Jump to content

Eugenics


Eugenics
 Share

Recommended Posts

I read once (and I'm not wasting time looking up a reference) that the best single predictor of a child's IQ is the IQ of the person who they call mother.

This is also true of adopted children.

It seems the effect is, at least, largely environmental.

Who cares?

What's so bloody marvellous about IQ?

In general in this world, taller people do better.

It therefore makes as much sense to select for tall people as it does for people with high IQs.

However, we generally already know that very tall people suffer from health problems related to their height- bad backs being the most obvious.

 

The problem, with eugenics is that you end up with one trait, at the expense of others, and often to a degree that is itself, unhelpful.

 

The OP has yet to explain his weird opinion that we would magically regain lost genetic diversity (it has taken us many generations to acquire it by mutation and it would take just as long to replace)

 

He has also failed to answer the simple practical question of who would empty the bins.

I work in a large laboratory- I accept that it wouldn't work without the bright people. However, if the cleaners went on strike we would be in a lot more trouble than if the senior managers did.

Which group do we really need?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With Wikipedia? Really?

 

"The models suggest that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is accounted for by the shared environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero"

http://pss.sagepub.c.../14/6/623.short

 

"IQ, is perhaps 48%; narrow-sense heritability, the relevant quantity for evolutionary arguments because it measures the additive effects of genes, is about 34%."

http://www.nature.co...l/388468a0.html

 

"large environmentally induced IQ gains between generations suggest an important role for environment in shaping IQ"

http://psycnet.apa.o.../rev/108/2/346/

 

etc.

Here's the article Wikipedia cited:

 

http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/13/4/148

 

It's interesting to note that the full data shows that for children under 18, the heritability is much less than 0.85. So in the years when children are in school -- the years where their performance decides whether they do well and go to college and such -- genetics are a weaker factor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does it mean that taller people 'do better'? Generally, people who come closer to fulfilling the arbitrary, socially-established conventions of attractiveness, suitability for a leadership role, authority, etc., are GIVEN better positions by the subconscious motivations of hiring committees, the electorate (the taller candidate almost always wins the Presidency), and both men and women seeking a mate. Since one of the most important of these criteria for social selection is tallness, tall people may just seem to do better without really deserving that success, simply because they are given more chances to succeeed. But on the other hand, many famous geniuses have been short, e.g., Einstein, Steinmetz, Haber, Mozart, Napoleon, and Kant -- to name just a few from various fields. Perhaps being short encourages a greater focus on thought, given that athletics or physical work are out of reach, or a greater motivation toward self-development to overcome prejudice.

 

One problem with eugenics is that the trait selected may be the best for the current environment but not for future challenges. Another is that the selected trait may be inherited with a cluster of other genetic characteristics which will interact disastrously with future environmental stresses, e.g., greater pollution, changes in diet, chenges in the world's temperature, etc. Since to some extent the trait selected is the one which is now culturally valued, as culture evolves, it may find itself saddled with a population that fails to fit its new criteria. E.g., violent brutes required for survival of a tribe 12,000 years ago may not be suited for the world of industrial rationalization, tightly-woven socialization, bureaucratic structures, and peace.

 

On the other hand, selecting for intelligence will increase adaptability of the species, since smarter people are moe likely to think of new ways to respond to problems. However, the variety of types in a species is important, since dumber folk may provide a less competitive and opinionated social glue, loving and supportive but slow people may be essential to promoting social stabiity in the family unit, and essential characteristics, such as a disposition toward altruism, may be linked to genes which are associated with lower IQ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He has also failed to answer the simple practical question of who would empty the bins.

I work in a large laboratory- I accept that it wouldn't work without the bright people. However, if the cleaners went on strike we would be in a lot more trouble than if the senior managers did.

Which group do we really need?

Exactly. See my post # 14.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"What does it mean that taller people 'do better'?"

"the taller candidate almost always wins the Presidency"

You seem to have answered your own question.

 

Incidentally there's some evidence that Napoleon wasn't short.

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

 

However you are quite right about this "One problem with eugenics is that the trait selected may be the best for the current environment but not for future challenges. Another is that the selected trait may be inherited with a cluster of other genetic characteristics which will interact disastrously with future environmental stresses, e.g., greater pollution, changes in diet, chenges in the world's temperature, etc."

 

BTW, are smart people also more likely to generate problems ?

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Eugenics would entrench a culture of perfectionism,rejection, intolerance and discrimination. This is not a society that I wouldlive in.

 

Secondly eugenics is blatant discrimination. Who hasthe right to state that people with an IQ over 100 are the most valuable peoplein society?. Disabled people can still live a fulfilling life and contribute tosociety. Sterilizing people on the basis of IQ, sounds like you’re proposing Nazism.

