Thursday, 5 June 2014

Realistically accepting the consequences of a NON-eugenic future

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To reiterate; I am against eugenics, and I am against mainstream anti-eugenics.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/why-eugenics-is-bad-and-anti-eugenics.html

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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This is termed mutation-selection balance

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/ma-woodleys-treadmill-metaphor-to.html

and it makes a big difference to the human condition where, quantitatively, this balance lies.

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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.   

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Except for WD Hamilton, eugenicists have tended to neglect this problem of mutation accumulation - presumably because they assumed that it was a small problem.

The assumption of eugenicists seemed to be that if the bottom few percent of the population (maybe habitual criminals or the significantly handicapped or whatever) were prevented from (or at least discouraged from) breeding, then this would be sufficient to maintain the quality of the human genome.

A few percent is one thing; but what if it was three-quarters of the population, or four fifths, or five sixths of the human population who had to be prevented from reproducing?

Because that sort of proportion - a large majority of people prevented from having children (almost certainly including you and me) - seems most likely from the biological perspective of preventing mutation accumulation.

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In other words, it seems probable that throughout most of human history, natural selection maintained human genetic quality and prevented rapid dysgenic collapse mostly by very high (near total) child mortality rates - and by, in effect, only allowing a small minority of humans to raise almost all the children.

When this stopped, mutation accumulation started: and on theoretical grounds mutation accumulations is likely to lead to very rapid decline in average (and peak) human fitness, with very significantly deleterious effects on all aspects of human functioning.     

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This is a horrible vision of human history - but it is likely to be what happened; yet for a human society to accomplish the same by deliberate implementation of 'rational planning' is beyond-horrible - it would necessarily be a profoundly monstrous society that implemented a policy which either forbade the mass majority of people from having children, or slaughtered them. 

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Therefore, I think that rapid, generation upon generation, dysgenic decline is probably both inevitable and also insoluble by human agency - something we should acknowledge and work around as best we can - but not something that can be, or indeed should be, prevented.

In such circumstances, the 'reasonable' prescriptions of 'sensible' eugenicists are just a joke.And the quibbles of those who deny the scale of dysgenic change will simply be swept away by waves of catastrophes.

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This is a tragic situation; and it is a consequence of a tragic historical situation - where a majority of humans probably experienced the death of all their children before adulthood.

We have been living in an unprecedented era of very low child mortality, and this cannot continue because its continuation will be made impossible by the decline in human capability caused by reducing fitness caused by mutation accumulation - itself caused by the era of very low child mortality.

My own response to this, once the truth began to sink in; is in fact religious: to value and be thankful for my good fortune day-by-day - and to recognize that the Christian perspective of past generations was much tougher and more realistic and also more joyful than our modern mainstream secular materialist Leftist ideology can sustain even despite our vastly greater peace, prosperity, comfort, convenience, and capability.

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I recall that the medieval poets Chaucer, Langland and the author of Gawain were living through the Black Death, yet virtually never even mention this horrific plague which killed fully a half of English people in just a couple of decades (it took the population about 300 years to recover).

The vast and genial knowledge and humour of Chaucer; the intense spirituality and all-seeing eye of Langland; the nobility and morality of the Gawain poet - all these come from a context of wholesale death from a horrible and incomprehensible disease.

Clearly their faith enabled them to deal with extremely harsh circumstances with courage and without despair - to exemplify love and hope, and to accomplish works of the highest calibre.

That is what we will need.

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