Gangs as Civic Institutions

I haven’t been following the news much lately, but I’ve caught snippets of what is going on in the Baltimore riots. Interestingly, the only video I’ve watched about it is the interview with the gang members, both Crips and Bloods, who called a truce.

The interviewer ended the piece with the question, “Is that not a very different perspective that you have ever heard?”

What she leaves out is the fact that the reason most Americans don’t hear other perspectives is because interviews like this rarely happen on the mainstream media. Instead, mainstream reporters tend to only report what officials tell them. In this case, the police officials made false statements that the truce was called so the gangs could work together to kill cops.

I’m one of the atypical Americans who is mostly informed by alternative media and who is fairly well read about American history. So, to answer her question: No, it is not surprising to me.

Gangs have been calling truces since gangs have existed, and they often do so for political reasons. Gangs are just one of the many expressions of humans social nature, and they even can at times take form as civic institutions and repositories of social capital. They even act as employers for those who have few, if any, good job opportunities.

I must admit there was a time not too many years ago when I had a more simplistic understanding of many things. It has required massive self-(re-)education to understand American society. Because of my studies of history, I was able to recognize what this video represented. I’d seen a similar thing when doing research on the KKK in the early 20th century, a far more violent time than right now (when street gangs first became dominant) and yet the KKK was never only or even primarily about violence.

I would argue such organizations, including gangs, aren’t really about violence. The gangs in this country aren’t necessarily any more violent than the police. I’ve pointed out that for many communities gangs act in the role of militias where the police have failed to maintain order or, worse, where police have become part of the problem in destroying lives, families, and the social fabric.

Italians a century ago found themselves in an antagonistic relationship to the dominant WASP culture. Immigrants brought with them the Black Hand (origins of the Mafia), which was equal parts gang and civic institution. The Black Hand defended Italian communities and maintained cultural social standards, but they also kept other violent forces at bay, including that of bigoted police who targeted ethnic immigrants. Don’t forget that Italians once were sometimes called the ‘N’ word.

As a society, we need to think more carefully about the human instinct for social order. Humans want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of place and community. Humans want to feel safe and secure, to feel they have some control over their lives. If the dominant society acts in a destructive way toward this natural impulse, it does no one any good.

* * * *

Articles of interest:

Crips, Bloods Call Truce, Not to Harm Cops But to Protect their Community from Violence & Looting
by John Vibes, Free Thought Project .com

However, their promise to no longer be divided, was such a threat to the establishment that within 12 hours there were stories on the home page of every mainstream media publication talking about how the gangs were going to join up with the specific intention of killing cops and burning down the city.

Each of the mainstream sources had basically republished a press release that was put out by the Baltimore City Police Department, citing that there was a “credible threat” that gang members were planning to carry out attacks on police. There was no evidence to back this claim up, but the very fact that rival gangs were calling a truce in the streets was enough to drive the establishment into panic mode.

This should tell you something. The establishment wants people divided, and they fear other armed and organized groups providing their own communities with defense, effectively challenging the state’s monopoly on violence.

One thing that is often forgotten is that many of today’s street gangs have roots in activist groups that sought to provide protection for communities that were being ignored or oppressed by police. These groups became less organized over the years, lost their way and turned to corruption. However, this truce could be a positive sign that these groups are returning to their roots and becoming more concerned with protecting their communities.

by John Hagedorn,

In major U.S. cities, gangs were strongly influenced by revolutionary and civil-rights organizations. The ideologies of groups such as the Black Panther Party, the Brown Berets, and the Young Lords Organization attracted many youths away from the gangs. Many of these political groups in fact began as gangs and aimed their recruiting efforts at the children of the street. Federal agencies used COINTELPRO, an FBI operation aimed at disrupting political organizations, and other tactics to provoke violence between gangs and revolutionary organizations. Rivalry between gangs and political groups was balanced by negotiations between them, and gangs joined many movement demonstrations.

Gangs also initiated community service agencies, started local businesses, and got federal grants for education and job training. The Conservative Vice Lord Nation, for example, a Chicago gang that came into existence in the 1950s, began multiple social programs and businesses in the 1960s.

But the 1960s ended in a flurry of violence, both from the streets and the police. Revolutionary organizations such as the Black Panther Party were smashed, and the social programs run by gangs ended when they lost funding. Thousands of gang members and political activists were incarcerated. While repression crushed the political groups, gangs persisted and maintained ties to the streets even from prison. Jacobs’ (1977) seminal study of Stateville, a notorious maximum-security prison in Illinois, demonstrated how prison life was now linked back to the community through the gangs.

Gangs joined with revolutionary and Black Muslim groups in demanding better conditions in prison. Many gangs adopted religious doctrines and rituals, which some said were a cover for gang activities and others saw as a genuine response to oppression. Gangs controlled the cellblocks with violence and superior organization, and many also maintained their hold over the organization on the street. But in the 1970s and 1980s, when many gang leaders were released from prison, the neighborhoods were even more rundown than when they left them. The sociologist William Julius Wilson vividly described the impact of de-industrialization on the black community. Far from withering away, ghettos persisted, and their conditions had deteriorated.

* * * *

Previous blog posts:

Substance Control is Social Control

And on the issue of poverty and unemployment, I explained an insight I had in my post Working Hard, But For What?:

These people believe in the American Dream and try to live it best they can, under almost impossible conditions. They aren’t asking for handouts. They are solving their own problems, even when those problems are forced on them by the larger society.

Take gangs, for example. Most gangs are what white people would call militias. When the police fail in their job, gangs do the job for them. If you are a black who is targeted by the police and everyone you know is targeted by the police, you’ll organize in order to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighborhood.

That is how community forms when all of the outside world is against you, when life is difficult and desperate, where daily living is a fight for survival. When there are no jobs available, poor minorities make their own jobs. When there are no police to protect them, poor minorities police themselves. When the larger society is against them, they make their own communities.

There is a strength that comes from adversity. This was demonstrated by ethnic immigrants in the past, such as the close-knit bootlegging community of German-Americans in Templeton, Iowa. People who have had histories of disadvantage and/or oppression sometimes learn amazing skills of social adaptation and survival. They develop forms of social capital that those more privileged lack.

The Fight For Freedom Is the Fight To Exist: Independence and Interdependence

The most powerful weapon against oppression is community. This is attested to by the separate fates of a Templetonian like Joe Irlbeck and big city mobster like Al Capone. “Just as Al Capone had Eliot Ness, Templeton’s bootleggers had as their own enemy a respected Prohibition agent from the adjacent county named Benjamin Franklin Wilson. Wilson was ardent in his fight against alcohol, and he chased Irlbeck for over a decade. But Irlbeck was not Capone, and Templeton would not be ruled by violence like Chicago” (Kindle Locations 7-9). What ruled Templeton was most definitely not violence. Instead, it was a culture of trust. That is a weapon more powerful than all of Al Capone’s hired guns.

What the mob forgot was that the Mafia began as a civic organization, the Black Hand. It was at times violent, as was the KKK, but most of what these civic organizations did was community work. They defended their communities and cultures, their traditions and customs. The Germans had their Bund, which served a similar purpose. Hispanics also have a history of forming tight-knit communities that will defend themselves.

African-Americans, however, have a tougher road to travel. Their unique African ethnic culture, language, and religion was annihalated by slavery. Even Native Americans fared better on this account. The social capital of African-Americans was intentionally destroyed. It has been an uphill battle for them to rebuild it, against all odds. They don’t even have the privilege of a jury of their peers, for the police targeting of blacks and the racial bias in the courts has disenfranchized so many of them from the opportunity of jury service. Many blacks find themselves before a jury of white people and, unlike the Templetonians, they have little hope of being saved from the jaws of injustice.

Ku Klux Klan and the Lost Generation

I told my dad that the KKK was basically the conservatives of their day and he agreed with me. Some months earlier, I had told him the exact same thing and he probably thought I was being unfair and mean. To most people, making a comparison to the KKK is about the same as making a comparison to Nazis.

We have a hard time seeing things for what they are or were. We put things into the context of our own time and judge them accordingly. That is problematic with something like the KKK which is easy to caricature and criticize with straw-man arguments. Most Klan members weren’t violent people who spent their every free moment thinking about how to oppress others. If anything is scary about the KKK, it is that completely normal people belonged to it and most of the time they did completely normal activities. They were good citizens, devoted husbands, loving fathers, and practicing Christians.

The KKK wasn’t necessarily all that different from any other number of civic organizations from that time. The Second KKK was even modeled on many of those other organizations:

“In an era without Social Security or widely available life insurance, men joined fraternal organizations such as the Elks or the Woodmen of the World to provide for their families in case they died or were unable to work. The founder of the new Klan, William J. Simmons, was a member of twelve different fraternal organizations. He recruited for the Klan with his chest covered with fraternal badges, and consciously modeled the Klan after fraternal organizations.
“Klan organizers, called “Kleagles”, signed up hundreds of new members, who paid initiation fees and received KKK costumes in return. The organizer kept half the money and sent the rest to state or national officials. When the organizer was done with an area, he organized a huge rally, often with burning crosses, and perhaps presented a Bible to a local Protestant preacher. He left town with the money collected. The local units operated like many fraternal organizations and occasionally brought in speakers.”

Those civic organizations have interesting histories. The KKK was created partly in response to new immigrants, but many fraternal and community organizations were created by and for new immigrants. The Germans were well known for their organizations that were a thorn in the side of those who wanted to force the non-English to assimilate. The Germans, until WWII, had more or less successfully resisted assimilation and the KKK didn’t like that. These ethnic and/or populist civic organizations, German and otherwise, were sometimes closely tied to labor organizing, another thing the KKK would have not appreciated.

Interestingly, the Second KKK arose at the same time and for the same reasons fascist movements arose in Germany and Italy. In the US, Germans formed the German American Bund which supported Nazi Germany before WWII. Like the KKK, the Bund formed large marches in cities where Germans were concentrated. Fascism was in the air. The characteristics of fascism included reactionary populism, social conservatism, folk religiosity, patriotic nationalism, ethnocentric nativism, etc. Despite their differences, the KKK and the Bund were expressions of the same basic shift within society at that time.

These organizations weren’t evil incarnate. They were simply people trying to bring order back to what felt like the chaos of a changing society.

887 thoughts on “Gangs as Civic Institutions

    • Many things have been cut from education. That is because fiscal conservatism has come to dominate politics. It’s all about cutting funds to public services. This has nothing to do with attacking the ‘gifted’ kids. Even programs for other kids have been cut.

      From what I’ve heard, funding has been cut to music and art classes, to clubs and other extracurricular activities, and much else. My best friend in high school used to take classes in welding and small engine repair, as he was never academically inclined (although he did end up going to college), but I’ve heard many of those classes have been taken away.

      The entire education system has been redirected toward standardized testing. Education for all children has been narrowed down. It’s not as if the whole world revolves around gifted-obsessed parents and their children.

  1. She put “smarter” in italics. Whyyyyy

    If you are one who believes our gifted children already have more than enough, and that educational funds and a teacher’s time is better spent teaching to the middle and focused on students who are underachieving or have special needs, what if I told you that gifted children often themselves underachieve in school likely due to the double yellow lines that bind them? Did you know that gifted children also have special needs? Many gifted children have learning disabilities and are on the autism spectrum which require accommodations. And yet, they are still forced to stay behind.
    Let me ask you this: If your child was an average student who most often brought home B’s and C’s on his report card and you learned that your child’s teacher was focusing most of her time and energy on the many failing children in your child’s class, would you be upset? If you knew your child, who was bringing home B’s and C’s, really could be making A’s and B’s if given the chance, what would you do? If you knew your child was capable of learning more and moving ahead faster than the majority of his classmates who were learning at a slower pace, would you allow him to sit everyday in class and wait until his classmates caught up? If your child came home bored, frustrated and upset with school for holding him back, would you tell him it was okay because he was better off than his classmates because he was smarter than most of them?
    Every child needs an appropriate learning environment. Every child deserves a challenging education. NO child deserves to be kept behind and each child deserves to get ahead at his own pace—especially the gifted children who have been stuck in the no passing zone for far too long.

    • I suppose here’s a cultural difference. Japanese emphasize perfectiomc not “understanding.” My teachers graded all or nothing, partial credit isn’t a thing. So the bored gifted kid getting C’s because he’s too smart wouldn’t fly. It’s not enough to understand. You have to get it precise and perfect. Down to the detail.

  2. Well these may have been your advocates in grade school. :/

    As for the no passing zone, I think people are too stressy and time strapped anyway and people would be better off taking public transportation.

    “Many of the students who were left behind during the last decade of NCLB were our gifted children. Standardized test scores have shown that gifted and high-achieving students demonstrated less year-to-year progress than their lower-achieving peers under NCLB. During NCLB, many states drastically cut spending for gifted education because NCLB lacked the provisions, directives and earmarked funds for the education of gifted students. 2
    No Child Left Behind was not the sole contributor to inadequate gifted education in the U. S.
    Even before No Child Left Behind, gifted children, both in and out of school, were stigmatized. Whether due to the envy of a child who is seemingly smarter and better off than most, the misunderstanding of what giftedness really is, or both, gifted children suffered from a lack of an appropriate education and from the negative attitudes towards giftedness in society.
    The stereotypical gifted child is one who the vast majority of people believe is smarter than most children, excels in school, is socially and emotionally mature and also well-behaved. Given this stereotype and the widespread belief in it, many in society, as well as our legislators who supported NCLB, and the states and school systems who continue to cut gifted programs, all felt that gifted children already had enough academic advantages making it unnecessary to mandate, fund and implement an appropriately challenging and accelerated education for gifted children.
    The predominant sentiment—they already have more, why do they need more?—is a huge detriment to gifted education. When state and school system budgets need trimming, the first programs to be axed are the programs for gifted children leaving them to languish in regular classrooms.
    Have you ever been stuck in a No Passing Zone with a slow-moving car in front of you? With your destination as your focus, you are anxious to get there as soon as possible. You wait for a chance to pass the slow-moving car in front of you, the double yellow lines no longer keeping you from passing, you edge out a bit only to see your chance to pass curtailed as the double yellow lines appear again. You move back in behind the slow-moving car.
    Do you remember how it felt when you repeatedly attempted to pass, only to find yourself in the No Passing Zone again and again? The frustration at not getting to your destination sooner, not being able to go faster than the car in front of you, and you trying repeatedly but failing to get ahead of the slow-moving car—it was upsetting, anxiety-inducing and angering, right? It may have even made you lose your cool.
    Those double yellow lines exist everyday in the regular classroom for our gifted children stuck in the No Passing Zone.

    Since NCLB was enacted, high-achieving and gifted students have been short-changed, receiving a less-than-challenging education. Even with strong advocacy on the parts of parents and teachers, states and school systems continued to provide less and less for gifted students.
    Why? My guess would be because those legislators casting votes to cut funding to programs for gifted and high-achieving students never understood or believed that gifted education is indeed very necessary—the they already have more, why do they need more? sentiment at work. Gifted education is considered expendable, not necessary, an enviable advantage for the already advantaged.
    Our high-achievers and gifted children are stuck, unable to pass ahead of the regular classroom, and prevented from accelerating their learning. These children have been held back and left behind, the double yellow lines tying them to a frustratingly slower pace.
    If you are one who believes our gifted children already have more than enough, and that educational funds and a teacher’s time is better spent teaching to the middle and focused on students who are underachieving or have special needs, what if I told you that gifted children often themselves underachieve in school likely due to the double yellow lines that bind them? Did you know that gifted children also have special needs? Many gifted children have learning disabilities and are on the autism spectrum which require accommodations. And yet, they are still forced to stay behind.”

  3. So… I agree. That all-encompassing term “gifted” is useless and meaningless.

    As for the gifted kids improving at slower paces than everyone else at standardized testing, paired with her statement many gifted kids have autism and other special needs…

    This is example of the uselessness of “gifted” term. I can’t account for all kids in terms of why the blessed by god kids are progressing slower on tests, but of these kids have special needs like autism that may be holding them back, it dosent make sense to lump all this into one “gifted” label. It sounds like these are merely disabled kids with normal or above normal intelligence, that is what I’d call them frankly. The answer for them dosent seem to be “the gifted program” as much as special ed with an aide to help them.

    These kids might take classes in their strength above their grade level with an aide if needed.

    I knew an autistic girl with normal/above normal intellgence. She was in special ed and had a aide with her in classes appropriate for her. So se basically took regular class bit with an aide.

  4. Well spoken from a White man’s perspective but there are many pieces missing. (And I am not surprised). I am an African American who has lived many years in The Philippines, Thailand, Japan and spent several months in China and in Mongolia.

    I know that White people are viewed by Asians as the persons who “have the wealth.” One Thai person put it to me this way: “The Thai people are not racist, we just ‘prefer’ white skin.” Asians really have not evolved to the point of understanding racism as Americans do. It is a relatively new concept.

    I was called the N-Word by a Thai passerby, but was the “way” he said it that told me that some White American or European taught him the hateful expression. What connection can a Thai who has never been to America make with such a word? None.

    Skin whitener products are big business in Thailand and in Japan. Thai women avoid exposure to the sun like a plague. Dark-skinned Thai do not get the “good jobs” that involve exposure with the public – especially – with visiting foreigners. You do not see dark-skinned Thai airline stewardesses, bank tellers, etc.

    Driving from any one of the two Thai airports you will see billboards of White European or American models. The few advertisements you see along the roads that have Thai models in them, their skin is so bleached White, they look White.

    Black people are not preferred. If no Black people lived in Thailand, it would be OK with most Thais. Unless, you have money.

    Money is everything to Thais because they need it to take care of their families. If you happen to be Black and you have money, “What’s love got to do with it” as one Thai lady told me.

    A White friend of mine (pale skinned guy from Australia) was walking down a village road when a elderly Thai woman sitting with her daughter or grand daughter yelled out to my white friend – who they did not know – to “give daughter baby.” In other words, they wanted him to have sex with the young woman to make her pregnant.

    In Thailand, light-skinned children are a prize and hold much value in the Thai family. They are a goldmine for the family because that child – when it grows up – will have privileges a darker skinned Thai child will never have.

    Thai parents are desperate for English speaking foreigners to teach their children English. They will give you all they have if you tutor them … if you are the right color.

    I am a teacher by profession. But Thai parents will not allow Black persons – no matter what your credentials – teach their Children. They want a Farang – a White person to teach them.

    I was at one of Thailand very popular 5-star hotels awaiting my turn to serviced. I was next in line. Yet, a White couple showed up with their bags in tow and instead of looking at me and saying, “May I help you” the hotel check-in clerk bypassed me as if I was not there and addressed the White couple. But here is the thing: The White couple did not have the decency or courtesy to say, “He was here before us.”

