So I was at Barnes N Noble a few weeks ago and picked up this book called ‘This Idea Must Die‘. It has a ton of researchers who wrote for it. Each person writes a short, 3 to 4 page writing on what idea must die and why. it’s a great read so far. Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins wrote for it.
Now, I just came to this section in the book where Steven Pinker talks about behavior=genes+environment. To quote Pinker from the book:
Would you say that the behavior of your computer or smartphone is determined by an interaction between its inherent design and the way it is influenced by the environment? It’s unlikely; such a statement would not be false, but it would be obtuse. Complex adaptive systems have a nonrandom organization , and they have inputs. But speaking of inputs as “shaping” the system’s behavior, or pitting its design against its input, would lead to no insight as to how the system works. The human brain is far more complex, and processes its input in more complex ways, than human-made devices, yet many people analyze it in ways that are too simplistic for our far simpler toys. Every term in the equation is suspect.
Behavior: More than half a century after the cognitive revolution, people still ask whether a behavior is genetically or environmentally determined. Yet neither the genes nor the environment can control the muscles indirectly. The cause of the behavior is the brain. While it’s sensible to ask how emotions, motives, or learning mechanisms have been influenced by genes, it makes no sense to ask this of behavior itself. (Emphasis mine.)
Genes: Molecular biologists have appropriated the term “gene” to refer to the stretches of DNA that code for a protein. Unfortunately, this sense differs from the one used in population genetics, behavioral genetics and evolutionary theory – namely, any information carried that’s transmittable across generations and has sustained effects on the phenotype. This includes any aspect of DNA that can affect gene expression, and is closer to what is meant by “innate” than genes in the molecular biologists’ narrow sense. The confusion between the two leads to innumerable red herrings in discussions of out makeup, such as the banality that the expression of genes (in the sense of protein-coding stretches of DNA) is regulated by signals from the environment. How else could it be? The alternative is that every cell synthesizes every protein all the time! The epigenetics bubble inflated by the science media is based on a similar confusion. (Emphasis mine.)
Environment: This term for the inputs to an organism is also misleading. Of all the energy impinging on an organism, only a subset, processed and transformed in complex ways, has an effect on its subsequent information processing. Which information is taken in, how it’s transformed, and how it affects the organism (that is, the way the organism learns) all depend on the organisms innate organization. To speak of the environment “determining” or “shaping” behavior is unperspicuous.(Emphasis mine.)
Even the technical sense of “environment”used in quantitative behavioral genetics is perversely confusing. Now, there’s nothing wrong with partitioning phenotypic variance into components that correlate with genetic variation (heritability) and with variation among families (“shared environment”). The problem comes from so-called “nonshared” or “unique” environmental influences. This consists of all the variance attributable to neither genetic nor familiar variation. In most studies, it’s calculated as 1 – (heritability + shared environment). Practically, you can think of it as the differences between identical twins who grow up in the same home. They share their genes, parents, older and younger siblings, school, peers, and neighborhood. So what could make them different? Under the assumption that behavior is a product of genes plus environment, it must be something in the environment of one that is not in the environment of the other.
But this category really should be called “miscellaneous/unknown,” because is has nothing necessarily to do with any measurable aspect of the environment, such as one sibling getting the top bunk and the other the bottom, or a parent unpredictably favoring one child, or one sibling getting chased by a dog, coming down with a virus, or being favored by a teacher. These influences are purely conjectural, and studies looking for them have failed to find them.The alternative is that this component actually consists of the effects of chance – new mutations, quirky prenatal effects, noise in brain development, and events in life with unpredictable effects. (Emphasis mine.)
Stochastic effects in development are increasingly being recognized by epidemiologists, frustrated by such recalcitrant phenomena such as nonagenarian pack-a-day smokers and identical twins discordant for schizophrenia, homosexuality, and disease outcomes. They’re increasingly forced to acknowledge that God plays die with our traits.(Emphasis mine.) Developmental biologists have come to similar conclusions. The bad habit of assuming that anything not classically genetic must be “environmental” has blinkered behavioral geneticists (and those who interpret their findings) into the fool’s errand of looking for environmental effects foe what may be randomness in the developmental processes. (Emphasis mine.)
A final confusion in the equation is the seemingly sophisticated add-on of “gene-environment interactions.” This is also designed to confuse. Gene-environment interactions do not refer to the fact that the environment is necessary for genes to do their thing (which is true of all genes). It refers to a flipflop effect inn which the genes affect a person one way in one environment but another way in another environment, whereas an alternative gene has a different patter. For example, if you inherit allele 1, you are vulnerable: a stressor makes you neurotic. If you inherit allele 2, you are resilient: a stressor leaves you normal. With either gene, if you are never stressed, you are normal.
