21 May 2009

An 'expert' on genetics

Various people recently have been expressing opinions about whether or not intelligence is innate. It may be wondered why this would matter if it did not involve freedom being confiscated and destroyed, in order to provide people by force with the sort of ‘education’ that socially appointed agents of the collective think they ought to have. And it may also be wondered why it would matter if those agents did not, apparently, believe that all with advantages (genetic or otherwise) not provided by the collective should have those advantages ironed out and taken away by social intervention and manipulation – ‘social engineering’ as it is buzzily called.

When someone I know, as an alumnus of New College, Oxford, was invited to nominate a candidate for the Wardenship, he nominated me. Of course, modern society being what it is, I was not appointed, although I would have been a far more suitable person to hold the position than the outgoing Warden, Alan Ryan, who is among those recently sounding off as supposed ‘experts’ on this issue. He says:

All the evidence is that initial genetic endowment is pretty much random across social classes, and everything depends on a nurturing environment. [*] ... If you are born into a family with much better resources and an interest in learning you will do better than if you were born to incompetent and impoverished parents. ... The idea that you look for some genetic underpinning to go with it seems crazy. (Daily Mail, 13 May 2009)

This is actually an absurd thing to say. It does not even reflect the state of opinion among socially accredited ‘academics’ with the greatest knowledge of the ‘research’ in this area, i.e. those at the Department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford.

I have known people at the Psychology Department throughout my fifty-odd years of living in exile. Fifty years ago the lecturers there told undergraduates that although it was all wrong and very regrettable, the evidence supported the idea that ability was predominantly inherited. Even 15 years ago it was still regarded as a debatable issue on which different views were expressed.

At that time several Oxford lecturers, who were among those who still held the view that ability was largely inherited, believed in positive discrimination in favour of those from the social class which was most likely to have low IQs, as well as most likely to have gone to ‘bad’ schools which were predominantly attended by those with low IQs.

What Alan Ryan is quoted as saying is a ludicrous thing for a leading academic to say and an indication of just how far ‘universities’ have declined since a time, fifty years ago, when such tendentious assertions would never have been made in public.

I am not recognised as an ‘expert’ and my views are not requested, in fact they are suppressed. If I wrote to Alan Ryan and asked him to contribute half of his income to supporting me so that I could publish my views on this and other areas, or to obtain a grant to support me from any source with which he had influence, I dare say he would not reply.

* I know of some striking counter-examples to this – people with low IQs in otherwise distinguished families, whose lack of innate ability was later evident in their relatively lacklustre careers, in spite of any amount of 'nurturing'.