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Reproductive Perspectives: A Review of Books in the Field of Genetics
IN GENETHICS: MORAL ISSUES IN THE CREATION OF LIFE, David Heyd claims that "Theoretical interest in genesis problems has emerged only after being forced on us by the new dilemmas of demography, genetic manipulation, 'wrongful life' cases, and self-imposed threats to the very future of the human race. Do we have an obligation to bring new people into the world? Do we have duty to have children? to avoid having miserable children? Is there a right to be born, or a right not to be born, or a right to be born healthy? Can moral principles guide us in artificial genetic molding of humans? Is a world with n happy persons morally better than a world with no persons at all? than a world with 1/2n equally happy persons? than a world with 2n persons who are only mildly happy? Is there a value in the existence (and perpetuation) of the human species as such, regardless of the quality of life of its members? These are some of the questions involved in genesis situations, or at least implied (or presupposed) by them."
This book is an excellent introduction to the philosophical questions facing eugenics and genetic engineering, but like any book based on philosophical questions it can raise more questions than it answers and it too often assumes people have attitudes and wishes that may not be universal, a tendency of most philosophical works. That is, without asking or surveying human attitudes, it just assumes people feel a certain way, a fault I find in many of the existential works dealing with the human dilemma of secularization and the loss of meaning in life. For me, an interest in eugenics cuts to the very core of why I exist and what life means. As a member of society I have a right or an interest in reproductive products, specifically the quality of the gene pool as carried by future generations. And that interest for the present can be focused in just two areas, the average intelligence of the population, and in eliminating genetic defects that lead to misery or disease. Heyd seems on the other hand, throughout his work, to disengage the existing population from any future populations in a way that is intellectually stimulating and yet dismisses continuity, as Dawkins describes it in The Selfish Gene. Eugenics is fundamentally a movement that recognizes the futility in hanging onto human religious dogma to thwart our fear of death, for a secular religion that celebrates the overcoming of our human dependence on our selfish genes by taking command of them. It replaces false hope with an embracing of our human potential and our individual vulnerabilities, recognizing that our fear of nonexistence is only one mechanism that our selfish genes have used to perpetuate themselves. Nature equips all animals with both pain avoidance and with mechanisms to hang onto life by all means, even in the face of great pain and suffering. Humans can now face that contradiction and strive for more meaning in personal life, saying when necessary to the selfish genes NO! I have my own purposes now that don't include you. The genes are now our slaves, not us theirs.
Heyd finds cloning to be especially repugnant, based on a belief that parents want their children to be somewhat different from them while at the same time being very much like them. I find this an odd position to take, especially since identical twins seem to be quite normal with mirror images of themselves. But aside from merely assuming what parents want in their offspring, cloning has several other reasons for being beneficial to society as a whole, while any adverse psychological repercussions can only be speculated about, and I suspect they are conjured up precisely because cloning again challenges our fabrications about life and death and our escape from reality in a hope of a hereafter. Cloning challenges these delusions about our invulnerability.
Cloning has tremendous potentials and benefits for society. Humans with very unique abilities (emergent traits) could be cloned because the odds are extremely rare for such individuals to occur naturally, and their contribution to society is so great. That is, some of the most brilliant scientists and intellectuals are so valuable to all of us that it is to the benefit of society to duplicate as many of them as we can to benefit from their rare intelligence. The argument will be made of course that an Einstein or a Galton may have the genes for genius, but environmental conditions will move each cloned individual in different ways. To that I say great, we only need one Theory of Relativity, not dozens proven over an over again. But what is important is that these very rare combinations of genes that allow an individual to be both brilliant and creative are in fact worth copying over and over again because they are extremely rare and are of benefit to society. And by knowing ahead of time that the genius potential is there, and that there are many clones of the same genetic formulation, we can allow them each to develop their gifts in their own way, in the wombs of the families they will be nurtured by. And each one contributing to science and society in their own brilliant way. No other genetic technology I know of could increase so dramatically the number of super-achievers needed to solve ever more complex problems.
Also, cloning could be used to study the numerous ways that nature and nurture impact our intelligence. Twin studies have been very useful for this purpose, but the fact that the twins share the same environment in the womb does not eliminate the possibility that twins sharing the same close space compete for nutrition and may not actually have identical environments as assumed, or that the prenatal environment of disadvantaged children is the cause of their low intelligence instead of genes. Cloning would allow the implantation of identical beings into numerous wombs and would finally answer the question--is it really in our genes as all the data has shown so far?
Heyd admits that children are never born for themselves, but only for the benefit of the parents, "People produce children for a variety of reasons: emotional satisfaction, to provide an extra work force in the family, to have someone to transmit the family name into the future, to guarantee support in old age, to obey God's commandments, to gain self-esteem or reputation for virility, and so forth. None of these reasons or motives refers to the welfare of the child; none of these takes the child as an end in itself." Well, if children serve to benefit the parents, why can't cloned beings benefit the society. Heyd never addresses this legitimate claim. If the nation promotes cloning for bettering society as a whole, while giving life to beings that would otherwise not exist, how are the cloned children better off not being born? They are selected as being the best of the best without genetic disease or adverse behavioral traits, and will be given the very finest opportunities to live their lives in the fullest way. Would not the nation and the cloned children both benefit from using this technology for the good of everyone?
Another reason for cloning is to preserve what is truly unique. Again, rare genius is had by the luck of emergent traits, not by any unique method of nurturing, and once available should be preserved just like preserving an historic building or landmark (though they could more easily be rebuilt or constructed from plans). Rawls states "each generation must . . . preserve the gains of culture and civilization . . ." But if this is true, it is even more important to preserve the genes that created the advancements in culture and society be preserving the gene pool that created it in the first place. Culture is dependent on the genetic quality of the people that make it up. It cannot exist in a vacuum. Chimpanzees would not be able to preserve our culture if we gave it to them, the genes must be in place to keep it going. Culture comes from good genes, not the other way around. Drop a thousand bright people onto a deserted island and culture will thrive, while it has never taken root in sub-Saharan Africa without outside influences because the low level of intelligence made it untenable. And even now, South Africa's success is non-sustainable as whites flee the chaos and dissolution of a nation in decline.
Opposition from cloning also comes from what Heyd describes as "deep ecology, in which man and nature are related in a way that would make man lose his identity outside of that relationship and is based on veneration of nonhumans." This view is based on a new moral status for nature, and calls for an establishment of a new ethics transcending the traditional anthropocentric one. But of course this is a complete absurdity based on one simple observation: I highly doubt that man, mammals, plants, and viruses are ever going to sit down at a table (or tree) and come to an ethical agreement regarding behavior. If these wacko environmentalists can get all pathogens to agree to never infect another human being, I would be happy to consider such a proposal. Nature assigns no value for existence, nonexistence, or the condition of the planet. Nature just is, and the genetic code is merely an algorithm that has taken on what we call life. Meaning and purpose are arbitrary outside of the perpetuation of this algorithm, and man alone has the ability to ascribe meaning and purpose any way he wishes, individual by individual. I have a profound love and respect for animals, but it is mine alone and I do not expect others to share my empathy like I do, because it is just part of my nature, not part of my moral construct.
A final point I would like to make is that we are now locked into an arms race with regards to intelligence and its genetic basis, thanks to birth control, abortion, and the science of genetics. Never again will we be ignorant about where we are headed demographically and nationally. This raises and interesting dilemma. Along with the technology for weapons of mass destruction, would we be better off with a world population of advanced humans with an average high intelligence? or one where the overall intelligence was so low that technology could not be used for nuclear war for example? That is, as protection against a global conflagration, could a dysgenic program work where we would purposefully make all humans stupid? The answer is no, because there would always be an elite that would be necessary to carry the program forward [backward?]. That is, the masses would have to voluntarily accept enslavement by a chosen few, who would promise to self-destruct after the mission had been completed. Fat chance. No, there is only one direction for purposeful evolution, and that is a dramatic increase in intelligence over our present norm, which the Jewish model of eugenics has shown us is viable, attainable, and very beneficial for those who have attained this golden blessing that the rest of us now want to enjoy.
IN QUEST FOR PERFECTION: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings, Gina Maranto gives an excellent accounting of eugenics and infanticide over the past 7,000 years. That is, humans have always tried to influence birth outcomes. She shows that eugenics is a natural desire among both individuals and groups that it seems to be an inborn trait. And up until the Holocaust it had never really been questioned. Humans want to better their own kind, and it can be easily seen as part of an evolutionary process, along with infanticide, to play the odds on destroying one child while giving a better life to a second, rather than chancing losing both. This competition between siblings, members of a tribe, and attempts to kill off other competing groups is seen in canines, chimpanzees and humans groups alike throughout history. Genocide is one way to better the chances of your own group over competing groups, and is no stranger to human evolution that is steeped in blood.
The first two nations of people that competed with each other in a purely eugenic way rather than simply through human slaughter were the ancient Greeks and Jews. As MacDonald points out, the Jews began to practice eugenics initially to compete with the highly literate Greeks. While the Greek civilizations died out, the Jews alone have been able to sustain their eugenic programs to this day primarily through a fixation on purity of blood and a means of intellectual testing that elevated the best while discarding the failures (to become gentiles). And the Jewish secular religion today is singularly obsessed with blood purity over any other concerns, it could easily be called a eugenics secular religion. Maranto claims, like all good liberals, that the National Socialists were the first to adopt this blood purity obsession, showing again how the most learned intellectuals can practice extreme self delusion in pursuit of a political agenda. She also claims that medical geneticists tinkering may be botched just like other attempts at altering nature like artificial wetlands or self-regulating biospheres. But again, one can only be skeptical about the viability of eugenics by choosing to ignore the success of Jewish eugenics.
She does admit that almost half of all Americans in surveys would favor genetic manipulations to improve the health, intelligence and attractiveness of their children. And where there is a desire and the technology, eugenics is here to stay, even though she would like to see it go away. Overall, the book is a very good history of infanticide and humanity's utter disregard for children through most of its history. One interesting story of many she conveys is how the Catholic church routinely accepted abandoned children, and forthwith allowed most of them to die for lack of interest or concern. So much for Christian compassion.
