May 16, 2014

Nicholas Wade's Story of Race and Inheritance

A few more reviews of Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance:

A positive review in Scientific American.

A witty and thorough mixed review by James Thompson at Psychological Comments. From the comments on Psychological Comments:
Bruce Charlton *  15 May 2014 12:00 
A few years ago I have a vague memory of reading another NYT best-selling book, whose sub-title proclaimed it was covering similar ground to this volume. 
That subtitle was, I think, "A Story of Race and Inheritance" but I cannot (ahem) recollect the author (presumably a biologist) or the main title (something about psychology and paternity, perhaps?) - maybe you could help me with this?... 
Nonetheless, it clearly *must*, surely, have been making the same kind of arguments concerning ethnicity and genetics as does Mr Wade.

James Thompson 15 May 2014 15:40 
I do apologize. I should have referenced this notable text, but when people recount their dreams I often find it hard to maintain the requisite degree of rapt attention. Furthermore, I realize I should, in all fairness to the previous author, have described Wade's effort as being post-racial.
   
------------
* By the way, Bruce Charlton assures me he's not the golf course architect Bruce Charlton, who is the Senior Design Partner in the Robert Trent Jones II organization and designer of Chambers Bay, next year's U.S. Open site.
     

105 comments:

Hepp said...

My least favorite part of Wade's book is on page 27. Here is the quote:

"The lure of Galton’s eugenics was his belief that society would be better off if the intellectually eminent could be encouraged to have more children. What scholar could disagree with that? More of a good thing must surely be better. In fact it is far from certain that this would be a desirable outcome. Intellectuals as a class are notoriously prone to fine-sounding theoretical schemes that lead tocatastrophe, such as Social Darwinism, Marxism or indeed eugenics.

By analogy with animal breeding, people could no doubt be bred, if it were ethically acceptable, so as to enhance specific desired traits. But it is impossible to know what traits would benefit society as a whole. The eugenics program, however reasonable it might seem, was basically incoherent."

This is quite ironic, as his whole book is about how some groups evolved traits that made them inclined to form wealthier, less violent societies.

And since evolution is always continuing, not practicing eugenics also has consequences for the future. So the question isn't whether we as a species are going to change, but simply which direction we go in.

Anonymous said...

OT

Steve, a fun game to play, now that Google has ruined Google Gaydar, is Google Racist-dar.

The object of the game is to find the most surreal and hilarious example of some innocuous person for whom Google will suggest "racist" if you add a space and an R (or an RA) after his or her name.

Anonymous said...

This is quite ironic, as his whole book is about how some groups evolved traits that made them inclined to form wealthier, less violent societies


Sure, but they did not evolve those traits deliberately and consciously. It happened by accident. We don't know how to breed for better humans, or even what "better" might mean in this context.

Anonymous said...

OT: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117692/fascism-returns-ukraine?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=below&utm_campaign=trending

Historian Tim Snyder's propaganda piece above shows just how scared the neoliberal intelligentsia is about the prospect of a left-right alliance against the EU and Russian promotion of the "ethnicization of the world."

Bertie Russell said...

If your head were put into a rotary pencil sharpener a very dull graphite stick would emerge.

We most certainly do know how to breed superior specimens. Sexual selection and hypergamy show the instinctive drive toward this. The Eugenics programs of the 20th century were never allowed to bear fruit.

Hepp said...

"Sure, but they did not evolve those traits deliberately and consciously. It happened by accident. We don't know how to breed for better humans, or even what 'better' might mean in this context."

Any traits that were bred unconsciously can be bred consciously, except much faster and in more humane ways. Currently, by doing nothing, we are selecting for low IQ and criminality. These gentlemen here are the most fit members of modern society.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2159476/Tennessees-deadbeat-dads-The-men-81-children-46-different-women--theyre-paying-child-support-them.html

It's not a choice between doing something or keeping everything the same. It's a choice between doing something or letting the Tennessee deadbeat dads inherit the earth.

Anonymous said...

OT Snyder: "A vote for Strache in Austria or Le Pen in France or even Farage in Britain is now a vote for Putin, and a defeat for Europe is a victory for Eurasia."

Bertie Russell said...

This Johnny Appleseed should have been snipped, many tubes needed tying.

Bertie Russell said...

Do you have any idea of the selection pressures that English, Danish, French, German, Dutch were subjected to over the dark ages, medieval and renaissance period? Check out the Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan Britain. The detail maps out exactly why and how England transformed into a global giant. Much of it was quite clearly by design and elite manipulation of the population.

Heaviside said...

Eugenics is just old fashioned transhumanism.

Anonymous said...

Any traits that were bred unconsciously can be bred consciously, except much faster and in more humane ways


We don't know what traits should be bred for. Should people be more placid and conformist and law-abiding? There would be societal advantages if they were ... but probably disadvantages also.

