Features

The return of eugenics

Researchers don’t like the word  – but they're running ahead with the idea, and Britain is at the forefront

2 April 2016

9:00 AM

2 April 2016

9:00 AM

The only way of cutting off the constant stream of idiots and imbeciles and feeble-minded persons who help to fill our prisons and workhouses, reformatories, and asylums is to prevent those who are known to be mentally defective from producing offspring. Undoubtedly the best way of doing this is to place these defectives under control. Even if this were a hardship to the individual it would be necessary for the sake of protecting the race.
The Spectator, 25 May 1912

 

It’s comforting now to think of eugenics as an evil that sprang from the blackness of Nazi hearts. We’re familiar with the argument: some men are born great, some as weaklings, and both pass the traits on to their children. So to improve society, the logic goes, we must encourage the best to breed and do what we can to stop the stupid, sick and malign from passing on their defective genes. This was taken to a genocidal extreme by Hitler, but the intellectual foundations were laid in England. And the idea is now making a startling comeback.

A hundred years ago the eugenic mission involved a handful of crude tools: bribing the ‘right’ people to have larger families, sterilising the weakest. Now stunning advances in science are creating options early eugenicists could only dream about. Today’s IVF technology already allows us to screen embryos for inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis. But soon parents will be able to check for all manner of traits, from hair colour to character, and choose their ‘perfect’ child.

The era of designer babies, long portrayed by dystopian novelists and screenwriters, is fast arriving. According to Hank Greely, a Stanford professor in law and biosciences, the next couple of generations may be the last to accept pot luck with procreation. Doing so, he adds, may soon be seen as downright irresponsible. In his forthcoming book The End of Sex, he explains a brave new world in which mothers will be given a menu with various biological options. But even he shies away from the word that sums all this up. For Professor Greely, and almost all of those in the new bioscience, eugenics is never mentioned, as if to avoid admitting that history has swung full circle.

The word ‘eugenics’ was coined in 1883 by Francis Galton, a polymath who invented fingerprinting and many of the techniques of modern statistical research. He started with a hunch: that so many great men come from the same families because genius is hereditary. Fascinated by the evolutionary arguments of his cousin Charles Darwin, he wondered whether advances in health care and welfare had sullied the national gene pool because they allowed more of the sick and disabled not just to survive but to lead normal family lives. He went off to collect data, and came back with his theory of eugenics.

This was hailed not as a theory but as a discovery — a new science of human life, with laws as immutable as Newton’s. A race of gifted men could be created, he said, ‘as surely as we can propagate idiots by mating cretins’

Some of the most revered names in British history lapped this up. As Home Secretary, Churchill wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to do more to stop the “multiplication of the unfit”. Darwin himself would come to fear that “if the prudent avoid marriage whilst the reckless marry, inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society”.

By 1908, a Royal Commission conveyed the grave news that there were 150,000 ‘feeble-minded’ people in Britain. So what was to be done with them? As one reformer put it: “They must be acknowledged dependents of the State…but with complete and permanent loss of all civil rights – including not only the franchise but civil freedom and fatherhood”. This was William Beveridge, founder of the welfare state.

A report in The Times conveyed, matter-of-factly, the substance of a lecture given to the Eugenics Society following survey of the people of Devon by a Dr Grunby.

As to imbeciles, he said there was only one thing to do with them: exterminate them as they arose. He put forward the suggestion on purely humanitarian grounds.

Eugenics came to stand for modernity: to believe in it was to declare one’s belief in science and rationalism, to be liberated from religious qualms. Some of the most revered names in English history lapped all of this up. The Bishop of Birmingham called for sterilisation. Bertrand Russell looked forward to a eugenic era driven by science, not religion. ‘We may perhaps assume that, if people grow less superstitious, government will acquire the right to sterilise those who are not considered desirable as parents,’ he argued in 1924.

When a Sterilisation Bill was brought before Parliament in 1931 it had the backing of social workers, dozens of local authorities and the medical and scientific establishment. It was defeated, but the agenda continued. The Nuremberg Trials established that the Nazis (latecomers to all this) carried out some 400,000 compulsory sterilisations — a figure so horrific it has eclipsed the 60,000 in Sweden and a similar number in the United States. The idea of a biological divide between the fit and the unfit was no Nazi invention. It was the conventional wisdom of the developed world.

