May 13, 2014

Sailer: "The Strange Evolution of Eugenics"

From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
The Strange Evolution of Eugenics 
by Steve Sailer  
Predictably, responses to veteran New York Times genetics reporter Nicholas Wade’s new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History are already starting to break down along ethnic lines. 
For example, the quite intelligent and extremely hostile anthropologist Jonathan Marks, who coined the term “human biodiversity” in 1995, continues his long-running War on Wade with some classic bile. 
Much of the anger at Wade derives from a sense that a victory that seemed like it had been won in the 1970s is slipping away as the human genome data pours in. Luke Ford interviewed Wade and asked: 
Would it be fair to say that many of the principal ideas in your book were taken for granted as commonsense wisdom say 70-80 years ago? 
Nicholas laughs. “I think a lot of that is true. People took it for granted that races existed and had a biological basis. … Many social scientists now say they don’t think that races exist. And the fact that the genome says otherwise is, as you say, a throwback to the wisdom of 70 years ago.”

Read the whole thing there.
    

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

"By the way, this criticism doesn’t apply as strongly to the meritocratic and kindhearted Galton, whose main suggestion was that society should bring together the most promising young men and women for socializing and encourage nature to take its course. "

Are you sure about this? I read what is available of his novel Kantsaywhere but IIRC it was a rather planned eugenics program..

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1111/111117-Galton-novel-Kantsaywhere-published-online
http://www.dnalc.org/view/12012-Manuscript-of-the-Eugenic-College-of-Kantsaywhere-by-Francis-Galton-title-page-and-page-with-a-definition-of-genetic-1-.html

Steve Johnson said...

"I’ve always agreed with Shakespeare (e.g., Romeo and Juliet) that the triumph of the love match is perhaps the central glory of northwestern European culture. "

Doesn't seem like Romeo and Juliet is a very good case in favor of love matches.

Kind of seems like the opposite actually.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I find it odd how little the HBD sphere talks on the UN's statement on race considering how influential it has been through history(especially civil rights era court cases)... there's a huge hole in talking about the changing views on eugenics without bringing it up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Race_Question

Julian Huxley and Dobzhansky signed it and were committed eugenicists... R. A Fisher and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin were eugenicists who refused to sign it because they believed in significant ethnic differences.

Huxley and (especially) Dobzhansky may have been motivated in trying to save eugenics... if so, I think their strategy was the wrong one.

If sentiments changed about eugenics changed in the 1970s, then it may have had to do with tabooing dissent against the changes made in the previous couple decades.

James Hedman said...

"Doesn't seem like Romeo and Juliet is a very good case in favor of love matches."

That's why I've always admired the clear-headed economic thinking of Jane Austen's heroines.

Anonymous said...

"As Chesterton argued in 1922, if eugenic arranged marriages actually succeed in breeding stronger, healthier men, the first thing these new, better men would do would be to tell the busybodies to butt out and let them marry the women they love."

Not nececelery.

What if the 'better man' was matched with Alice Cullen?

Anonymous said...

"Similarly, more high-tech eugenic techniques such as selective abortion, discarding fertilized loser embryos, and sterilization all strike me as distasteful, at the least."

If such methods favor the creation of more Alice Cullens and Ian Dunrosses, no problemo.

Anonymous said...

The most famous American eugenics advocate I can think of was a pretty WASPy dude: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Supreme Court Justice who wrote "three generations of imbeciles is enough" in Buck v. Bell, a case upholding a state law requiring mandatory sterilizations.

In the 1920's eugenics was a standard liberal concept, kind of like affirmative action is in 2014.

Thordaddy said...

Eugenics is still a liberal concept... What? You didn't know HBDers are some of the most radical liberals? They sit around picking on the beta males of Liberal creationism. Liberal bullies, I say.

eah said...

OT

Military now turns down 80% of applicants

...a stricter set of standards as it pertains to physical fitness, appearance (i.e., tattoos), intelligence test results and an applicant’s criminal history.

There's gotta be at least one 'disparate impact' lawsuit there.

eah said...

OT

Another interesting post from Luke Ford:

Dissing Tim Tebow, Celebrating Michael Sam

WWG/T

Sean said...

There was a national efficiency movement in Britain at the turn of the century caused by the failures of the system as shown by the low quality of recruit in the Boer war.

"Simms [history of euriope} shows how both winners and losers
were preoccupied, more or less effectively, with enhancing their economic capacity and administrative efficiency in order to withstand external pressure, or to exert it. Sometimes the domestic changes were revolutionary..."

The US right now faces no threats whatever; so comonsense wisdom relevant to national efficiency is in disfavour.
---------------------
"For example, the quite intelligent and extremely hostile anthropologist Jonathan Marks, who coined the term “human biodiversity” in 1995, continues his long-running War on Wade with some classic bile."

