At the very outset, we have an unsolicited piece of advice for scientists Petter Kristensen and Tor Bjerkedal. The duo would do well to keep their study on siblings and intelligence within the rarified confines of the academic world because the results can spark off a Darwinian battle between first and second/third-born children. The study, published in Science, analysed a database of a quarter-million men born between 1967 and 1986. Results indicate that environmental factors — in this case a child’s “social rank” among his siblings — may determine intelligence levels. In layman’s language, it means that “nurture, not nature”, is behind the tendency for firstborn children to be more intelligent than their siblings.
Now, if the scientists have sifted through the data of a quarter-million men, then there must be some truth in it. But, how come only men were taken into account for the study? Is the war over intelligence and parental resources only confined to a particular gender?
Younger siblings, however, should not worry. You ask why? Because the IQ difference between you and your bright-as-a-button older brother is only two points. In science that may be a ‘significant’ difference, but for lesser mortals like us it is just two measly points. And, anyway who wants to be the first-born and get saddled with all the responsibilities of the world and do everything according to the rulebook? Isn’t this sounding better already? If not, then hear what Arthur C. Clarke has to say: “It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value."