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Thread: A Social Darwinism Question

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    A Social Darwinism Question

    Suppose we lived in a sort of fascist state that required you to obtain a license in order to reproduce. The criteria would be that you have to demonstrate that you fall in the top 90% of an intelligence test. The bottom 10% of each generation would not be allowed to reproduce, perhaps artificially sterilized either by vasectomy or tubal ligation. You could still have as much sex as you want. And no one would be required to reproduce. What would society look like after 1000 years? Forget the morality of such a system of government. This is just a massive scientific experiment.

    Would the test have to change with each generation?

    Other thoughts about such a society?

    SLD

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Suppose we lived in a sort of fascist state that required you to obtain a license in order to reproduce. The criteria would be that you have to demonstrate that you fall in the top 90% of an intelligence test. The bottom 10% of each generation would not be allowed to reproduce, perhaps artificially sterilized either by vasectomy or tubal ligation. You could still have as much sex as you want. And no one would be required to reproduce. What would society look like after 1000 years? Forget the morality of such a system of government. This is just a massive scientific experiment.

    Would the test have to change with each generation?

    Other thoughts about such a society?

    SLD
    First things first: IQ tests have to be changed with every generation as is. Google is your friend and "Flynn effect" is a search term you might want to use.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Suppose we lived in a sort of fascist state that required you to obtain a license in order to reproduce. The criteria would be that you have to demonstrate that you fall in the top 90% of an intelligence test. The bottom 10% of each generation would not be allowed to reproduce, perhaps artificially sterilized either by vasectomy or tubal ligation. You could still have as much sex as you want. And no one would be required to reproduce. What would society look like after 1000 years? Forget the morality of such a system of government. This is just a massive scientific experiment.

    Would the test have to change with each generation?

    Other thoughts about such a society?

    SLD
    Well, given that genetics are a very poor predictor of IQ, and IQ a very non-robust measure of competency, I suspect that society would look more or less similar to how it does now.

    Aside from the looming revolution that would be fomenting in the disadvantaged neighborhoods your purge hit the hardest. Your victims would not be the only ones to lose their reproductive capability in the long run, that's certain. Death also achieves this end, and it would be flowing freely before too long under such an attempted programme. People will only put up with so much. Why do eugenicists always think that others will just politely let them strip their rights for a "greater good" that only they get to define? People just don't work like that. Even if it were right, it would be wrong.

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    If survival of the fittest through competition is Darwinism then the OP is not Darwinism.

    The Nazis enacted it within the SS. If you met the standard you were encouraged to have kids with many partners.

    In the long run selective breeding is self defeating. Dog breeds have specific problems.

    Heinlein wrote the Lazurus Long books. A welthy persons funds the start of a breeding program. People from families with histories of longevity are paid to marry.

    The result, very long lived people.

    Do children of high IQ parents tend to be high IQ? If so how much is nurture and how much nature?

    I read Eisenstein's biography. His family had some land of electrical business. He credited an uncle with teaching him creative visualization and to see complex things in simple terms and images..

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    Meh. The bottom 10% of the intelligence spectrum probably already select themselves out of the gene pool. That's the origin of the satirical 'Darwin Awards'.

    I suspect that the result of the thought experiment outlined in the OP on human intelligence over the long term would be indistinguishable from doing nothing - even if we had a means to measure 'intelligence'.

    And such an experiment would not be able to run for the long term - people are quite good at revolting against impositions on their reproductive rights. Even the worst eugenics campaigns of the early twentieth century only lasted a few decades.

    The social and cultural impacts would FAR outweigh any genetic effects, if history is any guide.

    A 1,000 year reich has a demonstrated history of only lasting a dozen years.

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    But there’s still something I don’t understand. Darwin cited artificial selection in animals as an analogy to natural selection. If we can artificially select for features in animals we breed, why can’t we do the same with humans?

    Granted there are many obstacles to such a scheme as has been pointed out. But that’s not my question. I’m just curious if you could artificially select for human traits as you can with other animals.

    SLD

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    But there’s still something I don’t understand. Darwin cited artificial selection in animals as an analogy to natural selection. If we can artificially select for features in animals we breed, why can’t we do the same with humans?

    Granted there are many obstacles to such a scheme as has been pointed out. But that’s not my question. I’m just curious if you could artificially select for human traits as you can with other animals.

    SLD
    Sure, if you ignore ethical concerns, it would be possible to selectively breed humans.