Why biliously animadvert Wade for what he says and does? If Wade's environment is responsible for his beliefs, just as Marks's environment has been responsibel for his beliefs then there is no person apart from that person's environment to be judged. And the same goes for genes, or any combination of genes and environment. Once you discount the things that have not been chosen about a person, what is there left to blame but the soul that neither Marks or Wade claims to believe in ?

Anonymous said...

One of these days, the "blank state" maroons are going to figure out that Creationism is much closer to their practical beliefs, and that Charles Darwin is their worst nightmare.

They want to believe that the right education and social institutions are sufficient to break the human spirit and hammer out uniformly obsequious cogs for upper middle class mediocrity.

They think Darwin means "social Darwinism," ie a lame justification for the Victorian class system. In which peons should know their place and follow the rules set out for them by the patronizing liberal upper classes.

What they never realize is that in Darwinism, there are no classes, there are no set rules, there are no eternally stable social forms, there are no eternal biological forms. All is flux, all is open to radical change. The only rule is procreation and perpetuation of related life forms. Everything else is contingent.

Anonymous said...

Isn't eugenics practiced today with abortion and birth control?

During the dark days of American eugenics people were sterilized but the country had huge numbers of retarded people (example Rosemary Kennedy, a sister of John F. Kennedy). So schemes were put in place to try to limit the burden, that today are thought to be unnecessary. I suspect in most of human history downs syndrome babies were killed after birth.

In many societies arraigned marriages are common. Isn't that eugenics? Although Galton seemed to want it all controlled by the government using statistical techniques.

The failure of the British upper class to have sufficient offspring would seem to be a failure of the Anglican Church.

sunbeam said...

I think people kind of dance around discussion of this topic these days. I have a question though.

Why wouldn't it work?

We know that ten generations of dog breeding can lead to incredible changes (including behaviorally).

So what would keep it from working exactly?

I think I read something to the effect that there was a noticeable effect in the German population that is a noticeable effect of the Nazi eugenics program.

So imagine a society where a eugenics program like early 20th century America or the Nazi's, but one that was comprehensive and carried out for say three generations.

What would this society be like?

You can get philosophical about it, and argue that the improved happiness of future generation is more important than the unhappiness of a finite number of people whose interests are hurt along the way. And how many people actually want to have kids as opposed to they just happen?

Seems to me you have to invoke an argument like Ursula K. LeGuin's in "The Ones That Walk Away From Omelas."

Anyone if I were world or american overlord I wouldn't do it. Just not the way I roll.

Besides in the long run I think it is irrelevant. I'm one of the woo woo people who believes in the singularity argument, whatever that actually would turn out to be.

Whether it takes 20 or 30 years like Kurzweil says, or happens in a hundred doesn't matter.

Because what stops it?

The Z Blog said...

A great column. There's a lot of value in revisiting intellectual history. We live in a Progressive era and as such history is looked upon as a foreign country, one with which we are at war. As a result, an astonishingly small number of public figures can tell you why they believe what they believe. They just assume it has always been so.

A fun way to test this is to engage a liberal female of child bearing age on the topic of abortion. Specifically, bring up Margaret Sanger. Don't be surprised if she has never heard of Sanger or her eugenics.

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is, everyone knows race is real. Literally everyone. Everyone is forced to agree with the PC position because of job loss, lawsuits, even threats of violence.

We, as people, need to find ways to push back against the psychological war of PC Dogma, so science can be free to advance.

I've decided that is OUR responsibility as regular citizens. Not sure how to do it! But we must begin resiting and talking back when this stuff comes up.

Call them out as enforcers of PC Dogma. They are just like religious fanatics in the Dark Ages.

Harry Baldwin said...

Galton, though, would probably have been distressed that these two first couples have only three children amongst them.

If he knew the Clintons he might have found it a relief.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but much of this article reflects a certain laziness, and overstates the evidence. For instance, if you look at Jewish Nobel laureates, Jews are well overrepresented relative to their share of the population in all scientific categories, with, using the eye test, a slight bias towards physics and medicine, but plenty in chemistry. So I don't know where you got this idea that Jews have some biological/environmental tilt towards physics above other scientific endeavors. You also had plenty of non-Jewish Brits and Germans lead the way in theoretical physics (Dirac, Rutherford -- well, he was Kiwi -- Schrodinger, Heidegger). Given these errors, and the lack of much data in the article, it's hard to tell whether naturalism/evolutionary thought was dominated by Brits or other country boys. The theory is certainly plausible, but the explanation is probably a lot more mundane, to the point that it comes down to coincidence.

Definitely not among your stronger stuff.

Anonymous said...

off topic:

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/

Anonymous said...

RE: The Anglo nature of Evolutionary thought,

It's interesting to note that the highest scoring American in the hard sciences in Murray's HUMAN ACCOMPLISHMENT was a biologist who did seminal work in understanding the role of chromosomes in shaping heredity: Thomas Hunt Morgan. It's also interesting to note that he was from Lexington, Kentucky, which seems to further validate Steve's overall thesis about rural upbringing.

