Chimp IQ determined by genes

Obvious study is obvious to smart people.

It has repercussions to people.

“A chimpanzee’s intelligence is largely determined by its genes, while environmental factors may be less important than scientists previously thought, according to a Georgia State University research study.

The study found that some, but not all, cognitive, or mental, abilities, in chimpanzees depend significantly on the genes they inherit. The findings are reported in the latest issue of Current Biology.

“Intelligence runs in families,” said Dr. William Hopkins, professor in the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State and research scientist in the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University. “The suggestion here is that genes play a really important role in their performance on tasks while non-genetic factors didn’t seem to explain a lot. So that’s new.”

The role of genes in human intelligence or IQ has been studied for years, but Hopkins’ study is among the first to address heritability in cognitive abilities in nonhuman primates. Studies have shown that human intelligence is inherited through genes, but social and environmental factors, such as formal education and socioeconomic status, also play a role and are somewhat confounded with genetic factors. Chimpanzees, which are highly intelligent and genetically similar to humans, do not have these additional socio-cultural influences.

“Chimps offer a really simple way of thinking about how genes might influence intelligence without, in essence, the baggage of these other mechanisms that are confounded with genes in research on human intelligence,” Hopkins said.

In the future, Hopkins wants to continue the study with an expanded sample size. He would also like to pursue studies to determine which genes are involved in intelligence and various cognitive abilities as well as how genes are linked to variation in the organization of the brain.

Hopkins also would like to determine which genes changed in human evolution that allowed humans to have such advanced intelligence.”

Wade in WSJ: Race has a biological basis, racism does not

…I wonder how many commentators got the joke inherent. Of course sociopolitical discourse has no place in science.

Text from: http://www.amren.com/news/2014/06/race-has-a-biological-basis-racism-does-not/

Walled original: http://online.wsj.com/articles/nicholas-wade-race-has-a-biological-basis-racism-does-not-1403476865

From the day it was published in 1859, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has never ceased to discomfort people. Clerics in the 19th century repudiated his account of human origins. Today Darwin is implicitly rejected by the many social scientists and other academics who deny that there is a biological basis to race.

Most people who hate racism oppose it as a matter of moral principle, before which all other considerations are irrelevant. Not so for social scientists. For many decades they have founded their opposition to racism on a specific scientific condition, namely that race has no biological basis and is solely a social construct.

This formulation is proclaimed on the websites of major social-science organizations. “Race is about culture, not biology,” states the American Anthropological Association. Too bad that it’s incorrect, but that’s not the worst of it. The social-science creed has permeated the thinking of most college campuses so deeply that race, in the genetic sense, has become a taboo word. This has serious consequences for the advance of knowledge.

It’s not that race in itself is of such great interest, although probably the more it is understood the less it will be feared. Rather, recent human evolution cannot be understood except in terms of its independent development on each continent. There is not one story of recent human evolution but several, given that the five major continental populations or races–those of Africans, East Asians, Caucasians, Native Americans and Australasians–have been evolving largely independently since modern humans dispersed from Africa some 50,000 years ago.

It’s hard to explore these stories without acknowledging that race has a biological basis. Yet researchers who do so put their careers in peril if they offend the political leanings of the colleagues who must approve their grant applications or accept their papers for publication.

In a book published last month, A Troublesome Inheritance, I have tried to draw some of the tension from this fraught subject by showing that the understanding of genetic differences between human groups does not lead to racism. The human genome confirms what common sense would suggest, that there is clearly a biological basis to race.

The genome shows that the races are not separated by genes–everyone has the same set–nor even by alleles, the alternative forms of each gene that arise from mutations. Rather, there is a continuum of variation in which the races differ predominantly in the relative frequency of their alleles. It’s hard to see a master race in allele frequencies. The genome emphatically declares the unity of humankind.

The human genome records that natural selection has been regional, meaning that a largely different set of genes has changed under evolutionary pressure in each race. This is just what would be expected given that the populations on each continent have responded to different local challenges. Some of these selected genes are active in the brain, though with unknown function, confirming that the brain is no more exempt from evolution than is the body.

This raises the possibility that human social behavior has been shaped by evolution just as the body has been. Humans being a highly social species, social behavior is critical to a society’s survival and hence likely to be a prime target of natural selection.

{snip}

Most critics of my book have ignored its major genetic arguments, presumably finding no fault with them, but have lambasted the book for being speculative while invariably neglecting to mention its clear warning to the reader on precisely this point. There’s nothing wrong with speculation; what’s wrong is to pass speculation off as fact. If one cannot speculate about what might be in the genome, how can one know what to look for?

{snip}

The human genome was first decoded a decade ago. Today there is a serious impasse between a social-science creed that effectively denies evolution has any explanatory role in human affairs and the high goal of exploring what the human genome may say about human origins and evolution.

In the confrontation between religion and evolution in the 19th century, believers eventually perceived that they could not cast Darwin out with a pitchfork and didn’t need to. Faith, as long as it didn’t overreach, could coexist with science, and all but fundamentalists have accepted that arrangement. Social scientists too could safely agree to live with Darwin, once they accept that evolutionary differences between human groups can today be explored without the return of racism.”

Troublesome Inheritance Review: Different races exist. So what?

http://reason.com/archives/2014/06/20/different-races-exist-so-what

Please, continue that train of thought.

Please, continue that train of thought.

It’s almost as if it’s getting through… Almost.

This has huge implications for medicine, which go unmentioned.

I love how poor critics think saying they don’t like an idea is equivalent to refuting it, especially when they have nothing which explains the same evidence. This is why they’re critics and not creators.