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Eugenics and You

Article #322 • Written by Alan Bellows

Sir Francis Galton, father of eugenics
Sir Francis Galton, father of eugenics

When Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking theory of Natural Selection in 1859, it was received by the public with considerable vexation. Although the esteemed naturalist had been kind enough to explain his theory using mounds of logic and evidence, he lacked the good manners to incorporate the readers' preconceived notions of the universe. Nevertheless, many men of science were drawn to the elegant hypothesis, and they found it pregnant with intriguing corollaries. One of these was a phenomenon Darwin referred to as artificial selection: the centuries-old process of selectively breeding domestic animals to magnify desirable traits. This, he explained, was the same mechanism as natural selection, merely accelerated by human influence.

In 1865, Darwin's half-cousin Sir Francis Galton pried the lid from yet another worm-can with the publication of his article entitled "Hereditary Talent and Character." In this essay, the gentleman-scientist suggested that one could apply the principle of artificial selection to humans just as one could in domestic animals, thereby exaggerating desirable human traits over several generations. This scientific philosophy would come to be known as eugenics, and over the subsequent years its seemingly sensible insights gained approval worldwide. In an effort to curtail the genetic pollution created by "inferior" genes, some governments even enacted laws authorizing the forcible sterilization of the "insane, idiotic, imbecile, feebleminded or epileptic," as well as individuals with criminal or promiscuous inclinations. Ultimately hundreds of thousands of people were forced or coerced into sterilization worldwide, over 65,000 of them in the country which pioneered the eugenic effort: The United States of America.

From the beginning, Sir Francis Galton and his league of extraordinary eugenicists were concerned that the human race was facing an inevitable decline. They worried that advances in medicine were too successful in improving the survival and reproduction of weak individuals, thereby working at odds with natural evolution. Darwin himself expressed some concern regarding such negative selection:

"[We] do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. [...] Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. [...] Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature."

Gaussian distribution of IQ scores in a large population
Gaussian distribution of IQ scores in a large population

The early proponents of eugenics were also distressed over the observation that the poor segments of an industrialized society tend to have more children than the well-off, an effect now known as the demographic-economic paradox. It was feared that this lopsided fertility would dilute the quality of the human gene pool, leading to the deterioration of socially valuable traits such as intelligence. Indeed, this "reversion towards mediocrity" was suspected by some historians to be a major contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire. The gloomy prediction of mankind's decline was dubbed dysgenics, and it was considered to be the antithesis of the eugenics movement; but it was not considered inevitable. It was believed that a society could reverse its own genetic decay by reducing breeding among the feebleminded and increasing fertility of the affluent.

The cornerstone of eugenics was that everyone has the right to be "well-born," without any predisposition to avoidable genetic flaws. The 1911 edition of The Encyclopædia Britannica looked fondly upon the philosophy, defining it as "the organic betterment of the race through wise application of the laws of heredity." Prominent people gravitated towards the idea and engaged in vigorous intellectual intercourse, including such characters as Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, H.G. Wells, Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and US presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge. Supporters popularized eugenics as an opportunity to create a better world by using natural processes to elevate the human condition, both mentally and physically.

The eugenicists' concerns regarding a falloff in average intelligence were not entirely unreasonable. It had long been observed that intelligence is inheritable to a large degree, and history had illustrated that science and culture owe much of their advancement to the contributions of a few gifted people. Ingenious composers such as Beethoven and Bach advanced the art of music, thinkers such as such as Pascal and Newton improved the power of mathematics, and insights from scientists such as Einstein and Hawking have furthered the field of physics. Deprived of any one of those men, today's world would be a measurably poorer place. Even before modern IQ tests existed, it was evident that a population's intelligence adheres to a Gaussian distribution, or "bell curve." Consequently, even a small decline in average IQ causes a sharp reduction in the number of geniuses. For instance, if the average intelligence of a community were to decline by five IQ points, the number of individuals in the 130+ "Gifted" category would drop by 56%. A ten-point decline would result in an 83% drop. Although IQ testing is far from perfect, it is clear that even modest erosion of average IQ could severely compromise the long-term progress of a society.

The archives room of the Eugenics Records Office
The archives room of the Eugenics Records Office

As a cautionary measure, many US states enacted laws as early as 1896 prohibiting marriage to anyone who was "epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded". But in 1907, eugenics truly passed the threshold from hypothesis into practice when the state of Indiana erected legislation based upon the notion that socially undesirable traits are hereditary:

"...it shall be compulsory for each and every institution in the state, entrusted with the care of confirmed criminals, idiots, rapists and imbeciles, to appoint upon its staff, in addition to the regular institutional physician, two (2) skilled surgeons of recognized ability, whose duty it shall be, in conjunction with the chief physician of the institution, to examine the mental and physical condition of such inmates as are recommended by the institutional physician and board of managers. If, in the judgment of this committee of experts and the board of managers, procreation is inadvisable and there is no probability of improvement of the mental condition of the inmate, it shall be lawful for the surgeons to perform such operation for the prevention of procreation as shall be decided safest and most effective."

Although this particular law was later overturned, it is widely considered to be the world's first eugenic legislation. The sterilization of imbeciles was put into practice, often without informing the patient of the nature of the procedure. Similar laws were soon passed elsewhere in the US, many of which withstood the legal gauntlet and remained in force for decades.

Meanwhile the founders of the newly-formed Eugenics Record Office in New York began to amass hundreds of thousands of family pedigrees for genetic research. The organization publicly endorsed eugenic practices, and lobbied for state sterilization acts and immigration restrictions. The group also spread their vision of genetic superiority by sponsoring a series of "Fitter Families" contests which were held at state fairs throughout the US. Alongside the state's portliest pigs, swiftest horses, and most majestic vegetables, American families were judged for their quality of breeding. Entrants' pedigrees were reviewed, their bodies examined, and their mental capacity measured. The families found to be most genetically fit were awarded a silver trophy, and any contestant scoring a B+ or higher was awarded a bronze medal bearing the inscription, "Yea, I have a goodly heritage."

The eugenics movement took another swerve for the sinister in 1924 when the state of Virginia enacted a matched set of eugenics laws: The Sterilization Act, a variation of the same sterilization legislation being passed throughout the US; and the Racial Integrity Act, a law which felonized marriage between white persons and non-whites. In September of the same year, this shiny new legislation was challenged by a patient at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Eighteen-year-old Carrie Buck-- child to a promiscuous mother, and mother to an illegitimate child-- refused her mandatory sterilization and a legal challenge was arranged on her behalf. A series of appeals ultimately brought the Buck v. Bell case before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court's ruling was delivered by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:

"It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes...Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

With the apparent vindication of these myopic eugenics laws, sterilization procedures were ordered by the thousands. Carrie Buck and her daughter Vivian were among them. It was later discovered that Carrie had been become pregnant with Vivian after being raped by her foster parents' nephew, and that her commitment into the Colony had been a gambit to preserve the family's reputation. It seems that Carrie was neither feebleminded nor promiscuous, she was merely inconvenient.

These sorts of negative eugenics policies enjoyed widespread adoption in the US and Canada throughout the 1920s and 30s, with some lawmakers contemplating plans to make welfare and unemployment relief contingent upon sterilization. In the years leading up to the Second World War, however, the eugenic philosophy received the endorsement of the Nazis, and their "racial hygiene" atrocities rapidly dragged the eugenic philosophy from public favor. When Nazi leaders were put on trial for war crimes, they cited the United States as the inspiration for the 450,000 forced sterilizations they conducted. The eugenic laws in the US remained in force, however, and sterilization programs continued quietly for many years thereafter. One by one the state laws were repealed, and by 1963 virtually all US states had dismantled their sterilization legislation-- but not before 65,000 or so imbeciles, criminals, and fornicators were surgically expelled from the gene pool. As for the legal precedent of Buck v. Bell, it has yet to be officially overruled.

Even with the shifts in public opinion, concerns regarding the decline of the species still remained. It was believed that certain undesirable diseases could be reduced or eliminated from humanity through well-informed mate selection, including such maladies as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and certain types of cancer. In an effort to improve general quality of life, some scientists hypothesized that the ideal way to save humanity would be for healthy and attractive women to breed with men of science. Unfortunately, no orgy of intellectuals ensued.

Robert Klark Graham
Robert Klark Graham

In 1980, millionaire inventor Robert Klark Graham took a similar positive eugenics approach when he established the Repository for Germinal Choice in an underground bunker in Escondido, California. His goal was to procure and propagate the crème de la crème of genius DNA. It was his earnest hope that this institution would spawn thousands of gifted children to offset the unbridled copulation among the "retrograde" population. For nineteen years he courted the semen of Nobel Prize laureates, prosperous scientists, Olympic gold medalists, or anyone with a proven high IQ. Even as news reports decried Graham's scheme to produce a "master race" of "superbabies," hundreds of pre-screened women made the pilgrimage to his fortress of fertility. Owing to the popularity of the Repository and the stiff requirements demanded of the donors, there was never quite enough sperm on hand, and the founder was forced to spend much of his time seeking brilliant men to come to his aid.

Graham died in 1997, aged 90, and within two years his reservoir of super-sperm dried up due to lack of funding. Reports vary regarding the exact number of babies produced by the Repository for Germinal Choice, but at least 215 were born in almost two decades of operation. Only a few of the offspring have since come forward as products of the Repository, and though they tend to exhibit intellectual and physical excellence, the sample is too small to draw any concrete conclusions. Time will tell whether these superbabies are secretly plotting to enslave humanity for their own diabolical ends.

The breeding behaviors of humans remains of utmost interest to geneticists today. In Israel, the Dor Yeshorim organization was founded to provide genetic screenings for couples considering marriage. If it is discovered that both the man and woman carry the recessive gene for Tay-Sachs disease-- a genetic defect which causes a slow, painful death within a child's first five years-- the couple are advised against marrying. The same process screens for several other hereditary diseases which are common among Jews, and owing to this eugenic guidance, the number of affected individuals has been reduced considerably. A similar screening system has been successful in nearly eradicating the disease thalassemia on the island of Cyprus. Such applications align with the original vision of eugenics before it became distorted by misguided minds: voluntary, altruistic, and based upon scientifically measurable criteria. Unfortunately the imperfections in screening methods have occasionally led to bizarre "wrongful life" lawsuits, where disabled individuals seek compensation for their unprevented afflictions.

KHAAAAAAAN!!
KHAAAAAAAN!!

It is only a matter of time until advances in genetic engineering place true "designer babies" within our grasp, and because the offspring of such offspring would receive a complement of tweaked genes, they fall well within the realm of eugenics. It seems that the eugenic philosophy of intelligent evolution is inseparable from humanity's future-- and we have only just begun to open the massive ethical worm-cans. Historian Daniel Kevles from Yale University suggests that eugenics is akin to the conservation of natural resources; both can be practiced horribly so as to abuse individual rights, but both can be practiced wisely for the betterment of society. There is no doubt that the forced sterilizations in the name of eugenics were an indefensible trespass upon the rights of individuals; but considering the value of programs like Dor Yeshorim, and the potential of ideas such as the Repository for Germinal Choice, one must be careful not to throw out the superbaby with the bathwater.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 14 May 2008. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows.
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203 Comments
Sorensen73
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:07 pm

Nummer Et - paa Dansk


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:10 pm

ohhh the new article is out! Joy and excitement have returned to the land!!
Need to read now...shhhhh trying to consentrate :)


Fog of War
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:34 pm

First time poster, long time reader. Drats, when I first saw the article nobody had posted but I made the mistake of trying to read it first. I'm now wondering how to analyze the "majesticity" of vegetables.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:35 pm

From this article I get an erie feeling, the Germans were not the only ones looking to establish the perfect race of citizens in the 20's and 30's. We have always hung that super race mentality squarely on the Nazis of Germany, but in shades of this truth we were busy eliminating a few of our undesirables as well; in a limited fashion of course.
Much of this article concerns me with glimpes of a gene regulated future. True, crippling diseases and defects would be greatly reduced, but it would be another instance of man stepping in and saying we can do it better than nature...which has lead to more than one ooops!
I get mighty leary about out genome, we have moved right along since we got our start and think we are doing pretty well as a race...In this case I am of a mind if it isnt broken dont fix it or tweek it.
Besides, some of lifes greatest fun is seeing and interacting with the bizarre and rare.


drhazard
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:40 pm

I don't know if you're terribly fair on Darwin in this article. You should at least print the next few sentences after the quotation you gave:

"The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature."


Jonny
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:47 pm

Yaay! New Article!

I Don't have time to read it now but I will be looking forward to it all day!


jeremyisme
Posted 14 May 2008 at 02:54 pm

Yay...a new article....thanks for all the articles in the past...this site is great!!


Mikell
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:08 pm

Seems the more we know, the slower we are to learn. What kind of world would it be if everyone were genetically gifted? Or, worse, if there were a genetic elite? I bet government would sure love to take over the job of choosing who could breed with whom. Ewwww.


FMZ
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:22 pm

Did anyone else lol at "seeking brilliant men to come to his aid"?

Anyway... Damn Interesting article. Alan, did the idea for this article come to you while watching Idiocracy? ;)

Two Cents: I can't help but think that positive eugenics really is a good thing. I see where you are coming from, but... since the inception of civilization, we have gradually grown further and further away from nature. As the article stated, every time we save the life of someone who would normally fall prey to natural selection, we are buggering with nature. I wouldn't think for one second to allow those people to die, just because someone deemed them an undesirable addition to the gene pool, therefore we must do something to bring balance. If positively promoting the breeding of intelligent people will enable us to produce more intelligent children, then I'm all for it (again, as the article states, as long as it is done in a way that is "voluntary, altruistic, and based upon scientifically measurable criteria").

There is nothing wrong with encouraging positive growth, IMHO.


Mjolnir
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:25 pm

Wow! Alan actually used my suggestion that I made some time ago! I used to live just down the road from the Colony. It's still around under a different name as a "training center" for the mentally handicapped. The actual inspiration for the suggestion came because I was talking to a college student and mentioned eugenics. He immediately knew what I was talking about because it is/was being espoused in the Norfolk, VA public school system by some far-left social sciences teachers. It's bad enough that these things happened, but it's even worse that the idea just won't die.

I remember after seeing a special on TDC about this that a friend and I went and actually drove around the place. Wound up talking to a nurse who had worked there for decades. My honest feeling at the time was that she really kind of supported what they had done there even though she never came out and said it.

Anyway. Damn interesting and good job as usual.


FMZ
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:26 pm

Mikell: Don't throw the superbaby out with the bathwater. ;)

I agree, having an intellectual elite *could* suck. But it could also be a great boon to society. The article does not promote creating an "elite"... just that promoting the breeding of intellectual people could be a positive thing.


Mjolnir
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:32 pm

P.s. I'm talking about forced sterilization and such, and have no problem with screening for bad genes so couples can make an informed choice. There is a large difference between force and informed consent.


Kurosau
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:33 pm

Indeed, I point to what drhazard had to say and applaud. Misquoting Darwin is a bit of a hot button right now, with the release of Expelled, Ben Stein's pro Intelligent Design, pro intellectual dishonesty film. He uses the same quote to elaborate on how evil Darwin was, ignoring what he was actually referring to.


Tako Nigiri
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:39 pm

Yesssssssssss! The new D.I article is out. I have been pulling my hair out in anticipation. Crap! If you had waited another day, I might have become bald.

A thought 'tho... If EVERYONE is exceptional, doesn't that make truly them all average.


Tako Nigiri
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:41 pm

Damn! I accidentally switched a couple words around. I meant to say...

If EVERYONE is exceptional, doesn't that make them all truly average.

I need to proofread before I hit submit. Damn my impatience.


Ace
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:50 pm

"Sir Francis Galton and his league of extraordinary eugenicists", that was almost subtle, I enjoyed it.
But yeah, I thought that we were obsessed with being perfect in todays world. I always pictured that in the 20's and 30's there was just content, homley lookin' people. Who knew people would go to such extremes?
Keepin' up with the induendos Bellows, keepin' up.


Alan Bellows
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:51 pm

drhazard said: "I don't know if you're terribly fair on Darwin in this article. You should at least print the next few sentences after the quotation you gave:

"The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.""

Kurosau said: "Indeed, I point to what drhazard had to say and applaud. Misquoting Darwin is a bit of a hot button right now, with the release of Expelled, Ben Stein's pro Intelligent Design, pro intellectual dishonesty film. He uses the same quote to elaborate on how evil Darwin was, ignoring what he was actually referring to."

It was certainly not my intention to make Darwin look bad... in fact he's one of my heroes. But I see how the quote could be construed as elitist rather than scientific detachment (which is how I perceived it). I've re-framed the quote accordingly. Thanks for catching that for me.


Mjolnir
Posted 14 May 2008 at 03:53 pm

Actually, to stir the pudding here a bit.... What about genes that make a person more abnormal than really handicapped? It's a real question I have to decide -- should I have kids and risk passing on the Asperger's gene. Having lived with it my whole life, I would say it's both a blessing and a curse. I'm not really handicapped - just have had to learn how to deal with a lot. Should we have the government decide for me...?


Erik K Veland
Posted 14 May 2008 at 04:14 pm

I believe the Robert Klark Graham centre was the inspiration for Primus' brilliant Mephisto and Kevin:

In 1986, the University of California Davis, sought two of the
all-time brightest stars,
Dr. Alphonze Mephesto, and Dr. Arny Abe Sacrabin,
Dr. Mephesto worked hard toward his thesis,
his goal was to genetically duplicate the DNA structure of asparagus,
so that all asparagus would grow to the same girth and length,
giving asparagus a much more pleasant presentation in the world's
supermarket vegetable business.

Dr. Abe Sacrabin's goal was to genetically create the greatest musical
entertainer the world had ever seen,
Dr. Abe Sacrabin knew that if he could assemble the right elements he
could theoretically build a DNA structure,
that would ensure his creation of talent far surpassing the average
individual.
At the time, one subject of urban myth was the story that Michael
Jackson, in a effort to
retain his youthful look and feminine vocal characteristics had his
testicles surgically removed,
thereby making him a modern day Castrato,
If such a rumor were true,
Michael Jackson more than likely would have some of his semen preserved
before the surgery to insure the future of his name and lineage.

Word came back to Dr. Abe Sacrabin,
of a secret cold storage locker
deep within the bowels of a used UCLA research center,
that not only contained four containers of frozen semen,
but also held a pair of testicles each was labeled with the name, Jack Michaelson.

What's that noise, In the night the most sentuent voice,
the song of love from an angelic boy, stuck in my head,
and this is what he said,

I am gopher boy, pondering reality,
I am gopher boy, Who will buy my raspberries?

This had to be the seed of the king of pop,
Dr. Abe Sacrabin was able to use his charm and chiseled great features
to woo a young lab technician by the name of Jennifer,
who of course just happened to have the proper access needed to obtain a
small vile of the precious semen.
The search for the egg was a short one,
Dr. Mephesto simply ran an ad in the classified section of an LA Music
magazine. The ad read: Wanted: Unfertilized human eggs for genetic experiment.
Donors must have musical background.
With a plethora of young eager wannabe musical starlets, willing to sell their eggs,
the two doctors, after rigorous auditioning, picked and purchased.
Dr. Abe Sacrabin felt that it would be far less complicated legally,
if the fetus was brought to term in the womb of a non human.
He had long since secured the services of the University Volleyball
Mascot,
a llama by the name of Missy.
When the baby was ready,
the child was removed via cesarean.
It was a healthy baby boy, and he was named Kevin.

What's that noise, In the night the most sentient voice,
the song of love from an angelic boy, stuck in my head,
and this is what he said,

I am gopher boy, pondering reality,
I am gopher boy, Who will buy my raspberries?

Kevin was a beautiful child,
Dr. Abe Sacrabin sought to it that Kevin was trained by the best in all
aspects of performing
his voice was golden and had a sweetness to it that most males lacked.
He moved with grace and was able to moonwalk by the time he was three.
As Kevin grew with talent, Dr. Abe Sacrabin started noticing odd
developments in his physical state.
When Kevin lost his baby teeth, his secondaries came in with a vengeance,
they were at least twice the size as a normal adult's and the two in
front stuck nearly straight out, also as Kevin reached the 8th year,
he was the same height as he was when he was 4.
To top it off, he was growing hair all over and his penis was enormous,
even by adult standards.
It also dawned on the doctor that even through all the years of hearing Kevin's singing,
he rarely spoke, often chosing to communicate through various grunts and gurgles

What's that noise, In the night the most sentuaint voice,
the song of love from an angelic boy, stuck in my head,
and this is what he said,

I am gopher boy, pondering reality,
I am Gopher Boy, who will buy my raspberries?

Other's were noticing the changes in Kevin,
the children began to tease him, and call him Gopher Boy.
One Day, a bully by the name of Big Roy, started throwing bananas at him,
soon a crowd of kids were all throwing bananas.
Suddenly, in a fury, Kevin rushed at Big Roy and bit 3 fingers off on his left hand.
Kevin was taken away and placed in the custody of the state,
Dr. Abe Sacrabin actions were found out,
but because there was no legislation concerning the genetic construction
of another human being,
no criminal charges were brought forth.
The medical association's board of ethics stripped him of all his
credentials and his reputation was ruined,
in fact, his name became so synonymous with failure,
that for years to come, med students around the world were known to say
in time of mishap,

Damn, I feel just like Abe Sacrabin.

Dr. Mephesto immediately began proceeds to adopt little Kevin.
Being a noted scientist and the creator of the cloned asparagus,
it wasn't long before the two were legally united as father and son.

They moved to Colorado, where they live in relative obscurity.
Kevin is still a boy, of few spoken words, sticking mainly to his grunts and gurgles,
but on occasion, if you listen closely, you can hear his sweet golden
singing voice, ring out into the night, over the small town, of South Park.