Finally, the obligatory renunciation of the possibility of modern eugenics is hypothesized by an argument that unlike breeders who practice inbreeding to fix a few specific traits, humans mix up their genes and do not practice inbreeding so fixation would be impossible. Of course this is an absurdity. With regards to eugenic practices for the selection of intelligence, no one is stating that any one gene needs to go to fixation, intelligence is a combination of many genes and these genes can be increased without any form of inbreeding. But even with inbreeding, as practiced by Judaism where it has been historically practiced by uncles marrying nieces, there is little evidence that exogamy or endogamy are requirements for improving intelligence. (I am personally agnostic on the subject of hybrid vigor--waiting for additional evidence.)
And of course no book of this kind is complete without denouncing both The Bell Curve and the now undisputed work of numerous adoption and twin studies in showing that intelligence is highly heritable by quoting the thoroughly anti-empirical pseudoscientist Stephen Jay Gould et al. (See my web site for citations and quotes by other scientists, including Dawkins' latest book Unweaving the Rainbow showing that Gould has been thoroughly discredited in the field of evolution because of his unyielding commitment to Marxist propaganda over scientific honesty.)
IN UNZIPPED GENES: TAKING CHARGE OF BABY-MAKING, Martine Rothblatt states "This book is a call to action, a manifesto for the adoption of a new bioethics of birth. We must formulate our genomic ethics now, or we will assuredly suffer from its absence later. The time has come to declare, for the benefit of all persons living and those not yet born, that demography is as important as democracy, and that an attack on any one demographic group is an attack on us all. The time has come to snuff out the possibility of genomically inflicted demographic death, and to usher in the new millennium with a strong and protective bioethics of birth." And so begins an hysterical diatribe that sounds more like a postmodernist attack on science itself than anything that can be defined as a rational formulation of policy. In fact, Rothblatt seems to be very confused about just what genes are and how they are expressed, which makes sense when a clear reading of this book is more a call for Marxist propaganda than empiricism.
Rothblatt states that demographic death occurs when certain genomes are not allowed to exist. And this is where the text fails to explain how this can happen. The genome of every individual (excluding identical twins) is unique. So it would be impossible to wipe out certain genomes beyond that of the individual! For example, abortion would wipe out one specific genome, but Rothblatt is in favor of reproductive freedom including abortion. So she is not talking about that. So just what is demographic death? Well, it is really an attempt to frighten the uneducated into stopping research in an area where Rothblatt feels frightened. Science is closing in on what makes us tick and she doesn't like it one bit.
Rothblatt throws together such disparate concepts of demography as sex, disabilities caused by genetic disease, differences between groups of people, etc. But genetics plays a different role in each one of these fuzzy categories. Of all the available genes, each individual, family, culture, group, or race is made up of different frequencies of pretty much the same genes. So these categories could never be defined absolutely in terms of a specific genome or genetic pattern. So the whole argument falls apart before she gets to page three of her argument for stopping demographic death. So rather than a coherent review of this book, I will only be able to point out the various confused arguments she puts forth.
Rothblatt advocates, in the traditional Marxist manner, that the government should assure that everyone has absolute reproductive freedom guaranteed, again apparently using one group's money for another group's reproductive success. This goes far beyond freedom. It is a call for egalitarianism and a flattening of society. It is a call for the most unproductive and failed life forms to be able to breed as fast and as often as they wish, without any responsibility for contributing to the maintenance of society. People who have no hope of getting a job do not have a right to have as many children as they want at my expense. This goes far beyond the concept of a safety net for those who have stumbled in life, to a generational approach to guaranteeing a permanent and ever growing underclass that would sink society permanently into a third world status. Which I have no doubt Rothblatt would like to see. But the fact is, if one is to have total reproductive freedom, along with that goes total responsibility to suffer the consequences of that freedom. If medicine makes available genetic testing, and a woman decides to have a child she knows will be genetically handicapped, then I must assume she is willing to care for that child without society's support or pity. Freedom includes the right to assume responsibility for your actions.
Rothblatt then goes on to lament reproductive freedom when it is used in a manner that she does not approve of. In India because of female dowry and in China because males are desired over females, using reproductive science, families are aborting females in order to have males. She considers this to be demographic death even though there is no difference genetically if a family passes on their inheritance through a female or a male. Perhaps the best thing that could happen for women in these two countries (and others) is that they decline in numbers to such an extent that it permanently changes the culture into a non-sexist one. This could give future value to females in these countries rather than devaluing women as she states. There is no harm done and the same number of people are born either way. And as Heyd pointed out, children are always brought into this world for the parent's benefit, never their own. A life never lived can never be pitied for itself, as even Rothblatt admits. One disingenuous aspect of Rothblatt's argument against this practice is she throws out numbers and statistics without every summarizing the data so that the reader has a feel for the magnitude of the loss of females. Many times what is not stated is more reflective of the political agenda of authors than what is. She obviously knows what the impact is but has chosen not to reveal it.
She then turns to a rather oblique category of people that includes the handicapped, homosexuals, the obese, etc. What is really interesting is she is here stating that all of these are supposedly genetic rather than environmental, and yet she ignores those of low intelligence apparently in keeping with the left's credo of never admitting intelligence is primarily or even somewhat genetic. This is a curious omission in light of her concern for these other groups that may not be genetic at all. A handicapped person can come upon this condition by accident or disease alone, why would we not try to eliminate genetic disease when we can? Clearly, of the many ways we use eugenics, the responsible parent that can create numerous combinations of a child's genome, would want to select one that is free of debilitating genes. There is absolutely no reason to bring a child into the world with a severe genetic handicap instead of one with better chances of a happier life without the handicap. And yet, Rothblatt would encourage us to have children who will undoubtedly suffer so that she can advance a diversity agenda that ignores the happiness of the individual. (Her agenda is clearly outlined in Kevin MacDonald's new book The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements to be reviewed in a forthcoming article.)
Rothblatt goes on to state that "Demographic death is the extinction of a social group, of a unique piece of human culture." This very confused thinking is hard to decipher. Is culture carried in the genes of aborted females in China? Is culture carried in the genetic defects we would rather live without if we could? Should we not have vaccines against disease because it may change culture is some bizarre way? She seems to think that by using eugenics to improve the prospects of future generations, we are somehow destroying culture. But she ends this absurd proposition with the radical environmentalists' proposition that "Any genome can give rise to any kind of person." This bit of pseudoscience shows just how extreme her position is. Note that there are no behavior geneticists or sociobiologists that don't whole heartily endorse that we are a combination of nature and nurture. Anyone who would make such a statement, that genes have no impact on a person's life prospects, can only hold such a position by completely ignoring all of the available research to the contrary. She is plain and simple a propagandist ignoring all empirical data. And this is rather scary as she is the Chairperson of the Bioethics Subcommittee of the International Bar Association!
Later she writes, "People are not their genome, they are independent souls with equivalent rights and dignity regardless of chromosomal configurations." Now this sounds like something from the religious right, and yet she later argues that there is no particular place in time that life begins, a concept also put forth by many evolutionists. So exactly when does one get a soul? Where does it come from? What evidence does she have that we have a soul? Most scientists dismiss the concept of a definable soul, which if Rothblatt actually believes as she states that all of nature is interconnected, then animals must also have a soul. This opens up the dilemma that if demographic death is wrong for humans because it permanently destroys some unique genetic combinations (which it really can't do), then we shouldn't try to get rid of AIDS because this is also a unique form of genetic code that needs to be preserved for the sake of diversity. Bizarre reasoning, but easy to assemble when one is using self-deception to put forth a purely political agenda. There is no sound science in this book aside from bits and pieces she has gleamed from others for her subterfuge.
"The blind, the deaf, the fat, and the freaks suffer not from pain but from prejudice. Their disease is only society's disease with them." She would like to have us believe the pain of physical disability would go away if only we were more tolerant. Such a rebuttal must by nature be anecdotal, because I am unaware of any studies showing where the pain comes from for different types of deformities. But I would recommend that she read Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich by Irving. Goebbels, the Hater of Mankind, was born with a club foot that pained him both physically and mentally his whole life. So who or what caused his hatred? I would rather future Goebbels be spared any unnecessary pain in favor of having children who are free of hatred and remorse. And didn't Stalin have a deformed arm, a disabled body that slaughter millions? So who are the haters, those with good health and prosperity or those shackled by deformity? Only empirical investigations into human nature can tell, but until then I would opt for good health. There is no evidence that those who are handicapped provide society with any increase in tolerance or goodness. If Rothblatt can provide such a preposterous assertion I would be happy to reconsider the issue.
And again, the obligatory dismissal of race. "Unfortunately, most of the followers of Galton, up to and including Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the authors of a much publicized and frankly pseudoscientific tract called The Bell Curve, make a major human classification error that Darwin himself knew enough to avoid. That error is to subdivide humanity into 'races' based on skin tone, hair texture, and facial features, and to assume that certain behavioral genes go with certain 'races.' Scientists are clearer now than ever that 'race' as society knows it--black, white, and so on--is a political creation, not a genetic reality. We are fooled by our eyes that the dozen or so genes that determine melanin content or hair texture can be lumped into five or so racial categories." This is of course a distortion of what is meant by race, because M&H never claimed any race had certain genes, only that different groups of people have different frequencies or probabilities of genes. This reminds me of a black politician that recently wanted to pass a law that owners of Rottweilers or pit bulls obtain liability insurance because these canines are prone to attack people. What if a person has a mixed rot' and pit bull, is it still classified as one or the other or no longer suspect of being dangerous? Do we guess how dangerous a dog could be by how much they look like one of the more aggressive dogs? How are breeds of dogs different than human races, both are judged by external differences and are so classified. And finally, does that mean that we can demand of young black males that they obtain liability insurance or be castrated because blacks on average have more testosterone and are about ten times more violent than other racial groups (see Rushton)? For a hundred years now, the left has been trying to claim race does not exist. It really does not matter to eugenicists, we can talk just as meaningfully about various groups of people, and divide them up any way we like to look at what phenotypes (the expression of genes) are being expressed, including intelligence (see my article on the intelligence of dogs). Finally, her claim that M&H's work is pseudoscientific flies in the face of logic. Their work is being reanalyzed, deciphered, and looked at by many other empirically minded scientists that do not operate under a political agenda, unlike the postmodernists who dismiss the scientific method altogether. But this is how they try to win, by claiming that all science is pseudoscientific if it does not adhere to a Marxist perspective. Even bad science can be used to build upon, but non-science is pure dogma and worthless to real scientists.