Anonymous said...

RE: Germans and rocketry,

Well, one shouldn't discount the contributions of the very Anglo Robert Goddard.

Anonymous said...

http://johnpilger.com/articles/once-again-australia-is-stealing-its-indigenous-children

Anonymous said...

http://www.businessinsider.com/young-star-investors-in-silicon-valley-2014-5

Luke Lea said...

A lot of interesting (and, to me, new) scholarship lucidly described as usual.

Anonymous said...

OT, Brown at 60: An American Success Story

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303939404579530333852249624

Great news-speak and propaganda, the title of the article indicates and promotes the idea that Brown vs. Board of Education was a success. It conveys a simple 4 word politically correct message "An American Success Story". A message to keep whitey in line, and prevent him from possibly crime-thinking. But, the actual article conveys the complete opposite.

As the white school population has moved from 80% to 50% in 2013, is there really such a thing as segregation? What happens when the population is 80% minority, will whites be "bused" in from Europe?

Anonymous said...

RE: The quasi-rural upbringings thesis,Here are three Anglo-American Eexamples:

1. Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945): As noted, from Lexington, Kentucky.He also worked for the US Geological Survey as a teenager during the Summer.

2.Sewall Wright (1889-1988): "an American geneticist known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis. With R. A. Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane, he was a founder of theoretical population genetics. He is the discoverer of the inbreeding coefficient and of methods of computing it in pedigrees" (WIKIPEDIA). Wright was born in Melrose, Ma., but he grew up in small-town Illinois (his father was a college prof in Galesburg).

3. George C Williams (1926-2010):Along with Hamilton and Smith, one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the post-45 period. Born in Charlotte, NC.

Anonymous said...

Finally, none of this works particularly fast or well. As Galton was the first person in history to put in writing, humans regress toward the mean.

This statement is strange, it makes me think you don't really appreciate the concept of "regression to the mean".

Anonymous said...

Here's WIKIPEDIA'S list of the key men involved in shaping the Neo-Darwinian synthesis: "major figures in the modern synthesis include R. A. Fisher, Theodosius Dobzhansky, J. B. S. Haldane, Sewall Wright, E. B. Ford, Ernst Mayr, Bernhard Rensch, Sergei Chetverikov, George Gaylord Simpson, and G. Ledyard Stebbins."

1. RA Fisher:British

2. Dobzhansky: Ukrainian. Moved to the USA in 1927, where he worked under Thomas hunt Morgan at Columbia and Cal Tech.

3. Haldane: British

4. Sewall Wright: American

5. E.B. Ford: British

6.Ernst Mayr: German

7. Bernhard Rensch:German

8. Chetverikov: Russian (poor guy; he ran afoul of Lysenko).

9.George Gaylord Simpson:American

10. Stebbins: American

Americans:3
Britons:3
Germans:2
Russians:1
Ukrainians:1

Total Anglo Contributors:6.

So, I think that it is safe to say that the Anglo world has played a very prominent role in shaping evolutionary thinking....

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see how being in contact with nature just seems to keep cropping up when you read the bios of evolutionary thinkers. For example, here's G. Ledyard Stebbins (1906-2000):"His most important publication was Variation and Evolution in Plants, which combined genetics and Darwin's theory of natural selection to describe plant speciation. It is regarded as one of the main publications which formed the core of the modern evolutionary synthesis and still provides the conceptual framework for research in plant evolutionary biology" (WIKIPEDIA).

Stebbins was born in Lawrence, a very tiny town in upstate NY.His father was a wealthy financier who helped develop Seal Harbor and helped found Acadia National Park. According to the WIKI bio, Stebbins became interested in natural history during his family's frequent visits to Seal Harbor.In 1914, his mother's TB caused the family to move to Santa Barbara, and one can easily imagine Stebbins waling along the SoCal beaches....

Anonymous said...

From Marks' review:"But it is a paranoid, anti-intellectual screed about how scientists are misleading you about race in order to set their own egalitarian political agenda, one that does not harmonize with Wade’s."

The Freudian notion of "projection" comes to mind....

Anonymous said...

Robert Heinlein, in his novel Beyond this Horizon, proposed a noncoercive eugenic scheme involving gamete selection. It is briefly discussed in David Brin's review of the novel.
http://torforgeblog.com/2010/07/12/whats-your-favorite-heinlein-novel-david-brin/

pat said...

Excellent essay Steve. Let me reinforce a few points.

First of all positive eugenics keeps popping up again and again because in the Neolithic mankind discovered animal husbandry. People - all except Jared Diamond's favorite natives in places like New Guinea - soon learned that you could quite easily breed favorable traits into many animals in a short time. It occurred to them that you could do much the same with humans.

Breeding for favorable characteristics is so easy in animals that even the dullest savage in the deepest woods could understand that the same sort of thing also pertained to people.

