Re: genius sex-linked? who cares?

Grahame, Bob (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 10:13:20 -0500

While I've nothing to offer directly relevant to the "Genius" thread, I
think it is worth
speaking up to recommend a book which brings together a lot of
information on
sex linked traits in humans.
"The Red Queen" by Matt Ridley (1993), subtitled "Sex and the evolution
of human
nature", has quite a bit of information (and, more importantly, decent
on the process by which developing brains (human and some other animals)
sensitised in the womb to respond in different ways to the hormones to
which they
get exposed later in life.

As usual in developmental biology (:-)), it's nothing like as
straighforward as it seems.
However, it does seem that marked changes in behaviours that are often
thought of
as stereotypically sex linked in later life can be strongly influenced by
small changes
in hormone levels a a few very short (and very early) key stages of fetal

The author was trained as a zoologist, but is better known as a
journalist and a former
editor of "The Economist". Worth a read, if perhaps not adding to the
Extropian canon.
His later work, "The Origin of Virtue", has interesting implications for
some libertarian
(and anti-liberatrian) arguments as well.