Genes or work make a genius?

Thumbnail for version as of 17:59, 10 June 2012        Thumbnail for version as of 17:59, 10 June 2012         Thumbnail for version as of 04:18, 2 August 2013         Thumbnail for version as of 02:12, 15 December 2011

( The virtues of Celsus in pillars at the library in Ephesus. See explanation below)

In the foregoing post it is suggested time spent studying plus socio-economic background can predict a student’s final grade, even from their first week in university. Here, published in Scientific Reports, researchers at Kings College London suggest our results are down to our parents: if they struggled to draw then their children will struggle to draw.

The researchers studied 12,500 twins and concluded exam results are highly heritable.

Yet one of the lead researchers, Dr Rimfield rather equivocally says, “Just because you have a genetic predisposition does not mean you can’t change.” Again, “There doesn’t seem to be a gene for intelligence, but if we were to know the genes art play…! Confused?

Professor Darren Griffin, professor of genetics at the University of Kent, said, “Genetics is about intelligence, not pre-determinism and there’s no substitute for hard work.” Here, here! The work of Prof Carol Dweck, as explained in her book Mindset, confirms this.

One person who works hard and has genetic intelligence is Thomas Frith who today won Child Genius, the Chanel 4 intelligence competition in association with Mensa.

Having survived doctors’ advice to annihilate him after twenty weeks in utero, based on a misdiagnosis, his mum, saying no as her “bump was special”, Thomas was subsequently born premature but none the worse for it, as he has an I.Q. higher than Albert Einstein.

Thomas, in whom intelligence and hard work unite to make an exceptional young man, is an idol who’s never idle!

The statues
The statues in the niches of the columns of the Celsuss library in Ephesus, Turkey are the copies of the originals. The statues, in order of of appearance, symbolize wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valour (Arete). These are the virtues of Celsus. The library was restored with the aid of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and  the originals of the statues were taken to Ephesus Museum in Vienna in 1910.

A further aspect to education and learning, not idolised in the library at Ephesus, is the ancient Greek idea of technê which means art or craft and pertains to the use of the hands rather than academic or intellectual knowledge Episteme. For a detailed introduction see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (here)

Further Reading
Read The Daily Telegraph feature on Thomas Frith: TV’s child genius never knew the father he takes after

Meet TV’s ‘Child Genius’-spotter who knows exactly how smart your child really is Link

New York Times article by Frank Bruni: Today’s Exhausted Superkids

For more on the statues and the ancient library at Ephesus visit the official website here Product Details

A new book Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World by talented psychologist Adam Grant explores what is lacking in genius: originality. An introduction to his ideas can be read here: How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off

Photos: WikiCommons

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