And this is the problem. Because we forget how badly Britain fell for eugenics, we fail to recognise the basic arguments of eugenics when they reappear — which they are now doing with remarkable regularity.

Consider Adam Perkins, a lecturer at King’s College London, who has published a study echoing the Royal Commission’s attempt to quantify the feeble-minded. The group he aims to study are the ‘employment-resistant’: those disposed to a life on welfare as a result of genetic predispositions and having grown up in workless homes. With Galtonesque precision, he estimates some 98,040 ‘extra’ people were ‘created by the welfare state’ over 15 years due to a rise in welfare spending. They represent an ‘ever-greater burden on the more functional citizens’.

In 1938, Germans were shown a poster of a cripple and invited to be angry about the costs of caring for him (60,000 Reichmarks). Dr Perkins tries a softer version of this general idea, calculating the £12,000-a-head annual cost of the new British untermensch — not just in welfare, but the crimes they will probably commit. His remedy? That Cameron’s government restricts welfare, so that claimants have fewer children. A perfect eugenic solution.

There is nothing monstrous about Dr Perkins, himself a former welfare claimant, nor anything very original about his book. He simply joins the dots of recent academic research and spells out what others won’t. His footnotes show the growing academic pedigree of the new eugenics: work has been done to identify genes relating to alcoholism, criminality, sporting success, even premature ejaculation. Extrapolations are now made about how far the quality of human stock worldwide has been eroded by health care and welfare.

In academia, the word ‘eugenics’ may be controversial but the idea is not. To Professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the ability to apply ‘rational design’ to humanity, through gene editing, offers a chance to improve the human stock — one baby at a time. ‘When it comes to screening out personality flaws such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence,’ he said a while ago, ‘you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children’.

Meanwhile, the scientific pursuit of ‘ethically better children’ is advancing rapidly. Since Louise Brown was conceived in a laboratory 38 years ago — the world’s first IVF baby — the treatment has become mainstream, sought by 100 women a day in Britain. Developments in IVF mean that, today, several embryos can be fertilised and screened for diseases, with the winner implanted in the uterus. The next step was taken last year, when Chinese scientists succeeded in modifying the genes of a fertilised embryo. It was rather messy: they attempted to treat 86 non-viable embryos, and failed in most cases. So they abandoned the experiment, saying a 100 per cent success rate is needed when dealing in human life.

This — the genetic modification of human embryos — is what causes the concern. But here, and at each point in the new eugenics, you can argue: where is the moral problem? There are no deaths, no sterilisations, no abortions: just a scientifically guided conception. The potential avoidance of disease, to the betterment of humanity. So who could complain?

One answer came four months ago, when 150 scientists and academics called for a complete shutdown of human gene editing. In a letter released before a summit in Washington DC, they argued that the technology would ‘open the door to an era of high-tech consumer eugenics’, with affluent parents choosing the best qualities and creating a new form of genetically modified human. To these scientists, the complex issue boils down to a simple point: ‘We must not engineer the genes we pass on to our descendants.’

Such concerns cannot be heard from the British government, which recently helped to build the Francis Crick Institute, a new nerve centre for biomedical research. A few weeks ago, the institute was given authorisation to begin a new, controversial gene-editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas9. To supporters, this is proof of Britain’s position at the cutting edge of research. To critics, it is proof that Britain (one of the few countries that does not ban the use of fertilised human embryos in experiments) is again rushing headlong into eugenic science with minimal debate.

On the rare occasions the matter is raised in Parliament, ministers say that they do not support eugenics. But, as Chris Patten has pointed out in the Lords, that is a meaningless statement if there is no attempt to define the term. To David Galton, who has written more about the subject than any British academic, the definition is simple. If you use science to make the best of genes handed down to the next generation, that’s eugenics: ‘Sweeping the word under the carpet or sanitising it with another name merely conceals the appalling abuses that have occurred in the past and may lull people into a false sense of security.’

