Comment on CPGGrey’s new video on the future of automatization

Posted on reddit.

 

This is your best film yet, and that says something.

For automatization for clinical decisions, it has been known for decades that simple algorithms are better than humans. This has so far not been put to much practice, but it will eventually. See review article: Grove, W. M., Zald, D. H., Lebow, B. S., Snitz, B. E., & Nelson, C. (2000). Clinical versus mechanical prediction: a meta-analysis.[1] Psychological assessment, 12(1), 19.

There is only one temporary solution for this problem. It is to make humans smarter. I say temporary because these new smarter humans will quickly make robots even smarter and so they can replace even the new smarter humans.

How to make humans more intelligent? The only effective way to do that is to use applied human genetics aka. eugenics. This is because general intelligence (g-factor) is about 80% heritable in adults (and pretty much everything else is also moderately to highly heritable). There are two things we must do: 1) Find the genes for g. This effort is underway and we have found a few SNPs so far.[1-2] It is estimated that there are about 1k-10k genes for g. 2) Find out how to apply this genetic knowledge in practice to make both existing humans and the new ones smarter. The first effective technology for this is embryo selection[2] . Perhaps CRISPR[3] can work for existing humans.

  1. Rietveld, C.A., Medland, S.E., Derringer, J., Yang, K., Esko, T., et al. (2013). GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment. Science 340: 1467-1471.
  2. Ward, M.E., McMahon, G., St Pourcain, B., Evans, D.M., Rietveld, C.A., et al. (2014) Genetic Variation Associated with Differential Educational Attainment in Adults Has Anticipated Associations with School Performance in Children. PLoS ONE 9(7): e100248. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100248

Bouchard’s new review paper on Genes, Evolution, Intelligence is excellent!

Seriously. Read it.

Behavior Genetics (Impact Factor: 2.61). 03/2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10519-014-9646-x

Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT I argue that the g factor meets the fundamental criteria of a scientific construct more fully than any other conception of intelligence. I briefly discuss the evidence regarding the relationship of brain size to intelligence. A review of a large body of evidence demonstrates that there is a g factor in a wide range of species and that, in the species studied, it relates to brain size and is heritable. These findings suggest that many species have evolved a general-purpose mechanism (a general biological intelligence) for dealing with the environments in which they evolved. In spite of numerous studies with considerable statistical power, we know of very few genes that influence g and the effects are very small. Nevertheless, g appears to be highly polygenic. Given the complexity of the human brain, it is not surprising that that one of its primary faculties-intelligence-is best explained by the near infinitesimal model of quantitative genetics.

Genes, Evolution and Intelligence

Admixture study for neanderthal ancestry and psychological traits

We have a neanderthal genome.

It is possible to estimate an individuals neanderthal ancestry. 23andme does this.

It is possible to use the admixture study design to see what the effects of some kind of ancestry origin is.

What are we waiting for? They can use the SNP datasets they have used GWA studies for psychological traits.

Girlfriend [12th may 2014]: I bet theres an autism/neanderthal link

Any takers?

“Why is humankind doomed without eugenics?” #2

From reddit www.reddit.com/r/genetics/comments/1z1tli/design_your_own_baby_a_genetic_ethics_dilemma/cfqrlol

Zorander22 writes:

1) I would wager a guess that most people are capable of far more than they’re current employment situations might indicate. The idea that machines are taking over increasingly complex tasks is an important one… which, depending on how wealth gets distributed, could ensure an easy future for many people, rather than spelling the doom of humanity. If machines and computers end up being able to do increasingly complex tasks without limit, it seems like they would soon outstrip people, even with substantial eugenics programs or genetic engineering in place.

2) People are still under selection processes. Many of these likely happen before birth (wombs and women may have built-in systems to stop supporting fetuses if there are signs there may be serious genetic problems). People are still dying in a non-random manner… and moreover, people are having children in a non-random matter, so sexual selection may play an important role. While there may be trends regarding intelligence and birth rates, it is likely that there are many other factors influencing birth rates and the success of offspring. Low intelligence may increase birth rates through poor implementation of birth control methods or planning, but there could be other hidden effects with high intelligence leading to more resources available for raising more children. As birth control gets easier to implement, you might soon see more intelligent people having more kids on average than less intelligent people.

What we are undergoing right now is an expansion in the variability within our gene pool. We have a huge number of organisms with new mutations cropping up. Far from being a bad thing, this variability is one of the key ingredients for evolution to take place – evolution doesn’t happen consistently throughout time, it often happens in response to changed environmental factors. For some organisms to have better success due to a changing environment, there needs to be a large amount of variability within the population, so that there are lots of phenotypes expressed, some of which will perform better than others. This increase in our genetic variability will serve us well if there’s ever a dramatic change in our environment.

-

Deleetdk writes:

I would wager a guess that most people are capable of far more than they’re current employment situations might indicate.

No. This is a core belief of educational romanticism which Charles Murray talks about[1] .

More yes, not “far more”. There are limits. The primary area, I think, where talent is not using used is with the gifted children. There is an extreme lack of gifted programs in many countries. Khan Academy is changing this. The future is bright in this area. :)

The idea that machines are taking over increasingly complex tasks is an important one… which, depending on how wealth gets distributed, could ensure an easy future for many people, rather than spelling the doom of humanity.

Let’s say we’re 30 years into the future and no eugenics has been used for g. Now, maybe 30% of the working age population is leeching (e.g. via a basic income policy[2] ), which raises taxes further for the working part of the population. Keep also in mind that people are having fewer children, so the non-working age population is also much larger (subreplacement fertility[3] is a huge economic problem in the near future). Let’s say that in total 30% of the population is working, while the rest is leeching. Why would the workers pay so much of their income? Keep in mind that crypto-currencies will make it more or less impossible to effectively force them if they don’t want to. Do you think this is a bright future? I don’t. One solution would be artificial wombs[4] , but that technology might not be ready yet by then. I don’t know.

If machines and computers end up being able to do increasingly complex tasks without limit, it seems like they would soon outstrip people, even with substantial eugenics programs or genetic engineering in place.

Yes, nonbiological computers will eventually outperform biological computers no matter how much we use eugenics for g. My idea is that we need to get MUCH smarter before allowing this to happen. I think we can make it work, but the world population needs to improve, say, 5 SD in g first.

People are still under selection processes. Many of these likely happen before birth (wombs and women may have built-in systems to stop supporting fetuses if there are signs there may be serious genetic problems). People are still dying in a non-random manner…

Yes, but this selection force is very weak compared to the constant influx of de novo mutations. Welfare systems without eugenics are unstable, since they lead directly to dysgenics that will sooner or later make the welfare system economically untenable.

people are having children in a non-random matter, so sexual selection may play an important role.

I agree. This selection force is likely to be stronger in the future due to increased assortative mating from online dating like OKCupid[5] (this is an interesting research question: do people who met over netdating show stronger assortative mating than those who didn’t? AFAIK, no one knows!). This might itself increase dysgenics for g though. It depends on how fertility is a function of g. If the effect is multiplicative rather than additive, then bright people will have a very low fertility indeed. I currently don’t know the answer to this question.

While there may be trends regarding intelligence and birth rates, it is likely that there are many other factors influencing birth rates and the success of offspring. Low intelligence may increase birth rates through poor implementation of birth control methods or planning, but there could be other hidden effects with high intelligence leading to more resources available for raising more children. As birth control gets easier to implement, you might soon see more intelligent people having more kids on average than less intelligent people.

No. The trend has been going for 100 years or more. This is no change in the future for this trend. See: Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (Richard Lynn)[6] . PDF[7] .

What we are undergoing right now is an expansion in the variability within our gene pool. We have a huge number of organisms with new mutations cropping up. Far from being a bad thing, this variability is one of the key ingredients for evolution to take place – evolution doesn’t happen consistently throughout time, it often happens in response to changed environmental factors. For some organisms to have better success due to a changing environment, there needs to be a large amount of variability within the population, so that there are lots of phenotypes expressed, some of which will perform better than others. This increase in our genetic variability will serve us well if there’s ever a dramatic change in our environment.

Agreed about the variation (due to increased assortative mating which increases variation). Some evolution is more or less constant, selection for polygenic traits (height, g, weight, personality, etc.) is probably more or less constant and not ‘punctuated’ (in Gouldian sense).

There is plenty of variation currently in the human gene pools for evolution of more g. See also Steve Hsu on genetics of g[8] .

“Why is humankind doomed without eugenics?”

From Reddit.

-

Two reasons.

1) Technological unemployment. This is going fast right now. Already a large part of the population is useless and can only leech on society economically. This percent is due to increase quickly soon when automated cars become mainstream which will shortly make most drivers workless. There are thousands of people who cannot handle complex work, and the simple work is going away.

See e.g.: www.etla.fi/en/publications/computerization-threatens-finnish-employment/, skills.oecd.org/skillsoutlook.html Figure 1.6.

2) Dysgenics. First off, the less intelligent are having more children boosting the problem with the above. But second, the contant de novo mutations are filling up in the human population genome. There is almost no natural selection to sort it away. This means that over time humans will become weak with a high rate of various genetic diseases.

The only future is with eugenics, so they will have to overcome their guilt by association fallacious reasoning[3] with Nazism, just as they did for vegetarianism and anti-smoking (Hitler was a vegetarian and the Nazis were the first to introduce anti-smoking campaigns).