I am gopher boy pondering reality,
I am Gopher Boy, who will buy my raspberries?


Paul_in_SF
Posted 14 May 2008 at 04:20 pm

"Although the esteemed naturalist had been kind enough to explain his theory using mounds of logic and evidence, he lacked the good manners to incorporate the readers' preconceived notions of the universe."

Sadly this is more true now than ever...

DI article! I knew that there were U.S. laws based on the eugenicist principles, but I had no idea that they were upheld by the SCOTUS. In the 20th century, no less. Chilling.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 14 May 2008 at 04:33 pm

Ha! oh sure FMZ!! I was cracking up at the coming to his aid bit. Along with the part of scientists breeding with all the hot chicks, I wonder how that could have been distorted. "Now here this; ladies of Baywatch, you are to report to the Spiffy Jiffy breeding labs, we have assembled scientists for you today!!! Imagine the contribution you will be making to all humanity!" It is examples like that which make me flinch when I would allow my gene pond to be manipulated and regulated by an instution not above corruption (was it Brave New World??). As for intelligent children, do we really have to tinker with the genome to produce the gifted amogst us? Seems like a last resort and an easy way out which doesnt include spousal choice based on intelligence and early training of infants/children.
A few years ago we just mapped a human genome, now we are pretending to posess "Scientific measureable data" in the realm of genotypic and phenotypic chance??? It is going to be a long time before we have a handle on that one folks... From Jurassic Park wierdo +- "Are we stopping to think if we should do this thing as apposed to if we can."
At what point would we regulate this endeavor??
I have no proof and am talking out my hat here.... Is there a possibility human cloning could be going on as we speak in some off the record lab? Isnt this called modern R&D, dont you wonder how some of these new procedures come with years of research already attached?? I am not trying to scuba dive in the deep end, I just keep picturing the down side of what could go wrong in comparison to what happens if we maintain the status quo. I think we as a people need to give this one a bit more time to simmer...


oldmancoyote
Posted 14 May 2008 at 05:15 pm

"Owing to the popularity of the Repository and the stiff requirements demanded of the donors"

I love that line, Alan. Even regular sperm banks have stiff requirements, though. ( At least that's what I've heard. I wouldn't know for sure or anything)


humanversion2.0 EETA
Posted 14 May 2008 at 05:16 pm

Why support eugenics through artificial selection, when much faster results can be achieved through gene therapy?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_therapy) Where in you modify your DNA so that you don't get disease or get smarter(I am doubtful if this could be achieved though). Or if your wild enough, make your skin fluorescent(scientist routinely get organisms to express a fluorescent protein so they can see what genes the cells are using)! Of course, gene therapy needs more research done before we can expect results.(we need to understand what genes do what before we can do this) But if we get gene therapy to work, we could give someone with inherited illness treatment in a manner similar to a vaccine.


FMZ
Posted 14 May 2008 at 05:20 pm

Two Cents: I think we are kinda discussing two different things. :) I don't believe positive eugenics is anywhere near as scary as direct manipulation of the human genome. Selective breeding is a practice that has gone on for centuries upon centuries, and has been proven to be a very useful and reliable method of propagating desirable traits through a species. The process is also entirely safe, provided a large enough sample size (i.e. without performing any inbreeding etc.). Another safeguard in our case is the timescale involved. It would take a minimum of ~100 years just for a 5 generation effect to be felt... plenty of time to research the progress and problems that come from the project.


Pistol
Posted 14 May 2008 at 05:58 pm

Medium time reader, first time poster. Love the site.

I would recommend seeing GATTACA. It is a great movie about a genetically altered future.


MonkeyBones
Posted 14 May 2008 at 06:27 pm

Eugenics should only be applied to help reduce the occurence of certain types of disease, like it is done by the Dor Yeshorim organization. I totally disagree with the idea of using the principles of eugenics to "improve" the IQ of the general population. Why? Because why would we? I see no correlation between the level of hapiness a person experiences and his IQ score. Being more intelligent does not translate into being happier, and since most people would agree that most people would readily choose happiness over intelligence, I think our efforts should first be focused on filling our lives with peace and happiness. One way to achieve this state of general well-being is by forgiving ourselves and others for being self-centered and egoistical, reducing our overall stress levels, being more compassionate with our neighbour, being more patient when stuck in traffic during rush hour, etc etc... When a person sets his/her goals on achieving peace of the heart and soul, then that person will leave the applications of eugenics behind them, because they will realize that artificial selection does nothing to improve the intentions of mankind. It only improves its disposition. May good will be in your hearts, always.


Billy Drennan
Posted 14 May 2008 at 06:39 pm

If we do it to cows, why not to people? Cows suit our purpose much better now than before. The same would be true of future people.


MonkeyBones
Posted 14 May 2008 at 06:46 pm

Billy Drennan said: "If we do it to cows, why not to people? Cows suit our purpose much better now than before. The same would be true of future people."

I'm not sure I follow. Cows better suit our purpose because we eat and milk them. In what ways would future people born from eugenic practices better suit our needs? Are you one of them? Do you speak from experience? A cow and a person are two really different entities. I don't see myself eating and milking my fellow human in any forseable future, and my comment (#26) explains why... If you are serious about your comment, I suggest you elaborate on what motivated your reasoning,
Cheers.


Ronald
Posted 14 May 2008 at 06:46 pm

How many of histories extraordinary geniuses where the offspring of exceptional parents? We never here about Einstein's son or Newton's daughter. Exceptional intelligence seems to be endowed randomly, a mutation if you like, but one that is not necessarily passed on genetically.


Bluesock
Posted 14 May 2008 at 07:18 pm

The movie Gattaca gives an extremely plausible scenario of how positive eugenics could result in almost as many ethical quandaries as negative eugenics. One of the best sci-fi films of all time, if you haven't seen it.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 14 May 2008 at 07:23 pm

FMZ,
I guess I am reading into the next step on the cellular level.Just seems like a formal Eugenics program would be coupled with gene tampering, it is not very far off base and they both work to produce essentially the same result. Physical selection between two consenting adults, in hopes to produce intellegent offspring has been going on for quite awhile and is very benign in its efforts; which is as you are correct in stating, was not where I was heading in our communique. I was going into the regulation, manipulation and control issues of a formal policy that could conviently add the "genetic perks" such as hey parents, not only will you get an intellegent child, but please fill the specifications out for the phenotypes. Color of hair, eyes, tall, big, skinny etc... with all this choice and euphoria for the parents, a price and a level of accountability are sure to be included. In five or so generations, as was your model in the "positive eugenics" without any genetic tampering, when observing the effects of the genome, we may have some begun to produce some serious side effects due to our tinkering.
I must be honest (not!!), having in all my years of sexual activity, been free to choose a potential mate, the production of the most intellegent offspring is always tops on my list when it "came time" to hit the hay! :) I am sure most of society views their choice in the same light or dark as it were... But yes, a mate based on intellectual potential is a great quality to seek, but if they sleep with me, actually say they enjoy it, put up with my garbage and are willing to go the distance, does that detract from their intellegence??? hehe just kidding, I think... :)


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 14 May 2008 at 07:39 pm

Ronald great point and Bluesock great movie, fits real well with this article!
The concept of random genius is remarkable and shatters many notions of intellegence regulation and cookie cutter smart baby factories. What if the gene(s) for heightened intellegence wont simply turn on or be expressed because of other limiting or controlling factors which can/could exist within the genome. It maybe like building a car, certain vehicles have certain strong points and limitations. My truck for example, it has an 8 foot bed, big hauling capacity, nice handling ride and oh boy power!! Would it be realistic for the same money to have it hold as many people as a Suburban, get 45 mpg, not need a tune up for 100k,
be 4 wheel drive, have a snow plow, be a convertable, do 180 mph, handle with variable suspension etc. etc. ?? We only represent so much individually, and it is our stengths and limitations that work to define us. If you remove all weakness, where is it that you find the joy of purpose and accomplishment. If people know your a whiz kid, congratulations, now you can spend your life on display proving it; so no I dont agree with a regulated Eugenics or genome alteration. Wanna make babies with a spouse of your choosing and try to roll the dice for a brain trust tribe of your own making, good luck and make sure to get plenty of practice :)

Thanks and a good article on which to discuss a few matters!


mustamike
Posted 14 May 2008 at 07:59 pm

I'm smart but I'm not creative. I can write a good program that can do wondrous stuff but I need an idea to start with. I think that creativity isn't a measurable trait nor has its genetics been studied enough. Eugenics only works if our metrics are exact.


Stacia
Posted 14 May 2008 at 08:28 pm

Isn't the Dor Yeshorim organization doing essentially the same as the blood testing done in the U.S. for the Rh antibody? It seems more like predictive testing than it does eugenics.

Honestly, I can't imagine humankind ever being able to responsibly handle eugenics of any sort. Not on any full-scale level, at any rate, simply because of the massive population of the planet. Eugenics also supposes that children are entirely the product of their genes, but that's not true. They are a product of upbringing as well, of the society they live in, their nutrition, nurture, and the world they are exposed to. Besides, would you really trust the government (because you know the government is going to be in control) to decide whether you were fit enough to procreate? I wouldn't.


jerry maxwell
Posted 14 May 2008 at 08:32 pm

Thanks Alan for another thought-provoking article. I wish you wrote more often because the wait for the next one can be agonizing as I find your content, well--- Damn Interesting!
About Eugenics; the human race is peppered with individuals who think they are better than almost everybody else around them, and some who gain the power to influence in their narcissistic ways seeking to improve the race to their own selfish ends. Hitler followed his narcissism right into a bunker. Stalin isolated those who opposed his views into Siberian concentration camps where few of those deemed 'antisocial' survived. And in Iraq and Africa wars still rage over religious and ethnic lines. Many believe that in order to make a more perfect race those who are "imperfect" must be eliminated either through sterilization or just plain downright genocide. History always proves people like that to be the real idiots--- for even in the most politically blessed families evolution will throw out mutations. Witness George Bush for a prime example...
Which brings us to the new eugenics: genetics. Now, to me genetics has far-reaching potential as well as implications. But once again it is evolution. And those with the political clout will continue to try to shape our race in their own image. If you are black you are wrong, if you are white you are wrong, if you are oriental you are wrong, if you are Muslim or Jewish or Catholic or a smoker you are wrong and by manipulating the genetic pool we can eliminate the 'weak' and propagate the 'strong'... what a waste of time and energy.
It seems to me that the proper use of genetics would not only be to eliminate certain genetically inherited traits such as diabetes or alzheimers with changes to our genetic structure but also to build the superhumans we have always dreamed of. Can you imagine if you were born with wings or had the sense of smell of a dog? Or the eyesight of an eagle, or the hearing of a bat? Or even the sensitivity to electrical fields such as the shark or the dolphin?
Genetics will be our new evolution. Maybe future people will not appear attractive to us or even intelligent by our self-centered point of view, but evolution continues and with what we are learning now we shall certainly change. So treasure your idiot-savants for they too are part of our future. Learn to accept what you see in people and realise; someday things will not be quite as bad as they are now.
And remember--we learned to fly and make spectacular advances in the last century. I hope I live to see the end of this one because I am sure by January 1st, 2100 we will understand a hell of a lot more about evolution and eugenics and genetics. I am sure we will make Darwin proud. Let's just steer away from the policies of ethnic cleansing and religious hatred. Let's just make this a strange new world, well worth living for.
For the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


Gman77
Posted 14 May 2008 at 09:22 pm

Speaking of a dark and dysgenic future, one couldn't do better than watch the Mike Judge comedy IDIOCRACY for a glimpse of where we may be heading.


FMZ
Posted 14 May 2008 at 09:42 pm

Two Cents: It would seem we are in agreement to some degree. I agree completely that any kind of organized governmental eugenics program is a Very Bad Idea (tm), as would mixing in genetic manipulation of any sort. These things would open too many doors that really don't need to be opened. The only kind of positive eugenics effort I would personally welcome would be a grass-roots voluntary effort... simply for the good of mankind.

Also, to those that are saying that a positive eugenics effort would not necessarily improve the well-being of mankind, I also agree. By itself, positive eugenics would not make too much of a difference... however, it *does* provide potential, it lays further possibilities out in front of us. No, it doesn't guarantee that we will reach a point when every kid is a genius, but it will make geniuses more likely to appear, as mentioned towards the beginning of the article.

In all, positive eugenics is just a tool. It's what we do with it that matters.


cinndave
Posted 14 May 2008 at 10:00 pm

In an effort to improve general quality of life, some scientists hypothesized that the ideal way to save humanity would be for healthy and attractive women to breed with men of science. Nice try, scientists!

Human eugenics is actually much older than Darwin. the first man to propose it was Plato in his ancient book the Republic in the 5th century BC. Mates were seemingly arranged by a lottery which was actually fixed by the leadership, and the better citizen/ soldier you were, the more fuckbuddies you were awarded. They would use it to strictly control the population growth according to the state's needs. The cynic in me predicts that the upper class would hog all the nookie rations for themselves while claiming to be superior to everyone else. See? Even back then, It gets ruined by the people who control the eugenics. NOBODY should be granted the power to control the direction of the human race like that. Tha'ts just too much power to handle responsibly.

Voluntary reproductive choices through genetic couseling is the way to go. Eugenics is no excuse to abuse Human Rights.


debbiebf
Posted 14 May 2008 at 10:06 pm

There is still a problem with many people having babies who have no business having them. And there are more important attributes than IQ that make a human a positive member of society. Good parents seem to have children who are happier, more loving, harder working, contributing people, no matter what their IQ.

I think we should offer anyone who wants to be fixed $1000 to do it anytime, pure and simple. MAYBE put an age limit on it. That would quickly remove a LOT of people from the gene pool who really shouldn't be there. They get a little tattoo so there is no "double dipping".


Bewildered
Posted 14 May 2008 at 11:18 pm

Wow - this article opens so many threads for discussion... I'm just gonna pop my 2 bits worth in here and probably offend a few people (unintentionally).
1. Statistically speaking then, given the bell curve estimates, you'd be much better off wiping out entire third world countries and the 'lower third' of your countries population to bring the overall intelligence of the planet up to scratch (send a telephone sanitizer off on the first ship?)
2. The only people against eugenics would be the people that know they're not fit for the next round of breeding.
3. Given that eugenics practices were used extensively in the US, shouldn't there be more intelligent people in that population? Are there? I know what i think, what about you?
4. Due to current human mating practices I expect the human race will become prettier and more stupid as time goes on.
5. Does anyone think the first posters should be sterilised?


misscynder
Posted 15 May 2008 at 12:36 am

Great read. Explains my hostility and impatience towards the human race. I realized some of us were better than others.


Ralphabet
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:19 am

That was DI. Bravo, Mr. Bellows!


Alpha Legionare
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:34 am

First time poster, been reading for a few months...

I'm all for eugenics, though I tend to waver on the method of application. I personally find it curious that people have so much trouble accepting the idea. Most lean towards the 'who is fit to judge humanity' angle.

Well, who decides which cows should be bred? The farmer. Why? Because he owns them. In case you didn't know, eugenics has had two centurys of human testing...and it seemed to work pretty well.

For those who can see where I'm going with this, I would like to say now, I do not condone slavery and I think it is a terrible part of America's history. But the fact remains that it happened. For two hundred years (1654-1865), plantation owners would breed their slaves, encouraging the traits they deemed desireable; strength, stamina and compliance.
And it worked pretty well for them. Again, I do not condone slavery, I'm just pointing out that eugenics does work.

All that aside, if the world (the entire world), got on board a eugenics band wagon, I think two things would happen. Global populations would decline (this is a good thing, as the world will soon reach a point where it cannot sustain such numbers) and an increase in global productivity would occur. This is because eugenics should be used to not only increase the intelligence of a population, but also to breed people better suited for various roles.

Not everyone can be a genius and the world needs ditch diggers. But shouldn't that ditch digger be the best he can be?

And in response to Tako Nigiri's question above - If EVERYONE is exceptional, doesn't that make them all truly average? Yes it does. But now the average is much higher...


ytterdörr
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:42 am

"In 1980, millionaire inventor Robert Klark Graham took a similar positive eugenics approach when he established the Repository for Germinal Choice in an underground bunker in Escondido, California."

Later, in the year of 1991, Robert Klark Graham recieved the very first, and very "Honorable", Ig Nobel Prize in biology : )
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ig_Nobel_Prize
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ig_Nobel_Prize_winners


Dutch-DI
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:44 am

Two Cents from Girth said: "From this article I get an erie feeling, the Germans were not the only ones looking to establish the perfect race of citizens in the 20's and 30's. We have always hung that super race mentality squarely on the Nazis of Germany, but in shades of this truth we were busy eliminating a few of our undesirables as well; in a limited fashion of course."

In fact the Nazi's put up an entire programme called 'Lebensborn', one of the most popular children of the lebensborn-programme include singer Frida from ABBA.


ulzha
Posted 15 May 2008 at 02:20 am

Yay to first posters sterilised!


FixitDave
Posted 15 May 2008 at 04:24 am

ulzha said: "Yay to first posters sterilised!"

Now that's a good idea...either that or get them deleted (the message, not the person).

I do think that some people should be 'snipped' - like rapists, maybe they could reduce their sentence if they have it done...I'd vote for a political party who would bring that law into practice


GeorgeAR
Posted 15 May 2008 at 04:48 am

Daaaammmned Interesting! Thanks!
If there was such a list for selective breeding, is there anyone out there who thinks they should NOT be on the list? I think a vast majority think they are one of the 'higher set'. Although, if we graded each other, the list would be smaller (but the most popular).

"In an effort to improve general quality of life, some scientists hypothesized that the ideal way to save humanity would be for healthy and attractive women to breed with men of science. " - All I can picture here is a bunch of geeks (The Big Bang crew), trying to convince pretty girls they are the future!


polossatik
Posted 15 May 2008 at 04:52 am

", some scientists hypothesized that the ideal way to save humanity would be for healthy and attractive women to breed with men of science."
quite funny that no-one mentions the bias that goes out of this part,....they needed brilliant *men* to mate with *good looking* women to *save humanity*... So all that we need from womnen is to look good but can be stupid as hell ?

". Owing to the popularity of the Repository and the stiff requirements demanded of the donors, there was never quite enough sperm on hand, and the founder was forced to spend much of his time seeking brilliant men to come to his aid."

same here... of course it would be FAR harder (seen the lengthy en very inconvenient procedure) to get eggs from brilliant women... but again the implicit bias is that the women only need to be healthy ...


rbb
Posted 15 May 2008 at 05:08 am

The quality on this report is mediocre at best. How can you possibly talk about eugenics in America and leave out one of its biggest proponents, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood?


Richard Solensky
Posted 15 May 2008 at 05:30 am

For more on the history of the American eugenics movement, I heartily recommend Better for All the World by Harry Brunius (www.betterforalltheworld.com).

And half a century before Idiocracy, there was "The Marching Morons" by Cyril Kornbluth.

I don't have much of a problem with genetic screening for disease, *provided* it is only done in an advisory capacity and not to prevent people from procreating. I *do* have major objections to "designer children".

One major problem with "positive" eugenics can be summed up in a simple question: What makes one "better" than another, and who decides that?

The American eugenics movement (q.v. Better for All the World) was run, for the most part, by New England Protestants, who wanted people to be more like them - in morals, taste, social contributions, etc. Their idea of a "better" person was someone who succeeded in the fields of law, scholarship, poliltics, or religion. So you can imagine how shocked eugenicist Charles Davenport was when his daughter Millia left the family homestead around 1920 to go live in New York City.

In Greenwich Village.

Where she hung out with theater people.

You can imagine the wailing and weeping at the Davenports. "I! Have! No! Daughter!!!" Poor Millia was essentially disowned.

So she had to continue to hang out with theater people, earning her keep by helping them with the costumes for their productions.

She soon moved from making costumes to designing them.

And started to get some attention from the critics and producers.

Millia was getting noticed, and her services were in demand.

After several years, she put all her knowledge of costuming and costume history into a book. The Book of Costume was published in 1948, to instant praise. It was (and still is) highly regarded for its breadth, as it places clothing in the context of the lives of those who wore it.

Today, the Costume Society of America has "The Millia Davenport Publication Award [which] is named to honor the memory of Millia Davenport (1896-1992), noted costume scholar and theatre designer. Her work The Book of Costume (1948), a pioneering comprehensive reference work on the history of costume, brought international recognition to this woman..."


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 15 May 2008 at 05:55 am

Some of the writers (debbief and Stacia) have referred to nuture as well, that is a significant attribute in determining intelligence and utility within this societal system. With the free choice positive eugenics (FMZ), should a regulated program based on economics and competance be instituted? I tread carfully here knowing money does not equal love but, I see everyday parents trying to care for children when in reality, they cant care for themselves.
I think a minimum family income and a competency test are not too extreme to ask of would be parents. A program that just asks the questions: "Can you feed the child" and "Do you have the mental capacity to raise the child" should not be deemed outlandish considering our long standing population increase; would that really be considered a human rights violation in its pure form?? These two factors shape and augument the child as much or more than the genetic predisposition of a child. If we are to be selective with the genes, why not increase the chances with a stable physical environment?? This really does boil down to some basic choices in mates folks... have babies with smart, job holding caring people. In a "perfect" society, the ones (in this case the two's) who have intellegence, money, a stable environment should be making babies like crazy. While the "lowest of us" (this is cruel because it does not factor in Love...) should keep there numbers down. In our society as in most, we have couples having many children who cant take care of them, struggle to feed them, are stressed about adult issues and pass that on to the kids. Our lower "one third" as some writer (searched and researched and could not find the name, sorry) put it makes more than half the babies, shouldnt we be "working" :) harder to bring our 2/3rds numbers up?
Good one GeorgeAR! "Big bang crew", your killing me Smalls!! As a scientist, I agree whole heartedly, in the breeding program instituted by those fine minds in my industry. If any beautiful women would care to make a positive contribution, my services are at your disposal, all in the name of science of course... give me a break geek, they are looking for big boned cave men with bronze skin and amusement park muscles for them to ride on. :) I love that scientist comment hehehe hehe, such a man!


another viewpoint
Posted 15 May 2008 at 05:58 am

...Interviewer: "So what do you think of the dope problem in this country?"
...George Carlin: "Why yes, we certainly have too many dopes!"