 

Thirdly I doubt that scientists would functionefficiently if they did not have thecooks, admin, artists etc that make up multi disciplinary teams. Withpurely ‘smart’ scientists we wouldn't make it to the moon.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you have substantial evidence that high IQ is heritable, and that high IQ corresponds to success in science, technology, business, etc.?

 

I'm not sure inherent high IQ is the only deficiency preventing our success.

 

No, IQ is something around 1/3 inherited, which makes sense, but still I disagree with the concept of Eugenics as IQ tests are sort of limited ways of measuring overall intelligence, and there's different ways to think and perceive information, and it also doesn't really matter anyway, people should have that right if they want. There's also species of animals which we consider to have a much lower IQ that have been around millions of years longer than humans have.

Edited by questionposter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Many posts that appear to be anti Eugenics are only worried about the potential for negative environmental and economic consequences. What about the loss of basic human rights.

 

Check out this clip from the TV series 'Downistie'. It challenges the social construction of whatis normal and desirable, by using a cast of Down syndrome actors.

 

In particular take note of 2:07- 3:00

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Anna88
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many posts that appear to be anti Eugenics are only worried about the potential for negative environmental and economic consequences. What about the loss of basic human rights.

 

Check out this clip from the TV series 'Downistie'. It challenges the social construction of whatis normal and desirable, by using a cast of Down syndrome actors.

 

In particular take note of 2:07- 3:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

That show is inappropriate and a mockery

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many posts that appear to be anti Eugenics are only worried about the potential for negative environmental and economic consequences. What about the loss of basic human rights.

 

 

Since it's a bloody stupid idea from a scientific point of view, there's no need to discuss the human rights issues.

It's not that, in themselves, those issues are unimportant, it's just that they are a secondary consideration.

Obviously it's morally abhorrent, but that's not a logically supportable position.

The loss of biodiversity is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since it's a bloody stupid idea from a scientific point of view, there's no need to discuss the human rights issues.

It's not that, in themselves, those issues are unimportant, it's just that they are a secondary consideration.

Obviously it's morally abhorrent, but that's not a logically supportable position.

The loss of biodiversity is.

 

 

In reality we live in a pluralist world which has many types of people with many different perspectives. We talk about the need for biodiversity, but there is also a need for many other types of diversity such as diversity of ideas and perspectives. What I am attempting to bring to the discussion is simply another perspective on the matter, which is just as relevant.

Edited by Anna88
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be morally wrong not to use eugenics.

 

We owe it to our children to make them physically attractive and intelligent. The technology is here; we should use it.

 

 

William Shockley, the man who also coincidentally invented the transistor, argued that the higher rate of reproduction among the less intelligent was having a dysgenic effect, and that a drop in average intelligence would ultimately lead to a decline in civilization. Shockley advocated that the scientific community should seriously investigate questions of heredity, intelligence, and demographic trends, and suggest policy changes if he was proven right. He proposed that individuals with IQs below 100 be paid to undergo voluntary sterilization.

 

Most striking, William Shockley, later in his life, described his work into the genetic future of the human species as "the most important work of his career"! This from a man that had already invented the transistor, been appointed Director of the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory at Beckman Instruments, and had been awarded the Noble prize. Shockley Semiconductor and the companies formed by Shockley's former employees would go on to form the nucleus of what became Silicon Valley, leading to the world-wide computer revolution.

Edited by Anders Hoveland
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting mix that.

There's the logical fallacy of argument by appeal to authority. Just because he invented the transistor doesn't mean he knows anything about population genetics.

There's the morally questionable use of coercion.

" paid to undergo voluntary sterilization"

Payment is coercion whether you like it or not.

Perhaps the biggest issue is that the "problem" of the dumb out-breeding the bright is that it doesn't work.

For one thing there's a mechanism that over-rules it. It's the regression to the mean.

For an encore, people have been worrying about the same thing for ages, yet IQs of the population stubbornly rise.

And to top it all, there's the idea that IQ measures anything useful.

 

Personally, I think we owe it to our children to teach them that there's a whole lot more to life than being attractive.

Of course, if we can teach them to be intelligent then they will figure it out for themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be morally wrong not to use eugenics.

 

As thoroughly discussed in this thread already -

a) For a multi-genic, environmentally correlated, abstractly interpreted trait like intellect, there is so many interactions between variable genotypes that a selective breeding regime is highly unlikely to produce a predictable outcome.

b) Any selective breeding regime decreases Ne (effective population size) which reduces the genetic variability of a given population, which has demonstrably negative impacts on the evolutionary potential of the population in question.

c) Selective elimination of individuals in which recessive deleterious conditions from the breeding population will not significantly reduce the expression of those genes, which are carried without expression in a much larger proportion of the population than the proportion in which they are expressed e.g. for every sufferer of an autistic condition, there are 35 silent carriers of the associated genes.