Rothblatt does embrace some forms of eugenics while condemning others. There is personal eugenics (a couple's decision alone), social eugenics (the state encourages eugenic outcomes), negative eugenics (like getting rid of genetic defects), and positive eugenics (like selecting for higher intelligence). I'll only note that she is in favor of personal eugenics but condemns social eugenics, and yet we already have social dysgenics when welfare perpetuates the breeding of the underclass at the expense of the overclass. But of course this is never admitted to because the left is in total denial that genes have any impact on where people end up on the social ladder. As to negative eugenics, screening for genetic defects is already being done and will continue at an accelerated pace by both the state (free clinics, etc.) and by couples. Positive personal eugenics is already being practiced by one who selects a mate with the quality of the children in mind, and I'm sure Rothblatt is a result of many such matches by her ancestors. So the only question is, will society be allowed to encourage social positive eugenics, such as tax incentives for the cognitive elite to have more children? This is already being done in Singapore where the state gives rewards to college graduates who produce more children. In the US this could be accomplished by giving substantial tax credits for each child, but in such a way it would only benefit those with higher incomes to increase the number of children born to the overclass. At the same time, we would only dispense welfare checks to mothers who agree to Norplant implants, to be removed when and if they are able to earn a living on their own. I see no oppression in these eugenic practices, no more than we have now, demanding that some Americans subsidize others they have no relation to or obligation to. And this is what probably disturbs Rothblatt so much. Eugenics in all of its forms is already here and here to stay, and they feel overwhelmed by the scientific advances that will bring it into full play in the next few years (the Human Genome Project is expected to be completed in 2003).
Rothblatt's right wing authoritarianism really comes out in this book when she calls for a national program of inocuseeding, where all males at say puberty will have their sperm stored by the state, and then the males will be given vasectomies to be forever sterile. Somehow she feels this is necessary to assure that women are not treated as 'mother machines'. To me it merely sounds like a hateful vendetta against men (I had a vasectomy before I met my wife at the age of 21--I was practicing my own form of eugenics at a very early age. I was intelligent, but when I looked around at my relatives I had very little faith in what I would ultimately pass on to the next generation). But she does spend a lot of time on the concept and somehow feels that social eugenics is immoral but inocuseeding is absolutely necessary to bring value back to having children. Good luck in sorting this logic out. Why one is immoral and the other not is beyond me.
Finally, she states "One of the fundamental fallacies of eugenics is: Making 'better people' will make a better world. I've been to lots of ivory towers. They are nice places to visit, but I wouldn't want to live in one. The message of euthenics makes much more sense: Making a better world makes a better world. Genes don't offer a sense of accomplishment. Only accomplishment itself offers this bedrock [reason for existing]. And the magnitude of accomplishment depends not at all on one's genetic starting point. Whether we climb from a canyon to a cliff or from a meadow to a mountain peak, it is the climb, celebrated by society, that makes our world a wondrous place." Well, living and working in a multicultural urban area, and having just returned from a one day visit to Oxford where I was fortunate to get Dawkin's latest book for the flight back to America, I can tell you it is a very wonderful world where the truly intelligent dominate, without crime and poverty. But each to their own, maybe she likes being raped or the fear of it on a daily basis. But again she is in denial of our evolutionary past. The one thing that makes humans unique is there intelligence, and that could have only occurred through adaptation. We don't expect to see monkeys go to college, or to promote welfare amongst other monkeys because they do not have the cognitive equipment to undertake such a social reconstruction. And making a better world is transient and unenduring compared to making a better human. When all people are free of poverty because they can be productive, when there is little or no crime because intelligence and morality are intimately linked by knowing right from wrong, when every generation is fully equipped with the genetic capital to understand the world around them, while more and more of the people are without debilitating genetic disease so we can devote more time and attention to those who succumb to accident or disease, then we will have a better world. Not one that has to expend more and more resources supporting more and more people of low intelligence because of our dysgenic policies.
IN UNRAVELING DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life, Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetskii gives a clear understanding of genetics without political overtones. For a good understanding of the mechanics of genes this is an excellent book. But he is not without some philosophical thoughts on the subject. "It is very hard to admit that there is only one single reason for each of us to come into this world: to transmit our DNA to the next generation. There is absolutely no other purpose for us to be born. It is very uncomfortable to realize that our body is actually nothing more than a shell to carry DNA. There is no difference, with respect to this goal of existence, between a human and a bacterium, or a simple virus, or even a plasmid. From the biological viewpoint, people have been wandering in darkness trying to find the goal of their existence in cults, religions, music, poetry, and fine arts. Although they all have the same goal, various species differ drastically with respect to the means they have at their disposal to reach this goal. Keeping in mind the simplicity of the goal, the diversity and the degree of sophistication that nature demonstrates seems truly amazing. However, if you think about it, you will realize that under conditions of fierce competition for limited resources, more primitive organisms should eventually lose to more sophisticated organisms, let alone different species. It still remains to he seen whether humans are sophisticated enough to avoid eventually following the fate of dinosaurs. One can state that the above argument is correct only for rather sophisticated organisms, like animals, and that primitive organisms like bacteria, viruses, and plasmids compensate for their lack of sophistication by their ability to multiply with fantastic speed." The above is unabashed science, bringing you stark reality without cowardice and aversion. Richard Dawkins coined the term the selfish gene, and in his latest book Unweaving the Rainbow he takes on the assumption that genes are destiny. Humans alone can use their immense creative power not only to build upon science and technology, we can create and purposefully direct our own evolution. This is the most creative endeavor ever undertaken, and our best hope for peace and happiness without disease or want while turning from the material to the intellectual. Marxists would deny people this intellectual world for one filled with material needs only. For leftist intellectuals to deny others access to this world is cowardly, elitist and hateful.
IN THIS SHORT BOOK THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: Cracking the Code Within Us by Elizabeth L. Marshall, details of the Project are discussed in a clear and rational manner, devoid of the scare tactics by those who oppose genetics. She explains some of the genetic diseases that can be cured and points out that the Project could eventually lead to discovering the genetic errors responsible for more than 4,000 inherited diseases. She also assures us that intelligence is a combination of many complex genes, and we should not be looking for a cure for stupidity or a magic bullet for genius. Genetic intelligence can only be increased for the near future by good breeding.
She does answer the question about the number of girl babies not born in China due to sex selection: an estimated 1.7 million a year in a population of 1 billion. This explains why Rothblatt didn't want to give an exact number. With a slightly over-representation of females born to males born naturally, there are already many more females and 1.7 million less in this large a population can only help to give women more value in the future. But demographic death it is not!
One sickening note that again Rothblatt would applaud, Marshall does state that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation opposes genetic testing to eliminate this devastating condition and would prefer to have a sampling of these crippled children around for our entertainment and enlightenment. To me, these are the real haters of mankind and are truly the modern day equivalent of Dr. Mengela, the Nazi's Doctor of Death. Would we likewise allow lead paint in ghettos because we would rather cure lead poisoning than eradicate its cause? Should we not try to get people to stop smoking because then the few smokers left would feel discriminated against? This perverted philosophy would continue sickness just to have more misery in the world, apparently because they think the world is somehow better off.
IN THE LIVES TO COME: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities by Philip Kitcher, he takes a shot at several aspects of eugenics without ever really coming to grips empirically with the data, but does a fair job of bringing forth relevant issues that need to be debated from all perspectives. Kitcher sounds the alarm with regards to disability activists who are fearful that terminating pregnancies because of genetic disease will "worsen the plight of those who are born with conditions, both through the withdrawal of support and through loss of respect." As I noted earlier, this is absurd, as society is marching towards ever greater empathy and concern for others, while improving human chances of a life free of disease. The polio vaccine did not bring about less support or empathy, and there is no evidence that genetic screening and aborting children who will have little chance of a meaningful life will do so either. So we must dismiss such concerns without some evidence to the contrary.
Kitcher supports what he calls laissez-faire eugenics (personal eugenics henceforth) while dismissing utopian eugenics (social eugenics henceforth) as going too far. His objection is simply with social eugenics, asking what traits would be enhanced? I would argue that intelligence, being the only trait humans are noted for, one that separates us from other creatures, while all other traits are part of the limbic system and are common to other animals, that we can select intelligence as the one trait worth selecting for. Free of disease, the human that has a higher intelligence has been shown to be on average more moral, more responsible, freer of violent action, and will be more productive resulting in making more resources available for the betterment of all people. Kitcher points out that the most money spent on health care in the US is used to treat people in the last 18 months of life. It would seem that this will only become more of a financial burden on society, and we must have a population that is very productive in the short time allotted for production rather than benefiting from shared resources. That is, people in the future may only work about one-third of their natural lives. The majority must become more productive in order to meet the demands of an ever aging population.
He does feel strongly that children that would be born into the world with little chance of hope should be aborted, and that this shows the greatest respect for human life. And I have to agree with him that even those who believe that humans have souls, abortion would only free the soul from a physical body that has little chance at a meaningful life, and may not even be capable of finding salvation because of a lack of cognition. Abortion it would seem would save such a soul from eternal damnation and would be the only humane thing to do. After all, God has given all humans free will according to evangelical Christians, and a severely retarded person could not have the required faith or understanding to meet the requirements for salvation. How could any Christian send a child to damnation, rather than sparing their souls? (See Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God by T.M. Drange for an in-depth analysis of these contradictions.)