We lack the intelligence and perspective to know what evolutionary path will be most advantageous to us.

Anonymous said...

We most certainly do know how to breed superior specimens.


Superior specimens of what?

Silver said...

Sure, but they did not evolve those traits deliberately and consciously. It happened by accident. We don't know how to breed for better humans, or even what "better" might mean in this context.

Complete bs.

But even if we didn't know for an absolute fact either what "better" mean or precisely how to breed for it it would still be a good idea to encourage higher birth rates among people in possession of what we regarded as valuable traits and lower birth rates among people with undesirable traits. Even if we got it dead wrong it would be better than doing nothing. Even if we were dead wrong no harm would be have been done, there would simply have been more births among one class and less among another, which doesn't hurt anybody.

Silver said...

It's not a choice between doing something or keeping everything the same.

Exactly. We are not doing nothing. We are actively practicing government-sponsored dysgenics.

Silver said...

Wade's effort as being post-racial.

I wish his efforts were post-diversity.

Anonymous said...

The products of Natural Selection and Artificial Selection will be tested by the future environment. Predicting the future environment is no small task. A stressor like disease could select for short life spans, early sexual development, many offspring and a callousness towards death - doesn't sound like the kind of person the elites would design.

Steven Wilson said...

I understand Wade's reluctance to endorse the creation of more "intellectually eminent" people as a solution to our problems.

Intelligence is not a virtue, it's merely a tool. Combine that with the recognition that there is nothing under the sun that can't be put to an evil purpose, and intelligence certainly has been.

I also am pessimistic because I came to the conclusion long ago that just because there is a problem doesn't mean there is a solution.

Hepp said...

"We don't know what traits should be bred for. Should people be more placid and conformist and law-abiding? There would be societal advantages if they were ... but probably disadvantages also.

We lack the intelligence and perspective to know what evolutionary path will be most advantageous to us."

Ok, tell me under what conditions we will benefit from the criminally inclined, those who live off welfare, and with IQs below 80? Aren't there some traits we can all agree that we won't need more of under any circumstances?

Dan said...

Okay. Have you read anything by Plato? Socrates would say that a truly intelligent man can't commit evil. Evil is just another word for not knowing what is good.

What high intelligence has been used for evil? This might serve as a basis for understanding what you think you mean when you say intelligence is a just a tool.

I think intelligence is a great deal more than an instrument.

Dan said...

You have got to be kidding me! Bwahahahahaha!

Dan said...

I'm absolutely certain that More's Utopia was a description of Tudor era eugenics. It worked.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so let's say we lack the prescience to develop a solid positive eugenic program. That doesn't mean that today's society and tomorrow's society wouldn't benefit from negative eugenics. Just lower or stop the birthrate among the chronically criminal and the mentally deficient (say sub 80 IQ). Or, at least end the state sponsored dysgenics. I don't see how we don't all benefit from that.

Whether or not it's ethical is where the problem would lie (but is it ethical that society be forced to pay for these progeny?)

Anonymous said...

Sure, but they did not evolve those traits deliberately and consciously. It happened by accident. We don't know how to breed for better humans, or even what "better" might mean in this context.

Well, it takes quite a few generations to make real change.

However, the elites do actually practice eugenics (careful breeding) and they don't want the hoi poloi to take up the practice.

Anonymous said...

Wade's grandfather survived the Titanic. If men are artificially selected to be courageous, we might never have another Nick.

Humans as they are currently configured have been fashioned by gangbangs and cannibalism. I doubt human designers have the nerve to use such creative means. Why don't we start by doing an experiment that's already proved successful - let the scientists fashion humans out of monkeys.

Oswald Spengler said...

"However, the elites do actually practice eugenics (careful breeding) and they don't want the hoi poloi to take up the practice."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

All the better for the elite to bring in as many relatively poor black and brown people as possible. They do go in for lots of breeding (far more than the shrinking white middle class they're replacing), but next to none of their breeding is careful.

Silver said...

We lack the intelligence and perspective to know what evolutionary path will be most advantageous to us.

We don't need to know.

Firstly, we have every reason to believe more intelligence will of greater benefit than less intelligence no matter what the environment.

Secondly, there is no reason to think the implementation of eugenic polices would lead to any worse outcome than would be realized by people breeding as they do today no matter what the future environment turns out to be.

The point of eugenics isn't to create a perfect world or a perfect humanity; the point is to help improve things a little over what they would have otherwise been. It's not inhumane to do this. It's perfectly harmless. Being perfectly harmless, I would argue it's inhumane not to do it.

Hepp said...

"Okay, so let's say we lack the prescience to develop a solid positive eugenic program. That doesn't mean that today's society and tomorrow's society wouldn't benefit from negative eugenics. Just lower or stop the birthrate among the chronically criminal and the mentally deficient (say sub 80 IQ). Or, at least end the state sponsored dysgenics. I don't see how we don't all benefit from that.