Doesn't get much better than that and that pretty much says it all. Thanks George.

This is also the reason for the Annual Darwin Awards...because one of the problems with common sense, is that you'll find it's not so common after all.

* * *
"Nevertheless, many men of science were drawn to the elegant hypothesis, and they found it pregnant with intriguing corollaries.", Well, Alan, I've known a few hypothesis in my time, I've just never known one to be pregnant.

"Even as news reports decried Graham's scheme to produce a "master race" of "superbabies," hundreds of pre-screened women made the pilgrimage to his fortress of fertility. " Fortress of fertility...gotta admit Alan, your fingers have a way of dripping with slick symbolism.

"In an effort to curtail the genetic pollution created by "inferior" genes, some governments even enacted laws authorizing the forcible sterilization of the "insane, idiotic, imbecile, feebleminded or epileptic," as well as individuals with criminal or promiscuous inclinations." Just think, if we could find a way to legislate the insance, idiotic, imbecilic and feebleminded (et al), we'd have 536 less persons on the goverment payroll. Wait...maybe there is something to Eugenics afterall!

Damn interesting as usual. Keep up the good work and don't be so long between insertions! HA.


kyodan69
Posted 15 May 2008 at 06:01 am

"Owing to the popularity of the Repository and the stiff requirements demanded of the donors, there was never quite enough sperm on hand, and the founder was forced to spend much of his time seeking brilliant men to come to his aid."

To go just a bit further along on what FMZ posted, the part that I quote above made me laugh! C'mon! "stiff" requirements, "not enough sperm on hand", and of course the part that FMZ highlights about "brilliant men" coming to his aid! ROTFLMAO!


Mikell
Posted 15 May 2008 at 06:25 am

Billy Drennan said: "If we do it to cows, why not to people? Cows suit our purpose much better now than before. The same would be true of future people."

Yah - then we can have Eloi and Morlocks!!

Utopia, indeed.


Trooper
Posted 15 May 2008 at 06:42 am

"Positive Eugenics" is practiced every (rational) single human in search of a mate.


tampagirl
Posted 15 May 2008 at 07:02 am

Two Cents from Girth said: "I think a minimum family income and a competency test are not too extreme to ask of would be parents. A program that just asks the questions: "Can you feed the child" and "Do you have the mental capacity to raise the child" should not be deemed outlandish considering our long standing population increase; would that really be considered a human rights violation in its pure form?? These two factors shape and augument the child as much or more than the genetic predisposition of a child. If we are to be selective with the genes, why not increase the chances with a stable physical environment?? This really does boil down to some basic choices in mates folks… have babies with smart, job holding caring people. "

I agree with some reservation. My father always said "you are required to pass a test and get a license to drive, own a gun or a business...but any damn fool can have a baby". He taught his children that there are consequences, and not ones that just impact your life but the life you might create. Oh how I miss his common sense and strong sense of right and wrong...but thats because I was brought up in a family that raised their babies in a smart, financially sound, loving environment.


Bleupea
Posted 15 May 2008 at 08:11 am

I don't believe anyone has mentioned the following yet as a possible negative aspect of becoming a super-intelligent society.
Remember when Damn Interesting did the story on "The Rise and Fall of William J. Sidis"? It is currently on page 13 of the archives for anyone who needs a refresher or who hasn't read that far into the archives yet.
Isn't it quite plausible that in the name of "good-hearted" competition and as a desire to see one's offspring do as well as possible, that we would have an entire society of people like poor William? Wouldn't that be more tragic than the world we're living in now?
I agree with something, I believe, Two Cents said, if I may paraphrase, happiness and intelligence are not directly related.
On the other hand though, I do agree that we should offer some sort of sterilization procedure for those who want it, if only because if they want it that badly and have no means to pay for it, their children are not going to grow up in the warmest environment. I'm not saying that "accidents" are neglected or abused, but if a couple truly doesn't want a child, for financial or other reasons and can't afford the procedure, it should be offered.


phrog
Posted 15 May 2008 at 08:12 am

The most overlooked issue in this article of eugenics is disease. If we are all bred to this super race, then we become more similar and more susceptible to fatal outbreaks. The greatness of our differences is actually our differences. With different races and tolerances, we are encouraging the further growth and longevity of our population as a whole.

For those of you who firmly believe in taking eugenics to the extreme, then Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron would be a good read.


Bleupea
Posted 15 May 2008 at 08:12 am

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention, damn interesting and thought provoking article Alan. Excellent and well-worth the wait.


Bleupea
Posted 15 May 2008 at 08:17 am

Phrog:
Great point. I can't say I honestly thought of that. I guess it would be similar to inbreeding, wouldn't it? The same genes keep getting passed on... interesting point.
By the way, I love Harrison Bergeron.


Hoekstes
Posted 15 May 2008 at 08:51 am

Eugenics... now there's an idea for the weekend. A couple of people are just begging to have their genes wiped from eternity. Diabolical ends indeed. WHAHAHAHA!!!


gin
Posted 15 May 2008 at 09:18 am

MonkeyBones said: "Eugenics should only be applied to help reduce the occurence of certain types of disease, like it is done by the Dor Yeshorim organization. I totally disagree with the idea of using the principles of eugenics to "improve" the IQ of the general population. Why? Because why would we? I see no correlation between the level of hapiness a person experiences and his IQ score. Being more intelligent does not translate into being happier, and since most people would agree that most people would readily choose happiness over intelligence, I think our efforts should first be focused on filling our lives with peace and happiness. One way to achieve this state of general well-being is by forgiving ourselves and others for being self-centered and egoistical, reducing our overall stress levels, being more compassionate with our neighbour, being more patient when stuck in traffic during rush hour, etc etc… When a person sets his/her goals on achieving peace of the heart and soul, then that person will leave the applications of eugenics behind them, because they will realize that artificial selection does nothing to improve the intentions of mankind. It only improves its disposition. May good will be in your hearts, always."

Oddly enough, I stumbled on this earlier today:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/8778/Why-Intelligent-People-Tend-To-Be-Unhappy


another viewpoint
Posted 15 May 2008 at 10:46 am

phrog said: "The most overlooked issue in this article of eugenics is disease. If we are all bred to this super race, then we become more similar and more susceptible to fatal outbreaks. The greatness of our differences is actually our differences. With different races and tolerances, we are encouraging the further growth and longevity of our population as a whole."

...everything, and I mean EVERYTHING...has tradeoffs! You don't get something for nothin'.


Ard Ri
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:03 am

This reminds me of slavery in the south. As far as I'm aware slaves were bred for size and strength...just like the Irish were bred to hold their liquor!


CrowdKiller
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:07 am

another viewpoint said: "…everything, and I mean EVERYTHING…has tradeoffs! You don't get something for nothin'."

Too true, and in agreeing with phrog: the question is if trading a more regular random genius for the longevity of our species is really worth it? The genius created by this would really have to make some awesome discoveries or invent something world changing, otherwise what's the point?


Dr. Bivoc
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:12 am

Very interesting indeed. Many good threads. I agree that we do not know enough to know what we really need. People value intelligence, but we do not have a good definition of it, nor any reliable measure for it. It probably is not one trait but many. Probably initiative is a better trait to select for, but it shows even less correlation with genetics. Another trait mentioned here, happiness, is also unlikely to be genetic, and is it really better? There have been times in human history where happiness was looked down on, as undesirable.

Alpha Legionare has a good point that human breeding was done. I do not think the results were good. They seemed to want to produce Eloi and Morlocks. Initiative was one of the things selected against, as those with it tended to rebel. Some have reported that the US African Americans have lower initiative. I do not think that is true, but if so, what a terrible legacy.

Part of the problem is the traits we select for take too long to express themselves and our tastes change faster than we can breed them in. We just do not see the future needs well enough to predict what will be good for us. And I do not trust any organization to know and not be corrupted. The human condition seems to be geared toward corruption. Encouraging diversity (with its problems) seems to be a better solution. Even having differing strengths pop up in small populations would be good. Have one segment that is good at basketball and another that is good at theater seems better than trying to have everyone good at science, theater, ditch digging, etc. Then when we need a new set of traits, we might find a group that was already good at it somewhere that we had not appreciated yet. The last modern example of that was the very linear thinkers that it takes to do goos programing. I can remember that kind being ostracized, now they are "cool." If, in a hundred years, we need someone with particularly long and thin fingers, how could we know that today and start breeding for it?


Alpha Legionare
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:20 am

Umm...Harrison Bergeron has nothing to do with eugenics... In fact it's about a completely opposite principle. Instead of selective breeding to improve the overall population, the government applies handicaps to 'dumb down' the above average, bringing them down to the level of the below average.

Which, in case you haven't been paying attention to the current state of public schools, is happening right now with programs such as No Child Left Behind. The standards of public schools are being decreased and children with above average intelligence aren't recieving the additional education they need.

I believe it was George Carlin who said "It used to be Head Start, now it's No Child Left Behind. Somewhere, we're losing ground."


bradburymeiners@yahoo.com
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:36 am

Would It Still Be a Normal Distribution?

One of the interesting things in this article was that a 5% decrease in the average intelligence would result in an 56% decrease in the number of individuals with very high intelligence. This assumes that the curve would still be a normal distribution after the removal of individuals of very low intelligence. My guess is that the removal of these individuals would not result in a shift of the normal curve to the right but rather change the shape of the curve such that it was no longer normal but rather weighted more heavily on the right-hand side. That is to say, I do not think that the number of gifted individuals would be increased significantly by removing those individuals a very low intelligence.


avolosin
Posted 15 May 2008 at 12:38 pm

Long time reader, first time poster.

On a similar vein to bradburymeiners, I was surprised that nobody had pointed out the questionable statistical logic used in the article regarding the gaussian distribution. The distribution describes the existing properties of a population, but the properties of the gaussian curve do not determine the properties of the population. So if the average IQ drops 5% as stated, this does not directly translate into a drop in the number of high IQ persons any more so than an increase in the number of low IQ persons or any admixture in between.

A second note would be the fact that it is very rare, if at all possible, to select for a singular trait using directed evolution. This is evidenced by the many breeds of dogs, selected for physical traits, that ultimately end up with susceptibility to certain health problems which are identifiable to specific breeds. Even in non-directed evolution, this is evident. In the classical example, Africans and African-Americans are prone to sickle cell anemia, which is a negative trait that was selected for genetically because it came in conjunction with genes that translated to high Malaria resistance.

Finally, one aspect not considered in previous posts is that of epigenetics, wherein the genetic code is modified during the lifespan of an organism by environmental factors. This leads to the case that the act of reproduction is not the be-all-end-all step in evolution; genetic adaptation can occur on the scale of a single generation instead of multiple generations.


Bleupea
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:09 pm

Alpha:
I think the previous post's mention of Harrison was to give an example of how dreadfully boring life would be in an undiversified society. At least, that was what I took it to mean.

I suppose I'm naive, but I really think that everyone has the potential to succeed in life and can contribute to society (to varying degrees) regardless of their genes. I guess I believe more in nuture as opposed to nature, and it doesn't seem that eugenics takes nurture into account at all. Just because someone is intelligent, it doesn't make them a decent person or even make them a person who would be loving to their offspring. Just a thought.


Skytree
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:25 pm

"Finally, one aspect not considered in previous posts is that of epigenetics, wherein the genetic code is modified during the lifespan of an organism by environmental factors. This leads to the case that the act of reproduction is not the be-all-end-all step in evolution; genetic adaptation can occur on the scale of a single generation instead of multiple generations. "

Seconded. The little-understood field of epigenetics could have a significant impact on the efficacy of artificial selection. For instance, I'm sure we all know a few individuals who are brilliant, but severly undermotivated. In fact, that may even classify most of us, as evidenced by wasting time on a website devoted to brain-tickling geekdom. Now, while one might argue that the low motivation could also be a genetic trait, the likely truth is that it is due to lifestyle and experience. Without understanding how these components can influence an individual, and potentially even their genetics, simple "artificial selection" is not enough.

Likewise, why are we in such a hurry to improve ourselves through evolution? Evolution has made us what we are, and I don't believe is at fault. If scientifically-driven genetic improvement is coupled with decomposition of the institutions and traditions of a society, however, not much headway is made. Nature is not at issue here...it's already a successful mechanism, left as-is.

That said, we maybe should at least use Eugenics to make hyper-intelligent space apes that can pre-colonize the stars for our inevitable arrival. That'd be neat.

Best,
- ET


FunintheSun
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:52 pm

I've found with my personal-experience-in-life that the majority of the population is either average or below average. :) (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Robert Klark Graham had a great starting idea. He would have never gotten anywhere, however, because for every "gifted" child he spawned, some moron in a ghetto somewhere would be working on their fifth imbecile child. Those idiots are hard to keep up with...

It is so standard in today's society for words to be mispronounced, misspelled, or misused. "supposably" "you're vs your" "their, they're, there" I could go on... The teachers at my children's preschool, for goodness sake, the people responsible for teaching our future generations, commonly make such mistakes. Our society has already digressed to the point where diplomas are handed out to graduates who can't even grasp the language they read, write, and speak each and every day. Why are we so afraid to hurt someone's feelings and tell them "you just don't have a grasp on anything remotely intelligent?" It's our own fault. Truly "No Child Left Behind," even if they should have been.

Along the same lines, the children's sports teams are so PC these days, that "every child is a winner!" even if they're really not. Why don't we focus on developing people with personality and intelligence, and teaching the "be a good sport" routine, instead of being so afraid to hurt someone's feelings, or fearing that lawsuit for discrimination? If my child doesn't deserve a trophy, don't give him one! How can that possibly be helpful to him as a person, as a leader of future society? It's like those people you see on the first few weeks of American Idol; Doesn't someone love them enough to tell them that they REALLY can't do something as well as they think they can? What happened to good old rivalry? But I digress.... Sorry. Here we go:

"The early proponents of eugenics were also distressed over the observation that the poor segments of an industrialized society tend to have more children than the well-off, an effect now known as the demographic-economic paradox. It was feared that this lopsided fertility would dilute the quality of the human gene pool, leading to the deterioration of socially valuable traits such as intelligence. "

Oh, how true this is!! I've thought to myself many a time that if we could somehow whittle down the population in the ghettos by sterilizing the mothers who are (somehow) having their seventh child (they didn't sterilize them after the first 4, 5, or 6??) with yet another "baby's daddy" (hey, if it doesn't work out with the first six...), and even castrate the rapists and child predators (this goes without needing explanation), then this would be a better world to live in. The government takes money out of our paychecks to pay into welfare for the imbeciles to live better lives, while our nation slips further into debt. How many of those seven children will even live to have children of their own? (Natural selection of their own kind, maybe??) How many with graduate from high school? From college? Will any of them do any good for our society in the future? Overwhelming statistics say "no." Imbeciles breed imbeciles.

Is it worth the eventual detriment of the human race to allow this to go on? Wait until your life is negatively intertwined with one of these imbeciles, beyond the money you are already paying out of your pocket for their lifestyle, and the poor decisions they make. You'll be saying,

"START THE STERILIZATION PROCESS!!" Those who are matronly, but yet not "fit" enough to become mothers themselves, can always nanny the children of the more genetically enhanced mothers. (A bit insensitive? Sorry. It's for the future of our children.)


FunintheSun
Posted 15 May 2008 at 01:55 pm

"I've found with my personal-experienceS-in-life." :)


slarom69
Posted 15 May 2008 at 02:00 pm

The road to HELL is paved with good intentions, so this Eugenics thing must be the FasTrak Toll Express Lane to getting there faster at only a minor cost to our humanity. Remember that which does not kills us, only make us that much more bored...


avolosin
Posted 15 May 2008 at 02:15 pm

Taking FunintheSun's name as a beacon to the life s/he was born into, I have to suggest that for the love of all that is Damn Interesting, please read an introductory book on Sociology or take a corresponding class and save us from your vitriol.


FunintheSun
Posted 15 May 2008 at 06:15 pm

avolosin said: "Taking FunintheSun's name as a beacon to the life s/he was born into, I have to suggest that for the love of all that is Damn Interesting, please read an introductory book on Sociology or take a corresponding class and save us from your vitriol."

Awww... My post has made you a SECOND time poster!! How proud I am. Thank you for your fallacious assumption, avolosin, but I happen to have done everything for myself. As a Professor of the English Language, I have taken many Sociology courses in my studies. You didn't see me chastising you for your futile drivel, I simply stated my own sentiments. Why don't you stick to the article at hand and your own inutile opinions instead of admonishing others?

My Damn Interesting epithet, "FunintheSun," was, unfortunately, spawned by my own satirical observation of how gorgeous the Florida sun was as it came through the window onto my desk, how I'd rather be outside enjoying that fair weather, and how the chore I was doing wasn't nearly as fun as I wanted it to be...


MonkeyBones
Posted 15 May 2008 at 08:28 pm

gin said: "Oddly enough, I stumbled on this earlier today:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/8778/Why-Intelligent-People-Tend-To-Be-Unhappy"

Thank you gin for providing that link. Peace of mind has nothing to do with stronger, healthier, etc. One can be dying from cancer and be at peace, while another might be extremely healthy and wealthy only to end up with a noose around their necks. Eugenics will never solve the problems of humanity, because the root of these problems don't lie in genetics! Anybody can be selfish, regardless of their genetic markup. The same is true for every negative aspect of human behaviour! Everyone is capable of lying; nobody is genetically incapable of lying. Granted genetics can influence the predisposition of the wirings of neurons to fire in a different pattern, but neuron patterns are constantly rearranged through life, and negative behavioural traits will always surface regardless of the genetic markup of that person. Human perfection is unatainable, and proof is simple: The arrogance behind the practice of eugenics itself proves it.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 15 May 2008 at 09:02 pm

Very well put Monkey Bones.
Many of us have stated whether we should or should not, with or with out regulation. If it isnt broke dont fix it or tinker with it...
In 99% (+-)of us, the genetics works just fine and is a very stable model for of reproduction.
We have been convinced using some form of logic that there is an inherent flaw within us as a species that needs fixing or adjusting. I agree with many of the writers and readers, the answer is not in our genetics but in our day to day choices as individuals and societies. So many of us have more potential than we know what to with and are putting energy or thoughts aside instead of capitializing on them. Perhaps it is just my own personal experience but being even average, I find I have more than enough capacity to function in this society, I do not feel hindered due to my genetics, but by my choices and the choices of others. The idea of Eugenics is so simplistic and rewritten and can be boiled down to a simple phrase, "the hope of new parents".
It is a beautiful concept and responsibility to do what you can for your childeren. I find, in resent times, we tend to give responsability and accountability away, given the chance; dismissing it as a government function, a genetic disparity, a social condition or the duty of someone else. Actually, Eugentics is all of us making a descision on mates based on available info and status at a critical point in time. To cast this concept into a strictly narrow scientific construct is like watching only one event and calling it the whole of Olympics; the biological ramifications and contributions are only one facet in a remarkable and radiant kalidescope of interaction on this planet and beyond which helps shape simply put, us.
Thanks!


supercalafragalistic
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:09 pm

Us women and our "stiff" requirements and grave need for men to "come" to our aid. If there are **any** available scientists out there.... :) Alan, I am wildly amused to say the least. Jerry Maxwell ; 2 Cents from Girth; avolosin; and Alpha Legionare I really appreciated your comments above and found them to be especially well stated and thought provoking as with many others.

Truly, I must-- as another woman-- agree wholeheartedly with polossatik's observations. I'd like to thank this poster for pointing out the obvious regarding the stereotype of women in the content of the article and the implied assumptions so very easily missed. Thank you!! I'm a smart woman (Supercal is a Super-gal) and I can guarantee you I scare the crap out of a lot of the guys in my office at work because I can do a lot of stuff better than them. If they could, they'd all ban together and get me fired just to get me out of their way. Unfortunately for them, my job is to help my company make a lot of money and I'm fantastic at it, so they are SOL. (Diabolical woman laughter!!) :) I wear pink, I'm girlie, I'm cute and blonde; I bat my cute eyelashes and brandish my threatening perky cleavage throughout the male dominated, non-pink appreciative office place. I'm very helpful and collaborative, a nice lady, and yet somehow better at my job, which happens to be mostly dominated by super competitive alpha males. I'm better and they all want to either out perform me or just plain get rid of me. So, based on my own personal story here- if we did have a few more "better" people out there who's to say they wouldn't get killed or beaten down by all of the jealous average joes? I never asked to be special, and sometimes when you are everyone hates you and you don't have any friends. Being a woman is just icing on the cake in my situation. At my job people don't celebrate my success unless they are the ones profiting from my abilities. Everyone else who competes with me tries to out-do me all the time, and they will go the extra mile to be nasty to me or stab me in the back to accomplish this. If I were merely average and/or blended in at my job, no one would pay any attention to me. What does the DI readership think about this in the context of the above article? I ask you, as it is difficult for me to be objective when sharing something so personal. By the way, thank you for letting me share!

Another thought is also the upbringing factor that so many other posters have also mentioned. I have read every book written by author Alice Miller who's most famous book is entitled "The Drama of the Gifted Child" which discusses how children are shaped by certain types of parental abuses many of which are totally unintentional. She's written several books and I think they are well worth checking out-- especially so for those people who'd like to add to their thinking surrounding the environmental factors, etc.

