Logically yours

in PowerHouseCreatives2 months ago

Since I am pretty interested in skill development and what we can influence, I was listening to a podcast yesterday that looked at how genetics can predict outcomes. Currently, they are at the point where 15% of the differences in school success can be attributed to genetic markers, meaning that a DNA test can give a statistically significant probability rating from birth as to whether someone will do well at the current school curriculum or not.

It really is that some people are built for academic success while others might have their very genetics working against them, no matter how hard they themselves work. It is quite obvious to me that genetics plays a part at a mental level, as much as some people might like to avoid the discussion. Understanding genetic aptitude would give the ability to direct course of study and development based on probabilities - and then we end up in Gattaca.

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Regardless of genetic probabilities however, it might be possible to affect the effects of genetics through a little bit of opportunity, through a little nurture - how much is definitely debatable. There is a difference between what is (for example having a genetic trait) and what could be (feeding or starving that trait through behavior). I used the example the other day with alcoholism - where no matter how dominant the genetic markers for alcohol abuse might be, a person who never drinks will never become an alcoholic.

I am not overly logical and have to work very hard to think through various process - my mind has never been mathematical past the point of basics where I am able to leverage my visual abilities to imagine the scenarios. For me, I have an aptitude (probably genetic) for visualization and it is this that I use in all kinds of problem solving activities - but if I can't imagine it, it is hard for me to grasp a concept. You will notice this in my writing, as I use analogy a lot as it is the way I process information. I don't think I am alone here and most of us built some kind of "visual" representation to build a narrative on concepts.

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I figure that if there is a time where neuroplasticity can be affected through behavioral opportunity, it is in early childhood. My wife and I are relatively interested in education and of course want our child to grow up happy - which means with the opportunity to be her best. We do not really teach her anything, but we do introduce a lot of potential for her to explore. She is largely self-directed in what she chooses to pick up and play with and what we find is that she goes through phases for pretty much everything, with the physical being the focus at one point, language areas and visual another, logic and math another. I don't know if it is her "mood" that directs this, or her mood is directed by some underlying process saying, play with this toy now.

So far, my daughter is a strange little animal when it comes to her areas of interest and she is pretty well skilled across multiple skill sets. Neither I nor her mother are mathematical or logical, but from a very early age, our daughter has exhibited a fair amount of interest in the processes that lay behind results and seems to have an aptitude for formulas. She is inquisitive and curious and likes to explore how things work and put the pieces of the process in order. She also likes playing around with numbers and seems to use her logic for patterns to form her spoken words too - with her language level being above that of a four year old on both the Finnish and English sides.

I find the idea of genetic aptitude interesting (taking away the potential for genetic class dystopia based upon it) as it could be the way that we are able to better fit opportunity to potential. I know many people who have struggled through life (myself included) because they don't fit into whatever average or skill set is valued at any given time. Possibly knowing this early will mean being able to self-direct toward where we are potentially skilled so that we can perform at our best. This doesn't mean societal success, but perhaps in a future where much of what we do today is being automated, perhaps we could live in a world of exploring and empowering human ability, rather than focusing on being human robots learning and performing process tasks that a machine can do better.

I am quite pessimistic that I will see this kind of "utopia" of empowering human performance in my lifetime and I suspect that due to the way humans behave it is far more likely to turn into a genetic caste system - but that is up to us. But, regardless of what that future will be, there will still be skill requirements of some kind and those who will cope the best will be those who can perform the best and flex as they need to the changing environment. And, regardless of genetic aptitude, it is likely better to try for improvement than accept statistical defeat.

In my opinion, trying for the impossible and failing is likely to enjoy a better floor, than accepting it as impossible and giving up before starting.

Irrespective of whether the games we play or what we do affects the outcomes of our daughter's future doesn't matter too much either, as we have a great time doing these things together anyway. We have a family life of active participation, collaboration and support and get to do all kinds of things together in ways that bring out our best in each other. There is value in the process - even if the results aren't what are expected.

Taraz
[ Gen1: Hive ]

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One of the things which I have heard helps develop kids is talking different languages. On top of the opportunities it opens to you, it seems to make you develop some skills in your brain which make you become quite intelligent in other areas. It is similar to playing a musical instrument. I guess the skills you develop when reading music and playing it makes your brain be quite open to many other intellectual tasks.