 

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, embryo slection

Kuliev, Anver, and Yury Verlinsky. “Preimplantation diagnosis: a realistic option for assisted reproduction and genetic practice.” Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology 17.2 (2005): 179-183.
Purpose of review
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows genetically
disadvantaged couples to reproduce, while avoiding the
birth of children with targeted genetic disorders. By
ensuring unaffected pregnancies, PGD circumvents the
possible need and therefore risks of pregnancy termination.
This review will describe the current progress of PGD for
Mendelian and chromosomal disorders and its impact on
reproductive medicine.
Recent findings
Indications for PGD have expanded beyond those used in
prenatal diagnosis, which has also resulted in improved
access to HLA-compatible stem-cell transplantation for
siblings through preimplantation HLA typing. More than
1000 apparently healthy, unaffected children have been
born after PGD, suggesting its accuracy, reliability and
safety. PGD is currently the only hope for carriers of
balanced translocations. It also appears to be of special
value for avoiding age-related aneuploidies in in-vitro
fertilization patients who have a particularly poor prognosis
for a successful pregnancy; the accumulated experience of
thousands of PGD cycles strongly suggests that PGD can
improve clinical outcome for such patients.
Summary
PGD would particularly benefit poor prognosis in-vitro
fertilization patients and other at-risk couples by improving
reproductive outcomes and avoiding the birth of affected
offspring.
Verlinsky, Yury, et al. “Over a decade of experience with preimplantation genetic diagnosis: a multicenter report.” Fertility and sterility 82.2 (2004): 292-294.
Harper, Joyce C., and Sioban B. SenGupta. “Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: state of the art 2011.” Human genetics 131.2 (2012): 175-186.
I made this:

Review: The intelligence of dogs

The Intelligence of Dogs A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions Stanley Coren 320p

 

This book is not very technical, has almost no numbers or sources in it. It contains a wealth of at times funny anecdotes. It also contains references to shitty science, mostly Gardner and Sternberg’s anti-g theories. It also has a wrong description of crytallized vs. fluid g. However, aside from all these flaws, it is well worth reading if one is interested in dog (canine) intelligence. I would have liked to see e.g. a factor analysis of the author’s proposed dog IQ test, to see if there is g factor for dogs as well.

 

 

As a psychologist, dog trainer, and avowed dog lover, I set out to de­

scribe the mental abilities that are present in every dog. I also went

one step further—namely, to explore how various breeds differ in their

capacities and behaviors. Before I could do this, though, a bit of

groundwork was in order. I began by looking at the origins of dogs,

because any animal’s mental ability is shaped and limited by its bio­

logical makeup and the forces of evolution that have worked on it.

Then I briefly examined how scientists have viewed dogs’ minds and

detailed some of the controversy about the nature of the canine mind

and consciousness. Finally, I looked at the various types of dog intelli­

gence and described how dog owners could actually measure their

own dog’s abilities. While I hoped to make it clear that no breed of

dog is without merit or purpose, I also pointed out that not all dog

breeds are created equal in terms of their cleverness and mental skills.

 

Starts out well.

 

-

 

And then there was Lassie. . . .

 

The dog that may have done the most to shape the popular concep­

tion of dogs and their intelligence was a ch ara cter born in a short story

wri tten by Eric Knight in 1938. This story was la te r expanded into a

best-selling book, and, in 1943, it was translated into a heart-warming

tear jerker of a film called Lassie Come Home. Lassie, the wo r ld ’s best-

known collie, was not only affectionate and courageous but clearly

nearly human in her intelligence and understanding.

 

Actually, Lassie, as portrayed on the screen, is not a lovely female

dog at all, but ra th e r a deception perpetrated by a long line of female

impersonators. For nine generations, the dogs that have played Lassie

have all been male descendants of the first Lassie, actually a dog named

Pal. Male collies were preferred for the part, since they are larger and

less timid than females. The viewing audience seems never to have

noticed the relevant anatomical differences. In fact, all we seemed to

notice was th a t the dog we were watching was a collie with a white

blaze on its face. Changes in markings as one dog was substituted for

another for different stunts and tricks seem to have passed us by, just as

easily as the telltale signs that should have told us Lassie was a lad.

 

heh!

 

-

 

At first glance, seventeen thousand years may not seem like a long

time—after all, dinosaurs roamed the e arth one hundred fifty million

years ago. Yet our own species, Homo sapiens, did not ap pea r until

three hundred thousand years ago. Neanderthal man was still predom­

inant in Europe until forty thousand years ago, and the first types of

humans physically indistinguishable from modern humans appeared

between thirty and thirty-five thousand years ago. Asian tribes first

crossed the Bering Strai t to begin human occupation of the Americas

twenty-five thousand years ago. It is interesting to note that the first

evidence of organized agriculture is only ten thousand years old—

which is three to seven thousand years after the ea rliest proof that

dogs had established their companionship with humans. Falling within

the same general time frame as these Russian fossils is a finding in

Iraq of domesticated dog remains th a t are dated at around fourteen

thousand years ago.

 

This date for modern humans is wrong.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomically_modern_humans

 

The term anatomically modern humans[1] (AMH) or anatomically modern Homo sapiens[2] (AMHS) refers in paleoanthropology to individual members of the species Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans.

Anatomically-modern humans evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago.[3] The emergence of anatomically-modern human marks the dawn of the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens,[4] i.e. the subspecies of Homo sapiens that includes all modern humans. The oldest fossil remains of anatomically-modern humans are the Omo remains, which date to 195,000 (±5,000) years ago and include two partial skulls as well as arm, leg, foot and pelvis bones.[5][6]

Other fossils include the proposed Homo sapiens idaltu from Herto in Ethiopia that are almost 160,000 years old[7] and remains from Skhul in Israel that are 90,000 years old.[8]

 

 

When mitochondrial DNA from dogs and wolves are compared,

they are found to differ by only around 1 to 2 percent. To give you an

idea of how close this similarity is, this is in the same range as the dif­

ferences found between different races of humans. Scientists consider

this to be clear evidence th a t the closest anc estor of dogs, and the

species th a t was probably domesticated first, was the wolf. Please note

th a t I said the “closest” and not necessarily the “only” ancestor of dogs

was the wolf.

 

very interesting, if true. No source given.

 

Searching a bit…

 

www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ggs/72/4/72_4_229/_article

 

To test the hypothesis that the domestic dogs are derived from several different ancestral gray wolf populations, we compared the sequence of the displacement (D)-loop region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 24 breeds of domestic dog (34 individual dogs) and 3 subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus lupus, C. l. pallipes and C. l. chanco; 19 individuals). The intraspecific sequence variations within domestic dogs (0.00~3.19%) and within wolves (0.00~2.88%) were comparable to the interspecific variations between domestic dogs and wolves (0.30~3.35%). A repetitive sequence with repeat units (TACACGTA/GCG) that causes the size variation in the D-loop region was also found in both dogs and wolves. However, no nucleotide substitutions or repetitive arrays were specific for domestic dogs or for wolves. These results showed that there is a close genetic relationship between dogs and wolves. Two major clades appeared in the phylogenetic trees constructed by neighbor-joining and by the maximum parsimony method; one clade containing Chinese wolf (C. l. chanco) showed extensive variations while the other showed only slight variation. This showed that there were two major genetic components both in domestic dogs and in wolves. However, neither clades nor haplotypes specific for any dog breed were observed, whereas subspecies-specific clades were found in Asiatic wolves. These results suggested that the extant breeds of domestic dogs have maintained a large degree of mtDNA polymorphisms introduced from their ancestral wolf populations, and that extensive interbreedings had occurred among multiple matriarchal origins.

 

So, yea, something like that.

 

-

 

An interesting rep o r t of some Russian rese arch on foxes directly

bears on the issue of the domestication of dogs. The experiment was

started in the 1940s by the Russian geneticist Dmitri Belyaev, who

worked in a Siberian laboratory with other biologists who were trying

to domesticate silver foxes. Their aim was pract ical as w’ell as scien­

tific, since they wanted to breed these animals for th e ir beautiful fur,

which brings a high price on the world market. Since the wild fox can

be qu i te sn a p p ish an d ch u r l ish , th e sc ien t is ts w e re also try in g to c re a te

a more docile strain of silver foxes th a t would allow themselves to be

handled and more easily managed. For this reason, only the most gen­

tle of the foxes were allowed to breed. Over a span of only twenty gen­

erations, the scientists managed to develop tame, domesticated foxes.

 

Several surprises resulted from these breeding experiments. In their

behavior, these tame foxes became very doglike. They began to look for

human company ra th e r than running from it. They began to wag their

tails in response to the same types of situations th a t cause domestic

dogs to wag their tails. They also developed a tendency to lick people’s

faces. These domesticated foxes also began to vocalize with yips and

barks much like dogs and quite unlike adul t wild foxes and wolves,

which seldom vocalize. There were even important physical changes.

Females began to come into heat twice a year, ju s t as domestic dogs

do. The ears of some of the foxes became floppy and more doglike.

Unfortunately for the experimenters, also following the p a t te rn for

domestic dogs, these tamed foxes were often born with fur th a t was

multicolored with patches of different shades, which greatly lowered

their market value!

 

The domesticated silver fox experiment:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox

 

Original source: www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/1999/2/early-canid-domestication-the-farm-fox-experiment

 

-

 

All canids also enjoy an occasional roll in ca r rio n and other foul­

smelling filth. It is likely that this behavior began as a hunting strategy.

Many prey animals, such as antelopes or gazelles, have a good sense of

smell and can detect an approaching canine predator. However, by

rolling in antelope or gazelle droppings, which of course give off a

safe, familiar smell, the h un te r masks its scent and so can get much

closer before he is detected.

 

In domestic dogs this behavior is no longer functional, but seems to

have persisted because dogs have an aesthetic appreciation of odors,

which some experts have compared to our own fondness for music; it

has no real purpose but seems to give the dog pleasure. Some owners

find the practice offensive and have tried to eliminate it by punishing

their dogs, but this generally is to no avail. Occasionally, one can find a

perfume or other scent th a t the dog likes (usually one with a musk

base), w h ich , w h e n d ab b e d on e i th e r sid e of the dog’s th roa t and

behind its ears, may cause the dog to pass up opportunit ies to roll in

the n eares t pile of dung or o th e r smelly refuse. This sometimes back­

fires, however.

