Re: how many bastards are there, anyway?

John Varela (
20 Aug 1996 21:04:27 GMT

In <>, catherine yronwode <> writes:
>John Varela wrote:

>> I saw news reports about intelligence being inherited only from the
>> mother. It caused me to wonder how this interacts with the current
>> controversy over whether intelligence can be measured with a single
>> number, such as IQ. If intelligence is found on only one or a few
>> genes, it would seem to support the single-number advocates.
>> I saw no discussion of this question in the press reports, nor did I
>> see any description of how they defined the "intelligence" that is
>> only inherited on the X chromosome. If the definition of intelligence
>> is IQ, and IQ is inherited on only one gene, then to say that
>> "intelligence" is inherited from one gene looks like circular
>> reasoning to me.
>The news ran in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc. At no time
>did anyone (scientists or reporters) claim that there is ONE gene for

I said "one or a few" genes in the first paragraph but elided to "one" in
the second. I think my question is valid whether it's one or a half-dozen

>intelligence. At no time did anyone claim that this affects the
>inheritance of intelligence by WOMEN. One research team claims to have

Yes, they did, as do you yourself, below. The point was made that a
woman's intellegence would have components from both parents, so would
tend more towards average, whereas men would tend more toward extremes.
Another way of saying that is that both sexes would have the same mean
intelligence but men would have a higher standard deviation from the mean.
As I recall, the article explicitly stated that intelligence inherited
only on the X chromosome would explain the long-observed difference in
standard deviations.

>has identified several genes for intelligence and all are located on the
>X chromosome. Thus men would inherit intelligence from the mother only
>but women could inherit from the mother or father or both.

>This is the sort of information that drives some people into raging
>fury, so i will not defend the issue beyond stating that the research
>was published in a peer-reviewed journal and was thereafter accurately
>reported in the popular press. Accretions of misinformation (the
>reduction to "one gene", the idea that women inherit intelligence from
>their mother only) and arguments over whether IQ itesting is a
>reliable/unreliable measure of intelligence are none pf my business.

In any case you missed my point. How did they define the "intelligence"
that they say is inherited on only the X chromosome? Is it IQ? Is it
something else? They didn't say. My guess is they mean IQ.

----- John Varela -----