Watch 'I Claudius' again. Augustus makes an impassioned speech about how the best people (the 'boni') were refusing to propagate. He enacted incentives for fertility. He understood eugenics two millennia before Galton.

Indeed so did the Capulets and the Montegues. Families everywhere have been concerned with 'breeding' as far back as we have records. The tragedy arises from the differences in in the perception of who is and who isn't an appropriate match. In the play the lovers believe that they have made the correct choices while the parents don't see it. Or maybe the parents don't smell it.

Sexual attraction remains a bit mysterious. It is not completely known if humans respond to the pheromones or not. But maybe Juliet's Vomeronasal organ had done an analysis of Romeo's genome that was more valid than anything available to her family.

One of the best descriptions of this kind of sub-conscious sexual judgment is in Bakker's novel 'Raptor Red'. Picking an appropriate mate is not an intellectual operation . Hence the opportunities for tragedy.

Perhaps the greatest recent experiment in positive eugenics was slavery in the American South. The great cotton plantations enforced all sorts of virtues including less promiscuity, less violence, and stronger family structure. Had the 'peculiar institution' endure for a bit longer and we might have fewer racial problems today. But, alas, moderns get it all backwards. The 'Legacy of Slavery' was a whole set of virtues that have now all dissipated.

Thomas Sowell has noted that American blacks had less dysfunction (violence, promiscuity, etc.) in the past than presently. The South had been trying to breed better slaves but with emancipation those efforts evaporated. What we now are experiencing in our central cities is 'The Legacy of Emancipation'.

Pat Boyle

sunbeam said...

eah posted:

Another interesting post from Luke Ford:

Dissing Tim Tebow, Celebrating Michael Sam

There wasn't a story there, but I did see this on that site:

Chaim Amalek: “This is another example of the stupidity of Republicans. If they had any intelligence, they would be fighting to shorten copyright duration to what it was in years past, would encourage services like Aero that have the potential to effectively defund the main TV networks (thereby defunding pro-sports as well), encourage NCAA athletes to unionize, insist on affirmative action programs in Hollywood at the senior corporate level to provide diversity where it might do some good, and otherwise act to reduce the power of our media oligarchs. None of which these brain-dead slaves to failed free market ideologies will ever do.”

I actually think that would work, or at least change something about this country.

Never happen.

Dr Huxley said...

The card sorting method is sexual reproduction too.

You have multiple geneological ancestors with no genetic relation to you. Or at least insignificant relationships to you as their DNA May have been shuffled out the pack.

Bones and Behaviours said...

I summarised the Eugenics Manifesto before.
http://w11.zetaboards.com/bonesandbehaviours/topic/9408016/1/

And an abstract of interest.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24778464

Bones and Behaviours said...

'The Z Blog' comments:

"A fun way to test this is to engage a liberal female of child bearing age on the topic of abortion. Specifically, bring up Margaret Sanger. Don't be surprised if she has never heard of Sanger or her eugenics."

More interesting is that Sanger was extremely pro-life, and that this got airbrushed from history when radical fanatics took over Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous said...

The claim that rocket technology was somehow something that German scientists naturally tilted towards, while the developments of atomic weapons was something Jews were naturally inclined to pursue is just bizarre. The Germans were actually the first to pursue a fission bomb, and as, as I recall, German scientists were actually the first to achieve nuclear fission (or at least prove the principle, I'm not quite sure). There are different theories as to why they were ultimately beaten to it by the allies, but it likely had to do with the lack of resources (the Manhattan project was an enormous enterprise that was not simply the brain child of a cabal of clever Jewish scientists), the total loss of German air supremacy relatively early on in the war, and the strategic inclinations of the Fuhrer. Conversely, given that the Allies had achieved total air supremacy, a massive effort to develop fairly primitive ballistic missiles was not only unnecessary, but would have been a total waste of resources.

You might have been better served to look at how many Jews helped develop ballistic missile and rocket technology following the war, especially in relation to other scientific endeavors, on both the US and Soviet side. I don't know the answer to this, but my guess is that, just like virtually all scientific fields, Jews were overrepresented relative to their share of the total population.

Anonymous said...

"this time allowing persons from around the world to share and shape our liberty." - emphasis on shape.

Anonymous said...

"As the white school population has moved from 80% to 50% in 2013, is there really such a thing as segregation? What happens when the population is 80% minority, will whites be "bused" in from Europe?" - whites will have to be bussed in from 1950.

Whitehall said...

What I'd like to see is a melding of Wade's thinking on inherited social behaviors in races and Jonathan Haidt's work on morality ("The Righteous Mind.")

Why do liberals have such a stunted sense of morals compared to conservative (2 factors compared to 7)?

Are they over-domesticated and have retained their juvenile mental characteristics? One look at Pajama Boy reinforces that view.

Luke Lea said...

Anonymous - "We, as people, need to find ways to push back against the psychological war of PC Dogma,"

At the very least the kind of vigilante mobbing that now goes on has got to be condemned Even if certain things are better left unsaid in public or in polite society, even though they may be true and widely understood, better to ignore the transgressor than stone him in a media frenzy.

dearieme said...