Whether or not it's ethical is where the problem would lie (but is it ethical that society be forced to pay for these progeny?)"

I don't see the ethical dilemma at all. One could do things like pay poor people to be sterilized, make welfare conditional on sterilization, or give criminals the option of a shorter sentence if they agree not to have any more children. How is this different from any other government policy designed to benefit society?

Silver said...

Humans as they are currently configured have been fashioned by gangbangs and cannibalism. I doubt human designers have the nerve to use such creative means.

The means that "configured" us are not the means necessary to propagate us. Try again.

Oswald Spengler said...

Yes, all well and good, but it's also "a story of bravery and love."

Hepp said...

Excellently put, Silver, we are on a similar wavelength. I'd be genuinely curious about what would be revealed by an iSteve poll on the subject.

Silver said...

I'd be genuinely curious about what would be revealed by an iSteve poll on the subject.

Thanks for your support. I think we'd be a distinct minority. The difference between this and other blogs/sites is that (a) Sailer and his readers are very open-minded, so our views get a hearing and (b) people who disagree tend to keep quiet rather than shout us down. But I think a poll would reveal most people are very uncomfortable with the idea, even if they agree that our arguments are reasonable.

As I see it, the biggest obstacle isn't so much the ethics, it's the social effect of a society that practices eugenics. Eugenicists make so much of quality distinctions it's easy to imagine a society in which we all scrutinize each other any hint of "inferiority." That would make anyone uncomfortable, including an avid eugenics advocate like myself.

The focus must be placed on the way eugenic policies can lift all boats, rather than on the way they stigmatize inferiority or undesirability. The best way to do that, it seems to me, is just pay the lowest classes to forgo childbirth or to artificially conceive using high IQ sperm and/or eggs. If they're paid to forgo childbirth or conceive artificially then they live better both because (a) they have more money and fewer children to spend it on, (b) no one need know about it, so no stigma.

Silver said...

I will strike a deal with lefties: you support eugenics and I will support green policies. If you don't, I will burn more carbon. The only reason not to burn more carbon is because you care about the future. But I care about the future too which is why I advocate eugenics. Screw my desired future and I will screw yours.

Anonymous said...

"Any traits that were bred unconsciously can be bred consciously, except much faster and in more humane ways."

Sure but it's choosing which traits should be bred for.

I doubt this could be done without unintended consequences.

What NW Europeans did which led to the Industrial Revolution was select against genetic load through voluntary mating based on overall attractiveness which included brains, fertility and health. I think the model of selecting against load is the method to copy (or continue).

The modern flaws in the NW Euro model are:

1) Social policy has made it easier for the poor to have kids than the middle class. This is actively dysgenic and doesn't need to be replaced with anything, just stopped

2) Medical advances have created a need to actively weed out medical problems which in the past would have selected themselves out. This can be done with screening embryos.

Don't worry about active eugenics - as it will probably go wrong - start at the other end and just remove obvious dysgenics.

.

"Ok, tell me under what conditions we will benefit from the criminally inclined"

Special forces, police officers, secret service, any function that requires creativity etc but only if those criminal traits are matched by controlling traits.

All you need to make sure your population's criminal traits are paired with sufficient controlling traits is a properly functioning criminal justice system.

(And a properly functioning criminal justice system requires very low immigration so you're not adding new criminals faster than you are selecting them out.)

Nobody said...

Silver said..

"Exactly. We are not doing nothing. We are actively practicing government-sponsored dysgenics."

I totally agree. there is an unspoken assumption among liberals that human genes can be kept stable. They can not, they are much like the stock market or Sun spots, always increasing or decreasing, never stable. The question is, which direction should society push the lever?
Right now it is in the downward path.

Anonymous said...

Dan:"I'm absolutely certain that More's Utopia was a description of Tudor era eugenics. It worked."

You must have missed the parts that savagely critiqued Tudor England....

Anonymous said...

Imagined problems evaporate in the heat of the sun. The unfit may persist forever, but they will never rule.

In this world, it appears that high IQ individuals are no more successful at reproducing than low IQ individuals. What is the metric for success?

Neil Templeton

ben tillman said...

We don't know what traits should be bred for.

We certainly know some traits that should be bred for, intelligence above all.

ben tillman said...

Wade's grandfather survived the Titanic. If men are artificially selected to be courageous, we might never have another Nick.

You could be superlatively courageous yet still decide to push your way onto one of those half-empty lifeboats that went out early on. In fact, doing so was both self-preserving and unselfish because it left fewer people to compete for a limited number of spaces on the remaining boats. Courage or a lack thereof was not even part of the equation.

Anonymous said...

We certainly know some traits that should be bred for, intelligence above all.


We don't know that. For all we know intelligence will be the death of the human race.

