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How strong is the genetic influence in shaping human behavior compared to environmental influences (or learning factors)?
A strong environmental viewpoint:  

A strong genetic viewpoint:
Humans are blank slates with nearly  
Intelligence is 60-80% genetic, most
unlimited ability to learn and improve     temperamental traits around 50%
All men can learn to share in ways  
Even subtle innate differences are crucial
that avoid destructive competition  
in long term inter-group competition
Ignoring genetic differences is a key to  
Genetic differences can never be elimin-
  peace and social harmony     ated, therefore wise not to ignore them

Sample Argument:
The genetic influence is minor and the environment is everything. The human brain has a tremendous capacity for learning and adapting to new environments. Human similarities across mankind are vastly greater than differences. In the near term, at least, we can ignore racial differences to avoid war, maximize access to plentiful labor, and quickly grow businesses. When people put their minds to it, they can learn to form political coalitions and mutually beneficial economic arrangements that span racial and ethnic differences. National boundaries and indigenous culture are often obsolescent relics that get in the way of material progress. Interracial marriage is nothing to get excited about if we can rely on forms of learning and indoctrination to overcome racial separatist tendencies. We may even want to actively try to mix people up with interracial marriage, since this gives people a vested personal interest in supporting race-mixing ideologies as an end in itself. People's similarities are so much greater than their differences, that efforts to segregate on any level are often dangerous and even suspiciously "Hitlerian." Such efforts usually reflect unjustified snobbiness or forms of exploitive class conflict and oppression. Just as civilized life in a big city involves helping people learn how to adjust to each other by learning how to live in close proximity, so racial tolerance is just another component of civilized life. The answer to racial strife is more education and more social intervention by authorities and even more social integration until people finally learn how to get along.
. . .
Sample Argument:
The genetic factor is very important, if not critical. Twin studies confirm that most human temperamental traits are at least 50% genetic, and intelligence 60-80% genetic. There are also profound genetic differences between human racial groups based upon divergent evolutionary histories that are more than skin deep; for example the 15 point average IQ difference between blacks and whites involves differences in brain anatomy. Whites have about twice the cerebral folding density compared to blacks, and a vastly higher ratio of frontal cortex (related to abstract, analytical intelligence) compare to the anterior brain. Mixing an equal number of blacks and whites drops the number of people with IQs over 130 by 90%, a leadership loss no advanced civilization can afford. In regard to comparing whites with other races, or even internally among other groups of fellow whites, there are significant innate character trait differences that affect such qualities as honesty, reliability, and mental stability. In the long run race is a critical variable in the character of civilizations. Reproductive segregation is vital to preserve desirable traits. Cultural integrity is vital for a society to retain its cohesion, productivity, and competitiveness as well as preserve its biological integrity.
America's all-white society of the 19th century actually worked very well considering what the people had to deal with at the time. "Fixing" what was not "broke" with cultural social experimentation and racial "diversity" has in fact now made us "broke" and dysfunctional over a hundred years later in ways that were unheard of in the 19th century.


Genetic viewpoint: In regard to the contribution of genetics to behavior, I comment in my environmental vs. genetics article in my resolving opposing ideologies series.

Other experts weigh in higher. Dr. Arthur Jensen in Bias In Mental Testing reports, "Estimates of h² (ie., "broad heritability," which includes all of the genetic variance) for various standardized tests of intelligence vary from about .50 to .90 in different samples and populations, with a central tendency close to .75." (p. 244). In Intelligence and National Achievement, Dr. Raymond Cattell reported, "The accumulating evidence that 60-80% of intelligence should end... [a reluctance by most people to believe that intelligence is substantially inherited]. It is about as heritable as stature. By shifting from a generation with poor nutrition to one very well fed we can get a shift of average stature from about 5 ft. 7 ins. to 5 ft. 9 ins., but you cannot go on doing this."

Some of the best evidence to remove "environmental noise" comes from studies of identical twins who have been separated at birth and raised in different environments. The April 13, 1987 U.S. News & World Report article "The Gene Factor" provided the following examples where the Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research compared hundreds of identical twins against the general population and analyzed statistical variation. The percentages below show how much the traits are determined by heredity:

Extroversion Mixes easily, affable, likes to be the center of attention 61%
Conformity Respect tradition and authority, follows the rules 60%
Worry Easily distressed and frustrated, feels vulnerable and sensitive 55%
Creativity Tendency to become lost in thought and abstraction 55%
Paranoia Keeps to oneself, feels exploited, thinks "world is out to get me" 55%
Optimism Confident, cheerful, upbeat 54%
Cautiousness Avoids risks and dangers, takes safe route even if more difficult 51%
Aggressiveness Tends to be physically violent, has a taste for revenge 48%
Ambitiousness Works hard at setting and achieving goals, a perfectionist 46%
Orderliness Plans carefully, tries to make rational decisions 43%
Intimacy Prefers emotional closeness 33%

In regard to the gap between white and black IQ scores, I comment:

The 22 Jan 2006 National Vanguard article "Multiracialists Are Crazy Part 3 carried overlapping IQ graphs that illustrate the differences between blacks and whites. These data are taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, Version 1. According to The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, these kinds of overall population differences have persisted despite massive resources expended by environmentalists to eradicate them through "affirmative action" and other ill-fated programs.


Return to question 2

Proceed to commentary for question 3


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