Race-Related IQ

Philip Mcclean phil at beangenes.cws.ndsu.nodak.edu
Tue Dec 6 14:05:07 EST 1994

matt spitzer (mwspitze at uci.edu) wrote: : In article <3bavji$pke at news.iastate.edu>,
rox at iastate.edu (Roxanne R : Sweney) wrote: 

: > 	Currently I am pursuing an argumentative research paper on the topic
: > of IQ level inherited in terms of race.  Any information about this topic or
: > about the recently published book, The Bell Curve, would be greatly
: > appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

: would be consistent with a modular view of cognitive functions.  If
: cognitive functions are modular, then each subsystem, and consequently each
: function, may be subject to independent genetic control.  If so, studying
: the heritability of IQ (a unitary measure of cognitive ability) makes no
: sense.  

Actually you made the exact argument as to why IQ is analyzed as a quantiative
trait.  Quantitative traits are traits that are thought to be controlled by
many genes.  Each of the modular units could be considered a genetic factor
invovled in determine IQ.  The quantitative geneticist wishes to determine what the
effects of each of these genes has on IQ.  Unfortunately, they cannot be studied 
individually, but only as a group.  These types of studies is is a much more daunting and 
controversial task considering that with the advent of molecular genetics, the field has 
become reductionist.  Therefore all of the public argument regarding quantitative traits
such as IQ expects nice neat answers -- like what is the IQ gene, what does it do, where
is it located.  That is not the case with quantitative traits. If it was then 
plant breeders would have found the magic yield gene by now.

Phil McClean
mcclean at plains.nodak.edu

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