the red flag. If someone is going thru the trouble to make a new account with a different email, behind an anonymizer, they probably are saying something that jayman has warned against and previously banned. So when a new user gets on and repeats previously banned comments or thoughts, it probably a dead give away.

    Using a VPN and a throwaway email is quite normal in these days of State surveillance

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  • @Logan
    Just curious.

    What prevents a banned commenter from signing up under another handle? If necessary using a different computer and ISP? For that matter, there are lots of anonymizers available.

    Not trying to get around a ban, as I haven't been. Just curious how this is enforceable.

    Thanks. I’ve been banned, but not from this site!

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    • Replies: @Logan
    I'm not quite sure how I keep replying to myself.
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  • @Stephen R. Diamond
    So, I suppose it's illegal for you to give this legal "advice"? But seriously, that's ridiculous.

    One can give general health advice but to tell people to do X is illegal without having the right credentials.

    What is not legal – except for Medical Doctors (MDs) and Registered Dietitians (RDs) – is to provide medical nutritional therapy. That is, to prescribe nutritional changes specifically to treat disease.

    http://nutritioncertificationreviews.com/nutrition-advice-qualifications/

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    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
    Anyone can tell anyone "what to do" about anything. It's called free speech. What's not necessarily legal is selling that advice.

    You are trying to portray (and have convinced yourself that) anyone who offers free advice of the sort for which you charge an arm and a leg is a criminal. You are really a rather despicable person.
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  • @JayMan

    On identical twins (and siblings generally) I am surprised at no reference to each other as an important part of their environment which, possibly by chance, affects the other’s character.
     
    There is no negative shared environment impact: twins raised together aren't less similar than twins raised apart. Siblings don't have much of an effect.

    I have seen and heard too often of identical twins where one nearly ways dominates conversation, typically if you ask what restaurant or play or sporting event they would like to go to, to doubt the truth of my generalisation.

    I recall e.g.one of a pair of high IQ females (who could have made a living as a portrait painter and described herself as left handed right brained) saying to her 50 year old identical twin who was talking to me “shut up S I want to talk to W”. Absolutely typical. (It was the right handed “left brained” twin who got the high academic honours in languages and other g related subjects).

    Then, amongst many other memories, I recall one twin saying “i hardly spoke to an adult until I was 3 [could have been 2]. L always did it for me”. L was a high powered investment banker. Her identical twin who spoke of their relationship was in the course of finishing a rather long drawn out path to a PhD in a specialised field of Art History. So… no brain damage or other such explanation.

    The only way I can reconcile your reply with all that is that you would insist that it is only because of the peculiarly striking fact of their being identical twins that I have noticed these striking interactions and that they would be just ss common in any randomly chosen pair of frequently interacting people. If so, evidence please.

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