The quasi-rural upbringings thesis certainly explains why Newton and Maxwell were such great biol… ; oops.

Florida resident said...

I agree with this keen observation by Mr. Sailer, that J**s were better with nuclear physics and technology, while gentile scientists were better with rocket science and technology. Have no personal opinion about biologists and geologists, but strongly suspect that Mr. Sailer is right here as well.
I know first hand from a person who was sent to inspect facilities in Peenemünde in 1945 (or 46) this curious story.
Even in super-organized Nazi Germany bribes mattered. Wernher von Braun have chosen ethyl alcohol as the fuel for his V-2 rockets, so that he could use it for pushing his technical orders for some or other parts, trading them for ethyl alcohol.

Anonymous said...

florida resident:"I agree with this keen observation by Mr. Sailer, that J**s were better with nuclear physics and technology, while gentile scientists were better with rocket science and technology. Have no personal opinion about biologists and geologists, but strongly suspect that Mr. Sailer is right here as well."

Why the asterisks? Just write "Jews." We are all adults here.

Whitehall said...

One does not see too many Jews working as engineers, at least in the US, based on my 40 years of experience.

I've always assumed that they knew about the pay prospects and found better ways to make money.

The issue with today's underclass out-breeding the more intelligent and wiser amongst us is due to the Golden Age of the Welfare State. If some cataclysm were to cut off EBT cards and welfare checks overnight, infant mortality amongst the underclass would soar to frightening heights.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see how being in contact with nature just seems to keep cropping up when you read the bios of evolutionary thinkers. For example, here's G. Ledyard Stebbins (1906-2000):"His most important publication was Variation and Evolution in Plants, which combined genetics and Darwin's theory of natural selection to describe plant speciation. It is regarded as one of the main publications which formed the core of the modern evolutionary synthesis and still provides the conceptual framework for research in plant evolutionary biology" (WIKIPEDIA).

Stebbins was born in Lawrence, a very tiny town in upstate NY.His father was a wealthy financier who helped develop Seal Harbor and helped found Acadia National Park. According to the WIKI bio, Stebbins became interested in natural history during his family's frequent visits to Seal Harbor.In 1914, his mother's TB caused the family to move to Santa Barbara, and one can easily imagine Stebbins walking* along the SoCal beaches....


*Walking, not waling. Damn typos.

Anonymous said...

dearime:"The quasi-rural upbringings thesis certainly explains why Newton and Maxwell were such great biol… ; oops."

I hardly think that Steve was claiming that a quasi-rural upbringing is a sufficient condition for excellence in evolutionary thinking.

Anonymous said...

@pat,

Perhaps the greatest recent experiment in positive eugenics was slavery in the American South. The great cotton plantations enforced all sorts of virtues including less promiscuity, less violence, and stronger family structure. Had the 'peculiar institution' endure for a bit longer and we might have fewer racial problems today. But, alas, moderns get it all backwards. The 'Legacy of Slavery' was a whole set of virtues that have now all dissipated.

Yes, the slave-owners set such a nice example of family values and non-promiscuity by having sexual relations with their female slaves (married or unmarried), and by occasionally selling off husband, wife, and kids to different buyers.

The slave-owners also set a great example of non-violence by brutally whipping their slaves for various crimes like trying to escape to freedom.

Anonymous said...

The Transsexual-affiliated site Io9 has put Wade's book on their list of most influential works of scientific racism. Worth looking at just to read the comments section. The groupthink is mind-staggering.

http://io9.com/the-9-most-influential-works-of-scientific-racism-rank-1575543279

BurplesonAFB said...

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/

Yes, especially with regards to the racial disparities. If only we could get those boisterous, rash Asian students with their relentless eye contact to stop intimidating the timid, demure African Americans, we could close the gap.

Henry Canaday said...

How about the difference in British and German philosophical traditions as a factor in explaining the British advantage in evolution and the German-Jewish edge in physics?

I think Einstein read Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” when he was something like 12 year old, perhaps just for fun. That is a profoundly humiliating thought. I read the book in my 50s and would be flattering myself to think that I understood 10 percent of the average page. But you can see how Kant’s emphasis on man’s ability to only perceive phenomena, how things must appear, and then to organize these perceptions in time and space, might have helped scientists who were studying the stars, light waves and atoms.

In contrast, the British empirical tradition might have helped the thoughtful squire, who happened to observe that the mating of two sorts of cows commonly produced a bigger, better cow, to avoid obsessing about whether he was misjudging cow size and just count the damn cows.


Baloo said...

Steve, you shift paradigms more often than I change socks. This is a powerful one. I've quibcagged it:
The E-Word: Eugenics

Anonymous said...

one shouldn't discount the contributions of the very Anglo Robert Goddard.


