Genetic Interests

‘n/a’ provided a link to Frank Salter’s On Genetic Interests. (Available in a variety of formats.)

That gift follows from the latest exchange on the topic, based on this Jayman post. Some (Salterian) contention from Pumpkin Person (here) and n/a (here). It’s a fascinating discussion, that has divided Cochran and Harpending, which is an indication of its seriousness. Sadly — if understandably — it tends to generate massive rancor very quickly, as is evident in the tone of some of these posts. That’s especially unfortunate because, heated race politics aside, there’s a massive amount of philosophical substance underlying it. (Maximum coldness would certainly be appreciated here.)

A suggestive remark from Salter (p.28), on the disrupted equilibrium between ‘ultimate’ and ‘proximate’ interests (a crucial and thought-provoking distinction):

The equilibrium applying to humans has been upset in recent generations, so that we can no longer rely on subjectively designated proximate interests to serve our ultimate interest. We must rely more on science to perceive the causal links between the things we value and formulate synthetic goals based on that rational appraisal.

So (subject to correction as the argument progresses) Salter proposes an explicit, rational proxy for the ‘ultimate interests’ of genetic propagation, now inadequately represented by change-shocked phenotypes (and, most importantly, brains). This is a Principal-Agent problem, applied to human biology.

Here is Salter laying out his problem at greater length:

Certainly we can no longer rely on our instincts to guide us through the labyrinths of modern technological society. But there is one innate capacity we possess that, combined with one or more motivations, is capable of solving this problem. Humans are uniquely equipped with analytic intelligence, the ability to tackle novel challenges. This ‘domain general’ problem-solving capacity evolved because it allowed our ancestors to find solutions to novel threats that arose in the environments in which they lived. General intelligence is distinguished from ‘domain specific capacities, such as face recognition and speech, specialized mental modules for solving recurring problems in the environments in which we evolved. We are flexible strategizers par excellence, able to construct our own micro environments across a great diversity of climates and ecosystems. Abstract intelligence is physiologically costly because it requires a large brain, difficult childbirth and extended childhood. Nevertheless it has been so adaptive that it distinguishes our species. It allows us to consciously assess dangers and opportunities and to devise novel solutions, or to choose a well-rehearsed routine from our extensive repertoire to apply in a given situation. Now changed environments have effectively blinded us to large stores of our genetic interests, or to put it more accurately, for the first time situated us where we need to perceive those interests and be motivated to pursue them. This blindness is not cured by a people’s economic and political power, as documented in Chapter 3, regarding the decline of Western populations. We must rely on our intelligence to adapt, not only using science to perceive our fundamental interests in the abstract but devising ways to realize these interests through proximate interests, the short-term goals of which we are aware and towards which we are motivated to act.

There’s a far more general topic here than racial antagonism (without wanting to dismiss the importance of that). Putting it up here now is a test of whether it can be discussed without throwing people into a rage. If so, it could become an engaging conversation.

(Googling Moravec’s concept of ‘replicator usurpation’ for a cite, it seems that I’m the only person who’s being talking about it for over a decade. That’s disappointing, because its relevance to these questions seems obvious. I’m going to need to look it up again in order to come back here with a helpful quote.)

ADDED: Gloss and critical commentary from David B. at Gene Expression (2005): “It is essential to understand that Salter is not presenting a biological theory of how people have evolved, how they will evolve in future, or why they behave in the way they do. [Note 2] As Salter puts it himself: ‘the present work is not primarily a theory of human behavior, but of interests. Rather than being a work of explanation, this is mainly an exercise in political theory dealing with what people are able to do if they want to behave adaptively (p.85)… my main goal in this chapter is not to describe how people actually behave. Rather, I explore how individuals would behave if they were attempting to preserve their genetic interests (p.257)’. Some of these remarks might suggest that Salter is merely setting out an option that people may wish to follow or not, according to their own values, but it can hardly be doubted that Salter himself positively advocates the pursuit of ethnic genetic interests, principally through the control of immigration. The use of such terms as ‘adaptive’, ‘fitness’, and ‘ultimate interests’ could in principle have a neutral biological sense, but in practice Salter uses them with an evaluative force: he regards the policies he discusses not just as possible but desirable. Otherwise why say that we ‘need to perceive’ our genetic interests and ‘be motivated to pursue them’? From time to time he overtly uses the mode of recommendation rather than mere analysis, for example, ‘Multiculturalism and other versions of ethnic pluralism… are types of ethnic regime that majorities should certainly avoid (p.188)… Since genetic interests are the most fundamental, liberals [sic] should support social policies that take these vital interests into account (p.250)’. And some of the language and comparisons Salter uses are strongly emotive … much of Salter’s book is concerned with immigration, and especially immigration from third-world countries to the West. In my view there are sound arguments against large-scale, uncontrolled immigration from the third-world, not least the danger of civil strife resulting from the presence of large unassimilated groups holding values and beliefs incompatible with those of the host society. But it would be unwise for people who object to uncontrolled immigration on these grounds to latch onto Salter’s ideas. Whatever Salter’s own motives, his theory is being taken up enthusiastically by racists (as a Google search will confirm), and anyone who follows their lead will be tainted by association. Since even by Salter’s own account his theory is not a scientific thesis, but more of a political manifesto, there can be no compelling reason for non-racists to accept it.”