Hepp said...

"The modern flaws in the NW Euro model are:

1) Social policy has made it easier for the poor to have kids than the middle class. This is actively dysgenic and doesn't need to be replaced with anything, just stopped

2) Medical advances have created a need to actively weed out medical problems which in the past would have selected themselves out. This can be done with screening embryos.

Don't worry about active eugenics - as it will probably go wrong - start at the other end and just remove obvious dysgenics."

I don't agree. As a society, we won't let anyone starve, correct? So even if you eliminated 100% of welfare programs, men from the ghetto who father 20 children over their lifetimes would still be proliferating at an exponential rate, even if their kids end up eating out of the garbage.

So doing nothing is not enough. As long as we're not going to let people starve, which we obviously shouldn't, the future belongs to those who breed with reckless abandon.

Anonymous said...

Ok, tell me under what conditions we will benefit from the criminally inclined


A propensity for violence seems to be part of the makeup of most people, or at least of most male people. It's almost certainly tied into the broader aggressive impulse which led to the exploration (and conquest) of the world.

It's probably genetically possible to breed a race of people who would never, ever break the rules. And the members of such a society would by definition think it was the best society possible - after all, they were bred to suit it.

But it remains an open question whether that's a desirable goal. By definition we can never know what the best evolutionary path is for the human race.

Anonymous said...

Type "steve sailer" into Google's search box and the first choice I see is "steve sailer racist". So Steve is "0th order" racist. A very strong showing!

Anonymous said...

John Derbyshire is merely 1st order racist. Go Steve!

Hepp said...

Silver, I am afraid you're right. Even on iSteve being pro-eugenics is a minority position. That makes me pessimistic that it'll ever be accepted in society as a whole.

There are two reasons to be hopeful, however

1) The Chinese have an apparent interest in the topic, though we can't know for sure how much it factors into policy making

2) Embryo screening and genetic engineering will allow free market eugenics to flourish. Of course, allowing this will require that Democrats remain in power, since they see reproductive rights as sacrosanct. This doesn't help with the people at the bottom, those not even intelligent or responsible enough to keep a doctor's appointment. But once the middle and upper classes genetically engineer themselves to be smarter, etc., the gap between them and the poor will be so great that there will be a general recognition that something has to be done.

Anonymous said...

it would still be a good idea to encourage higher birth rates among people in possession of what we regarded as valuable traits


And how specifically would we do that? Let's start by identifying the bottle-neck: Women who possess what we generally regard as "good traits" have one additional trait - they don't have much interest in having children, certainly not at above replacement rates.

Anonymous said...

How about just discouraging reproduction among people who are already on welfare? Is that too much to ask? Why should they be allowed to saddle taxpayers with paying for them to have a bigger families than the ones they already cannot afford?

Anonymous said...

"we can never know what the best evolutionary path is for the human race."
Maybe, but we can probably figure out what the less-than-ideal evolutionary path is.
Hey Steve how about an isteve film festival as a webinar? You can start "Idiocracy"

Anonymous said...

Any woman who doesn't make enough money to pay taxes could go to a public health clinic once a month to collect $100 for a negative pregnancy test.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to think this book may mark a real milestone. The Scientific American review is a great authority to quote to the "race doesn't exist" crowd.

Anonymous said...

If this new European trend in insemination continues, Nordic genes could become more widespread than many would suspect.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13460455

Steve A. Dore said...

High Intelligence leads to having a good all around character as proven by Rushton's General Personality Factor. Having high IQ not only leads to better paying jobs and the ability to deal with complexity but it also bequeaths social gifts like knowing how to act around whom and reducing the occurrence of inane actions.

How could selecting for high IQ ever be considered dysgenic? Hollywood is largely to blame for this loathsome "evil-genius" meme. The good guy genius idea is not sexy enough.

Anonymous said...

General Factor of Personality is nowhere near proved yet, plus strong selection for intelligence gave us Ashkenazi Jews, which is a mixed blessing for both them (Tay-Sachs) and gentiles.

Anonymous said...

A one-child law would maintain the racial balance in the country and would raise the national IQ because all children would be, the typically superior, first and only child. I can think of a simpler or more effective path. Worked for China.

Dan said...

What codswallop.

Most men? Are you insane? Even among blacks violence is concentrated in the teen and twenties.

Most men are not violent by any means. Even when given rifles to shoot an enemy they are indoctrinated to hate most men will not shoot, if thy do shoot they won't aim.

Dan said...

With the savagery of the sheep. To quote Howe.

Dan said...

Exactly.

Eugenics for me but not for thee.

Dan said...

You have to remember that Galton is seen as a bum because he said out loud what the rich and well connected do. Seek out a well connected and well rounded mate and carefully set up the good life for your offspring.

We do know what we are doing when we bang a slut or seek out a nice but dim mate or when we seek out a bright sassy gifted girl or settle for some self loathing fatty.