 

So eugenics violates basic population genetic principles, reduces the evolutionary potential of a population and ultimately doesn't work.

 

Consider the domestic species we've selectively bred, how likely they are to be successful in nature without human intervention, and how many undesirable traits hitchhiked along with the ones we selected for - e.g. almost all domestic species are genetically depauperate compared to their wild cogeners and suffer subsequent reduced immunity and a vast range of heritable conditions from the inability to fly in chickens, hip displaysia in dogs, mastitis in dairy cows, etc, etc.

Edited by Arete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As thoroughly discussed in this thread already -

a) For a multi-genic, environmentally correlated, abstractly interpreted trait like intellect, there is so many interactions between variable genotypes that a selective breeding regime is highly unlikely to produce a predictable outcome.

b) Any selective breeding regime decreases Ne (effective population size) which reduces the genetic variability of a given population, which has demonstrably negative impacts on the evolutionary potential of the population in question.

c) Selective elimination of individuals in which recessive deleterious conditions from the breeding population will not significantly reduce the expression of those genes, which are carried without expression in a much larger proportion of the population than the proportion in which they are expressed e.g. for every sufferer of an autistic condition, there are 35 silent carriers of the associated genes.

 

So eugenics violates basic population genetic principles, reduces the evolutionary potential of a population and ultimately doesn't work.

 

 

While I agree that eugenics is probably a bad idea, mostly to me because of who decides on what traits to breed for, I question that it couldn't work with humans. We have applied what is basically eugenics to other animals with considerable success, I keep basset hounds, hard to believe they were once, if you go back far enough, wolves. Dog's, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, the list of animal's we have changed drastically via selective breeding is long. In fact, to me, religion smells very strongly of a selective breeding program by aliens... Be that as it may, no i am not trying to go OT, why would you say that eugenics wouldn't work for humans? Are we genetically unique in some manner that would prevent us from being selectively bred?

Edited by Moontanman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, I must've edited my post while you were replying -

 

Like most things, in selective breeding, you rarely get something for nothing and virtually every trait amplification will come with a trade off. Evolutionarily speaking, basset hounds are genetically depuaperate, which leaves them much more susceptible to disease as a population/breed than a genetically diverse population. Also, in selecting for your desirable traits, you've eliminated a whole suite of traits essential for survival in a natural Canis lupus population (i.e. a wolf pack). I personally have staffordshire terriers I love, but evolutionarily speaking, by selecting for the traits we desired we have vastly reduced the genetic and phenotypic variation of domestic species and thus the ability to adapt to changes in the environment. Hope that makes sense.

Edited by Arete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, I must've edited my post while you were replying -

 

Like most things, in selective breeding, you rarely get something for nothing and virtually every trait amplification will come with a trade off. Evolutionarily speaking, basset hounds are genetically depuaperate, which leaves them much more susceptible to disease as a population/breed than a genetically diverse population. Also, in selecting for your desirable traits, you've eliminated a whole suite of traits essential for survival in a natural Canis lupus population (i.e. a wolf pack). I personally have staffordshire terriers I love, but evolutionarily speaking, by selecting for the traits we desired we have vastly reduced the genetic and phenotypic variation of domestic species and thus the ability to adapt to changes in the environment. Hope that makes sense.

 

 

Yes that does make sense, thank you for clarifying it. I understand completely the idea of how unfit for a natural environment our domesticated animals are. But isn't that true of most humans already? Aren't we pretty much domesticated already?

 

Is it realistic to say that we must preserve genetic diversity for an environment that no longer exists? Is it possible that actively selecting for traits that allow us to better exist in what is now our natural environment makes more sense than allowing traits to be selected willy nilly?

 

Of course there is always the problem of who decides which traits to breed for....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Dog's, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, the list of animal's we have changed drastically via selective breeding is long. In fact, to me, religion smells very strongly of a selective breeding program by aliens... Be that as it may, no i am not trying to go OT, why would you say that eugenics wouldn't work for humans? "

 

Well, we know it doesn't work in dogs.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7569064.stm

 

Why do you think it would be any better in humans?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it realistic to say that we must preserve genetic diversity for an environment that no longer exists?

 

I guess what I meant to reinforce is that the preservation of genetic diversity is redundancy for an environment which doesn't yet exist.

 

Basset hounds/bull terriers are 100% dependent on a set of environmental conditions (nominally, direct human intervention) for continued survival. If that goes away, those populations become extinct. Evolutionarily speaking, domestic animals are very fragile and they have very low long term viability prospects.