    But only those traits that can be reliably measured could be selected for - which rules out intelligence.

    And the practical obstacles are large - you need to isolate your subject population from the general population - nearly 8 billion individuals is far too many to manage, even if you choose to select for a very easily detected and measured trait.

    And humans reproduce slowly, so many generations would be required to see viable results - that is, traits in the subject group that couldn't have been more easily found in the general population.

    So it's very difficult; Would take longer than several lifetimes, so would require a very stable political desire to continue the experiment which seems unlikely to persist; And it would be hugely unethical (which would underpin the difficulty in maintaining the desire to continue the program for the necessary many generations).

    I am struggling to think of any similarly personally intrusive public policy that was sustained for the several centuries that would be required. As I mentioned, the 1,000 year reich only made it to twelve years. That's only about half a generation.

    Selective breeding of domesticated animals requires that those breeding populations are kept secure and isolated from uncontrolled sexual encounters.

    This is not something I could envisage being popular enough for long enough amongst humans to show results without a bloody overthrow of whoever was attempting to enforce such conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    But there’s still something I don’t understand. Darwin cited artificial selection in animals as an analogy to natural selection. If we can artificially select for features in animals we breed, why can’t we do the same with humans?

    Granted there are many obstacles to such a scheme as has been pointed out. But that’s not my question. I’m just curious if you could artificially select for human traits as you can with other animals.

    SLD
    That is called eugenics and predated Nazis. There are well known examples of aristocratic inbreeding. The 'Hapsburg Nose And Jaw'. Inbred hemophilia in European royals. During immigration circa 1900 east Europeans were judged inferior. The was the 'sconce' of phrenology that gunged intelligence by the skull dimensions.

    The is a dark history associated with the idea of improving the human breed.

    Race horse owners do not make a lot of money racing. They make money for stud fees. The term Darwinism has become a historical reference super ceded by Theory Of Evolution.

    The recent insertion of black African and white American genes in the British royal line gives them a healthy infusion of fresh blood.

    What is coming is those that can afford it will be able to modify genes in sperm and egg. It could lead to a genetically divided society.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haemop...ropean_royalty
    Haemophilia figured prominently in the history of European royalty in the 19th and 20th centuries. Britain's Queen Victoria, through two of her five daughters, Princess Alice and Princess Beatrice, passed the mutation to various royal houses across the continent, including the royal families of Spain, Germany and Russia. Victoria's son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany also suffered from the disease. For this reason, haemophilia was once popularly called "the royal disease".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics
    Eugenics (/juːˈdʒɛnɪks/; from Greek εὐγενής eugenes 'well-born' from εὖ eu, 'good, well' and γένος genos, 'race, stock, kin')[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population by excluding (through a variety of morally criticized means) certain genetic groups judged to be inferior, and promoting other genetic groups judged to be superior.[4][5] The definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined by Francis Galton in 1883. The concept predates the term; Plato suggested applying the principles of selective breeding to humans around 400 BCE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    But there’s still something I don’t understand. Darwin cited artificial selection in animals as an analogy to natural selection. If we can artificially select for features in animals we breed, why can’t we do the same with humans?

    Granted there are many obstacles to such a scheme as has been pointed out. But that’s not my question. I’m just curious if you could artificially select for human traits as you can with other animals.

    SLD
    We absolutely do. Mate selection in humans is still as active an influence on the genetic pool as it has ever been; whatever traits are seen as aesthetic and desirable in one generation, expect to see them strongly represented in the next. But that next generation will have formed their own ideals by the time they are reproducing; we rely on culture, not instinct, and the tastes and requirements of a community can be expected to change often. Where we see the most interesting variations in the human gene pool are in small, rural communities with significant physical challenges to survival. Many high-altitude peoples have adaptations for living at heights, for instance, differing in lung and sinus capacity from their lowland relations even after just a few centuries in some cases. This effect is, of course, erased just as easily if people start moving around and intermarrying.

    As for Darwinian style selective advantages, we HAVE one, a big one, our innate capacity for acquiring culture and language. The power of our brains tends to override any other physical adaptations. We adapt with our heads and through collective acquired knowledge and skills, not by waiting for a new gene to show up. Quicker and ultimately more impactful. And everyone has more or less similar brains; they are very rapidly adaptive organs themselves, and you can push them to do whatever you desire for them to do absent neurological disorders and the like.

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