The editorial was written in part as a general response to a solid body of research linking genetics to intelligence, but also to a new meta-analysis just published in Nature Genetics: “The research pools together genome-wide association studies looking at a total of nearly 80,000 children and adults. The studies used different measures of ‘general intelligence’, including IQ scores and number of correct answers given to brief touchscreen puzzles. The meta-analysis identifies 18 genomic regions associated with intelligence, and candidate genes that are highly expressed in the brain. The associations, the study suggests, could explain up to 4.8% of the variance in intelligence across these cohorts.”

That means about 95 percent of human differences in intelligence, at least as measured in this manner, do not come down to genes, which leaves plenty of room for those concerned with environmental influences. But still: That’s a nice little chunk that can be explained by genetic variation.

But why, exactly, should we care about that chunk? Freddie deBoer, an education researcher and blogger, made the case in April that an understanding of innate differences in academic ability can help us build a fairer and juster world…