David B.’s final point is especially relevant to some of the issues hinted at in the post here (targeted for future development): “… Salter’s doctrine is profoundly anti-eugenic. For Salter, it is in the interest of an individual to preserve and promote the gene frequencies of his own ethnic group, whether the existing gene frequency is good, bad or indifferent, as judged by qualitative criteria. So, for example, it is in the interest of American blacks to promote their own gene frequencies against those of American whites, even if in some respects it would be better for blacks themselves to change those gene frequencies. The doctrine of genetic interests is inherently backward-looking and conservative. In contrast, the eugenic position is that we are able to make value judgements about what characteristics are desirable (such as health, intelligence, and beauty) and undesirable (such as stupidity, mental illness, and physical disabilities) and then to take reproductive decisions based on those judgements. Of course eugenics is controversial, but many of those who might feel vaguely sympathetic to Salter’s approach would also feel vaguely sympathetic to eugenics, and they should at least be aware of the conflict between them.”

August 3, 2015admin 47 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Fertility


47 Responses to this entry

  • michael Says:

    first link is broken


    admin Reply:

    That’s weird. I just used it a couple of hours ago. [Hang on …]


    Rasputin Reply:

    Relevant: James Goulding’s Refutation of Salterism reproduced, minus the hyperlinks, here for any interested parties:


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 4:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • Aeroguy Says:

    Sounds like moving away from a question of IS there ethnic genetic interests to OUGHT there be. When I step back what I see is this, propagation of genes are a means to order and the pursuit of higher order that transcends our own, not an end unto themselves. This is what separates us from grey goo.


    michael Reply:

    My gut says hell yeah but my guess is its a two edged sword or rather it depends. Im going with my gut and playing the hand dealt


    admin Reply:

    My ongoing debate with Nyan Warg seems structurally identical. Do we have an ‘interest’ in a human future, just because it’s human? (What if it was more defective in respect to a radically alien alternative according to every metric except that it was genetically ‘ours’?) Does this mean that sticking with DNA as an information transmission medium is in some sense ethically mandatory, even if superior replacements arise? It seems to me an interesting question, and once you set up the problem as Salter does, there’s no recourse to it being “just obvious” (if that was so, the ‘problem’ wouldn’t have arisen).

    ADDED: Should note that Warg’s category of the ‘human’ is highly abstract, so the comparison is only at that level. He’d probably deny that it’s even DNA dependent (he’s probably already denied that).


    michael Reply:

    you may think this stupid but the way i see it our dna has a civic responsibility to give its all for its team its team being an exact replica and working out from there. In the long run win or lose it/we have done our part. but to second guess gnon and surrender without a fight is well -progressive cuck play.Not that white knighting computers is ‘akin” to that lol


    Aeroguy Reply:

    Evolution hit a big step forward when the first sexual organisms started propagating. A dramatic increase in genetic variance and mutations accelerated adaptability even though it came at the cost of not promoting you’re own DNA exclusively. Most mutations are maladaptive but the occasional adaptive mutation is very valuable. Sure they change the original DNA but for the bulk package it’s a good thing, even if the entire package eventually looks unrecognizable after a while. My point is, when it comes to survival, even DNA constantly compromises the purity of itself and mates with the best alternative it can find. It’s foolish to hold back from adopting the very best survival strategy, it’s not about lying down, it’s about purging what holds us back and assimilating what makes the competition better in order to be the very best. Adapt to survive, DNA is built to accommodate adaptation and change.