The idea of consumer eugenics is no futurist fantasy. Already, sperm banks boast about screening for everything from autism to red hair. £12,000 buys you the chance to choose which embryo to implant. And £400 buys sperm-sorting, the better to conceive a boy (or a girl). And even in the slums of India, women desperate for a boy will pay for ante-natal screening to identify — and abort — girls. It doesn’t take government to pursue eugenics: parents will do it themselves.

The Francis Crick Institute says its gene-editing research has nothing to do with eugenics; even British law prohibits pregnancies from gene-edited embryos, and its researchers plan to destroy them after seven days. Instead, it aims to learn about the role of genes in miscarriage. But if its research improves gene-editing technology, less scrupulous scientists can make use of that. This is why scholars like Robert Pollack, a professor at Columbia University, want a moratorium on of germ-line DNA modification. ‘Imagine that, many years hence, there are two sorts of people: those who carry the messy inheritance of their ancestors, and those whose ancestors had the resources to clean up their germ cells before IVF.’ So you end up with two types of humans: the genetically tidy rich and everyone else.

The experiments being carried out in London are worrying, he says, precisely because the British have such a good success rate. ‘It is not failure, but success, that concerns me,’ says Professor Pollack. ‘And for that concern, there are few venues more troubling than the Crick Institute — it is as likely as any place in the world to do this without making any distracting, avoidable mistakes.’

So some 130 years after Britain gave the world the idea of perfecting humanity, we are once again at the cutting edge of this troubled science. For good or ill, eugenics is back.


Show comments
  • Sipu

    There is not much difference between the scientific arguments that support the theories of eugenics and those that support the theories of race. Both topics, from a scientific point of view, have been brushed under the carpet for decades, as Francis Cricks’s partner, James Watson discovered. As distasteful as one may find them, it is difficult to argue with scientific evidence that supports these theories.

    • Revd Robert West

      You are talking nonsense: race is in the Holy Bible, and there it means your stock (genos) or genealogy (race) and intergenerational nation (ethnos). We also have the chosen race, the Hebrews. You are not a rabid anti-Semite are you?

      • red2black

        There are more theories of Race than what’s in The Bible. Whites at the top, all the way down to Jews and Blacks at the bottom, for example. Eugenics and ‘modern’ Race Theories ran pretty much in parallel, and in some instances, overlapped.

        • sfin

          Actually, IQ indices have ‘whites’ hovering around the middle – with Ashkenazi Jews at the very top, closely followed by East Asians.

          It’s one thing the Nazi’s got wrong. Within this particular framework, they were never the master race.

          • red2black

            I do not subscribe to the ideas I mentioned in reply to Revd Robert West. There’s a big difference between alleviating individual suffering and the idea of a Master Race or Chosen People.

          • sfin

            Just to clear up…

            I didn’t say, or suspect you did. My post was supporting the irony (my inference) in your second sentence.

            The problem with race theories and deeper eugenics is that absolutely everyone has a stake in the outcomes or proofs which makes them impossible as a pure science.

            There are no ‘feelings’ in maths, for example.

          • red2black

            If it’s anything to do with Maths and Science, I’ll have to take your word for it.

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            Yep. Lets hear it for the nips.

          • Mary Ann

            You can understand why Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews, he couldn’t have people who are more intellectually able than his Aryans.

          • sfin

            More of a case of success resentment, I think – but, yes, you’re not far off the mark.

          • red2black

            There was also the idea that the Aryan Race had been created when some sort of universal power (Zietgeist?) was at its strongest, and the Jewish Race was created when this power was at its weakest. Also, Jews were regarded by some as a Race that had served its historical and evolutionary purpose, and those remaining were an obstacle to (at the time) modern-day progress.
            Please note that I do not condone these ideas in any way whatsoever.

          • Sipu

            Ah, so the Jews are superior to the Aryans. Very sensible thinking, though it does imply that Hitler’s mistake was not so much about whether racial supremacy was a fact, but more about which particular race was superior. What does it say about racial supremacy that the Aryan wannabe, Adolf Hitler, failed in his ambitions thanks to the intervention of the Aryan people of Britain, the Empire and, somewhat late in the game, America? It is all very confusing apart from the fact that those who deny racial distinction are clearly daft.