Anonymous said...

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9207821/the-genome-of-history/

Anonymous said...

I got Kindle version, converted it to PDF and emailed the copy to everyone I know. Time for some re-education.

Anonymous said...

"My least favorite part of Wade's book is on page 27. Here is the quote":

"The lure of Galton’s eugenics was his belief that society would be better off if the intellectually eminent could be encouraged to have more children. What scholar could disagree with that? More of a good thing must surely be better. In fact it is far from certain that this would be a desirable outcome. Intellectuals as a class are notoriously prone to fine-sounding theoretical schemes that lead tocatastrophe, such as Social Darwinism, Marxism or indeed eugenics."

"This is quite ironic, as his whole book is about how some groups evolved traits that made them inclined to form wealthier, less violent societies."

Wade isn't saying that he's opposed to smarter people having more kids. He's making a distinction between smart traits and intellectual traits.
Smart people tend to favor reality and practicality, real solutions.
Intellectual disposition favors theory and abstractions.

So, if indeed there is an 'intellectual trait', creating more people like that will create an elite more divorced from reality in favor of ideas, theories, grand narratives, and orthodoxies.

Camus was smart. Sartre was intellectual.

Anonymous said...

"We most certainly do know how to breed superior specimens."

Just gimme a bunch of Alice Cullens and Ian Dunrosses.

Anonymous said...

The most frightening combination: The genius Jew crossed with a powerful Negro.

Fat Albert Einstein.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the pregnant mother for whom no room can be found on the last lifeboat would appreciate your unselfishness.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that China is very interested in Eugenics. However, China's involvement in Africa is going to be a problem for them. I've already read one article about Chinese emigrant workers in Africa taking African brides and bringing them back home. Not a surprising development, given China's large surplus male population. China needs to nip this in the bud right away, and pass a law forbidding Chinese abroad who take African spouses from returning to China. They also need to keep a tighter leash on any African workers in China; they should only be they have an essential business purpose, and leave as soon as it is done.

pat said...

I ordered the book a few days ago and I got a notification that it will arrive Monday.

I'm not happy about this. I wrote on your blog, and HBD Chick's and another asking someone to tell what was new in this book. No answers.

So I'm going to read it because I've been herded. Everybody else has read it, so I have to too.

At least I expect it to be cheering. I've been slogging my way through Smil's book on American manufacturing (and the decline thereof). It's a small book but deeply depressing. It's the most depressing thing I've read since reading Mark Steyn's last book on Islam.

I hope it's jolly.

Pat Boyle

Anonymous said...

"John Derbyshire is merely 1st order racist. Go Steve!"

No, I'm the only real race-ist.

Anonymous said...

If Steve A. Dore is correct, then we're totes fine. The current elites and their lackeys are overwhelmingly "high IQ" and thus we are being ruled by the best and there's nothing to complain about.

Also, the high rates of Nordic alcohol abuse and absenteeism are just signs of good character.

Anonymous said...

Embryo screening and genetic engineering will allow free market eugenics to flourish.


"Free market eugenics" is a contradiction in terms. Allow everyone to have the "designer baby" of their choice and the result is not going to be what people here think of as "better".

Anonymous said...

Having high IQ not only leads to better paying jobs and the ability to deal with complexity but it also bequeaths social gifts like knowing how to act around whom and reducing the occurrence of inane actions.


Lots of high IQ people are very socially awkward. And high IQ leads to good jobs because we've created a system which tests for IQ and assigns jobs on that basis.

Imagine a society of cheetahs - it would be regarded as self-evident that running fast was good, and running faster was better.

Nature, or evolution or however you want to describe it, does not give a damn about IQ. It cares only about reproductive success. From an evolutionary perspective the dinosaurs enjoyed a much longer and more successful run than humans. The same could be said for cockroaches and numerous other creatures.

Sheldon said...

Lots of high IQ people are very socially awkward. And high IQ leads to good jobs because we've created a system which tests for IQ and assigns jobs on that basis. Imagine a society of cheetahs - it would be regarded as self-evident that running fast was good, and running faster was better.
5/17/14, 10:24 AM

but Dinosaurs and cockroaches are probably not going to get to colonize Mars. Nor can they design BMWs.

Anonymous said...

"Lots of high IQ people are very socially awkward."

Not because of their high IQ but because most people are socially not all that cool.

When dumb and average people are like, people just ignore them.
But when smart folks are like that, they take notice, and so, we have the stereotype that smarties are social geeks. Not so as a whole.

Anonymous said...

"I ordered the book a few days ago and I got a notification that it will arrive Monday."

We don't have to read it. We've been spouting the R-rated version of TROUBLED INHERITANCE for 20 yrs.
So, why read the G-rated version?

Rachelle said...