 

My daughter by marriage, Kari, had a marvelous mixed-breed dog

named Tessa, whom we often took along when we went to our little

hideaway farm. At the re a r of the farm is a large drainage canal,

which, at various times of the year, takes on a ra th e r pungent odor if

st irred up. When the canal reached this pitch of smelliness, Tessa

always took the very first opportunity to plunge into the canal and coat

herself in the muck. This always resulted in our hosing her down and

then leaving h e r outside for several hours until the essence wore off.

Once, p r io r to a morning walk, I decided to see if I could avoid the

inevitable wallow in the smelly canal by p re trea ting her with some

aftershave lotion th a t smelled quite fine to me. She seemed a bit puz­

zled by all of this, and when I opened the gate, instead of the usual

chase-the-stick romp th a t starts our walks, she made a direct beeline

for the scum-filled canal. She re tu rn ed afterward, soaking wet and

odoriferous, ready to start our play. Apparently she felt a need to mask

her uncharacteristically perfumed aura with something more aestheti­

cally pleasing to her canine mind.

 

Interesting.

 

-

 

Much of the interbreeding across the canid species has been delib­

erately encouraged or arranged by human beings. Eskimos and natives

of the high north are known to cross th eir working dogs regularly with

wolves to try to get sled dogs with g re a ter stamina and larger size.

Usually this process involves tying a bitch in season to a stake in a

region th a t wolves are known to frequent. An interested male wolf will

often stop and partake of such an opportunity, and the bitches seem to

accept the at tention willingly. Of course, when times are h a rd e r and

food is scarce, the bitch may be viewed as a candidate for lunch, rather

than love, by the wolf pack.

 

*Chuckle*

 

-

 

Suppose we knew th a t one pa rt icula r member of the canid family (call

it canid X) was the sole ancestor of domestic dogs. You might think

th a t this would allow us to say th a t if canid X has a certain behavior or

shows a specific mental ability, the same behavior and mental ability

must exist in dogs. Sadly, this would not be true. Even if domestic dogs

contained the genes of only one of the wild canids, they would not be

simply tamed versions of the wild variety. The process of domestication

itself has made dogs different, not only physically but also psychologi­

cally, from their wild cousins.

 

In breeding dogs, people have systematically selected for puppylike

characteristics. The technical term for this is neoteny, meaning th a t the

adul t maintains many of the chara c te rist ic s of the immature animal.

This neoteny involves both physiology and behavior in the animals.

 

and also humans: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny

 

-

 

Behaviorally, our domestic dogs are also more puppylike. When

dogs lick people’s faces, as most domestic dogs will, they are actually

mimicking the behavior of puppies, who will lick their m o th er ’s face to

get h e r to regurgitate food for them. Hence your dog’s kisses really

mean th a t it is trea tin g you as its p a ren t and, of course, asking for a

snack.

 

-

 

A colleague of mine has pointed out th a t a book with the title The Intel­

ligence o f Dogs could be very short. He noted that, as a psychologist, I

could simply choose to define intelligence, or at least thought, as some­

thing th a t occurs only in humans, and this would spare me a lot of

work and research time. Many psychologists, biologists, and ethologists

(particularly those who like to call themselves “behaviorists”) do exactly

this. For instance, in a recent research book entitled Cognitive Psychol­

ogy and Information Processing, three research psychologists (R. Lach-

man, J. L. Lachman, and E. R. Butterfield) conclude th a t “whenever

higher mental processes are involved, we heartily disagree that human

and animal behavior are necessarily governed by the same principles.”

 

The situation is not simple, however, and many eminent scientists

have disagreed with this ra th e r negative conclusion. Charles Darwin,

for example, wrote in The Descent o f Man that the only difference

between the intelligence of humans and th a t of most of th e ir lower

mammalian cousins “is one of degree and not of k in d.” He went on to

say that “the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties,

such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of

which man boasts, may be found in an incipient or even sometimes in

a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.”

 

Obviously, ne i th er Darwin nor any sensible person will try to say

that the intelligence of dogs is the same as that of humans in all ways.

There are clear limits to a dog’s intelligence. A dog has never written

an o pera or novel n o r ever designed bridges or explored cybernetic

theory. No dog has ever been elected as a president or p rem ier of a

country (except in an uncomplimentary metaphoric sense, as defined

by the opposition parties).

 

As I write this, it dawns on me that I might be wise to stay away from

the subject of dogs occupying political posts, since there are stories of

dog-kings. Probably the best known of these comes from an Icelandic

saga th a t tells of an upland king known as Eystein the Bad. Eystein con­

quered the people of Drontheim and then made his son Onund their

king. The people of Drontheim were not at all happy with this a rrange­

ment and ended Onund’s reign abruptly and violently. To show his dis­

pleasure at this turn of events, Eystein returned to Drontheim, ravaged

the land, and reduced the people to total subjugation. Then, to cap his

vengeance, he offered the survivors a truly dishonorable choice: They

would be ruled either by one of Eystein’s slaves or by one of his dogs.

The people of Drontheim apparently felt that they could more easily

manipulate the decisions of the dog. As kings go, the dog (whose name

was Saur) was apparently not a bad ruler. The saga claims th a t the dog

“had the wisdom of three men.” It also reports that the dog “spoke one

word for every two that it barked,” presumably meaning that it had dif­

ferent whimpers, growls, and other sounds that were interpreted as sig­

nifying different ideas and moods. The people responded by according

the dog all the expected pomp and ceremony that are due to a ruler.

They furnished him with a throne, so that he “sat upon a high place as

kings are wont to sit.” They also provided him with regal apparel, such

as a gold collar. His attendants or courtiers, whose duty it was to carry

their canine king on their shoulders whenever the weather turned bad,

wore silver chains to signify th eir office.

 

Unfortunately, the story ends ra th e r badly, with what has always

appeared to me to be the culmination of some form of plot or a secret

revolt against the dog-king. Obviously, such a revolt could not simply

involve assassination, since this might make Eystein suspicious and

cause him to re tu rn to mete out fur ther vengeance and perhaps even

to appoint a still less desirable king. Instead, the plotters capitalized on

a chance occurrence. One day, wolves broke into the royal cattle pens.

Instead of calling for help from the men-at-arms, the court iers ( trai­

tors?) rallied the dog-king to defend his livestock. With all of the brav­

ery th a t the sagas accord to one born into royalty, he immediately

mounted an attack, but, being badly outnumbered, he was killed in

battle. Thus ended the reign of Saur, the canine king.

 

There are also things like: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_Stubby,

 

-

 

Primitive people, however, had no problem allowing dogs to have

intelligence and even suggested they had speech. For example, when

Europeans began to colonize the African Congo, they encountered

many indigenous stories about the dog as the bringer of fire, the great

hunter, and even as a teacher. A typical example comes from the

Nyanga people, whose folk hero Nkhango supposedly negotiated for

fire with the dog Rukuba: The dog would steal some fire from the high

god Nyamurairi in exchange for eternal friendship from humans. After

keeping his p a r t of the bargain, Rukuba joined with Nkhango on the

hunt, and together they achieved grea t success, even against danger ­

ous prey, such as the wild boar. As the dog’s cleverness became more

and more obvious, Nkhango learned to tru s t him with even more

tasks. Finally, Nkhango made a decision to use the dog as a messenger.

Rukuba, however, did not want to be a messenger; he wanted to lie by

the fire in comfort, and, since he was the one who had supplied the fire

in the first place, he felt that it was his right to do so. Musing th a t peo­

ple would always be sending him to this place o r th a t on errands,

because he was clever and trustworthy and could speak, the dog

Rukuba concluded, “If I could not speak, then I could not be a messen­

ger. So I will simply never speak again!” From that day on, the dog of

the Nyanga ceased speaking; he still has the intelligence and capacity

to do so but simply chooses not to.

 

-

 

Unfortunately, when Descartes threw out intellect, reason, and con­

sciousness for animals, it had more than scientific and intellectual con­

sequences. In denying animals these higher mental abilities, Descartes

also denied them feeling and emotion. According to him, the cry an

animal releases when struck does not indicate pain but is ra th e r the

equivalent of the clanging of springs or chimes you might h e a r after

you drop a mechanical clock or some wind-up toy. Nicolas de Male-

branche, a French philosopher who extended Descartes’s work, picked

up on this idea when he claimed th a t animals “eat without pleasure,

cry’ without pain, act without knowing it; they desire nothing, fear

nothing, know nothing.”

 

The upshot was that Descartes’s analysis was subsequently used to

justify massive cruelty to animals. B e rn a rd le Bovier de Fontenelle

once visited Malebranche a t the Oratory on the rue Saint-Honore.

While they were conversing, he saw Malebranche kick a p regnant dog

who had been rolling at his feet. The dog let out a cry of pain, and

Fontenelle sprang forward to defend it. Malebranche passed the inci­

dent off, saying “Don’t you know th a t it does not feel?” In due time,

such reasoning led to experiments where animals were nailed to

boards by their four paws in order to do surgery on them to see the cir­

culatory system working in a live being. People who pitied the poor

creatures for their pain were laughed at as unknowing fools. After all,

these were not to be considered sentient and feeling creatures; they

were only machines being disassembled for study. Accordingly, moral

concern was inappropriate, since the pain and suffering of animals

were not real.

 

One might be tempted to dismiss these attitudes as the unenlight­

ened thinking of the past. However, viewpoints ju s t this extreme are

still found today, nearly three hun d red fifty years after Descartes’s

theorizing. For instance, P. Carruthers, in the prestigious Journal o f

Philosophy, recently wrote of animals that, “since th e ir experiences,

including th e ir pains, are nonconscious ones, th e ir pains are of no

immediate moral concern. Indeed, since all of the mental states of

brutes are nonconscious, their injuries are lacking even in indirect

moral concern.”