    In Thailand and in Japan, White-skin is “preferred.” But when all of the layers are peeled back, it is really White people worship.

    What readers have been given by Mr. Henderson is a White mans perspective and that is all. I am not saying that what he is saying is all in error. I am saying a lot is missing.

    The things in the world cannot always be told all the time through the eyes of a White person.

    foreigners are not just white R Jerome Harris
    a year ago

  5. Alpha Asian on December 26, 2009 at 5:56 pm said:
    But, do you think that colonization has taken a greater toll (psychologically) among the Asian peoples, than it has elsewhere? And if so, why?

    Who knows? One could argue that European colonialism has taken a greater toll psychologically on Africans and African Americans, since their connection to their African heritage has been broken by slavery. At least Asians can refer to the history of their ancestral countries and point out their cultural legacies.

    But I will say that Asians are psychologically more malleable than other peoples, because our ancestral cultures stress conformity and assimilation. Obviously, this is a gross generalization, but Asians tend to accommodate and yield to white privilege.

    Byron’s right: what’s the point of having greater numbers and greater economic influence if the people from our ancestral lands are still mentally colonized?

    anna123 on December 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm said:
    This is sad but true.But theres more to the truth.

    A few weeks ago over lunch I spoke to a friend. Hes a PRC mainlander, educated, intelligent and middleclass. He has his MBA and his own successful small business(and his only 25).

    As we were eating, an tall, sort of goodlooking(for a white person) white male walked past with his equally tall and but not so good looking Asian girlfriend.

    Suddenly he turns and askes me “Do you think white people are the best?”. Taken aback, I asked “”What do you mean?””. Hes never asked me anything like that before, in fact we never speak about anything of this nature, not IR, not racism, not discrimination, not politics. usually weve just spoken about business or social things. He replied;

    Steve: Do you believe theres an order?
    Anna123: Like what?
    Steve: Like white people at the top, then Chinese, then Black people at the bottom.

    Anna123: Who told you this? who have you been speaking to? where did this come from? (I was still so suprised that he suddenly started speaking like this-after 3 years of friendship, hes NEVER spoken like this to me before, about anything of this kind of thing)

    Steve: Do you?
    Anna123: No. Everyones equal.
    Steve: Theres a famous scientist that said that White people are the most advanced people. Chinese are second, and Blacks are last.
    Anna123: Is he white? He sounds like a white person.
    Steve: Yes
    Anna123: See?! hes white! what do you expect him to say??!, Of COURSE HES GOING TO SAY WHITES ARE THE BEST!!
    Steve: So you dont believe?
    Anna123: No. Dont tell me you believe in this that shit.
    Steve: Yes, I believe.
    Anna123: Why? hes lying, its not true. Seriously, he might be a scientist but he making it all up. Hes probably racist against Asians and Blacks. Why you believe?

    Steve: Because they are the richest and most powerful countries.
    Anna123: So when China becomes the most richest and powerful country in the world, then what will you think?

    Steve: Then Chinese will be at the top.

    Somewhat relieved that he based the concept of superiority on material wealth(and not on inherent genetics) but still somewhat disturbed by the whole conversation, I let the subject drop. We havent spoken about this kind of thing again, partly because it was awkward and i dont know what to say to him, and partly because he sees nothing wrong with it.

    Later I found out that the “”scientist”” he had heard about was the “”social scientist”” Steve Sailor from the “”Human Biodiversity Institute””

    (Like I thought, the guy IS white, and he IS biased against Asians and Blacks. And Latinos. And gay people. And Immigrants.)

    Lisa Reed Guarnero on December 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm said:
    In regards to Asian people taking “a greater toll (psychologically)” than others globally, I don’t think this is true. I think all who are colonized are affected negatively. There are times the human spirit will show how incredible it can be by defying physics in regards to overcoming environmental conditions. But generally, most that face extreme adversity are going to be negatively affected by it.

    I think we are more critical about ourselves (or own race, gender, family, etc) than anyone else. So I think that perceptually, we can think Asians are more malleable than others, but I don’t think this is necessarily true either.

    As far as taking on racial order in regards to superiority, this is definitely taking on European racist views. Asians wrapping themselves in material wealth and status in order to feel better about themselves, and for others to view them as successful, is just as prevalent as anyone else who has been able to blaze a path to gain access to these things. The unfortunate thing is that I feel people are losing their humanity in trying to “arrive”. What the almighty dollar is able to attain for one’s self and family is breaking us into more isolation and competition. This is where the tactic of divide and conquer becomes the easiest to achieve.

    This plays right into what Byron’s blog is about…Why are European models replacing Chinese models to begin with? It’s all about the almighty dollar and the perception of “success”. It’s sadly become the Holy Grail.

    Between history (colonization, Christianity and early renaissance art, and effective marketing, the Europeans have worked their way into many societies; hence their psyche.

    – See more at:

  6. Leon on December 27, 2009 at 1:26 am said:
    Maybe it’s just plain human nature. Everyone loves a winner and throughout modern history, white Europeans and Americans have been the winners militarily, economically, and socially. Ask yourself what kind of people you’re attracted to: the powerful and successful or the weak and impotent? Nobody aspires to be a failure. Nobody picks losers to be role models. And people, being such wonderful stereotyping creatures, will associate other people with the success (and failures) of their communities, and their countries.

    One of the effects of modernization is measuring human development in a linear time line. This places societies into something similar to a footrace of “progress”, tallying everything like material wealth, military power, social freedom, cultural influence, etc., and ranking them accordingly. Practically every country that modernizes joins this race. And if you’re in 1st place in any competition, you get the prestige and respect of those around you. Those who are behind will try to emulate and achieve the same success. Because they sure as hell don’t want to be like the guy in last place.

    Leon on December 27, 2009 at 1:37 am said:
    I want to add to my above comments: as a result of such a race, whites have the clear honor of being in first place because their societies are ahead of everyone in terms of global power and influence. As a result, they have clout all over the world. It’s not just the Chinese wanting to be white (and having an inferiority complex). Blacks, Latinos, South Asians, every other non-white have a similar inferiority complex. Look at the media from around the world. Look at the lightness of skin color of their supermodels and actors compared to the rest of the population.

    I say that everyone else, not just the Chinese, live under the shadow of white western hegemony. So I don’t buy that Asians are particularly more “malleable”. That’s just internalized racism at work. That’s looking for external reasons to justify your own lack of self-esteem.

    – See more at:

    • I’ve never thought that democracy is a Western invention and possession. I sometimes doubt that the US even has much of a democracy. If I had one piece of advice to the Chinese, it would be to beware of those who come bearing empty rhetoric of freedom, liberty, or whatever bullshit. People all over the world should demand that their political leaders live up to the actual principles of democracy. There is no such thing as Western freedom or Chinese freedom. Either you are free or you aren’t. But still freedom can take many forms.

  7. So an hdd’er decided to spam the comments section

    Violent crime can be traced back to the 2-repeat allele of the maoa gene. Fifteen percent (15.0%) of African Americans carry that gene. That’s more than all other genogroups. White Americans have a 0.097% carry rate. Asian Americans v have a 0.00047% carry rate.
    Source, before anyone asks for it-
    Why is talking about a group of people predisposition to violence inherently racist when there is genetic science to back up the statement? 15% is huge compared to the other groups which gives below 1%. This leftwing love for science and disdain for science that disproves their PC huggy “were all the same” ideology is astounding. They blame the vague “system” and other contrived red herrings when science doesn’t fit the agenda. But we’re not talking about black folks here as they have nothing to do with this incident in any capacity.
    Point with this little spiel of mine is youre trying to force an opinion by using guilt and manipulation. Try again.

    • This kind of racist so much wants others to believe he isn’t a complete anti-intellectual ignroamus. To try to prove his intellectual worth, such a person will point to (and often misrepresent) one piece of data (that usually doesn’t even support their beliefs) while ignoring 99 other basic facts.

    • I thought of something that is related. Southern California in the 1800s already had a larger population of Southerners. Of course, all the way back then the South was already well known for its traditions of violence and vigilante ‘justice’.

  8. For those interested in digging deeper into the historic roots of anti-Chinese sentiment in America, please take a look at Iris Chang’s 2004 book entitled, The Chinese In America.

    I find that much of this historic animosity persists in American society today. The rise of Communist China further complicates the Western view on China by adding a further layer of threat and insecurity. There are many subtle innuendos and undertones in Western media reporting that reinforce negative stereotypes and these are largely accepted without question.

    • I find it strange that what goes for conservatism in the US is so lacking in actual conservative values. It’s just as strange that liberals end up defending conservative positions on the public good.

      American conservaives are so obsessed with a radically liberalized capitalist faith that it trumps all else. This faith is a rather distorted liberal vision at that, based as it is in the regressive views of Social Darwinism from 19th century classical liberalism. Whatever it is, there is nothing socially conservative and traditional about it.

  9. I got a top 1-2% sat math score, but I fucking studied. Does that make me not count?

    I think we do a disservice by emphasizing innate genius so much. A stem major is definateky more a function of work ethic and interest than innate aptitude. Trust me, I’m in college and I know people.

    Funny, my average sat classmates are all doig better than me. I dropped of of stem and my gpa sits in the toilet. See?

  10. I’ve read studies that found South Korea is actually the most similar country to USA

    I moved from Korea to the US when I was 13 so I didn’t experience the real hagwon hell but I’ve watched friends and family go through it. I remember one of them getting praised for using up an entire ball point pen in one day. Think about it, taking notes, writing things out, over and over, so much that you use up a ball point pen in a single day… I probably used up maybe 4 pens in my entire life, and in the span of maybe months if not years. I’d lose them before I get close to using them up.
    But think about all the really smart people who do not choose to fully utilize their intellect. There’s really no stigma about that in the US. If some guy who can get mostly A’s without studying doesn’t study hard to get all A+’s, no one really criticizes him. That guy might just coast through high school and then crash and burn in college not because he was dumb but because his studying habits were inadequate to the demands of college and beyond. Sure, some of them straighten out and really excel, but many do not. But what if the culture and expectation didn’t allow for anyone to slack off? What if getting mostly A’s was unacceptable, especially if he was capable of much better?
    I don’t really want to defend it, and it’s still a very flawed system. But that kind of obsessive focus does have an effect of sending a small group of very highly intelligent and driven people to the top. The rest of them just go through the grinder and get spat out, however.

  11. The mere bright kids so well. The truly gifted kids usually suck at school?

    I once taught a girl who was so fluent in English we were going over the US electoral college system from a US college textbook, and she was in elementary school. One day I asked her what she learned in English class in school, and she said “I learned ‘Hello! How are you? My name is Helen.'” To be fair though, she’d probably ace whatever subject she’s studying. Girl was wicked smaht. The Korean education system definitely allows someone who can succeed to do so, but it doesn’t guarantee success for everyone.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]tomatocurry1 31 points 13 hours ago
    The bad part is, it also kills the potentially successful people.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]mexicanlizards 44 points 13 hours ago
    That’s true. I had another girl who named herself Melon. She was a middle school kid in one of the lower classes I taught. Obviously she wasn’t succeeding at her studies, but man, she was amazing. Incredibly creative in a culture where creativity is stifled to an insane degree. She was super positive and would make up random songs for the class, always fun and had a good time, but that whole studying all day thing just wasn’t her bag. I think she’ll be alright because she was just so damn clever, but there’s plenty like her who won’t ever discover that part of themselves.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]dnnysn 13 points 12 hours ago
    Yeah I know what you mean, There’s definitely outlets for creativity though which is great. Its just odd the weird hypocrisy behind the conservative culture yet k-pop is essentially k-porn, porn is blocked yet its everywhere in public, cosmetic surgery and cosmetics are number one, image is key, children idolise some k-pop star yet he/she is probably being abused anyway. What a world
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]AmericantDildont 10 points 8 hours ago
    The Korean women I worked with told me that they would be fired if they didn’t put on makeup and dresses everyday. They had to be cute. If they did not look cute, they would be considered lazy.
    I work in a different part of Asia now, but still looking “cute” gets a teacher much further. My students evaluations of my classes are full of comments like: “I like it when the teacher looks cute,” “I like the teacher’s dresses,” and “The teacher should smile more because I like her smile.” I get better reviews when I look good. My teaching abilities do not even get mentioned most of the time. Many base their reviews on my looks and I can get fired for bad reviews. This is at a university at well. :/

  12. [–]moonshoeslol 9 points 12 hours ago*
    That’s because if you have the most money you can afford the best care. Meanwhile a large percentage of the population is left in the dust not going to the doctor for something easily treatable because they have a 6,000$ deductible. In other countries you have the peace of mind knowing that there’s no possibility of your insurance suddenly fucking you over or hiking your rates. We spend double our % GDP of every other industrialized nation on healthcare due to a bloated broken system….It does work really good if you’re rich though.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]du44 -3 points 12 hours ago
    Not even rich, just upper middle class. Which most people reach. Obviously our healthcare system is flawed for people 18-30 but most of the population has worked long enough and can afford it. On top of that so many people in the 18-30 bracket are living far outside their means and aren’t able to pay for medical bills because of that. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who makes 60k annually and then got a loan so they could buy a 90k Mercedes.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]moonshoeslol 2 points 12 hours ago
    OECD says median income for the US is 31,000$. Also the regular high deductible plans through the exchanges are just bad for public health. You are forcing people to pay out of pocket for any small procedure or checkup, so they don’t go, which makes little problems become big problems. That’s still aside from the fact that our system is the most horribly cost inefficient one on the planet. Personally I had to stop going to physical therapy for my broken femur, which set back my recovery big time because I just couldn’t afford it.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]du44 -2 points 12 hours ago
    That’s strange, the US Census Bureau says that it’s $51,939. Tack onto it that high percentages of people get insurance from their work, and that depending on where you live in the US 52k is still enough to live on and buy your own insurance I would still say most people don’t have problems with their healthcare. Although I totally agree that our healthcare system is horribly cost inefficient.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply

    • I agree with the article. It doesn’t matter what most people claim to believe. People will always give different answers, depending on whether it is a mere hypothetical or an actual possibility. No parent, if given the option, is going to willingly choose to have a child with low intelligence.

      An interest factor is this may not play out as the neoreactionaries would prefer. Take even present IQ gains. They are primarily seen among minorities and the poor, most especially poor minorities. It’s easier to change the factors that improve IQ at the low end than at the high end. What if the same pattern is found with genetics?

      Those demographics at the low end might see immense cognitive advancement from simple changes in genetics, along with changes in epigenetics and so-called junk DNA. On the other hand, it might prove quite difficult to further improve cognitive development of those demographics that already have a high average IQ.

      Changes in environment (better nutrition, decreased toxicity exposure, etc) plus genetics and such could magnify the improvements on the low end like never seen before. Already the present average black IQ is higher than the average white IQ of the past. The black IQ is increasing faster than the white IQ. One more nudge and the entire racial gap could disappear.

      Eugenics could undermine the entire racial and class order that has been built on and maintained by keeping stupid those on the bottom. This is because the very understanding of eugenics has changed. It was thought in the past that the only way to eliminate ‘bad’ genes was to eliminate the people who carried them, but now we can simply change those genes directly.

      Could you imagine a future where the average IQ of all demographics was higher than the present high IQ? I can easily imagine that. The greatest fear of some people isn’t that such things can’t be improved, but what would happen if they were improved. It would disrupt the entire social order. A highly intelligent population wouldn’t put up with a lot of the bullshit the present cognitively impaired population tolerates in their ignorant state of low intellectual functioning.

      One thing that correlates with higher IQ is higher creative thinking, which means imagining other possibilities. A higher IQ population would be less prone to think in terms of genetic determinism and cultural fatalism. The more that things change the more people will be able to see what can be changed. That has been the story of civilization, changes exponentially leading to ever greater changes.

  13. This was the argument on Brave New World novel in “Why don’t you make everyone alpha?”‘ Instead it was a caste system where everyone was content to be in their caste and no one wanted to change.

    For instance, maybe if a society provides such enhancement for 20 percent of the population, it won’t be able to resist providing it for 100 percent — and then maybe a society in which everyone is very smart will be a society in which certain jobs that need to get done will be frustrating for smart people, in ways that are socially damaging.

    • Advances in cognitive development are likely to correspond to advances in science, technology, manufacturing, and economics. A highly intelligent society would operate in ways we couldn’t imagine with our present inferior intellectual ability.

      Even the smartest humans right now are impaired by the system they are part of. It’s a rare visionary genius who can glimpse a radically alternative possibility. It is an even more rare revolutionary who perceives the practical implementations that could upend the status quo and force something new to develop.

  14. That said, I’m pretty sick of people like him always pointing to non-western societies in a “looK! They do it! only the pussy west has problems with it.”It is a similar argument to the one NR’s like to make “LooK! Only the west likes (insert leftist evil)”‘

  15. Anyway, I don’t know the answer, I just don’t think there’s any nobleness in preserving today’s genetic crapshoot at all costs. Perhaps we can even make genetics mute: we can alter abilities of people already living, genetics or not. maybe even altering genetics of already existing people.

    The ethnic groups with the highest and lowest IQ scores in the USA also have the highest and lowest respective incidence of Aspergers. The biggest technical challenge wouldn’t be to increase future children’s IQ scores. Rather the challenge is to increase IQ in ways that don’t increase the incidence of autism spectrum disorder. What we tendentiously call “IQ tests” are completely mind-blind. They are designed both by and for Asperger-ish hyper-systematizers. IQ tests lack ecological validity, not least because they omit testing the “mind-reading” prowess and capacity for co-operative problem-solving that helped drive the evolution of distinctively human intelligence. This isn’t an argument for conserving today’s genetic crapshoot, just for thinking hard about the ramifications of our choices.

    • I am one of those that maintains the fact that cognitive development, intelligence, and higher thinking (along with creativity and imagination) are complex abilities. We don’t fully understand most of this. And for damn sure our present tests don’t measure most of it either.

      Plus, the kinds and aspects of intelligence that our present society favors and depends upon may not be the same for future societies. Consider the elite of the Roman Empire. If you placed them in the modern world, they would be lost and confused, lacking the cognitive capacity to deal with the complexities that even stupid modern people are used to dealing with. Similarly, what we consider to be a genius in our society may not be all that impressive to a future society with different demands and requirements for functioning well.

    • I’ve come across that before.

      I’m surprised to even find scientists with such simplistic views of genetics. It’s unlikely that single genes are going to explain much of anything, besides a few rare genetic diseases, but even in those cases single genes may not indicate as much as has been assumed.

      Some scientists believe that reality is or should be as simple as the tools we have to study reality. Since we are only so far able to easily study single genes, that is where all answers are sought. It’s the scenario of having a hammer and seeing everything as being a nail.

