Once again, the compassionate/sympathetic/progressive side of the debate is that depression is something like biological, and cannot easily be overcome with willpower and hard work. There are frequent political debates in which conservatives (or straw conservatives) argue that financial success is the result of hard work, so poor people are just too lazy to get out of poverty.
Then a liberal (or straw liberal) protests that hard work has nothing to do with it, success is determined by accidents of birth like who your parents are and what your skin color is et cetera, so the poor are blameless in their own predicament.
But the very phrase tells us where we should classify that belief. I got a perfect score in Verbal, and a good-but-not-great score in Math.
Ramanujan’s genius is a “gift” in much the same way your parents giving you a trust fund on your eighteenth birthday is a “gift”, and it should be weighted accordingly in the moral calculus. I shouldn’t pretend I’m worried about this for the sake of the poor. And in high school English, I got A s in all my classes, Principal’s Gold Medals, 100%s on tests, first prize in various state-wide essay contests, etc.
And pretty much all of those people still got more educational opportunities than Ramanujan did. First, we can say that a lot of intelligence is innate, that Ramanujan was a genius, and that we mortals cannot be expected to replicate his accomplishments.
Or second, we can say those poor people are just not trying hard enough.
To praise me for any of it seemed and still seems utterly unjust.
On the other hand, to this day I believe I deserve a fricking statue for getting a C- in Calculus I.
And it’s would-be compassionate progressives who are insisting that no, it depends on who works harder, claiming anybody can be brilliant if they really try, warning us not to “stigmatize” the less intelligent as “genetically inferior”. I sometimes blog about research into IQ and human intelligence.I think most readers of this blog already know IQ is 50% to 80% heritable, and that it’s so important for intellectual pursuits that eminent scientists in some fields have average IQs around 150 to 160.Since IQ this high only appears in 1/10,000 people or so, it beggars coincidence to believe this represents anything but a very strong filter for IQ (or something correlated with it) in reaching that level.If you saw a group of dozens of people who were 7’0 tall on average, you’d assume it was a basketball team or some other group selected for height, not a bunch of botanists who were all very tall by coincidence. Some worry that taking it seriously might damage the “growth mindset” people need to fully actualize their potential.