I am surprised that a pc publication like Scientific American would publish a favorable review of Wades' book.

I recall that their review of The Bell Curve was little more than a senseless and vicious rant. Not long after I stopped reading it altogether.

Anonymous said...

We certainly know some traits that should be bred for, intelligence above all.

We don't know that. For all we know intelligence will be the death of the human race.


This is a recipe for inaction in every realm of human endeavor. One can always assert that, "for all we know," a proposed solution to any human problem might have horrible unintended consequences, and therefore we should do nothing.

Most of the time this is a pretty stupid position to take. While one cannot be absolutely, mathematically certain that the human race would be better off if it were more intelligent, this is such obvious common sense that if you are going to argue against it you had better have strong and specific arguments, not just vague hand-waving about "for all we know."

Anonymous said...

"We certainly know some traits that should be bred for, intelligence above all."

I'm not convinced that intelligence *well above* average is a good thing on balance for anything except scientific innovation so it seems to me the best path is to aim at raising *average* IQ to the level where you get enough outliers.

There are two ways of doing that:

1) Select specifically *for* intelligence leading to all the usual problems - by definition if you're selecting for one thing you're ignoring other negatives.

2) Select *against* load which is what the NW Euro marriage model did for many centuries and which led to the industrial revolution.

The second option is slower but it created people who were both bright and healthy.

.

"So doing nothing is not enough. As long as we're not going to let people starve, which we obviously shouldn't, the future belongs to those who breed with reckless abandon."

The options are
1) do nothing
2) select for specific traits
3) select against load

All three are perfectly possible.

(3) was practised successfully in NW Europe for hundreds of years.

.

"By definition we can never know what the best evolutionary path is for the human race."

Eugenic is what best fits the environment so active eugenics is effectively trying to guess what the environment will be in the future which strikes me as a route to extinction.

On the other hand - i don't know what to call it - a form of eugenics which revolves around selecting against obvious medical defects and not actively subsidizing the least useful to make babies seems both sensible and safe.

Frank Galton said...

When you openly discuss Eugenics every Jew will come out the woodpile and decry it. Eugenics would create a competing elite for the Jews who inhabit the professions and crowd out outsiders as a matter of course. It's not terribly complicated. Jews practice a form of Eugenics that appears to produce in the diaspora at least a cognitive elite and genetic mutants and not a great deal in between.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that a pc publication like Scientific American would publish a favorable review of Wades' book.

That review was on a Scientific American blog, which means it reflects the view of that particular blogger. I'm much more interested to see what, if anything, gets published in the magazine proper.

Frank Galton said...

Problem solving and pattern recognition are going to be the death of us! Oy the sufferinks.

Anonymous said...

Dinosaurs and cockroaches are probably not going to get to colonize Mars. Nor can they design BMWs.


Nature doesn't care about those things.

Dan said...

If evolution is to have any chance it requires a spare planet and a spare solar system. Donelle Woolford ain't about to inherit the stars.

Anonymous said...

The Earth's environment has killed almost every species that ever existed and it is certainly a lot more hospitable than Mars'. Transhumanism is a more likely destiny for humans.

Anonymous said...

The book gets a thorough trashing in this magazine, by the author of Why I Am Not a Scientist:

http://inthesetimes.com/article/16674/the_genes_made_us_do_it

ben tillman said...

"Lots of high IQ people are very socially awkward."

Not because of their high IQ but because most people are socially not all that cool.


No, that's not it at all. It's like being a different species.

Anonymous said...

The Earth's environment has killed almost every species that ever existed and it is certainly a lot more hospitable than Mars'. Transhumanism is a more likely destiny for humans.


Transhumanism is another word for suicide.

Silver said...

And how specifically would we do that? Let's start by identifying the bottle-neck: Women who possess what we generally regard as "good traits" have one additional trait - they don't have much interest in having children, certainly not at above replacement rates.

Financial incentives. Big fat financial incentives. Whatever-it-takes financial incentives. Bankrupt-the-country financial incentives. You get my drift.

Can you think of public money better spent?

It's not about creating a "master race." It's about taking behaviors that people already display and just "shaping" them around the edges a little to get things moving in the right direction. It's far from utopian and far from impossible.

Silver said...

"Free market eugenics" is a contradiction in terms. Allow everyone to have the "designer baby" of their choice and the result is not going to be what people here think of as "better".

Maybe not, but so what? Is there any reason at all to think the result would be worse than the "natural breeding" going on today?

Silver said...

Sure but it's choosing which traits should be bred for. I doubt this could be done without unintended consequences.

I will begin taking you seriously when you expend equally as much energy critiquing the current regime for the unintended consequences of its state-sponsored dysgenics program.


hardly said...