      The reality is no gene operates in isolation from other genes, much less in isolation from junk DNA, epigenetics, and environmental factors. If we want to be honest, they all are environmental factors because all of evolution is a product of environments. Even genes are simply an integral part of the environment. We are creatures embedded in environments.

      Trying to understand humans by studying genes is like trying to figure out how a sweater is made by pulling on threads until it unravels and then cutting up those threads into little bits. A pile of separate thread bits will not a sweater make. Genes are to the environment in the way that the thread bits are to the sweater.

      The entire nature vs nurture mentality is a false dichotomy.

  16. i agree with this article. but one thing to point out is that there are different kinds of intelligence. evolutionary biologist david sloan wilson has correctly pointed out that utility is distributed throughout groups of people in such a way that individuals do not often get the big picture. when my mother saw her children trying to boss each other around she would say, “too many chiefs and not enough indians.” while it may require a world class jerk to produce the iphone that doesn’t mean we should all be world class jerks. if ‘intelligence’ means anything it means intelligent enough to know that ’survival of the fittest’ really means survival of those who fit in. and it takes all different kinds of people to make the world go round.
    7/14/2015 4:54 PM EDT
    “one thing to point out is that there are different kinds of intelligence. ”

    Excellent point. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of genes that promote life success. And they interact with one another in ways we cannot predict. That’s why so many successful people produce unsuccessful children and vice-versa.

    Figuring out the ideal combination would be difficult. Even then circumstances change, and a completely different random combination would be better.

    • This is why so much HBD thought is simplistic and silly. The view of genetics many people hold are inanely simpleminded.

      If we go down the path of genetic engineering and we more than likely will do so, no doubt there will be much experimentation and unforeseen consequences along the way. The learning curve will be immense, but hopefully no irreparable damage will be done to the species.

      We could end up with not only geniuses but also people with unfortunate and perplexing conditions, physical and cognitive. It may or may not be a better world, but could be possibly quite strange. I know all the odd people in the world who would love to genetically modify themselves in ways that others might find unappealing.

      Just look what people already do to themselves. Tatoos, piercings, body modifications, sex changes, plastic surgery, botox injections, and on and on. Give people the ability to go straight to the genetic level and the fun will truly begin.

  17. Probably another factor driving the inevitability of this type of genetic engineering is that, ironically, medical ethics may demand that the field be pursued.

    Using the author’s example, let’s say that genetic pre-screening reveals to a soon-to-be mom that the fetus has a defect that will leave it handicapped with a I.Q. of 50, and let’s also say that by this time science has reached the point where manipulation of the genome offers a cure that would make that child “normal”. Obviously, the mother will not only want but absolutely demand to have it. But the same science contained within the cure may also offer the possibility of making her child more than simply “normal”; it could also make her child a super-genius, which it is equally obvious she’d pursue if she can obtain it.

    “Normal” is an ambiguous definition and probably not one that any parent would be satisfied with, and the same metaphor could be extended beyond simple raw intelligence to every aspect of human physiology. When the line between curing disease and engineering super beings is blurred, then the ethical dilemma becomes acute.

    • At some point, genetically-engineered humans will likely be considered normal. We take many things as normal today that those in the past would have considered bizarre or even plain wrong. No doubt changes going into the future will be at least as drastic.

  18. No one thinks being retarded is desirable.

    “‘When we have the capability to raise our children’s IQs through genetic manipulation, no doubt we will be able to improve other characteristics as well. I expect some people will choose to have children with higher IQ while others will choose a different balance that they think will make their children more successful in life. (It’s not actually that much different than the current system except that the decision is more conscious and the result is more predictable.) I hope that most successful people would have sense enough to leave well enough alone and allow their genes to continue to succeed the old-fashioned way. There is just no way to know what unintended consequences there are for the individual child even if we know that statistically children with higher IQs are more likely to succeed.

    Another thought, if your children aren’t successful after your modifications, would they be able to sue you? Would society develop laws making you more responsible for the actions of your offspring if you were more involved in determining their personality traits?
    Jennifer Bonin
    7/14/2015 3:40 PM EDT
    I doubt most parents would really care enough to take risks to bump their average-intelligence child up a notch. But I know for certain that LOTS of parents would do all kinds of things to be sure that any child they had didn’t end up severely retarded.

    Frankly, I see this article as focusing on the wrong facet of the issue. Parents are first going to push to eliminate the “bad things” before they worry about adding “good things”.”

  19. LMAO. I thought ”gifted” people tend to be nothing special in the end though? That;s what the gifted industrial complex always tells me.

    “‘On it’s face, sure, bump everyone’s intelligence up a few notches. What’s the big deal? The problem I see is that intelligence is so hard to measure as it is, how would we even know what to improve upon? And even then, does having measurably higher intelligence necessarily mean anything? Not every scientist at NASA has an IQ of 130. Nor every successful lawyer, businessman or world leader. Similarly, not every person with an IQ of 130 is necessarily successful. And then add in that so much of a person’s success in life, or lack thereof, comes from the environment they were raised (nature vs nurture, Outliers, etc.)

    In the end, I’m sure genetic modification will be a thing, but practically speaking, I see it more to prevent diseases and improve health, not to create a perfect person.
    Hvor er mine bukser?
    7/14/2015 3:34 PM EDT [Edited]
    > intelligence is so hard to measure as it is

    No, it’s not. It’s pretty easy. People just want to believe otherwise because it can be psychologically, politically, and socially useful to do so.

    > Not every scientist at NASA has an IQ of 130. Nor every successful lawyer, businessman or world leader. Similarly, not every person with an IQ of 130 is necessarily successful.

    So what?

    > Similarly, not every person with an IQ of 130 is necessarily successful.

    Again, so what? You’re just saying things, but you’re not making an argument.

    Higher intelligence is positively correlated with just about every good life outcome there is. That doesn’t mean that every intelligent person does better than every unintelligent person. But it does mean that intelligent people face better odds.
    7/14/2015 3:40 PM EDT
    Universities seem satisfied to measure intelligence with the SATs, and they are generally predictive.

    We don’t like to admit it, but we can measure intelligence.

    There is a general correlation with success.
    7/14/2015 3:55 PM EDT
    The ‘so what’ is that intelligence is (sometimes) the means to an end, but not an end in and of itself. If we’re talking about it in the context of international competition, it might not mean anything to have a whole lot more high-IQ individuals. Is the problem with robotics or nanotech that we’re not smart enough, or there aren’t enough smart people working on it? I’m not sure I’d agree with that.

    Higher intelligence is correlated with good outcomes, but so is being tall. And attractive. And coming from a rich family. And having nurturing parents who read to you.
    7/14/2015 4:09 PM EDT
    > Higher intelligence is correlated with good outcomes, but so is being tall. And attractive. And coming from a rich family. And having nurturing parents who read to you.

    None of which are mutually exclusive, and other than height isn’t really genetic anyway.

  20. Since when is havng kids completely unselfish? Having kids is selfish in the truest sense of the word! It is merely our drive to perpetuate our own selves aka genes. How more selfish can you get?

    “‘The final step in the comodification of human beings and their gametes.

    Chlildren exist completely for the gratification of adults.

    IVF for everyone, and we can even improve on that if you’re willing to pay.

    Married, single, gay, it’s what I’m entitled to and it doesn’t matter what the cost.

    And by the way I want the latest designer baby to go with my Iphone 6S!
    7/14/2015 4:00 PM EDT
    If I’m right that being smarter is generally better for the child, then an adult’s spending money to make the child is smarter is not “completely for the gratification of adults” — any more than an adult’s spending money to educate the child better is not “completely for the gratification of adults.”

    This having been said, adults do indeed view their children’s successes as reflecting well on the parents. That’s been true for millennia, as best I can tell. Little in life is done for purely unselfish reasons. (Indeed, if we expected something to be done for purely unselfish reasons, it wouldn’t get done as often.) So adults will probably increase their children’s intelligence both because they love their children and want the children to be smart for the children’s sakes and because smart children improve the parents’ social standing (or just the parents’ enjoying the perception that they are producing descendants who will be successful). But again, that’s little different, I think, from parents’ motivations throughout the ages when it comes to investment in children’s education, vocational training, trust funds, or many other things.
    7/14/2015 5:02 PM EDT
    What you say may be true, but it still smacks of comodification of human life. The downfall of our consumer/success oriented way of thinking is turning even having children into a consumer activity. We are not just screening for disease and disability, but designing in traits to satisfy adult longings. That is consumerism run wild.

  21. I would like a world with a niginificantly narrowed bell curve, actualy. No yes, I would not mind if everyone was smarter, and there were less people at the tail ends, essentially people are similarly smart.

    I suppose I’m not a diversity person. Only because face it, not all is desired equally.”In some instances I also support a radical altering of human nature. Current one is too dysfunctional.

    ”However competitive anyone is, the already-intelligent stand to lose the most if high intelligence becomes a readily available choice for everyone. To the extent that higher intelligence is an advantage compared to lower intelligence (whatever those are; the notion of “g” is nothing if not controversial) then that advantage is what the more-intelligent stand to lose. They would have to be pretty stupid to let that happen.
    7/14/2015 3:07 PM EDT
    Yes, don’t forget that every time a baby is born with a higher IQ than you, it causes your IQ to go down.

    Seriously though, I’d like the world a lot better if everyone were smarter. The world is not a zero-sum game.”

  22. LMAO

    See the work of Lubinski et al regarding children in their early teens who scored in the top 1 in 10,000 on their SAT tests. Their accomplishments are astonishing.

    Click to access PsychScience2006.pdf

    Moreover, previous studies have shown that about 60% of ones IQ is determined by genetics. See the 16 Feb, 2001 issue of Science Magazine reporting the sequence of the human genome in the article by McGuffin, et al.(Towards Behavioral Genomics).
    Science 16 February 2001:
    Vol. 291 no. 5507 pp. 1232-1249
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1057264

    • Why do so few people understand that heritability percentages aren’t the same thing as genetic determinism percentages? It doesn’t mean what people think it means. Environmental factors aren’t being separated out. It’s just saying how many factors are estimated to be shared within a measured group. Some of that is about genetics, but not all of it is. There is no way to determine the amount of genetic influence directly from heritability percentages.

  23. I want to imagine a post-scarcity society. Most current schools of thought still operate within certain boxes. Even ”liberal” thought only operates with current boxes as an assumed adversary, really

    Its a very difficult situation. I think a more ethical compromise would be to only allow genetic modifications on consenting adults and try to make it as effective as babymodding to decrease the attractiveness of the latter option. But this may only prove to be a stopgap as even the adults are eventually forced into it due to rising competitive pressure. I suppose we can hope that a postscarcity economy and the presumed benevolence of the new genemodded overlords will make this a moot issue or that people can put in the same amount of effort on global laws against abuse of genemodding as the did with CP laws.

    • There is also the more than likely possibility that in the relatively near future (within a few generations?) there will be a single global government or some form of highly integrated international governance. The trend of civilization has been larger and larger governments with larger and larger territories. There is no evidence that this trend will stop or reverse.

      On a practical level, this would mean a single set of laws and regulations that would apply to all of the human population. The results of that could go in many directions. Genetic engineering could be highly controlled and limited, maybe following some major tragedies that harmed an entire generation. Or maybe a new ruling elite would prohibit the masses from having access to it. Then again, an authoritarian government might mandate genetic engineering on everyone, and that would be an interesting experiment.

      Future governments will be powerful, not just in terms of military, but in all aspects, most especially in the application of science and technology. It’s the kind of power that is hard for us to imagine. And when we do imagine it, we have a hard time imagining it turning out well. But emerging realities have been known to regularly disprove our limited imaginings.

  24. Lot’s of scifi has wrestled with this stuff, usually painting this in a bad light. I wonder if i could amek scifi that shows this in a favorable light. Sci-fi tends to paint the thought of these types fo advancements as something scary and bad.

    • The human mind seems to naturally see the negative possibilities easier than the positive. Pessimism always precedes optimism. In practical terms, this means a generation that fears an idea will have to retire or die before a new generation comes along that is willing and able to embrace a vision of hope and an openness to change.

      There also seems to be a cycle to such things, and we’re presently in a phase of gloom and doom. People eventually get burned out on all the fear-mongering, but it takes time.

  25. I hope the 3D printers can make me a tamed pet gray squirrel. that is all

    Who can make straight what God has made crooked?”

    Years ago during a debate on genetic manipulation and 3D printed then grown human body parts the way forward became clear. Any company that can first grow viable replacements or find a way to manipulate DNA in the womb or before the onset of puberty of achieving a larger penis will have all the funding it needs for research for the next 100 years. Making us smarter is a noble goal, but giving people who can spend something they want/need is going to have to come first.

    Do remember these barriers that you would have to overcome first though: incredibly high IQ’s can easily be unscientifically linked to behavioral problems and mental illness. Try convincing Johnny Public that his future star QB isn’t gonna be a dweeb. What’s the rate of folks with a college degree in the US again?

    And while I think it might be possible, I can’t imagine how the laws around such modification would begin to be written by the “professional politicians” we have working for us in DC.

    Ahhh…. even if it were possible I’m already imagining what the next “you did (vaccinations) to my child and now they (autism) moment will be.

  26. Eh. I knew of a very high iq, brilliant, person, though he was also severely autistic and unable to live on his own. Still, I see that as seperate, surely his iq is desirable even if his autism isnt

    “Indeed, there are actually people who are considerably more intelligent than average walking amongst us even today. By all accounts, they are often happy, and even occasionally socially tolerated.”

    We tolerate you today, but keep rubbing it in and we’re not making any promises.
    7/14/2015 1:17 PM EDT
    In other words, a race to the bottom. Or to the top?

    I suppose that people will want to increase their children’s IQ. But even raw intellect is hardly enough to succeed or to advance a nation with respect to the economy or even technology. A robust and accessible educational system, the ability to swiftly allocate resources to the right companies and projects, among other things, are all required for a vibrant national life.

    My point being simply this: intelligence is important, yes, and IQ is a somewhat helpful psychometric (I guess). But I would think that before the middle and lower classes clamor for equal access to genetic modification, they may still be clamoring for equal access to education and other oppotunities that already separate the haves from the have-nots.
    Engineer Dad
    7/15/2015 11:51 AM EDT
    “But I would think that before the middle and lower classes clamor for equal access to genetic modification, they may still be clamoring for equal access to education and other opportunities that already separate the haves from the have-nots.”

    Yeah, and Abraham Lincoln did his sums by the light of a fireplace on the back of a shovel.

    Yet, it was Lincoln’s genetic gifts that made him self educated and gave him a love of life long learning.

    Some of his neighbors and family members thought for a time that he was lazy for all his “reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, writing Poetry, etc.”, and must have done it to avoid manual labor.

    His formal schooling from several itinerant teachers was intermittent, the aggregate of which may have amounted to less than a year; however, he was an avid reader and retained a lifelong interest in learning.

  27. I am sure I would loev to enhance my kid’s itelligence, though I would try not to put expectations on him. I
    d rather live a laid back life and raise him laid back, perhaps with a love of learning, rather than a competition for achievement.

    While I agree with this post, I don’t even think international competition would be necessary to make intelligence-enhancement acceptable. Right now the possibility of intelligence-enhancement is so far down the road, that it’s natural to envision it as completely alien and creepy. But if we were able to develop intelligence-enhancement, it would surely be after a longer line of more “mild” genetic changes, first to prevent serious genetic defects in babies, then to fix things like allergies or vision, and eventually things like autism or ADHD. By the time we could enhance intelligence, I would think we would already have gone down a “slippery slope” to make it seem like a perfectly natural thing to do.

    • That is how it would happen. It’s a slippery slope. Step by step, it would lead in a direction few would openly admit to wanting. Not much in large-scale social development happens because of a planned agenda. It’s just lots of little decisions that add up to larger shifts.

  28. Ïf you are intelligent you probably wont be poor”is absolutely fucking BS. Even with the “‘averages not individuals’taken into account. the rest of the second part of the comment is ok though.

    I don’t like GMO’s though. Only because Amerian produce tastes like such shit. Granted I don’t know wy food in america’s tastes so much worse than in other places, but GMO might be one. Seriously. Produce in America is disgusting.

    ”I think Prof. Volokh’s thesis- that practical realities will overwhelm objections- is entirely right, for all the reasons you describe. Especially if rival countries pursue this aggressively, disapproval in the US will dissolve, quickly. Today there are still demonstrations against “genetically modified crops” (partly, these are cover for protectionist policies) but they don’t have nearly as much support as they did years ago, nor are they given the same credibility by the media that they once were. As the technology becomes more familiar, people calm down about it.

    I’m 100% certain my wife and I would have done this for our children, assuming the technology was safe, even if it were illegal here and I had to travel to a foreign country. That said, I think intelligence is hardly the end-all determinant of success. If you’re highly intelligent you’ll probably never be poor, but the same is true of most above-average people. Real success comes down to personality, organization and work ethic, along with some degree of luck.

    • That wasn’t surprising. I wouldn’t expect the kids would be all that different. It’s like the German children of Black American GIs. They were no different than any other German children. Genes are complex, in relation to other genes and to all the rest, from epigenetics to environment. Genetic determinists are living in a fantasyland, and a rather dystopian one at that. So much for the white super race.

  29. nyet

    And that sort of works. If you and your mate share some above-average desirable characteristic – smart, attractive, athletic, and so on – then your kids will likely share that same trait. But odds are, less so than you or your mate. Regression to the mean. One nice thing, though, is that this also works for far-from-average undesirable traits as well. Especially dumb people tend to have children smarter than themselves.
    7/14/2015 1:22 PM EDT
    “People already modify outcomes by selecting mates with qualities (including intelligence) that they want to see in their children. ”

    Huh? I don’t want kids with low standards.
    7/14/2015 11:15 AM EDT [Edited]
    As a purely rational matter, this sort of science-driven, international “race to the top” of the IQ scale makes sense to me — perhaps triggered, as you said, by some unsavory Chinese or Russian scientists with Faustian ambitions.

    On the other hand, I would also rationally expect some country worldwide to already be strongly promoting childbirth among its brightest citizens, in order to heighten the national IQ for purposes of international competitiveness. Instead, we find that all advanced countries are reasonably content with a situation where IQ is inversely related to fertility rates.

    The taboos about eugenics, Nazis and the like make it easy to ignore an invisible and hard-to-explain issue like declining genetic IQ. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if some band of activists managed to persuade the U.N. to shut down this line of scientific inquiry for a long time, based on some combination of trumped-up health-and-safety concerns and newly invented “human rights” that are somehow being violated.