My take is that everyone has a lot of potential and if you use that potential we all have the ability to become great in our own right. Why do some people feel compelled to go climb Mt. Everest? Determination? Focus? I don't know, but my opinion is that if everyone could be more focused toward a specific end we would all potentially see an improvement in our accomplishments regardless of our current DNA configuration.

Additionally, there is the worry in some comments above that if we modify genetic structure and start selecting for certain traits that we might lose some diversity and become more susceptible to various disease. I agree with that worry but then another thought occurred to me that I'd like to contribute. Humans have the ability to walk for long distances because we have shoes, we can communicate with others because we have phones, we look good because we have fashion and make up, we smell good because we have perfume. These things contribute the whole of our existence without tampering with genetic components. So, if we want certain traits we can design for them. Just like we design clothes, phones, watches, and deodorant we could design a computer chip that gets implanted into our skin, eyes, brain, etc. to make us exhibit desired characteristics. Just like that dress I bought that can make me look ten pounds lighter; I can maybe someday buy a brain chip that will help me retain advanced mathematical equations. Oh wait- I if you think about it I own a crude rudimentary version of this technology right now-- my computer!!


avolosin
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:10 pm

My apologies for the false assumptions FunintheSun. But you must understand my confusion when you claim sociological instruction but refuse to acknowledge basic concepts of low-income society. Your mastery of the English language is evident in your reply. It is unfortunate that your sociological instruction is not evident in any of the claims made regarding all of those damn poor people screwing up your world. As for the article, I invite you to comment on any of the three "inutile opinions" from my first post and perhaps your supposed understanding will be revealed.


Lisette
Posted 15 May 2008 at 11:54 pm

The study of genetics is endlessly fascinating and the debate on ethics involved in practicing eugenics would be never ending. DI article...


Alpha Legionare
Posted 16 May 2008 at 12:23 am

Nice post Supercal. To answer your question from my point of view, the conflict you speak of comes from the inherent flaws of a capitalist society. Of course, piled upon that is the prejudice that many have against working women. The above article does of course have a very sexist slant (from the source material, not the author), but you have to realize that for centuries the scientific community has been male based. Old habits are hard to break.

I can't find the exact quote from the article, but the comment about scientists seeking attractive women for the betterment of society is silly to me. If appearance is the only criteria for the woman in a eugenics pair, it renders the process void. Eugenics has applications and uses, but the beautification of our species should not be one of them.

You had another question mixed into your comment that raised my eyebrow. You asked "if we did have a few more "better" people out there who's to say they wouldn't get killed or beaten down by all of the jealous average joes?" To this, I say, yes they would. Which is why eugenics will fail under our current systems. Society must be fixed before humanity can be improved. As long as 'might makes right' still rules, and religion roams the earth, eugenics cannot work.

Now I understand I'll probably catch some flak for this, but I truly believe in the above. Once society has progressed beyond the caveman mentality of solving our problems with a club, and has cast aside the shackles of religion, only then will we be free to evolve as a species. I understand full and well that this is impossible in my lifetime, but I have hope for the future (not much though, considering the current state of things...)


Gil
Posted 16 May 2008 at 03:50 am

diarrhea is hereditary - it runs on your jeans
Actually nature provides a reasonable form of passive eugenics - the people society likes get to make a lotsa money whereas people who serve no real purpose gravitate to the bottom. This is ultimately better than pro-active eugenics - is more IQ better? More muscles? More height? Longevity? All of the above? As the picture implies, what if the superpeople don't care for average people as per the classic Star Trek episode?


Gil
Posted 16 May 2008 at 03:53 am

- it runs in your jeans. :(


Bleupea
Posted 16 May 2008 at 05:48 am

avolosin said: "It is unfortunate that your sociological instruction is not evident in any of the claims made regarding all of those damn poor people screwing up your world."

Excellent. I will try not to get into the whole poverty discussion again because when people are so judgmental or righteous about poverty, I get downright outraged.
By the way, dear funinthesun, I'm the youngest of five children born to the same two parents. We grew up in poverty, but here's the real shocker, my daddy is the same person as my eldest sibling's daddy... what are the odds? But, as I'm probably an imbecile in your humble opinion, I'll just resume drooling in a cup and humming Camptown Races over and over again. Cheers.


asbestos
Posted 16 May 2008 at 06:03 am

Nothing will make you feel as thin or as good looking as a trip to Wal-Mart


wargammer2005
Posted 16 May 2008 at 07:08 am

Darwinism is simply not true.

read Darwin's Black Box by Mike Behe.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 16 May 2008 at 09:52 am

As poverty goes, I think some people are trying to express themselves within a solid caste system, that is not the case in this country. (yet?) A person can still be born in squallor and rise to those "honarable pages of history" or just to a level of comfort making an good environment possible. What some of the haughty forget is that the ladder has rungs in with whichh to go down too. Again and again I drone on, being poor is not always a sign of stupidity, laziness and genetic make up, and again if we have such self noble views and asparations; then the responsibility to help take care of those "beneath you" should not be scoffed at. You cannot have the attitude of superority without the responsibilities, lest to look like a fool so I would say get busy helping or get out of the way...
Have a great day!
Thanks


avolosin
Posted 16 May 2008 at 09:58 am

Michael Behe's concept of "irreducible complexity" is a very tantalizing nugget of logic and Wikipedia has an excellent overview of irreducible complexity. But unfortunately it is tainted by our 20/20 hindsight. By identifying a certain appendage or body function as a complex system, we inherently assign a specific function that defines the success or failure of this system. By removing parts of the system to render it non-functional based on our assigned success/failure contingency does not mean the system is no longer functional, just non-functional in our narrowly defined structure, i.e. the system could have multitudes of other functions.

Wikipedia also has a nice differentiation between the term Darwinism and the more broad Evolutionary Theory.


Bleupea
Posted 16 May 2008 at 10:19 am

Well said, as usual, Two Cents.
May I add, that it seems that some of the haughty are, in essence, attempting to impose a caste system in our society. Some seem to think that being financially affluent or even comfortable makes you better than those who struggle seriously. It is strangely similar to the attitude the nobles had towards the peasants.
Believe it or not, a lot of poor people have strong morals and high values. Don't believe me? Read the Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. One of my personal favorite books, but then again, that could be because Steinbeck is probably my favorite author.


Zenesque
Posted 16 May 2008 at 10:45 am

There is one serious problem with positive eugenics. The planet is already incredibly overpopulated! Negative eugenics, and anything that categorize people based on criteria that the subjects have no control over, is immoral.

The only solution is to stop breeding. More people results in more suffering. Intelligent people are no more likely to be good, brave, gentle, or happy. I am very fit, quite healthy and intelligent enough, but nothing would make me want to have children. There is far too many people on this planet and we are far too stupid, greedy and selfish. Even the intelligent ones cause more harm than they are worth.

There is no great destiny awaiting our race. We are insignificant and without reason. No amount of genetic tinkering or selective breeding will change that. We live. we die. That is all. My only hope is that human population would shrink so that we would could live our lives, without causing so much harm. Ultimately, we harm ourselves by harming the planet.


FunintheSun
Posted 16 May 2008 at 11:50 am

I do not speak of those who actually have morals and values and use their intellect to rise above the statistic they were (unfortunately) born into. I thought I stated very clearly the group to which my comments addressed. Next time, I will be sure to address everything that is unsaid. I'm not quite sure why one would take such personal offense to any remark which does not apply to oneself. If a table is slighted, and one is plainly a chair, then one should not become piqued, as the comment certainly does not appertain. Bleupea, my opinions on such statistics obviously did not apply to you. I am sorry for any confusion I may have caused.

The people I am speaking of are the leeches of society. I worked in a welfare office for many years, and was infinitely miffed by those who would come in to abuse our services. This same scum would come adorned in their designer clothes, flashy jewelry, chromed cars, and then claim they couldn't afford food or housing for their children. Priorities? I guess they have evolved in their own little way- it does take some minuscule amount of intelligence to milk the system, peddle their wares, and avoid incarceration.

Fortunately, we do not have a caste system in our society. With that said, those with the intelligence and drive to rise to greatness in society have every opportunity to do so. How many will actually stand up to that challenge? Few. I, myself, was born into poverty. I used my intelligence to obtain scholarships, do well for myself, and, in turn, help family that was struggling (but absolutely putting forth the effort). As for "the responsibility to help take care of those 'beneath you,'" I don't, nor ever will, esteem myself to be above, nor beneath, any single human, as everyone has every opportunity to grow to their own potential. The question is, "to what potential." That said, I will never voluntarily pay out of my pocket to help someone out who will not first try to help themselves.

Morals, values, intelligence, and discipline cannot be taught by parents who do not employ the traits themselves.


JiT
Posted 16 May 2008 at 12:32 pm

FunintheSun said: "The early proponents of eugenics were also distressed over the observation that the poor segments of an industrialized society tend to have more children than the well-off, an effect now known as the demographic-economic paradox. It was feared that this lopsided fertility would dilute the quality of the human gene pool, leading to the deterioration of socially valuable traits such as intelligence. "

Oh, how true this is!! I've thought to myself many a time that if we could somehow whittle down the population in the ghettos by sterilizing the mothers who are (somehow) having their seventh child (they didn't sterilize them after the first 4, 5, or 6??) with yet another "baby's daddy" (hey, if it doesn't work out with the first six…), and even castrate the rapists and child predators (this goes without needing explanation), then this would be a better world to live in. The government takes money out of our paychecks to pay into welfare for the imbeciles to live better lives, while our nation slips further into debt. How many of those seven children will even live to have children of their own? (Natural selection of their own kind, maybe??) How many with graduate from high school? From college? Will any of them do any good for our society in the future? Overwhelming statistics say "no." Imbeciles breed imbeciles.

Is it worth the eventual detriment of the human race to allow this to go on? Wait until your life is negatively intertwined with one of these imbeciles, beyond the money you are already paying out of your pocket for their lifestyle, and the poor decisions they make. You'll be saying,

"START THE STERILIZATION PROCESS!!" Those who are matronly, but yet not "fit" enough to become mothers themselves, can always nanny the children of the more genetically enhanced mothers. (A bit insensitive? Sorry. It's for the future of our children.)"

Please bear with me as I am a first time poster, and a fairly new reader to boot (I have been reading articles on this site now everyday for the last 3 weeks). FunintheSun's comments about eliminating the 'ghetto' as it were, is a false assumption. While I do not wholly condone the theory behind Darwinism, I do believe that some of it has merits that are worth further research.

Back to my point: The problem with enforcing selective breeding just to eliminate (by attrition) those that inhabit the ghetto, is sooner or later, you will be the new ghetto. If Darwinism holds entirely true, those of you who endorse the idea of eugenics will someday find yourself at the bottom of the ladder, and be deemed unacceptable to society.

What should really be done, is not forcing eugenics and saying who or who cannot breed, but diligently researching the means and developing a cure for the ailments of today. This planet is not here for just the select few. It's here for all of us.

And I disagree with FunintheSun's remarks about women being nannies to the genetically superior women: This isn't the Fourth Reich were you get the right to procreate and others don't. Your idea isn't for the future of "our" children. It's the future you want for your own children.

Besides, how can one be matronly, and yet still be unfit to be a mother? Seems like a paradoxical question to me.


Mensabutt
Posted 16 May 2008 at 12:45 pm

I'm a bit amazed that a discussion of eugenics hasn't already included a reference to the writer Robert Heinlein; do so few of us read books anymore? Heinlein makes thoughtful, thought-provoking use of breeding for longevity in "Methuselah's Children" and "Time Enough For Love". Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if there were actually a Howardesque Foundation operating in our own reality. Are YOU one of the Families?

And now that the human genome has been mapped, how long before we are carrying our personal genotype around on our Blackberries/Blueberries/Raspberries, a genetic resume looking for the best Darwinian mate present in the saloon? How soon before we log onto egeneticharmony.luv to find out what perfect mate our cheek swab, offspring specifications, and $2,000 subscription fee has brought us? [For a nominal surcharge, your fertilized embryo can be twinned in the lab, and both parents can receive their personalized child without having to meet the other parent!]

I'm predicting, for better or worse, we'll be practicing eugenics [again] in the near future...


ffhard
Posted 16 May 2008 at 12:55 pm

I have to say I agree with most (not all) of what Funinthesun has to say. I assume most posters on here are from the USA and I cant really speak for what problems you may, or may not, have. But, in the UK we are seeing more and more violent crime and just generally threatening behaviour on our streets. I promise you that in virtually every case the offender comes from a "family" where there is no male parent and his or her siblings have been fathered by multiple partners. Generally the family is supported solely by benefits and the proceeds of crime.
In general I do not support the view that you can improve a population's intelligence by selective sterilisation, and I certainly dont think that potential mothers should be employed to look after other peoples children. BUT, why should mothers who are obviously never going to produce worthwhile (note:- worthwhile, not necessarily super-intelligent!) offspring be allowed to continue when they cant even support themselves? To put it more bluntly why should I pay taxes to allow people to produce children who will, eventually and inevitably, prey on me?


Humbaba3000BC
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:08 pm

Fertility as a function of intelligence

Laying aside for a moment ethical issues I'd like to examine the demographic economic paradox. Or rather recast it as a demographic/intelligence analysis.

Is there any data on the Internet showing the relationship between fertility and intelligence? My guess would be that the truly feebleminded, those most likely to be sterilized, would have a low fertility rate. If this is so then such sterilization programs would be of little value.

Looking for data,
Humbaba


JiT
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:10 pm

FunintheSun said: "The people I am speaking of are the leeches of society. I worked in a welfare office for many years, and was infinitely miffed by those who would come in to abuse our services. This same scum would come adorned in their designer clothes, flashy jewelry, chromed cars, and then claim they couldn't afford food or housing for their children. Priorities? I guess they have evolved in their own little way- it does take some minuscule amount of intelligence to milk the system, peddle their wares, and avoid incarceration.

Fortunately, we do not have a caste system in our society. With that said, those with the intelligence and drive to rise to greatness in society have every opportunity to do so. How many will actually stand up to that challenge? Few. I, myself, was born into poverty. I used my intelligence to obtain scholarships, do well for myself, and, in turn, help family that was struggling (but absolutely putting forth the effort). As for "the responsibility to help take care of those 'beneath you,'" I don't, nor ever will, esteem myself to be above, nor beneath, any single human, as everyone has every opportunity to grow to their own potential. The question is, "to what potential." That said, I will never voluntarily pay out of my pocket to help someone out who will not first try to help themselves."

As there are parasites in nature, there will be parasites among men. According to Darwin, that is the nature of things, and in warped way, it shows that the tenet that "only the strongest will survive," does not necessarily apply to those that are bigger, stronger, and faster. Sometimes, it is those that are the most cunning.

Secondly, we do live in a caste system, whether it is publicly announced or not, we do. We've seen the results of a quasi-publicly known caste system from our history of what life was like in 1800's of America. With time, reform has progressed, but there are those that still cling to that notion that because they were born into money, or social status, that they are better than the rest of us (Look at the majority of the celebrities, and politicians and try to find one who is down right humble about who and what they are).


Bleupea
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:15 pm

Funinthesun, I accept your apology and apologize myself for taking your comment out of its context. But you must admit, you did not specify between those who are abusing the welfare system and those truly suffering in poverty.
I would like to disagree with one thing in your most recent post. You said that "Morals, values, intelligence, and discipline cannot be taught by parents who do not employ the traits themselves. " I think that is mostly true, except for intelligence. I think intelligence is encouraged and nurtured, but I don't think it is something that can be taught. How much do we know about Albert Einstein's parents, or Nikola Telsa's parents... how intelligent were they really when compared with their offspring?
I do agree that morals, values and discipline need to be taught, but sometimes those are things that people learn later in life, not from their parents. I was very lucky in that aspect because my parents instilled a high sense of morals and values and discipline in me, but I have seen them influence some of my friends growing up as well. If my friends' parents didn't step up to the plate and provide values or morals or discipline, my parents would gently become role models for them. I can't tell you how many of my friends referred to my mom and dad as mom and dad, but let me give you a brief example:
One of my best friends growing up lived in a family that was just about as financially troubled as we were. Sadly her parents decided to drink away their paychecks every week instead of providing for their family. She was always at my house and I think my mother was more of a mother to her than her parents were. We parted ways in high school because we were hanging out in different crowds, but she never really fit in with the crowd she was hanging out with. She kept thinking, what would Bleupea's mom think if I did this, what would her dad think? We have since rekindled our friendship and were bridesmaids in each other's weddings and are both expecting children (she's due in July and I'm due in September). Guess who she is going to call when she goes into labor? Me, her parents, and my parents. Thankfully her parents have since realized that they had a problem and are now recovering alcoholics. Every time I see them, they ask how my parents are doing and comment on what a positive influence my family was on my friend.
Morals and values and discipline are most commonly learned in the home, but there are other places where they can be picked up.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:24 pm

asbestos
On the lighter side:)
That is like frosted mini wheats,
The kid in me is laughing till he pees, but the adult in me is nodding his head in intellectual accord.
Having lived in East Texas, there is some validity to the statement and it seems Wal MArts are indeed our great mixing grounds.
On a side note: Having a Wal MArt bag in your home is the most common possesion we Americans share; the thread that binds us is now, seems to be a plastic bag under the kitchen sink...


Bleupea
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:26 pm

ffhard said: "BUT, why should mothers who are obviously never going to produce worthwhile (note:- worthwhile, not necessarily super-intelligent!) offspring be allowed to continue when they cant even support themselves? To put it more bluntly why should I pay taxes to allow people to produce children who will, eventually and inevitably, prey on me?"

I can answer your question in two parts: one, to force someone to sterilize because they do not actively contribute to society is a severe violation of perhaps one of the most basic human rights; and two, you cannot punish the child for the sins of the father (or mother).
How can a brand new human life be worthless? I don't mean to offend, but that seems quite arrogant. I am just as unhappy as anyone else with having to support people who are on welfare and should not be on welfare and are only on welfare because they are clever enough to cheat the system, but I would not take away their human rights! If you insist, perhaps the government can offer some type of sterilization process that a previous poster mentioned, where the receipent would receive a sum of money for opting to be sterilized. I think I surprising number of people would flock to this. People who are not on health insurance and do not want children would want something more concrete than condoms to ensure that they are safe. Or, people who are drug addicts and would do anything for that next fix, would stand in line too. I don't have a problem with this because it isn't forced, the person would be informed about what is going to happen, what the consequences would be, and then could make the decision.


JiT
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:27 pm

Two Cents from Girth said: On a side note: Having a Wal MArt bag in your home is the most common possesion we Americans share; the thread that binds us is now, seems to be a plastic bag under the kitchen sink…"

LOL! I guess I should feel somewhat left out of that thread. I resolved to stop shopping at Wal-Mart years ago after I experienced their "working" conditions.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:53 pm

FunintheSun:
You are probally catching some heat from a few threads carried over from the previous article. Poverty arose and some hardlines were drawn, with three seemingly obvious sides...
I harbor no animosity about this and just posted my opinions as a reminder to when things are going well, just remember the less fortunate, not the quitters. Check out the last article, it should bring you up to speed. :)

Zenesque:
A good write illustrating the concept of the emptiness in which to attain enlightenment and the absence of desire, how like your name the article sounded, well written.

JiT: Absolutely we live in a caste system of sorts where the unnamed wealty hold sway over the masses. But the key words are solid or rigid caste systems... of course you guys know the blah blah blah of that so I'll skip it. But yes, I agree and obviously there exsits class struggle and friction in our society. It seems each class has valid gripes of the others and it is the analyis of the solutions that should be focused upon, not the never ending stream of complaints...


Humbaba3000BC
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:54 pm

IQ as a function of time

It appears that the initial driving force behind eugenics was the belief that the "quality" of the human race was being reduced by factors such as the demographic economic paradox. Is this true? If one assumes that IQ as measured on standardized tests is synonymous with quality then a graph of IQ versus time would show a decline. Is there data to this effect?

I think it is interesting to note that the original statement in the article was "the poor segments of an industrialized society tend to have more children than the well-off", that is, fertility is inversely proportional to affluence (not intelligence, strength, longevity, etc.). The assumption being of course, that affluence is the best measure of the quality of a human being.

Looking for more data,
Humbaba


FunintheSun
Posted 16 May 2008 at 01:55 pm

ffhard said: "...I promise you that in virtually every case the offender comes from a "family" where there is no male parent and his or her siblings have been fathered by multiple partners. Generally the family is supported solely by benefits and the proceeds of crime... why should mothers who are obviously never going to produce worthwhile (note:- worthwhile, not necessarily super-intelligent!) offspring be allowed to continue when they cant even support themselves? To put it more bluntly why should I pay taxes to allow people to produce children who will, eventually and inevitably, prey on me?"

Thank you, ffhard. We have the same problem in my area of the US. I feel your exact sentiments.

I know we've gone off on a bit of a tangent, but bear with our thought process. While it doesn't have to do with the creation of "super geniuses," it does have to do with the intrigue of sterilization for the greater good of society.

Perhaps my quote regarding the nannying was typed a tad offhandedly. By the end of my first rant, I was reaching the end of my capacity for emotional containment. I meant this to have read as a facetious remark, but, unfortunately, context can be misconstrued when not heard as dialogue.

It seems these parents have more children for the single purpose of collecting more money in benefits- free healthcare, free food, free housing, free cash with which to do whatever they please. Many get more free money for food in a month for bearing children than I can afford while working. I am cutting corners while they buy name brands. And if they need extra cash to fuel their habits (in general- doesn't have to mean drug abuse. Maybe they have a name-brand clothing habit...)? They bring friends to the store and use their own food debit card to purchase their friends' food in exchange for cash in hand.