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    AH, I forget required for an “evolution” (universal darwinian evolution), but considering there are multiple “evolutions” and that all these layer of evolutions if they possess the necessary steps, protecting only the part related to the organism and not the entire “Extended phenotype” is too anthropocentric, we could very well prefer different layers of the extended phenotype and place much less emphasis on human-gene part


    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    I forget the steps required for an “evolution”*, but can get it once i get back from vacation

    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 4:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    and yet here we are


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 4:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    As I explained in the discussion linked in my comment, the fundamental problem comes back to the issue of selection. This is the foundation “inclusive fitness.” An allele that appears which causes an individual to be altruistic to his distantly related co-ethnics won’t become more common through kin selection for a simple reason: distantly related co-ethnics are unlikely to have it. The fitness payoff (i.e., the average frequency of this gene in relatives) is still given by the coefficients of relationship, as listed in the linked table. That’s the only way such an allele could increase in frequency (drift notwithstanding – and of course, as we know, that has its limits). Now I suppose this could work if such alleles were already common,

    but how could they have gotten that way in the first place?

    Im way over my depth here and just skimming this but how about geographic isolation


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 4:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:


    sorry i should have put quotes and attributed that was a Jayman comment to n/a


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 4:55 pm Reply | Quote
  • Xoth Says:

    I suppose a gauge of the immediate evolutionary importance of intelligence is to see how global average IQ has developed over time. My impression is that it has been declining in the last 50 years or so (at least).


    michael Reply:

    From what ive read, thats hard to measure. some reflex tests were a clue, but this flynn effect though i suspect mostly a talking point may be a dietary, say iodine effect. so even tests if we had them before health conditions equalized would not compare fairly, Ive read good arguments both ways. I would agree it seems to be declining, but its also culture


    Xoth Reply:

    Woodley and Charlton would argue IQ has been declining for 150 years, if I understand them correctly. They may be right too, but I demurred at 50 for reasons of demographics rather than mutations. (Perhaps I should have made it 70 or so? Post-War, in essence.)


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 6:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Since we have a motivated intelligence, our job is perhaps more to provide arenas for the application of that intelligence, rather than doing what we have been doing, which is closing them.

    the issues I see with ‘moving beyond DNA’ is

    1. Even DNA is only part of the organism
    2. What is more important is embodiment than specific implementations of biology

    On the mere level of DNA, we are outmatched, if that was what this was to be. In terms of simply propagating one’s DNA (if that is all prolongation is–) viruses have us beat. In my deep imagination, viruses are nothing other than the endpoint of the evolution of a highly intelligent but insane species of beings that determined a flexible strategy of absolute, predatory parasitism of all life was the best way to ensure they always existed.

    They don’t have intelligence anymore, but what can I say – they have evolved past it.


    michael Reply:

    Viruses dont have us beat yet .
    But i think i agree with your point if i understand you, that we have essentially transcended DNA in as much as we can now manipulate it. its no longer changing us we are changing it, i said last week this singularity started thousands of years ago when we we able to control environments and build cultures that mimic natural environments thus synthetically selecting ,now we are at the point that we can actually edit genes. since we have until now had to wait for our genes to catch up with our self designed environments making life a mess. this should now accelerate .
    Of course we are replacing evolutionary mechanism with selection by intelligence ,a completely different process and probably a bad idea particularly the happhazard way we approach these sorts of leaps.


    (N) G. Eiríksson Reply:

    How would viruses not have intelligence? They couldn´t operate without it. Intelligence is fundamental in any operating thing. Because it needs to divine the environment (other entities).

    I guess you meant a self-reflecting subject, a cogito.


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 7:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Genetic Interests | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 8:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    mixing it all with genetics hardly can add some clarity on these issues, which is very important indeed. here is two quotes from J Forrester which may be relevant points for continuing discussion.

    “we can identify complex situation, but our previous experience provide us poor training for estimating the dynamic consequences of how the parts of a system will interact with each other” J Forrester World Dynamics

    J Forrester Principles_of_Systems

    “two ways in which learning serves the future. one is through its specific applicability to tasks that are highly similar to those originally learned….. A second way is through the transfer of principles or attitudes….. the continuity of learning that is produced by the second type of transfer. transfer of principles, is dependent upon mastery of the structure of the subject matter….. Inherent in the preceding discussions are at least four general claims that can be made for teaching the fundamental structure of a subject.

    The first is that understanding fundamentals makes a subject more comprehensible…..

    The second relates to human memory. Perhaps the most basic thing that can be said about human memory, after a century of intensive research, is that unless detail is placed into a structured pattern, it is rapidly forgotten…..

    Third, an understanding of fundamental principles and ideas, as noted earlier, appears to be the main road to adequate ‘transfer of training.’ To understand something as a specific instance of a more general case–which is what understanding a more fundamental principle or structure means–is to have learned not only a specific thing but also a model for understanding other things like it that one may encounter….

    The fourth claim for emphasis on structure and principles in teaching is that by constantly reexamining material one is able to narrow the gap between ‘advanced’ knowledge and ‘elementary’ knowledge.”