I would take issue with Kitchner's warning that having a lot of smart people would not make a better world. He states, " Enhancing some human capacities, such as our ability to resist infectious diseases, might benefit us all. But a widespread practice of improving on nature--say, by increasing our cognitive powers--could easily have unhappy consequences. A future in which people are frustrated because they cannot lead lives consonant with their abilities is unattractive; one in which society is planned to contain people with enhanced abilities, the alphas, and diminished capacities, the epsilons, is morally repugnant." I agree that a wide gap in intelligence may be morally repugnant, but that is exactly what we have now! Sub-Saharan African's with an average IQ of 70, 85 in the US, Caucasian's with 103, Asian's with 106 and Jew's with 117. Has this not caused the greatest harm of all? Poverty, the Holocaust, Rampant AIDS and brutality in Africa, are all caused to one degree or another because of low IQs or a radical disparity in IQs. So if all people are raised to a high level of IQ, with a shrinking standard deviation, would we not all be better off? It seems to me we would. And as to the argument that we would have a lot of frustrated smart people, because they couldn't find meaningful work, I say bunk. Just because one is intelligent does not mean you cannot enjoy more physical forms of labor. I know an awful lot of very intelligent people who preferred not going to college in favor of going into the trades, getting married, or just enjoying life. A high intellect has a lot more benefit than just being a professor or a doctor, as Arthur Jensen has pointed out. It makes all aspects of life better. So unless there is evidence that intelligent people always prefer one life style over another, I would have to say there is no basis for this argument. Some of the happiest times I have had is when I worked at a grocery store, packing, stocking, and running about. I enjoyed packing a bag quickly and with skill, and I liked the camaraderie. In no way was I frustrated, I preferred it to going to school. The money I made for girls, cars, getting into mischief, dancing (I was going with an older girl who got me into bars) were all more appealing than more scholarly pursuits. For Kitcher to show that a society of high intelligent people would be unhappy, he would have to show that a society of Jews are less happy than Asians, Asians are less happy than Caucasians, and Caucasians are less happy than Africans.
Finally, Kitcher states that "If people at high risk for certain diseases become uninsurable and unemployable, then society will indeed contain a new class with many of the attributes that cause stigmatization: These people will be poor, they will not work, they will be deprived of other opportunities, they may come to have a higher crime rate. Just as failure to solve the problems of insurance coverage echoes in the context of employment decisions, so too inability to prevent either of the tangible forms of genetic discrimination will produce new pariahs." Thus he warns against genetic disclosure, a fairly common argument for keeping genetic information out of the hands of employers, insurance companies, etc. I have some sympathy for this right to privacy, but it has in the past been abused in the other direction, when employers have been denied the opportunity to test employees for levels of intelligence because blacks did so poorly. So I ask, am I to be denied the right to present to an employer (or a mate) my list of credentials as to why I should be accepted, including: intelligence, conscientiousness, morality, good health, etc? What would prevent me from showing my good genes about, just like people show off their other talents and attributes for personal gain? Is the government going to deny me access to my own genetic information, or make it illegal for me to divulge it? These are all real problems and I would submit that it would be far less oppressive to let people compete as they do now, and try to cure or reduce genetic defects through eugenics rather than embrace authoritarianism in defense of the disabled. Such a world would lack the very freedom that makes life worth living.
IN IMPROVING NATURE? The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering, by Michael Reiss and Roger Straughan (R&S), has two main components, the science of genetic engineering with an excellent explanation of mutations, and the moral/ethical aspects of genetic engineering. They explain how already human genes have been put into pigs, how we may be able to change the genetic make-up of humans, and the genetic basis for making these species level changes in human's genetic code.
R&S also give a great deal of time to explaining the different types of genetic mutations that occur. For example, a whole chromosome may be lost or gained, such as an extra copy of the small chromosome 21 that causes Down's Syndrome. Or part of a chromosome may be inverted put be fully intact. And they explain how dominant and recessive genes affect us and how they are transmitted from generation to generation. This is probably the best book reviewed here that deals with genetic and chromosomal mutations and how they interact to make us what we are, including the dangers of genetic engineering on humans. First, genes often work best when they are situated next to each other, and mistakes in insertion locations may interfere with tumor-suppressor genes. But these are all technical problems and there is good reason to believe they will be overcome as we complete the Human Genome Project.
Less time is given to the ethics of genetic engineering by R&S, but again it is also the most controversial and interesting part of the book. They do point out that "Ethics is normally thought of as a narrower concept than morality, and it can be used in several different, though unrelated, senses. The most general of these suggests a set of standards by which a particular group or community decides to regulate its behavior--to distinguish what is legitimate or acceptable in pursuit of their aims from what is not, such as 'business ethics' or 'medical ethics'." What this means is that there can be no such thing as unethical practices in the pursuit of genetic engineering or eugenics, because any action deemed unethical has to be agreed upon by the participants, not imposed on them. The socialists forget this when they try to impose secular or politically motivated ethical standards on scientific procedures because they fear that the knowledge that may result will harm their egalitarian cause. (See Culture of Critique by MacDonald.)
R&S then discuss the morality of genetic engineering, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic being actions that are right and wrong on their own (based on religion, evolution, etc. ??) and extrinsic that only considers the beneficial consequences of actions. They do a good job of explaining these two positions, and how for example in the debate on abortion the two sides are arguing from different perspectives with regards to what is moral (extrinsic versus intrinsic). What they do fail to discuss is that if humans share a moral history with other primates based on reproductive success of the tribe, how can we apply morality to present day actions of right and wrong? and of course we can't. (See my article on morality). Neither the utilitarian, consequentialist, Kantian deontological formulations, or any other system has any innate truth when morality is considered within an evolutionary perspective, the only one that is empirical.
I especially liked their discussion of 'holistic', 'ecological' or 'environmental' objections to genetic engineering (and many other human actions the naturalists don't like). They point out of course that we have been breeding crops and animals for over 10,000 years and that virtually everything humans do are in this sense unnatural, that is, apparently incapable of being done by other animals. As they state, "the progress of civilization has been largely dependent upon our 'interference with nature'." At one time religion was used to try and stop scientific progress, but as faith in religion has declined the anti-empiricists have had to turn to other forms of mystical arguments in order to block human progress. There are now attempts, even though we have not been able to assign a non-Darwinian moral system to humans, to apply arbitrary moral rules to all of nature. These arguments are made more in the milieu of postmodernist arguments that become incoherent when evaluated rationally, but the mere volume of emotionalism often overshadows rationalism and can sound convincing.
For example, arguments are made that nature is somehow foreordained to be symbiotic, with some form of natural order that humans may corrupt or upset to the point that the planet will be destroyed. I would argue, that aside from nuclear war, this is impossible. And even then I would have to believe that after a nuclear holocaust, a few species would survive to repopulate the earth. None of this is good or bad in terms of the earth and all of its creatures. The universe is oblivious as to whether the earth has organic life or not. And all of the other organic forms have no contemplation of non-existence, nor is it possible to prove that organic existence is intrinsically good or better than a world devoid of life and suffering.
None of the holistic arguments make any sense outside of life as a genetic algorithm that increases in complexity as it progresses, without any actual goal. Humans, like any other species, are free to exploit every corner of their ecological niche for their own benefit. However humans, with our large brains and our ability to contemplate our own deaths, finally have the means to arbitrarily give meaning and purpose to life, in our pursuit of trying to assuage our death angst. Some turn to mysticism, some to Marxism or racial purity for their own tribe, some embrace science and accept the inevitable, etc. And this is where eugenics as a secular religion fits in. It is merely an act of creation, directing our species to an ever higher level of intelligence in order to better understand the many remaining fallacies of belief we have adopted in our journey from our primate past.
Does this mean that eugenics as a secular religion is similar to Christianity in being an anthropocentric religion, that establishes a dualism between man and nature, where it is our duty to exploit nature in the name of God, as R&S point out? Hardly. It is based on science and does not fall into the naturalistic fallacy. Eugenics as a secular religion is merely an act of creation using purposefully directed evolution as its tool. Where it is going, the means taken to get there, and the safety mechanism to be used to obtain the expected results are the same as any scientific project. But it is not subject to metaphysical concerns. It readily accepts the arbitrariness of human actions, and is based on the simple observation of science that more intelligent people who have fewer genetic diseases will live a more fruitful life, on average. It is no different than wanting to build safer and safer airplanes because then fewer people will die in plane crashes. But it does tend to further desacralize life for those unable to accept the inevitable death angst that they must live with, and is attacked on this basis alone.
Speciesism is another attempt to define a moral system for all creatures, "Put at its most succinct, it is of little significance, the argument goes, that humans belong to a different biological species from, say, chimpanzees, dogs, farm animals and laboratory mice; we do not have the right to treat such species merely as we choose and for our own ends. Think of the conditions we normally require before humans are permitted to be used as research subjects." Of course this is utter nonsense, because if all species are equivalent then they all have the same moral obligations between species or tribes (pack, etc.). The fact is, even chimpanzees will treat each other in the troop with some moral considerations, even taking care of an injured member, but will go on raiding parties to kill members of other troops. Canines and felines will also kill their own. So if we are really to put aside speciesism and rejoin the moral constructs of other animals, then the only moral imperative is reproductive success, and that includes practicing genocide whenever we can get away with it to benefit our own kin! Is that really what these moralists (specifically Peter Singer) are arguing for? Such formulations of human ethical behavior can only be grounded by ignoring our own evolutionary past and all the empirical evidence regarding our true nature.
R&S discuss the ethics of using DNA fingerprints to establish a national database as is increasingly common in a number of countries for controlling immigration, paternity suites, and to fight crime to name just a few uses. For a more complete discussion however see Richard Dawkins' new book Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder.
Finally, R&S introduces another one of those anti-intelligence arguments stating that if we become too smart, and our memories become too vivid, we may regret it because we will not be able to forget unpleasant happenings (or even dreams for that matter). But all one has to do is ask how many people lament not being able to remember something versus those who complain they can't forget (which is not the same as not being able to get over a tragedy--which does not require an accurate memory but has emotional impact instead). This seems like a silly argument, and one would have to show that people with good memories suffer more from such a condition than those with a poorer memory. For example, a study could be done to see if more intelligent soldiers from the Vietnam War suffered more from Traumatic Stress Syndrome than the less intelligent. Since all servicemen are tested this should be rather easy to determine if the records could be obtained of those soldiers who were still suffering the effects of combat after a number of years. I would suggest that intelligence is just as likely to help a person understand what happened and to get over it, rather than hindering the healing process because of too vivid a memory.