We complain about our inadequate or expensive health insurance, and ration our doctor and dentist visits due to high copayments, all while we are paying for these people to go to the doctor whenever they desire- for free! I'm not sure this should be part of anyone's "responsibility" in helping out the less fortunate. They also receive free prescriptions. Read- birth control. It's free! Why aren't they using it?? Perhaps they could make sterilization a pre-requisite to continuing to receive government assistance? They'd be getting it for free, anyway.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 16 May 2008 at 02:15 pm

I can think of more than Sterilzation for some of these leeches/paracites:) I get tired of paying for their free ride too!!! Ben Franklin said, which I agree and have adopted: +-" We as a nation should have a saftey net of sorts which prevents the castostrophic loss of life due to social and economic storms, which can at times ravage this new nation. This net is set high enough to prevent permanent damage but low enough so only the truely misfortunant would be seen at that level. All others would strive to enter into gainful employee and seek other refuge. This net is also only deemed to be of a temporary nature. Those not capable of sustaining a living should be institutionalized into the care of this nation state, thereby being removed from the temptation of crime and injury to the citizenry." (that's about all the old timey I can qoute)
Above this net existed work houses, lodges, churches, half way homes, the homes where single mothers live (the name escapes me sorry) and oh how about this one FAMILY!!! I agree, the cure to these peoples problem is not free money, lets teach these people to fish... (you know the old proberb bit about giving a fish or teaching to fish?...)


avolosin
Posted 16 May 2008 at 04:06 pm

It is unfortunate that the welfare system is so abused, as recounted by FunintheSun and his/her experiences at the front lines. This would be one of the unfortunate side effects of almost all systems created for the benefit of people: there will always be people exploiting the system for their own desires.

What if, god forbid, there was a system created for the sterilization of these types of people? This system too, would ultimately be exploited by somebody at some point for personal gain, retaliation, personal prejudices, etc. That, to me, is far more frightening than the taxes I pay.

It would seem that an overhaul of the existing system would be more appropriate than adding a fresh coat of bureaucracy.


Bewildered
Posted 17 May 2008 at 12:49 am

Are cigarettes designed to wipe out people with the 'addictive gene'? Alcohol? Sugar? Salt? I've recently given up cigarettes after smoking for over 15 years and i really feel like i'm part of a horrible plot to either study cancer or be removed from the gene pool...


jparenti
Posted 17 May 2008 at 02:44 am

Eugenics may be a good idea for humanity. However, it cannot be implemented by humanity, because we inevitably screw everything up. A megalomaniac or megalomaniacs would end up in charge, and someone would decide they didn't like people with blonde hair. ZAP! Brunettes and redheads forever.
It's the same thing with nuclear energy. If we'd done it correctly, and thought it out first, and neglected our bloodthirsty tendencies, we'd have cheap power without spreading radioactive waste around, and absent would be the specter of nuclear war. Instead, we got Hiroshima, Chernobyl, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and the Cold War featuring ICBMs aimed at each other's throats.
Inevitably, like usual, we'd do something stupid.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 17 May 2008 at 06:21 am

As to funinthesuns address in #105

I heard this argueement from a friend, so I wont pretend my gray matter brewed this up...:)
My friend basically stated that he had gone to school, got a job, got a better job with clearances and drug testing. He was abliged (as most in "professional" fields) for his career's sake not to be caught dead around drug use and pay his taxes. I like many of us have a position where I am not to use drugs and pay my taxes, a responsibilty thing...
If I need to be drug screened and pay taxes in order to draw my salary, that is fine with me, I have good aim and a steady supply :) Now my point is if we generated this tax money under those circumstances and pay our own way and were still drug regulated, why cant we suggest that regular drug screenings be instituted for those of us recieving aid? The logic being if you dont have money for the rent, what on earth are you doing with expensive drugs in your system?? Pee clean, get paid, seems the rule for the working "us", why not those out of work too?? I bet that would raise some eyebrows and butt cheels in the "stricken" world of welfare:)
Again, why not make these people do a little work on their schedule to earn some of this loot?
A few years ago, I ran a small comany and hired out labor. It was amazing, some of these men were dirt poor, some without a home. Most worked very hard and were in most shades honest.
I was amazed though, almost to a man these workers had daily cigarrettes and a few times a week alcohol on their breath or in their skin... these clinged to destructive luxuries yet had not the basics??? Choices folks, some of this poverty is simply choices...


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 17 May 2008 at 06:25 am

sorry, that is butt cheeks and company; not that the two should ever really mingle:)
I will learn to spell one day without spell check...
Again,
sorry


fantaz
Posted 17 May 2008 at 12:34 pm

I would think you would have to destroy the whole human race to gain perfection. Some diseases lay docile for generations, some only affect one family member in 3000 years etc.
Not to mention that if this practice had been perfected some of historys greatest icons would have never been, Julius Caesar for one was eppillectic. As well as van gogh, napoleon, alfred nobel among a few. downs syndrome people are sterilized to prevent other downs babies, but still they are born from (natural) parents. Since there is no way to know what bloodlines carry these traits there is no way to ever perfect a master race, and besides who would want to live in a man made world?


jimsey123
Posted 17 May 2008 at 06:56 pm

Not to worry. The upcoming famines will
clear out the weak.


OTOH
Posted 17 May 2008 at 08:14 pm

Here's an idea for population control and positive eugenics:

Institute a "Cap and Trade" program for procreation. Grant each person a license to bear 75% of a child. That way each couple can have 1 1/2 children. Couples (or individuals) can then trade for procreation rights. If a financially secure couple or individual wants more kids, they can purchase reproductive rights from others who would rather have cash than kids.


Zaphod2016
Posted 17 May 2008 at 11:48 pm

A few thoughts.

1. I, like most of you, am placed at the far right of the Gaussian "bell curve". I'm not bragging, but rather, exposing the truth that many of us may be biased regarding this subject.

2. My Grandfather, a self-made, educated man was often fond of saying: "The world needs ditch diggers too".

3. I have a big ole' brain, which might make you assume that I would make good breeding material. However, like most brilliant people I know, I display symptoms of manic/depressive cycles, mild schizophrenia, and occasional delusions of grandeur. Many of these mental illness are known to be, or suspected of being genetic in origin. Are these the best traits to carry on to the next generation?

4. Physically, I am the average American. Just shy of 6' tall, 190lbs, complete with pot belly. The only sport I'm any good at is baseball, and I have a goofy walk. I would not make a good laborer and tire easily. My family suffers from diabetes and heart disease- also known to be genetically influenced. Again- are these traits justified by my IQ?

5. I am a nature lover and misanthrope. I love walking the beaches of Florida in solitude. I tend to be a loner, and stick to a very few, very close friends. When stuck in traffic I advocate genocide. When alone on the beach I feel ashamed of myself for thinking such things.

6. Environmentally, is it possible to sustain 6.7 billion human beings given the fixed resources and productive capacity of Earth? If not, on what authority do we eliminate our fellow people? If so, is there any point at which society must regulate and limit reproduction in order for the species to survive?

7. Are we sure that intelligence is the "goal" of natural selection? Is it not possible that intelligence is a failed mutation, which would explain not only its rarity, but perceived threat of extinction?

Points to ponder. DI article, and a good conversation.


Zaphod2016
Posted 17 May 2008 at 11:59 pm

OTOH said: "Here's an idea for population control and positive eugenics:

Institute a "Cap and Trade" program for procreation. Grant each person a license to bear 75% of a child. That way each couple can have 1 1/2 children. Couples (or individuals) can then trade for procreation rights. If a financially secure couple or individual wants more kids, they can purchase reproductive rights from others who would rather have cash than kids."

This is a very interesting idea. The environmentalist in me is totally in favor of it. The libertarian in me asks: "Do I not have a fundamental right to procreate, by virtue of my physical existence?" The anarchists in me asks: "What authority do you have to grant me 75% of a child?"


supercalafragalistic
Posted 18 May 2008 at 02:03 am

OTOH said: "Here's an idea for population control and positive eugenics:

Institute a "Cap and Trade" program for procreation. Grant each person a license to bear 75% of a child. That way each couple can have 1 1/2 children. Couples (or individuals) can then trade for procreation rights. If a financially secure couple or individual wants more kids, they can purchase reproductive rights from others who would rather have cash than kids."

Wow! That is an idea. Very creative and worth a good thinking through. Is that your idea or is there anything out there I can read on this idea?


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 18 May 2008 at 08:37 am

Ladies and Gentlemen, again welcome to Kristies, we have today a 50% voucher for a child. What will be offered for this 50% breeding stake of a child, do I hear and arm? Yes an arm, thank you, do I hear a leg?? A leg in the back thank you. This is 50% Ladies and Gentlemen, do I hear an arm and a leg?? The nice couple in the front thank you. Now can I get a first born? Do I hear a first born? No?...Going once, twice, three times and sold to the lovely couple in the front row. Moving right along, what most of you have come to bid on; an actual parking permit and slot in Manhatten proper, located in the Upper...
:) I like the concept! Perhaps a 10% child bonus could be given at work for the holidays or a percentage for testing , military service etc. Social incentives and the down side too... a rapist: prividges revoked, immediate steriliztion. Seriously, it would enhance our competative spirit, like most of know as adults, we dont just work for ourselves but for our family and represent our surroundings (friends,peer group, beliefs, society etc). I have heard of much worse systems, how about this one?

Another point we have not brought up...a fairly blunt topic.
It would be fabulous to have a population control policy besides the one we subscribe to and or permit every year. Ever wonder why the numbers of teen mothers is down and our ZPG is so steady already, except in most minorities? It is not entirely because of high brow well meaning education practices and birth control. Girls still sleep with boys and pregnancy still results... I wonder, how selective of a number is that? A million? Two? Five million pregnancies a year?
We have a Eugenics program of sorts already in place, its called Abortion, and it has nothing to do with genetics but convience and disposability...sorry to bust the bubble about this old current event. Some couples already have their version of Eugenics well in hand. Why accept the responsibility for ones actions when such an easy option is presented, a social problem? Government? No... keep guessing... how about individuals not wanting accoutability for their actions... New Chinese proverb: no money or capacity for baby? Keep pee pee in pants, simple...


avolosin
Posted 18 May 2008 at 10:56 am

Children: cheap to make, expensive to keep.


Inti
Posted 18 May 2008 at 12:24 pm

An interesting point against Eugenics is the careful study of the minds and bodies of the great fathers of history. Many of them were affected by serious illness of all kinds, including mental affections like schizophrenia (e.g. John Forbes Nash) or physical limitations like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (e.g. Stephen Hawking). Given the proposed rules of Eugenics in operation, many great minds will be also lost. Perhaps, the interaction between genes and environment (nature and nurture) is of such complexity and subtleness that we must restrain from sloppy and shallow appreciations of who is worthy and who is not.


Inti
Posted 18 May 2008 at 05:06 pm

bradburymeiners@yahoo.com said: "Would It Still Be a Normal Distribution?

One of the interesting things in this article was that a 5% decrease in the average intelligence would result in an 56% decrease in the number of individuals with very high intelligence. This assumes that the curve would still be a normal distribution after the removal of individuals of very low intelligence. My guess is that the removal of these individuals would not result in a shift of the normal curve to the right but rather change the shape of the curve...."

The point is that by limiting the number of individuals in the left tail of the distribution you expect a population shift towards the right throughout time and generations under an evolutionary framework. That being said, you will always have a tendency towards normaility in species characters. I can't restrain myself from quoting one of my unpublished manuscripts on this issue:

I think important to elaborate on the properties of species as aggregations around a center of gravity (sensu Quetelet 1835), that result in probability density functions about the truth state of species as a function of character states. Why is that many properties of nature express as frequency distributions in the shape of a Gaussian bell? In Evolutionary Biology, this property in the distribution of samples, and therefore of species as ensembles of samples, has to do with the often polygenic nature of many morphological traits (i.e. numerous additive effects of small magnitude, often known as the infinitesimal model) and the 'smoothing' do to environmental effects and plasticity (Pearson and Lee, 1903; Blakeslee, 1914; Fisher, 1918; Turelli and Barton, 1994), the mathematical principles of the Law of Large Numbers and the Central Limit Theorem (Eckhard et al., 2001); and perhaps, an inherent property of natural entities, specially under an evolutionary paradigm, where 'prototypical normality 'normally' implies statistical normality' (Schurz, 2001). This last philosophical claim, however, has been contested in similar grounds by Wachbroit (1994), although from the perspective of normality vs. abnormality (Amundson, 2000), and hence it might not be relevant to the problem of normality as a density function. Note the interesting link between previously discussed ideas on essentialism and the present claim about the prototypical normality of evolutionary entities. An interesting argument relative to the validity of essentialism in species ontology is the fact that Mendelian panmictic populations will conform to an essentialist’s perspective under the constant of the Hardy-Winberg equilibrium law. This law can be regarded as an essential property of populations (but perhaps not necessarily species), under certain ceteris paribus conditions in the absence of the effects of evolution (Sober, 1980). The philosophy of species is certainly a challenging and convolute subject from which much can be learned. The apparently universal trend of species to express through variation, and in consequence with a central tendency, provides an additional parameter to consider such statistical characteristics as real and inherent to species (Galton, 1879; 1889).

Cheers and sorry for the verbal excess.


OTOH
Posted 18 May 2008 at 06:43 pm

supercalafragalistic said: "Wow! That is an idea. Very creative and worth a good thinking through. Is that your idea or is there anything out there I can read on this idea?"

Not my idea, but I like it. I first read in a science fiction book called Blue Mars, part of the Red Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. I highly recommend these books to anyone into Sci-Fi or alternative social systems. The trilogy is a fictional account of the future terraforming and settling of Mars as Earth succumbs to chaos. The author does an excellent job of imagining/predicting various challenges to be faced by mankind then takes the next step by having his characters postulate and implement innovative solutions. All three books are chock full of DI ideas and outside the box thinking.


OTOH
Posted 18 May 2008 at 06:55 pm

OTOH said: book called Blue Mars, part of the Red Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Please excuse the lack of underlining on the above book titles. My underline tags worked when I previewed the post disappeared when I submitted it. Other typos were 100% my own fault.


leguru
Posted 18 May 2008 at 11:22 pm

Any time we make something more sacred than human beings, we devalue the life of a human being. What does it mean to be a human? Is there one trait, or a group of traits, that defines a human life? When we make God, or intelligence, or wealth the most important thing to breed for or politically impose on others, we lose that variety that makes human existence so interesting and valuable. What if we could develop a system that encouraged people to bring out the best in themselves and that showed them how compassion for others would help them to improve their own environment? Would this not be better than eugenics, especially enforced eugenics?


Web
Posted 18 May 2008 at 11:59 pm

The idea of paying a reward for voluntarily exiting the gene pool is a good one, but one issue needs to be addressed. For the reward system to effectively eleminate "undesirables" we would need to redistribute dynastic wealth.


sweetvioletsa
Posted 19 May 2008 at 02:04 am

FunintheSun said: "I do not speak of those who actually have morals and values and use their intellect to rise above the statistic they were (unfortunately) born into. I thought I stated very clearly the group to which my comments addressed. Next time, I will be sure to address everything that is unsaid. I'm not quite sure why one would take such personal offense to any remark which does not apply to oneself. If a table is slighted, and one is plainly a chair, then one should not become piqued, as the comment certainly does not appertain.

So, the fact that the table and the chair are both furniture is without merit? We are all people and that which demeans and devalues my fellow humans also demeans and devalues me. And so, like others here who find your commentary offensive and unwanted, I find you singularly lacking in compassion and not a little bit scary in your eagerness to do harm to your fellow man for no reason other than they don't meet your own personal, narrow, self-serving standards.

Perhaps it hasn't occurred to you that your repeated references to "the ghetto" is clearly racist...and grossly incorrect. A little googling will reveal to you that the vast majority of welfare mothers are actually white women. I could have been one of your mothers in designer clothes and fancy jewelry...it's what was left after the husband took to his heels, leaving me with no money, no job, and children to feed. My parents were not drug addicts or social misfits, nor were they stupid. We were merely middle class at a time when there were no student loans, no Pell grants, and scholarships were the purview of the male students who would one day have families to feed...we girls would be supported by them. Yes, at one time I was a welfare mother.

Your polemics say more about you than they do about the people you disparage. You speak anecdotally and have not bothered to confirm as fact any of the prejudices you present. Aside from your cavalier attitude about human rights, your easy assumption that any woman who ends up on welfare is a lazy, gold-digging, intellectually impaired slut is highly offensive.

I invite you to take your bigotry elsewhere.


admiralbuckles
Posted 19 May 2008 at 07:38 am

I have been a lurker on this site for about two years. I have never felt the need to post on an article because I could not add to the conversation in any meaningfull way. This article raises certain moral and philosophical questions that I feel strongly about. However I will not add to the conversation in any meaningfull way but interject with a question that might exclude me from the future gene pool "Has anyone seen the movie IDIOCRACY by Mike Judge?" He is the same guy that made OFFICE SPACE.


Bleupea
Posted 19 May 2008 at 07:50 am

"You mean like from the toliet?"
Yes, I've seen Idiocracy, it was entertaining, but I prefer Office Space.


Radiatidon
Posted 19 May 2008 at 08:59 am

I find it interesting that Sir Francis Galton’s cousin, Darwin, whom he considered a Genius of equal stature, also suffered from a varity of illnesses. Darwin endured a life of muscle spasms, vomiting, colics, flatulence, headaches, nervous exhaustion, depression, insomnia, and etc. to name but a few.

Sir Francis Galton himself also suffered from various nervous breakdowns and a lust for very buxom women, regardless of their mental attributes.

In both men these symptoms indicated a weakness in physical, mental, and character. These same failings would result in sterilization of many people based on Sir Francis Galton’s writings, observations, and his Eugenics.

Thus is it not a oxymoron that this man’s beliefs in mental and physical improvement also classified two people he considered prime examples of the ultimate Homo Sapient, that is Darwin and himself, also prime candidates for sterilization under his Eugenics.

Just a tidbit of overripe brain cheese for you all to savor, or so to speak.

The Don.


sid
Posted 19 May 2008 at 10:35 am

Inti said: "An interesting point against Eugenics is the careful study of the minds and bodies of the great fathers of history. Many of them were affected by serious illness of all kinds, including mental affections like schizophrenia (e.g. John Forbes Nash) or physical limitations like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (e.g. Stephen Hawking). Given the proposed rules of Eugenics in operation, many great minds will be also lost. Perhaps, the interaction between genes and environment (nature and nurture) is of such complexity and subtleness that we must restrain from sloppy and shallow appreciations of who is worthy and who is not."

First!

As in, first time I believe I have ever agreed with Inti. There are way too many potential problems with Eugenics for it to be "fairly" implemented. In theory, an interesting concept. But trying to determine the parameters for implementation would lead to countless arguments over how it should work. Hawking is an excellent example of what could be lost, as he would likely be one to be eliminated. And as Radiatidon's post shows, it would be quite a struggle to determine what "imperfection" would lead to elimination from the pool. Not sure that vomiting and/or flatulence would qualify on their/its own, although I may be convinced otherwise on a long flight or elevator ride, but do we come up with a scoring system where points are accumulated for "minor" flaws that could add up to a failing grade?

One nit to pick, though, with Radiatidon. What's wrong with "a lust for very buxom women, regardless of their mental attributes"? Not my preference, but to each his own. Perhaps just another example of why Eugenics could not be "fairly" implemented.


Inti
Posted 19 May 2008 at 10:46 am

Cheers, Sid. There is always a first time. I am sure I also coincide with many of your own bright ideas and discussions.


Radiatidon
Posted 19 May 2008 at 11:53 am

sid said: "Not sure that vomiting and/or flatulence would qualify on their/its own, although I may be convinced otherwise on a long flight or elevator ride,“

Flatulence and vomiting due not to diet, but imperfections in the body leads to a drain on the public health system not to mention loss in production capability of the individual, including those around him/her. Remember, Eugenics strives to produce a superior individual who is very productive and not a drain on society.

sid said: "One nit to pick, though, with Radiatidon. What's wrong with "a lust for very buxom women, regardless of their mental attributes"? Not my preference, but to each his own. Perhaps just another example of why Eugenics could not be "fairly" implemented."

A lust or desire for any big-breasted woman (or other interesting part(s) on women/men) that one sees distracts by taking physical and/or mental time for that lust and decreases the individual’s productivity. Also by slinging the seed into any garden, be it well maintained or over strewn with weeds and poor layout demeans the reason behind Eugenics, the production of superior mental and physical specimens. So the women’s mental abilities and general health far outweigh the curves and physical “over” endowments she might have.

Also slinging the seed into every overdeveloped physical attribute that comes along also includes the risk of what may linger afterward. For instance, Sir Francis Galton and his wife never produced any heirs. A fallacy that he blamed on his indifference as to how many women he sowed his wild oats with in his youth and not caring what type of sexual leftovers from their past these women shared with him.

The Don


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 19 May 2008 at 12:04 pm

It is amazing how this topic doesnt really split along party lines, outlook, race or attitudes.
Most of us have expressed a concern about growing population, most would like to see the bar of humanity raised, some have said we could do without our lower third but few if any would want breeding rights regulated based on intellegence alone.

