If you check out the work of the Domans - Robert and his clan in Utah at the National Academy for Child Development and his brother Glenn in Pennsylvania at what used to known as the Better Baby Institute, you will find that in fact a lot of kids with severe brain damage have come out of their procedures with Mensa level IQs. Of course, the normal or above normal (genetically) kids do proportionally better. However, a caveat: The same techniques do'nt work for everyone the same way. People have very different learning styles, which appear to be virtually hardwired - maybe largely genetic, but we don't know. The mind builds itself from replicable feedback loops, starting in the womb fairly early on - bringing thumb and index finger together reliably, for example.
What is bothersome is this Mensa/Burt/educational aristocracy garbage, as in Natasha's response to "we only use a fraction of our brains." Her claim that we use all our brains all the time is equally misleading at the least. In fact, the best hardware can't make up for lousy software, garbage OS, faulty I/O, etc., and with very young children we're even talking microcode level.
Just think what the world today would be like if all those proto-extropians and radical libertarians from the '60's had raised genius kids. Even one Einstein can change the world. Imagine 500 at once. The data was there in the '60's to know that it was possible. I read J.S. Mill's autobio in about '67, and Ayn Rand's articles on Montessori shortly later. Unfortunately - I'm just getting into Ettinger - it appears that he was not well-informed on this issue, and his influence on futurism can hardly be overestimated.
BTW, the reason they don't prosecute homeschoolers any more? A major federal study showed that homeschooled kids also maintained an average 3 year academic lead over the public-schooled kids, even with all the nut-cases among the home-schoolers. This killed the prima facia argument that the prosecuting attorney used to walk into court with, "your honor, these people are not state-certified teachers. Therefore they are guilty of child-neglect, since they cannot claim to be offering a normal learning environment." OOops... Out the window after the federal study was published in the mid-80's... Occasionally even the feds do something right. ;)
>From: Cynthia <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: Twin Studies [was Re: HR25Show82099 - BS]
>Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 10:01:33 -0700
>"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> > Fraud or not fraud, you be the judge. Do you have an explanation or
> > argument that variations in genetic traits that effect brain development
> > such as (#'s of neurons, rate of neuronal death, reinforcement of
> > synaptic strength/weightings, neurotransmitter release & uptake
> > rates, propagation rates of neuronal impulses) are *totally*
> > negated by environmental effects?
>Basically, what you are saying here, is that we all are individuals, with
>that have significant differences.
>But I think we should also remember what an adaptable thing the human mind
>There is a case of a young girl who has had half her brain removed, who is
>amazingly close to being normal.
>Given that the human brain is capable of such amazing things, I find it
>that so many people without major brain damage, are so appallingly stupid.
>fully believe that despite the profound differences between us all, that
>reason for profound stupidity is the educational system.
>In my opinion, the educational system is hell bent on stamping out
>differences. But we are individuals, and the only way for people to make
>of their brains, is by pursuing their own interests, and finding our own
>The people on this list, probably do have better genes than most people.
>bet that most of us snuck out and read books, when we were suppose to be
>in structured activities. We left the herd and learned to think for