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Dispute with professor

Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??
MasterKage
Posts: 1,257
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2/2/2012 5:55:31 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Well, technicality intelligence can be affected by the gene/DNA sequence, but knowledge is not affected by your genes. It just wouldn't make sense, since you gain knowledge. Knowledge isn't pre-gained.
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OberHerr
Posts: 13,062
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2/2/2012 5:56:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I would get some info that it is, and then show it to him.
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Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 5:57:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 5:55:31 PM, MasterKage wrote:
Well, technicality intelligence can be affected by the gene/DNA sequence, but knowledge is not affected by your genes. It just wouldn't make sense, since you gain knowledge. Knowledge isn't pre-gained.

huh where did I say knowledge was affected by your genes?
MasterKage
Posts: 1,257
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2/2/2012 5:57:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 5:57:03 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:55:31 PM, MasterKage wrote:
Well, technicality intelligence can be affected by the gene/DNA sequence, but knowledge is not affected by your genes. It just wouldn't make sense, since you gain knowledge. Knowledge isn't pre-gained.

huh where did I say knowledge was affected by your genes?

You used both knowledge and intelligence, and there both different things.
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Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 5:58:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 5:57:52 PM, MasterKage wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:57:03 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:55:31 PM, MasterKage wrote:
Well, technicality intelligence can be affected by the gene/DNA sequence, but knowledge is not affected by your genes. It just wouldn't make sense, since you gain knowledge. Knowledge isn't pre-gained.

huh where did I say knowledge was affected by your genes?

You used both knowledge and intelligence, and there both different things.

Ya and I explained that they where different things. Please re-read it.
Thaddeus
Posts: 6,985
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2/2/2012 6:35:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??

2 things; Firstly, with the definitions of intelligence that both you and your professor mean, of course you are correct. This is trivial. (except where you attribute Einstein's lack of ability to knowledge - intelligence is not homogenous - a different type of intelligence might be needed for sociology (being better at lying and falsifying results =P) . Of course you didn't say this wasn't the case so you weren't really wrong, but it wasn't just knowledge. This point became a ramble in parentheses. Well an accurate ramble, but sorry anyway.)
Secondly;
Your professor is professor x?!?!?!?! =P
Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 9:52:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 6:35:10 PM, Thaddeus wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??

2 things; Firstly, with the definitions of intelligence that both you and your professor mean, of course you are correct. This is trivial. (except where you attribute Einstein's lack of ability to knowledge - intelligence is not homogenous - a different type of intelligence might be needed for sociology (being better at lying and falsifying results =P) . Of course you didn't say this wasn't the case so you weren't really wrong, but it wasn't just knowledge. This point became a ramble in parentheses. Well an accurate ramble, but sorry anyway.)
Secondly;
Your professor is professor x?!?!?!?! =P

That's why I said you could say there is multiple intelligences (Theory of multiple intelligences). I must have not written very clearly apparently. It's partly because I expect him to have prior knowledge on the discussion I'm speaking of.... I guess.
Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 9:54:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
And he was mostly speaking of the fact that we are intelligent about our society because of our 20 some years living in it. (That was the point I was adressing by calling it knowledge)
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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2/2/2012 10:01:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think it's a stupid idea to go out of your way to challenge something your professor said in the first place unless it's completely out of line. They're grading you and and it can only hurt.
Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 10:03:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 10:01:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I think it's a stupid idea to go out of your way to challenge something your professor said in the first place unless it's completely out of line. They're grading you and and it can only hurt.

It's a discussion type of class. He expects us to participate.
OMGJustinBieber
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2/2/2012 10:08:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 10:03:09 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:01:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I think it's a stupid idea to go out of your way to challenge something your professor said in the first place unless it's completely out of line. They're grading you and and it can only hurt.

It's a discussion type of class. He expects us to participate.