This. I can't see why more commenters can't recognize this.
1. Selecting for "intelligence" - means more socially awkward 150iq nerds
2. Selecting against criminality- means more docile Sheep, ie lower testosterone, aka manginas. Also means lower selfishness and more altruism.
Can't anyone make the obvious connection that this so called "Eu" genics is just a recipe to turn whites into east Asians? Or at the very least turn white countries into carbon copies of hipster neighborhoods in San Francisco?
Any functioning eugenic policy should select for the fittest in a broad sense. You need iq, but also charisma , beauty, fitness, drive, productivity, aggression. And many of those traits militate against each other. High IQ societies are likely to be nihilist and inward looking. Aggressive societies are likely to have a lot of criminals.
It's very hard to optimize for one trait.

The Indian caste system, the longest surviving selective breeding program in the world, has selected for intellectualism, aggression/leadership, "street smarts" and dexterity/skill in different castes. Hard to call one better than the others. Each has its own flavor.
Even within a race, you might want to do different eugenic selection for male and female offspring. Who wants a driven ambitious aggressive smart ass woman? Not me. I prefer docile and altruistic.
Perhaps the safest way to begin eugenics would be to select against ugliness, which seems to have no benefits. But some might disagree since if smart people got laid for being hot that might take away incentive to work/ innovate to make themselves stand out in other ways. You can see this among women already- the high achievers in science and tech are usually the ugly ones. The hot ones get married and have kids and go shoe shopping.

Anonymous said...

1. Selecting for "intelligence" - means more socially awkward 150iq nerds

There is no law of nature that says high IQ people much be socially awkward nerds. Many are no such thing.

True, if a eugenics program were to be absolutely focused on one particular trait there might be undesirable side effects. But why would anyone design a program that way? What you want is to arrange things so that superior people -- defined in an inclusive way -- have more children than inferior people. Superior could mean high IQ, but it would also mean many other things: high emotional stability, good social skills, good health, attractiveness, athleticism, and so on. Intelligence wouldn't increase as fast as if it were the sole focus; it would simply improve along with everything else. As opposed to the current situation, where our genetic health is, at some undetermined rate, going to hell.

It's hard to know how this would work. I don't know if you want an official Bureau of Eugenics -- too much power in one place, and too weird. You just want society to be organized differently, but differently how, I don't know. It's something people need to think about, and talk about, and we can't do that as long as the subject is taboo, So the first priority has to be getting rid of the taboo, and it seem to me that the best way to do that is make people aware of the dysgenic consequences of the current regime.

Hepp said...

Free market eugenics is the best of all possible worlds. Different parents will want different things: some will care more about verbal intelligence, while others will prefer traits like mathematical ability, musical skills, beauty, etc. Nobody will prefer extreme ugliness, mental retardation, etc. So free market eugenics both provides diversity in the population and moves things in the right direction.

Despite liberal ideology, most people want their sons to be heterosexual and assertive, and their daughters to be feminine and attractive. If the current ruling class tried to practice government sanctioned eugenics, you can imagine them making their top priority eliminating all racial and gender distinctions.

Government is necessary for discouraging the hopeless cases from propagating their kind. As far as improving the species, however, I see no reason why the market can't take care of it, with the state possibly encouraging positive developments around the edges.

This is why, despite my right wing views, I vote Democrat. If you keep government out of reproductive health, technology and individuals choices will take care of a lot of the problems we have.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe not, but so what? Is there any reason at all to think the result would be worse than the "natural breeding" going on today?"

Breeding today isn't natural; it's wildly distorted by

a) the deliberate destruction of the middle class for the benefit of the 1% thus minimizing children in the right-middle of the curve

b) the welfare system maximizing children at the bottom

Of those two the biggest problem **by far** is (a).

.

"I will begin taking you seriously when you expend equally as much energy critiquing the current regime for the unintended consequences of its state-sponsored dysgenics program."

Almost everyone here understands the dysgenic nature of the current system. The question is would selecting **for** a single trait at the top have a better outcome than selecting **against** load at the bottom.

I am saying selecting against load thereby bumping up the average would be more beneficial as it would be beneficial in itself plus it would increase the number of high IQ outliers anyway.

Anonymous said...

Financial incentives. Big fat financial incentives. Whatever-it-takes financial incentives. Bankrupt-the-country financial incentives. You get my drift.


If your drift is that your think there exists some limitless supply of imaginary wealth with which to bribe smart women into having ten children each, sure, I get your drift.

I'm sympathetic to the goal, mind you, but nobody has a clue how to get there.

The most feasible route would be to roll back the social changes of the last fifty years and make child-bearing the primary "women's job" which it has been throughout history. Which would obviously be very difficult to do, but it's a lot more plausible than paying women with above average IQ's $100k/yr to have kids.

Silver said...

You need iq, but also charisma , beauty, fitness, drive, productivity, aggression.

Do you have any reason at all to believe those attributes are not as evenly distributed among high IQ people as among low IQ people? It could be the case, but I'm asking you whether you have any reason to believe it. If so, what is that reason?