IN LIVING WITH OUR GENES: Why They Matter More Than You Think by Dean Hammer and Peter Copeland (H&C) is a very interesting book that looks at the following character traits, or 'temperaments', that are influenced by genes: Emotional instinct, thrills, worry, anger, addiction, and sex. In addition they include intelligence and how genes are involved in its expression. It is important to note that diversity in personality or 'temperament' is controlled by the limbic system, which is shared by all animals and used by primates long before we acquired a higher intelligence. That is why as a social eugenicist I would argue that only intelligence needs to be raised to higher levels, while allowing the diversity of temperaments to coexist in a random manner, allowing everyone there own means of expressing themselves. That is, I would not try to eliminate shyness for example, or increase novelty seeking, because there is no good reason to do so without a wealth of data on testing and showing that one temperament is always better than another.
Intelligence however, is unique in that it is separate from the limbic system, rational, and is the primary difference between humans and all other animals. This again is not speciesism, it is just an observable fact, and does not make humans better or worse than other animals. But after over 100 years of research, intelligence has been shown to be always beneficial on average, and there is no reason whatsoever to want more diversity in intelligence, but rather to elevate everyone to the highest level of cognition possible. (see my review of Intelligence and Public Policy as well as the APA report.) I will return to this later. But for now it is important to state that until humans are all as intelligent as we would want them to become, without causing an unforeseen pathology or neurosis, social eugenics need only be concerned with raising IQ, and can afford to leave temperament alone until we have acquired a great deal more knowledge about human nature and where we want to go with our genetic capital.
H&C discuss at length how temperament is influenced by genetics and the resulting brain chemistry that makes us all unique. I will hit upon just some of the points I personally found most interesting before returning to intelligence. For example, it has been found that "shyness, or being outgoing, is inherited at birth and lasts a lifetime." A condition I am sure many people have assumed was determined by the family environment. These differences are caused by "enzymes [that] make and degrade more than 300 brain chemicals that influence thinking, acting and feeling." What has been argued in the past with respect to intelligence however is how much alike people are genetically, and therefore the differences must be environmental. However, the differences in temperament, like intelligence, are caused by just 0.1% difference in genes between people, and there is only 1 to 2% difference in genes between humans and chimpanzees, so it is irrelevant how much we are all alike when a few genes can have such a profound impact on temperament and intelligence! Evolution has made sure that we are all different from each other in order to 'test and reproduce' over and over again in different environments so that the genes that are better at survival keep getting passed on in ever increasing numbers. Behavior genetics is the science that studies these differences, to determine what percentage of human traits are genetic, and as a science it is only about 30 years old, but advancing at a phenomenal pace.
The most accurate tools so far for determining how much of any trait is inherited has been twin and adoption studies where both identical twins and siblings have been reared apart (see my review--journal of intelligence). Using numerous studies and mathematical methods, accurate estimates can be made of heritability. The results of these studies by Thomas J. Bouchard Jr. head of the Minnesota Twins Studies were shocking when they were first published in 1988, and then later replicated by other researchers. They showed clearly that genes do matter more than we had thought. Nature was winning out over nurture, "in fact, it is part of our nature to respond to nurture. . . . Giving children love and knowledge is as essential as giving them food, but at some point, parents must understand that children are already on a path beyond anyone's choosing. Children are who they are, and parents are better off getting to know their own children than trying to mold them into some ideal created out of thin air."
Two researchers have divided up novelty seeking according to H&S. Robert Cloninger says it is made up of exploratory excitability, impulsiveness, extravagance, and disorderliness. According to Marvin Zuckerman it is made up of thrill and adventure seeking, experience seeking, boredom susceptibility, and disinhibition. But it is highly heritable (40%) and is an important trait in determining how we behave, but it is also hard to recognize. A novelty seeker may be promiscuous, go mountain climbing, or stalk the Internet heatedly debating various sensitive issues. But it is definitely not cognitive but comes from the limbic system. High scorers always need to take a deep breath before acting to allow the cerebral cortex, the planning part of the brain, to put the brakes on some careless or dangerous behavior. Of course, that is where intelligence comes in. We need both people who are high and low on novelty seeking, but intelligence will always help to control the more impulsive behaviors of the thrill seekers.
Novelty seeking is also an important factor in marriage. Different levels can cause problems for mates. As H&S state, ". . .having different levels of novelty seeking is a frequent source of dissatisfaction in relationships and marriage. Behavioral geneticists call 'birds of a feather' by the fancier name 'assortative mating.' There is good evidence of assortative mating because of social attitudes, such as religious beliefs, tolerance for diversity, and political views, and to a lesser extent for intelligence. However, for most personality traits there is no assortative mating: correlations of personality scores between spouses are usually close to zero. Novelty is an exception to this rule."
Harm avoidance, neuroticism or emotional sensitivity is another major trait we share with other animals but is extremely important in our everyday lives and is highly heritable and hard to alter. It is responsible for giving us our outlook on life, and includes anxiety, fear, inhibition, shyness, depression, tiredness and hostility. From an evolutionary standpoint mild anxiety and depression are useful under certain circumstances, and is no doubt the reason it is so common. And not only for escaping from danger, but as H&S point ". . .a fretful, crying baby is more likely than a calm, quiet baby to attract a mother's attention and care. One study in Africa showed that infants with a 'difficult' disposition fared better than those with an 'easy' temperament during famine." And later, "Depressed or not, happy or sad, the gene doesn't care about how you feel. It's sole concern is to be passed on to the next generation." They also make and interesting point that happiness is fairly constant, according to studies of lottery winners who were no happier one year after winning large amounts of money. And this also makes evolutionary sense. Our genes don't care about our happiness but whether we are reproductive. So urges for wealth, greed, leading to attracting females for men and attracting wealthy men for females is always fundamental. An organism that all of a sudden finds complete contentment is no longer reproductively motivated. What this means is happiness to a large part is innate, and will not be changed that much by a better job, fame, wealth, or any of the other material things that we try to accumulate. (But I for one will keep trying, unable to shed my ego under the control of my selfish genes.)
The genetic determination of sexual preferences for a long time was thought to be nurturing, but research into many cultures shows a revealing pattern of repeatability proving that it is much more genetically innate. Women are looking for commitment and resources (money) from men to help raise children, and men are looking for youth and beauty in women to sire healthy children. The two objectives are contradictory but the tensions set up can create a stable family for the nurturing of children. As H&S state, "the best thing a man can pull out of his pants is a big, thick wallet." But the most controversial question about sex is the heritability of gay genes. H&S indicate that the heritability of male homosexuality is about 50%, and "The best recent study suggests that female sexual identification is more a matter of environment than of heredity." I personally think that this issue needs a lot more research. As with intelligence, the prenatal environmental impact is very hard to test for using twin and adoption studies. And sexuality is determined by hormone changes during pregnancy that can be impacted. What this means is, even for identical twins, the mothers chemistry at critical times of development may alter the directional path of sexuality, influencing sexual preference. One anecdotal observation, which is only a clue that should be verified by research, is that gay men are much better looking than lesbians who often look mannish. If it was primarily the environment that causes sexual preference, it is hard to explain what at least appears to be physical differences. Speaking as a eugenicist and an amoralist, I find the issue interesting only in terms of evolution. It seems to me that homosexuals contribute far more to society than they reap, considering they seldom have children and are not prone to crime or dishonesty, and are therefore of great benefit. However, in the next book I review, there are genetic engineering methods that may allow for gay couples to reproduce.
Now returning to intelligence, always the most difficult subject for an author to discuss because of its political taboos, H&S state "There is no single factor more important in an adult's IQ score than genes." And they also give a very good accounting of the chemistry involved in memory, how we learn, the parts of the brain involved in cognition, etc. A very good general introduction to intelligence that covers some areas that others on the subject leave out. They reiterate what many on the left keep trying to deny. The Marxist Gouldian apologists would like us to believe that "we all have special and unique talents." But the evidence belies such propaganda. H&S state "But it's also clear that people who are particularly bright tend to be good at many different types of mental activities, while less bright people rarely excel at any. IQ tests reflect this diversity of skills by asking different types of questions. When the scores from thousands of IQ tests are analyzed, two results emerge. First, there is a general cognitive ability factor, called the 'g-factor' or simply g, which cuts across all the different types of intelligence measured by an IQ test. People who are high on g tend to do well on all aspects of the test, while those who are low on g do not fare as well across the board. Second, there are specific areas of mental expertise that are partially but not completely distinct, such as word fluency, numerical calculation, spatial visualization, memory, and so on. So overall intelligence depends on a combination of general ability (g) and specific expertise. Although the significance and usefulness of IQ tests are passionately debated, one point should not be lost: IQ tests do what they were originally intended to do, they predict a person's ability to perform in school. In study after study, IQ is the single best predictor of school performance. Although many other factors, such as socioeconomic status and parental occupation play some role, there is no other better predictor of a child's grades or of how far he will proceed in his education."
They go on to describe how heritability is calculated, and conclude, along with most psychometricians that intelligence is between 50% and 80% inherited and heritability increases with age. This is all pretty standard stuff, but continually denied by Gouldian apologists and the media, through slippery denials and begging for more time to try and make intervention work in raising those with low IQs out of poverty. But the results of such efforts have been miniscule and embarrassing for egalitarians. Of course, environment is important and no one denies it. H&S describe a study of children raised in orphanages without love and human contact and they show its deleterious effect on cognition. But most of us are aware of such treatment for humans and animals alike. When the young are severely deprived of nurturing contact, they will suffer. But does that apply to many children? Hardly. Even those raised in what is considered poverty by today's standards would have been well fed and clothed by standards of only 100 years ago. So as long as children get enough emotional contact, as seems they must in even the most poverty stricken households, they should not suffer from any deprivation that will impact them intellectually later in life.