        • Revd Robert West

          I am not sure that the modern theories of genetic or biological ‘race’ put Jews at the bottom; I thought they were at the top, followed by the Orientals. But they all have the theory of biolgoical Macro-Evolution embedded in them.

          By contrast the ancient literature, including the Holy Bible, think of race as one’s ancestry or genealogy: and this is free of Marco-Evolutionary assumptions, and of fights between different breeds to establish the survival, or dominance of the fittest, to progress the whole species.

          • red2black

            I was referring to the Race theories that were popular at the time Eugenics was; theories to which plenty of people currently adhere. I really don’t have time for any of it as far as ‘belief’ is concerned, including the idea of a Master Race or a Chosen People.

          • Revd Robert West

            Well, I certainly accept the Biblical idea of the Israelites as the chosen race (genos), but chosen to what one could say: certainly not dominance, but to be a Light to the Gentiles (Latin for ‘nations’ or ‘ethnics’). They failed miserably there but they are not cast of. The New Testament foretells that there will come a time when they will rejoin the Church by embracing Him who is ‘king of the Jews” (see Romans 10 and 11). But race here is genealogical rather than genetic, although there is some overlap. I do not go in for Macro-Evolution either or the modern views of progress by preservation of the most favoured, as Darwin put it.

      • Sipu

        To be honest, I am not sure whether you are being ironic or serious, but I am going to opt for the former. In which case, you must surely find it amusing that those who express things thus, “You are not a rabid anti-Semite are you?”, ignore the implication that anti-semites who are not rabid are rather more socially acceptable than those who are.

  • Liberty

    We have been practicing eugenics probably for ever, as in stealing women, getting a good strong guy to father one’s child or marrying someone from a good family. We do it already, in screening for cystic fibrosis or down’s syndrome. Modern eugenics is just doing it more precisely, like producing GM crops instead of hoping for useful wild, random variations to turn up.
    There is no doubt that we will be able to manage our heredity with total precision one day with huge benefits, and if we slow up R&D there is no doubt that others will not. When eugenics is reliable, safe and cost effective then demand will be huge from people who will pay silly money, and are we to leave it to the rich and vain to have stronger, healthier, better looking and smarter children? There will always be someone to sell it to them.
    Eugenics is unavoidable and will be done by people less squeamish than us. So, are we going to do nothing while others – probably China – has a population that is healthier, smarter, stronger and happier with all the economic, military and political advantages that gives them? Popular demand will be massive, and if eugenics is safe, practical and cost effective Western governments will not be able or willing to resist.

  • Sue Smith

    How about intellectual eugenics??!! Creating the perfect specimen of political correctness, sanctioned by the Thought Police:

    (Try about 3 to 4 mins in):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hCtuGNRN1U

    • Zanderz

      Just watching it now – great stuff.

      • Sue Smith

        He’s right on the money when he refers to our modern ‘democratic’ world as becoming increasingly “ugly and tyrannical”!!

  • ohforheavensake

    A bit behind, Fraser. Perkins’ theories (and his book) have been pretty thoroughly discredited.

  • Zanderz

    Everyone wants to feel special. To be part of ‘the best’, to be in the elite, the chosen, the dar al Islam. Eugenics is just the humanists way of getting there. Nothing different from ISIS, the Nazis, Guardian readers or any other top tier fantasists.

    • Sargon the bone crusher

      Let’s hear it for top tier fantasists.

    • lambdoid

      The problem with elitism is that sooner or later the unwashed masses get fed up with the elite’s smug, superior attitudes, and their heads end up on pikes, figuratively and literally.

  • Bonkim

    What is the point of lumbering society with disabilities and low-intelligence – best to terminate such pregnancies before birth and avoid suffering. Regrettably nature is harsh and those not equipped to face their existence unaided died off or suffer all through their lives – it is the equivalent of putting down a lion or dog unable to fend for itself..

    • Zanderz

      Well said Richard Dawkins.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Cue “Horst Wessel Lied”.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        Is that a sort of german sausage?

  • AlexanderGalt

    Fourty three per cent ( http://bit.ly/1SoFam2 ) of university educated women in Britain have no children. Thanks to the welfare state there is a baby boom among the least intelligent and least fit parents. The decline is continuous and has been going on for many decades and the results are visible to all.

