, 19 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Intuition pump for behavioral genetics: imagine that someone tells you they’ve found a gene for speaking Cantonese.
“You mean a gene for language? Like if you’re missing it you’re unable to learn language?” No. A gene for, specifically, speaking Cantonese.
It’s validated in twin studies!
We have good mechanistic evidence in the brain, too—people with the gene have higher co-activity in the visual and language centers.
Obviously there are cultural effects, but we’ve developed a test that covers ideogramatic-tonal systems and the gene predicts performance in that, too.
(On Quilette, they mention that this gene correlates strongly with 19th Century race science but let’s skip that.)
Great evolutionary explanations for it. In some cultures, speaking Cantonese will give you an advantage in finding mates. So could be easily selected for.
This predicts high levels of Cantonese gene C1 in certain geographic locations e.g., Hong Kong, where speaking Cantonese makes you seriously alpha compared to non-C speakers. VALIDATED
Of course culture matters. But we did a linear regression to control for it. ARE YOU ANTI-SCIENCE, VIRTUE SIGNALER?
C1 is highly predictive of orderly societies with high levels of social cohesion and exceptionally low rates of alcoholism. As predicted because come on look at Cantonese.
If you don’t believe in C1 you are actually anti-liberal because you’re hurting alcoholics.
Let’s take all that evidence seriously. What do you do with it? (Spoiler alert: there is no gene for Cantonese.) Obviously: you disbelieve a lot of it—bad stats, cultural effects behave in ways that confuse the model, etc
(Sorry, can’t resist.) Some historians have alternate explanations based in the cultural history of China. Have you read that shit? Total grievance studies man.
Stephen Jay Gould wrote a book about this and found the whole thing so nuts that he made some important errors never trust that book.
It just keeps going. Look, people who don’t have C1, you can try to teach them Cantonese, and they do, but after a few years they forget it all. Head Start Cantonese was a failure.
Let’s face it. A LOT of smart people believe this. You’re just an idiot who hasn’t read enough papers. Start with my journal Intelligence^H* Cantonese Genetics. There’s a prof at Oxford but he got fired.
It’s important that the people who believe this are at high status institutions but also if high status institutions reject this they’re liberal conspiracies.
At some point I want a diagram like @evopsychgoogle’s profile page, but for C1
@evopsychgoogle Most importantly: seems a reasonable hypothesis.
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