Molecular biologists have been unsuccessful so far in explaining the development of embryos or the inheritance of instincts in mechanistic terms. Genes and the synthesis of specific proteins are involved but much is still left unexplained and is still mysterious.11...Sheldrake believes that heredity would best be explained on the basis of both genes and morphic resonance, with the genes acting as a receiver rather than a source or transmitter of information. The Integrated Theory of Intelligence would be quite compatible with either a straight genetic inheritance or morphic resonance; however, does favor the operation of both.
Howard Gardner is convinced that there is considerable plasticity and flexibility in human growth but that it is modulated by strong genetic constraints.12...He believes that to a large extent everything that we will ever achieve has been coded in our genetic material.13...This is not to say that each of us does not have a wide potential range for achievement, with some surpassing others. The expression of intelligence in any one individual can vary substantially within rather broad limits. Scientists vary in their beliefs as to what percentage of intelligence is inherited as opposed to that which is conditioned by environmental factors. Some would place the heritability of intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, as high as 80%, and at the other extreme there are those who would estimate it to be as low as 20% or even 0. Most estimates run between 30 and 50%.14
There would seem to be little question that each individual is born with a genetically predisposed potential range of intelligence. It is a well-documented fact that there are certain hereditary diseases which can be passed from one generation to the next and that result in mental retardation.15...One such example would be the Fragile-X syndrome. This is a genetic form of mental retardation secondary to an X-chromosomal defect, and it stresses the role that inheritance plays in determining one's intelligence range level. The other interesting facet of this disorder is that much of the intelligence deficiency can be reversed by treating the patient with high doses of folic acid. In one patient treated with this substance, the IQ jumped from 60 to 105.16...This represents evidence that intelligence operates at the molecular or atomic level.
It would also appear that there are certain individuals who are born with a latent potential for high intelligence which may or may not ever be actualized.17...The great majority of us would appear to be destined to be neither retarded nor genius.
Our human genetic structure reflects countless imprints of the physical environment encountered by all of our previous ancestors dating back to the beginning of lifeforms. This has helped shape the evolutionary pathway of our species. Thus our bodies and their intelligence represent living fossils that embody a coded history of our planet.18
The brain structure is built to specification as directed by genetic DNA; however, the relatively unstimulated, inexperienced newborn brain is a soft lump of overly wired, overly connected tissue requiring a lifetime of fine-tuning to bring it to full potential. At birth there are two or three times as many nerve cells as in the adult. Many cells cease to function when not used. Our brains appear to be overly endowed with the potential to respond to almost any eventuality. Through the adaptive process we are called upon to respond to certain challenges which establish distinctive circuit patterns within the brain. The environment that each organism is born to will determine what those selective challenges are. Our brains are molded and fine-tuned by our experiences. Many nerve connections appear to fail because of disuse, and then vanish. Other connections remain in place but cease to function. Our early experience provides the foundation upon which subsequent knowledge and skills will build.
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