  30. A version of the monoamine oxidase-A gene has been popularly referred to as the warrior gene.[17] Several different versions of the gene are found in different individuals, although a functional gene is present in most humans (with the exception of a few individuals with Brunner syndrome).[18] In the variant, the allele associated with behavioural traits is shorter (30 bases) and may produce less MAO-A enzyme.[19] This gene variation is in a regulatory promoter region about 1000 bases from the start of the region that encodes the MAO-A enzyme.

    The frequency distribution of variants of the MAO-A gene differs between ethnic groups.[19][20] 59% of Black men, 54% of Chinese men, 56% of Maori men, and 34% of Caucasian men carry the 3R allele. 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men carry the 2R allele.[6][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

    A connection between a version of the monoamine oxidase A gene (3R) and several types of antisocial behavior has been found. Maltreated children with genes causing high levels of MAO-A were less likely to develop antisocial behavior.[28] Low MAO-A activity in combination with abuse experienced during childhood results in an increased risk of aggressive behaviour as an adult.[29] High testosterone, maternal tobacco smoking during pregnancy, poor material living standards, dropping out of school, and low IQ can also trigger violent behavior in men with the low-activity alleles (which are overwhelmingly the 3R allele).[30][31] Even in the absence of such interaction factors, the 3R allele has a small main effect on aggression and antisocial behavior, according to a large meta-analysis, which found no significant publication bias.[32]

    In individuals with the low activity MAO-A gene, when faced with social exclusion or ostracism showed higher levels of aggression than individuals with the high activity MAO-A gene.[33] Low activity MAO-A could significantly predict aggressive behaviour in a high provocation situation, but was less associated with aggression in a low provocation situation. Individuals with the low activity variant of the MAO-A gene were just as likely as participants with the high activity variant to retaliate when the loss was small. However, they were more likely to retaliate and with greater force when the loss was large.[34]

    “Monoamine oxidases (MAOs) are enzymes that are involved in the breakdown of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and are, therefore, capable of influencing feelings, mood, and behaviour of individuals”.[35] According to this, if there was a mutation to the gene that is involved in the process of promoting or inhibiting MAO enzymes, it could affect a person’s personality or behaviour and could therefore make them more prone to aggression. A deficiency in the MAO-A gene has shown higher levels of aggression in males, which could further stimulate more research into this controversial topic. “A deficiency in monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) has been shown to be associated with aggressive behaviour in men of a Dutch family”.[36]

    • So, I guess that means most Chinese men are more warrior-like than white men. BTW I’m curious about a related issue. Have they found the non-warrior gene that causes white men to more often commit genocide and other forms of mass violence and oppression?

      I know that one racial difference in violence is that blacks are more likely to kill a single person and whites are more likely to kill multiple people. I assume that this being genetically determined and that white people simply can’t help themselves when they go on shooting rampages, start wars of aggression, and drop nuclear bombs on cities. It would be interesting to find the exact gene to explain this.

  31. 3. As a child of two worlds, and though tempered by how much you personally identify with either, you invariably identify with both. You can identify with all of the good you see in either, but you’ll also be embarrassed by the bad in either or, more accurately, the instances, examples, or people that are bad in either. You’ll resent both sides for their often negative and indulgent generalizations about the other and you’ll find yourself torn between some measure of begrudging agreement but also some measure of legitimate offense. You’ll identify with both but always feel like you don’t quite identify fully with either.

    There are too many things to cover them all, but being an Asian-American in Asia is fundamentally not that different from being an Asian-American in America. You are inherently a hybrid who will always be different. Granted, America is in many places more multicultural whereas most of Asia is fairly homogeneous, but there is a dominant “race” and “culture” in either place. Like it or not, it’s yellow people and yellow culture in Asia and white people and white culture in the Americas. You might find more “tolerance” in America but you might find more fawning, worship, or general positive receptivity to Americans in Asia, both for historical reasons that can’t be changed. America has and continues to deal with the frictions of multiculturalism, while much of Asia are still willing consumers of American pop culture and idealism. However different you’ll be, you’ll still be human and if you can focus on that, see everyone through that lens, insistently, you’ll probably be happier and more successful in your interactions with other people, in both Asia and America, or anywhere else.

    • On a less extreme level, I often feel conflict between my Midwestern and Southern experiences and inheritance/ancestry. The Midwest is part of the North as the dominant culture, with the Civil War defeat of the South. Most of my family came from the South, including slave owners, but I’m more of a Northerner. It is the North that shapes and defines the American experience of multiculturalism and the melting pot.

      I find myself going back and forth between feeling defensive and criticizing various aspects of my social identity. Having spent a significant number of years in the South, I still can see the Midwest from an outsider perspective. There is a different experience to having spent one’s early life split between two culturally distinct regions. If I hadn’t spent so many years in the South, I wouldn’t even have the sense of how distinct the two are.

    • I’ve seen that article before. I just now read it again. According to that, I’m not all that American in some ways. I don’t mind silence at all. My best friend and I will hang out together and not talk, as we are both introverts who love to contemplate and read. I probably would adjust quite easily to life in Finland. I definitely would be fine with dropping the American friendliness routine. Working in customer service, I get tired of the meaningless greetings and chit chat.

  32. I love my town *facepalm*

    I think they all need to go back to there own fucking country’s … make a nice future in there own country … and i do not like Muslims at all … they would be the first I would get rid of … beheaded… you know if we would go into any of there country’s we would not be welcomed … we would not get schooling … we would not get anything for free … but these fucks come into the good old USA and get everything they need …

  33. My mum struggles with mental colonization, white/western worship, inferiority complex, and it is something I’ve consequently had to grapple with myself. “The world hates Chijese people, everyone hates and looks down at us cause we chinese” paired with “Chinese evil and bad china bad west is good America good.” That ultimately has an inferiority complex and blow to self confidence stemmed from colonialism.

    I try to take a more balanced view on things. Neither china or America are merely good or bad.

    “It is interesting to note that there have been several eugenics programs, some even in the U.S. as late as the early to mid 20th century, which focused on the forced sterilization of the individuals seen as mentally handicapped (many with conditions like depression and treatable behavior problems). In Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, those with cognitive and emotional conditions were sent to death camps or euthanized in sanitariums. The fact that these conditions were not wiped out, or even reduced significantly, shows that genetic abnormalities are not as understood as we would like to think.”

    • It is hard for me to imagine someone feeling inferior for being Chinese. It’s one of the oldest and greatest of civilizations. It is presently one of the leading global powers. Few nationalities can claim any such thing. I can understand a Chinese person in a Western country having issues with being treated as a minority, but that is a separate issue.

      The eugenics point is a good one. I do think eugenics could work if a society was determined enough, but it would be a difficult thing to achieve. It would require generations of systematic population control measures. So far, all attempts at eugenics have been either short term or haphazard. Yet one might think that these attempts would show at least some minor results.

      • My mom in hindsight parroted a lot of common western sentiment. Chinese are creative, evil animal abusers, people abusers, evil, wimpy, don’t stand up for themselves, animal abusers, human abusers, corrupt, cheaters, napoleon complex, bad manners, unrefined etc etc etc. Also everyone hates you and looks down on you cause your Chinese. My mmo taught me that all the neighboring Asians like Koreans, etc look down on Chinese, and the southeast asians like Malays hate Chinese, and of course in America you face racism for being Chinese. So I was raised in a clusterfuck of everyoene not liking your Chinese-ness. And sort of implicit that this was justified because. Of course I never heard the reverse and it goes in many directions as well.

        Western media isn’t really flattering towards China. At best though Western Media is paternalistic. Though in China and much of the world whiteness is worshipped, so it dosen’t quite go both ways symmetrically at least. White privilege is very much real even in the non-white world.

      • But what about the Chinese individuals who spend their entire lives in China? I’m sure they likely feel great pride in their country and culture. I doubt the average Chinese citizen feels inferior to Westerners and other Asians. Also, in China, do people really worship whiteness more than their own identity of being Chinese and Asian? If that is true, I’d find that strange.

        The Chinese population is immensely large, and so their shared identity is a force to be reckoned with. I’d bet that most people of Chinese ancestry still live in China. I doubt that the ethnic Chinese who choose to leave China (along with their children, grandchildren, etc) represent the experience of the average ethnic Chinese living in China.

        Maybe I’m wrong. I guess I always assumed that the Chinese were no less proud than any other citizens of powerful nations. Considering how ancient and influential their civilization is, I’d think they have more reason to be proud.

        • I think they are, though like a alot of asia there is a love/hate relationship with westerners, white worship. Brands want white models in order to sell as high class, though this might be changing, I am not sure. Whites are in demand just to tand outside and rep something. Either way, whiteness is definately valued above darker hues, so a white foreigner would probably be treated better than a darker foreigner by some. It’s complicated.

          I do enjoy seeing more Asian faces though recently. Not because of anything against white people, but this is in context of white pedastalization and internalization of white standards of beauty.

          I’m sure my mum is not representative of Chinese people, LOL.

        • I like Chinese people, but westerners, at least, among white anglophone men expats, the dickheads scream pretty loudly. Racist douche bags who look down on the locals and frankly, have a neo-colonial attitude. Generally speaking any article on Chinese people will come with comments on how Chinese are uncivilized and savages, though.

          As for me I don’t mind that some Chinese can be brash by western standards. (loud talking, shoving.) Some of the stuff is just cultural (expressing emotions very publicly, as seen on the MH370 kerfuffle.) The spit on sidewalk thing isn’t unique to China. Of course any of these will be met with “‘uncivilized chinese savages blahblahblah” it’s idiotic. As well as free insert-territory-here and how evil China is. The current system sucks, but the cynic in me thinks these people don’t actually care about oppression as much as they want to feel smug and superior

        • Anyway anti-Chinese sentiment runs a pretty wide geographic area. A lot of asia (southeast asia) and USA for one. Though I’m sure its not unique for a place to be hated so widely, but it does get jarring. I’m sure im more sensitive to it as an ethnic chinese.

          As of now Japan probably has the highest ”status” in Asia followed by the Asian tigers. Japan also has issues with being disliked in Asia, but overall it seems Japan is more respected. In my own reality China just isn’t that respected by a lot of people.

          I always wondered if China turned western-style democracy how the USA would react LOL. Would they try to make it a puppet state a bit like their neo-colonial attitude towards Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, even Japan? I am not sure. I wonder who’d they hate, though, since China would no longer be ebul.

          I mean the eastern bloc and some central asia pretty much all hates Russia, but I’m sure as an ethnic chinese overseas with my mom i feel more sensitive to feeling like everyone hates my ancestral homeland.

        • I’m extremely curious about what all this means and how it will change. Not too long ago, in recent centuries, many Westerners looked to China as great civilization to be admired and emulated. It’s taken a long time for Western countries to develop far enough that Westerners feel confident enough to look down upon Asians.

          It seems to me that we are moving quickly back the other direction again. I suspect interesting things are going to become outside of the West, especially from Asia. Westerners today fear the Chinese for similar reasons the English feared the French during its revolution, for it represented changes that were happening in the entire world.

          In the long term, those changes benefited both the English and the French. I’d like to think that the changes we are seeing right now will in the end benefit most of the world’s population, East and West and everywhere else.

  34. One surprising fact to begin with: the last traces of eugenics (forced sterilisation of women with disabilities) was only abolished in 1996 in Japan.

    We tend to associate eugenics with pre-war Europe (especially Germany) and the United States, but Japan has its own history of eugenics, which dates back to Meiji times. Eugenics was a part of Japan’s absorption of Western knowledge, and the perception of inferiority (as a result of the forced opening of Japan by Perry and the subsequent unequal treaties enforced on the state) initially helped to light interest in the topic. Several scholars and statesmen, the people we would today recognise as the founding fathers (and perhaps mothers) of modern Japan, were public advocates of eugenics theory. Some even suggested that white women should be brought over to marry Japanese.

    Eugenics was also combined with the feminist agenda and the issue of contraception/abortion. Modern Japan’s best-known feminist, Hiratsuka Raicho, was very much a proponent of eugenics. She saw poverty as an inherited trait, a social evil that must be uprooted from modern society through birth control and sterilisation of those with ‘bad seed’.

    But as Japan began to make the transition towards Showa and nationalism/militarism started to rise, the mood of eugenics theory also changed. A big part of the contemporary nationalist agenda was the deification of the emperor and the Yamato race. The narrative of homogeneity, superiority and purity of the Yamato bloodline became pervasive in media. This also helped to justify the treatment of people in the colonies as second class citizens. For example, the naisen ittai policy advocated that Japan and Korea were actually (and supposed to be) one; retouching of Japan’s founding myth of Amaterasu allowed for an unruly younger sibling who became the ancestors of the Korean race, who were hence defined as a subset and inferior strain of the Yamato people. We see this reflected for example in how the Japanese government tried to deter marriages between Korean labourers and Japanese women: Family center staff also attempted to discourage marriage between Japanese women and Korean men who had been recruited from the peninsula as laborers following its annexation by Japan in 1910. In 1942, a survey report argued that “the Korean laborers brought to Japan, where they have established permanent residency, are of the lower classes and therefore of inferior constitution…By fathering children with Japanese women, these men could lower the caliber of the Yamato minzoku.” (from Wikipedia).

    This social mood also justified forced sterilisation of the disabled and those with ‘weak constitution’ by law. Actually, compared to Nazi Germany, the actual enforcement of these laws was pretty minimal. Nevertheless, what is perhaps a bit crazy is that this law stayed in place all the way through to the 90s. Funnily enough they don’t apply to disabled men- only women.

    In contemporary Japanese society, eugenics doesn’t have a place institutionally or legally. This doesn’t mean though, that we don’t see traces of it.

    Firstly, the treatment of marginalised social classes. Burakumin are modern day descendants of people who used to work with animal carcass, butchery and tanning/leather in pre-modern Japan. The perception of how they are ritually ‘unclean’ is surprisingly prevalent even today, and although the situation is taking steps forward, parents rooted in traditional thinking will do background checks on the partners of their children and oppose their marriage if revealed as Burakumin. This is not necessarily something that is racial, as most people do not deny that Burakumin are Japanese, but is still remarkably similar to class-based eugenics theory of the 30s.

    It’s a similar story also with resident Koreans (Zainichi Koreans) in Japan. Even for those who look no different to Japanese, were brought up in Japan, speak Japanese as their first language, etc etc, there is still a hefty amount of social stigma and recent hate speeches and demonstrations show that the perception of Korean racial inferiority to Japanese is a pervasive part of right-wing/ultranationalist thought in Japan. If you’re curious, take a look at how much hate Yano Shiho (top model who married a Zainichi) and her toddler get.

    Lastly, the treatment of mixed-race children (commonly referred to as ‘halves (haafu)’- I mean, the label already speaks volumes) shows elements of eugenics/racist thought in Japanese social discourse. The treatment of ‘halves’ are quite drastically different depending on the nationality/ethnicity of the non-Japanese parent. It’s not uncommon for Japanese women to say that they would be happy to marry white men because their marriage would result in ‘cute kids’. A half-white background is often considered a gift in Japan. But Japanese who marry any ethnicity of darker skin hue are often subject to social criticism. An anecdote from my Japanese tutor at university. My guess is that her parents aren’t even that conservative, seeing as though they were happy with her going off to study in a foreign country by herself. But she told me that her parents had no problem with her marrying a Brit, but probably would have been very upset had she brought a Chinese or Korean home. Marriages between SE Asians and Japanese are fairly common these days, but again, the resulting children are often bullied in school and the family ostracised from the community.

    There’s also this weird perception that most ‘halves’ are half-white. Or at least the ones that the public wants to recognise. There are several half-white models and celebrities on TV. Takigawa Christel, Reina Triendl, Becky, Tsuchiya Anna. Probably the most notable exception I can think of is Rola. She’s of Bengali and Japanese descent (with a dash (1/8 to be precise) of Russian). But google some pictures of her. Most show her blonde and wearing contact lenses that lighten her dark irises…

    • That is a fascinating possibility. I’ve struggled with learning my entire life. That would be amazing to one day to take a drug and have learning come easily.

      That is the type of thing that could transform the world. There are so many people, especially as adults, who struggle with learning. Because of this, so many people have come to see learning as a negative thing.

      I suspect that a lot of anti-intellectualism comes from a life of negative learning experiences. To give people a positive experience of learning easily could change their entire attitude toward knowledge, scholarship, and science.

    • I understand identity politics. It sometimes is necessary. People need a social identity to organize around. But sadly identity politics can become self-defeating, as it just as easily become a force of division.

      Black lives do matter, but so do many other marginalized groups that rarely get heard on MSM news. Native Americans have as bad or worse problems than blacks and yet they mostly get ignored. Why aren’t those activists demanding that Bernie Sanders acknowledge that Native American lives matter? Police brutality is extremely bad on reservations, but it doesn’t fit the mainstream racial narrative.

      This is the problem. Racial categories and identities are inherently racist. I have my doubts about black power ever escaping its origins in a racist ideology. It seems like we are permanently stuck in old mentalities, and yet we are somehow hoping for new results. Of course, an old white guy like Bernie Sanders is part of the system. But then again much of the old civil rights movement has been unable to seriously challenge the system and has often been coopted.

      What we really need is some entirely new thinking. I just don’t know where that is going to come from.

  35. MixoLydian
    2 months ago
    Our kids attend gifted classes in the highest performing public schools within a large urban district. This sounded like a great opportunity at first, but the friendly competition that starts innocently enough around third grade can become unbearable pressure by eighth. By middle school there seems to be no amount of homework– 4, 6, or even 8 hours a day– that is considered too much. Parents blame teachers, and vice versa, but before these tragedies become more widespread, we all need to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities as a community.

    Hyla Picta
    2 months ago
    It is a tragedy that doesn’t seem to stop. NPR failed to cover this, but it is even worse at the other end of the economic spectrum. The NY Times did cover this last week: on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, nine kids between the ages of 12 and 24 have committed suicide here. . . with 103 suicide attempts between December and March:

    • There has to be a better way. I can’t help thinking that, if we simply improved social and educational environments for kids, we’d see a lot more improvements in the results of all kinds of things.

      There is always this idea that change has to be forced through social control, harsh punishment, and demanding expectations. The belief is that people have to be forced to be better, even if it destroys them and entire communities.

      It never occurs to so many people that maybe most people just need the opportunities and examples to improve themselves. Maybe we aren’t fallen creatures, but instead possess immense potential that is being stunted by adverse conditiosn.

  36. Many NRs see Asians as underachievers and live on the popular uncreative asian stereotype. Appearenrly since we have higher iss than whites it’s funny that westerners are the alphas who invented the modern world or something. They see current Asia as just copying the west / improving I mtje west or inventiv insignificant shit. Not like the westttt. I guess Asians should be doig interstellar travel to not be considered underachieving in the eyes of NR

    My mom has disparaged ancient Chinese culture. The art dosent change or something. It dosent progress like the westttt

    • The West didn’t see much progress until the past few centuries. China saw progress over millennia. China of today is not China of the past. China has progressed more over this past century than most Western countries. There is no guarantee that the West won’t fall behind other parts of the world, the low position they spent most of civilization’s existence. Western dominance has been just a blip on the long history of human development, and all of Western civilization was built on the great advances of other civilizations, including that of China.