I'm just trying to help out, and there are clearly other ways to participate. Just remember that teachers are still human beings who hold views and genes are still viewed suspiciously in many sociology classes. If it's a choice between making him an ideological nemesis or going along with it I'd choose the latter.
Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 10:11:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 10:08:33 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:03:09 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:01:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I think it's a stupid idea to go out of your way to challenge something your professor said in the first place unless it's completely out of line. They're grading you and and it can only hurt.

It's a discussion type of class. He expects us to participate.

I'm just trying to help out, and there are clearly other ways to participate. Just remember that teachers are still human beings who hold views and genes are still viewed suspiciously in many sociology classes. If it's a choice between making him an ideological nemesis or going along with it I'd choose the latter.

I hear you, it's just he acted as though it was a fact that intelligence isn't influenced by genes what so ever and that it's a social construct. It got under my skin I suppose...
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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2/2/2012 10:29:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??

You may want to more carefully word your claim.

There is no such thing as a trait with is 100% environmental or 100% genetic. That's not how it works. Genotypes can lead to multiple phenotypes, and the "environment" determines which phenotype will be expressed.

We know of many genetic mutations that can lead to deficits in cognitive function. It depends on what you define as "intelligence."

Who is smarter? Someone who can answer at age 15 can answer 100 calculus questions correctly or someone who, at age 15, can survive by themselves in sub-zero temperatures?

"Capacity" is a relative measure. You have capacity in something. You can be capable in cognitive spatial tests and not capable in cognitive reasoning tests. So it isn't quite right to equate "intelligence" with general capacity.
Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/2/2012 10:36:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 10:29:45 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??

You may want to more carefully word your claim.

There is no such thing as a trait with is 100% environmental or 100% genetic. That's not how it works. Genotypes can lead to multiple phenotypes, and the "environment" determines which phenotype will be expressed.

We know of many genetic mutations that can lead to deficits in cognitive function. It depends on what you define as "intelligence."

Who is smarter? Someone who can answer at age 15 can answer 100 calculus questions correctly or someone who, at age 15, can survive by themselves in sub-zero temperatures?

"Capacity" is a relative measure. You have capacity in something. You can be capable in cognitive spatial tests and not capable in cognitive reasoning tests. So it isn't quite right to equate "intelligence" with general capacity.

Does it sound like I was claiming 100%? I by no means mean't to.
Maikuru
Posts: 9,112
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2/3/2012 12:55:08 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 10:01:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I think it's a stupid idea to go out of your way to challenge something your professor said in the first place unless it's completely out of line. They're grading you and and it can only hurt.

This. The topic didn't warrant this kind of special response and the prof won't view it favorably. Throw it out as a point of discussion in class next time and earn some support from your classmates.
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darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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2/3/2012 2:00:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Lee Doren has an interesting book: Only 99 cents for the kindle: "Please Enroll Responsibly: Avoiding Indoctrination at College" about how do deal with liberal professors at college if you are a conservative or even a moderate.
Open borders debate:
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Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/3/2012 11:10:49 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/3/2012 12:55:08 AM, Maikuru wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:01:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I think it's a stupid idea to go out of your way to challenge something your professor said in the first place unless it's completely out of line. They're grading you and and it can only hurt.

This. The topic didn't warrant this kind of special response and the prof won't view it favorably. Throw it out as a point of discussion in class next time and earn some support from your classmates.

Well this was his response: "Thanks, Brain, for your excellent contribution to our discussion on intelligence. I shall share your thoughts with class as well. In case I forget, please remind me in class of your main question about intelligence and how it is linked with genetics. Mainstream Sociology does not see the two interlinked, and I shall explain why. In the meanwhile, keep contributing and keep up the good work! "

Plus I've appoligized and so forth since then.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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2/3/2012 1:23:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/2/2012 10:36:36 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:29:45 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??

You may want to more carefully word your claim.

There is no such thing as a trait with is 100% environmental or 100% genetic. That's not how it works. Genotypes can lead to multiple phenotypes, and the "environment" determines which phenotype will be expressed.