 

It is interesting to note that scientists and philosophers with these

views often act and believe quite differently in their personal lives. The

extreme notion th a t only humans have consciousness and intelligence

and th a t only human pain and suffering is of any significance is ap pa r ­

ently much more difficult to hold in private life, especially if one is liv­

ing with a pet animal. For example, history tells us that Descartes had

a dog named Monsieur Grat—quite a pampered pet, to whom

Descartes spoke in the same manner th a t we speak to our own dogs.

He worried about the dog’s health and referred to things that the dog

liked o r did not like and sometimes privately speculated on what the

dog might be thinking. So much concern for an unconscious machine?

Would one talk to a machine such as a wristwatch and speculate on its

health and its likes? Obviously, in Descartes’s everyday interactions,

the presumption of consciousness for his dog was not only convenient,

but perhaps unavoidable.

 

Dont claim that filosofical beliefs have no effects on peoples behavior!

 

There is also Clarence Darrow: www.sfu.ca/~swartz/freewill1.htm#intro

 

-

 

I initially wrote this chapter during a very gray and rainy spring. The

day I finished it, more than a week had gone by without any noticeable

sunshine. That p a rt icular afternoon, though, the clouds seemed to part

and a burs t of afternoon sunshine shone through the window, forming

a big golden patch on the hardwood floor. Completing my work, I was

moving toward the kitchen to get a cup of coffee when I noticed my

Cavalier King Charles spaniel Wiz standing in the circle of light. He

looked up at the window and then down at the floor as if he were con­

templating something, and then he deliberately tu rned and ran from

the room. Within a mat te r of moments, however, he re appeared drag­

ging a large terry-cloth towel th a t he had stolen from the bathroom.

He pulled the towel into the cente r of the patch of sun, looked at it,

and then pushed at one lumpy section with both front paws. Having

ar ranged the towel to his satisfaction, he then circled around and set­

tled down for a nap on his newly created bed in the warm afternoon

sun. If one of my young grandchi ldren had done this, I would have

said th a t she felt the warmth of the sun and thought that it would be

nice to take a nap in it. Then, remembering the towel in the bathroom,

she went and retrieved it so that she could sunbathe more comfortably.

 

All this requires consciousness, intelligence, and planning. Does ray

dog Wiz have it? It is easier for me simply to recognize th a t my dog’s

behaviors in this situation were similar to behaviors th a t are accompa­

nied by consciousness in a human faced with the same situation. In the

absence of any evidence to the contrary, I will presume th a t I am deal­

ing with consciousness and intelligent behavior in my dog as well.

 

It seems to me that people requiring better evidence than this are setting an unreasonably high evidential standard.

 

-

 

Dogs can go even further than these kinds of assessments, to a point

where virtually everyone would concede th a t they are really counting.

One spring afternoon, I was part icipating in a dog obedience tr ial on

Vancouver Island in Bri tish Columbia, Canada. One of the o ther dog

competitors and I had finished for the day, and we were out walking in

a large nearby field with his lovely female Labrador retriever named

Poco. The man had a box of large rubber retrieving lures with him,

and he explained to me that he would use these to demonstrate that his

dog could count.

 

“She can count to four quite reliably and to five with only an occa­

sional miss,” he said. “I’ll show you how it works. Pick a number from

one to five.”

 

I picked the number three. While the dog watched, her master

tossed three lures out into the high grass of the field. The lures were

tossed in different directions and to different distances. After I got

down on my hands and knees and verified that the lures were not visi­

ble from the dog’s eye level at the starting position, my companion

simply told the dog, “Poco, fetch,” without pointing or other cues. The

dog went out to the most recently thrown lure, picked it up, and

brought it back. Her master took it from h e r and then repeated “Poco,

fetch,” causing the dog to s ta r t to cast about and search for the next

one. After she brought back the second lure, her master again com­

manded, “Poco, fetch,” and the dog went out after the th ird and last

lure. Removing the last lure from the dog’s mouth, he once again

ordered, “Poco, fetch.” At this, the dog simply looked at him, barked

once, and moved to his left side, to the usual heel position, and sat

down.

 

He then turned to me and said, “She knows th a t she’s retrieved all

three and that that is all there were. She keeps a running count. When

there are no more lures to search for, she lets me know with th a t

‘They’re all here, stupid’ bark and simply gets ready for the next thing

th a t I want her to d o .’’

 

We repeated the exercise for the bet ter p a rt of a half hour, varying

the number of lures up to five, with me and another spectator tossing

the lures and sending the dog to fetch as sort of a check to see if some­

thing hidden in the way the items were placed or the commands given

accounted for h e r success. Once we even had someone toss out a set of

lures in such a way that the dog saw where they landed but the person

giving Poco commands didn’t know how many lures were thrown and

therefore couldn’t give any covert clues to the dog like those Clever

Hans used in his counting tricks. None of these variations seemed to

matter, and even at five, the dog never missed the count once.

 

Dogs even seem to have a rudimentary ability to add and subtract.

Robert Young of the Pontifical Catholic University in Brazil and

Rebecca West of the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom used

a modified version of a test designed to determine that young humans

have such abilities. First the dog is shown a large treat, then a low

screen is p u t in front of it to block the dog’s view. While the dog

watches, the experimenter takes another treat, shows it to the dog, and

then lowers it down behind the screen. If the dog can count, he should

expect th a t when the screen is raised he should see two treats, and

sometimes he does. However, sometimes the experimenter secretly

removes one of the treats so that now when the screen is raised there

is only one t re a t visible. Thus instead of the expected 1 + 1=2, the

dog is presented with 1 + 1 = 1. Alternatively the experimenter can

secretly add an additional treat, giving the dog the result 1 + 1=3.

When any of the wrong answers appear, the dog reacts by staring at

the results for a much longer time than he does if the expected 1 + 1

= 2 appears. This is taken as evidence of surprise and puzzlement on

the p a r t of the dog, suggesting th a t he has done the mental addition

and know’s what the correct result should be. Such an ability would be

useful for mother dogs, which would then know if one or more of their

pups has gone missing from the litter, and by inference she would also

know how many of them were gone and must be found.

 

Creative experiment design. :) +1 for science

 

-

 

Recently a border collie named Rico was tested by Julia Fischer and

o ther psychologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary

Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. They found that he could u n d e r ­

stand over two hun d red words, most of w^hich corresponded to the

names of objects. Like a young human child, Rico would quickly form

a rough hypothesis about the meaning of a new word after a single

exposure by inferring th a t the new word is connected to an object he

is seeing for the first time. One example of this is learning by an exclu­

sionary principle. Suppose th a t we put out seven toys and say to Rico

“Go get the fram is.” Rico has never h ea rd the word “f ram is” before.

However, he goes out to the pile of objects and finds th a t he knows the

name of six of them. He then takes the next step and assumes that the

one he doesn’t recognize must be the framis. If we test him later, even

weeks later, with a new pile of objects th a t includes the one th a t we

labeled the framis, he will quickly identify it. This is a complex form of

language learning th a t th a t up to now we thought was possible only in

humans and language-learning apes.

 

One might wonder if this particular dog was super smart among her breed conspicifics.

 

-

 

The Chinese still tre a t meat from chow chows as a culinary delicacy.

According to popular folk belief, dogs with black coats are considered

to be more nutritious and to have better fat for frying. It is not difficult

to find dog farms, dog butchers, and restau rants th a t specialize in dog

meat throughout modern China and its neighboring countries. When

the Summer Olympic Games were held in Seoul, South Korea, in

1988, the government passed a temporary law forbidding re stau rants

in the city limits to serve dishes made with dog meat, fearing th a t such

menu items would offend th e ir Western visitors. Because of public

pressure, however, shortly after the Olympics had concluded, dog

dishes again became available, and dogs could again be seen hanging

in local butcher shops.

 

If you’re interested in dogs only as a food source, then the question

of the ir intelligence is moot. Who wants smar t food? What you want is

a slow-moving dog (who won’t b urn off much fat or become tough

through exercise or vigorous activity) th a t is not clever enough to make

itself h a rd to capture. Thus it is not surprising that the dogs primarily

used for food may well have been the re ta rdates of dogdom. It seems

th a t virtually every visitor to Polynesia and Micronesia who wrote

about the local poi dogs also commented on th eir absence of intelli­

gence. In A Voyage Around the World (written in 1777), for instance,

Johann Georg Adam Forster, one of the naturalists accompanying Cap­

tain Cook, described the dogs of Polynesia and the South Sea Islands

as “lazy” and “unintelligent.” Specifically, he commented:

 

This day we dined for the first time on a leg of it [dog] roasted, which

tasted so exactly like mutton, that it was absolutely indistinguishable.

. . . In New Zealand, and in the tropical isles of the South Sea, the dogs

are the most stupid, dull animals imaginable, and do not seem to have

the least advantage in point of sagacity over our sheep.

 

-

 

I have known dogs, especially puppies, who were almost

as stupid as humans in their mental reactions.

—ROBERT BENCHLEY

 

No source given. Not mentioned on Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_Benchley

 

Likely not genuine.