Goddard is a Norman surname rather than an Anglo one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Goddard is a Norman surname rather than an Anglo one."

This might just be the most deranged comment that I have ever read on this blog. And that is saying quite a lot.

Roger Bacon said...

Or gravity?

Roger Bacon said...

Or the Chronometer

Anonymous said...

Steve's clearheaded writing on eugenics over the years raises an interesting question, which I am not remotely qualified to answer: Does widespread contraceptive use actually have "eugenic" effects, as its early proponents claimed? In the days of Margaret Sanger, it was naturally assumed that if condoms were widespread, those with poor self-control and low intelligence would avoid a whole lot of accidental pregnancies, with a corresponding reduction in the number of children growing up to be burdens on the public- "More children from the fit, and fewer from the unfit".

In retrospect, though, is there a strong case to be made that the effect is 180 degrees the reverse? This is just my vague impression (I'm Catholic, for what it's worth), not supported by any kind of data. It seems to me, though, that intelligent, self-disciplined, and careful people (who could probably do a pretty good job of caring for an unplanned child) also should be the best at remembering to carry rubbers or pop pills on schedule. Conversely, aren't Sanger's legions of the "unfit" the ones most likely to forget condoms in the car, break them by opening the package wrong, or neglect to take the pill on time? It seems likely that contraceptives would drastically depress birthrates amongst the smart and well-prepared ("We can't have a child in this market"). Amonst the unintelligent and impulsive, though, the atmosphere of uninhibited randiness in our post-Griswold world probably creates almost as many unplanned pregnancies as condoms prevent, if not more (Steve has previously cited a very similar effect observed in the early days of legalized abortion). A telling deleted scene in Idiocracy depicts Clevon and his latest floozy getting hot and heavy in his truck, at which point he says, panicking, "Aw, I forgot to bring rubbers!". A torrent of hormones easily overpowering his already-meager ability to plan for the future, he continues with the proceedings nonetheless.

Has there ever been a formal study done on this? Is there any way to do a formal study on this? The main problem nowadays seems to be that non-contraceptors are already a pretty strongly self-selected bunch, often members of intensely religious subcultures. It'd be hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison with everyone else and extrapolate the results to an entire society and culture. Are there any good data from the period before contraceptives were legalized in Ireland and a few other Catholic European countries, by which they might be compared with their neighbors? We know that birthrates are down dramatically since the invention of The Pill, but we don't seem to know whether the ratio of "smart" births to "dumb" births has changed as a result. My hunch is that when contraceptives aren't an easy option, smart couples generally have a few more children than they would otherwise, while not-so-smart couples have about the same number. Has it ever been measured formally?

Incidentally, I know Steve has mentioned long-lasting depo-provera shots as a form of contraception more likely to be effective amongst the left half of the bell curve, but I'm not so sure. It's certainly more effective for those who are actually subjected to it, but it doesn't escape the problem of the general cultural changes that accompany widespread contraceptive use. If you're not very bright, and your older sister takes DP and decides to become The Village Bicycle, how likely are you to start imitating her behavior even though you aren't taking the same shots? Do randy young men check young ladies' medical records before jumping in the sack? Much of human behavior is imitative; we do what everyone else thinks is normal. Maybe this doesn't matter, but it seems like a question worth considering.

Roger Bacon said...

What about Anglo bicycle mechanics and Aerodynamics? That's physics right?

Steve Sailer said...

Upper class British women had access to contraceptive devices from the 1870s onward. William Manchester's biography of Churchill takes up the question of why his mother didn't have anymore children after age 24, despite a lifetime of flamboyant romances. He describes a discreet shop in London where a well-dress lady with a letter of introduction from a society lady could buy contraceptives.

Gregory Clark finds that the fertility rate of the wealthy in Britain collapsed around 1880.

Much of the political struggle over contraception was over laws criminalizing publication of information about how to do it. WASP progressives tended to support Sanger since they knew how to do it from their quiet channels, but wanted the Catholics to be able to learn easily so they wouldn't outnumber them. Thus, that Monty Python clip I often link to.

Whiskey said...

I know Roissy/Heartiste is a big fan of Galton positive eugenics, i.e. smart guys marrying attractive women.

However, I see one big problem there. Feminine free will.

Smart guys are repulsive to women, on average. This is because higher IQ correlates negatively with testosterone levels. From a pure sexual standpoint, no one has disproven Satoshi Kanazawa's study, the hierarchy of attractiveness for men (by women of all races): Black>Hispanic>White>Asian. Reversed of course for the attractiveness of women by men of all races, and also found in his study. There has been point-sputter outrage to Kanazawa, but no independent studies disproving his results. Just witchfinding.

What makes men attractive to women, the prerequisite basically with feminine free will and free choice, to child-bearing, is: high levels of aggressiveness, lower IQ, darker skin, higher testosterone, lower future time orientation (i.e. impulsiveness), social orientation, extraversion, height, social dominance, athleticism, violent and dangerous behavior (this last is proven by Sailer's "Chicks dig Chechens" line).

