No, Not Everyone Is Gifted!

“Of course this readily graspable concept designed to make everyone feel good about their own potential has mass appeal. Too bad that Gladwell’s convenient and simple ideas . . . are wrong.”

There is an aspirational attraction to a theory that says you can be greater than you think you are, and no one has the right to downplay the honest efforts of someone who genuinely wants to improve. However, this ambition to succeed is a far cry from dismissing the role of heredity (or downplaying it substantially) in determining intelligence, as these “everyone can be gifted” authors contend. You can’t just toss out 150 years of psychological evidence to the contrary to make the general population feel superior.

The real damage done by these Pop Psychology gurus is this: their theories are based on the idea that the best way to deal with giftedness is to make believe it doesn’t exist at all; rather, it is “created” through effort, practice, and the occasional raw deal that life hands you.

Yet those who deny or diminish a biological basis to intelligence are very selective in which branches of the genetics tree they prune. I can’t imagine that any of the above authors would deny that hair color, height, predisposition to diseases, or nearsightedness have at least some basis in the genes we are dealt. If this is so for virtually every other element of our human existence since birth, then how can they deny the rightful place of genetics in determining one’s innate level of intellect?”


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