2. Selecting against criminality- means more docile Sheep, ie lower testosterone, aka manginas. Also means lower selfishness and more altruism.

So you'd like more criminality and selfishness?

Anonymous said...

"This is why, despite my right wing views, I vote Democrat. If you keep government out of reproductive health, technology and individuals choices will take care of a lot of the problems we have."

This is probably the funniest comment in all of isteve for the last month.

How can someone read this blog and be this naive?

Do you honestly think Democrats want to "stay out of people's choices"? They are clearly the more tyrannical party for domestic policy.

Oh wait, you're a choicer. Nevermind then.

Silver said...

If your drift is that your think there exists some limitless supply of imaginary wealth with which to bribe smart women into having ten children each, sure, I get your drift.

I don't think you get my drift at all. I'm not talking about delving into our reserves of imaginary wealth. I'm talking paying as much as the public will support. Today that amount is roughly speaking zero dollars, but tomorrow it could be $10 billion, then $50 billion, then $100 billion and so on. And no woman need have ten children. That's just obstructionist nonsense. If a funded program bumps up the number of births per high IQ woman from, say, 1.1 to 1.5 I'd call that a success - wouldn't you?

Forbert Pointer said...

This weeks UK spectator has the feature article on Nicholas Wade and his new book, also a podcast with Wade.

The Genome of History - Nicholas Wade

Nichlas wade Podcast

Hepp said...

I think that culture is more important than financial incentives for the birth rate. If smart women were taught that

1) IQ is genetic
2) The bet thing that they can do for the world is have more children

then we'd see a lot fewer women trying to teach inner city kids how to read and more deciding to stay home and become mothers instead. In a world where people had HBD drilled into their heads, it would be seen as socially unacceptable for successful people not to have children.

People are looking for something to live for. If women can be convinced that they could satisfy maternal instincts and make the world a better place at the same time, that would be a powerful cultural force.

Once you get to the point where government is offering incentives for eugenic breeding, it means you've gotten to the point where there's been a cultural and normative shift. So the details of what government policy would look like in such a world is not important.

Hepp said...

"Do you honestly think Democrats want to "stay out of people's choices"? They are clearly the more tyrannical party for domestic policy. "

Obviously they're more tyrannical. But not on abortion. Liberals refuse to even ban sex selection abortion, something that appears to have angered American conservatives.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/05/14/California-Assembly-Democrats-Kill-Ban-on-Sex-Selection-Abortions

Of course, liberals do not have any eugenic intent and in general like telling people what to do. But we must acknowledge their blind adherence to the principle of "choice" when it comes to reproductive matters and how thankful we should be for it.

Anonymous said...

The Indian caste system, the longest surviving selective breeding program in the world

Yeah, and just look at how well that turned out. ;)

ben tillman said...

I think that culture is more important than financial incentives for the birth rate. If smart women were taught that

1) IQ is genetic
2) The bet thing that they can do for the world is have more children

then we'd see a lot fewer women trying to teach inner city kids how to read and more deciding to stay home and become mothers instead.


Smart women already know that IQ is genetic.

Hepp said...

"Smart women already know that IQ is genetic."

They don't put two and two together and understand the social implications. It needs to become acceptable for people to think these thoughts.

hardly said...

" Anonymous said...
The Indian caste system, the longest surviving selective breeding program in the world

Yeah, and just look at how well that turned out. ;)"

Are you kidding? It's the only social system from 1000BC that still survives today, and doesn't seem to be getting much weaker.

It's also the only system that has survived Christianity and Islam, while Graeco-Roman paganism, Zoroastrianism, Germanic paganism and South East Asia all collapsed.

Not to mention possibly the only native system that survived the European era almost intact. Native cultures in China and the Americas couldn't.

And irrespective of how much you value Indian achievements, you must admit that India has fared better than you would expect an 85 IQ country to.

Silver said...

Once you get to the point where government is offering incentives for eugenic breeding, it means you've gotten to the point where there's been a cultural and normative shift.

I agree. But you can't ignore that people are motivated by the desire for personal gain. Providing financial incentives therefore increases the likelihood that people will pay attention to what we're saying, and outlining how those incentives might operate makes the enterprise seem more believable. Absent this, too many dismiss it as fanciful nonsense.

Silver said...

And irrespective of how much you value Indian achievements, you must admit that India has fared better than you would expect an 85 IQ country to.

Neither you nor I nor anybody can say with any confidence how a country with 85 IQ should fare. It doesn't work like that.

Hepp said...

"And irrespective of how much you value Indian achievements, you must admit that India has fared better than you would expect an 85 IQ country to."

The Arab countries without oil have about a similar IQ, and they have a higher GDP per capita than India. Same with Latin America. India is a mess, even for whatever its IQ is.