Twin Discoveries

Twin studies are the foundation of realism in all subjects pertaining to human beings (although their implications are wider). They reveal two crucial pieces of information:
(1) Heredity overwhelms environment in the (rigorous, statistical) explanation of human psychology, and
(2) Humans are massively predisposed to under-emphasize hereditary factors in the folk explanation of human psychology (including their own).

Both points emerge lucidly from Brian Boutwell’s article on twin research in Quillette:

Based on the results of classical twin studies, it just doesn’t appear that parenting — whether mom and dad are permissive or not, read to their kid or not, or whatever else — impacts development as much as we might like to think. Regarding the cross-validation that I mentioned, studies examining identical twins separated at birth and reared apart have repeatedly revealed (in shocking ways) the same thing: these individuals are remarkably similar when in fact they should be utterly different (they have completely different environments, but the same genes). Alternatively, non-biologically related adopted children (who have no genetic commonalities) raised together are utterly dissimilar to each other — despite in many cases having decades of exposure to the same parents and home environments.

Without wanting to play down the importance of the parenting angle, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a rare zone where it remains politically acceptable to bring hereditarian findings to the table. Upsetting parents is still OK, and even vaguely commendable, so it provides a doorway through which to introduce matters of far broader significance. The truly critical point, from the perspective of this blog, is that we should expect a systematic cognitive bias against the influence of heredity and thus — intellectual integrity demands — we should lean against it.

There’s an important lesson here:

Children who are spanked (not abused, but spanked) often experience a host of other problems in life, including psychological maladjustment and behavioral problems. In a study led by my colleague J.C. Barnes, we probed this issue in more detail and found some evidence suggesting that spanking increased the occurrence of overt bad behavior in children. We could have stopped there. Yet, we went one step further and attempted to inspect the genetic influences that were rampant across the measures included in our study. What we found was that much of the association between the two variables (spanking and behavior) was attributable to genetic effects that they had in common. The correlation between spanking and behavior appeared to reflect the presence of shared genetic influences cutting across both traits.

Parents are twin sources of influence. They “pass along two things to their kids: genes and an environment” — which facilitates the misattribution of genetic to environmental factors. If you find yourself regularly spanking your kids, it’s very likely that you’ve genetically-endowed them with the same spank-worthy characteristics you have yourself (because you were spanked as a kid, too, right?). The environmentalist delusion practically leaps out of this situation, pre-packaged for credulous belief.

See original (of both quotes) for references.

(Don’t just read the whole of Boutwell’s article, read the whole of Quillette.)

December 2, 2015admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism

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33 Responses to this entry

  • Twin Discoveries | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 3:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • pyrrhus Says:

    Indeed, if you consult the research amassed on JayMan’s site, it is hard to make a case for nurture at all. Where I differ a little is in my belief, based on working with many children over the years, that the influence of others can make a spiritual difference in children, which is not generally measured.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 4:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    First, it says even if you don’t spank your spank-happy genes, nothing will happen. Spanking causes pain for no outcome at all.

    Second, this is preposterous. I would have thought after psychology and climatology it would start sinking in that scientists aren’t particularly trustworthy.

    Just for instance, “Man, we sent all these kids to Prussian school and they turned out the same even though they had different homes! Weird!” See also: government-endorsed cartels in TV.

    There is a wealth of evidence linking child abuse with all sorts of developmental delays, and Harris fully acknowledges this.

    If you beat your kid so severely even you think they have to be hospitalized, you can just about edge out the damage caused by Prussian school! Confounders? What are those?

    There’s an obvious pro-status-quo message here. Namely, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Pro-status-quo messages get presumption of guilt.

    If anything these studies are evidence that parenting does work. If it didn’t, there would be no incentive to convince you to let ‘society’ raise your kids for you.

    That said, remember the technocratic fact: parents are not expert parents, and couldn’t raise their kids to a target even if they wanted to. The Mozarts and Polgars being the outliers here.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 4:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • James James Says:

    “we should expect a systematic cognitive bias against the influence of heredity”

    Why? Because of natural selection, or political correctness?