 

-

 

Before I describe what I learned about working or obedience intelli­

gence from these experts, I had best start with the caution th a t many

of them offered. All the judges recognized th a t there were definite dif­

ferences in the intelligence and trainability of the various breeds; how­

ever, they also noted th a t there is a lot of individual variation among

dogs. They noted th a t even in the dullest breeds, some dogs work

extremely well, while in some of the brightest breeds, certain individu­

als simply show no capacity to learn or perform. One judge told me, “A

lot has to do with the person training the dog. You can s ta r t with a

dumb breed and make them really quite clever if you are a good

enough trainer.” What this judge was actually describing was manifest

intelligence—th a t is, the sum total of all the dimensions of intelligence

th a t any dog displays. Ju s t like h uman beings, few dogs ever achieve

th e ir full psychological potential. The difference among the various

breeds, then, is how easily each can reach a certain level of perform­

ance and what the absolute maximum is th a t a dog of any given breed

may be expected to achieve. Good trainers can do a lot with any breed

of dog; they ju st find the job much easier if they s ta r t with one that has

high working and obedience intelligence.

 

Seems like a good paragraf to remember to quote in discussions of race and intellignece in humans.

 

-

 

In contemporary writing and discussions, it is considered rude,

biased, sexist, and politically incorre ct to refer to sex differences in

behavior, personality, or intelligence, especially in humans. Yet there

are clearly visible differences between male and female dogs (at least

for cer tain breeds) in terms of th e ir problem-solving and obedience

performance. Physically, males are often larger, stronger, and more

vigorous in th e ir activity th an the females. For some breeds, p a r t icu ­

larly Doberman pinschers and Labrador retrievers, the males perform

significantly better in problem-solving tests, such as those presented in

Chapter 9. Conversely, females of these breeds tend to do much better

in obedience and working tasks. One dog obedience judge, in listing

the top ten obedience breeds, noted next to his entry of Doberman pin­

schers, “females only, males tend to be too hard-headed and are more

difficult to control.” For some breeds, however, such as the poodle and

the English pointer, males are the “so f te r” sex and females are more

obstinate and difficult to train.

 

wud be interesting with more systematic data.

 

-

 

The case of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is not unique. Pfaffen-

berger kept careful records during his systematic breeding p rogram

for guide dogs. Because each dog was tested for both personality and

intelligence, this gave a marvelous opportunity to see if these ch a ra c ­

teristics were genetically based. His records show that many personal­

ity characteristics, including the willingness to work for humans, are

carried genetically. The personality of a lit ter was directly predictable

from the personality of the sire and dam. Pfaffenberger scored the will­

ingness to work using a scale th a t ran from a low of 0 to a high of 5 to

keep track of the personalities of the various dogs. In one instance he

mated a dog named Odin who scored 5 on this dimension with a bitch,

Gretchen, who scored 4. If the temperaments of the parents were

passed on to the offspring, then all the re su ltan t puppies would have

temperaments falling between these values. Sure enough, when Pfaf­

fenberger administered tests to the six puppies, he found th a t four of

them scored 5 and the remaining two scored 4.

 

Seems to miss the regression to the mean, and that it might not be entirely polygenetic. But sure, it is mostly polygenetic and regression effects might be small.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean

 

-

 

Deafness is more common in dogs than the casual pet owner might

recognize. Congenital hearing loss is mostly due to genetic factors. A

study by George Strain of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge

involving nearly seventeen thousand dogs confirmed th a t coat color is

associated with congenital deafness. The genetic defect that produces

deafness is closely linked with the genes th a t produce white coats,

roan (a dark color coat th a t has been liberally sprinkled with white),

merle (desaturated colors, especially where blacks become grays or

blues), and piebald (spotty, especially black and white) colors in dogs.

The classic example of a piebald dog is the Dalmatian. In this breed,

22 percent are deaf in one e ar and an additional 8 percent are deaf in

both ears, amounting to an amazing 30 percent born with some form

of hearing deficit. While all Dalmatians are more or less piebald, in

o ther breeds the white, roan, merle, or piebald genes are found in

some individuals but not others. In the bull terrier, for example, indi­

viduals can be either white o r can have prominent color patches.

Among those bull ter r iers who are white, the ra te of congenital deaf­

ness is 20 percent, while for those with color patches it is only around

1 percent.

 

www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/deafness

 

apparently legit.

 

-

 

If you are systematic about teaching your dog his name, its sound

will capture the dog’s attention and he will look at you. This attention

is vital when you w an t to teach the dog something or get him to do

something. If you are not systematic about teaching a dog its name,

then the dog will most likely assume th a t its name is the sound th a t it

hears most frequently directed at it by its family. There was a cartoon

th a t captured this idea when it depicted two dogs meeting on the

street. One introduces himself to the o ther saying, “My name is ‘No,

No, Bad Dog.’ What’s yours?”

 

:p

 

-

 

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, psychologists made a star-

tling discovery. They found that, for many jobs, high intelligence is

actually a handicap, especially where work is quite repetitive, where

the same actions or decisions are required many times during the day,

where work is interspersed with long periods of relative inactivity, or

where the rate of work-related activity is slow. Under these conditions,

an individual with higher general intelligence is actually apt to p e r ­

form worse than one with lower intelligence on a day-to-day basis. Not

only will the b righte r person perform less well, b u t he or she will be

considerably less satisfied with the work and the job as a whole.

 

satisfaction might be lower, but the other is just wrong.

 

cf. The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings.

Schmidt, Frank L.; Hunter, John E.

Psychological Bulletin, Vol 124(2), Sep 1998, 262-274. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.124.2.262

 

psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1998-10661-006

Ebook: Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century (John Glad)

Found here: whatwemaybe.org/

The homepage is really weird, but the book turned out to be… pretty good. At first I was not impressed, especially because he went into insufficient details with the g factor and stuff related to that. But really g factor or not, is somewhat unrelated to eugenics. It contains some interesting quotes too. Here’s two of them:

We do our utmost to check the process of elimination;
we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the
sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert
their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last
moment…. Thus the weak members of civilized socie-
ties propagate their kind. No one who has attended to
the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this
must be highly injurious to the race of man. (Darwin)

Democracy demands that all of its citizens begin the race even.
Egalitarianism insists that they all finish even.
Roger Price, “The Great Roob Revolution”

I recommend reading this book for its focus on eugenics history, and why it is not quite how we were told in Nazi Germany. There was a lot I didn’t know there. Richard Lynn’s 2001 book on the same topic is also worth reading. It is more dry, but goes more into detail about the methods.

Me? I still think we should employ population wide, state funded (to make sure the poor can do it too), non-coercive (because I don’t trust states to do this properly) methods using not sterilization, but embryo selection, selective abortion (more than we do now), germ-line genetic engineering.

Liberal eugenics and social stratification

I have/had this conversation on OKCupid. It seemed shareworthy. I’m red, and the other person is blue.

Your profile mentions eugenics as an interest… is that from a pro or anti stance? Or neutral?

-

Pro, although not like how eugenics was practiced in Europe in the 30′s. Big supporter of liberal eugenics, with embryo selection being the most interesting current proposal if we don’t go straight to gene-therapy.

-

Hm, liberal eugenics. So you don’t see a problem with social stratification as the practical result? Or is my American capitalistic environment just influencing my thinking on that one?

-

There is already social stratification because of better genes among different groups. Indeed, this is the topic of The Bell Curve. :)

Of course, in the beginning this technology will be for the rich people, who will by that have even smarter+healthier children than they already have. The same is true for better schools. But such biotech falls quickly in price (say, logarithmic speeds cf. price of genome sequencing) and will soon benefit large parts of society, in the sense that people can have smarter and more healthy kids. But even when only the rich will get it, this will also benefit the rest, since society as a whole benefits from having smarter+more healthy people (to begin with, it will give society a larger pool of potential leaders).

In practice, one would start by expanding the battle against hereditary diseases for the simple reason that these are the easiest to find the genes for. For instance, screening for certain diseases during pregnancy is already widely practiced, e.g. Down’s syndrome. In Denmark 99% of women who are diagnosed as being pregnant with a Down’s syndrome fetus abort it. This has dramatically lowered the number of Down’s syndrome people in Denmark, thus saving parents from the hassle, and saving society (=everybody) from the economic disadvantage such a person is/would be.

We already know of many such genes for diseases/disease risks, while we don’t know of a single well-confirmed case for intelligence. We will find them in the next few decades. The reason they are hard to find is that there are probably 1000s of genes that affect intelligence, but a single gene has only a tiny effect (positive or negative), say 0.5 IQ. This means that one needs a huge sample to spot them from statistical noise (i.e. high powered studies).

Of course, USA is really fucked up in the relative wealth department. :) I particularly liked this video about that problem: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oOwjN9qV2ls

-Emil :)

-

I’m curious about your interpretation of “better genes” and exactly in what way they contribute to one’s social standing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your perspective sounds a bit deterministic if you’re convinced that the dominant influence on where you end up in the hierarchy is genetics, especially if your interpretation of “better genes” is centered around IQ (considering IQs in the very highest ranges are actually negatively correlated with success). It also sounds like you don’t believe environmental factors make much of a dent overall, am I correct?

Tangent: it seems you’re pretty focused on meritocracy, and while that’s a noble sentiment and a nice idea (like Marxist communism), it unfortunately doesn’t exist in the wild (also like Marxist communism). It’s been my observation that under the facade of well-meaning plans, every large community, social structure, organization, etc. is essentially based on a Hollywood mentality: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I’m not arrogant enough to assume that my own experience is representative of the entire range of experiences, but I have yet to find a self-proclaimed “meritocracy” that truly *was* that.

But back on the topic of social stratification, assuming we were able to influence the leadership potential of a given group, is it not true that when an individual or group acquires power they are unlikely to give that power up voluntarily? And will, generally speaking, restrict the ability of other individuals or groups to attain power as well?