They state that the argument in The Bell Curve that shows a racial genetic disparity in intelligence is unsound because twin and adoption studies cannot be used to determine this. They then go into one of the standard Gouldian analogies about planting seeds in bad or good soil and how they wither or prosper, the same old rehashed apologia. And then they put forth the racial mythology argument: blacks feel bad about themselves and therefore don't test well. Usually one or two short dismissals of racial genetics suffices for many of these authors who want to write about genes and how they impact our lives, but they run into the differences in intelligence between population groups and they feel they have to at least mention it. But of course it is a dilemma for them. No matter how they really feel, as most of them are academics or in the field of making public policy, they must follow the politically correct course and dismiss The Bell Curve, while at the same time ignoring subsequent research and publications that supports the results.
In fact, it has gotten to the point that The Bell Curve, because of its popularity, has become a tool for racial apologists, because it allows them to ignore more important works such as Arthur Jensen's 1998 book The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability that deals specifically with race differences in IQ and concludes that they are real and they are significant. Any further dismissal of the disparity must answer Jensen's well researched and academically reviewed results (see my review of his book). Jensen argues that environment could not account for the 15 point IQ gap between blacks and whites, not to mention the 15 point IQ gap between whites and Ashkenazi Jews. And if we factor in the reported sub-Saharan African's IQ of 70, then Gould et al. will have to explain in terms of the environment a difference of 47 average IQ points between the two groups, a phenomenal difference in intelligence that can only be explained by genetics.
"From now on there will be more favorable preconditions for more comprehensive forms of dominion, whose like has never yet existed. And even this is not the most important thing; the possibility has been established for the production of international racial unions whose task it will be to rear a master-race, the future 'masters of the earth.' The time is coming when politics will have a different meaning." From Nietzsche's The Will to Power.
IN REMAKING EDEN: Cloning and beyond in a brave new world, Lee Silver tackles genetic engineering with the creative flair that only a true scientific empiricist can muster. This is the only book of those reviewed that could be considered futuristic and unabashedly scientific in every respect. A remarkable achievement in describing what is in store for genetic engineering.
Of the books reviewed, only Remaking Eden takes a futuristic look of what is available now and in the future and paints some interesting scenarios. Only Remaking Eden understands the importance of purposefully directed evolution, under the conscious control of the human intellect versus the algorithmic control of the selfish genes that have heretofore had control of human destiny. The left would like us to turn our backs on our human nature, and pretend we are somehow beyond the rules of nature and only an egalitarian universalism will solves the world's problems. Silver shows us that with the dawn of genetic engineering and eugenics, the future will be nothing like a Marxist perspective of human conflict, but will transcend the very concept of human, one that Nietzsche would have enthusiastically embraced.
Silver opens with a discussion of the future GenRich class of people, those wealthy enough to provide their offspring the advantages of having designer genes inserted into their germ cells that will be passed on again to their children as well, who may have additional enhancement genes inserted, etc. Will they technically be considered a new species? How far can the genetic alterations go before breeding between the GenRich class and Naturals will no longer be possible? Is it then morally acceptable for the Naturals to kill the GenRich as a dangerous intellectual and manipulating predator class, or for the GenRich to thin the herds of the Naturals the way we thin deer herds when they do not have enough to eat. After all, they are separate species, with talents, heritable diseases, and intellects so different from each other that empathy and compassion for the new underclass will wane to the point of being replaced by contempt, like rats in the alley.
The left of course will try to stop this from happening by shackling human reproductive freedom by passing laws against such practices. But of course this will only accelerate the speciation process, by restricting those with moderate to low incomes from taking advantage of genetic engineering in favor of the upper-class who will vacation and conceive their children in countries who will remain free to advance human evolution, while also being able to provide their own citizens with enhanced genes. These countries (probably Asia) will advance in their average genetic capital traits like intelligence and technical advancement while those controlled by the religious right and the old Bolshevik left will unite to deter this technology altogether, all in the name of preventing an ideology they cannot accept, evolutionary empiricism. Science will be subordinated for postmodernist propaganda about how the world should be molded into the classless state, one that will fail because it ignores the realities of human nature.
Silver states that "But, as one might imagine GenRich parents put intense pressure on their children not to dilute their expensive genetic endowment in this way [intermarriage between GenRich and Naturals]. And as time passes, the mixing of the classes will become less and less frequent for reasons of both environment and genetics. The environmental reason is clear enough: GenRich and Natural children grow up and live in segregated social worlds where there is little chance for contact between them." But of course that parental pressure already exists in Jewish genetic separatism and to maintain Jewish blood purity. There is great concern among Jews regarding intermarriage, precisely because they are the forerunners of the GenRich class, the rest of whites and Asians are the Naturals, and Hispanics and blacks are [fill in the blank]. He goes on "Anyone who accepts the right of affluent parents to provide their children with an expensive private school education cannot use 'unfairness' as a reason for rejecting the use of reprogenetic technologies. So the future will just include more minority groups who will choose to maintain racial or species blood purity in order to maintain there cultural and economic superiority over other groups. The competition could become severe and violent if we are to believe human reactions to threats of dominance or subjugation, not unlike another Holocaust.
Silver also has the most coherent explanation pertaining to abortion and when life begins. He divides life into human life in the special sense versus life in the general sense. Life is nothing more than a high degree of internal organization that uses energy to maintain a high level of information content. Death is when the energy gets turned off and the information and internal organization of the living thing begins to dissipate. So even death has no absolute boundary or point in time. Different parts of the body we call dead will continue to live for some time until the energy runs out. And human life in the special sense is located between our ears in our consciousness that results from a highly organized and functioning nervous system.
So when does human life in the special sense begin? First, it cannot occur until the nervous system is functioning, until then they are just cells growing, not unlike bacteria. The fertilized egg is alive as organisms go, but no human essence of consciousness is present. Silver then discusses some anomalies even if some people still believe that there is a soul present at conception. If so, what happens to all of the naturally aborted embryos that are the rule rather than the exception? What about embryos that start out as one and then split into identical twins, do they share a soul or each get a new one? What about chimeras, a rare occurrence where two embryos mix there genetic content and the resulting child is really made up of parts of both beings. Do they each share part of each other's soul? And cloning. If a human life can be created without conception it is invalid to say conception must mark the beginning of each new life.
Silver asks "1. Is the embryo alive? Clearly, yes. 2. Is the embryo human? Yes again, but so are the cells that fall off your skin every day. 3. Is the embryo human life? No. The embryo does not have any neurological attributes that we ascribe to human life in the special sense." When we speak of life we include consciousness, feelings, the ability to feel pain, anger, fear, etc. These are all part of animal life and it is why we suffer such pain when we finally have to put down a dog from disease. So clearly, life only truly begins with the development, connection, and functioning of a cerebral cortex at about the 24th week. Before then, human life in the special sense is not yet present, and the fetus is just a living parasite. And even the Catholic Church held this view, that males became ensouled at six weeks and females at thirteen weeks, as developed by Aquinas, and remained church doctrine until 1869.
Silver does a good job of clarifying how competing forces can alter the outcome of evolutionary mechanisms once humans acquired the ability to reason and became subject to social or personal indoctrination, or taking on belief systems that run counter to natural instincts. He states, "People whose genes programmed them with reproductive desire (separate from sexual desire) would be more likely to engage in activities that promoted successful pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Their children, in turn, would inherit the same genes and do the same for their children, and so on through each generation. Ultimately, the emotional desire to have children would spread throughout the entire species. Of course, most of us know people who are childless by choice. How does biology explain this? The explanation comes from the single attribute that uniquely defines us as human beings. We alone--among all animal species--have evolved the intellectual capacity to comprehend and, at times, counteract the natural predispositions provided to us by our genes. And under certain circumstances of environment, culture, or intellect, reproductive desires can be rejected in favor of other desires centered more on the self, on other human beings, or other life goals."
This is a very important dilemma for any eugenics movement and also explains why society is now practicing deleterious social dysgenics that will further reduce the average level of intelligence genes in the population. Intelligent people have the ability to plan and carry out long range goals, weighing options, calculating what is the best course of action. They will refrain from early pregnancy in favor of getting an education, establishing themselves financially in an occupation, and then only will they plan and have children, sometimes. For many, the excitement and rewards of an active intellectual or financially rewarding occupation makes having children less of a need and more often a burden. They can understand children and nurturing, will know what is developmentally best for children, but do not find any compelling reasons in an overpopulated world to have children just because they can. They will be the overclass with few or no children, with a loss of smart genes. In the future, they will be responsible for working and paying taxes in large part to support the underclass.
The underclass acts spontaneously, quite often acting on urges without thought, will get pregnant and often times will have the children for their own entertainment and pleasure, or because they can't comprehend the costs of such a commitment. They will breed much more rapidly, much earlier, and they produce more and more children that will be less intelligent on average. This is the social dysgenics as practiced today, primarily because of the egalitarian intelligentsia that is committed to propping up the underclass while tearing down the middle and upper-class. These people are the remnants of the Bolsheviks that now preach a postmodernist agenda that rejects science for a utopian world based on their own visions, and in denial of the disaster that befalls any nation where the genetic capital of its population is in decline. If it continues, America will self destruct in racial, class and ethnic conflict in the political arena if not in actual violence.
Genetic engineering then has the potential for experimenting with alternatives that will allow people with a higher intellect to have more options for having children, and with financial tax incentives favoring productive working people rather than the perpetually under-employed or unemployed, political policy can once again turn to encouraging the more intelligent to have children. Silver explores some of the possible reproductive techniques that will open up opportunities. For example, he explains that birth defects for cloned children should occur less frequently than birth defects in naturally conceived children. And he claims that surveys have shown that 6 to 7 percent of the American adult population would be interested in cloning themselves. He points out that cloning will probably never be widespread, but it is a way to preserve those unique individuals that were lucky enough to get all of the best genes available, making them remarkably valuable to society. The top 1% of society is responsible for all scientific and political policy advancements and breakthroughs. What a boon would it be to be able to clone 50 Stephen Hawking's in the future? especially with genetic engineering curing his debilitating disease -- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
He then goes on to explain how lesbian couples could use genetic engineering so that their children would each have 25% of each persons genes, with 50% coming from a male donor. A significant incentive for a truly committed prosperous lesbian couple to have children of their own.
