Re: Hawking on Cloning

Anders Sandberg (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 12:56:44 +0100 (MET)

On Sun, 23 Mar 1997, John K Clark wrote:

> I tend to think that genius is largely genetic, too many great geniuses have
> had pedestrian upbringing, but one of the great things about cloning is that
> now we can know for sure.

Yes, cloning will certainly help us here (especially since surrogate parents
are likely to jump at the chance of having a genius child).

But I disagree with your first sentence. If you look at the lives of
various geniuses, many of them were born in fairly ordinary
circumstances. But then they started to differentiate themselves and made
their own circumstances fit them. This process seems to be linked with
the ability to concentrate and motivate oneself rather than the specifics
of the environment. However, the right sources of knowledge and education
has to be present for full growth of the genius (cf. Ramanujan). There
might be some genetic component that gives potential geniuses their
powers of concentration/near obsession, but to become a real genius you
need more than that.

I have this feeling that there are likely millions of potential geniuses
out there who never did develop their full potential due to lack of

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y