Genius, Talent, Inheritance

Where does talent and genius come from? Are they given or not at the onset of our lives? How much of it is malleable?

A very interesting and indeed potentially touchy subject, because of its ties to things like eugenics and what I’ll call “fundamental issues regarding the worth of humans”.

EA-community, Slatestarcodex

The conclusion from the two articles below seem to be that it (genius, talent) is inherited:

Guzey writes:

Here are possible conclusions you can take from this data:

  • The problem is access: money and resources give vastly better access to education and opportunity
  • The problem is ability: intelligence is largely inherited and smart parents will have smart children

I’m glad to have confirmed whichever of these you believed prior to reading this post.

Scott Alexander mentiones the research and opinions of Gregory Clark and Ezra Klein. Klein opts for an explanation based on compound interest of various kinds of capital, while Klein (in Scott alexander’s words) uses “inescapably inherited social competence” (almost eugenics-like).

The three explanations

A normal set of explanations for how we come to be as we are seems to be:

The first two make up the standard nature vs. nurture dichtomy, and the third is a catch-all option for the entire continuum in between.

It seems to me that this set of three explanations is fairly common, and serve as a “standard” set of possible situations that people often end up naturally taking basis in. This is a personal experience and is based on conversations with people regarding nature/nurture, gender determinism and the like.

The Wallenbergs

Über rich Swedish family.

Wallenberg family - Wikipedia

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