    The implications of these incontrovertible facts are grim. The only solutions are unacceptable to most. Therefore continued decline is certain.

    • Mary Ann

      I shouldn’t worry too much, that stastic comes from 1965 when only about 7% of people went to university and women were not allowed a career and a family. I have two daughters-in-law, both went to university, one has a child, although due to poor health there is a question mark on whether there will be any more, and the other wants a football team. But the general birth rate is so low, in another ten generations or so there won’t be any White Western Europeans.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        ”I shouldn’t worry too much, that stastic comes from 1965 when only about 7% of people went to university and women were not allowed a career and a family.”

        wonderful times.
        Bring them back.
        Hearth and home, the natural place for women; particularly Australian women.

        • AlexanderGalt

          There is no contradiction between women working and having kids.

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            Oh yes there is little total work state gauleiter.
            Maybe not for some pasty-faced horror from the putrid work-camp that is modern Stalag Britoland.

      • AlexanderGalt

        The 43% statistic is from last year.

        My wife is also smart and has 3 children. But my personal experience is not a sound basis for conclusions about society. It’s not a criticism of women either. Both men and women decide not to have children and that’s their free choice.

        Across the west the statistics are similar. If intelligence is inherited, and just about every piece of reputable research confirms that IQ is highly heritable, our future is going to be decidedly dimmer.

        • Mary Ann

          I only found it from 1965.

          I agree that intelligence is inherited. Although I can’t help wondering if life is better for those who are not in the top 1%.

          • AlexanderGalt

            That’s another question. Personally I’d prefer to be an unhappy Socrates than blissfully ignorant.

    • Planet Vague

      You point at socio-economic parameters to inform decisions in Eugenics. That’s a non-starter from the start my friend.

      • AlexanderGalt

        That’s why I admitted that “the only solutions are unacceptable”. But we can still get away from everyday bromides and talk about reality in an intellectual mag like the Speccie, can’t we?

        • Planet Vague

          Of course, I emphatically welcome all reasoned discourse. If I may quote you, you added the qualifying parameter ‘to most’. Does this include you? My hunch is it does not, ergo my response remains along the non-starter lines for the reasons given, sir. Should you however wish to expand on the points you made so far, I might feel inclined, touch wood, to expand in my response.

          • AlexanderGalt

            A good start would be to remove the incentive to singlemotherhood, ie, the welfare benefits. As The Bell Curve researchers discovered this is almost entirely the preserve of women who are too stupid to realise how damaging this life choice is to their own and their children’s prospects.

            A second possibility would be to offer a reduction in tax for each subsequent birth after the first. Reducing their basic rate by around 5% for each child would offer a great incentive to people who actually contribute to society to have children. Research shows that they tend to be more intelligent than welfare recipients. The childless would of course have to pay more unless we slashed the size of the state at the same time.

            Another move would be to hold the fathers of these single mothers’ children to account through taxing their salaries or more likely drastically reducing their welfare benefits. This would provide an immediate disincentive to their irresponsible activities.

            Doing all this would cause real hardship, but less than that which is being caused by the current injust system, because it would restore responsibility for one’s actions.

          • Planet Vague

            By paragraph

            It is news to me that single motherhood is incentivise in the UK. It’s a lifestyle choice. Lifestylers on the lower end of the social spectrum with no vision of or plan for the future you have conceived for them will need to be encouraged to think not beaten to be sensible, middle incomers may drop with regard to their socio-economic performance output, again, none of your business, I’d say “when will the state finally offer adequate childcare” if I wanted to be flippant, and high income earners do as they please anyhow don’t they. If those highlifers are really pretty they even get to talk about their adulterous husband live on TV, or when in Monaco a heir with the wrong skin colour is born, the mum is conveniently paid off and silenced. You will like that, money solves all problems, even the problems money doesn’t solve.

            There is no scope to reduce taxation. Don’t you read the UK papers re: living within one’s means?

            Fathers are not held to account for funding the upbringing of their children? Why on earth not, it would be godless behaviour not to enforce that, and so easy to do too.

            Your list of suggestions which you believe encouraged social cohesion appear to be misguided by the desire to maximise economic output. As I stated before, any initiative based on such socio-economic parameters is a non-starter from the start.