#126 Sweetvioletsa, was that just one barrel or both? :)

funinthesun: this is not a lecture hall, some of those accepted biases that are allowed to persist in those glorious hall of academia will be challenged, perhaps a moderating approach to the down to earth, non-elite would serve you better... however, in your position, it probally is a refreshing change for you to be shown the door in an intellectual discussion:) I know most of my professors enjoyed the high chair of their forum and used it without a second thought, they became accuston to curtailing any contrary rebuttal or changing the subject when valid counterpoints were introduced; all in the name of higher education of course... :)


johannes
Posted 19 May 2008 at 12:13 pm

Alan: where did you get the stuff on IQ and Gaussian distribution? I believe it is a red herring, if not intentional :)

If you decrease the average intelligence, e.g. by letting the "imbecils" get some action, it would not decrease the "number" of geniuses, simply because there would be more people included in the sample. (Actually, the mean IQ can not drop, because it is always 100 points by definition).

Also, it would not result in a "sharp reduction" of the geniuses' percentage either! This is because it would only affect the variance of the gaussian distribution: the curve would look less "steep". Of course the percentage of geniuses would decrease, but far less from what you stated.

Othewise, a brilliant article, and one of the best sites in the net!


sid
Posted 19 May 2008 at 12:49 pm

Radiatidon said: "Flatulence and vomiting due not to diet, but imperfections in the body leads to a drain on the public health system not to mention loss in production capability of the individual, including those around him/her. Remember, Eugenics strives to produce a superior individual who is very productive and not a drain on society.

Flatulence is flatulence, whether it is due to "imperfections" or diet. If we consider it a contributing factor to loss in production capability, we must also implement a strict dietary code, so we can eliminate all food products known to cause flatulence. Perhaps that's understood. Or do we establish a standard for how much gas one may pass in a given day, with monitors affixed to all to ensure nobody exceeds their limit? I guess we'd probably have to redesign all chairs. Man, all this sounds like it would constitute a "drain on society." There must be a cost/benefit formula.

I guess we also have to work on a formula to determine what constitutes a "drain on the public health system." But if everyone is physically "perfect," perhaps we need only worry about injuries from accidents, since sickness will be eliminated. Then again, can we eliminate all carelessness in people, which probably leads to the majority of accidents? There must be a "carelessness" gene.

A lust or desire for any big-breasted woman (or other interesting part(s) on women/men) that one sees distracts by taking physical and/or mental time for that lust and decreases the individual’s productivity. Also by slinging the seed into any garden, be it well maintained or over strewn with weeds and poor layout demeans the reason behind Eugenics, the production of superior mental and physical specimens. So the women’s mental abilities and general health far outweigh the curves and physical “over” endowments she might have.

One might also argue that lust is lust, whether it is for sexual gratification, a fine automobile, or a good pair of socks. From a decreased productivity viewpoint, that is. Not quite the same potential ramifications when the aftermath of satisfyting the lust is considered. Do we need to isolate a "lust" gene? Then again, so many people strive for productivity in order to achieve success, just so they can more easily acquire that for which they lust. Again, we need a cost/benefit analysis. Lost productivity due to lust v. increased productivity due to lust.

Also slinging the seed into every overdeveloped physical attribute that comes along also includes the risk of what may linger afterward. For instance, Sir Francis Galton and his wife never produced any heirs. A fallacy that he blamed on his indifference as to how many women he sowed his wild oats with in his youth and not caring what type of sexual leftovers from their past these women shared with him.

Yes, as far as the Eugenics argument goes, randomly sowing seed would not work. Then again, were one deemed to be superior in all other areas (or at least enough to satisfy the established formula), then the lust might be considered good. The superior breeder would need to have a solid drive (lust), and as long as similarly superior stock (with the necessary endowment) were identified, they could all sow to their little hearts' content. Perhaps establishing some sort of pleasure/breeding facility for such purposes would be in order. And how would homosexuality be viewed in this Eugenic Utopia?

The Don"


Inti
Posted 19 May 2008 at 01:11 pm

johannes said: "Alan: where did you get the stuff on IQ and Gaussian distribution? I believe it is a red herring, if not intentional :)

If you decrease the average intelligence, e.g. by letting the "imbecils" get some action, it would not decrease the "number" of geniuses..."

I do not agree with your statement. By increasing the frequency of mating in that part of the population at the left tail of the distribution, you will expect that the central tendency (e.g. arithmetic mean) will shift towards the left as well. Remember that we are talking about a generational shift of the mean attribute (i.e. intelligence). Hence, if intelligence is regarded as purely genetic effect, what you will expect is an increase in the frequency of alleles coding for low intelligence on the population, mainly due to higher levels of reproductive success in those individuals at the left tail of the distribution. This will be reflected in lower average levels of intelligence over the entire sampled population across the following generations.

About the change in dispersion (e.g. variance) of this particular phenotypic character (i.e. intelligence), that may be due to the effects of the environment which often increases variability, but may also have a homogenizing effect. Other possible means of reducing the dispersion of a character (as you said) may have to do with the dynamics of the generational transfer of alleles, such as if for example only a very narrow portion of the population is able to reproduce and pass their genetic information into further generations.


Reiv
Posted 19 May 2008 at 04:58 pm

Thank you for a damn interesting website.

There is an error in the Eugenics and You article: The man in photo of Robert Klark Graham is an actor portraying the late Graham in a recent production I believe to have been produced by the BBC. A rather poor quality photo of the actual Graham is at
http://eugenics.net/images/Marian%27s/gallery1/pages/graham.htm

The error is understandable; I just thought to point it out.

Reiv


Lt. Dan
Posted 19 May 2008 at 10:06 pm

Dr. Bivoc said: "Very interesting indeed. Many good threads. I agree that we do not know enough to know what we really need. People value intelligence, but we do not have a good definition of it, nor any reliable measure for it. It probably is not one trait but many. Probably initiative is a better trait to select for, but it shows even less correlation with genetics. Another trait mentioned here, happiness, is also unlikely to be genetic, and is it really better? There have been times in human history where happiness was looked down on, as undesirable.

Alpha Legionare has a good point that human breeding was done. I do not think the results were good. They seemed to want to produce Eloi and Morlocks. Initiative was one of the things selected against, as those with it tended to rebel. Some have reported that the US African Americans have lower initiative. I do not think that is true, but if so, what a terrible legacy.

Part of the problem is the traits we select for take too long to express themselves and our tastes change faster than we can breed them in. We just do not see the future needs well enough to predict what will be good for us. And I do not trust any organization to know and not be corrupted. The human condition seems to be geared toward corruption. Encouraging diversity (with its problems) seems to be a better solution. Even having differing strengths pop up in small populations would be good. Have one segment that is good at basketball and another that is good at theater seems better than trying to have everyone good at science, theater, ditch digging, etc. Then when we need a new set of traits, we might find a group that was already good at it somewhere that we had not appreciated yet. The last modern example of that was the very linear thinkers that it takes to do goos programing. I can remember that kind being ostracized, now they are "cool." If, in a hundred years, we need someone with particularly long and thin fingers, how could we know that today and start breeding for it?"

All true. This reminds me of perfect competition in economics...but more importantly it reminds me of the differences between a capitalist society and a communist society. Obviously, the benefits of a capitalist society outway that of a communist regime by a mile. In my comparison, this selective breeding...would be communism. I agree with diversity being one of our strongest, if not THE strongest, virtues we possess. I'd go as far to say that such decisions made by our government to this extent are startling in regards to not only where our heads are at...but the disgusting truth about how little faith we place in our creator/nature and how quick we are to inact such...atrocities...based on false "knowledge". How ironic that the deciders of our future IQ scores, based on this reading, appear so flamboyantly ignorant.

(which btw DI I had no idea about this, loved the hard cock innuendos)


Alan Bellows
Posted 20 May 2008 at 07:34 pm

Reiv said: "Thank you for a damn interesting website.

There is an error in the Eugenics and You article: The man in photo of Robert Klark Graham is an actor portraying the late Graham in a recent production I believe to have been produced by the BBC. A rather poor quality photo of the actual Graham is at

http://eugenics.net/images/Marian%27s/gallery1/pages/graham.htm

The error is understandable; I just thought to point it out.

Reiv"

D'oh! Thanks for bringing my incompetence to my attention. I'll fix it.


advocate_of_chaos
Posted 20 May 2008 at 11:14 pm

Do you think crime would increase, if the overall intelligence of the population were to be increased?
As stated in http://www.scribd.com/doc/8778/Why-Intelligent-People-Tend-To-Be-Unhappy posted by gin, a reasonably large number of criminals are rated as having above-average intelligence. The paper cites social exile as a main reason, but part of it would have to be simply that an 'intelligent' person would see more ways to exploit a given thing than an 'unintelligent' person - history is full of brilliant criminals, even if they disappointingly aren't the build-a-giant-laser-and-hold-the-world-for-ransom type : )
Its not unreasonable to say that the number of smart law-enforcers would increase too, but the ratio of smart cop:smart crim would remain roughly uniform, if intelligence was the only factor being governed... and since criminal tendencies aren't exactly genetic, one couldn't simple eliminate the 'crime gene' from the population through careful application of breeding.
Which raises my second point, can anyone imagine a scenario in which 'non-breeders' wouldn't resent 'breeders' intensely? No one appreciates being informed that they are less useful or important than others, particularly when they are told by people who say "I'm smarter than you"... If they did, governments would be a lot more efficient, because people would just pay their taxes and do what they're told, knowing a 'smart person' has already crunched the numbers, so to speak ; )

I''m typing this over a reasonably long period of time at work, so if I leapt onto a random tangent or something doesn't make sense, I apologize now : )


babu
Posted 21 May 2008 at 04:38 am

Zaphod2016 said: "
7. Are we sure that intelligence is the "goal" of natural selection? Is it not possible that intelligence is a failed mutation, which would explain not only its rarity, but perceived threat of extinction? ."

Indeed. Successful features, such as wings, have evolved independently again and again throughout earths history. Intelligence on a human level has evolved, well, once. Had intelligence been all that great we would have seen traces of it everywhere in the fossil records. And we don't. It's fair to assume it's a dead end.


sid
Posted 21 May 2008 at 09:29 am

"hundreds of pre-screened women made the pilgrimage to his fortress of fertility."

When was it determined that we should use the "pre" prefix so regularly, and, in my opinion, often incorrectly (or at least unneccessarily). In this particular context, it is unclear whether the use is correct (although the hyphen is unnecessary), as the process is not fully explained. If the women underwent a preliminary screening process before they showed up at the "fortress," then underwent another screening to weed out the undesirables, then I guess it would be appropriate. If, however, they were "pre-screened," then invited to get their supply, they were actually simply "screened." Even if they were "pre-screened," one could still just say they were "screened," even if they were later "screened" again.

In my opinion, the worst example of the unnecessary use of "pre" is in cooking directions. You don't "preheat" an oven. You heat it. A "preheated" oven is simply a cold oven.

I know dictionaries recognize such silly words as preheat, precut, and premix, but I just don't get why they should be accepted when the non-prefixed word says the same thing with three fewer letters.

I'm sure it has something to do with some people being too stupid to understand basic instructions, but it just bugs me.

Anyway, just got a little bored, so I thought I'd vent a little.


Nano_Burger
Posted 21 May 2008 at 10:38 am

Echoing some other thoughts here:

I think the primary failing of eugenics is that super intelligent humans do not really benefit society as much as we like to think. If the hyper intelligent improve society, MENSA should be running the world - right? I think that teams of people have a bigger impact than just a smart few. Without the army of regular scientist, engineers, politicians, English majors ditch diggers and the like, all of Einstein's great thinking would have added up to squat. Also, if everyone was an Einstein, nothing would get done. Group intelligence is not as sexy as an individual intelligence, but it has probably contributed more to society than intelligent elite.

Break.

Speaking of intelligence. There are geniuses around you every day in non-traditional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, spatial intelligence, bureaucratic intelligence, cultural intelligence - stuff that is hard to measure with standardized testing.

Break.

Unintelligent people have things to contribute as well. I've seen people who "know too much" about an issue miss the obvious solution that is easily observed by someone who is widely know as not too bright. You think it is the plot of a bad movie until you see it for yourself.

And that is all I have to say about that.


gcason
Posted 21 May 2008 at 06:15 pm

FunintheSun said:
It seems these parents have more children for the single purpose of collecting more money in benefits- free healthcare, free food, free housing, free cash with which to do whatever they please. Many get more free money for food in a month for bearing children than I can afford while working. I am cutting corners while they buy name brands. And if they need extra cash to fuel their habits (in general- doesn't have to mean drug abuse. Maybe they have a name-brand clothing habit…)? They bring friends to the store and use their own food debit card to purchase their friends' food in exchange for cash in hand.

I taught in an inner city public school for 6 years and my experiences confirm the above paragraph. Girls barely into their teens had multiple children. Babies were a profit center that added extra money to the monthly checks. I attended a parent conference with a 27 year old grandmother. Many families at my school were into their 5th and 6th generation of total welfare dependence and this was 20 years ago. While this wasn't typical, it was not rare. Incidentally, this behavior crossed all racial lines.

The cure seems elusive, but I think we can all agree there is a serious problem. We seem to have a permanent underclass.


Conservationist
Posted 21 May 2008 at 08:38 pm

General intelligence produces other forms. I haven't seen these "emotional intelligence" cases bring us anything but emo tv.
Geniuses don't make society better? You mean other than inventing all of our technology, art, literature, music and philosophy?
We have seven billion people on this planet, and only a handful are exceptional. We can lose most of them, who do nothing in particular of any interest (even as a team) and have a healthier species.
Darwin forever!


Ronald
Posted 21 May 2008 at 10:06 pm

Dude Forrest Gump had a hand in all the major events of the past 40 years and he was retarded!


Bleupea
Posted 22 May 2008 at 06:00 am

Ronald said: "Dude Forrest Gump had a hand in all the major events of the past 40 years and he was retarded!"

LOL!
That actually makes a good point. You don't have to be a genius to positively contribute to society.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 22 May 2008 at 06:50 am

Alot of us are confusing intellegence with productivity and smarts with contribution.
Would these brilliant minds been considered as such if their contributions not been highlighted in bold print. Doesnt the rich King get to be automatically smart too? Dont stupid politicians and other celebrities get degrees conferred upon them by the academic world for honorary purposes, meaning fame,prestige and gold? When your name is in lights your automatically smarter, taller, prettier/handsome, etc... For every person with their name in the history book that was of a "genius" quality their were, I'd guess, five or more that didnt get the fame. Do you really think Edison invented all that stuff all by himself, Gates did all that computer stuff all by himself? Most all these people had help and lots of it...granted they contributed, but a portion, not the total praise that they have been given, these were people with real motovations, flaws, underhandedness and competators in business...Someone mentioned Tesla earlier, brilliant but did not win the public or the electric race, but we will remember Edison alright. It is amazing how some of the most "gifted" of us act when competing and working toward goals; do we really want a world full of those types, let alone a room?? We also assume all intellegent people wil/did/do contribute... how narrow is that assumption??
So if we look at the corruption of Eugenics, it is a very well thought out, very well constucted plan on how to get laid by a hot chick at a coctail party if you happen to be a man of Science in the 1800's...because extrodinary intellegence is not completely heriditary, it is for the most part random and appears rarely, thus the term "gifted". Eugenics is an ego driven plan to be sure, with Scientists at the head of the political helm, a fanciful wet dream of the Darwinists dudes at best. :)


Kao_Valin
Posted 22 May 2008 at 03:21 pm

I wouldnt agree that intelligence is random. It is a combination of genes and environment. Random implies the lack of predictability. What you describe is a series of unknowns or simply unrecorded events which then cant be used to pin down a source or understanding of the resultant state of being.

Classic inventors that first come to mind had an addiction to their craft. Tesla and Einstein were both addicted to their work (if memory serves), and their personal relationships suffered as a result. Addiction when well directed is a powerful force. One 99.99% percentile person working 10 minutes a day has nothing on a 75% percentile working nonstop to the detriment of their lifestyle. Sometimes brute force gets the job done as well as tact and cunning. This is sort've proven by the sheer number of percieved morons and wastes of space.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 22 May 2008 at 06:55 pm

Kao_Valin
Obviously many different angles are approachable when considering the origins and development of Intelligence; as several of the writers have pointed out. The word random standing alone is different than for the most part random... I try not to write in absolute terms as there exists a margin of grey in almost every premise, try not to read in absolute terms :). The wide path of common sense I am walking on simply states that just because two people of a good intelligence (or one of intel. and one of beauty, as my 19th century fellows tried to establish; again, good try men!!!) get together to breed, doesnt mean the outcome will be a child with the same or better intelligence based on genetics. With graduate level Math skills, enough allowances in an equation and the correct vocabulary in an arguement; almost any model can be proven to have a degree of probality and pattern, a Mathmatical catch all of sorts. What I just described as plausible is not a pin point occurance probabilty (small study sample/range and low or no degrees of freedom/variance??) between a couple but for a population group of 7 billion people, the numbers suggest a pattern at that 7 billion grouping level but cant really make any concrete promises, an educated crap shoot of sorts; again, the beauty of Mathmatics and debate... (now this goes beyond my comfort zone because I really cant prove it, but I know Mathmatically, there is a potential for this model to exist :P ) I'd bet two morons living in squallor without 150 IQ, or any other rational for intelligence you prefer to use, between them have "about" the same chance as breeding a "genetic" genius as two heavy weights of the intellectual community when considering the pool is now up to about 7 billion... sorry, nurture not included. However, with nuture (Sorry, I realize I am killing an obvious point here), I agree that two intellegent people making; and then raising a child in an intelligent environment will increase that childs odds of becoming an intelligent child and developing both present and future potential, no question about it. Yes, absoultely nurture helps groom an individuals intelligence, as do present surroundings.
Again, what I wrote and what you read or perceived are different; because I wrote:
" because extrodinary intellegence is not completely heriditary, it is for the most part random and appears rarely, thus the term "gifted". Key words you may have glossed over would be not completely and most part... from the statement you posted, I am lead to believe you wanted it to read "because extraordinary intellegence is heriditary and random, appears rarely, thus the term "gifted"." Those are two different sentences and two very different meanings, I was careful not ot write the later because, as you have stated, in a consice manner which eludes my skills, is in fact incorrect. So, my advice would be, disagree with what you perceived and wanted to read and feel free to expand on any other points with which you feel warrant discussion:)
Thanks!


HiEv
Posted 24 May 2008 at 02:16 pm

wargammer2005 said: "Darwinism is simply not true.

read Darwin's Black Box by Mike Behe."


Sure, as soon as Behe reads some of the 50+ articles and 8 entire books (plus chapters from 3 other books) on how the immune system evolved, which he was shown during Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, rebutting this claim in that book:
"We can look high or we can look low in books or in journals, but the result is the same. The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system."
Simply put, the book lies. If you look high and low you'll find tons of answers to the question of the origin of the immune system. Behe just didn't bother looking.

Despite the fact that Behe admits he's read almost none of the literature on the topic, he still asserts the correctness of his statement. So someone with his head so firmly planted in the sand is the person you're depending on to disprove evolution? I'd say look elsewhere, but this is probably the best you'll find, as pathetic as that is.

I will say, Behe got one thing right. He said in his chapter "Publish or Perish" that if an idea is to be accepted, its proponents must publish evidence or the idea should perish. And since nobody in the creationism field has published evidence for their idea in respectable peer-reviewed science journals (creationism vanity presses do not count), I too agree that the idea of creationism should perish, at least until they get around to some decent publishing. (The phrase "hoisted by his own petard" comes to mind.)


jjmcwill
Posted 26 May 2008 at 02:12 am

This story strikes a nerve with me. The problem is, humans, I beleive, are far more important than vegetables and animals (yes, even chimpanzees). Eugenics may very well have successful results, but at what cost. It is my firm beleif that we (the human race) were created by a superior being (God) and endowed with a living soul. To tell someone they cannot love another, or procreate because they are genetically inferior, is to measure the wrong part of humanity. Our bodies, with all of there imperfections, are the least important part of what makes us human. Rather than trying to build a super race, we should focus more on how we treat our fellow neighbors whom we deem inferior. In doing this, we will truly discover the most important part of our humanity. The soul. We neglect this at our own peril. You yourself may one day be deemed inferior.


Anthropositor
Posted 26 May 2008 at 07:05 am

If there were a creator, I see scant evidence that it knew what it was doing. Nor do I see evidence that we know what we are doing either.

Oops, someone will take that to mean we are made in the creator's image, and we will be off on yet another quixotic quest for meaningful drivel.

As to eugenics, it too is a bankrupt theory. Just look at all the mistakes we have made with the breeding of our pedigreed pets and thoroughbred horses. With our best efforts, we have bred in more problems than we have bred out.

And now, I will end with a little joke, in the forlorn hope to foreclose ongoing prattle on this subject.

Good diction is the hallmark of good breeding. Therefore, speak distinctly while making love.


Andinov01
Posted 28 May 2008 at 02:55 pm

1. First time poster, long time reader. In fact of all the millions (possibly billions?) of web pages out there, the ones produced by Alan & Co are among my favourites! Keep up the good work gang.

2. Secondly I would like to also commend avolosin on his numerous replies in this article to the comments originally posted by FunintheSun, but unfortunately I'm going to have to be less kind to FunintheSun and his opinions. Frankly I'm amazed that someone of such obvious intelligence could hold such views.

3. I would like to propose a thought experiment and would be interested in her views if she is still reading. If we were to take one of these 'imbeciles' or 'leaches' you speak about at birth and place them in an environment that would provide all the 'morals, values, intelligence, and discipline' that was necessary to produce an upstanding citizen, do you still think it likely that the child would grow up and still contribute so little to society. Basically this is a question of nature and nurture. If you believe that the child would grow to be a negative influence on society, despite his good up bringing, then sterilization is possibly a solution. But If you think (as I do) it more likely that the child would grow to be a (relatively) more positive influence on society then it suggest that the environment an individual grows up in has far more influence than their own genes. Following on, if seems more logical that the introduction of reforms to change the environment our children grow up in the future will have a far more beneficial affect for than the suggestion of sterilization.

