4. Genetics and intelligence

Until today, numerous statistical studies have been done on the IQ heritability. The observed correlation in the IQ is low, except in identical twins, which is 80-85% among them; nevertheless, if they had considered the relationship with their parents, they would also have obtained a low correlation.

The problem is that they have not defined correctly the composition of the variable to be studied. It seems that if they would study the correlation of the colour of the sisters' flowers or rats, as in the typical examples of Mendel's laws, they would have obtained low correlations!

DNA (Public domain image)
DNA

It is obvious that it is not a question of a simple linear relation; there are jumps in continuous variables with random processes governed by laws intrinsic to evolutionary genetics. Establishing the relations implied by the GTCEL, it is possible to obtain high IQ correlation between the parents and their children. Therefore, it is indirectly proved the coherence of this theory of evolution.

The influence of genetics on cognitive abilities has been and continues to be an intense topic of debate because of the consequences that come from one stance or the other.

As I have previously stated, The EDI Study in my opinion shows both the hereditary nature of intelligence, strictly speaking and therefore relational intelligence in general, and a large part of the GTCEL itself.

Although statistics is a famous science due to its vulnerability to manipulation, it is also certain that this argument is often used when people do not want to recognize the facts as clear as they may be.

We will briefly look at a few points in favor and a few points against a high correlation between genetics and intelligence and at the difficulties or elements that allow for the coexistence of such different positions.

 

4.a) Genetic predisposition

4.a.1 Highly gifted children

The very existence of gifted children indicates beyond reasonable doubt the genetic inheritance of intelligence.

The other significant argument which supports the genetic inheritance of human intelligence is that it has not been possible to isolate any specific environmental cause which in itself affects intelligence. It is well known that brothers and sisters with similar environments and different levels of intelligence exist.

On the other hand, the fact that children intellectually, physically or artistically gifted exist supports the hereditary character of these abilities.

4.a.2 Cognitive processess and genetics

If the conceptual accuracy made on formal logic or intelligence and intuition, as variations of the cognitive processes. Indirectly, we are accepting the genetic base of intelligence.

The method of Verification of Genetic Information is performed, in this case, at the moment subsequent to the genetic transmission and even after the initial development of a new being. However, we want to conserve the adjective related to genetics in the name of this method to indicate that the genes determine the operative structure.

Due to its importance, being the theoretical base of the statistical model previously cited, it would be a good idea to read the graphic explanation in the case of intelligence that is included in the page of the Evolution of man of the book GTCEL (General Theory of the Conditional Evolution of Life) about the nature of intelligence and genetics with or without the application of the method of Verification of Genetic Information from a functional point of view.

 

GENETIC ENGINEERING APPLIED TO INTELLIGENCE - I

An ever present issue when studying the genetic inheritance of intelligence in detail is the possibility of its improvement and the way that this improvement can be achieved.

It is normally understood that if intelligence is a genetic characteristic then it cannot be improved. In this case it represents an inequality among human beings from the very beginning, which is not very pleasant for the majority of people; this leads to not accepting the genetic inheritance of intelligence unless it is proved absolutely, an impossible goal even in a subject as neutral as physics.

However, in the near future it may be possible to consider the possibility of improving intellectual capacity, despite its genetic character, if the technology of genetic engineering advances adequately. This possibility is still a long way off, but maybe not as far as some might think. The possible application of genetic engineering to improve intelligence will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

The EDI Study on the Evolution and Design of Intelligence demonstrates, in my opinion, not only the heritability of connected functions that make up intelligence, but also that they must be concentrated in a single chromosome.

Supposing that the conclusions of this study are correct, the problem of improving inherited intelligence would be limited to the improvement of the chromosome involved. In principle it would be the sexual chromosome, as much Y as X; this will not be discussed now, so it would not matter if the chromosome of intelligence were another. Identifying it would be enough to start to think about using genetic engineering.

A film that discusses the general idea of selecting descendant’s qualities with great tenderness and respect to the individual’s freedom regarding whether to use genetic engineering or not, is Gattaca. Moreover, Gattaca focuses on the subject of genetic intelligence but at no point goes into technical detail.  

Obviously, the problem of altering hereditary qualities means the loss of identity or the evolutionary line from the parents to the child. Consequently, it seems strange to even consider certain changes due to their moral implications. However, as in Gattaca, if the parents’ freedom of choice is respected and, on the other hand, characteristics that they did not want to change evolve normally, in principle there would not be any moral objection to the possibility of applying the technique of genetic engineering to improve intelligence as is currently being done to avoid congenital diseases.

It has been previously stated that intelligence is concentrated in one chromosome. If we think about the reason that chromosomes exist, we will realize that in some way they must represent independent units of genetic code; that is to say that a new being can be formed from genetic code from different people’s chromosomes. That is what nature does, it works well, so functional incompatibility does not exist between genetic development involving different chromosomes or, at least, it is slight.

Consequently, if genetic engineering were to allow a change to the whole chromosome in the first moments after fertilization, we could find ourselves with a new being with all the characteristics of the progenitors except those derived from intelligence and all those characteristics that are found in the same chromosome.

It is not about forcing or inventing something strange regarding genetic inheritance; what it is about is the possibility of applying genetic engineering in the near future (50 years). This would be acceptable as long as the conclusions in the EDI Study were correct, there were not collateral problems, other natural evolutionary personal characteristics were respected and, of course, that people could freely choose with the necessary guarantees.

 
 

GENETIC ENGINEERING APPLIED TO INTELLIGENCE - II

Nevertheless, there is no necessity to wait for so long in order to achieve improvements in intelligence with genetic engineering methods if the conclusions of the EDI Study are correct with regard to the genetic inheritance of intelligence, the update of the X chromosome, and if the sexual chromosome is the carrier of the genetic information linked to intelligence.

These mentioned conclusions can be confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt thanks to the simple Darwinoder experiment of quantitative genetics.

On the page about the Evolution of Intelligence included in the book General Theory of Conditional Evolution of Life, there is an introduction to the new Darwinoder experiment, which has not yet been carried out, to confirm the results of the EDI Study with an easy methodology, and, in the case of not being the X and Y sexual chromosomes, to establish the real chromosome responsible for the evolution of intelligence.

The pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is already used successfully in the elimination of the genetic inheritance in certain diseases. Another matter is, of course, the cost of this procedure and the collateral effects that currently exist, such as multiple births.

I would like to point out that some serious intelligence disorders are related to the genetic inheritance of certain diseases and, at the same time, the difficulty of distinguishing between diseases and people’s special characteristics.

Therefore, it has to be reiterated that any action on this field must respect people’s individual freedom to choose with the necessary guarantees and with adequate information within the social freedom expressed through the political decision of allowing or not its practical implementation.

Finally, it is important to point out the importance of these scientific developments in the genetic inheritance of intelligence and the consequent responsibility of individuals as well as public and private organizations in order to favor or directly determine if the current proposals are correct or not.

The scientific analysis must be always separated from the ethical one since we already have enough historical examples of people trying to deny scientific evidences for ethical or moral reasons and the only thing they achieved was an unnecessary delay in the scientific and technical development of our current civilization.

The closest case would be Mendel’s Laws!