None of that describes higher IQ White guys. Higher IQ, smarter White guys have to settle. For what they can get. Even Game will only take them so far, though it is important to master it.

No matter how much a guy lifts, stifles his inner beta male, performs in an improv manner in the way of an Alpha male, he will still lack the genuine article.

ANY sort of positive eugenics has to take into account the disparate ways in which men and women measure sexiness. For men it is youth, pale(r) skin, beauty, etc. For women it is dark(er) skin than themselves, violence, aggression, lower IQ, etc.

Any program of positive eugenics will simply result in a Mulatto nation, because that is what women want.

Therefore I advocate AS MUCH SOCIAL REPRESSION for everyone as possible. Japan-like repression in matters of sex and reproduction at least has helped them avoid becoming Brazil. A melange of Mulatto underachievers, but with the kind of thug-violent men women can't get enough of. Yes this impinges on sexual freedom (basically women's and Alpha males, beta males have none being wanted only for beta male bucks).

Japan, South Korea, Coastal China, might have a falling or plunging birth rate but at least are not filled with a dominant Mulatto underclass wanting things it can never create the wealth to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Goddard is a Norman surname rather than an Anglo one."


This might just be the most deranged comment that I have ever read on this blog. And that is saying quite a lot.


I guess you missed all the commenters on this blog doggedly insisting that Edmund Burke (among numerous other Hiberno-Normans) was "Anglo-Norman" or "Old English" and not Irish - because, you see, Burke is a Norman surname originally and not an Irish one. Goose, gander.

Anonymous said...

Steve:"Upper class British women had access to contraceptive devices from the 1870s onward. William Manchester's biography of Churchill takes up the question of why his mother didn't have anymore children after age 24, despite a lifetime of flamboyant romances. He describes a discreet shop in London where a well-dress lady with a letter of introduction from a society lady could buy contraceptives."

I seem to recall something similar about Henry Adams' wife Marian. Perhaps it was in Brookhiser's volume on the Adams' family.

Anonymous said...

anonymous:"I guess you missed all the commenters on this blog doggedly insisting that Edmund Burke (among numerous other Hiberno-Normans) was "Anglo-Norman" or "Old English" and not Irish - because, you see, Burke is a Norman surname originally and not an Irish one. Goose, gander."

I must have blocked it out. Some things are simply too silly to contemplate.

Get a Glock said...

@ gentleman with question about 180 degrees post-Griswold:

My sister provided some insight into your question when she ran a PP clinic in the early'90's. Black women reported that black men refused to use condoms, and would hit them if they tried to insist. So that scene in Idiocracy was actually overly flattering to blacks.

peterike said...

Yes, the slave-owners set such a nice example of family values and non-promiscuity by having sexual relations with their female slaves (married or unmarried), and by occasionally selling off husband, wife, and kids to different buyers.

The slave-owners also set a great example of non-violence by brutally whipping their slaves for various crimes like trying to escape to freedom.


Get all your history from Hollywood, I see.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article.

Jean Cocteausten said...

The assortative mating thing is overblown. If you see a couple today where the man is a heart surgeon and the woman is a Ph.D. psychologist, 50 years ago that same couple would have been a heart surgeon and a housewife who dropped out of her junior year at Smith to get married.

Looks different but they're the same two people with the same sets of genes. The housewife Smith dropouts got bored and invented feminism so their daughters could be psychologists. It's not like the corporate lawyers of yesteryear were marrying 85-IQ, big-boobed cigarette girls. That was a joke even back then.

Anonymous said...

Black>Hispanic>White>Asian

Pablo Cuervo Gut and A Kalahari Bushman are attractive? Fair enough!

Anonymous said...

It's not like the corporate lawyers of yesteryear were marrying 85-IQ, big-boobed cigarette girls. That was a joke even back then.

ObRef: DIFFERENT WORLDS

Anonymous said...

As the Augustinian monk, theologian, and “first Protestant” Martin Luther viewed his world in the second decade of the 16th Century, he saw a Christianity in conflict with family life and fertility. Church tradition held that the taking of vows of chastity—as a priest, monk, or cloistered sister—was spiritually superior to the wedded life. In consequence, about one-third of adult European Christians were in Holy Orders. Crisis Magazine

Seems like The Church had a pretty good voluntary eugenics program, where the participants derived satisfaction from following in the steps of their divine leader. Luther messed the whole thing up, pressuring everyone to procreate to please The Lord.

Anonymous said...

"Even in super-organized Nazi Germany bribes mattered. Wernher von Braun have chosen ethyl alcohol as the fuel for his V-2 rockets, so that he could use it for pushing his technical orders for some or other parts, trading them for ethyl alcohol."

That's interesting. I wonder if this goes on in China at the manufacturing level? I purchased a small Lakewood fan several years and was AMAZED to discover that instead of your standard synchronous 60Hz electric motor used since the dawn of time, it used a CAPACITOR START motor, the smallest I have ever seen. I can only speculate that the fan designers SPECIFIED such a device in order for someone to get an order at a capacitor factory.