And yes, the USA is fucked up in a lot of areas, but wealth is a pretty big one. Also, sorry if I seem a bit contentious, devil’s advocacy is just a beloved pastime of mine. And the better informed your conversation partner, the more fun it tends to be. I don’t need attribution, but if the anonymity was bothering you, my name’s ****** :)

-

With better genes, I just mean those that code for higher intelligence, health, and attractiveness. This is not quite what biologists mean by better genes, because they are talking about what fits with the environment. In that sense, genes for intelligence are bad genes, since there is selection for lower intelligence in most western countries (smarter people have fewer children). The movie Idiocracy is a description of what will happen in the far future unless we do something. :) I however, think that we definitely will do something to stop the dysgenic trend (as it is called).Not deterministic, stochastic/probabilistic. No one thinks that such things are deterministic (well, no serious scholar, fatalists of course do!), but the evidence is very strong that it is highly predictable, although not perfectly so.
As for social stratification, yes, since IQ-tests are the best measure of intelligence (=df pure g-factor), that is what I’m referring to. :) No, shared environment has no effect on adult intelligence, unless it’s an extremely bad environment (think really bad inner city black neighborhood). This was a surprise to researchers when they found it. It means that the usual sociological theories about it are all wrong. Perhaps needless to say, I think very lowly of sociology. A pity, since it’s an important field of study. Only the quality of the research is so low.As for environment overall, it accounts for about ~20% of the variance. But this is non-shared environment, not shared environment (like poverty). It is currently unknown what this mysterious 20% non-shared env. consists of. Presumably, it’s things like avoiding diseases in one’s childhood, avoiding head injury, having good friends/teachers in school.You seem to have been inflicted with the Malcolm Gladwell myth about high IQs. It is in fact wrong, higher intelligence is always better for success. We actually do have data for >120 (90th percentile, white population), and intelligence still makes a difference, in much the same way as below whatever hypothetical threshold.

See e.g. infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

-

You are wrong about it not existing in the wild. Many online communities are explicitly meritocratic (e.g. Mozilla). ;) Also, in a broader sense, our democracies are somewhat meritocratic. Politicians are generally well-educated compared to the population.

Perhaps you have not looked hard enough? ;) I spent some time researching the issue somewhat thoroughly on Google. There isn’t much academic written on the subject for some reason. Weird. However, China had clearly meritocratic policies for the selection of officials in the past. Cf. Wikipedia.

-

Social stratification, in theory, yes. And we also see some of that in practice. For instance, many democracies have a election threshold. The way it works is that any party that receives less than that amount of votes do not get into parliament, even if they ought to have a seat based on the math alone. This helps keeping newcomers out of the political system. It is an issue that surprisingly have not received any notable attention in the academic literature. I’m mentioning it because I did some research on that issue today. :)

-

Yes, I normally joke (in seriousness) that the US is the worst western country. It is not wrong. It is difficult to find a single thing the US does better than say, any north European country. Sad especially because the US is the dominant country in the world right now. Although that will change to China in the near future. Not sure that’s much better. :P

-

That was a long message. :P Let me know if you need sources for whatever. I have sources, it is just such a hassle to insert them into OKC posts. :P Especially, if one wants to keep it ‘somewhat’ casual (I always fail :D).

(I guess I could use end notes…)

Also hi ******.

-

I was actually aware of the data on the impact of environmental factors on IQ. I was addressing the fact that a very high IQ quite often leads to social maladjustment, and that the ability to operate effectively in social situations is a much greater predictor of success than intelligence alone. (prometheussociety.org/cms/articles/the-outsiders) So to say that higher intelligence is “always” better for success as if there were a linear correlation between success and IQ is to leave out a relevant chunk of information that could potentially explain *why* instead of just *how*. Human relationships are essentially based on power dynamics, no? If success can be interpreted as the amount of power one wields in one’s social environment, then it makes sense that the scales would be tipped in the favor of the moderately intelligent, rather than the highly intelligent, who tend to relate poorly to the vast majority of people and thus have a weaker hold on them from a leadership standpoint.

I am not acquainted with Malcolm Gladwell’s myth, would you care to elaborate?

-

I will concede your point about online communities, though with no real interaction I’m not sure they qualify as actual “communities”. And the idea that education constitutes merit may not be misguided in the Danish educational system, but it certainly is in the American system. Our difference of opinion here is very likely due to our respective environments. American “democracy” is a dog-and-pony show. I’m sure everything is wonderful and lovely in Denmark though :)

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Ya wonder why there isn’t any research on what’s keeping the little guys out of power, huh? Y’know, even scientists need funding…
(When in doubt, follow the money)

So your idea that the technology would diffuse to those outside the upper class is on shaky ground… the precedent set by other forms of technology doesn’t necessarily apply here, since the affordability of a smartphone isn’t nearly as threatening to the controlling interests as the power shift that would come as the result of making previously scarce abilities (that translate directly into leadership potential) common.

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Yes, it is sad… it’s especially frustrating to live in the dominant country in the world and then go abroad to find that everyone and their mother has a firmly entrenched opinion on your politics :P But I agree, northern Europe is generally a much better place on a number of metrics.

-

I am certainly curious about your sources, on principle, and because I’m just curious and like to read. So anything you’d like to pass along is appreciated.

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I’ll respond to this later. I read the message and was impressed. But I’m too drunk to respond intelligently right now. :p

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… drunk at 2pm on a Thursday? That’s Danes for you, I suppose… :P

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Today is a holy day (<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Jesus” target=”_blank”>This one</a> ), so yesterday I went drinking. And I drank so much I woke up drunk after sleeping. That’s why. ;)

The physics friday bar (my favorite) has this system: Open on all fridays. Every work day followed by a non-work day counts as a friday. So this means that this week there are two fridays (wednesday and friday).

Also, trying to see if links in HTML works…

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That’s a negative apparently. Would make for easier referencing…

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Hi [NAME],

 

Much less drunk now. Hopefully more intelligent (phenotype at least!). :)

 

—- Intelligence and social maladjustment —-

 

I didn’t know that Terman studied social maladjustment in his famous study. So you managed to find something about intelligence that I didn’t know! That doesn’t happen often. :P I knew that high IQ societies have higher rates of social maladjustment, but that could be due to self-selection effects. After all, it seems that socially maladjusted people are exactly the kind of people who would want to be members of high IQ clubs. Socially well-adapted people would seem to have less need for them. No? I think I read a study of that before, but don’t recall the exact source.

 

As for success, I am referring to data like these: infoproc.blogspot.dk/2011/04/earnings-effects-of-personality.html It’s from the same study as before, and it shows that IQ holds just fine as a predictor even within a >135 IQ group. It even seems to be slightly non-linear as in curving upwards, making intelligence even more important at the ultra high end.

 

Anyway, the most interesting thing about that study is how the five personality factors predict income. N very oddly has no effect at all, it seems. Very strange! The others are not too surprising, except for the slightly negative correlation with O. Perhaps that’s due to people with high O selecting less well paying jobs (say, professors), not because they do worse at the same kind of jobs. Testable, but I don’t know of any data.

 

The Gladwell myth is the idea that there is a ceiling effect for IQ/intelligence such that more doesn’t give any benefits. This makes little sense to intelligence researchers and is flatly contracted by empirical evidence as shown above: both income and number of publications and patents. Although apparently not in the humanities… I leave the inference to the reader. :)

 

But since you said you like sources, I tried to locate the precise whereabouts of the original claim. It is mentioned in many places, say, here: www.drjonathanreed.co.uk/wordpress/tag/malcolm-gladwell/ but I downloaded the book and took a look myself. Unfortunately, it isn’t on Bookos.org (deleted by copyright), but it’s on torrent.

 

The claim is in chapter 3, here:

But there’s a catch. The relationship between success and IQ works only up to a point. Once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around 120, having additional IQ points doesn’t seem to translate into any measurable real-world advantage.8

 

The endnote is:

The “IQ fundamentalist” Arthur Jensen put it thusly in his 1980 book Bias in Mental Testing (p. 113): “The four socially and personally most important threshold regions on the IQ scale are those that differentiate with high probability between persons who, because of their level of general mental ability, can or cannot attend a regular school (about IQ 50), can or cannot master the traditional subject matter of elementary school (about IQ 75), can or cannot succeed in the academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school (about IQ 105), can or cannot graduate from an accredited four-year college with grades that would qualify for admission to a professional or graduate school (about IQ 115). Beyond this, the IQ level becomes relatively unimportant in terms of ordinary occupational aspirations and criteria of success. That is not to say that there are not real differences between the intellectual capabilities represented by IQs of 115 and 150 or even between IQs of 150 and 180. But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.””

 

Actually, his reference is to EXACTLY the book that I am currently reading! Not only is Gladwell’s claim not supported by the evidence cited, but it is also contradicted by the evidence from the Terman study. The reason the reference does not help his case is that Jensen is talking about thresholds for getting through education systems. It is true that once you get past, say, 130, college will be highly manageable, even a hard subject like physics. Jensen was not talking about other real life achievements such as patents or income or publications, etc. Obviously, with major advances in science, a higher intelligence than 120 is a great idea. Studies also show that, since Nobel price winners are usually way beyond 120.

 

infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

 

But it seems that I was wrong to say that more intelligence is always better. It seems to be better for the things mentioned and things like them, but bad for social adjustment. It might not make them less happy though. The correlation between intelligence and happiness is an active research question with seemingly contradictory results.

 

dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291712002139

 

—- Power dynamics —-

 

I have no opinion, but it sounds like sociology and I googled it and it was sociology. As someone very interested in behavioral genetics, I am understandably not too impressed by that field of study. There is a reason why psychometricians have coined two fallacies named after sociology. :)

 

occidentalascent.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/the-sociologists-first-and-second-fallacies/

 

—- Meritocracy, education —-

 

Education is a decent predictor of intelligence, so that will make it measure merit if we think that it is a good idea to have smarter rulers. I certainly think so. :p But, of course, in countries where there is no free education, education is also a function of (parental) wealth, which is however also correlated with intelligence of the children, but to a much smaller degree. I like free education systems because it increases social mobility, which is necessary for any meritocratic society. :) By the way, I’m not rich and my social background are ‘divorced’ parents without fancy jobs or educations. I am the first person in the family to attend university. No economic privilege here.

