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Bound_up comments on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 - Less Wrong Discussion

3 Post author: MrMind 20 March 2017 08:01AM

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Comment author: Bound_up 20 March 2017 11:49:25PM 0 points [-]

Suppose there are 100 genes which figure into intelligence, the odds of getting any one being 50%.

The most common result would be for someone to get 50/100 of these genes and have average intelligence.

Some smaller number would get 51 or 49, and a smaller number still would get 52 or 48.

And so on, until at the extremes of the scale, such a small number of people get 0 or 100 of them that no one we've ever heard of or has ever been born has had all 100 of them.

As such, incredible superhuman intelligence would be manifest in a human who just got lucky enough to have all 100 genes. If some or all of these genes could be identified and manipulated in the genetic code, we'd have unprecedented geniuses.

Comment author: Viliam 21 March 2017 04:19:33PM *  1 point [-]

Let me be the one to describe this glass as half-empty:

If there are 100 genes that participate in IQ, it means that there exists an upper limit to human IQ, i.e. when you have all 100 of them. (Ignoring the possibility of new IQ-increasing mutations for the moment.) Unlike the mathematical bell curve which -- mathematically speaking -- stretches into infinity, this upper limit of human IQ could be relatively low; like maybe IQ 200, but definitely no Anas├╗rimbor Kellhus.

It may turn out that to produce another Einstein or von Neumann, you need a rare combination of many factors, where having IQ close to the upper limit is necesary but not sufficient, and the rest is e.g. nutrition, personality traits, psychological health, and choices made in life. So even if you genetically produce 1000 people with the max IQ, barely one of them becomes functionally another Einstein. (But even then, 1 in 1000 is much better than 1 per generation globally.)

(Actually, this is my personal hypothesis of IQ, which -- if true -- would explain why different populations have more or less the same average IQ. Basicly, let's assume that having all those IQ genes gives you IQ 200, and that all lower IQ is a result of mutational load, and IQ 100 simply means a person with average mutational load. So even if you would populate a new island with Mensa members, in a few generations some of them would receive bad genes not just by inheritance but also by random non-fatal mutations, gradually lowering the average IQ to 100. On the other hand, if you would populate a new island with retards, as long as all the IQ genes are present in at least some of them, in a few generations natural selection would spread those genes in the population, gradually increasing the average IQ to 100.)

Comment author: Lumifer 21 March 2017 04:26:16PM 3 points [-]

it means that there exists an upper limit to human IQ

I'm pretty sure that that there is an upper limit to the IQ capabilities of a blob of wetware that has to fit inside a skull.

Comment author: philh 21 March 2017 12:36:24PM 1 point [-]

You're also assuming that the genes are independently distributed, which isn't true if intelligent people are more likely to have kids with other intelligent people.

Comment author: MrMind 21 March 2017 08:20:44AM 0 points [-]

Well, yes. You have re-discovered the fact that a binomial distribution resembles, in the limit, a normal distribution.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 21 March 2017 04:33:40AM 0 points [-]

I mean, yes, of course. You might be interested in reading about Stephen Hsu.