On top of the opportunities it opens to you, it seems to make you develop some skills in your brain which make you become quite intelligent in other areas.

I think this too - I am guessing it is because each language is a pattern that affects the way we process concepts - having two or more ways to process is kind of like looking at something from several perspectives - but in this case, they are natively in all the positions simultaneously.

I guess the skills you develop when reading music and playing it makes your brain be quite open to many other intellectual tasks.

I think so. I wish I was skilled in music as it seems to leverage multiple brain areas.

I happen to know a bilingual musician and they are indeed a smart cookie!

I am hoping to introduce Smallsteps to playing an instrument earlier rather than later, as she has already expressed musical talent - especially when it comes to singing and making up lyrics

This topic has a long queue to debate, genetic studies are complex universes yet to be discovered, they can contribute a lot about predispositions to certain diseases, but in my opinion, I am more skeptical about certain "predispositions" that correspond more to social contexts, Education is a good example of that, since for a long time they have been very rigid institutions that literally repel those who do not adapt to their structure, largely squandering all the potential that underlies the diversity of characters.

On the other hand, although I have always fled to deterministic explanations and predispositions, based on that maxim of Sartre's Existentialism that says: “existence precedes essence” now that I am a father, I can also observe in my daughter aptitudes and interests marked on certain types of issues, many of which are beyond our range of influence as parents, for which I really think of genuine interests that are also shaping their personality. Will these skills hold onto your genetic information? Are traces of its essence? It could be probable.

As usual, very interesting post! Regards!!

I am more skeptical about certain "predispositions" that correspond more to social contexts,

I agree, which is why I mentioned the "current" system - as this could change. The education system itself is something that I am and have been highly critical of for a very long time.

now that I am a father, I can also observe in my daughter aptitudes and interests marked on certain types of issues, many of which are beyond our range of influence as parents,

Will these skills hold onto your genetic information? Are traces of its essence? It could be probable.

If we look at something like identical twins who's DNA start to diverge from birth - I am guessing that our "environmental exposure" and behavior could affect over time. Some of this could even become heritable later, as there is a correlation for example of obesity from parents to children, if conceived while the parents were fat. I don't know if I explained that well :D

We like to think that we as parents can nurture a better child and this is likely true to some extent, but that extent is still unknown and likely, the genetics play a larger role. For an extreme example, parents who abuse a child could encourage a strength in that child that might not have existed otherwise, whereas the same abuse applied to another child might destroy them psychologically. The difference is likely some kind of genetic predisposition that gives one child an advantage in this terrible situation over the other.

Then, if parents are able to pay attention, identify the interests/strengths of their children and support their development, they can support a high level of predispositioned skill attainment, plus support their child in who they naturally are. Education systems don't give a crap about who children are, they have predifined content and selection criteria because they aren't trying to empower the child, they are trying to fill employment slots.

Thanks for adding your thoughts on this - it is all a fascinating area to investigate and discuss and could lead to some people improving their parenting style for a better outcome for their child - instead of better grades at school.

. The difference is likely some kind of genetic predisposition that gives one child an advantage in this terrible situation over the other.

I understand your point very well with this example, and just the cases of resilience highlight this, I would advocate a mixed response between the biological (genetic) and cultural aspects that after all I do not think they are so separate, and now with the advances in genetic studies will be more interrelated.

Education systems don't give a crap about who children are, they have predifined content and selection criteria because they aren't trying to empower the child, they are trying to fill employment slots.

Totally agree with this! It is probably one of the first problems to be overcome today by humanity.

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Very interesting! I would love to listen to the podcast, if you have time, I would appreciate a link.

Unfortunately, this is a subscription access, so there is only the first half available for free. It should still be interesting though :D

https://samharris.org/podcasts/211-the-nature-of-human-nature/

Oh I see, I will give it a listen, thank you for it!

Lucky kids with so many techs available to tap in and explore with. In a few years time, it will be my turn to worry about all these 😂

Our kid is almost completely analogue and has very limited access to any screens - even when she does watch, she doesn't enjoy the passive activity much and will ask to have it turned off.

No matter how important genetics and predispositions play in our life, the people around us and how we cope with setbacks play a much larger role ...

How is your vacation?

the thing is that how we cope with setbacks is also affected by genetics, as is our relationships with the people around us and environments - it is hard to tease them apart.