 

Yes, the US democracy is notoriously bad. Actually most democracies are really bad compared to what they could be. Have you looked into liquid democracy?

 

This is a pretty decent introduction.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0_Vhldz-8

Can of course also just read on the official site:

liquidfeedback.org/

 

There are many faults with the Danish system that I can point out if that area interests you. :P For starters, to be put on the voting ballot, one needs to gather a ridiculous amount of signatures (20,500) in complicated way. This basically means that to be put on the ballot, one needs a considerable amount of money, probably in the order of tens of thousands of dollars (>100k DKK). This is the reason why my party (Pirate Party Denmark) is not on the ballot.

 

Are you familiar with CGPGrey’s great series of videos on voting systems?

www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey

 

The US system is of course FPTP (first past the post), and this always leads to two party systems, which are horrible forms of democracy. Perhaps the worst kind aside from outright corrupt ones or with voter fraud (say, Russia).

 

—- Eugenics’ political aspects —-

 

Things like embryo selection will not make talent non-scarce. It will however improve the general intelligence levels of societies if widely employed. I also don’t think it would be possible to keep such a technology super expensive no matter which power interests want that. There will quickly be a huge demand for such technology, meaning that companies can earn money by making it available, even if illegal (like illegal drugs). The technology necessary for that is not particularly difficult to operate or large etc.

 

In any case, since generations take time, even if the rich have a window of opportunity of, say, 20 years before it’s so cheap as to be affordable for most people, or even free in countries with free health care, that will only be a single generation.

 

With the price curves for similar technology, it won’t take long before it’s dirt cheap. Actually, the time is somewhat predictable already. Since embryo selection would at least require a number of genome sequences, any number >1 will do, but more is better of course (larger variety to select from). Right now such full genome sequences are pretty expensive, but the 1,000 dollar mark is close. In 10 years, it will be very cheap so that everybody can afford it. For efficient embryo selection, one would need something like 100 or so. So, it will have to be very cheap. But it will be. :)

 

Then comes the price of egg extraction or some other method of getting eggs (grow them perhaps? stem cells?). I don’t think it’s very expensive even now. Sperm is obviously easy to get a hold of :P. Then they have to be combine separately. Can’t be too expensive.

 

In general the only expensive thing will be the sequencing, and it is falling logarithmicly in price.

 

I don’t think my belief is on shaky ground at all. I think it is more or less certain, but we can make a bet on it, and you can come find me in 30 years or so. :P

 

I got the idea from Richard Lynn’s Eugenics: A reassessment. It’s on page 252ff. I quote the beginning:

 

”Embryo selection consists of growing a number of embryos in vitro, testing

them for their genetic characteristics, and selecting for implantation those

with genetic characteristics regarded as desirable, while at the same time

discarding those with genetic characteristics regarded as undesirable. This

procedure is also known as embryo biopsy, which entails growing several blas-

tocysts (embryos grown in vitro to eight cells), removing one of the eight

cells, and testing it for genetic and chromosomal defects. Verlinksy, Pergament,

and Strom (1990) reported the use of this procedure to screen out embryos

with genes for Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and Down’s syndrome, so an

embryo free of these disorders could be implanted in the mother. At about

the same time, another use of this technique was reported by Handyside and

his colleagues at London University. They used IVF (in vitro fertilization) for

two couples in which the female was a carrier for an X-linked recessive dis-

ease, which is expressed only in males. To avoid the potential birth of a boy

with the X-linked disorder, the physicians tested for the sex of the embryos

and implanted only females. This technique allows couples to choose the sex

of their babies, whether this is to avoid having babies likely to inherit serious

disorders, or simply because they prefer one sex rather than the other.”

 

So, actually, it has already been tested, just without sequencing. One can of course detect other problems without a full genome sequencing.

 

I got the term ”liberal eugenics” from Wikipedia and from the book mentioned on Wikipedia which I also read:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_eugenics

Agar, Nicholas (2004). Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. ISBN 1-4051-2390-7.

 

Lynn’s book is much better. Liberal here is just non-coercive eugenics. I dislike coercive eugenics — I’m a freedom kind of person. :)

 

Also, since we don’t actually know the genes for intelligence yet, but do know a lot of genes for genetic diseases — genetic diseases will be the first thing to fix with this kind of selection. And actually it was, as seen above. Genetic diseases are more common among the poor/dumb people, so they will benefit the most of this technology. Societies with free health care have an interest in making this technology available, for the simple reason that it saves money in the long run. It is very expensive to treat many chronic diseases (say, diabetes), but this technology is once per person.

 

Eugenics is also becoming more mainstream, just under other names. See e.g.: www.ted.com/talks/harvey_fineberg_are_we_ready_for_neo_evolution.html

 

—- US compared to real countries :P —-

 

You don’t have a state church, or a monarchy. Denmark has both, but not too much trouble in practice. Still, there are some things. :P

 

—- Sources —-

 

I have an e-library here: emilkirkegaard.dk/books/. Probably there are many things on that that should interest you. At least if you share any of my interests, which it looks like. :) You can also take a look at my Goodreads profile if you didn’t already.

 

www.goodreads.com/user/show/8884040-emil-ow-kirkegaard

 

Some of the links are broken due to a flaw in the php-script that I don’t know how to fix.

 

Of course, you can also just ask me. I have tried to list the major works I got the ideas from above.

 

PS. You should share some pictures with me. :)

Social maladjustment in high IQ societies may be due in part to self-selection, yes, particularly in the case of Mensa and the “2 percenters”, who one could argue are not qualitatively different from those of average IQ, and whose IQs do not create an intrinsic barrier to communication with the 98 percent. However, I do not think it is unlikely that there exists a threshold above which some degree of social maladjustment is unavoidable; a person whose intelligence is in the range of 160-170 would relate to a person of average IQ in much the same way a person in the 130-140 range would relate to a mentally retarded person. It seems to follow that an individual who relates to 98% of their peer group the way “gifted” people relate to the mentally retarded faces probably insurmountable obstacles in their social development. (Tangent: forgive me for presuming to diagnose a stranger over the internet, and also for presuming that the stranger in question has any interest or need for my diagnosis, but your self-described “mild case of Gregory House” sounds a bit like a manifestation of this very phenomenon, no? That is, assuming you are above the 2 percent mark :P)

I don’t think this conversation can progress until we reach a mutually satisfying definition of “success”. Are you emphasising earnings as an indicator because this is the easiest to quantify? Or do you actually believe that earning power is synonymous with success? For the record, I don’t consider this discussion a “debate” in that I am not neccessarily looking for tangible proof. In fact, it is my belief that constraining the terms of the conversation to only that which can be tangibly proven is unneccesarily restrictive, and even detrimental to creative problem solving. Not that statistics should be ignored… but the skepticism with which you regard sociological research should perhaps be extended more broadly, as bad science is not the exclusive domain of sociology (and even interpreting “good” science can be tricky).

On the personality factors front, I would suggest that “O” might translate into higher usage of recreational substances, particularly in the college years that are so formative to one’s career path (in the US, anyway), potentially leading to lower academic success rates. Alternately, people with high “O” scores may be prone to boredom and would be less likely to specialize, specialization (supposedly) being key to success in modern society.

Yes, Gladwell sounds like an idiot. An idiot or a politician. The contempt with which you regard sociology is similar to the contempt with which I regard politics.

Hm, happiness… I believe the notion that happiness is objectively quantifiable is a mistaken one.

Your refusal to engage any argument that smacks of sociology does not render it moot, it simply narrows your field of vision. I do not suffer under the delusion that the vast majority of sociological research is devoid of fallacy, or even particularly useful at all in an academic sense (more often than not, anything politically useful is actually academically harmful). But I also don’t allow the absence of reliable statistics to preclude any sort of observation or speculation, because absolute certainty is not always possible. And also because leaning on figures as a crutch is the hallmark of those incapable of original thought :)

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This article may interest you, and will also probably seal your judgement of America as the Worst Western Country (TM):

www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

As a disclaimer, I do not regularly read the American Conservative, nor do I identify as a conservative.

Your educational system is probably my favorite aspect of Scandinavian style socialism. At least it sounds good from an outside perspective, and apparently it’s worked well for at least one member of your society :)

Liquid democracy is an interesting form, but it does not solve the real problem: there are too many people, and too many of those people are idiots. The average person can’t be trusted to deliver my mail properly, let alone make national policy decisions. Populism is in vogue right now, and while I am not an elitist, I don’t particularly trust any populist philosophy on its face, as populism is often anti-intellectuallism masquerading as some “noble savage” ground-swelling. As presented by your video, liquid democracy has a significant populist component.

I understand your frustration with the Danish system, and I believe you that it has its faults, but the US’s system is closer to the Russian system than you might think. Indeed, for all our posturing, American and Russian culture are not too dissimilar (I and a Russian friend of mine have fun comparing and contrasting our respective backgrounds, and we are often shocked). For instance, both Kennedy and Bush faced charges of voter fraud that were not without substance… but corruption in American politics is deep-rooted and generally not an appropriate conversation topic in polite company, so I will merely say this: whatever your woes up there in your nordic bubble, they do not compare with the clusterfuck that is American politics.

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Just because something “should” happen doesn’t mean it will. I think you underestimate the ability of those in power (be it political or economic) to abuse that power… but perhaps that is tempered in a socialistic system. It is also important to keep in mind that taboo is a powerful tool. Many cultures, especially those with strong populist sentiment, harbor an innate distrust of scientists and, by extension, technology. The industrial revolution eradicated feudalism and created the middle class, and what thanks did the scientists get? Luddites burning down the mills! The strongest form of control is not necessarily the most direct one. Look at what religion has done for the past 10,000 years.