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 8:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    of course and i get that sexually reproductive organisms dont actually replicate i meant to imply they had a prime directive to struggle to survive and reproduce to test their mutation against others [or a combo of theirs and 3rd cousins] and while this might be good for them specifically its good for all in the end that is if the survival of life is a good.and that this process works only when a particular survives survival of the species doesnt happen without the lowest common denominator first surviving, but that particular has a backup if he can with no cost to his own he will help his brother then cousins and their children in ever widening circles but only with resources not needed. this scientific argument, which im not well informed on seems to be about what i think called gene flow, it seems to be not taking into consideration the reality of who sexually reproductive species actually mate with, their cousins. They may have done this because geography tribal border security, and or maybe we will find phermones or something enforce it but if i understand jays math its hypothetical. but im shooting from the hip and wasting peoples time i really should spend the time if im going to be a racist lol


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 9:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jefferson Says:

    From my vantage, it seems like multiple related topics rather than one coherent debate. Short of suicide bombing/kamikaze attacks, most people are unlikely to sacrifice themselves intentionally; everyone thinks he’s the hero of his story (even if he’s the villain), and everyone fights with at least a glimmer of hope for his own survival.

    What tracks as lack of genetic self-interest probably tracks as something wholly different in another context. Industrial society and onward forces adaptations into contexts they were never intended for, with occasionally bizarre results.

    This discussion (and nearly everything I’ve read by Jayman, as much as I want to like him) is far too restricted in scope to be of much value. Most human behavior is confined to mimicry of the pervasive culture, so why worry about genetic self-interest when it can be so easily overriden?


    michael Reply:

    its because theres a couple of dark memes that sort of depend on it. Todays suicidal altruism by europeans is the other edge of outbreeding that allowed us more high trust open societies which allow for more sophisticated organization. and its correlative ethnic affinity of non outbred breeds which are now working against us because our cultures have no defense for it. and so we must be a ethno state, but we like the grinding truth of evolution so how can we resolve the philo conflict are two of the biggest. and of course denrx has factions so its possibly contentious so far only the wn, but youre right the point is
    we can and mostly do act as if we too are tribal and our cultures been selecting dna for thousands of years now and
    fuck dna we edit that shit white privilege


    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    “Industrial society and onward forces adaptations into contexts they were never intended for”

    I couldn’t let this example of naturalist fallacy go unnoticed. The idea that there is a intended purpose of adaptation that precedes its mechanism and from which it can deviate is a basic confusion of cause and effect. What the hell is adaptation for if not precisely ‘environments for which it was never intended’ (yet the use of intentionality here is irremediably obfuscating).


    michael Reply:

    true but if one simply replaces intended with selected i think you get to his point and one i have made,that evolutionary time lags environment time since man became capable of altering the natural world and building cultures that mimic environment in the selection process.And that not even including the ability to avoid the culling through medicine etc.
    So while in a sense you could say yeah sure but the new environment is now having a go in reality the whole process is radically disrupted, the environments even the new ones change to fast and the mutations and selections too slow.we are no longer adapted to our environment we eat like cavemen in a world of supermarkets and fast food. in response to evolution being broken at every level we are trying to evolve a society which has been equally disastrous.Now we are on the cusp of gene editing, but this will also not be an evolutionary process. We are going to attempt to edit to suit our present environment but will no doubt attempt to get ahead of the current environment and anticipate the next generations environment, oh it sounds like lots of fun but it wont be evolution as we understand it any more a new term would need to be invented.I would think it could be truly disastrous but inevitable we can only pray the science will come slow enough that our wisdom may keep up.

    and while I get my Europeanness will eventually be unrecognizable i will be satisfied if its designed by Europeans on a european mainframe for a world dominated by Euroman 3.0 I actually think if not for ptogresses this is how it would play out we seem to be the genetic sweet spot I could see us euros doing to space what we did to earth i dont see asains and jews doing that but hey Im a white supremacist.


    Jefferson Reply:

    Thanks, Michael, that’s what I meant, better put.(I like to think my people will be in space, too. We get 50% of our admixture from Europe, so there’s hope…)


    Posted on August 3rd, 2015 at 10:03 pm Reply | Quote
  • peter connor Says:

    JayMan is obviously correct on the narrow question of group selection, which is simply rubbish, though it seems hard for some people to understand. Simply, actions leading to a decreases in personal fitness, i.e. reproduction of the desired gene, are never going to be compensated by greater survival of a group without THAT gene.
    Therefore he is also correct on the narrow question of whether kinship sacrifices improve transmission of the selected gene, except in very rare circumstances.
    But when we start talking about social factors, kinship in a close knit group, or the desirability of non-kin who share certain important values, the question becomes quite different.


    michael Reply:

    but is it really a question of either / or isnt it in practice a matter of , in addition to feeding my kids im going to feed my sisters or my cousins. Im going to marry my brother widow and wouldnt this spread damn quick, because the clan grows and thrives and conserves common genes and wouldnt its success lead to scaling it


    Eternal Apparatchik Reply:

    >JayMan is obviously correct on the narrow question of group selection, which is simply rubbish, though it seems hard for some people to understand.