    • “American food culture seems to love gimmicks why”

      I read some of the article you linked. We are so disconnected from a healthy diet that we hardly know how to talk about it.

      The healthiest diet is a traditional foods diet, but eating such a diet in the modern world can be difficult or expensive. People live such busy lives working such long hours that a traditional food diet has become alien. People used to work less and spend a lot of that extra time gardining, subsistence farming, gathering wild foods, canning, producing cultured foods, brewing herbal beers, cooking wholesome meals, etc. Also, in most traditional societies, women typically stayed at home most of the day and spent a large amount of their time preoccupied with food-related work, but that doesn’t work in our modern society where both parents often work or else people live alone.

      If you want to regularly eat traditionally cultured foods and don’t have time to make them, they are expensive to buy. Plus, much of the traditional knowledge to do this kind of thing, is long gone and would require immense effort for people to learn because they didn’t grow up with it.

      People can’t assume these days that they are eating a healthy diet simply because they get vegetables. Much of the soil is nutritionally depleted. And it can be expensive to buy organic local foods that are more nutritious and chemical-free. It’s much harder knowing what is actually healthy. Is it better to regularly eat low nutrition, chemical–saturated vegetables, if that is all you can afford? Or is it better to spend more money on quality and eat those healthy foods rarely?

      Many people are simply too poor, too busy, and often too uninformed to even be able to worry about such things. Their greatest worries are whether they’ll have enough money before the next paycheck to buy any food at all or else skip a few meals. Healthy food becomes mostly an obsession of middle-to-upper class people.

    • I think I would have done better in school if there had been more hands-on learning. I wonder what my experience of education would have been like if it had been taught the way I naturally learn. Art was always one of my favorite classes and I excelled at it. It used my inherent intelligence and talent in a way that was easy for me. Part of tha had to do with it being hands-on. There weren’t many other classes that had much hands-on learning, not even most science classes.

  37. I’m not sere why but this discussion is kind of depressing. Like the mentality of the posters.

    That funny lady chatting and the poster eating to slap a label (is she profoundly gifted????) is sort of funny, lol

    Granted maybe it’s cause I haven’t found stuff I’m truly terrible at no matter how much I try (besides singing :p) but still

  38. He’s certainly a proud dad

    Having passion for something paired with lack of laziness is always good. My friend’s a great seamstress as well, sewijg all the ren-faire stuff for the HS club. I do wish I could have taken sewing in HS, but the college rat race got the best of me. I have many designs in my head I wish I could execute. Of course you can self learn but to was nice to have a structured class with a teacher, for free.

    • Anyway I feel bad. This was written a few years ago. But since then, different from his lofty tales… his older kid is working as an office assistant in a healthcare office, and his younger kid, the one who is very accomplished, ended up single majoring in an art field rather than her ambitious double art-science major, and he working as a sewer and designer at a local clothing company. Which is great, since it seems to be her passion. It’s just quite a contrast.

    • That contrast is typical for most Americans. Surveys have found that Americans are much more ambitious and hopeful about their personal futures. American kids are raised to believe they can be and do everything. European kids, as a contrast, are much more humble and less aspiring. Yet many European countries have higher rates of economic mobility than the US.

  39. What do you think?

    She is well intentioned, she does love her kids. I wish I could tell her why people treat them differently, how in society being blessed by god is valued more than the opposite.

    • I wish I could explain all the problems in the world to every middle-to-upper class white Westerner. They have to be one of the most clueless groups of people on the planet. Their privileged position in the world disconnects them from reality in so many different ways.

      If your biggest problem in life is your gifted child, then you have no freaking idea what real problems most people deal with. If your kid really is genuinely brilliant, precocious, and multi-talented, then thank your lucky stars. You just won the equivalent of the lottery.

      What irritates people is that these gifted parents think their problems are all that significant and meaningful. What irritates people is their sense of arrogant self-importance.

      The only gifted parents that have reason to complain are those living in impoverished neighborhoods where they simply hope their kid gets any kind of education at all. Otherwise, I have no tolerance for this bullshit.

      • “While I may not be comfortable working the word gifted into many conversations, it’s vital to me that my daughter does not think that being gifted is something she needs to hide. Studies have shown that gifted girls are very good at hiding their intelligence, and we do not need to give them any reason to. One of my goals this year is to stop hiding or downplaying or avoiding the G word. I spent too much time last year trying to hide the word gifted when people asked me why my daughter changed schools. Let’s be honest, she changed schools for the self contained gifted program (because the one at her old school – that we never put her in – was full by the time we decided to switch to it – but that’s a whole other post). She’s lucky enough to live in a district with an amazing self contained program, and we should celebrate that, NOT try and hide it. These kids have amazing potential, they truly could change our world. That is something to be celebrated. And those of us that are raising them, I think we can all benefit and community and support and the sharing of resources and ideas, but we can’t find each other if we are afraid to say the word. GIFTED.”

      • Well she loves her kids. But I think she missed the mark as to why people might react to her kids differently. What do you think?

        “I find it interesting that with my two girls, it feels easier to tell people that my younger one has special needs, and is delayed, than it does to tell them that my older one is gifted and is advanced. Really how different are they? I guess to get technical they are both a matter of standard deviations away from the “norm” (whatever that may be). But why should I feel comfortable to say that one is behind, but not feel comfortable to say that the other is ahead? And more importantly to me, what message does that send to them?

        I have two theories why we (or at least I) avoid saying the word “gfited”… My first theory is that the term “gifted” seems to come with the thought that one must be bragging or boasting. It’s not a greater than, or a less than, just a different. I’m not saying my kid does better in school than others. I’m not saying that she’s smarter. I’m not saying that she’s superior. I’m just saying she may be a bit different. And some of those differences don’t seem like things one typically brags about. Ridiculously stubborn? Argumentative? Bossy? Intense? Sensitive? Picky? Yup, she’s all of those, and I think they are very much a part of being gifted, at least for her.

        My other theory is that there is such a strong stereotype tied to the G word. Gifted clearly must mean that she’s perfectly dressed in her preppy attire, with a perfectly organized binder in her backpack and a perfectly neat desk at school. She plays chess and then rushes home to do her homework, and loves every minute of it. She never watches TV and reads the classics. HA!!! Not at all. Let’s see, she goes to school dressed in the most insanely uncoordinated, wrinkled, mismatched “creative” outfits I have ever seen. Her binder? Good luck finding anything in it and she FAILED her last desk check at school. After school you’ll find her at dance class, belting out “Jar Of Hearts” in lyrical, dancing to Tori Amos in Jazz and doing her solo to the theme song for Corpse Bride. Homework? Bitches and moans through all of it! TV? Usually Phineas & Ferb or if it’s on the DVR, Dance Moms. Books? If it’s not a ghost story or center around tornadoes, it’s not happening. So that stereotype… oh how I hate it, because it couldn’t be more off track for my kid. “

      • I started the week with a report from B’s school, giving her current reading comprehension level, which falls about five years ahead of her age. I don’t give it too much thought, though it certainly is something that I know will bring increasing issues with finding age appropriate content at her reading level. For the most part it’s B, it’s pretty much what I expect such a report to say. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just a bit of info.

        All I can think is why can’t I give some of B’s “ahead” to G to help even out some of G’s “behind”??? Who do I see about a bit of a trade??? How do I make this happen??? I’m sure B would be happy to read a year lower if it allowed her sister to communicate a year ahead of where she is now. Heck, B may willingly give up two years to be able to communicatewith her little sister. Sure, she’d probably demand a trip to Build A Bear as part of the deal, but I can do that!

        Obviously that’s not an actual option, but it hangs heavily in my mind. Two sides of the curve. I’m sure normal or average isn’t some place of nothing but blissful nirvana, but I realize I may never know what it’s like there. And sometimes I just want to sit firmly in a place of denial and ignore the fact that I really don’t know what “normal” would be like.

        The older G gets, the harder the delays become. I put a smile on my face and try and take her to toddler activities, try and remain light and carefree as she throws massive tantrums and children half her age participate in ways she’s not even close to. I try and act like it doesn’t bother me in the slightest and clench my teeth and try with all my might to get through whatever 30 minutes activity we are at, and wonder how 30 minutes can feel like six hours.

        And then there are weeks like this one where I just say f-it, I’m too old for this, scoop her up, throw in the towel and call it a day.

      • Her disabled child doesn’t maker her complaints any less bullshit. The one has nothing to do with the other.

        She entirely misses the mark. Even with her disabled child, is she dealing with that problem while struggling with poverty, racial oppression, and such? Probably not. Her life is still easier than that of most people in the world. I have absolutely no sympathy for her lack of humility and perspective.

        I understand life sucks. Maybe she should spend some time thinking about all those who have it worse than her and then she will understand why so few people give a flying fuck about her problems of having a gifted child. We all have problems. Welcome to reality!

      • I have a close friend. She has a daughter with problems, a smart student but with maybe aspergers. My friend doesn’t just have to deal with all of that.

        She was in a car accident and still is recovering from a concussion, but there is permanent damage and she will never regain all of her former functioning. At the time of her accident, she was living with an abusive husband. She has since divorced him and is living on her own. She’ll eventually have to find a job to support herself, but doesn’t know what kind of work she can do because of the effects of the concussion. Her life has been up in the air and is only recently beginning to settle back into partial normalacy.

        I bet my friend struggles more than this lady does, and yet my friend has a life a thousand times easier than so many poor people in America. The world is full of people struggling and suffering. I know this from personal experience and yet I’ll never pretend my problems with depression and such come even close to what so many others experience. I’m not going to write blog posts demanding pity from others.

        Life sucks. That is just the way it is.

        • But is she looking for pity? Or is she just wanting to convert people into the gifted view? She wants to be understood rather than appearently disliked.

          A big problem is she completely misses the mark as to why people respond to her kid the way they do. She is clueless. See:

          Eye rolling and acting annoyed.
          Responding with “well all children are gifted”.
          Responding that “no child is gifted”.
          Responding that “everyone thinks their child is gifted”.
          Telling me how proud I must be of her.
          Asking me how much work/time/money it took to get her to be gifted. (I’ll roll my eyes now…)
          Telling me how lucky I am and how easy I have it (HA!)
          Changing the subject.
          Justifying why their child is not gifted.
          Telling me I’m too hard on her.
          Telling me I’m too easy on her.
          Telling me I should medicate her.
          Say she’s spoiled or being difficult for being a picky eater and having sensory issues.
          Treating her like she’s being a brat or a problem when she in fact actually knows what she’s talking about and has a very valid point and a reason for it to be heard.
          Providing disapproving stares and comments when she acts out in public.
          They recognize that she’s different, but do not accept or understand it, nor do they attempt to.
          It’s amazing how different the reactions are. Such a contrast. Two kids, both a few standard deviations from the average. Both kids requiring different things, marching to the beat of their own drum. But the issues that one has gets understanding and empathy and other gets annoyance, comparison and even contempt.

          I’m not sure if it’s our society being familiar with disabilities and therefore more understanding or if there is something about gifted that people take personally, and somehow find upsetting or bothersome. The reactions I get to having a gifted child are things people would never dream of doing or saying with my special needs child. I work so hard to teach my oldest that everyone is different and that we should embrace those differences and not make others feel bad in any way about what makes them unique. Ironic given the fact that I then turn around and so much of the time play down what makes her different.

        • There is a thin line between seeking sympathy and pity. I might agree that all she wants is sympathy if she genuinely seemed to want understanding, but I don’t get that sense. You understand her, I understand her, most peoople under her just fine. She wants people to agree with her and console her, not mere understanding.

          She should just be thankful that she isn’t a poor minority mother of a boy. If that was the case and her child acted out, the child would likely be shot by a police officer or be put in the school-to-prison pipeline. Her worrying about other people’s disapproval is not much of a problem in the big picture.

          As an old boss of mine used to say, “Are your feelings hurt? I’ll hurt your feelings… with a 2X4.”

          • Yeah. But isn’t that the “stop whining other people have it worse” issue?

            I’m jealous though. I wish my behavioral issues would get me labeled blessed by god. I would have just gotten detention or something.
            So is dressing like a slob a sign of giftedness now appearently? Of that’s the case americans are very gifted people :p

          • I agree. I’m not saying that any particular complaints aren’t genuine. Everyone has problems. But some are worse than the rest. Her life probably isn’t easy compared to some parents and yet her life is not so bad compared to so many others.

            It’s all about perspective. Any time I start feeling sorry for myself, I just have to spend a moment thinking of the millions of people in the world with harder lives and my sense of self-pity is quickly lessened. I have compassion for all suffering. It isn’t as if suffering is a contest where those who suffer most win. All suffering deserves compassion.

            I understand that parenting isn’t easy. I don’t dismiss her experience. My point is simply that her problems and her childrens’ problems are no more special than anyone else’s problems. Each and every kid deserves all the help they can get and then some more. It’s tough being a kid and life just gets tougher the older you get.

  40. I feel like there’s a sort of Cold War going on. It seems Chijese immigrants doig scientific work are always being monitored. My own dad does some scientific research and he has like pretty regular meetings with local FBI agents :/

    • The same thing happens to Arab immigrants in scientific fields, especially Muslims from particular countries that are on the US enemy list. It probably even happens to foreign-born Hispanics, such as Cubans. I bet even Russian immigrant scientists still get targeted by the FBI. The Cold War never really ended. It just temporarily retreated into the background.

  41. So it seems thy one of the issues people have with advanced kids skipping grades or at least in subjects of strength, vs gifted programs, is that they need more advanced material but taught in an age appropriate way :p

    Also they need to hang out with same age gifted kids, not be the younger kid in class

  42. Guest
    6 months ago
    Attention on mental illness as a weak link in individuals is an effective way to ignore many underlying aspects of Palo Alto (and perhaps similar wealthy communities that wear a politically correct hat on the face of classism and racisim.)
    Wealthy/popular kids openly use phrases such as “she’s so tan she’s a N_ _ _ _
    _R.” and obvious issues at school are too often ignored or swept under the rug. It is not *just* the schools fault, the school reflects a community with gross socio economic divide, where the people who work in the restaurants etc, cannot afford to live in town
    while kids here are groomed for philanthropy and unpaid internships that
    look good on college apps. A community environment based on wealth,
    classism and political correctness. vs actual cultural depth or awareness is certain to have human causalities fall between the cracks. Teens who are sensitive could certainly be a vulnerable weak point in such a success oriented community with a politically correct facade.

    Robert Thomas Guest
    6 months ago
    “Classicism”? Really?

    Little Poobah Robert Thomas
    6 months ago
    Robert Thomas, nobody mentioned classicism: it’s classism, that is, uncritical acceptance, or even celebration, of the privilege that higher social class provides.

    As a divorced, disabled mother with two kids, receiving no child support or alimony, I became homeless in Palo Alto. Supposed “relief agencies” gave us, on the whole, very shabby treatment, and couch-surfing disrupted my kids’ school performance significantly.

    Palo Alto residents tend to be Social Darwinists, who look down their noses at anyone who is struggling. My daughter, who attended Paly and also had friends at Gunn, suggested that most students come to feel that they are not really valued for themselves, but for their ability to embody the academic and material success that our local culture assumes must be present in anyone worth knowing.

  43. I’ve seen plain evidence right out in plain sight, at Gunn and Paly, right along side the good looking political correctness. People don’t see issues until it affects them personally, it’s true for all of us, and then many people who are affected are uncomfortable with the attention.

    Ugly stuff happens all the time that is generally ignored. My kid witnessed a group of white privileged boys on the Paly campus loudly and openly call a boy the N word and unashamed shout that he should go back on the slave ship his family came on. They knew they had witnesses and felt no need to hide. And the young black student must not have felt he had any recourse without bringing further attention on himself. It’s actually really hard to publicly address even blatant things that are wrong unless you are empowered with support.

    The sad thing is that incidents are not just isolated to obvious jerks.

    The general acceptance levels filter down to the rest of the social fabric, so it becomes part of the “no big deal” acceptance in common language.

    Perspective is a funny thing.

    The school district can’t be expected to address it all, a lot of things are in the social fabric. What they can do is keep trying to examine and respond with awareness.
    If blatant things about the community are tossed out as “insane” “lies,” or “excoriating” (had to look that one up myself) imagine how many things we all just accept.

  44. Teachers vie for being the ‘hard’ teacher and treat kids who can’t handle their classes as stupid (don’t believe me, look up the math teacher at Paly whose letter went viral).

    All the college track classes at Gunn are known for being exceptionally difficult. Go to the comments for Palo Alto Online in the last few years and you’ll read about this. Several students posted comments saying that when they were in school in Palo Alto they felt dumb then they went to college and realized that they were smart and it was just going to high school in Palo Alto that made them feel stupid. Read the comments from the parents who complain about the dumbing down of classes and how parents with kids that can’t handle the vigorous academic curriculum should stop ruining it for MY smart/intelligent/gifted/genius kid. One parent even said that the kids who can’t handle it will be flipping burgers for my kid.

    And if you think the kids are gonna tell you that they can’t handle it, you’re being unrealistic. It is extremely difficult to admit failure in front of your peers and community when you are a teenager. Suicide becomes an option when you can’t see your way through, if it’s a mental health issue, it doesn’t mean these kids are mentally ill but are unable to cope. Adults commit suicide when their businesses fail, lose their jobs etc. The shame/fear of failure is difficult to face even for adults.

    • I have great sympathy for these kids. I don’t have sympathy for the parents pushing these kids into suicide. This is a central problem of the gifted obsession. Kids don’t need that kind of pressure. It can really fuck with their heads.

      I take this personally. School was difficult for me. It was in my second year of college that I attempted suicide. All I needed was someone to have helped me and showed me their was more to life than social darwinian success. We live in a cold, harsh society. More judgment and pressure is not helpful.

  45. Okay, what do you think?

    I think the mum is clueless, but I has some patience for analyzing this. I think the mum genuinely at least with her own kids teaches them, her gifted kid, that people are different and that is okay. Mum sees her gifted and disabled kid as just different, part of diversity, and different is okay! But she feels like she has to downplay her kids giftedness, and that sends the message to her smart kid that different isn’t okay and that being gifted is bad. That is her interpretation. What do you think of this interpretation?

    “It’s amazing how different the reactions are. Such a contrast. Two kids, both a few standard deviations from the average. Both kids requiring different things, marching to the beat of their own drum. But the issues that one has gets understanding and empathy and other gets annoyance, comparison and even contempt.