        • Not on Fraser Nelson’s watch, we can’t.

      • I think AlexanderGalt is talking about the elephant in the room that Mr Nelson appears to be encouraging us to ignore.

    • JohnnyNorfolk

      Those of us that are well bred can live off those that are not. Their foolisness ensures that the few can live off the many in style.

    • Dr. Heath

      The proportion of my university classmates – male and female – who are now middle-aged and childless is nearly 100%. They had the misfortune to have to search for their first jobs in the incredible shrinking graduate jobs market of the early Thatcher years. I don’t imagine that the fact they received grants and free tuition provides even the tiniest morsel of consolation. A remark that one of these friends recently made to me about her fate is so heartbreaking and, I imagine, so widely shared with all the rest, that I can’t bring myself to include it in this comment.

      You are entirely right. There is a baby boom under way. The mums, in this case, appear to be unemployable yet well-remunerated for doing nothing [the odd appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show notwithstanding]. And there is not a single major political party in the United Kingdom which has MPs or activists with the honesty or courage to even begin to grapple with the nation’s progressively deepening demographic crisis. Immigration, of course, is not the answer. The children of migrants will soon find that life on a couple of small islands with a runaway population explosion, a dwindling number of good jobs and unaffordable housing is as awful for them as it is for everyone else.

    • paradise 33

      Prior to the welfare state there were hardly any university educated women in Britain. Until 1920 women weren’t even allowed access to university.

      Are you by any chance related to Ayn Rand’s delusional – and fictional – anti-hero John Galt?

      • AlexanderGalt

        Distant cousin.

        Too many people, both men and women attend useless dumbed down courses at university. Making students contribute to these was a good first step in opening their eyes to the money and time they are wasting.

    • “It is not failure, but success, that concerns me”

      Seems pretty typical of the thinking that got us into this mess.

      “The only solutions are unacceptable to most.”

      Cutting welfare may be unacceptable to most voters perhaps, but is it unacceptable to most tax payers?

  • watzat

    Britain’s marching to a faster pace

  • It is perfectly clear that the wrong people are having most of the children. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday. Between us we have six educated, intelligent and financially successful offspring, now ranging in age between 29 and 40. These are all in stable relationships or marriages with equally successful people. How many grandchildren do we have between us and the six couples we have produced? One. Meanwhile down the road on the local estate, large numbers of unemployable single mothers are producing children for a pastime. They do not bring them up – the children run wild. The apparent fecundity of Islamic residents is another worrying tendency. This country is undergoing irrevocable change, and it is not for the better.

    • red2black

      Really, Arthur. Don’t be such a snob. The great unwashed banging-out kids will save us from being overrun by Muslims.

      • fundamentallyflawed

        I thought the great unwashed were Muslims these days? Unless Mohammed has replaced Chardonnay as the name of choice…

        • red2black

          Perhaps I should have explained ‘White great unwashed’ or ‘indigenous great unwashed. Even so, your thought regarding Muslims does push many people, including myself, a rung or so up the social ladder and a nudge higher up the greasy pole. And yes, I’ve heard a distinctly proletarian young mother beckoning one of her dishevelled and unruly offspring like so: “Chardonnay! …Chardonnay! …Gedeer! (trans.’come hither’) …Now!”

      • Hello again…. I don’t think they will save us from that by the way. The numbers are too far out of balance. UK Pakistani mothers have on average 3.89 children, from Somalia 4.19 and from Afghanistan something similar, but certainly over 4.

        [source http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_350433.pdf see page 9]

        Of course they also practice massive abuse of family reunion rules by sending children to marry strangers from these places and then importing the bride or groom and dependent family of the same. This more or less doubles the actual total fertility rate to something nearer 8 for a Pakistani woman. In many ‘communities’ it is very rare to find a family from the group who does not import a marriage partner for their UK born children.

        • red2black

          That’s a high price to pay for my kebab (“Pensioner’s Leg, mate… no onions and plenty of chilli sauce”)
          and cab home on a Saturday night after a few too many bevvies. A crafty move on their part to bring the rest of their folks in.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        They are the great unwashed muslims, old cocker. Wake up and smell the coffee.

        • red2black

          Last night’s curry, more like.