    You’re not even wrong.


    admin Reply:

    The Cochran / Harpending split should count as a clue here. Whatever is going on in this divergence, it’s not because the other guys are simply stupid.


    Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 12:13 am Reply | Quote
  • NRx_N00B Says:

    a couple of choice quotes:

    “[M]ost of the influential work in the social sciences is ideological, and most of our criticisms of each other are ideologically grounded. Non social scientists generally recognize the fact that the social sciences are mostly ideological, and that they have produced in this century a very small amount of scientific knowledge compared to the great bulk of their publications. Our claim to being scientific is one of the main intellectual scandals of the academic world, though most of us live comfortably with our shame…. By and large, we believe in, and our social science is meant to promote, pluralism and democracy.” – Charles Leslie (1990)

    “If ideology is inextricably tied to the generation of knowledge, then all social science writings—including this one—involve certain ideological biases or political agendas…. These biases are typically unstated. The author’s ideological biases are as follows: (a) The idea of inherited “racial” differences is false; instead, “race” is a proxy for a host of longstanding historical and environmental variables. (b) Social science has the mandate of applying its theories and methods to alleviate human suffering and inequality” – Fairchild, 1991)

    This not only applies to Progressivism, but also to Salterism, MacDonaldism, HBD-Chickism, JayManism,….on and on it goes.

    Stick with the STEMs boys and girls.


    Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 4:57 am Reply | Quote
  • ▽▽ Says:

    That Moravec reference you’re looking for might be this one: (Mind Children, p.3)


    Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 8:08 am Reply | Quote
  • outsider Says:

    I can’t explain it. To me, this world seems inexplicably dull and monotonous, like some minimal 2050s-era world simulation full of vacuous automatons.
    However, that is not necessarily the case.
    The populace has merely adapted to too many decades of ‘peace and prosperity’.

    They are as brilliant at adapting (and unthinkingly accepting evil) as they are bad at seeing the big picture (including incomprehensible horrors to come).
    The only question is how the mainstream will react when the degradation has gone too far, and things get uncomfortable.

    This may be limited to ever worsening inflation and crime. Powerful seniors and unions will compel special deals.
    The question is whether there could be a wild-card event that would wake up the slumbering masses, or whether they will tolerate anything like in any dictatorship.


    michael Reply:

    judging by NYC during the dinkind era there is no limit to frog boiling


    Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 10:29 am Reply | Quote
  • n/a Says:

    “Salter’s doctrine is profoundly anti-eugenic.”

    This is false. Preservation of genetic interests does not mean genetic stasis. Nothing in Salter would argue against eugenic breeding (or, e.g., embryo selection) within populations.

    If all functional genes add to our genetic interests, does this mean that genetic adaptation is impossible, since this entails substitution of at least one allele by another? If so, my definition of genetic interests is incompatible with evolution, while purporting to be inspired by it. The way out of this apparent paradox is the escape clause contained in the words ‘functional genes’. The genome is not unitary but a set of mostly cooperating elements. [. . .]

    Phenotypes can lose inclusive fitness through individual alleles in their genomes becoming maladaptive, due to mutation or to changes in the environment. Those dysfunctional alleles no longer serve the interests of the majority of the genes comprising the genome and thus the individual’s genetic interests would be preserved or increased by substitution of maladaptive alleles.

    There are many situations where an active argument in favor of eugenics could be made on the grounds of defending ethnic genetic interests (e.g., where a technology like embryo selection for intelligence threatens to put one’s country at the mercy of competitors if not adopted). Salter himself writes:

    Leading geneticists have supported the need to hold down the mutation load by artificial intervention. R.A. Fisher, a pioneer evolutionary theorist in the inter-war period, concluded that technically advanced civilisation is unsustainable without eugenics.[37] W.D. Hamilton, another leading theorist of social genetics, argued that a rising mutation load means that humanity must choose between artificial and natural selection, the first relatively humane, the second not so at all.[38] Supporting these views is a recent analysis of the data on mutation load and general intelligence by Michael Woodley. This analysis finds that increases in mutation load are driven by a combination of relaxed natural selection—the blunted scythe if you will—with the genetic errors originating largely in males. Woodley estimates that the growing mutation load is costing developed economies such as the UK and USA an average of 0.84 IQ points per decade, consistent with his estimate of the decline in general intelligence since the Victorian period.[39]