I hope I've presented my point clear enough and would be interested in other peoples' opinions

A


Anthropositor
Posted 30 May 2008 at 11:17 pm

From my perspective, it's a lot more complicated then nature vs nurture. When my two sons were born, I was in my late twenties. I had no consistent blue print from my childhood, but knew a variety of things not do in raising children. The boys were two years apart. I thought I applied similar methods to the raising of each of them. Yet they are remarkably different from each other in ways I would not have predicted. And they are both decidedly good at parenting. I think there is a lot of luck and circumstance in how an individual develops, a randomness that defies calculation or prediction.

How does one guide the child. No easy answers. Do you micromanage? do you instill relentless ambition and drive? Or serenity and contentment from within?

We also seem not to notice how profoundly our children change us. If I didn;t have children and grandchildren, perhaps the concern for the human condition and the environment would not have the same intensity. And what is the right role for government to play? And is public education nature or nurture or something else entirely? How many nations use public education as an opportunity for coditioning and indoctrination?


drmorrowjr
Posted 02 June 2008 at 08:55 pm

One of the first things I thought about after reading this article is the soul. Right now with all things equal when we are born nearly every single one of us could be anything we want, afterall we are more or less products of our enviroment. Now imagine if the world decided to do this. Of course we can't just breed ourselves to all be smart somebody has do the work. So if we were successful in breeding groups of people who really could only perform the functions of their genetics then would the soul or self be just a product of genetics.


Anthropositor
Posted 03 June 2008 at 12:28 pm

Many of us have children brighter than ourselves. Speaking for myself, I wanted my kids to be as bright as they could be. A lot of my efforts were bent in that direction. and looking at the results, I have no cause to grumble. Even so, every once in a while, I wish I had spent more time with things like feelings and empathy, the sense of family and a love that often eventually conquers all.

Those favoring eugenic genetic manipulation often mix in a big dollup of social conditioning as well, often with tragic results. Oh, we all do that to a certain extent, but those with eugenic ideas seem to have a certain additional degree of urgency, even force and a lot of subtler coercion.

Better to wish for a well integrated and adaptable personality and let the brilliancy come if it will. And we should also understand that unusual brilliancy in one area, often carries some downsides in the other parts.

What does soul mean? It is one of those mystery words, replete with religious baggage. But strip some of that away, and maybe we get some other interesting ideas. Is it what gives us the feeling, perhaps even the illusion of our own personal, irrevokable identity? But then what if we learn, not only can it be revoked, it will be, eventually, for all of us? We die. Most of us never really get outside of this paradigm even one time, during our entire lives. If we become religious, this was the central issue that brought it about. Rebelling against it may distract us for a while, but eventually we will take our last breath, have our last heartbeat, and our very identities will cease. NO! we may scream, but probably no one will be listening, including ourselves.

But if you have ever had a real brush with eternity, such as with a stroke or other near death experience, often much of this terror just seems to evaporate. Especially if you haven't formed too firmly, the concept of an eternal hell. A sense of ease and contentment overcomes you. Joy?

Or you get Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or dwell unduly on the eventual prospect of death, making the remainder of your days suitably miserable.


sunshowers
Posted 04 June 2008 at 06:11 am

Amazing how many first time posters this discussion has brought out! I figured I might as well make my debut as well, so here goes...

Hello all! Long time reader, first time poster. :) I have to say, I'm heartened by the caliber of intellect and civility that has been displayed throughout your responses to such a touchy topic. It gives me the warm-and-fuzzies! In my undergrad, I double-majored in Psychology and English Language. My areas of focus in these majors were Social/Behavioral Psychology and Rhetorical Theory, respectively. I've always prided myself on seeing the world in all shades instead of black-and-white. As a staunch supporter of Darwin's work, I often pondered what he would make of the "reverse-selection" (my own made up phrase, I'm glad to know the actual term for it now having read this article) now taking place in developed nations.

I'm buoyed to see that Darwin was not a supporter of eugenics. As many of you, I agree that some programs for genetic screening can be very beneficial, but participation must be voluntary - the line can't be drawn any farther than that, or we'll find ourselves at the brink of a steep slippery slope. Once we concede that it's okay for someone to tell us who should be allowed to breed, we are faced with choosing who to endow with this power. Even if it can be argued that the benefits to society would justify eugenics, the fact is anyone who is even close to having the moral integrity to hold such a position of power would not want it, and anyone who would want it should never be in such a position of power. It just can't happen!

Funinthesun, that's some heavy blame you're laying. What disturbs me is that your entire justification for involuntary sterilization rests on little more than the results of a broken social system. Systems can be overhauled, and as well they should be when they're not working as intended - suggesting that we should "overhaul" a human population in order to overcome a botched up bureaucracy is nothing short of backward and chillingly cold-hearted. Like sweetvioletsa and avolosin, I'm not sure your grasp of sociology is as sure as you profess. I mean, come on, even the writers of Batman Begins got it!

Besides, even if we were to keep those deemed unfit from breeding, it still wouldn't solve the problem of our intellectual elite NOT breeding. The pickle is that having children is becoming less and less of an attractive option to those who are educated and successful, because becoming educated and successful is no longer conducive to having a family. With educations running into people's late twenties and early thirties and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debts, by the time they're financially stable and ready to have a family, it's often almost too late. Not only that, but in many ultra-competitive spheres there's no place for someone who puts family first, so people are forced to make the tough decision between career and family. After working so long and so hard to have a successful career, it's tough to let that go. To complicate things further, it's getting harder and harder to raise a family on a single income, and educated women are now more reluctant to become financially dependent on their husbands.

This problem is evident in many highly developed nations - many countries now rely on immigration to maintain their populations, and even then they are desperately in need of unskilled labor. Like someone else noted, the world still needs ditch diggers (here in British Columbia, apparently we need berry pickers). So clearly, eugenics is not the answer to the problem, even if it weren't morally repugnant.

Okay, tired now... must sleep...


sid
Posted 04 June 2008 at 07:44 am

Well put, sunshowers. Nice "first!"


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 04 June 2008 at 10:26 am

Sunshowers, well written.

I will now ramble and babble a bit :)
Was Darwin greatful "Natural Selection" was not the complete part of human interaction?
It is amazing that people like Darwin who propose these theories could rarely live up to the criteria themselves. A good example of this is the WWII era German mentality of the "super race". Now tell me, honestly, how many of those people on the high command including Hitler would have passed the test... Hitler, please...if Hitler was a citizen, he'd been put in a camp. Georing wouldnt have made it into the door. Goebbels would have been given a piece of cheese and sent on his way. Rundstadt, intered in a museum. Ubermench??? spare me the arrogance.
The "Fathers" of Eugencis?? would they have been the ideal candidates? Remember boys and girls, well refined, educated, logically thought out bovine feculence is still feculence. Refer to Methods of modern University Academia...
Darwin would have been a snack by his own rules...
Thanks!


Anthropositor
Posted 08 June 2008 at 01:42 pm

The premise of the discussion on a different forum is that unusual intelligence tends to be fertile ground for almost inevitable unhappiness. Chronic unhappiness is not held in high esteem anywhere that I know of. It is held to be highly destructive, and in the extreme, it is. I don't understand why it is of so little interest for those who find eugenic manipulations acceptable and appropriate. It seems much more of a central issue to me.

I differ with the author of the two page essay in support of the position, a fellow named Bill Allin. And the other comments seemed to find his essay comforting, the notion that a surplus of intelligence carried some inevitable baggage of misery. So even though I did not agree I chose not to join the little group to disagree. But being, or having once been, a little to the right of the right margin on the Gaussian Curve, I am loathe to internalize the inevitability of chronic unhappiness.

The point was supported with a single isolated example, Hemingway. In one sense that's okay. since one good opposing example is enough to call Bill Allin's conclusion into question. It is a widespread belief, and it is a notion that damages the prospects of increasing the development of unusual intelligence.

Hemingway had a singular talent. He certainly broke new ground in writing. When we hold him to be a genius, it is because his writing caught our attention, it pleased us, resonated with something within us, something very important to us. But the vibrations are more and more muted as time goes on. Hemingway was a product of his times. By mid-century he was already becoming an anachronism. And he was too sure of himself to change. But times were changing explosively, and people were drawn to anyone who could supply a sense of coherence. A palpable certainty about the way things were. The style of thinking, the volatile social structure within which he lived, and with which he coped, was the crucible that made him what he was. The present time would be very alien to him. If anything, change and complexity has increased sharply since those turbulant times. And crisp, simple answers are harder to sustain.

Hemingway was not designed to be happy. He was not designed at all in that sense. He just became what he was in empirical fashion. Most of us do. But in that generation, there were some pretty serious challenges and people were pretty overwhelmed by it all. Nothing like the Spanish Revolution and the first World War had ever been seen before. Oh, the carnage of war was not new. But the scope of it was far greater than anything in history, and even for those distant from the battles, it was shatteringly real. No longer was World War One naively justified as the "war to end all wars." And the reality of it was brought home vividly as never before. Just as the war was ending, and the victors were plundering and humiliating the vanquished, an influenza pandemic swept the globe. The war had made it clear that politics by these other means had no real winners, and left us globally in such terrible shape as to set us up for the pandemic.

Hemingway exemplified an intense need for simple answers and a hope for an impossible return to simpler times. In essence he said, it is not about solving the problems besetting us. All we need is guts.

So at one and the same time, Hemingway was sensitive and empathic enough to brilliantly portray the dramatic turbulence of that world and those people, while exhibiting a toughness which was beyond normal human capacity. This was not a blueprint for happiness and contentment. It was a blueprint for intense turmoil, with peaks of triumph and elation, and chasms of despair.

I would not characterize Ernest Hemingway as a failure, as in, ... "four wives and an unknown number of failed romantic relationships." Only one measure of a relationship is its’ length. Even his suicide, which I personally have a certain tendency to disfavor, does not so much represent failure to me as much as, in this isolated case, … prudently leaving the field of battle before his thinking, style, and relevance were not just faded, distant memories, but forgotten.

Perish the thought that this was cowardice. It was not. Everyone presumes he was "clinically depressed" and therefore he committed suicide. I think it is more likely that he could not allow the ultimate anticlimax to his own story, of an eventual lingering, aging, decadent death, in a life known throughout for its’ adventure; a veritable dervish dance with death.

The Hemingway quote, "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know," was not a lament. Not a rueful admission of suffering from depression, today's epidemic disease. Not seeking ministrations from some "expert" medical consciousness-manipulator or a change in brain chemistry with the taking of some daily pills. No, it was just a statement reflecting his perspective, that of a man who could hunt wild game and the most dangerous drama with equal courage. Drama is unresolved conflict. If it is happy and serene, it is not drama.

And look at all the brilliant writers of the period whose muse and constant companion was distilled yeast pee. Considered by many to be an indispensable tool of the trade.

But Hemingway had an existential dilemma. Slow descent into further deterioration, and loss of the sharp edge of his prime. Few of us can avoid a certain sadness about that. But most of us are not "larger than life" in the sense that Hemingway was. And it wasn't only physical infirmity that troubled him. He could see it in his writing as well. It was becoming -- longer and slower paced.

No. What Hemingway did was more consistent with his life. I doubt he was jolly at the time. But he wasn’t depressed. The ending worked, except for the mystery of it. There had never been anything mysterious about Hemingway. But his end was fitting. It worked. And it had the energy and vigor of his prime prose. Stark, spare, Spartan.

Another compelling writer of the period was Somerset Maugham, who poses quite a contrast. Also deeply involved in the wars and espionage, the Depression and the European devastation, the pandemic. But his focus was different. Hemingway's key characters knew what they were doing, even in chaotic circumstances. They were decisive and direct. They knew what they needed to do, and did it.

With Maugham's central characters, there was at least some introspection, and maybe even an epic quest for meaning and wisdom. Hemingway's heroes thought they had the answers already, if they thought about such things at all. He and his characters were confident and assured. They did what they had to do because that was the way they were built. We all tried to internalize that image, at least for a while, to whatever extent we could.

No meditative odyssey, no quest for the ultimate answer. Hemingway men knew what reality was all about and knew what they had to do.

Maugham was drawn to the idea that there were universal answers, accessible to those earnest, wise, and diligent few who could make sense of life's lessons. Hemingway never thought to look for contentment. I doubt that such a hope ever lurked in his mind.

But it certainly did with Maugham. My point is this. Comparing the two writers, I would be hard put to tell which was the more intelligent. Certainly Maugham was more sophisticated, more intellectual. So why do I have the distinct impression that Maugham was essentially serene and in good spirits most of the time, and was perhaps the smarter of the two writers. I certainly never got the sense that he was driven by a struggle to fit into his own idealized notion of manhood.

Someone may notice that I am essentially mixing apples and oranges here. Mailer would have been a better example. Tumultuous, aggressive, mercurial, always taking the challenge of life head-on. And adapting. And continuing to struggle. Even old, crippled enough to need a cane, he lived in a fourth floor walk-up apartment. He was a man who would ultimately let time catch him, as we all must. But he never let the future pass him up. And I think he was happy a good part of the time.


denki
Posted 11 June 2008 at 09:36 pm

DI as always, but before this is archived it might due to have a little more editing:

"In 1980, millionaire inventor Robert Klark Graham took a similar positive eugenics approach when he established...
For nineteen years he courted the semen of Nobel Prize laureates...

Graham died in 1997, aged 90..."

I wonder how well he did seeking samples two years after his death (founded in 1980, died in 1997, but "courted semen" for 19 years)- would you give your semen to a zombie who wanted to make superbabies?

I would, as long as it wasn't so that he could then eat the superbabies brains.


Skydive
Posted 13 June 2008 at 09:20 am

I disagree with people that say or believe procreation is a basic human right / God given right .... it's not and it's wrong to think so. It's a RESPONSIBILITY.


Anthropositor
Posted 17 June 2008 at 01:55 pm

Almost a month has gone by since this article, with more than a gross and a dozen responses (I guess that would be a baker's gross).

Many of these, at least a baker's dozen, have been worthwhile, productive, thought provoking and insightful, without inciting anywhere near the level of strife that one might expect from such a divisive subject. This is a very happy thing.

So, although there is perhaps another baker's dozen I could take some issue with, I am not so inclined.

But there is something conspicuously missing from most of the comments, which I believe may be pretty central to the issue. Plenty has been said about basic human rights, responsibilities, and so on, but almost nothing about compulsions and drives.

I deliberately did not use the word instincts, though it was the first word that came to mind. We don't even like to think of ourselves as having instincts. It is a word that we generally apply only to the "lesser" creatures. In not using it, we further support the destructive delusions, that we are near the ultimate apex of evolution, and because of that, we have certain inalienable "entitlements" or rights.

99.9% of all species of life which ever existed on Earth are extinct. There is some convincing evidence that humanity had a "bottleneck" event that reduced our numbers to a very small number, perhaps as few as a hundred. And of course, in 1962, we very narrowly averted cataclysm, an Earth Smashing, largely because of our mass insanity, expressed through our politicians and military. This insanity was largely fed by instincts, and starved of coherent thought.

There is not really a lot of thought in instinct, even though there is substantial instinct in "thought."

But when most of us procreate, we are not consciously breeding. And we are not thinking either. We are feeling. And we want that feeling to be INTENSE! No narcotic comes close to this sensation when it really works out, and no kind of dope will do much but distract us a bit when it doesn't. And even when we have a bad experience, if it is short of seriously traumatic, we are generally, perhaps even compulsively, ready to give it another go in a fairly short time.

Our very lives can be at stake, as with STD's. Some of us will protect ourselves, others will refuse to do so, even with their very lives in the balance. There is no sense to that, unless one looks a lot deeper.

That deeper element is also something that has not been touched on here. It is because, as a convention (which has become a reality), we have lumped two instincts together, tricking ourselves into thinking they are one.


perakee
Posted 18 June 2008 at 08:56 pm

I came upon this site by accident and I must say it is damned interesting. Several well written articles trapped my attention and made for a very fine read.

Normally I would peruse and move on, but this particular page moved me in ways even I may not fully comprehend. There are many intelligent postings pertaining to hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.

But I can't help but wonder if we are not, however inadvertently, committing eugenics when we deliberately and maliciously refuse to act to stop the starvation of upwards of 25,000 people a day, most of them children? Are we not saying, in effect, "If you are too damned stupid to feed yourselves and your families, then you are just too damned stupid to live!"?


Anthropositor
Posted 20 June 2008 at 10:45 am

Yes we are. It is a pretty accurate assessment too. It also applies to us though. Who foresaw the recent and ongoing floods, and droughts, and wildfires, not to mention very high numbers of tornadoes this year.

Crop yields will be off sharply in a great many unexpected places. Add to this, the fuel crisis with the attendant sharp rise in food cost, and the crash in the housing/banking sector. All of these things play a part. People start starving and being malnourished long before the famine. And in many places, famine is an instrument of genocidal policy.

The costs of medical services and pharmaceuticals continue to rise far faster than the general cost of living. In spite of that, our faith is with the system, and the judgment of certified experts who often think they know more than they do. Actually, if we can't develop some self-reliance, or are incapable of sorting out technicalities in esoteric phraseology, and we have no insurance, we may well be on our own, as in "just too damned stupid to live."


ao
Posted 22 June 2008 at 02:23 pm

spam removed


Fellonmyhead
Posted 26 June 2008 at 06:40 am

"Consequently, even a small decline in average IQ causes a sharp reduction in the number of geniuses. For instance, if the average intelligence of a community were to decline by five IQ points, the number of individuals in the 130+ "Gifted" category would drop by 56%. A ten-point decline would result in an 83% drop. Although IQ testing is far from perfect, it is clear that even modest erosion of average IQ could severely compromise the long-term progress of a society."

This seems to be getting cause and effect mixed up. The Gaussian distribution is a result of the spread of different IQ levels; this is not necessarily a fixed distribution. The number of geniuses does not decline because the average does, it's the other way around. In fact, if the number of "imbeciles" increased in relation to geniuses then the average would drop.


maskinn
Posted 01 July 2008 at 05:03 pm

It's my first comment.
This subject of eugenics and intelligence was treated brilliantly by Stephen Jay Gould in "The Mismeasure of Man" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mismeasure_of_Man). Where the author outlines the motivations of such theories in our modern societies.
And in a funny manner in the infamous movie "Idiocracy" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/usercomments?start=30).
An intelligent society educates its people instead of labeling them on their IQ testing.


Anthropositor
Posted 02 July 2008 at 08:32 am

As soon as I come across an intelligent society, I will try to figure out how they did it. I joined Mensa in the early 1980's partly to see what made them tick. Near as I could tell, just looking for a few years, they weren't doing much ticking. I don't remember a single worthwhile collaboration from that time period. As a matter of fact, I do not remember a single worthwhile catalytic conversation.

Although I went to a variety of banquets and other events, I remember none of the people at all. Just the food. Seems like, in that few years, I would have run across one or two paradigm-shifters, particularly since I was actively seeking them out.


Busta Raymes
Posted 03 July 2008 at 09:31 am

I agree with you there, Anthropositor. I've been with Mensa (Holland) for quite some time now, and all they do is 'be together', like some occult group or something. They discuss just like 'regular' people and at some point I realised there were very little who were actually willing to change an opinion. At that point it's only arguing and disagreeing.

The fact of being recognized is all there is to it.

But does the world need this? I must say: I don't know. sur, there will be certain benefits. But if, at some point, all people are (approximately) equally smart, who will be the world leaders? And to go further; how can you get a country to follow you if they all have their very own opinion? I foresee great problems, but then again: there is no way you can make people want something like this and it will take centuries before the Third World will actually be able to do this. Last but not least, all forms of believers won't be too happy with this. I don't believe in God myself, but I expect this large and powerful group can make a substancial stand.


Anthropositor
Posted 03 July 2008 at 10:04 pm

...Hey Busta,
Perhaps if they added another section to the battery of tests, dealing with innovation and discovery. The measurement of the ability/inclination to solve across diverse disciplines. Maybe adaptability has something to do with it, or the capacity to sometimes bite off more than you can chew.


ramedia
Posted 06 July 2008 at 04:06 pm

"With the apparent vindication of these myopic eugenics laws, sterilization procedures were ordered by the thousands. Carrie Buck and her daughter Vivian were among them."

Vivian was not sterilized, she died at the age of 8. Carrie's sister Doris was sterilized. Doris wasn't told she was sterilized (the performed it while she was undergoing another operation,) she and her husband had tried to have kids and never could, she only learned the truth as an old woman in 1980.


Anthropositor
Posted 07 August 2008 at 08:48 am

Everything changes. I just heard from someone wo just took the Mensa test last week. Much, much shorter test than they had in the early eighties. And they apparently no longer divulge the test results to the tested individual. Good grief. That's the only good reason to take the test. I didn't ask what the cost of it is these days. I believe mine was $75 and the annual dues were something like $25 or $30. I don't even know if I renewed after the first year. I think all I did was go to three or four brunches and banquets, certainly no more than a half dozen. It was right before I began to solidify the mechanics of prevention of respiratory viruses that has worked out so well.

But this guy is pretty standout, as eggheads go. I could have told him his IQ was probably divisible by 50 with an odd whole number answer, and maybe something to the right of the decimal point.


Anthropositor
Posted 21 August 2008 at 04:53 pm

All this interest in somehow quantifying the ephemeral essence of the mind. What a fog we are in.
Everybody is interested in the numbers, and the curves and if this median value were reduced and so on. I too, transiently toy with these notions. But it really draws attention away from other qualities that count far more.

John Nash, Nobel Laureate, and just a shade 'round the bend, saw patterns that would never be apparent to me. He paid dearly.

What I often see are the mistakes or oddities, the anachronisms, or just sometimes things jarringly out of place, even when I am not conversant with the subject. I'm not searching for them. Often I'm not even paying attention. They just seem to jump out at me from nowhere. The movies will provide an example or two.