    [Reply]

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    Perhaps the environmentalist bias was nature’s way of hard-coding for irrationally-driven parental concern? But then low-key or neglectful parenting would also be genetic, with neglectfulness then passed on to children via both genetics and home environment.

    Bloody hell I don’t know. Non-linearity is hard.

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    csteno Reply:

    Natural selection.

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    admin Reply:

    We’re predisposed to say ‘political correctness’, but realistically probably natural selection.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 4:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • Orthodox Says:

    Suddenly all the stupid stuff that most parents treat as an annoyance, such as condoms on bananas, recycling, global warming and Heather Has Two Mommies, turns into a great concern. The anti-male bias of teachers and the school system goes up several notches in importance.

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    Kgaard Reply:

    Doesn’t the study say the opposite?

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    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    The study showed that what the study shows wasn’t going to make a difference in what readers took the study to be showing.

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    Orthodox Reply:

    The article says peer group matters. It doesn’t say environment doesn’t matter, read between the lines, it only says modern parenting doesn’t matter.

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    nydwracu Reply:

    In other words, modern parenting matters and is not done by the parents.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 5:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Grotesque Body Says:

    “…you’ve genetically-endowed them with the same spank-worthy characteristics you have yourself (because you were spanked as a kid, too, right?).”

    Tanktop-wearing white trash are generally too emotionally precious to countenance this possibility.

    [Reply]

    Rasputin Reply:

    Side question: is the Dark Enlightenment for or against smacking children as a way to inculcate desirable behaviour?

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    Aeroguy Reply:

    Feral < public school < parenting. It's kind of like the role of nutrition with the flynn effect, feed the kid a somewhat balanced diet and have regular contact with a functional society including healthy male female marriage. They'll get the nutrients they need to grow and learn the roles they need to participate in civilization. There's also the ideological junk food the schools gorge them with while the nutritious contact between both father and mother is diminished (how much data do we have about poor outcomes for bastard children). The environmental factor is basically, don't fuck it up for them. Encounters with totems or whatnot in the environment that grant heightened abilities exist only in comic books, not in reality. Novel specialized roles can be learned if the aptitude (a function of genetics and not fucking it up) exists but participation in the catalytic environments for learning alone is insufficient, you can teach a guerrilla sign language (communicating your feelings and complaining are so easy even a guerrilla can do it) but you can't teach them calculus.

    Treating different beings differently based on their aptitude, meaning you can expect to train german shepards to do something without a quota for also including cocker spaniels, or not requiring job opening for dogs, but if we talk human to human, it all changes and any 5 year old is told they can win Olympic gold in anything they want if they work hard enough. Granted it best as individuals to irrationally overestimate your aptitude in order to maximize the chances of doing your personal best possible, but if you're picking teams and want to win then cold discriminating practical assessment is best. Oh it's ok to talk realistically about athletic aptitude and the huge role of genetics (except the military, but I'm told athletic standards don't matter, well they do but the military keeps two different fitness standards for men and women, but double standards are still wrong, unless they promote diversity, and only the correct type of diversity, but double standards to promote mission objectives/performance/morale/well being are still wrong), but we still have to flip out if differences in intellectual aptitude are discussed.

    Racism fucks it up, unless you're Chinese or Jewish, you'd think they'd try to synthesis a vaccine to make intellectual development immune to racism by studying Jews and Asians, but using control groups (compare to races left to their own devices) is racist, which invalidates any scientific attempts at analysis. Unspoilt peoples are like probability functions, and white gaze collapses the function and turns it to shit because observations are racist.

    Here's the mistake we make and I just spent 3 paragraphs indulging it, getting stuck in their frame and arguing with them about how that deer isn't a horse. It's high and low against middle, and the middle is the only group that has people who think the deer might just be a horse. However I suspect that since this game has been in play for so long the true believers are supplanting the instigators.

    My mom likes talking with the Syrian refugees on FB, one of them complained about how they get mixed up with other ethnic groups in their housing and general social status, particularly Somalis. He thought it should be obvious why he should get better treatment than the Somalis and didn't understand why he wasn't. Future conservative (in the American sense of the word) indeed, they know gim-me-dats are wrong unless you point out their own gim-me-dats which are somehow justified. Today's middle/conservative was yesterday's low/liberal.