    Even if these dire predictions are true, there seems to be no pressing need to tackle the mutation load. Individuals and governments might someday be forced to make difficult decisions to counter the rising number of mutations. But that is no reason to sacrifice liberty or other values—at least for the present and perhaps never—if improvements in science and technology enable us to solve these problems in more acceptable ways. As the geneticist John Maynard Smith suggested in the 1980s, germline engineering—technology that corrects mutations in sperm, eggs or embryos, thus preventing them being passed onto children—would be the ultimate negative eugenics tool, allowing parents to wipe out their children’s mutation load in one fell swoop.[40] That would be an escape from the logic of social Darwinism more permanent than medicine. It would no longer be true, as Shakespeare suggested in his twelfth sonnet, that “[N]othing ’gainst time’s scythe can make defence, save breed”,[41] and that again would be without relying on abortion or the sacrifice of liberties,

    The second main purpose of eugenics—or certainly of eugenicists—has traditionally been increasing human abilities. And that brings us onto the rocky territory of IQ. Francis Galton was spurred to invent eugenics by his view that in Britain those with the most productive characteristics of intelligence and personality were having fewer children than the least productive. Subsequent research confirmed part of this view by showing that in meritocratic societies wealth is correlated with ability. [42] In his review of the evidence for dysgenics, psychologist Richard Lynn shows that IQ has been negatively correlated with fertility in the USA and Europe since the beginning of the twentieth century when data were first collected.[43] This coincides with the well-known “demographic transition”, which started about 1850 in Europe when the wealthy ceased having the largest families. Although IQ test results continue to rise, there is evidence that general intelligence in Europe is actually declining, as measured by reaction time, a measure of processing speed, and thus intelligence at the neurophysiological level.[44]

    If this is indeed a problem, it might be reduced by pre-implantation screening in the IVF market. As evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller has stated, this could lead to substantial increases of intelligence within families that adopt it. That, however, would require the expansion of IVF services beyond the treatment of infertility. Initial expansion is being driven by demand for negative eugenics, in which parents choose an embryo with the lowest risk of genetic disease. Shortly before he died, Carl Djerassi, who developed the contraceptive pill, opined that improvements in IVF would, in time, induce most women to separate conception from sex. It will become normal, he thought, to use IVF to conceive because that allows screening of mutations; sex will be reserved for fun.[45]

    So when significant numbers of fertile women begin using IVF, we will know that market-based eugenics has left the launch pad. This could easily expand into positive eugenics where parents choose the best among healthy embryos in an attempt to give their children a better start in life. Most parents want their children to be not only healthy, but happy and successful. The surmise by James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, is plausible: “Once you have a way in which you can improve our children, no one can stop it.”[46] Watson wants parents to have access to genetic screening.[47] That would aid negative eugenics but it would make the slope to positive eugenics more slippery. [. . .]

    One benefit from widespread positive eugenics would be a greater prevalence of geniuses. Genius of intellect or character benefits the whole society, whether through scientific, technical, cultural or political innovation. That makes ultra-high intelligence a public good. Turning points in civilisation were based on macro-innovations—ideas and inventions of great novelty and far-reaching impact—produced by very clever individuals. These include the plough, writing, astronomical navigation, the steam engine and the semi-conductor.[69] Creativity of this magnitude stimulates the economy, improves life and helps society adapt to challenges. [. . .]

    As the innovations produced by highly intelligent people are public goods, it would seem prudent for representative governments to allow the reproductive choices that produce more of them. If most citizens adopted eugenic reproduction, the benefits of accelerated innovation could be gained without allowing an upper caste to develop. Further reducing the political risk is the altruistic bent of many gifted individuals. Historical research indicates that the ultra-intelligent often have had few or no children, even in earlier centuries when ability normally correlated with fertility.[71] At the same time they enriched industry and culture and increased the fitness of their nations.

    Salter is less enthusiastic about transgenic modifications of humans:

    A more basic objection to Church’s vision is its over-confidence. Manipulating the germline to remove defective mutations would be beneficial; but adding new gene variants—invented or taken from other species—would be reckless. The simplest downside would be ill health; the most complex would affect social behaviour two or three decades later, for example by disrupting social bonds. Significant changes to appearance or behaviour could reduce the sense of kinship between designed children and their parents and fellow citizens. Human ties could fray due to ethno-centrism and species-centrism.[54] If government regulation can achieve anything in this area, it should concentrate on preventing scientific arrogance being made flesh.