    I’m not sure if it’s our society being familiar with disabilities and therefore more understanding or if there is something about gifted that people take personally, and somehow find upsetting or bothersome. The reactions I get to having a gifted child are things people would never dream of doing or saying with my special needs child. I work so hard to teach my oldest that everyone is different and that we should embrace those differences and not make others feel bad in any way about what makes them unique. Ironic given the fact that I then turn around and so much of the time play down what makes her different.

    I know some people will say that gifted isn’t the same as special needs (and in some ways it’s not) because she’ll always be good at school, things will come easy, she’ll get a great job and life will be good. Not so easy. While she may know every answer on a test, that doesn’t mean she might not fail it. She knows it all, she just can’t be bothered to capitalize or punctuate, and can’t understand why she should have to (even though she’s been told a million times).

    Sure she may be a natural born leader, but our long time joke is she’ll be leader of the free world, or leader of her cell block. Being bright, working hard, having common sense and knowing how to navigate the world is not the same as being gifted. A 1991 study showed that between 18-25% of gifted students drop out of school. And I won’t even get started on interpersonal issues and friendships. Being the kid that’s “weird” or “different” isn’t easy, and girls can be mean. It’s hard to watch your child go to school beaming with excitement because she dressed like Laura Ingalls Wilder, only to have her come home, crushed that everyone, even her friends, made fun of her for it. And the educational challenges and problems is a whole separate series of posts. Being gifted does not automatically mean a child will be successful, happy, have straight A’s, be well adjusted or even finish high school. Not in the least.

    • Probably 99.9% of kids labeled as ‘gifted’ aren’t particularly special in any kind of way. They simply are kids, maybe with some precocious ability like early reading, who have had a ton of social and behavioral problems because their parents put high pressure on them to succeed. These kids are struggling to live up to the expectations of others and struggle with constant fear of failure.

      Because of all the pressure, many of the kids do show above average development, but it comes at great cost. Besides, most kids have immense potential that can be tapped, but there has to be a better way. Education should be about the kids, not the parents’ demented expectations for their kids. Just let kids be kids.

      Teach them the love of learning and teach them how to learn. Give them lots of help and encouragement, opportunities and resources. Do this for all children. Create a space that is conducive to learning and most kids will do fine, including most kids who are high IQ and precocious.

      • I hope you don’t mind that I pasted your comment. I just wanted to comment

        Your kids get different reactions because no one’s jealous of your younger daughter’s condition. Simple as that.

        “Gifted” is not a value neutral term. Your older, precocious kid has a high iq and a bunch of individual quirks, good and bad, that aren’t an automatic package deal with her iq.

        Your kids are equally valuable, but one’s label is more desirable than the other’s. Being gifted, or “blessed by god” is more desirable in society than the direct opposite.

        Your kids aren’t just different but equal. Or else why would would you use a value-laden, practically religious term like “gifted” aka blessed by God/Genetics? Does that mean your other kid, and “average” kids, are ungifted, anti-gifted, giftless, or something like that?

        Why not just say you have two kids with problems? And why don’t you admit that one of your kids has far worse problems than the other? If you were forced to choose the same condition for both of your children, I think you know and everyone knows that you would choose them to be both ‘gifted’. If it wasn’t desirable, it wouldn’t be a gift and she wouldn’t call her daughter gifted.

        Your high iq kid’s problems are another issue. But obviously it is much easier to deal with problems with high intelligence than with low. My kind of learning disability, for example, would have been an impossible situation for a low IQ kid. It wouldn’t even be comparable. Being low IQ and high IQ aren’t mere differences. A child with immense talents, potentials, and precocious cognitive development isn’t equivalent to a child who will struggle to learn the most basic activities, even when both have other problems as well.

  46. You should give her a piece of your mind. Like the conflating, the uselessness of conflating all her shit into one “gifted label.” Mutual values and how some traits are more desirable, privilege, etc etc.

    This mum does seem to care about progressive issues. She talks about how all kids need a voice and autism awareness and such. Disability awareness. She just dosent like that she can’t talk of “gifted” condition as well the way she advocates for disabled. People don’t react well to her championing gifted versus championing various disabilities, poverty, etc. She dosent understand that as she sees “gifted” as just another trait and issue. There isn’t a value different for her, or at least that she’ll admit maybe even to herself. I say this because it does come out in her writing hat no, “gifted” isn’t value neutral at all!

    My view. No sih thing as “just different.” The “not better or worse just different” allows I so ignore the real disparities in what we value.

    Her kids have different issues. But they’re not just “different.” One iid’s issues is indeed more desirable, to me, as to seems, to society.

    • I don’t think I feel like giving her a piece of my mind. I doubt she’d be receptive to my harsh criticisms.

      The whole thing just rubs me wrong. I’m not feeling inspired to give her the benefit of the doubt. She might be one of the nicest and most well intentioned progressives in the world, but the gifted label irritates me to no end. It so meaningless and the complete opposite of helpful.

      Her kids aren’t just different but equal. Is her gifted kid just more equal? Does that mean her other kid is ungifted, anti-gifted, giftless, or something like that? Did God, Santa, or the genetic fairy forget to leave her a gift? Did she get the genetic equivalent of a lump of coal in her Christmas stocking?

      Why not just say she has two kids with problems? And why doesn’t she admit that one of her kids has far worse problems than the other? If she was forced to choose the same condition for both of her children, she knows and everyone knows that she would choose them to be both ‘gifted’. If it wasn’t desirable, it wouldn’t be a gift and she wouldn’t call her daughter gifted.

      That so-called gifted kid’s problems are another issue. But obviously it is much easier to deal with problems with high intelligence than with low. My kind of learning disability, for example, would have been an impossible situation for a low IQ kid. It wouldn’t even be comparable. Being low IQ and high IQ aren’t mere differences. A child with immense talents, potentials, and precocious cognitive development isn’t equivalent to a child who will struggle to learn the most basic activities, even when both have other problems as well.

      Anyway, her personal situation biases what she prioritizes. No shit she’d like an education system that focuses mostly on kids like hers, those on the low end and high end. Every parent wants teachers, services, and funds to be directed toward their kids. Even the parents of average kids feel that way. In fact, the most ignored kids are those who are perceived as average, and some of them might have immense potentials to be developed if anyone ever paid attention to them.

      I have an idea. Let’s improve education for all children. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game where only some kids can be winners while the needs of other kids must be sacrificed. I suspect that, if education overall was improved, parents would be less selfishly concerned about only their kids. Could you imagine what a better world it would be if most parents thought how they could improve education for all children?

      • Not sure she intentionally wants education focused only on the low and high ends. She probably just thinks it’s all fine and good on the middle, since most people are in the middle.

  47. Gifted issues include not fitting in, bring bullied, teachers not getting them, being different, neing bored, being truly wired differently that they need people to get them, etc.

    On what planet do they live on where “average” people don’t have the same issues though? Those issues sound pretty mundane in the life of a school kid, honestly. Bullying, insane boredom, not fitting in. Sounds like an everyday life of most kids, especially adolescents, frankly.

    What I don’t get is, do these parents want gifted services so their kids will be happier, or so they will become the innovators, geniuses, leaders, history-makers that their potential made them meant to be?

    • My thoughts are similar. How much of this is genuine concern for their child’s wellbeing and how much is it their being caught up in Social Darwinian ideology? Are these parents even self-aware enough to know the difference?

      I really do wonder about that. I suspect the gifted label is more important to most of these parents than to the kids. The kids probably only care to the degree that the parents have pressured them to care. After all, kids have no idea what gifted even means, until someone explains it to them.

  48. I wonder, but I’ve never seen gifted parents talk about having an “normal” kid as well. Some have autistic kids, but I haven’t sen any who have both gifted and average kids. I wanna get the average kids perspective.

    I did see one person on a personality forum who talked about how inadequate and shitty she felt compared to her gifted sibling, though. She was jealous of her smart sibling.

  49. That dad sounds kind of weird: like a helicopter parent.

    Terry says
    May 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Christi, I really enjoyed your post and I am about to have a look around your whole blog but wanted to leave a comment first. It is such a difficult thing to talk about, and because I am a teacher I find it even harder to say my four year old son is gifted. It often seems to me that using the ‘G’ word is an open invitation to list the things my son isn’t so good at. Sure he can read and knows more about Geography than many adults at only 4, but his cutting with scissors sometimes go off the line, so can he really be gifted?
    I realise now that I have a gifted child, that as a teacher I actually knew nothing about what being gifted really means and how intrinsically different these children are. I think thats why others just ‘don’t get it’ and that parents and children need to be part of a gifted community so everyone has peers they can relate to.
    Sorry, long comment and nothing you didn’t know I’m sure but I really wanted to share my thoughts! Thanks

    christi says
    May 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Terry – thanks so much for your comment and sharing that you see things differently now from the other side. It’s good to hear. I feel SO lucky that we have my daughter in a self contained class where her teacher totally gets the kids, and the kids have true peers. On the other hand I feel bad because I know so few people have that option, and even here it’s only a tiny percent of the kids that are admitted to her program. I swear most days I feel like the things they are so “good at” are the last thing on my mind, the social emotional usually seems to be front and center!

  50. I was fast too, though I was prone to silly mistakes probably because of it. My japanese teacher, heck japanese culture in general, emphasized accuracy over “getting it” and speed. My parents told me it’s great I’m fast but I need to be careful too. I got away with it because of partial credit, but japanese teachers don’t seem to know what partial credit is.

    So, it’s not “do you get the idea?” It’s “do you get it perfectly?”

    • “Thank you for waiting, patiently or not, for everyone else to finish. I know your mental muscles can get cold when you’re just marking time and it can be hard to jump right in again, so thanks for that.

      “Thank you for remembering to bring a (thick) book to read every day so you can kill time (see above).”

      What is the big deal? Some kids finish earlier than others and they might have to read a book. Oh, the horror!

      There were always be some kids faster than average and some kids slower than average. This is true in every activity. Some kids run faster, draw faster, read faster, do math faster, memorize faster, etc. But that doesn’t really mean much. First, few kids will be faster at all activities. Second, faster isn’t always better. Many geniuses were slow thinkers or readers. Being methodical and thoughtful can slow someone down, and doesn’t imply they are stupid.

      I was always a slow test taker when in school. I wasn’t stupid, but my brain doesn’t tend to operate in the most direct and efficient ways. What talent I have comes from my rather circuitous and meandering thinking style. Also, my word recall issues can cause several minutes to pass by before the word finally pops into my consciousness.

      Only in America would intellectual value be measured by speed.

    • I did look at the comments section. Most of the comments were predictable, but a few were interesting. Below are two I noticed.

      lisa flores:
      “I found this article to be negative and really narrow minded about the different learning abilities of kids. A child can be an excellent auditory learner and thrive in a typical classroom, which would make them “gifted”. A child can be a visual learner and not cope so well in a classroom designed for auditory learners and not do as well, but be no less “gifted”. A visual or kinetic learner may appear “slow” but can be equally gifted. I found it really uncalled for to title the note “Dear smart kid”, as that implies all the other students are dumb. It reads like you have disdain for “typical” learners, which I disagree with. Some of the most brilliant people in the world, have not been “typical” learners. Faster is not inherently better.”

      “Really? I am awed that readers are not seeing the hypocrisy in this article.

      “Well intentioned, yes, but what is it with armchair critics and perfectionistic ideals? If you think it’s possible to be perfect in the classroom, kindly post some guru-magic instructions instead of complaints.

      “Did the other kids get notes in their report cards about working faster so this child didn’t always have to sit around waiting for them?”

      “So your expectation is that the teacher now perform to common core, write 27 IEP’s, give individual lesson plans to 27 students ranging from low performing students, past low performing brilliance, and up to high performing academic superstars, AND write 27 notes describing how he/she has addressed the needs of each student so perfectly?

      “Teachers are the ones to support; not bash. Most teachers really do want to be the best, but have thrown in the towel for lack of support and compassion. Maybe a little less critiquing and a little more appreciative support is in order here.

      “My entire family was “gifted” and we all made it through just fine Lisa. It’s about life, love, compassion, and support for all, not about defending one child unless you intend to defend the teacher or the not-so-great performing student too.”

  51. Just promise cupcakes and the normal masses will finish quicker.

    That sounds creepily helicopter-ey. Maybe in lazy but I enjoyed downtime in school. I liked lounging around after I finished, napping, doodling, reading the book I brought, lol.

    What do you think of this?

    “unfortunately my son hasn’t learned to not scream out loud out of frustration yet – thus he misses a great deal of instruction, has fallen behind in areas that before he was “taught” them he was a natural genius at them and overall hates school. The notes we get home every day are a micromanagement of his day – a detailing of every frustrated outburst, of every instance of anger at his own imperfection and the occasional act of simply being a silly kid… he tested in the 98th % and yet we have him in special ed to take care of his “emotional needs”… my gut tells me if we took care of his intellectual needs his emotions would rise to occasion, but I’m in the minority. Sadly, I’m looking forward to eventually receiving the awful note you’ve referenced…. though I’d much rather receive the one you’ve written.”

    • “That sounds creepily helicopter-ey. Maybe in lazy but I enjoyed downtime in school. I liked lounging around after I finished, napping, doodling, reading the book I brought, lol.”

      I usually enjoyed doing my own reading, drawing, or whatever more than anything that I was supposed to be doing. I’m pretty sure that much of this is laziness, but there was some boredom involved. A book a teacher told me to read isn’t likely to be as interesting as a book I chose to read. Textbooks in particular can be quite dry and unstimulating.

      “What do you think of this?”

      I noticed that one. It seems sad and pathetic, but it is also sort of amusing. I could just imagine the teacher that has to deal with that kid and that parent. The stories that must get told in the teachers’ lounge.

      That kid is probably screaming because the parent is so clueless. Then again, maybe the kid screams because of a lack of basic social skills or maybe the kid is just used to getting his own way by being annoying enough to his parents.

      Whatever the explanation, it seems justified that he is in special ed classes. A screaming kid is not normal. Most kids don’t start screaming every time they get frustrated. That kid has some serious issues, probably inherited from his parents.

  52. “I can give you a thousand reasons why I’m asking you – pleading with you – not to use the word retarded. I can explain how its use perpetuates discrimination, dehumanizes the disabled, normalizes hurtful stereotypes. I can talk to you at length about why intent is irrelevant. I can tell you that I know full-well that it has a dictionary definition that might be useful in certain circumstances, but that it’s connotation is no longer separable from the pain of the insult that it undeniably implies. I can tell you that its use as casual deprecation displays just as much a lack of creativity as an abundance of insensitivity. I can tell you that there a hundred better words that you could choose. Yes, I could give you a thousand reasons why I’m asking you – pleading with you – not to use the word retarded. Instead, I give you just one. My beautiful daughter. She deserves better.” -Diary Of A Mom

    • I’m all for using the most clear language possible for communicating well. But changing words doesn’t change reality.

      Yes, the word retarded has become stigmatized. We could all start using a new word. Then, after a while, that new word would become stigmatized. It’s not really the word that is stigmatized, but the condition itself. Superficial political correctness won’t solve that problem.

      A word is just a word. In this case, it is a word that technically describes a condition. Is there a better word that is more accurate and meaningful? I’d be open to hearing a case for another term to be used in its place. But a parent pointing to their child is not much of an argument.

      Anyway, what does she even mean? Her daughter deserves better… huh? How is using a different word going to change anything about her daughter?

  53. Here’s some links the mum shared.

    “‘The mind of a gifted child is wired differently than neurotypical kids,”

    Great. So it belongs in the DSM-IV then? I mean a lot of people with the conditions in that book go on to do cool things too.

    Great. So high iq isn’t enough to be gifted?

    Time to go outside and get struck by lighting 😀

    Honestly my head hurts now. My mind is too small to understand because it feels endlessly contradictory to me.

    • ”And let’s face it, shouldn’t we all be accepting of everyone’s differences despite what those differences may be? Shouldn’t we be looking for the good and the potential in others instead of being intolerant of their differences which we quickly judge as something unacceptable? Shouldn’t we appreciate the gifts, potential and talents of others, and not feel the need to marginalize or destroy these gifts, potential and talents? Shouldn’t we stop casting stones at the cacti?”

    • From the first link:

      “The U.S. Department of Education defines the academically gifted as “students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.”

      “The UK Department for Children, Schools, and Families has a less verbose definition of gifted and talented students: “children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop those abilities).””

      The UK definition seems more straightforward and less ideologically motivated. The US one, on the other hand, seems to imply gifted as an unusual breed of intellectual elite that can’t thrive under normal conditions, like some rare hothouse flower.

      What about students, children, or youth who give evidence of all that is described but do just fine in normal schooling? By definition, they would not be labeled gifted. The US definition requires that the kid be dysfunctional or inadequately functional under normal education conditions that all other kids are forced to endure. So, any kid who does fine in school therefore can’t be gifted. It’s that weird conflation of giftedness and abnormality.

      “no one really knows how many children are gifted or whether the proportion of them in the student body is growing or shrinking. “To know for sure, you’d have to precisely define criteria for giftedness, then do a big epidemiological-type study canvassing a whole country,” says Winner. “Gifted kids do seem more visible now, but it may be that because of advances in technology and communication more are showing up who wouldn’t have been noticed before.””

      Well, no one really knows much of anything about this. It’s highly probable that, under the most optimal conditions, that 99.9% of children would express gifted potential in one or more areas of ability.

      What is even less known is whether most Americans, specifically most of the economic and political elite, would ever care to try to create optimal conditions for most children to find out what results could be achieved. If we took care of all environmental problems and found out that poor minorities have the same genetic potential as everyone else, then the entire American social order would be shown to be morally invalid and injust.

      “In contrast to an especially smart kid of great general ability, the prodigy has a distinct form of giftedness that’s far more advanced and focused on a single interest.”

      Most kids are more advanced and focused on some particular interest, as compared to other things, if and when they are given the opportunities, resources, and/or encouragement to pursue that particular interest. As general ability increases, so will the greater abilities increase.

      “These are the children who devour books (often nonfiction) before entering kindergarten; who teach themselves algebra or musical notation as toddlers; who take our breath away with their piano prowess, their devastatingly efficient chess moves, or their visionary artwork. With prodigies, the rage to master is extreme. They are attracted to a subject early and learn rapidly, approaching it with unshakable concentration.”

      What if this is merely an expression of the normal potential that exists in almost every child? What if the limitations exist in the environment, instead of in the child? What if we stopped stunting children with pollution/toxicity, malnourishment, psychological stress, low social capital, underfunded schools, school-to-prison pipelines, poverty, inequality, etc?

      “prodigiousness, Feldman discovered, often does not lead to happy adulthoods.”