We know of many genetic mutations that can lead to deficits in cognitive function. It depends on what you define as "intelligence."

Who is smarter? Someone who can answer at age 15 can answer 100 calculus questions correctly or someone who, at age 15, can survive by themselves in sub-zero temperatures?

"Capacity" is a relative measure. You have capacity in something. You can be capable in cognitive spatial tests and not capable in cognitive reasoning tests. So it isn't quite right to equate "intelligence" with general capacity.

Does it sound like I was claiming 100%? I by no means mean't to.

I know, I'm saying your TEACHER wasn't claiming necessarily that intelligence is entirely a result of the environment. Homo sapiens cognitive functioning is based on having the DNA which codes for a brain, so there HAS to be some link between genes and functioning.

The question is whether the link is strong enough to explain the resulting variation. Pretend that all genes related to intelligence can be lumped into a group, and we find two variants of this group throughout the population. However, it turns out that the differences in cognitive capacity are just as wide within variants as between variants. That would mean that, even though your intelligence was wired genetically, the environment has such a predominant influence that variation in genes themselves has little effect.
Brain_crazy
Posts: 242
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2/3/2012 1:55:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/3/2012 1:23:27 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:36:36 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
At 2/2/2012 10:29:45 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 2/2/2012 5:52:15 PM, Brain_crazy wrote:
My sociology professor has been arguing to us that genes don't influence intelligence, and that intelligence is a social construct. I find this to be both bizarre and completely wrong. My response was the following:

Dear Professor X,

I should have commented on this in class, but nonetheless, as a psychology student I can't help but feel the need to challenge your outlook on intelligence. You were right to say that Einstein could very well be a great physicist, but may possibly be a lousy social citizen/sociologists. No doubt this is possible, but what you're speaking of more so involves knowledge rather than intelligence. Knowledge is a pool of learned material, while intelligence is normally thought of as the ability or capacity to learn from experience. Now you might say that there are multiple intelligences, perhaps such as mathematical thinking versus say linguistics. (Theory of multiple intelligences) I also agree strongly with you that hard work and perseverance can be crucial elements to success. But to jump to the conclusion that genes don't influence intelligence is bizarre. Is there not a genetic difference involved in the general intelligence between humans and rats? Unless you're willing to say that there isn't, then it is quite obvious that you're admitting that genetics influence intelligence. Is it likely for someone with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome to become a great physicists like Einstein? Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves the answer is certainly no. I understand your point however, that sometimes we can overstate raw natural intelligence and underestimate hard work. This I certainly agree with, but we can't pretend that genes don't influence intelligence.

Thanks for your time,

Thoughts??

You may want to more carefully word your claim.

There is no such thing as a trait with is 100% environmental or 100% genetic. That's not how it works. Genotypes can lead to multiple phenotypes, and the "environment" determines which phenotype will be expressed.

We know of many genetic mutations that can lead to deficits in cognitive function. It depends on what you define as "intelligence."

Who is smarter? Someone who can answer at age 15 can answer 100 calculus questions correctly or someone who, at age 15, can survive by themselves in sub-zero temperatures?

"Capacity" is a relative measure. You have capacity in something. You can be capable in cognitive spatial tests and not capable in cognitive reasoning tests. So it isn't quite right to equate "intelligence" with general capacity.

Does it sound like I was claiming 100%? I by no means mean't to.

I know, I'm saying your TEACHER wasn't claiming necessarily that intelligence is entirely a result of the environment. Homo sapiens cognitive functioning is based on having the DNA which codes for a brain, so there HAS to be some link between genes and functioning.

The question is whether the link is strong enough to explain the resulting variation. Pretend that all genes related to intelligence can be lumped into a group, and we find two variants of this group throughout the population. However, it turns out that the differences in cognitive capacity are just as wide within variants as between variants. That would mean that, even though your intelligence was wired genetically, the environment has such a predominant influence that variation in genes themselves has little effect.

That's not what it sounded like he was saying. But ya I screwed up. Thanks for the input.