    • lambdoid

      There is an evolutionary trade off between caring and bearing. While the less well off may well have lots of kids they can’t care for, the average life expectancy of those kids will be lower than those from a more well off family who put more resources into fewer children. Having more kids especially with different fathers is an insurance policy aka not putting all your eggs in one basket. Higher value women can be more choosy as they can attract men who have more resources or social status. Both strategies are valid from an evolutionary point of view and they are both appropriately adapted to their environmental niches.

      • Unfortunately you haven’t studied the actual data so you are ignoring what is actually going on.

  • Alisteir McLaurin

    The eugenics topic fails to bring me to a sputtering state of apoplexy. However, I’m astonished that anyone gets so upset about it in view of the fact that anyone buying a puppy (that’s a lot of people) wants to know all about the little chap’s ancestors – then there are those who like to have a punt on the gee-gees who also want to know all about their nag’s antecedents. Somehow though, people are viewed differently. How inconsistent.

    • fundamentallyflawed

      Don’t forget about horse breeding.
      Also the simple fact is eugenics is practiced as natural as breathing amongst people. We select mates based on numerous unconscious criteria

      • Alisteir McLaurin

        Exactly.

    • Zanderz

      People aren’t animals, people aren’t plants.

      • Alisteir McLaurin

        People are animals. Some are more animalistic than others.

        • Zanderz

          The thought that we are animals is a modern lie. We are flesh and blood, but we are not animals.

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            Oh no another cretinuous creationist. Crawl into your box, fruithead.

          • Zanderz

            I’ve always found that people with the flimsiest arguments make the most noise.

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            I agree. I am pleased that you possess self-awareness.

          • This is a joke – surely? If it isn’t, you are insane. Of course we are animals.

          • Zanderz

            6000 years of religious thought would argue against you.

          • Ha ha ha ha.

          • Mary Ann

            You are joking, aren’t you?

          • Mary Ann

            Primates.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        Yes, people ARE animals.
        No they are NOT plants; unless they are spies.
        Dummy.

  • enoch arden

    The idea that we can improve the human race by dedicated selection is idiotically naive and demonstrates scientific illiteracy of those who propose it. It represents an unfortunate precipitation of the popular 19th superstition, ascribed to Darwin, that evolution can be driven by “natural selection”. Spencer expressed this idea in a perfectly meaningless principle: “survival of the fittest”. We understand that survival is the operational definition of “the fittest”. Dawkins still repeats it.

    For those who aren’t good in school physics, the futility of the idea of eugenics can be seen from the long history of dog’s breeding. As a result, dogs look like mentally and physically handicapped cripples as compared with wolves, their remote ancestors. Any kind of direct selection can only result in loosing the original information: it cannot create new genetic information. Thermodynamics forbids it.

    • Alisteir McLaurin

      I wouldn’t want a wolf guarding my sheep. Each to his own though.

      • enoch arden

        True. The reason is that a wolf is too clever for that primitive application.

        Similarly, you wouldn’t like your gardener to be significantly smarter than you, making regular jokes about your mental capacity in public. An illiterate idiot would be much more suitable for the job.

        • Alisteir McLaurin

          Ah, a case of sputtering apoplexy.

          • enoch arden

            Is it about your dog or your gardener?

          • Alisteir McLaurin

            You and Zanderz have a thing about vegetation.

        • The main difference between wolves and dogs is that dogs attach to human beings and want to be with them whereas a wolf never will do that. Some time very long ago now, certain wolf strains hanging about on the fringe of human encampments found a niche in which they could get food easily by snivelling about around human beings who used their canine abilities to hunt, guard flocks and homes, or even to pull loads as beasts of burden. There are a number of dog breeds which not only look like wolves, but have all of the physical prowess and stamina of wolves, but they all have that characteristic of craving attachment to human beings which the wolf does not.

          http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/images24/SeppalaSiberianSleddogRiverViewsHurley.jpg

          • enoch arden

            Not true. A wolf can be very attached to you, considering you as a family member. But he would never be your slave: too clever and too independently minded for that. The same with humans: a friend and a loyal servant are two entirely different patterns of relationship.

