Wednesday, December 01, 2004

THE LATEST ADOPTION STUDY DUSTUP: Follow the debate here, here, here, and of course here. The debate is mostly over this graph:

Which shows an incredible lack of correlation between the incomes of Korean children randomly assigned to American adoptive families in the 70s and the incomes of those families' biological children. The difference between the two is interpreted to mean that parents pass their ability to make money to their children via their genes.

Now I have no problem believing that, but find the paper itself a bit goofy. Or at least the graph. Partly because it compares the adopted kids--who are mostly female, and about 28--with the biological kids of all ages. But mainly because that line is so flat and it seems impossible that high parental income on its own has no effect on children's income whatsoever. Then again, all the expensive crap that people buy for their kids is as much for the parents' peace of mind as the children's, so I guess it's possible all the Mozart in the womb and Montessori schools don't add up to anything.

Anyway--it's a neat debate. The guy who wrote the paper also noted that smoking and drinking are passed on to adopted and biological kids in similar numbers--suggesting they are not genetically inherited behaviors--so yay for Big Liquor and Big Tobacco one more time.

No comments: