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This post was edited by China--Israel at 2014-6-23 21:06|
What I favour is realism. The reality of human dysgenics - the generation upon generation decline of desirable traits, due to an accumulation of genetic damage - is real; and seems to be a much larger problem than most advocates of eugenics allow.
Indeed, dysgenics is such a big problem, that its solution by deliberate human planning and artificial selection is almost impossible to contemplate - so harsh would be the requisite regime.
However, 'Nature' has no scruples on these matters.
Intelligence - when measured by an objective correlate such as simple reaction time - is a useful measure of dysgenics because 'general intelligence' or 'g' is an overall measure of biological fitness (this idea from Geoffrey Miller).
Dygenics comes from at least three sources, the third being the most significant:
1. Differential fertility - the less intelligent individuals being more fertile than the more intelligent - the most intelligent actually having negative-fertility - averaging less than two offspring per couple.
2. Demographic change with mass migration of population - the less intelligent groups and nations being more fertile than the most intelligent - and migrating to occupy the territory of the more intelligent.
3. Accumulation of deleterious genetic mutations. New mutations - nearly all of them damaging - probably occur at a rate of more than more per generation, and (since intelligence is a fitness measure) probably are higher than this among the less intelligent - which is indeed a major reason why they are less intelligent.
Due to the massive decline in child mortality rates since the industrial revolution, and the massive international transfers of wealth, technology and medicine from the most to least developed nations the majority of babies that are born nowadays (and for the past several generations) will live to sexual maturity - survival of newborns is near 100 percent in developed countries, but even in the places with the worst child mortality rates, the child mortality rate is still low enough to allow massive rates of population growth.
How important is the decline in child mortality rates? Incredibly important.
On the one hand, the reduction in child mortality must be one of the greatest of all contributions to human happiness - since the death of even one child is a terrible and devastating thing - one of the very hardest to bear; and because the causes of child death include many things horrible in themselves such as starvation, disease, accidents and violence - the decline of which also represent an increase in happiness.
It is hard to exaggerate how historically-unprecedented is this modern world, where most children are expected to survive to maturity - and how profound are the biological consequences of this situation.
It seems that the human is an animal which has evolved in a situation where almost all children who are born will die without reproducing - mostly during childhood; and where the next generation is produced by only a small minority of the present generation.
(Michael A Woodley is working on assembling this argument and documenting it in detail.)
When we consider Man through most of history, we should be thinking of a species which is:
1. Highly likely to generate and accumulate fitness-reducing mutations, and
2. Has dealt with this problem by reproducing only from a small minority of the fittest individuals - the majority of historical humans will have averaged zero surviving offspring.
This is termed mutation-selection balance
and it makes a big difference to the human condition where, quantitatively, this balance lies.
In a nutshell, in humans very high rates of child mortality have historically functioned to filter-out damaging mutations which otherwise will accumulate rapidly, generation upon generation, to damage fitness - and this accumulation of mutational damage can be measured in substantially slowing simple reaction times - and (it would be predicted) in other objective measures of fitness.
China is in big trouble.