Before my encroaching blindness, I happened to see a fine movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou," based substantially on Homer's great epic adventure of Ulysses. Who knows? Maybe a little Virgil slipped in there too. But now it is set in the deep and enduring Depression of the southern United States. A time of great adventure and tragedy. A time when eugenics and other forms of badly disguised hatreds were really growing like crabgrass.

But in this particular confection of a movie, there was never a pinch of despair, let alone the heaping cup put into The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck.

I remember having a bit of reverie about Shaw and Twain in each of their depictions of Joan of Arc, and how their sharp contrasts in style and content spoke volumes of the authors and their times. I know not how these thoughts came at that time.

And the translations into the movies! How breathtaking, each for entirely different reasons. The Joans. Would anyone ever keep up with these Joans? Perhaps, but it certainly seems improbable while I am watching either one of them. Since these two black and white movies, I have perhaps seen half a dozen sumptuous productions with lavish sets, vivid color, and in several languages. But never has Widmark's Dauphin been surpassed.

I love it when I don't quite pay attention, when my mind wanders in six or eight different directions, but none of it is strenuous, like a dream, sometimes sensibly illogical.

Now we have our three boys in the movie -- no criminals here. No vicious desperadoes. No ghastly gangsters. Just Preening Pup with a great pelt of pride and counterfeit perspicacity, and his associates Pack Dog and Goofy.

They have just opportunistically absconded with someone's idling auto, care free as gamboling jackals. No pressing goals. No gut wrenching hunger. Just living, sniffing, scratching, being the beings they be.

Suddenly one detects the faintest musical scent wafting in the breeze. A scream of a bark bursts from him. The nominal leader of the pack stops the car, Pack Dog bursts into the woods, with the other two bringing up the rear, fully trusting Pack Dog's instincts, with no thought of why.

I too, in the darkness, in that theater of like-mindlessness am no longer in idle reverie. My attention is riveted on the Sirens. I am totally had. My main brain, in it's separate head, has taken full command. My eyes are glazed with the approaching blazing beauty.

Then suddenly, that earthen jug of moonshine, with it's little xxx's, erasing the universal XXX permeating the entire substance of my being, shattered the dream, like a clattering alarm with it's scintillating shards of reality, like Mom yelling the Hell to pay if breakfast gets cold in my slumber.

Angrily, I silently stormed to breakfast, deliberately obliterating the rest of the dream, refusing then to take it in little pieces. I said quietly to Mom, behind the counter,
"A tub please."
"YaWantButter?"
"Yes. Please slime it lightly with the lubricant."
"What?"
"Some butter will be fine."
I sat in the lobby, reading a book. Gum popping, teen-aged Mom, nothing to do, was uncharacteristically curious.
"Not going to watch the movie?"
"Next showing. Missed a scene."
"No shit?" she blurted without thinking, then looked worried. I put her at her ease,
"Yes shit. Some shit with little x's made me miss a scene."
It now dawned on her, I was perhaps more than a little weird. It dawned on me too.
"Look. The movie is a work of art. One scene has a defect. I have to prepare not to notice it. Sort of like restoring a great masterpiece." I searched for a way to put it in language she would apprehend. "Pretend some idiot flicked some snot on your Marilyn Monroe Calendar. It would no longer be a work of art would it? You would have to carefully fix it before you could once again fully appreciate it."
"What's a Marilyn Monroe Calendar?"
"Sort of like a Madonna Poster, only better."
Now she knew I was nuts. I read. Half a book later, I saw the scene intact, snot carefully ignored. What a dream! And the jug would have worked with only a glimmer of it in shot five of the scene, in some weeds by the bank of the river.

But how incredible! The pairing of the Sirens with our young dogs, each a dead match. And the culminating illusion!

I have asked several people how many kisses were in the end of that scene. No one I have asked ever got the right answer. There were no kisses. None. And that is as it should be. A kiss would have brought some sense of resolution, some tangible satisfaction. That is not what the Sirens were about.

True beauty is in our minds, and can't be erased if we don't let it. Trachtenberg invented a wonderful math for children amid the horrors of a death camp. It was his refuge. His salvation.

Within every hag or doddering homeless bum still resides the soul of a child. All the beauty that ever was is still there, right below the graffitti of age. Fight the dying of that light! If you don't the young will kill you a little at a time. Because you are so ready to go along with it. Let us not be lemmings. Even old life is a great gift. And as for the young, as someone said a couple thousand years ago, Cut them some slack! They are clueless.


Em See Bee
Posted 23 August 2008 at 10:09 pm

So where is this slack of which you speak, Anthro? It seems to me that you cut very little slack to your egghead young, lemming and clueless though he may be. You are so focused on your own sirens, your own scenes, your own jugs, and so sophisticated in your analysis, yet you can't acknowledge the battles, the sirens, the intoxicating problems others are facing...


Anthropositor
Posted 23 August 2008 at 11:50 pm

There is a difference in four years of moral lapses continuosly repeating variations on a theme, and the appreciation of a movie scene well done. And certainly there is no turpitude in the enjoyment and appreciation of the consummate skill that went into the production of that movie.

Still, you do see trends in people, especially with a student who you have been training for years, of the the basic direction they are moving. Four years is a long time to expend on someone who didn't work out as well as might have been, or even get close in some important ways. But one can only make so many excuses for youthful indiscretions. And twenty two is not childhood. Helping young people who appear to really intrinsically grow in breadth and scope is a rewarding endeavor. I resisted this rather -- final -- approach for a long time. A couple years. It's a hard call.

I also have a responsibility to the rest of the class, who are, by and large, virtually all making progress or excellent progress.. They too are coping with all the travails of youth
And, even to myself to some extent. I guess one might call it a kind of anger management. Blood pressure comtrol. Pacing. Sometimes what you can't do now, might be doable when you get some other things squared away, and the dust settles. Hard to smile warmly while gritting the teeth. Time for a little reflection and keeping focus on the other things in which so much is not at stake. In chess or life, there are times when you must lose a tempo. It is sometimes very important to know when this needs to be done...


Em See Bee
Posted 24 August 2008 at 12:42 am

Are you aware that you are speaking to your son, not your student? mcb


Anthropositor
Posted 24 August 2008 at 08:25 am

Yes, of course. And I spoke.


Em See Bee
Posted 24 August 2008 at 09:26 am

You are a shockingly awful father. You know, if your primary method of dealing with people is to cut them out of your life, you will end up alone. When you dismiss me from your life, you also dismiss two grandsons, one which you claim to hold a special bond with. I've done nothing wrong. The most you can accuse me of is NOT doing something for you. You know what? Fuck you, you miserable man. No one will dictate to me what help I will offer.


Em See Bee
Posted 24 August 2008 at 09:44 am

The math doesn't add up. I am not immoral. I am not in training. I'm not twenty two. I'm not even looking for help, more than the mutual help of counsel among men. I can't make sense of you. Ah, where is my father? This bitter return to an anger, I recognise. It is the man I left home to avoid. Your problem is you grit your teeth too much, grin too damn little. You're an abuser, and you are abusing. As painful as it is, if this is how you are going to be, it is best that I am excluded from your life. Just remember that it is you that hung up the phone; it's you that won't return calls; it is you that is failing in familial piety. Moral turpetude, indeed!


Em See Bee
Posted 24 August 2008 at 09:59 am

Hey, don't forget to make a print out of this page, so you've got it to savor and to quote. Always good to use a person's own words to envenomate your dagger. Oh, I don't need to tell you!


muggz
Posted 24 August 2008 at 03:53 pm

Em See Bee and Anthropositor

You both go too far. Neither one of you wants to be this angry. Both of you are proud men for good reason. Em See Bee, you are an incredibly intelligent, moral man in no small part because of the lessons that you have learned from Anthropositor. Anthropositor, one of the great successes of your life is the man that Em See Bee is. Both of you have closed your hearts to one another in favor of justifying your rage, and it is a lose-lose proposition.

Anthro, Em doesn't like your wife. You don't get to have any say in that regardless of how angry that makes you. You need to decide if it is something you can live with or not. It seems to me that you have lived with it just fine until Em disappointed you in another arena. To trot out that he doesn't like your wife at this juncture is disingenuous. It isn't why you are angry. And, incidentally, I love your wife enough for two sons so stop sweating what you are not allowed to control.

Em, you can't talk to your father from a position of authority. Our parents are our parents, and you poison the water if you do not show respect. The whole relationship becomes meaningless when the lines of communication do not hold to societal norms. Imagine that you talked to your wife like she was your drinking buddy every time you saw a hot young thing walk by. Your marriage would disintegrate. You need to decide if you can talk to your father like he's your father.

Both of you love one another, and both of you are lesser men when your relationship is thrown to the wayside. Anthro, Em did not help you when you needed help. He doesn't have to, and you can't be angry at him for not helping you. Em, you need to figure out a way to tell your father "no," as a son.

I hope that I have not offended either of you with this, that is not my intention. This is an argument that can end with some give on both sides. Or it can fester and explode and affect a whole lot more people that just the two of you. Man up and fix this. Please.


Em See Bee
Posted 24 August 2008 at 06:16 pm

I couldn't possibly agree more.


Em See Bee
Posted 24 August 2008 at 06:54 pm

I love the man, I just can't get past the rage to approach him.


Anthropositor
Posted 24 August 2008 at 09:06 pm

Your last phone message to me that I listened to, was oddly cheerful in tone and demeanor, as if you were somehow having a good time. It was so completely incongruous under the circumstances, I hardly knew what to say. I remained silent.

It is also incongruous that you sought me out in this venue, never having shown an interest in my writings, here or elsewhere. Will I see separate diatribes on Skin Cell Forum? Or on my blog? Not likely on the Forum. They have some pretty skittish moderaters. Hell, once they locked a thread in the Rant and Rave section, which is labeled as a gripe relief zone.

My behavior has been considerably more congruent by comparison. I read a great amount of your blog, and aside from your knee-jerk tendency to censor with little provocation, something I never do, I found it interesting and sometimes informative. As to abusive, you have no conception what abuse is. Elaborate if you wish. I'll take your best shot.

At least now it appears you are actually getting in touch with your feelings. A good start. I have disowned no one in this exchange, and I daresay, I wait for considerably more provocation than you do before someone of importance is permanently shunned. I suspect that your irrevocable unforgiven list is considerably longer than mine. Shall I elaborate?

There shall be no savoring of this unguent de mountebank, and I need not smear it on my blade either, which incidentally has remained in its' sheath during this exchange.

Shall I point out that I was not your custodial parent? Not for lack of trying. Shall I point out that you were the single impediment? Shall I point out that it was you who wrote me a letter saying you wished I was dead when you were seventeen? Even now, your stiff-necked ill-will is only thinly buried under a veneer of passive agressiveness. Is it just me? I think not.

Exactly how long shall I be responsible for your behavior? You are forty. Not a callow youth.

Trust, once totally gone, is hard to get back. Did I not contact you a considerable number of times during a crisis without response? Did I bring your various crises on you? I think not. And for years I have answered the call, doing my best to sort what could be done. No martyrdom here, just fatherhood.

And was I there for you in your last intractable difficulty? I was, and glad of it.

Get a grip son. The Midas touch holds great power but no comfort. Pace yourself! Measure your moves with care. This is your father speaking. I shall never be your son.

Make your next move with less volatility and greater care. It could be the linchpin for the remainder of this game. Let your clock run. Do whatever it was that you needed to do when you ignored my calls for such a length of time. No scorched earth here. A measured, temperered response.

Now study the board. You can make a better move than your last. I know you can.

Em See Bee said: " I've done nothing wrong. The most you can accuse me of is NOT doing something for you. You know what? Fuck you, you miserable man. No one will dictate to me what help I will offer."

There is the truth of it. This is, unfortunately the most indelibly memorable thing you have ever said. It speaks volumes for all time to come. And yet I stay my temper. That is anger management.

And the help I was looking for? Although it was not that complex or time consumming, perhaps, as it turns out, you were not up to the task. I really wouldn't have guessed.

But now is a time for beginning to mend the damage of war. I am reminded that only win/win really works. All else is sham. in that spirit, except this olive branch I found in the road. Pay no notice that a tank seems to have run over it. It is a true olive branch, leafless or not. I extend it with the sincere and humble wish for this matter to be relegated to the land of nevermore. May Peace be upon us all.


Em See Bee
Posted 28 August 2008 at 03:22 pm

Anthropositor,

I'm sorry that I've posted caustic things to you here. It came from pain and my sense of betrayal and loss. Previously I developed a belief, possibly unjustified, that you loved me and held me in high esteem, and that the described feeling was separate from any services we might offer one another, enduring. I held you in very high esteem and love, and still do, though on technical matters your stock has slipped. So has mine.

The real shock is that you appear to despise me. You've kept all old grudges. I didn't know that. When I think of us, I think of our campaign together in Nebraska, not of Riverside, 1985.

I won't address your letter point by point. I'm going to try to resist the temptation to write any further at all. My door's always open; you have my phone number. I will try not to rely on your love again. If we speak again, and I hope we do, that should help keep peace. mcb


Correct me if I'm wrong, but:
Posted 24 October 2008 at 05:37 am

ffhard said: "I have to say I agree with most (not all) of what Funinthesun has to say. I assume most posters on here are from the USA and I cant really speak for what problems you may, or may not, have. But, in the UK we are seeing more and more violent crime and just generally threatening behaviour on our streets. I promise you that in virtually every case the offender comes from a "family" where there is no male parent and his or her siblings have been fathered by multiple partners. Generally the family is supported solely by benefits and the proceeds of crime.
In general I do not support the view that you can improve a population's intelligence by selective sterilisation, and I certainly dont think that potential mothers should be employed to look after other peoples children. BUT, why should mothers who are obviously never going to produce worthwhile (note:- worthwhile, not necessarily super-intelligent!) offspring be allowed to continue when they cant even support themselves? To put it more bluntly why should I pay taxes to allow people to produce children who will, eventually and inevitably, prey on me?"

Understandable objection. However to not allow these people to reproduce by assuming they will be terrible mothers, is basically convicting the child without a jury, without proof of any crime. This happens surprisingly, (and disturbingly in my opinion) often in our society. Just because many children don't turn out well does not mean all of them won't, and everyone should be given a chance to succeed, not branded failure before they are even concieved. This brings to mind a question i once heard (it may have already been quoted on this website, but i'm not going to read all the comments. At any right I'm sure many of you have heard this question before) If you knew a woman who had given birth to 8 kids already, 3 were deaf, 2 were blind, 1 was mentally retarded, only 2 children had survived beyond their first years of life and the woman herself had been married before and had syphilis, would you sterilize her so she couldn't give birth to anymore burdens on society?

If you said yes then you just prevented Beethovan being born. You never know where genius can spring up from.


Anthropositor
Posted 13 November 2008 at 07:19 am

I would also have some concern for average, or even singularly bright parents who by chance have some kids of unusual smarts. Sibling stuff. Mood stuff. Autonomy stuff. Volatility stuff.

Where geniuses probably fall most particularly short in their talents is in these human dynamics. Whether the genius is a parent or a child, he often feels misunderstood and isolated, often feeling misanthropic or alienated as a result. This does not make for the most ideal relationships, particularly when there are two or more geniuses in the same family.


Anthropositor
Posted 29 November 2008 at 05:50 pm

If we look at the genius protagonist in the popular medical melodrama House, M.D., clearly the character is brilliant, observant, instinctive, and a manipulative "sociopath". It is also clear that he has many deficits in his emotional make-up,but still manages to be an appealing character. Funny what we are drawn to.. Although I haven't seen any episodes that gave any insight into his childhood, I doubt that his real troubles began with his leg injury and his addiction to pain killers.

Seems to me that, just as there are some people woth an extra bunch of taste buds, some have an excess of other sensory receivers. That may have something to do with the tendency to just shut some of them off. Not just the pain in the leg.

But the whole sociopath thing, that's pretty much in the eye of the beholder. Even though he often makes a great many mistakes, always with a logical rationale. often injuring and occasionally killing the patient. On the surface, he seems pretty able to adjust to it all... with the pills.

"All right you kids, House is over, time for bed."


bizso
Posted 08 February 2009 at 03:01 am

Hi, I'm from Europe, not UK.

why should mothers who are obviously never going to produce worthwhile (note:- worthwhile, not necessarily super-intelligent!) offspring

According to behavioural psychology, a child's future life is considerbly shaped by the enviroment he is brought up in. Thus, you can't presume that his fate is entirely predetermined by his genes. He might even accomplish great things provided that he receives the right inputs throughout his life.
Bottom line is this subject is far from black and white. DNA as well as society have much influence on one's life. It's not 100% this or 100% that...
great site, btw!


bizso
Posted 08 February 2009 at 03:09 am

#186-187
Is this for real?


Mr Studworthy
Posted 05 April 2009 at 04:33 am

Brilliant article. I recently read an article from England that discussed the phenomenon of the 'unemployed coal miners'. These are families from Manchester and other areas that live on welfare (dole) as they are unemployed coal miners. Thing is it was actually their great grandfathers who lost their jobs when the unions went on strike at the turn of the century. Their sons never worked but 'signed on' for the dole, and every generation since, all stating that they are unemployed coal miners. Perhaps cut of their welfare rather than their jewels may be an answer to this. Either way it does smack of regression / de-evolution. As politically incorrect as it may be, there is probably some truth to the propositions put forward by the pundits of eugenics. FWIW


Mirage_GSM
Posted 19 May 2009 at 08:42 am

One major problem with "positive" eugenics can be summed up in a simple question: What makes one "better" than another, and who decides that?

Several people have used these phrases correctly in their comments, but I believe nobody has yet explained them.
"Positive" and "negative" eugenics has nothing to do with an evaluation of moral standards or one being better than the other.
Posivitve eugenics simply means encouraging the reproduction of people with desirable traits, while negative eugenics is discouraging the reproduction of people with undesirable traits.

…just like the Irish were bred to hold their liquor!

That’s not genetics – just lifelong training ;-)


Sicklet
Posted 01 July 2009 at 02:34 pm

I stick to the phrase "nobody's perfect." We bump into big issues when we try to purebreed dogs. When we keep breeding for specific traits, like good hips, we end up bringing out unwanted ones, like tendency to bloat. When we breed for a good build build we get a cruddy personality. What makes us think we're going to do better on ourselves? We're going to have ultra hot idiots and very sickly geniuses.. wait. Never mind.

Anyways have pleeenty of orphans, hobos, and traffic jams as it is with everyone from the age of 10 to 50 popping out babies and deciding it was a bad plan after the fact. Eugenics is kind of silly to worry about when overpopulation is much more glaring.

Awesome article.


ronin
Posted 19 August 2009 at 04:05 am

In all the centuries since humans have been breeding canines from wolves have we once created an overall life form superior in all aspects to said wolf? No, but we have created specialized life forms that fit into unique sub sections, and artificial classifications. Therefore selectively breeding human beings will create sub humans who will be subservient to the "superior" humans. Let nature take its course imbeciles! A researcher trying to find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy came across a startling revelation. Human beings have a genetic deficiency compared to our ape cousins in growing jaw muscles. Why is this important? Because it was the catalyst to support brain growth. The skull is genetic prime real-estate. You either invest in jaw muscle, or have a weaker jaw, but a larger expansion for brain capacity. We start messing with human genetics or think we know better as regards to selective breeding what are we going to miss out on or plain discount as an "undesirable" trait. In conclusion eugenicist talk is self destructive no matter how you look at it.


Cloudflare7
Posted 29 April 2010 at 01:12 am

I'm torn... On the one hand, I recognize that this we ARE undoubtedly interrupting natural selection in the worst way, e.g. diabetics. On the other, I'm wary of assuming our judgement is best in this situation. Think modern dog breeds; many have respiratory, cardiovascular and other problems due entirely to our bad genetic selection. What we think is "cute" may not be useful, or may inadvertently be harmful. Also, my mother was paranoid-schizophrenic.... I might be mildy crazy, but I'm more useful than most. It may be the narcissist in me, but I tend to think most if not all of our greatest minds were at best "eccentric" and at worst insane.


johnbo
Posted 04 June 2011 at 01:00 am

"...there was never quite enough sperm on hand, and the founder was forced to spend much of his time seeking brilliant men to come to his aid."

It seems almost sinful, writing such a clever and ribald pun.


GreenGestalt
Posted 01 December 2011 at 11:19 pm

Way I see it we need eugenics. Yes, in the past it was used to justify crude racism and class-ism, and the genocides waged in its name frightening. But, man faces that the Inferior do produce more than the superior and as civilization protects them from both weakness of body and weakness of mind their weaknesses will be passed on from one generation to the next till man himself is weakened.

You've pointed out at the end of this article how even JEWISH groups now try to do this, themselves both the most victim of "Eugenics" and due to a long period of the same culture most in need of it. Of course since it's such a hot button issue (especially to them) they fight hardest against it.

I think Genetic Engineering could be the solution. That way the "Inferiors" could be eliminated with a simple shot, so say vision problems caused by genetics corrected, etc. That way we'd have the results of a long genetic purge but without anyone being "Hitler". Also, we'd not need to be all blonde eyed aryans either, matter of fact look at the guys body modding to look like snakes and tigers...we'd have "Voluntary Chimeras" running around.


TheStink
Posted 03 February 2012 at 12:02 am

Robert Klark Graham's Repository for Germinal Choice reminded me of the story 'My Uncle Oswald' which was published by Roald Dahl in 1979. Dahl explores the subject in a comedic light and is more focused on the business of setting up and managing such a scheme rather than the exploration of its effects. Not a bad book though... Defiantly an interesting topic and a very enjoyable article.


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