Likewise, surrogate mothers, a technology available now, could be extremely useful in encouraging the upper classes to have children. Willing to pay someone else to carry their children to term, women will not have to worry about gaining weight, losing their figures, not being able to continue working or being active in social activities, etc. On the flip side, surrogacy will provide and opportunity for the poor to contribute to society while earning a living. They could also be under the watchful eye of the biological parents, who may be able to have the surrogate mother live with them, to make sure that the mother gets adequate nutrition, health check-ups, doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs, and generally is protected from harming the child even though they may not be of the highest intelligence. This would also be a good form of training, helping to train the surrogate mother how to protect her own children should she get pregnant naturally. But of course society will be better off if the less intelligent act merely as surrogates for having the children of the cognitively gifted, rather than contributing to dysgenic trends by having their own children with few prospects of meaningful employment in a world that is in demand of intelligence. Silver points out that surrogacy is opposed by many as a form of prostitution, but in reality it is just another form of reproductive freedom. This is no more prostitution than when a man, to support his family, has to descend into the dangerous coal mine day in and day, to labor in cramped and dirty conditions, to do what is necessary to survive. Surrogacy is a luxury compared to such a life, or that of a share cropper. So exactly what is objectionable? To sell oneself for surrogacy is a worthy purpose and therefore is not prostitution. It is giving to the well-being of the future gene pool. (Of course, the egalitarians are opposed to these concepts because they reject science and biology and are promoting a Marxist agenda of destroying the upper-class by trying to get the lower classes to multiply and then to rebel against their so-called masters. Just note the glee to which they have announced that thanks to immigration and social dysgenics, white America will soon be a minority. This is nothing less than open warfare against those very people who founded this Country. Any attempt to reverse these political goals by the left will be condemned by any means possible.)
Silver points out that the elite moralists, having frightened the masses, have managed to outlaw surrogacy in many Western countries. But as the eugenics movement moves international, it may be far easier to set up breeding farms in third world countries, under the watchful eyes of Western entrepreneurs to make sure the mothers adhere to strict health practices, at a far cheaper cost than paying a higher price for such services in advanced countries. The children could then just be picked up when the child is born. And with the Internet, the biological parents could even look in on the surrogate mother from time to time to make sure the facilities are properly managed. What a boon to a eugenics program to encourage the productive members of society to have more children, especially when coupled with tax incentives that make having children monetarily rewarding as well as helping future generations by increasing the smart genes.
One fascinating proposal put forth by Silver is the possibility of speeding up evolutionary change by shortening the time per generation. For example, expectedly very bright children could be tested at an early age of 4 or 5 years old, and if they are highly intelligent, the germ cells could be collected and more children could be born by surrogate mothers. That means, instead of a new generation every 20 years, it would be reduced to 5 years with a four fold increase in evolutionary advancement. He also discusses the bizarre possibility of using germ cells from aborted fetuses to generate new embryos. These children would be born to parents who had never lived. These strange reproductive technologies are less a threat to society from there actual commission of course than they are a threat to our irrational belief systems, our firm conviction that we are somehow separate from other animals, and we have a soul that will allow us to escape death, and it is this fear of death alone that drives this fear of human genetic tampering.
Another interesting prospect Silver puts forth is the ease with which spermatogonial cells are self-renewing, even when transplanted into animals. That means the sperm cells from a Michael Jordan or an Arthur Jensen could be manufactured indefinitely by continuous harvesting and re-implantation into animals making these highly valuable sperm cells available for centuries. More and more, rational people will be more interested in producing truly remarkable and gifted children, rather than chancing a merely mediocre child. Or how about the executive that wants to marry for beauty but would like the children to be highly intelligent. In this case, donor sperm or eggs from the highly intelligent would replace the beautiful bimbo's genetic contribution. The best of both worlds, a beautiful mate and intelligent children!
Silver makes the point that "At each stage throughout the evolution of our ancestors--from rodent like mammals to apelike primates to Australopithecus to Homo habilis to Homo erectus and, finally, Homo sapiens--small groups of individuals gained genetic advantages that allowed them to survive even as they participated in the death of the species from which they arose! Survival and evolution operate at the level of the individual, not the species." And later, "Civil libertarians tend to see any type of coercion as an infringement on reproductive rights. And liberal libertarians would be strongly opposed to policies that discriminated against those born with avoidable medical conditions. Communitarians, however, may view the refusal to preselect against such medical conditions as inherently selfish. According to this point of view, such refusal would--by necessity--force society to help the unfortunate children through the expenditure of large amounts of resources and money that would otherwise be available to promote the welfare of many more people. The communitarian viewpoint is considered shocking to many in America today because, as Diane Paul says, 'the notion that individual desires should sometimes be subordinated to a larger social good has itself gone out of fashion, to be replaced by an ethic of radical individualism.'"
For eugenics as a secular religion to take hold, it needs to include social eugenics and not merely personal eugenics. And we must view such a culture as communitarian and less individualistic, at least to reproduction. It seems to me that a communitarian social structure, coupled with elimination of many of the moralistic prohibitions against consensual crimes, would be an ideal combination of freedom to enjoy life while improving the genetic capital of future generations. We are well on our way towards a world that can be freer of disease, hunger, ignorance, boredom, violence, hard labor, prejudice, ethnocentrism, religious fanaticism, irrational belief systems, and 12 step programs; for one that is based on social eugenics where a more intelligent populace will be able to utilize that higher intellect in their personal lives and in public life for controlling the selection of our leaders. It is only because of folk psychology and an inability to understand leadership relationships that evolved in the small tribe that we are so easily duped by our political and religious leaders. A much higher average intellect will make the herd mentality much more difficult to pray upon by demagogues and lead to more stable political systems.
Though personal eugenics is considered to be much more benign than social eugenics, Silver has produced some of the most insightful scenarios of what can be expected in the near and not so far future. His vision includes the possibility of those with the where-with-all both intellectually and financially, to take the opportunity to use genetic engineering to select the best embryos for maturation, or even better yet or in combination with embryo testing and selection, to insert new 'gene-packs' into their children to be passed on as a permanent genetic enhancements from that generation forward. These 'gene-packs' can enhance the individual into a truly designer child, and will begin the process of speciation where the master race will chose to split from the Naturals, the new GenRich species will take hold. And unless we submit to Marxist totalitarianism to stop this progress, it will only require one small country where the rich will be able to go to have their chosen embryo's genes enhanced, limiting again access to only the wealthy or the society that is really committed to social eugenics. For example, if Singapore adopted a social eugenics program to genetically enhance all of its future citizens, and they could create a master race, would other country's old Bolsheviks step in to stop them militarily? Or how about China? Would we be willing to start a world war to prevent them from creating a master race? Once the technology is made available it will spread, and no nation or ideology will be able to stop it. So the question is, do we try and raise up everyone to a higher intellect and free of genetic disease, or will we try to suppress this creativity and split the human species, making genocide moot. One species destroying another is not morally reprehensible if one is seen as a pest, like cockroaches to be disposed of.
As Silver explains it, "You can see the problem we are running into. If we allow the possibility that 'man's domain' extends into the nucleus--into the DNA itself--then by this line of reasoning, God's domain vanishes into ... nothingness. This frightening notion compels some people to draw a final line--a veritable last stand--around the genetic material. . . . Although all other intrusions into the body may work around the edges, genetic engineering, it seems, impinges on the essence of life itself--the soul. And the soul is clearly in God's domain. The sociologists Dorothy Nelkin and Susan Lindee describe it well: 'Just as the Christian soul has provided an archetypal concept through which to understand the person and the continuity of self, so DNA appears in popular culture as a soul-like entity, a holy and immortal relic, a forbidden territory. The similarity between the powers of DNA and those of the Christian soul, we suggest, is more than linguistic or metaphorical. DNA has taken on the social and cultural functions of the soul. It is the essential entity--the location of the true self--in the narratives of biological determinism.'"
So Nietzsche's prediction has come true, but through an understanding of neo-Darwinism and genetics rather than through the enhanced virtues of one class of people over another. The 'ligtht of the nations' will be carried on by a new chosen people, a people who chose themselves to evolve to a higher moral and intellectual plane. Nothing now can stop this process except the horrific suppression of all that we know and understand about our past, and the vision of what is available in the future. Man is the creator of his environment and now the creator of the future generations of creators, the only legitimate creators left. Silver elegantly explains that "While selfish genes do, indeed, control all other forms of life, master and slave have switched positions in human beings, who now have the power not only to control but to create new genes for themselves. Why not seize this power? Why not control what has been left to chance in the past? Indeed, we control all other aspects of our children's lives and identities through powerful social and environmental influences and, in some cases, with the use of powerful drugs like Ritalin or Prozac. On what basis can we reject positive genetic influences on a person's essence when we accept the rights of parents to benefit their children in every other way?"
So the choice is ours, to continue on with social dysgenics, as advanced by the egalitarians, as the average IQ of humans declines gradually leading back into barbarism, cruelty and ethnic tribal warfare, or do we embrace social eugenics and elevate everyone's intelligence pushing us to a higher and higher level of moral and intellectual superiority over our existing species. Evolution dictates that we are never stagnant, always moving in one direction or another, as gene frequencies keep changing in density within different populations. We have watched the Jewish model of eugenics elevate the Ashkenazi's average IQ to 117, with its attendant claimed moral superiority to go with it. Now it is time to share this success with others, regardless of tribe or blood line, and without regards to ethnicity or supremacy.