      Most Americans and most people in the world don’t have all that happy of adulthoods. What kind of fucktard would equate prodigiousness with psychological health? Oh yeah, the same kind that measures giftedness by speed.

      We lived in a messed up society. It’s surprising that there aren’t even more unhappy adults. Being intelligent and learned, if anything, is going to lead to depression because then you might even more fully realize how fucked up is our society. I tend to believe that ignorance is bliss or at least ignorance is contentment, except for those on the lowest rungs of the social ladder, the severely impoverished and homeless, as it is going to suck for them no matter their level of intelligence or ignorance.

      “Researchers see the gifted child (along with other outliers, such as savants, autistic children, and very high-IQ cases) as among the more striking manifestations of human potential. Understanding their intellectual development is an important key to deciphering the complexities of intellectual development across the entire spectrum of children.”

      That is an actually interesting comment. We haven’t even begun to explore the full reaches of human potential. The most gifted kid right now will likely seem like a retard to people centuries from now, if the human civilization lasts that long and societal improvements continue to follow present trends.

      ““It’s been argued that the brain is limitless as to how much information can be stored in a lifespan,” says Castellanos, “and no one has proven otherwise. What’s profoundly limited is how many things we can hold in our mind at one time, available for processing. The magic number for humans seems to be seven, plus or minus two.” To get to a novel thought, a person has to be able to maintain several things up in the air, ready to manipulate.”

      I can’t say I have a great working memory. I easily forget things and don’t always recall them again very quickly. I’ve learned tricks to finding info I need. I remember info less than I remember connections to and between info. This is why the internet is a boon for me. I can work around my insufficient working memory.

      In the future, technology might cause more people to operate at higher levels of cognitive functioning. Not only will better conditions create better cognitive functioning on its own, but there will be more and better ways to compensate for less developed and proficient areas of cognitive functioning. Combined together, the average level of intelligence might skyrocket. The higher range of development might become the new norm.

      “Surprisingly, humans and monkeys have identical working-memory capacities. But modern humans have learned, in a profoundly useful adaptation, to hack the limits of working memory through a process called chunking, in which information is analyzed and compressed into composite nuggets that are more memorable and easier to process.”

      This is one of the many things that few people ever learn well. Most schools don’t teach this. Just imagine if every kid was taught how to do this. We rarely teach kids the love of learning, much less how to learn. I can’t help but repeat that we’ve barely scratched the surface of human potential.

      “For one thing, cognitive abilities don’t appear fully formed at birth; they develop over time through a complex interplay between nature and nurture. (Research has attributed genetic influence on human intelligence to between 30 and 80 percent of its total variance.) Among the most important discoveries in recent years is that environment triggers gene expression. Although most personal characteristics — everything from perseverance to memory — are influenced by our genes, they are not fully determined by them.”

      It’s nice to see them acknowledging that. Even so, they still simplify it. I think they are talking about heritability when they mention the 30 to 80 percent. But heritability, as I like to point out, doesn’t mean what people think it means. It’s a term that is often used in inexact, sloppy ways when being discussed in articles and blogs. For most people, the entire gene-plus-environment is being inherited from parents, which gets magnified by the epigenetic factor. It’s related to why most wealth in the US is inherited wealth, and none of it has anything to do with genetics by itself. Genes don’t exist in a vacuum.

      “And yet, the evidence is stacking up that talent and practice are complementary, rather than oppositional, and far more intertwined than originally thought. All human characteristics, including the capacity and proclivity to deliberately practice, involve a mix of nature and nurture.

      ““Unfortunately, many people have an overly simplistic understanding of talent,” says University of Pennsylvania psychologist Kaufman, who writes about intelligence and creativity in his Beautiful Minds blog for Scientific American. “In fact, there is no such thing as innate talent,” Kaufman contends. “Gareth Bale wasn’t born with the ability to score memorable goals. There are certainly genetic influences, but talents aren’t prepackaged at birth; they take time to develop.” In other words, high achievers are born, then made.”

      It’s kind of funny that simplistic understanding of others was criticized, but then a still too simplistic explanation was offered.

      Much of human development happens in utero. On top of that, epigentics shows that the development of the parents, grandparents, and who knows how many generations back will shape and determine the development of a child. The generations of blacks who were enslaved might still be within the range of epigenetic influence of present generations, although the area of research is still too new for us to know the full implications and how far they extend.

      We aren’t just born with genetics. Our entire ancestry and environment shapes us before we even leave the womb.

      “According to Feldman, the path from supersmart kid to worldchanging adult depends mostly on what he calls “the co-incidence process.” Feldman’s research (now backed up by others) makes it clear that the circumstances have to be just right for talent to flourish. “From the starting point of innate, natural ability,” Feldman says, “specific talents tend to require specific environments very well suited to their development.””

      That is an important factor, luck. I would point out, though, that an individual’s chances of being lucky increase along with the increasing levels of inherited wealth, opportunity, privilege, etc. So-called luck isn’t entirely random. It’s harder to have a lucky life of “the coincidence process” if you are born poor, malnutritioned, lead poisoned, abused, and maybe worse. It’s hard to be gifted or even above average IQ when all the world is against you.

      “For instance, the SMPY subjects were a fortunate bunch of kids from the start. Without encouragement from parents or teachers, they likely wouldn’t have taken the SAT early. Their advantages continued to compound after they were identified as “exceptionally gifted.” Unlike many — perhaps most — gifted children, they gained access to unusually rich learning experiences. These included special attention from schools and teachers and invitations to hyper-intensive summer programs, such as the ones that Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs, and Germanotta attended, where they could gorge themselves on a year’s worth of math or science or literature in a few weeks.”

      Exactly! The issue of class is central. These are the things that typically only middle-to-upper class kids have access to.

      ““This is not a trivial point,” says Winner. “Because it indicates that, of the [possibly] millions of children who are born with the potential to propel themselves to mastery, only a tiny portion are ever given a chance, due to accidents of fate. Imagine if Taylor had been born as an Aborigine in the Outback in Western Australia. There would be no technology, no environment, no mentors, no cultural context that would have matched his interests and abilities.””

      Not just possibly. It is guaranteed that there are at least millions of such children. Humans have very little genetic diversity, among the least genetic diversity of all the higher intelligent social species. It is highly unlikely that genetics alone is the key difference that separates the intellectual elite from the average and below-average masses.

      ““Money can buy time, but when it comes to parenting, it often does not. Money can also buy a top-notch education, but prestigious prep schools are not set up to indulge exotic talents unrelated to bagging a spot at an Ivy League university. Formal schooling is just one piece of the prodigy puzzle, which also includes parenting, personal characteristics, social/ emotional development, family aspects (such as birth order, gender, and traditions), access to resources, and historical forces and trends. When all those things happen to be in coordination and are sustained for a sufficient period, a child born with extraordinary potential can bloom. When one or more elements are missing, inborn talent is more likely to wither.”

      This seems a bit clueless. Yes, money does buy time. Wealthier parents experience less stress, are less overworked, are less likely to get divorced, and tend to have a mother that stays at home with the kids. Wealthy parents can afford to give their kids their time, instead of both parents working long hours at multiple jobs. Also, wealthy parents can afford tutors, after school activities, summer camps, high quality alternative schools, and on and on.

      You have to be a frigging idiot to not realize that all of this matters immensely. It doesn’t guarantee the wealthy parents’ kid will turn out well, but it increases the probability to a massive degree. It may just be one piece of the prodigy puzzle, but let’s be honest by pointing out that it is one of the biggest pieces. Yes, other factors as described matter. I’m just surprised that the author doesn’t have the common sense to realize that all of those other factors are directly or indirectly tied into class issues.

      Why is it even in a generally good piece like this that there still is such resistance to stating the obvious?

    • The second link got me thinking. There is a valid point being made, even if there is a lot of confusion thrown in. Many of these people get caught up in ideological bullshit about giftedness. For example, there was a blog post linked with the typical rhetoric one expects:

      “Intensity is one of the many forms of neurodiversity that are misunderstood, not tolerated and aggravated by our culture. Unharnessed, emotional, intellectual and energetic intensity can feel overwhelming to people who are not intense.”

      Retardation and sociopathy are also some of the many forms of neurodiversity. I’m not sure intensity is any less understood than anything else.

      It’s like the screaming kid. Understanding quite likely isn’t the central problem. A kid screaming at you is overwhelming to most people, even if the kid genuinely was gifted and one understood this. It’s still just another annoying kid who is pushing a teacher to the edge of sanity and generally creating a disturbance for the entire class.

      So, all the normals are supposed to tolerate gifted people’s intensity and general assholism, but gifted people shouldn’t be required to tolerate anyone else, especially not tolerate the social norms of normal people. Well, fuck you!

      “To the intense person, what seems like nothing to most people, for example, seeing a typo or mistake, can trigger such a strong emotional discomfort that it feels like being hit by a crashing wave.”

      It’s a two-way street. We don’t all live to serve the gifted in the hope that they will kindly rule over us as the future intellectual elite. To the normal person, what seems like neurodiversity to the gifted advocate, for example, a screaming kid or a self-righteous bully who thinks they are special snowflakes, can trigger a strong emotional discomfort that it feels like these gifted advocates are just making excuses for massive social dysfunction and inappropriate behavior that is unfair to everyone else.

      “I’m not saying the answer is to tolerate anyone treating people disrespectfully. But I am saying that perhaps the disrespectful outbursts are a reaction to being chronically disrespected by others in a way that is systematically condoned and leaves them no recourse.”

      This person is making a decent point. Still, this comes off as bullshit.

      I had all kinds of emotional, behavioral, and social issues as a child. I fit the type of person that is being described. Even so, my parents didn’t tolerate rudeness, didn’t tolerate disrespectful and disruptive behavior. They helped me as best they could, but also taught me how to act according to social norms and to get along with other people. They didn’t go around making excuses when I acted out.

      Maybe disrespectful outbursts are a reaction to being chronically disrespected by others. Then again, maybe it’s the other way around. It is meaningless to say you aren’t tolerating such behavior when you implicitly condone it in trying to explain it away by saying the child shouldn’t take responsibility for his own behavior because it supposedly is the fault of everyone else.

      More interesting is another article that was linked:

      “There is the abundant available evidence that gifted children show enhanced sensory activation and awareness. Gifted brains are essentially “hyper-sensitive,” and can be rendered even more so through training. Not only are the initial impressions especially strong, but also the later recollections are often unusually intense or vivid. Because vivid initial impressions correlate with better recollection, gifted brains are also characterized by increased memory efficiency and capacity. These memories are not only especially intense and enduring memories, but they are also frequently characterized by multimodality, involving memory areas that store many different types of memories, such as personal associations, different sensory modalities like color, sound, smell, or visual images, or verbal or factual impressions. This multimodality means that gifted thinkers often make connections in ways other people don’t. They frequently have special abilities in associational thinking (including analogy and metaphor) and in analytical or organizational skills (through which diverse associations are understood and systematized).

      “As a result of these special brain characteristics, gifted thinkers typically enjoy benefits including more vivid sensing, prodigious memory, greater fund of knowledge, more frequent and varied associations, and greater analytic ability. However, these same neurological characteristics carry a number of potential drawbacks, including sensory, emotional, and memory overload, sensory hypersensitivities, personal disorganization, sensory distractibility, delayed processing due to “analysis paralysis” (or getting “lost in thought” due to an excess of options), and mental fatigue.”

      There is research data out there that points toward apparent connections. I’ve looked at a lot of this type of research in terms of liberal-mindedness, which correlates to higher IQ along with FFM openness, Hartmann’s thin boundary type, and MBTI intuition and perceiving. This negatively correlates to other things such as FFM conscientiousness, which gets expressed in terms of one’s ability and desire to follow norms and fit in.

      There is something about independent and creative thought that, from the perspective of some people, can seem problematic. Liberals, for example, express a greater willingness to smack their own fathers; whereas conservatives just think that is plain wrong, even just to think about it. Or take another example as a liberal being less bothered by the sight of rotten fruit or a story about incest. And it is true that liberals on average have messier rooms and are more likely to become addicted to drugs. As I’ve conjectured, this fluid psychology may be related to fluid intelligence, one aspect that gets measured on certain IQ sub-tests.

      Still, these are just probabilities. None of this is to say that all or even most such people fit all of these patterns. It’s just a slightly, not massively, larger percentage. It’s not as if that many liberals have ever actually smacked their fathers. Being a liberal doesn’t cause one to feel uncontrollable urges, just more willing to consider it as a hypothetical and maybe fantasize about it. Likewise, even if higher intelligence is proven to be directly related to higher sensitivity, there is no reason to think that screaming should be considered within the normal range for the cognitively precocious and academically talented.

      These are just correlations. That is not a reason to jump to conclusions about causal links, as if there is some deterministic mechanism at play, as if these annoying brats and genius bullies can’t help themselves. Both kids and parents still have to take responsibility or else suffer the consequences, like any other person.

      Noting these correlations is not the same thing as making excuses for a screaming kid. If a kid really can’t control himself, then he needs to be in a special ed class, at least until he learns self-control. He might be a genius, but that doesn’t lessen the very real problems of his behavior. With such massive issues, he needs to be homeschooled or, if possible, to be put into an alternative school.

      The rest of the article deals with mostly generalizations of questionable value. I really don’t think what is being discussed is exactly or entirely about giftedness. I notice how much of what is described would apply to even kids that no one would mistake as gifted. Too much is getting mixed up. There are some interesting connections to be made, but that would require much more careful analysis and more useful language.

      • That fits me to a tee. I still right now can get overwhelmed by the info I process. I’m also very thin-boundaried which tends to bite me in the ass a lot. I just end up internalizing everything and having massive internal conflict. Being sensitive has drawbacks; it hasn’t really been good for me so far, actually. So much thyat all that prolonged stress has blunted it a bit. I used to have a good menory and vivid, clear memories of all small shit. But since the peak of my depression and anxiety in high school, it’s failed a little. I find my mental health is better when I can blunt my sensitivity and intensity, frankly. Does it make me less ”blessed by god?” I am not sure. I find I can think more clearly and carefully these days.

        Anyway, I sure don’t want someone who acts out due to frustration and boredom ever ruling over me, LOL. If he screams due to school boredom, how is he gonna handle the adult world where frustration and boredom are facts of life? It almost sounds like these parents are unintentionally coddling them.

      • Anyway, I believe it is because some of the parents want to believe that their kid’s problems are only because the school and the normals aren’t coddling him and letting him be bored and frustrated. They really seem to believe that the psycholigical problems would go away once he’s in a gifted program or moer coddled by the teacher.

        Their problems aren’t even unique to gifted kids. Raising gifted kids is hard because they can be sensitive, bratty, argumentative? That’s pretty normal for any kid. But most of these parents don’t have normal kids, they seem to only have their gifted kid.

      • IIt sounds like gifted is similar to autism.

        Too ideological for me. Is there such thing as a high iq person who is pretty ”normal” personality wise?

      • “That fits me to a tee.”

        It fits me as well. Much of your description of yourself describes me. Like you, I’ve blunted my sensitivity. I suppose it has helped.

        The main difference between you and I are memory issues, which connect to my learning disability. It is interesting that your memory has worsened and mine has improved.

        My memory used to be so bad that I’m glad it didn’t worsen or I’d be in real trouble. My memory for practical info (names, faces, dates, etc) still sucks, and I hate to imagine what my memory will be like if I make it to old age. At least, I’m used to having a bad memory and so have spent my entire life compensating for it. Maybe loss of memory with old age will be less traumatic for me than for many people.

        “It almost sounds like these parents are unintentionally coddling them.”

        I’m with you about the coddling. But I don’t want to be cold and different to the problems of others. I don’t want to be dismissive, which is easy to do.

        I don’t think gifted advocates are entirely wrong. I just think they are confused and misdirected. It’s not as if many of these so-called gifted kids don’t have problems and don’t need help. They do, but gifted advocacy seems counter-productive. Uncontrollable screaming is not normal, even for cognitively advanced children. Although I hope that screaming kid gets help, I doubt putting him in a gifted program is going to do much good. Putting kids like that in a gifted program would just turn it into an expensive babysitting service.

        “Their problems aren’t even unique to gifted kids.”

        That is what keep thinking about. There is a wide diversity and spectrum of problems that are being jumbled together. Maybe the confusion comes from, as you point out, that many of these parents don’t have normal kids and so have no clue what normal looks like. They assume every problem their child has is unique and must be connected to some mysterious severely gifted syndrome.

        I like that. I’m going to refer to these kids this way. That screaming kid for sure has a severe case of gifted syndrome. Whatever that kid has, I’m not sure I’d call it a gift, but it is severe.

        “IIt sounds like gifted is similar to autism.”

        That is the other thing that comes to mind. Giftedness seems to be just another way of talking about a form of autism or something like that. I’m calling this newly discovered psychiatric condition the severely gifted syndrome. The more common name shall be giftardation and the kids can be referred to as giftards.

        “Too ideological for me. Is there such thing as a high iq person who is pretty ”normal” personality wise?”

        I haven’t looked at the data. But I suspect that most high IQ people and even most genius people don’t have major psychological and social problems. These parents with dysfunctional ‘gifted’ kids are dealing with issues that aren’t even normal on the high end of the cognitive spectrum. Some of these kids obviously need help, but I don’t know that it has much to do with education in any direct way.

  54. An interesting article. I think eliminating #7 will be hard because I’ve seen comments from parents of Gifted children who advocate shifting the Special Needs budget for disabled students over to the gifted because the gifted are “our future doctors, scientists and business leaders”.
    The very last sentence of point #3 makes me wonder if nongifted are to always excuse outbursts, meltdowns or disengagements from the gifted.
    Celi TrépanierCeli Trépanier
    January 2, 2015
    Douglas, I enjoy your insights and comments! I don’t like shifting any budget away from any group of students–period. Every child should be provided an appropriate education which will give him the tools to succeed no matter which career or job he chooses. Idealistic, I know. Governments also need to fund education fully to where it does not end up a give and take, or where some students’ educational needs are sacrificed for another group of students. I wish more people here in America would squawk when funds are shifted out of the educational budget at the state level to pay for non-educational line items.
    I don’t think outbursts or meltdowns are to be excused, but understanding the causes, lessening the causes such as providing a challenging education, and learning how to handle the behavioral issues would go a long way to help gifted children. Ironically, many, many of these issues are not really issues among gifted homeschoolers who have a much more appropriate education.
    Thanks again for leaving your thoughts.
    Linda Anderson
    June 12, 2015
    We had this problem with our daughter from K-2. She was writing cursive by K was reprimanded by her teacher when she “wrote” her name on a paper. She was told she was not supposed to learn that u til 2nd grade. When she finished her work she was put to teacher errands such as sorting papers and dusting erasers. When I asked them to give her more work, I was told she would get too far ahead of the other children. When I approached administration and school board, everything was geared to slower children but nothing toward advanced ones. We pulled her out of public school mid second grade and enrolled in private church school that allowed her to work at her own pace. She is graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science & Arts and is a fabulous RN at a large hospital doing what she loves. She has a 15 yr old giftie son who is well on his way to great things as well.