I have been back at work for a week - I don't really remember having a vacation at all - but I have a couple weeks coming up in mid-August still.

I like to believe more that even 1% which depends on me (my willpower) will be decisive.

Nice article. I think teaching 2 or more languages from birth give the child a distinct advantage to develop verbally more quickly.
Just my opinion.
But I have no doubt genetics plays a huge role in early childhood development.
Again, just my take on the subject.

We might not be able to affect much as parents, but we can create an environment that is positive for our children and supports their strengths and improve their weaknesses to some degree.

Absolutely agree.

One of the things I've worked out is that everyone is/can be mathematical and logical, just not necessarily in ways we're conditioned to believe are mathematical and logical. But that could be because I don't think not understanding someone's logic automatically makes it illogical XD

I think this too and I think that the "logic" comes from being able to use tools to process. One person might use a different set than another and sill come to the same conclusion.

If AI has anything to do with a genetic caste system arising, it will be short lived. If machines begin to approach human level general AI, it won't stay there for long. After that point, it will be all politics. No human being will be able to create anything commercially valuable except in the realm of arts.

Machines don't need to reach general, each one can stay very narrow and outperform. Humans won't be able to produce much of value - even now :D

It's true that narrow AI can cause quite a dent in human competitiveness. But the majority of the adult population is still gainfully employed even in the most developed countries. Human-level general AI which will quickly evolve to superhuman-level general AI will end that.

Yes, general level will break it all because it will be able to develop itself across all kinds of areas. What will be interesting is just how good something can be developed. The other thing is that we as humans are limited by humanness - but an AI could develop "visibility" that no human would ever think of. Will be interesting to watch - even if it is our species' rapid slide into irrelevance.

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I think that being open and honest about letting smallsteps pick her own path from endless possibilities is the absolute most important factor. Encouraging her choices as choices and not trying to specialize or direct her curiosity is cardinal to her.

Are there genetic biases? Of course. I don't think they have much to do with finding happiness in life, only paths that will be considered.

I'll grant that my personal bias may be because I was adopted and had no direct genetic models to survey. It was until this year that I had a genetic model to compare myself to. A bit late to the party for that.

That said, I now have some people to compare myself to. Both the obvious differences and similarities are worthy of contemplation. In all honesty, I would probably just discard all of the above. Because I have no idea or any sort of a well formed theory about it.

Encouraging her choices as choices and not trying to specialize or direct her curiosity is cardinal to her.

Yep. I don't plan on her being anything like what I might want her to be - she is the master of her own destiny.

It was until this year that I had a genetic model to compare myself to.

Did you find similarities? From the recent studies, genetics plays a far larger role in outcomes of life than the parents.

In all honesty, I would probably just discard all of the above. Because I have no idea or any sort of a well formed theory about it.

The latest Sam Harris podcast concerning genetics is an interesting look at this.

Yes. YES (big yes) I found similarities. Big and little. In my first family I was a little bit of an outlier in my way of thinking (the way I process things, not the way I think) but then, we were all non related and so we were all outliers. There was sameness in our differences, as if that might make any sense. Maybe familiarity is a better word there than sameness.

My brother and I process the world through the same filters. Both very mechanically oriented we settled right into discussion with out having to probe the ground rules first. It was basically the same with my sisters except that they are girls :)

We are leaners. 40% of earth's population is more comfortable leaning on something than standing unsupported. I'm a leaner and so are they. Among a great many other things.

I find it quite fascinating to hear stories like this - I have a couple friends who have done similar after being adopted and they are always surprised at how familiar strangers can be.

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In as much as genes play a role, environment also plays a large role in our outcomes.
I personally feel environment can enable one to be actually better if a person is put in an enabling environment.
Your daughter can do anything if she is put in the right place. She might not be the best at it but with time you will discover what she really like. Just my own view

There is value in the process - even if the results aren't what are expected.

I love this sentence. People should try a lot of things and trust the process.

well I say let the breed best genetic human and there be powerful brainy

that all ass shit because I think I'm not that smart lol dum genetic
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Makes one to wonder about the Tony Factor's and others like him in this world.
An overload of logical reasoning, minimum schooling and yet multi-millionairs.
I wonder what kind of genetic make up they would have.

A good idea that you guys have for smallsteps to develop her own destiny.