 

In a similar sense, if we select for say, intellect (even though, as I explained doing so probably won't result in a predicable outcome) we could a) breed in a suite of deleterious genetic diseases, like we have with domestic animals b) eliminate genetic diversity important in a future environment - e.g. we would significantly reduce MHC complex diversity, which would make humans, as a species, more susceptible to a range of novel pathogenic diseases. It's not that far fetched that something like H1N1 could have a devastating effect on a population with reduced MHC diversity.

 

Edit - I can has no spell guud. ;)

Edited by Arete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Dog's, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, the list of animal's we have changed drastically via selective breeding is long. In fact, to me, religion smells very strongly of a selective breeding program by aliens... Be that as it may, no i am not trying to go OT, why would you say that eugenics wouldn't work for humans? "

 

Well, we know it doesn't work in dogs.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7569064.stm

 

Why do you think it would be any better in humans?

 

While I am aware of the problems in dog breeding and the reasons for it, I'm not sure that eugenics coupled with modern genetic engineering couldn't over come the problems encountered by selective breeding. Dogs are an extreme example, dogs are bred with no real idea of what they want other than a certain look, inbreeding is both common and not just allowed but actively done intentionally, and damn anything that gets in the way as long as the dog has the certain look and people buy them who cares if they get sick and die later? I would like to think that humans would care more about the person than they do about dogs.... naw, that's obviously not true, if humans were bred for specific traits we all know there would be money to be made and that money would rule the breeding of humans just like it does dogs. Think puppy mills but with humans instead of dogs...

 

I concede the point...

 

I guess what I meant to reinforce is that the preservation of genetic diversity is redundancy for an environment which doesn't yet exist.

 

Basset hounds/bull terriers are 100% dependent on a set of environmental conditions (nominally, direct human intervention) for continued survival. If that goes away, those populations become extinct. Evolutionarily speaking, domestic animals are very fragile and they have very low long term viability prospects.

 

In a similar sense, if we select for say, intellect (even though, as I explained doing so probably won't result in a predicable outcome) we could a) breed in a suite of deleterious genetic diseases, like we have with domestic animals b) eliminate genetic diversity important in a future environment - e.g. we would significantly reduce MHC complex diversity, which would make humans, as a species, more susceptible to a range of novel pathogenic diseases. It's not that far fetched that something like H1N1 could have a devastating effect on a population with reduced MHC diversity.

 

Edit - I can has no spell guud. ;)

 

 

While I think dogs are a bad example i still have to agree, knowing humans as well as i do, i would not want to be the product of genetic engineering.... I might be three feet tall with long droopy ears, a huge nose, and a penis that drags the ground... Well one out of three isn't bad...

 

My main interest in this would be the genetic engineering of humans to live in an environment that normal humans couldn't live in, like an alien planet. More likely it would be used to breed workers who would be specialized enough to dig ditches like crazy not intellect.... But would you say genetic counseling is a form of voluntary eugenics?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought - do you think that the people with less than average intelligence are going to let this happen. If they think they, or their offspring, are likely to be selected they may physically band together and rebel - even those slightly above average (whatever that may mean) to be on the safe side. Desperate people feeling they may be denied reproduction rights may make better, braver, fighting rebels. In a civil war they may come out on top and in the process kill many of the "intelligent enemy". In a rough situation where civilisation is falling apart they may be more suited to survive, more capable of living off the land. (be more fit for survival in this situation).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But would you say genetic counseling is a form of voluntary eugenics?

 

It could possibly be described as such, but as I tried to demonstrate previously with HWE calculations, removing or preventing individuals in which a deleterious, recessive genetic disorder is expressed does nothing to address the fact that the bulk of the reservoir in which these genes are held in the population are individuals in which they are not expressed. So removing the small proportion of individuals who suffer from the ailment from the breeding population will have a negligible effect on the prevalence of the disorder.

 

As such even if it is eugenics, it's ineffective eugenics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I am aware of the problems in dog breeding and the reasons for it, I'm not sure that eugenics coupled with modern genetic engineering couldn't over come the problems encountered by selective breeding. Dogs are an extreme example, dogs are bred with no real idea of what they want other than a certain look, inbreeding is both common and not just allowed but actively done intentionally, and damn anything that gets in the way as long as the dog has the certain look and people buy them who cares if they get sick and die later? I would like to think that humans would care more about the person than they do about dogs.... naw, that's obviously not true, if humans were bred for specific traits we all know there would be money to be made and that money would rule the breeding of humans just like it does dogs. Think puppy mills but with humans instead of dogs...

 

....

 

We could overcome the problems - but it would require multiple generations and iterations of testing; and that testing would require live births. This is an ethical complete stop - we cannot practice on other species because the differences outweigh the similarities, and no way can we practice and learn on humans. In problems like this the ethical and the practical are very rarely separable - and much as I am a misanthrope sometimes - I cannot believe that any group/government/polity with the sophistication to carry out the research would not be ethically aware enough to refuse to contemplate it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.