Gene-environment interactions in this technical sense, confusingly, go into the “unique environmental” component, because they’re not the same (on average) in siblings growing up in the same family. Just as confusingly, “interactions” in the commonsense – namely, that a person with a given genotype is predictably affected by the environment – goes into the “heritability” component, because the quantitative genetics measures only correlations. This confound is behind the finding that the heritability of intelligence increases, and the effects of shared environment decrease, over a person’s lifetime. One explanation is that genes have effects late in life, but another is that people with a given genotype place themselves in environments that indulge their inborn tastes and talents. The “environment” increasingly depends on their genes, rather than being the cause of exogenous behavior. (Emphasis mine.) (pg 188-191 This Idea Must Die)
I’m pretty excited about this. I have said for a while, to quote Douglas Whitman:
Race is not a social construct. Society is a racial construct. Society and culture derive from race/biology
You can see the effects from race/biology anywhere in the world you look and see the majority racial/ethnic mix of a country and/or area. A place is ONLY as good as its majority population.
We can see the kinds of effects this will have on our society as a whole. The way all of these 3rd worlders are flooding in to our countries. They leave their countries, to come to ours (in the West), and they don’t realize that once they become the majority and displace the native populations of the countries, that the place they will be living in will be just as bad, or even worse than where they came from.
Now, what Pinker said about the nonshared environment was really interesting. Especially at the end where he says ‘The “environment” increasingly depends on their genes, rather than being the cause of exogenous behavior.’
What does that mean? You can see this, for the most part, whenever there are new immigrants to an area. They still act how they did back in their home countries. The native peoples of the country have a certain way they act, and so do the immigrants to that country. The native peoples environment is an expression of their genetics. The new environment that the new immigrants bring to the country is also an expression of genetics. So, we can see just with what Pinker explained above, that environment itself doesn’t dictate behavior, but GENES DICTATE BEHAVIOR AND ALSO THE ENVIRONMENT THAT GETS CREATED.
So, it seems that those with certain genes place themselves in environments that indulge their inborn tastes and talents. “Environment” INCREASINGLY DEPENDS ON THEIR GENES RATHER THAN BEING THE CAUSE OF EXOGENOUS BEHAVIOR.
We know that genes are the driving force in life, and with this new ‘epigenetic’ field of genetics, they will attempt to say that environment is the main cause of molding genetics because one may have different things happen to them in one environment and not the other. But, since we have just seen here that those with certain genes put themselves into their environments, what does this say about certain people you may know? Does this mean that their genes put them in their situation? Well, for the most part, yes.
If one chooses their environment based on their genetic makeup, wouldn’t that throw out any and all environmental interactions?
For instance, how leftists say that negros can’t help it and are ‘born in to poverty’. Negros, as well as other low IQ peoples, choose their environment based on their genetics.
THE ENVIRONMENT YOU CHOOSE IS BASED ON YOUR GENETICS. THE PEOPLE DICTATE THE ENVIRONMENT OF A PLACE.
Growing up in a bad environment does not make you a bad person, sorry to say, but your genes make you a bad person. People seem to have the wrong idea about how environment interactions work with genes. I’m glad this came out.
This is inferred from what Pinker said. This is also explicitly said in the Whitman quote.
This new “epigenetic revolution” needs to die. It is saying that gene x environment interactions matter, when it really is the opposite. What is really happening is that individuals group up, due to genetic similarity theory, the theory proposed by Rushton after noticing that each ethnic group basically stayed with each other, along with their genetics that dictates their environment to live in. By putting so many genetically similar people in the same environment, in this case, immigrants, you will, therefore, get the same situation of how the conditions in their countries were, due to genetic similarity theory having them be with peoples of similar genetics, as well as their genes dictating their environments.
BEHAVIOR=GENES+ENVIRONMENT NEEDS TO DIE!!
[…] into our societies because of differing biology and differing locations in which they evolved in. We chose our environments based on our biology. Environment increasingly depends on their genes, rather than being the cause for their exogenous […]
Social constructionist nonsense infuriates me, because of how utterly nonsensical it is.
It’s a fundamental maxim of biology that: all extrinsic inheritance is a consequence of intrinsic design. The “environment” isn’t out there, WE select our environments according to our pre-rendered predispositions; we may even create our own environments to satisfy our predispositions.
This is exactly as one would expect from the system of biological evolution. The organism is not a victim of some oppressive environmental force. The organism is Machiavellian, it seeks to exploit the unpredictable environment around it to suit its own purposes.
Causation is upwards, from root genetics. Everything else is just layers/loops for feedback.
Unfortunately, the pathological blindness of social constructionists to anything beyond their immediate “safe space” is not going to be resolved easily.