Milometre events like a new year are of little consequence compared to those moments of history when things really change, but they trigger reflection nonetheless. The progession round our star completed, it is time for a quick roundup of the outgoing year.
For me, with regard to this blog, the major feature of 2015 was that it became usual to read papers on the genetics of human behaviour based on 100,000+ samples showing high heritabilities and low contributions of shared environmental effects. My subjective impression was that a substantial paper was published once a month on either intelligence, personality or psychiatric disorders, all showing that they had substantial genetic components. I sense that the pace of discovery is accelerating, but have no idea how long it will take to be able to predict intellectual levels from genetic data alone.
How does one determine “when things really change”. Wars are the friend of the historian in this regard: they provide key dates around which narratives can be hung. Science is less dramatic, more “drip, drip, drip” than “bang, bang, bang”. However, perhaps 2015/2016 will be seen as the moment when the drips coalesced into a stream.
On a more punctual note, I am reading new papers on the genetics of intelligence, checking back on the links between schizophrenia and violence, trying to review a few books on intelligence, and all this may change when yet another paper gets sent to me by a researcher, which rightly jumps the queue.
Here is the snapshot of blog readership right now, just before going off to celebrate the new year on Bikini Beach. Happy New Year to you all.