    Eugenics, ready or not part II: Can government eugenics be justified?

    Volume 59 Issue 6 (June 2015)

    Salter, Frank K

    Abstract: In the first part of this essay (Quadrant, May 2015) I adopted a libertarian stance on private reproductive choices and recommended a regulatory role for government aimed at curtailing excesses: informed citizens can generally be trusted to make wise choices regarding negative eugenics (that is, the weeding out of deleterious mutations); but positive eugenics – the attempt to improve beyond good health – should be closely regulated to prevent the creation of an elite caste. A caveat to these arguments is that it would be natural and adaptive for parents to choose embryos that will grow into competitive children. Those choices would not disrupt family ties because the chosen individuals would have the same genetic kinship as a naturally produced child. (That is not necessarily true of germline engineering, which is the editing of DNA.)

    “it is in the interest of American blacks to promote their own gene frequencies against those of American whites, even if in some respects it would be better for blacks themselves to change those gene frequencies.”

    It would certainly be against the genetic interests of blacks for all black women to be artificially inseminated by white men in the name of eugenics, regardless of the fact that this would be one way to increase black IQ. Similarly, the GNXP brand of “cognitive elitism”, in which hindoo muslim Razib dreamed of a “Jeurasian” overclass for white countries, certainly seems unlikely to be in the interest of the majority of these countries (and incredibly short-sighted, given that with current technology and selection within populations it’s easy to imagine boosting average IQs in a country like America by many multiples of what would be achievable with selective foreign immigration, without the permanent loss of genetic interests).


    Aeroguy Reply:

    Since you acknowledge the red queen’s race and the need to adapt. Who runs faster, the guy who is limited to embryo screening and waiting for random mutations or the guy who is willing to engineer his own mutations. We’ve been playing eugenics with plants for millennia, been artificially inducing random mutations for nearly a century, and genetically engineering for decades. We still have plenty of organisms that rely on asexual reproduction, you need only be at the forefront of applied adaptability if you strive for the apex. Even with an inferior level of adaptability other niches can be adapted to, scavenger is a popular alternative.


    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    Lol, I doubt salter can compute the entire utility of all future evolutions, we are not even close to being able to do that, evolution is littered with serendipity, trying to limit mating to specific populations is overestimated the amount of knowledge humans have, it could be very well necessary, afaik there exists no calculus of mating that is a part of evolutionary theory that would give you the necessary scientific ‘operations’ necessary to support your conclusions and I have yet to see you offer anything like that


    Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 12:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    I seriously doubt that such genetic interests or preferences based on genetic differences exist. First of all because there is no genetic difference between any human which EXIST. We are genetically same on 99.9% and 97% same with monkeys. Observable differences is in gene expression only.

    In case if such genetically encoded preferences exist, it can be observed in new born babies. But if you will show to new born white baby full of milk breast of black woman and full of milk breast of white woman, he will choose bigger breast. That is his genetically encoded preferences. That kind of preferences exist and it is neurologically encoded in all animals and birds also.

    Nowadays gene expression research any one interested can conduct in his home office. Few years back robotic cycler from Applied Biosystems
    cost USD 50000 and cost of consumables very low too. It can process on one go 1.92 million genotypes. Currently a lot of research conducted with screening of large number of variations in gene expressions. I hope, that time will come soon when such socio genetic theories will be not taken seriously by anyone without actual data on gene expression backing it up.


    Exfernal Reply:

    Huh? If the 99% is the same as 100% to you, know that a single point mutation might kill you. I’ll leave to your imagination how small would be the difference of one bp per whole genome. On the other hand, Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas.. We are half-bananas, according to your logic.

    If you have to troll, troll smarter.


    Exfernal Reply:

    One thousandth of twice the 3 billions of bp. Does it look like nothing?


    Posted on August 4th, 2015 at 3:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • NRx_N00B Says:

    What about genetic distance and recent common ancestry between population structures?

    On completely different note, there’s a huge plus side to ethnic heterogeneity, according to an article in ESR, Oxford Journals on the effect of immigration on support for welfare state spending: “Thus, this analysis provides clear evidence that ethnic heterogeneity affects support for social welfare expenditure—even in Sweden.”


    NRx_N00B Reply:

    FIX: “ethnic heterogeneity ***NEGATIVELY*** affects support for social welfare expenditure”


    Posted on August 5th, 2015 at 1:42 am Reply | Quote
  • Anonymous Says:

    Salter is making a philosophical argument, specifically a metaphysical one: Biological organisms are beings with the telos of self-perpetuation. Therefore people and any kind of organism, by virtue of being biological beings, are beings with the telos of self-perpetuation, regardless of what they believe or whether they act adaptively. Metaphysically, biological beings are beings with the telos of self-perpetuation.