Anne said...

Was it only in 1870 that contraceptives became available? Characters in earlier novels seem to have the ability to control family size. For example in Vanity Fair Becky Sharpe has a baby nine months after her wedding, and that's it despite numerous affairs. And there's a bit in Trollope where a lady is complaining about her marital woes, making it clear that she is sleeping with her husband. But when her sister suggests that she have a baby, she says "I don't want one" and they both seem to feel it's as simple as that.

I suppose anyone who's read the Bible would know about the withdrawal method...

Anonymous said...

"Goddard is a Norman surname rather than an Anglo one."

All the talk of anglo-saxons in America conveniently ignores the fact that ever since the 11th century Norman invasion and conquest
the normans have constituted the upper class of England and the anglo-saxons the underclass.

Anonymous said...

@peterike,
Yes, the slave-owners set such a nice example of family values and non-promiscuity by having sexual relations with their female slaves (married or unmarried), and by occasionally selling off husband, wife, and kids to different buyers.

The slave-owners also set a great example of non-violence by brutally whipping their slaves for various crimes like trying to escape to freedom.
--------------------------------------------------

Get all your history from Hollywood, I see.


And you probably get your history from The Diaries of a Mississippi Slaveowner.

For a genetics-obsessed blog, surely you should wonder why blacks in America have come in all sorts of hues, ranging from completely black to close-to-white.

And are you seriously saying slaves didn't get worked like horses, or whipped for trying to run away?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"All the talk of anglo-saxons in America conveniently ignores the fact that ever since the 11th century Norman invasion and conquest
the normans have constituted the upper class of England and the anglo-saxons the underclass."

And the insanity keeps on coming!

pat said...

Slavery is bad. Whipping people is bad. kidnapping free men into bondage is also bad.

Now that that's said let's try to separate myth from reality.

12 years a Slave maybe happened or maybe not. If it did happen exactly as written - it was a very minor incident. White men were kidnapped into bondage on a large scale both before and long after that solitary incident.

Kidnappings free men for service on sailing ships wasn't just common - we fought a war over it. The facts are well known. Read the Hornblower novels. he routinely sends gangs out to waylay free men in bars and taverns who will be taken aboard his ships. They will be worked by special crew who beat them daily. If they misbehave they will be flogged. The evidence is that naval floggings were more severe than those on Southern plantations. Slave floggings stopped with Emancipation. Great Britain kept flogging impressed sailors through the 1890s. Listen to 'HMS Pinafore'.

Slaves working on farms ate more calories, more vitamins, and more vegetables than sailors who subsisted on wormy dried biscuit and salt pork. Slaves lived longer than sailors. Often much longer. There are no jobs in the fields as dangerous as the top gallants in a storm or anywhere in a battle.

Most slaves on the big antebellum cotton plantations lived in united families in single family houses. Sailors had 18 inches for their hammocks. In port the sailors were locked below deck. After a voyage of several years the returning sailors were often recaptured by another ship. The odds of surviving two or three such voyages in a row were not good.

Most slaves in the US had gardens. Sailors had scurvy.

The British army at the time also got it's troops by force and the beat them too - occasionally to death.

Quentin Tarentino is not a reliable historian. '12 years a Slave' was written as a propaganda piece but it may be nonetheless true. Even so it is not representative of Southern plantation life.

Pat Boyle

Anonymous said...

"For a genetics-obsessed blog, surely you should wonder why blacks in America have come in all sorts of hues, ranging from completely black to close-to-white." - because they have a 17% european admixture, which is a far cry from the situation in Brazil, much less what happened to the slaves taken to the middle east. I haven't seen any US specific data on how many blacks here have a european Y chromosome so I couldn't break that down in greater detail for you. Also complicating the issue is the post civil war dieoff of around a quarter of the recently liberated slaves, but regardless, if they opposed miscegenation, society was going in their direction.

Anonymous said...

off topic but somehow relevant - contraceptive and feminist pioneer Marie Stopes' only son has died.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10831328/Harry-Stopes-Roe-obituary.html

"An only child, Harry Verdon Stopes-Roe, born on March 27 1924, was forbidden by his mother from reading books (she felt that reading encouraged second-hand opinions) and forced to wear skirts until the age of 11 because she did not believe in the “ugly and heating-in-the-wrong-places garments which most men are condemned to wear”; for the same reason he was forbidden to ride a bicycle.

She had given birth to him at the age of 44, after which she was told she could have no more children. Convinced that her new son needed a companion, she advertised for “a little boy between the ages of 20 months and 2¼ years” with a view to adoption, specifying that the child should be “absolutely healthy, intelligent and not circumcised”."


Unlike his mother, Harry fathered four children with the daughter of the aircraft and bomb designer Barnes Wallis.