Your point about fixing genetic diseases (especially in the case of state-subsidized health care) does seem to be more solidly based in reality, though. And by reality I mean money.

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You have quite a collection there…

A Billion Wicked Thoughts is fascinating, definitely pick that up if you haven’t. Also, if you haven’t read Sex at Dawn, that is fascinating as well. Gives us poly people some ammunition when the monogamists start moralizing or telling us it’s “unnatural” :)

And I suppose it’s only fair…

[Pictures]

The causes of high g social maladjustment

I’m thinking that the high g social maladjustment is due to loneliness, lack of similar friends and stuff like that. Although it could be a case of ‘direct’ pleiotropy as well (one gene with multiple phenotypic effects).

The trouble with IQ’s as a measure of intelligence is that it is not a ratio scale. So one cannot conclude that a, say, person at 70 IQ is twice as unintelligent as a person of 140, and the other way around with twice as smart. This bothered Jensen who wanted to make psychology a regular hard science (a branch of biology/physiology), so he spent much of his career trying to establish a connection with something that does use a ratio scale: reaction times. It turns out that reaction times are related to g, and in systematic ways. This of course fits with conventional wisdom with the bright people being “quick-witted” as well. Although this technical aspect of intelligence research does not interest me particularly.

I cite: Jensen’s Clocking the mind: Mental Chronometry and Individual Differences (2006), which I read some parts of. It is also discussed at length in Jensen 1998.

But I agree that there is a kind of communication barrier between people of different g levels, but perhaps it is not linear. Suppose there is a barrier between, say, 140 and 100 such that persons that different almost never get along. It seems to me that it doesn’t follow from that, that there must be a similar barrier between ex. 140 and 180.
The cause of such barriers, IMO, is that the normal folks lack academic interests and simply don’t know much about anything academic. This makes conversation difficult. A person of 140 is surely capable of great knowledge of academic interests, although a 180 is without a doubt much better at it. But still, there is a good chance of mutual interests.
Self assessment of intelligence is very difficult. Not just because we are naturally inclined to overrate ourselves (self serving bias, men especially), but it is also known that ‘smart people’ 75 percentile) tend to underestimate themselves in experiments (cf. Dunning-Kruger effect). But we also know that the higher we put the number, the lower is the base rate, which makes it more difficult to have convincing evidence (cf. base rate fallacy). Together with the above, there is a lack of good, high ceiling IQ tests on the web for free. It is also not wise to rely on friend’s judgments as they are also biased (in one’s favor). University grades don’t correlate too well with IQ (0.3ish), so not too useful of a guide either. General achievement in life is also the function of things like motivation, creativity, opportunity and chance. So, difficult to use that too.

But I did take Mensa’s test and got a passing grade. :p I’m not a member though.

Success
I am of course not defining success as earnings. I just picked an example of something that is usually regarded as one measure of success (because people want money), and which there is correlational data about with IQ. I also mentioned patents and STEM publications. In any case, my goals are polymathy (very difficult), and leading the Pirate Party to election in Denmark. Both are going well IMO. I did create a spelling reform proposal that multiple respectful people said nice things about, so I’m pretty proud of that. Especially because it was something I did alone+without help, before entering university, before studying linguistics in a more serious way. I also created an innovative logic system, although much of that work is unpublished sitting on my desktop because I lost interest in it. I think it’s cool and useful for philosophy, but philosophy no longer holds my main interest.
I looked up “success”. Wiktionary just reports “The achievement of one’s aim or goal. [from 16th c.]“. So, being a high earner can be a success, if that was one’s goal. I don’t care too much about money. I tend to donate it. For instance, to Wikipedia, Wikileaks and the like.

Personality and earnings
I checked our suggestion on O and drug usage, well, drinking. It is borne out by what appears to be a decent study. Decent sample size. Higher O does correlate with more drinking. Also as expected higher C correlates negatively with more drinking. Higher N also positively.
postimg.org/image/pjpgryhml/full/
emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Trajectories-of-alcohol-and-drug-use-and-dependence-from-adolescence-to-adulthood-The-effects-of-familial-alcoholism-and-personality.pdf
Well, more work is needed for path analysis. I didn’t read the study, just checked the statistics.

Happiness
How come? Anyway, it seems it is. Although it is not so simple as previously thought. The heritability of happiness is also known with some certainly from twin studies and the like. It is usually put in the 50-80% range. Similar to IQ. Height is something like 90%.
www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory.html
blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/06/heritability-of-behavioral-traits/#.UZMeSso_Qe4

Sociology
I don’t disagree with what you say, but I don’t really know enough about “power” as thought about in sociology to say anything. I read much of the Wikipedia article on power. It has 14 sections for “Theories” the last of which is called “Other theories”. I knew of some of the research though (ultimatum and dictator games), because these are employed in evolutionary psychology in studies of cheater detection.

Meritocracy in the US
I already read that article. :P I read texts from all over the political spectrum. Something about now being narrow minded? :p Being in an information bubble is a bad idea, as it leads to confirmation bias.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble

Education in Scandinavia
Free education is the best meritocratic system for the reason that it being free maximizes the chances that a poor/bad SES but gifted person gets the best education. It is the best way to have social mobility. According to the equality people (of The Spirit Level fame), social mobility is good. From an intelligence research perspective, it is a good idea because the variance in human abilities is so large, even within families (average sibling IQ difference is 12, compared with 15 in the population).

Liquid democracy
You say you’re not an elitist, but then you say elitist things. :P Actually, I think (hope) that liquid democracy can solve a problem not possible to form with regular representative democracies. It is connected with the thing we were talking about earlier: the communication between different g groups. The idea is that one has a certain range where one can see who is the smartest/best leader. I would explain it, but someone explained it here:

news.yahoo.com/people-arent-smart-enough-democracy-flourish-scientists-185601411.html
The study is here: emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/A-Mathematical-Model-of-Democratic-Elections.pdf

His assumption of complete inability to judge who is a better leader than oneself is without a doubt wrong, but there is truth to the idea that there is a range based on oneself, which doesn’t extend too far rightward. Given that, the results should be somewhat mediocre (to fit with reality). However, if people could delegate votes recursively, one could see a delegation of votes from a person at x level, to someone higher at y, who would delegate it to someone higher at z, and so on for a few delegations. That would enable the vote to go to someone much higher than x could ‘see’. In theory, that should work very well.

I have no idea how well that idea would work in practice. Worth a try?

As for too many dumb people, yes. See e.g. this for depressing reading.

emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Deliberative-Democracy-and-Political-Ignorance.pdf

It does have a populist component, if only because there is no way else to get such a system implemented. It will also benefit the current system for other reasons than the above. For instance, the majority of the Danish population supports cannabis legalization, but the politicians are against it. With LD they could vote on it themselves. Similar for e.g. active euthanasia. Might also give other bad results though… As with other large changes, it is too difficult to predict with certainty, and the best way is to try it out. My idea is to get it implemented in some local governments, and then see how it goes. The more near-term goal is to get it implemented in the Danish Pirate Party.

-Emil

Reading material on cognitive epidemiology

I recently got interested in a new field en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_epidemiology

Cognitive epidemiology is a field of research that examines the associations between intelligence test scores (IQ scores or extracted g-factors) and health, more specifically morbidity (mental and physical) and mortality. Typically, test scores are obtained at an early age, and compared to later morbidity and mortality. In addition to exploring and establishing these associations, cognitive epidemiology seeks to understand causal relationships between intelligence and health outcomes. Researchers in the field argue that intelligence measured at an early age is an important predictor of later health and mortality differences.[1][2]

-

I decided to scout the academic literature. Here’s some for those also curious.

Special issue of Intelligence, 2009, about cognitive epidemiology.

1. Introduction to the special issue on cognitive epidemiology

2. The association of childhood intelligence with mortality risk from adolescence to middle age Findings from the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s cohor

3. Cognition and incident coronary heart disease in late midlife The Whitehall II study

4. Can we understand why cognitive function predicts mortality Results from the Caerphilly Prospective Study (CaPS)

5. Cognition and survival in a biracial urban population of old people

6. Fluid intelligence is independently associated with all-cause mortality over 17 years in an elderly community sample

7. Reaction time and established risk factors for total and cardiovascular disease mortality

8. IQ in childhood and the metabolic syndrome in middle age Extended follow-up of the 1946 British Birth Cohort Study

9. The association between IQ in adolescence and a range of health outcomes at 40 in the 1979 US National Longitudinal Study of Youth

10. Does a fitness factor contribute to the association between intelligence and health outcomes

11. Intelligence in childhood and risk of psychological distress in adulthood The 1958 National Child Development Survey and the 1970 British Cohort S

12. Level of cognitive performance as a correlate and predictor of health behaviors that protect against cognitive decline in late life The path through life study

13. Intelligence and persisting with medication for two years Analysis in a randomised controlled trial

14. How intelligence and education contribute to substance use Hints from the Minnesota Twin family study

15. Cognitive epidemiology With emphasis on untangling cognitive ability and socioeconomic status

Some other papers that i found:

Why is intelligence correlated with semen quality Biochemical pathways common to sperm and neuron function and their vulnerability to pleiotropic mutations

Why do intelligent people live longer

The relationships between cognitive ability and dental status in a national sample of USA adults

Rare Copy Number Deletions Predict Individual Variation in Intelligence

Looking for ‘System Integrity’ in Cognitive Epidemiology

Intelligence and semen quality are positively correlated

Intelligence Is It the Epidemiologists’ Elusive Fundamental Cause of Social Class Inequalities in Health

Does IQ explain socioeconomic inequalities in health Evidence from a population based cohort study in the west of Scotland

Cognitive epidemiology J Epidemiol Community Health-2007-Deary-378-84