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Old 12-18-2016, 02:55 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,407
The general rule of thumb that I've read is you are 50% genetic and 50% environment (because deep down, nobody has a serious answer). The Wayne Gretzky analogy is apt too. One theory says that your brian is still developing for years after you are born. How much you use your brain during that time especially, determines how good it is at being used for the rest of your life.

(I often wonder - the third world child is carried everywhere until they walk and see much of social life, then they are sat in the same room as a collection of adults having adult conversation, and allowed to run around the village. Modern North American children, by contrast, are stuck in a separate room staring at a ceiling a lot of the time. If they're lucky, the same playtime mobile for a year. What little social input they get, a lot comes from television, a non-responsive medium. Then, in early adolescence when third-world children must deal with the puzzle and challenges of simple survival let alone succeeding, our adolescents are left to sit in a separate rec room and vegetate if they so desire - think Wayne's World, but without the Mandarin fluency. So, third world children should be competitive despite their nutrition handicap.)

In Freakonomics, the authors argue that a person's parents' education as much as anything else determines their success in life. (Of course, statistics mean "in general" and there are always exceptions nd outliers) Your parents' education generally determines (again, on average) how much money they have, how much effort they can put into your early education, etc.

If we accept that generally, minus a few outliers, 50% of your smarts is determined by genetics but most people fall in a fairly common band of "IQ" (whatever that means) because we all have approximately the same genes, better than chimps, then environment and educational effort makes all the difference. You could be 30% to 50% smart due to genes, but 0% to 100% due to education and early childhood environment. So education can make a big difference in some cases.

Last edited by md2000; 12-18-2016 at 02:57 PM.