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    Alrenous Reply:

    how much data do we have about poor outcomes for bastard children

    The research Boutwell is summarizing says bastards don’t have poor outcomes. Rather, the kind of people who give birth to poor-outcome kids tend to do so out of wedlock, but will do so even if they get married first.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 6:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • csteno Says:

    >we should expect a systematic cognitive bias against the influence of heredity

    Only among slaves, Mr. Land, in all their incarnations. Jews and anglo-saxons are particularly relevant examples of slaves thus predisposed.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Without Anglo-Saxons getting in the way of the theory of evolution, just imagine how much faster it would have been developed.

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    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Charles Darwin was black.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 8:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    Did they even do the obv. control and checked the common fscking sense case of bad behav. causing spanking? Bb being potentially genetic.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That’s exactly the point being made, isn’t it?

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    Alrenous Reply:

    They’re saying that the behaviour of badly-behaved adult twin who wasn’t spanked matches the behaviour of the twin who was. And incidentally, they both spank their kids. In other words, spanking is an example of bad adult behaviour.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    … Which is, of course, hereditary — resulting in badly behaved children, who would provoke anyone to spank them. It’s a circuit, why try to break it into bits?

    Alrenous Reply:

    The point of a twin study is they found someone who wasn’t provoked into spanking them, or they’d have no data. For a decent n, it means they found quite a few such people.

    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 8:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Anon. Says:

    What about extreme outliers when it comes to nurture, e.g. Montaigne?

    [Reply]

    nydwracu Reply:

    Can’t pick them up in the statistics.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 9:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dave Says:

    Ironically, you’re likely to turn out better if you believe that intelligence is malleable and good/evil is innate, even if the exact inverse is true. The first belief encourages you to attempt tasks at the edge of your mental abilities, while the second discourages you from dabbling in crime.

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    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Whatever is “true”, I doubt it’s anything resembling such yin-yang dualisms.

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    R. Reply:

    The Yin-Yang dualisms are sold much more easily to us apes.

    SSC has a long series on the ‘growth mindset’, which is what Dave meant.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/08/no-clarity-around-growth-mindset-yet/

    There might be something to it. And there is no reason to tell kids about intelligence being fixed and so on. If they’re smart they’ll figure it out by themselves.

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    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 11:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • S.C. Hickman Says:

    Heredity outshines environment, Theophilus…

    BY what serene malevolence of names
    Had you the gift of yours, Theophilus?
    Not even a smeared young Cyclops at his games
    Would have you long, — and you are one of us.
    Told of your deeds I shudder for your dream  
    And they, no doubt, are few and innocent.
    Meanwhile, I marvel; for in you, it seems,
    Heredity outshines environment.

    What lingering bit of Belial, unforeseen,
    Survives and amplifies itself in you?  
    What manner of devilry has ever been
    That your obliquity may never do?
    Humility befits a father’s eyes,
    But not a friend of us would have him weep.
    Admiring everything that lives and dies, 
    Theophilus, we like you best asleep.
    Sleep — sleep; and let us find another man
    To lend another name less hazardous:
    Caligula, maybe, or Caliban, Or Cain,
    — but surely not Theophilus.  

    – Edwin ArlingtonRobinson .

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 2nd, 2015 at 11:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    this article did not say anything new and from practical point quite useless. there is different children and at different time in their development they may need different treatment. Chanakya Pandit parenting formula for example suggest – treat child as a king before 4 year (tried myself, that was a hell of 4 years), use stick before 14, after be a friend. minor correction, for modern kids it is enough to show them a stick, but big mistake would be to play a friend early. because later when they really need a friend, there will be non and friendship will be over.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 3rd, 2015 at 2:09 am Reply | Quote
  • 1 – Twin Discoveries - Exploding Ads Says:

    […] Read more here: http://www.xenosystems.net/twin-discoveries/ […]

    Posted on December 5th, 2015 at 4:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2015/12/09 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] Heredity matters, parents, not as much. Read the original article. Related: The Quillette. A new online mag, that’s somewhat DE adjacent. […]

    Posted on December 9th, 2015 at 6:42 am Reply | Quote

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