    • Bernie Sanders supposedly wants to shift funds to education by taking it away fron the military-industrial complex. That way, education for all kids in all schools in all communities can be funded without increasing taxes or debt. With greater funding, there could be all the diversity of classes and programs for every kind of student, rich and poor, white and minority, high IQ and low, ‘gifted’ and special ed; even the average kids can get more funding for basic education.

      Parents need to stop seeing other parents as competition and instead see them as allies to fight a political system that redirects potential funds to the wealthy, whether the military-industrial complex, bank bailouts, or corporate subsidies.

      Americans don’t lack wealth, not in economic capital nor in social capital and for damn sure not in natural resources. The US government doesn’t lack funding for whatever they want to fund. Anytime the war drums are beat upon, there is always money to be had. It’s just that so much money gets wasted or rather stolen through corruption.

  55. But deserts are so pretty! lolol.

    At my school district the kids who got the A papers were because their parens had helped 😦 No “this is too good, you didnt do it”

    But what about ”worse?”

    WTF????? Steve Jobs had issues with people because he could be an asshole. Nothing to do with him being smart!’

    “‘In the end, Steve Jobs was one of those gifted people who many were unwilling to tolerate, and eventually he was ousted from Apple. Thankfully for the world, he had the strength of character to persevere past the envy, the intolerance and the retaliation; he persevered and returned to Apple, the visionary who brought us iPods, iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. Sadly, many of our gifted children and adults are unable to move past the intolerance, the resentment, the biases, and the bullying. Their discoveries, ideas and visions have been marginalized, stolen or refuted. Or worse, the creatively gifted children who have been misunderstood and mistreated because of society’s intolerance of their differences, fail to grow and thrive, and as a society, we lose out on their potential to create, to envision and bring us innovative solutions, discoveries and ideas.”

    It’s not just smartness that gets bullied. People who break stereotypes face it. As an example, Asian who exhibit non-stereotypical traits like asseriveness are often bullied.

    ”It often seems to be the first common human reaction to judge people negatively when their behavior is significantly different or better from the norm–they are not exhibiting bad, negative or hurtful behavior– just significantly different or better than most.”

    ”Our emotionally-intense and creatively gifted fellow human beings are much like the metaphorical cacti standing out amongst the desert of humanity. ”

    ”One such group whose differences we often have biases against are the highly-creative, emotionally-intense gifted individuals. We seem to distrust their unique abilities, and we also often, out of jealousy, cast stones at these individuals who seem to stand taller, seem wiser, are more creative, or rise above our own intellect, skills and capabilities. We also know this phenomena as the tall poppy syndrome. ”

    ”My oldest son is a gifted artist who started drawing with a passion when he was two years old. In second grade, he entered the yearly poster contest hosted by our local public library during National Library Week. He submitted his poster to his school who in turn sent it on to the public library for judging. A few days later, the school called to let me know that they had received a call from the library questioning whether or not my son had actually drawn his poster by himself. The school confirmed that in fact he had, having seen his work many times before, but the school called me just to verify that it was his original work. Understandable, but an example of the common human reaction to something that stands out from the ordinary. Did every child who submitted a poster get a call to authenticate their art? I understand totally their need to confirm that my son’s poster was his original work, but it was the initial doubt, the suspicion that the poster was not the work of my son, and I needed to verify that my son had indeed drawn the poster himself.”

    ”“There was one time in 7th grade that I had written a French (my husband’s native tongue is French) exam and one of the questions was to write a short essay on something, anything. I felt very inspired at that moment and wrote something that turned out to be exceptional to the point that I got a zero. The teacher claimed that I had copied it from a novel or whatever other book, and that there was no way that I would be capable to write something like that. I argued my point and he finally returned my paper with a 50% and a note saying “benefit of the doubt”. I don’t remember much of anything else of this teacher and 7th grade, but this left a lifelong scar that I will never forget. In my mind’s eyes, I can still see where I was standing in the classroom discussing this with him. As clearly as people remember where they were on 9-11…. It was probably my first teaching that being me wasn’t cool. But I had no idea what I was dealing with then….””

    • The Steve Jobs part was the most idiotic. His being an asshole and his being smart are two separate issues. There is no causal link between the two. I’ve met plenty of stupid assholes and smart nice people.

      • They sounds entitled as shit. Reminds me of the comment in the other thread about the insufferable parents and spoiled ass kids.

        The USA gifted scene is so ideologically driven. They imply that gifted=good morals, and when someone is an asshole it’s becaus they’re too smart for other people.

        It’s obnoxious as fuck. It might not be conscious, but some of these people seem to really see the normal masses as inherently beneath them, even eile the normal masses oppress thrm

  56. Try not being white and acting against streeotypes in te workplace. It blows ass.

    I had a grade 6 teacher who failed me on a project on black holes because I had no “scrap notes”, no first or second draft (hand-written, as this was the early 70’s) — only a type-written final draft. My father tried to convince the teacher that I had written the essay, by dictating it to my Dad after having read a bunch of books on the topic. We finally had to get the principal to intervene, and after FOUR TIMES (F, C-, C+, B- A-) I finally got an A- on the paper, and although the principal and both vice-principals agreed that the paper deserved an A+, the teacher refused, because he refused to believe a 10-year-old could possibly have written such a paper. I have quite a few other stories both from school, to now, as an adult IT consultant where bosses refused to accept that I had come up with a solution when better-trained and more experienced techs hadn’t, and more often than not have been PUNISHED for doing so. Extremely gifted? More like extremely cursed.

  57. One of my son’s friends came to his birthday party (this child says everything that comes to mind, when it comes to mind – bless his little heart) and told us that so and so’s parents were talking bad about A and he told them to stop because they were only jealous because A was so smart. It is sad when a 9 year old has to put an adult in their place, especially because he overheard them gossiping, with other adults, about a friend.
    An adult jealous of an 8 year old who only wants to know everything there is to know about chemistry because he wants to develop medicines to cure disease? Really, this is the kid you are jealous of? This kid who is only working a year or two ahead in math and reading, so he is not that far off of the curve, but who is already working on memorizing the periodic table? Who is reading college level cliff notes on microbiology (he isn’t quite ready for an actual textbook yet) just so he can find out new things because the kid books don’t have this stuff? This kid who runs towards the non-fiction section of every bookstore and library, but is judged because he does not read the fiction books that others expect a gifted child to want to read. This kid, if properly encouraged, who might reach his goals and find the medicine(s) to treat or cure a disease you or a loved one might have one day? Not just because he is smart, that is only a small part of it, but simply because he is driven to do so by an internal motor over which he has no control. He simply saw a science book one day, read through it, and fell in love. As simple as that. This is the kid you “hate?”

  58. SMDH

    Exactly, Christy, exactly! It’s like cutting off their nose to spite their face. Cutting down the tall poppy only to find out you really needed what that tall poppy had to offer.

    • So I’m supposed to rally around your kid, fork over money, to help your kid, who has been blessed by god/genetics/santa, become the next ruler/cure-maker, since your kid was given the gift, while my kid and all the other kids were given coal? I’m supposed to rally around your kid because even though he’s just a kid now, he’s gonna be the boss of/cure/change my and all the other kids?

      BUT, he’s not gonna achieve his meant destiny, and will fade to obscurity like the rest of the kids, if we don’t rally around him?

    • We can prevent the entire future ruling elite simply by not funding gifted classes? Awesome! I didn’t know it would be so easy. I guess we don’t need a revolution after all.

      The problem will solve itself in time. Gifted children are similar how the GOP sees “welfare queens.” Just stop feeding them and they’ll go away.

      Or we could take a more proactive approach. Do you think we could sell our gifted children to the same countries where American factories have been relocated? Maybe these gifted kids could grow up to become managers of American factories in foreign countries. They could innovate new ways to make the technological gadgets we Americans love so much.

      I bet some foreign schools have effective methods for dealing with screaming, obnoxious ‘gifted’ kids. We can outsource our gifted programs. That would also save money because some of these other countries will do it more cheaply, and fewer worries about expensive unionized teachers.

  59. im sure my teacher would have just thought ti was funny

    When I was in second grade, we had an upcoming parent conference around Halloween. So the teacher ordered the class to make some art to decorate the room. The orders were, “Draw a man with two orange heads.” Everyone else drew a man with a head on each shoulder (orange, some jack-o-lanterns, some not). I drew a regular man. In each of his hands was a jack-o-lantern. I thought it was a man, with two orange heads.
    The teacher sent me to the principal’s office. The principal told me that I was in trouble for not following instructions. I was paddled.
    Yes, I was paddled for drawing a man with two orange heads, when ordered to draw a man with two orange heads.
    The same teacher later in the year, would lock me in the closet over lunch.
    Not my only bad memories of school, but some of the early ones that stick out.
    Ended up doing quite well in gifted classes and such in high school and college.
    J. J. Pershing Elementary, DISD. c.a. 1980.

  60. Average people becoming average joes is normal cause they’re average. Gifted peopele not becoming the inventors, leaders, of the world is because their community failed them

    • One could argue that maybe many average kids are more gifted than is typically recognized and many gifted kids are more average than many would like to admit. That is to say that maybe the average of human potential is far higher than we can presently imagine and maybe what we consider as gifted isn’t really all that special in the big scheme of human potential.

      Or for argument’s sake, let’s assume gifted people really are that special. In that case, they apparently are failing their one and only purpose in life, to be the leaders, visionaries, and inventors who are supposed to solve all of our problems. Why are we normals supposed to figure out how to solve the problems of gifted people. Since they are so impressive in their abilities beyond our comprehension, they should be able to solve their own problems and then solve ours.

      I’m just saying that I want some guarantees. If we redirect most of our school funding to the supposed future ruling intellectual elite, we better get results for all that massive investment. But if they don’t end up solving all our problems and leading us into a brighter future, do we get our money back?

  61. As always I feel like I need to add the disclaimer that things could always be so much worse. I am so thankful for our blessings and how healthy our kids are. That never ever escapes me. But, I think anyone who finds themselves living a life different than they planned, has an adjustment period. You have to let go of what you expected, what you thought would happen, and find a way to your Plan B. Or Plan C. You have to dream new dreams. And that journey has been what the last year has been for me.
    Acceptance has been hard. I’m not going to lie, even though that would sound better. Either I really suck at it, or I’m just not quick to sugar coat it and pretend as some might be, who knows. In day to day life I try to, I put on a smile and try and say it’s all “great”. But it’s not. It’s hard. Some days are dark and I’m consumed with fear and worry. It’s not that I don’t accept my darling daughter for who she is, it’s not that kind of acceptance. It’s accepting that you, mama bear, aren’t going to be able to “fix” this. As you start the journey, you not only have to adjust to finding a new way for so many things, but so much of your life is about tests, evaluations, therapy, doctors, rating scales and constant reminders of the deficits. The focus is overwhelmingly on what is wrong. And you struggle with that inner voice that says no, I WILL fix this. I CAN fix this. I just have to do more, fight harder, look closer, do better. It’s letting go of, and accepting that, which is hard.

    This week we spent four days at therapy, I spent five hours filling out questionnaires where most of the questions were about her skills and most of the answers were “no”, and then three hours being questioned, and having her evaluated, at the special needs preschool by a psychologist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist. Ultimately, those are all things that focus on the weaknesses. They focus on what she can’t do. They focus on what is “normal” for her age, and how she is so far behind that. Nobody focuses on the fact that she can say “orange” or the puzzle she can do, those little victories I try to cling to and share. The focus is on what she can’t do. They tell me where she fails, they tell me how far below “average” she is. I get it, I understand it, I know it is the path I have to push through to get her services she needs. But oh my hell, it’s not fun, and it beats you down.

  62. “‘bviously that’s not an actual option, but it hangs heavily in my mind. Two sides of the curve. I’m sure normal or average isn’t some place of nothing but blissful nirvana, but I realize I may never know what it’s like there. And sometimes I just want to sit firmly in a place of denial and ignore the fact that I really don’t know what “normal” would be like.

  63. Cool girl

    “‘Einstein himself never took an IQ test as none of the modern intelligence tests existed during the course of his life.

    Read more:
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    • Like, for g advocates it feels like a lot of pressure. Here is a smart girl who by all accounts seems pretty psychologically normal, thriving in school. etc. Even choosing a path that isn’t conventionally, stereotypically for geniiuses.

    • I’m sure the world is full of brilliant people living normal lives. It’s just that no one usually pays them any attention. It is only the strange, loner, bratty, and/or egomaniac genius that draws attention to themselves. Such people stand out because they are unusual even for geniuses. I don’t think geniuses are all that rare, depending on what one means by genius. There seems to be lots of super smart and talented people in all kinds of professions, but most of them don’t do anything that is spectacular. They just live their lives.

      • Like that gifted discussion, teu were talking about how oppressed they were, how people love geniuses like them when they’re so accomplished that people know they can’t measure up so they praise them. Bit of you are like them, geniuses who are better in a more attainable sense people hate them.

        People hate them unless the genius does something that benefits them, like cure their cancer. Otherwise people hate geniuses.

        Fr example people love reading about the accomplished scientists (geniuses) but hate their kid cause he is reading aheadx

        But you should be nice to their kid cause he’s gonna cure them.

        It’s really off-putting.

      • It’s not just off putting. It’s also disconnected from the real world. Most people simply don’t care about smart people.

        The world is full of smart people. Such people exist in every profession and at every level of society. There are geniuses flipping burgers and geniuses in prison. There are geniuses in government and in business. There are geniuses who are stay-at-home mothers who are athletes.

        Most smart people live normal lives and there is no particular reason anyone should treat them as special gifts from God. Besides, the people who succeed the most, achieve the most, and contribute the most aren’t always the smartest, for there are many other factors involved such as working hard.

        Plus, it seems shitty to put so much pressure on ‘gifted’ children. I’d hate to have felt like I had to grow up to be some great inventor, leader, etc… or else be deemed a failure. It also simply annoys people, all that Social Darwinian talk. It doesn’t make people feel sympathetic toward the ‘gifted’ agenda.

  64. A lot of gifted gurus seem to see innovation and science in a cartoon like way, single mad scientists getting epiphinanies after all that hard work.

    Their kids aren’t smart. They so different they’re in their own world. These kids who don’t fit in with the rest of us, are supposed to rule and advance the society tha is made up mostly of people very different from them.

    That mom commenting that people hate her kid, well her kids gonna be curing their diseases, sounds bitchy as fuck.

    Some of them complain about ostracization but I can’t help but wonder about the other sides view. Are they really just innocent people eating to talk about their kids and people be mad jelly?

    • I agree. There does seem to be a simpleminded notion of innovation, science, and other related things. To be honest, I’m less impressed by the average gifted advocate than I am by the average HBDer… and that is harsh criticism, as I’m not overly impressed by the average HBDer. But to be fair, the Americans in general aren’t all that impressive when it comes to such things. This is why our entire education system needs to be improved. Maybe we can begin by helping to educate or rather re-educate gifted advocates, and then we can have some meaningful public debate.

    • Well I left my comment four days ago and she hasn’t approved it (yet?) eh…

      This is an organization she volunteers with. She’s well intentioned, I think.

      Anyway I feel like total shit :/ She talked about her kid being tall for her age, but, she’s 5’8 as a 12 year old. That made me go wow!!!!!!!!

      It makes me wonder if her gifted kid is in general an early developer, mind and body :/

    • “She’s well intentioned, I think.”

      I don’t have any reason to doubt that. Many people are well intentioned. I’d point out that well intentioned people are at least as common as smart and talented people. The world is full of them. There are even many well intentioned people who are smart and talented.

      I wouldn’t even doubt that her good intentions in some ways may lead to good results. My parents come to mind as a comparable example. They are social conservatives with the kinds of biases that bother me, but they are also genuinely moral in their behavior, both donating money and volunteering their time. Their personally doing good doesn’t convince me that their ideologies will do good on the large scale.

      I don’t need to prove a person is morally worthless and personally harmful to think that their beliefs are wrong, unfounded, and possibly dangerous or at least unhelpful. There are good people holding nearly every kind of belief system imaginable.

  65. Like, that’s a lot of pressure for a kid. Even that mum commenting how gifted kids need supprt not judging because the kids are immense potential and are tomorrow’s leaders and innovators, that’s a lot of pressure for a kid.

    It’s off putting too. Like, why should other people support the efforts for you to basically claim your rightful place to rule over them?

    It’s like the kid is unhappy in coach class, he’s bullied and such. So mum wants us in coach to support her so she can achieve her rightful destiny of movin to first class( while we stay in coach.)

    • It is off putting. There is a sense of arrogant privilege and even self-righteousness that gets expressed by many gifted advocates. Most of it seems unconscious, not that unconsciousness is a good excuse. It’s just their worldview and they don’t even see why people are reacting negatively. They so easily and mindlessly parrot old school rhetoric of Social Darwinism, and they just don’t get why that is unacceptable to so many people.

    • Anyway, how do you know you are a natural genius if its been taken away? You could point to some test, but maybe the test was a fluke or maybe your results got accidentally switched with someone else. If you are a natural genius, shouldn’t be obvious to everyone? And if it’s not obvious, how can you be sure?

    • Some good comments.

      “Can you explain which part of evolutionary psychology is *not* highly speculative? Honest question. I don’t see where it is founded enough to see theories evolving from it as anything but speculation.”

      Mike from the Pioneer Valley, MA:
      “In fairness, it’s not like they’re assailing biochemistry or applied physics. They’re raising some doubts about a new science (evolutionary biology) and a study (evolutionary psychology) that has been questioned even by other scientists. So I can’t really see a strong case for the statement or implication that “feminism” disregards science.

      “Moreover, I’m grateful to anyone of any political stripe who questions the tendency of some scientific research to make broad extrapolations based on carefully controlled, artificially produced data.

      “Case in point, a recently released study that makes claims about the differences in men’s and women’s brains based on brain scans. Sounds ironclad until you consider that a disciplined reading of both the data and the conditions under which it was produced would limit you to saying that when human beings are lying flat on their backs connected by electrodes to an electromagnetic scanner, doing simple mental problems in their head, the scanner registers patterns of electrical conductance in their brains. That is considerably different than a huge categorical statement about the “differences” in men’s and women’s brains. How can that claim even be considered provisionally valid until they’re able to measure brain activity in real conditions? And given that, how secure are these findings about “difference” or “male” and “female” brains? I think the science itself here obliges us to be skeptical and to ask more questions.”

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