    Individual biological organisms die, therefore the “self” of the telos of self-perpetuation must not be the individual organism istelf, but something else. That something else is genes. The “self” of the telos of self-perpetuation must be genes, since genes, unlike the mortal biological organism, can perpetuate. Furthermore, since individual biological organisms have this telos of genetic self-perpetuation, the genes of the “self” must be the “distinctive genes”. Finally, since genes in general and these “distinctive genes” in particular exist elsewhere in other organisms, the “self” exists elsewhere in other organisms as well. Individual biological organisms are beings with the telos of self-perpetuation, and this self exists outside the individual biological organism.

    Salter’s argument is premised on a metaphysical theory of what biological organisms “really” are or are “really” doing by virtue of being biological organisms. No matter what biological organisms actually do, as biological organisms, what they are really doing is being beings with the telos of self-perpetuation.

    His argument does seem to be premised on a theory of how or why individual biological organisms act (because they are beings with the telos of self-perpetuation). To the extent that organisms don’t behave according to Salter’s theory, or that genes don’t know or regard copies elsewhere in other organisms as themselves, it’s not clear what it has to do with anything. It seems to be just a metaphysical theory or a normative system of ethics.


    Posted on August 5th, 2015 at 7:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • RCB Says:

    I get the impression from Salter’s book that he believes he’s doing correct evolutionary theory. He appeals to Hamilton’s rule (incorrectly), for example, to argue that an Englishman resisting the immigration of two Bantu’s to England would be more adaptive than saving his own kid from drowning. Insofar as “adaptive” means what it usually means (alleles that cause this behavior would tend to spread when rare, at the expense of alternatives), it’s wrong. I can talk about this more, if anyone disputes that (not just by repeating JayMan’s arguments – it’s more complicated than that). But the point is: Insofar as people find Salter’s ideas interesting as an arbitrary moral philosophy, that’s fine. But if they think his use of evolutionary theory is correct, they’re wrong.


    Posted on August 13th, 2015 at 4:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • n/a Says:


    People can read our extended discussion and decide for themselves who’s right:

    Salter’s definition of “adaptive”:

    On Genetic Interests is an attempt to answer the empirical question: How would an individual behave in order to be adaptive in the modern world? I adopt the neo-Darwinian meaning of adaptive, which is to maximize the survival chances of one’s genes.

    As I explained to you repeatedly, we are individuals, not novel alleles. Our interests are not defined by the interests of a novel allele within us. In deciding whether or not a behavior is adaptive for an individual, it doesn’t matter whether or not a new mutation that promotes that behavior would tend to increase in frequency in a modern, large-scale society. What matters is the consequences for the individual’s genes in general. The overwhelming bulk of our genome does not consist of novel alleles. We share genes with members of our ethny relative to outgroups, and in the context of intergroup competition there’s no question one can conceive of situations where it would be much more adaptive to sacrifice oneself in defense of the group than to save one’s own child (irrespective of the scale of groups involved). There’s no question, as you ended up acknowledging, that as concerns the argument Salter actually makes (not the strawman you were reduced to arguing against), Salter is correct.

    Moreover, changes in our behavior are not primarily shaped by new mutations. We don’t have to throw our hands up if genetic evolution is ineffective at adapting us to large-scale intergroup competition in the modern world in time to prevent our replacement by third-world immigrants. Culture is a much more immediate avenue for shaping behavior. And it’s not hard to imagine any number of cultural strategies more adaptive than those currently dominant in the West in the face of replacement levels of immigration.


    RCB Reply:

    N/A –

    Thanks for linking to that.

    The conclusion that we arrived at re “adaptive” is that Salter’s definition of adaptive (and yours, apparently) is not the definition that evolutionary theorists use. I don’t think he realizes this. By a different definition, of course he can be correct. But he uses Hamilton’s rule incorrectly, if the goal is to use it for the purpose Hamilton intended – that was the point of my post here.

    I don’t want to get into repeating all the same arguments we made before. I will briefly note that selection on a behavior-causing allele depends on its fitness relative to other alleles at the same locus (not relative to the sum of all alleles across the genome, or any such thing). This is true for every locus across the genome that affects the behavior. Evolutionary theorists, including Hamilton, do what I do: they make models of natural selection acting on the genes (at one or many loci) that cause the behavior. If those alleles die out before their competitors, it’s called negative selection on the behavior. So, in the world of evolutionary theory, it is simply incorrect to say that “What matters is the consequences for the individual’s genes in general.”


    Posted on August 13th, 2015 at 6:27 pm Reply | Quote

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