Postscript: The Up Side of Cloning (some) Humans
How quickly we forget the argument against abortion, "but what if he/she had been a Beethoven?" Well we can put that all behind us now because soon we should be able to clone the modern day Beethoven's (Prince), the Einsteins (Milton Friedman) and any other of the very small fraction of our population that contributes to the arts or sciences. Mayr has estimated that only 1% of the population has the intelligence and the motivation to make contributions for advancing science, culture and the arts. The other 99% of the population, being sheep, only apply what others have created. But if we want to expand that 1%, what better way than cloning those who have proven they have the right genes for advancing culture for the rest of us. Now that a Riverside, Illinois scientist Richard G. Seed has announced plans to clone a human by mid 1999, the reactionaries are really clamping down and trying to defeat science. Do they really think they can halt progress? One of the couples that have volunteered for the cloning project are both sterile, neither can produce a sperm or an egg. Are they to be denied the chance to reproduce? That is the only pertinent question and one that is personal, autonomous, and not subject to societies condemnation or restrictions. A discussion on cloning (Larry King 6/24/97) between Dr. Ian Wilmut, biologist at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, and the venerable Dr. Jerry Falwell, religious cultist, summed up the concerns that I have been reading about why we should not clone humans. First, they both agreed that it was to human's advantage to clone animals because it would advance research, benefiting humans. Jerry seems to be enamored with wanting to live a very long time, something of a mystery for me since he claims he is going to a very fine place indeed after he dies (heaven). Why is it those who should not fear death seem to shun it the most? A puzzle of faith I guess. But the old anthropomorphic argument arises that what is good for the goose (all other species) is not good for the gander (Homo sapiens). I wonder if all the animals have a sense of how much we appreciate their sacrifices? The arguments against cloning humans were the same ones I have been hearing since this debate began. First, it would destabilize the human condition, disrupting our faith in the sanctity of life and the high and separate positions we humans hold over all other species. As one who would like to see humans "get over themselves," the need to clone at least one human seems essential. I realize that exposing Jesus Christ's writings as mostly myth, proving the world is not flat and we are not the center of the universe, and that we evolved from apes several million years ago has done little to dissuade the sheep from believing in their own beneficence. But every little insult to their egos that advances science over mythology seems worth the effort. Second, cloning humans will allow additional research into human behavior, education, crime prevention, and the overall condition of mankind. The recent Minnesota Twin Studies have shown conclusively that such human traits such as intelligence, religiosity, and conscientiousness have a predominantly genetic basis and any one human is limited by this genetic potentiality. Knowing this we need to further define how malleable humans are. Cloning is the next step in environmental experimentation, where donors can have themselves duplicated genetically and their clones placed in alternative environments to see how they develop. One clone can be raised in environment X and another in environment Y and the results compared a generation later. This type of controlled experimentation can lead to the final resolution of what makes us what we are, our genes or something else. Third, and probably the most exciting, is the possibility of greatly expanding the geniuses we have in this country to make us number one again. With China's 1 billion population, and with their average IQ's about 5 points higher than the average American's IQ, cloning may be the only way we can stay competitive aside from encouraging the very smartest Asians to emigrate to the West. Dr. Wilmut claims that we should not clone because genes are only 'part' of what makes one a genius. But that is precisely why we should clone. By knowing in advance that a person has all of the genetic components to advance science or culture, we can invest heavily in their cloned duplicates to make sure they get the very best training and opportunities to surpass their originator. What a perfectly sensible and productive way of channeling our educational resources into those few who can benefit the nation. Wasting money on the retarded, the disabled, and the genetically disadvantaged is just sucking the lifeblood out of the nation's resources. Why play dice with genes when you can get the genuine articles in the perfect combinations. Finally, cloning is the only way to preserve the genetic capital of truly remarkable individuals. From Michael Jordan to Francis Crick, why not preserve the genes into perpetuity of the very best. This is equivalent to preserving those rare works of art or historic buildings, except they can never be reproduced by normal breeding methods. The most elegant cathedral could be duplicated again and again, but not the perfect combination of genes. Breeding can improve the odds, but when the genuine article shows up it should be preserved for as long as possible through cloning (how about The Genotype Preservation Project?). Keep replicating those members of society that have the genes that we all admire. We can never have enough of the gifted. Giftedness is a trait that is emergent, that is it is more than just the combination of the parents' genes, it is a unique combination of those genes. Sulloway, in Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives(1997), explains it best, "Just as with a scrambled telephone number and its resulting connection, genes that have been scrambled express themselves disparately. For this reason, many genetic influences are unique to the individual and cannot be passed on through inheritance. Such traits are said to be 'emergent.' The famous race horse Secretariat is thought to have possessed such emergent abilities. Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973. To say that Secretariat 'broke' course records is an understatement: he smashed them. Most of Secretariat's racing achievements, such as winning the Belmont stakes by 31 lengths, have never been approached to this day. Of Secretariat's 400-odd foals, only one (Risen Star) came close to matching Secretariat's racing abilities. Risen Star won two of the three contests that make up the Triple Crown, but even in these victories he was several seconds behind his sire's record-setting paces. For horse owners who paid handsomely for Secretariat's stud services, the problem was simple: once genetically scrambled, half of Secretariat was never really half. One reason why identical twins have such similar personalities is their possession of the same emergent traits. This circumstance explains why identical twins reared apart often exhibit strikingly similar behavioral quirks, including unusual habits and hobbies. Even though some of these similarities would be expected by chance, they are significantly more common when twins are identical than when they are fraternal. There has been considerable debate over whether the genetic variability underlying most personality traits is adaptive. A good case can be made in the affirmative. Nonvarying traits, such as the number of chambers in the human heart, represent evolutionary battles that were fought and resolved long ago. Traits that vary represent the playing field for evolutionary battles that are still being contested. These battles are unresolved because no single genetic solution has proved optimal. Sensation seeking, which is heritable, provides a good example." Because of emergent traits, truly unique individuals must be preserved for the future. Cloning is the only way to do this, to enhance and expand the number of people that were lucky enough to receive that unique combination of genes that make up what we all recognize and geniuses, those who can push the envelope of knowledge and understanding through discovery beyond what most people can barely come understand. Cloning is the only way of increasing the number of gifted geniuses aside from rigorous breeding programs that still cannot guarantee the results desired. Cloning can increase 100 or 1000 fold the number of scientists who are truly exceptional, into the future, for as long as we want. In the cloning debate, you will hear over and over again how people are more than their genes, that environment is equally important. The problem is this is no longer true. The Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) of the American Psychological Association released a report titled, Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns, in 1995, in response to the highly controversial 1994 book by Herrnstein and Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life . In the report the BSA concludes, "Across the ordinary range of environments in modern Western societies, a sizable part of the variation in intelligence test scores is associated with genetic differences among individuals. We now know that the heritability of IQ changes with age: heritability goes up and between-family variance goes down from infancy to adulthood. In childhood heritability and between-family variance for IQ are of the order of .45 and .35; by late adolescence heritability is around .75 and between-family variance is quite low (zero in some studies). Substantial environmental variance remains, but it primarily reflects within-family rather than between-family differences. Why should individual differences in intelligence (as measured by test scores) reflect genetic differences more strongly in adults than they do in children's? One possibility is that as individuals grow older their transactions with their environments are increasingly influenced by the characteristics that they bring to those environments themselves, decreasingly by the conditions imposed by family life and social origins. Older persons are in a better position to select their own effective environments, a form of genotype-environment correlation." So now, when the educators and the media tell you that environment, not genes are primarily responsible for who grows up to be a genius, you can set them straight. Their dogma is about 30 years behind the science and is meant to cover up the realities of good breeding and the enduring contribution that genes make. They want you to think they can make you smart, through education, when in fact your own genes will guide you to realize your own unique potential. If this wasn't true we could make chimpanzees into scientists. The final argument against cloning humans is that it is not ethical or moral to do so. Of course, this is always the fall-back defense when people want to turn back scientific progress and have no other means to do so. The reason why so many people are afraid of cloning is simple, it is one more blow against vitalism, the belief that there is more to humans than there is to other primates or mammals. We are in some unique way above all the other species, we have a soul. But of course they can't really say that, especially other scientists that have given up the superstition of religion, but can't give up the hope and aspiration that we are more than just the latest permutation of a very different species, one that can selectively breed itself in a conscious manner. Several billion years ago, the early species did in fact reproduce asexually, the same process genetically as cloning. There are many higher species today that still breed asexually and some that can switch, depending on the circumstances, between asexual and sexual reproduction. Are the offspring of these asexual reproductions any more or less real than any other? The only reason nature has chosen sexual reproduction over asexual cloning is because it had certain benefits with regards to evolution, that is, it was the only way using trial and error that evolution could find the most viable genetic traits for survival. But that has all changed now, especially with regards to many traits that are desired in humans and animals alike. Once humans started selectively breeding cows, chickens, horses, sheep and dogs for specific characteristics we replaced the "Blind Watchmaker" of evolution with consciously directed breeding. And unless you can prove that humans are not just another variation of the primate line of species that have learned to use their intellect and language for survival, unless you can prove without a doubt that somewhere lurking inside of us is a soul that no other species harbors, then there is no logical reason why cloning a sheep is any different than cloning a human. Cloning, in fact, is just another step in our evolutionary journey where randomness has been supplanted by the collective will of culture and has changed the way we are. About 10,000 years ago, we left the hunter gatherer tribalism for an agrarian way of life leading to larger social units. Soon, reproductive sex was being influenced by Judaism and Catholicism in the West (primogeniture and celibacy), concubines in the East, and numerous other deviations from the tribal unit. Today, many people consciously select a mate with forethought for traits they want to enhance in their children (beauty, intelligence, athleticism, etc.). Assortative mating is just another form of selective breeding, as is cloning. So any arguments against cloning have already been obviated by the facts of the evolutionary march from the single-cell to the multi-cell organisms and now is entering a new phase of intelligent, directed, evolutionary progress. The only question with regards to cloning is do I want to be cloned and can it be accomplished. It is as all reproductive decisions, up to the reproducer. And for the first time that decision lies in the hands of one person, and the well-being of the cloned offspring rests on the parent, pure and simple. Just as the state should not step in and make a couple abort a child with a genetic disease, they should not step in and prevent someone from cloning themselves on the pretense that they are concerned with the cloned child. That is not what the moral/ethical debate is about. It is the same fear of the unknown that has always stood in the way of science. And it is just another good reason why we must breed a more intelligent voting populace that has a better grip on reality, and not so reactionary about every change they encounter that seems out of the ordinary. If science is moving too fast for the masses we must improve their intelligence or slide back into ignorance, suspicion, and fear. The future is what we make it. Cloning will help give us the cognitive capital to carry out programs of advanced science.
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