          • Wolves make very bad pets just like foxes. You can keep them, but they do not attach like dogs do. You should read some of the web sites which serve as an information resource for people who try to keep wolves as pets.

      • What has gone wrong with the dog is that idiotic breeders began to prize appearance traits above all else and inbred and back crossed genetic lines in order to develop exaggerated features of appearance. The result? A canine health disaster; dogs crippled, sick and wretched. If dogs inhabited a world as it was fifty or a hundred years ago, where they went about freely and competed for mates, there would be a very much healthier population and veterinarians would have a much lighter case load. Noel the so called ‘Supervet’ (UK TV) would have no cases of hip dysplasia and spinal deformity to ‘correct’.

        Breeding in a natural way automatically selects for health bringing and successful characteristics. We operate it as human beings outside the world of arranged marriages and worse still, the ‘cousin marrying’ fraternity of the Indian subcontinent. Women choose men of a certain robust sort if they can get them, though men are less choosy, they do prize female features of a certain sort that indicate health and fecundity. This is how we evolved. It is how the animals we see around us evolved unless we have stupidly adapted them as in the case of the dog.

    • Zanderz

      It’s the same idea that 2 beautiful parents create ugly children. Beauty and genius come from a mixed pool (how many geniuses were mad, how many poets are schizophrenic). From a logical point of view we need all humans to allow these rare combinations the opportunity to emerge.

      From a religious point of view, all humanity is worthy of dignity.

      • enoch arden

        From the religious point of view, eugenics is a form of paganism. This is an attempt to realise Maxwell’s Demon.

        • Sargon the bone crusher

          Is that like ‘spot the ball’???

      • nutsingha

        It is about probability and likelihood: there is a high probability that high IQ parents will produce high IQ offspring. Low IQ parents will almost always produce low IQ offspring. Outliers don’t count when you are talking about population-level probabilities. It doesn’t make sense to encourage the breeding of millions of low-IQ people [for example, those in the IQ around low 80s] who will produce maybe 1 genius [if lucky], with millions of very poor, violent [violence is linked to low IQ] and welfare-reliant offspring who can’t compete or contribute very well to society. On the other hand, if you encourage the breeding of millions of high-IQ people, you will probably get many tens of thousands of geniuses, with a lot of other very high-IQ children who will have a very positive impact on society – and only a tiny percentage will be welfare-reliant or have violent tendencies. It translates to a more peaceful, stable, wealthy and happy society if you encourage more high-IQ people to breed.

        • Zanderz

          Many here would dispute that all humanity is worthy of dignity – just read the comments.

          Also, taking the example of genius and mental illness (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ending-addiction-good/201503/is-there-link-between-intelligence-and-mental-illness)
          one would inbreed more genius, but also much more mental illness. The stock would diverge along these lines and – as with dog breeding etc – one would end up with a slowly diminishing % of geniuses, and a growing % of ill people. Not the ideal result for a healthy society.

          • nutsingha

            I think the risk of breeding low-IQ mental instability (and violent tendencies) is much higher than that associated with high-IQ ‘mental disorders’.

          • Zanderz

            This is all speculation. Hopefully none of it will happen.

            A teacher friend reminded me “Parents think that lower sets are full of nasty disruptive students. It’s not the case. There are plenty of really nice thick kids.”

            Which is probably the point – up bringing and character and more important than IQ.

          • nutsingha

            No, you’re wrong. We do know that low IQ is linked to high violence levels. There are a lot of studies to support this. Again, there is a confusion between probability and anecdote here: of course, not all low-IQ children will be violent; however, at the population level, there is a LOT more violence withing low-IQ populations compared to high IQ populations. Simple fact.

          • Zanderz

            How about crime in general? I don’t believe the capacity to do wrong is expressed more with low IQ. The capacity to get caught may be.

            Again, lies, damn lies and stats. I disagree with the concept of eugenics.

            You seem to agree, but if it’s put into practice who’s going to decide the cut off line?

          • enoch arden

            Could you please express your point in an intelligible statement. Is low IQ a sufficient reason for violent behaviour, or a necessary one?

          • nutsingha

            I think I’m fairly clear: low IQ is NOT sufficient of course – you cannot use probability on an individual level; it is simply more likely that those with low IQ will be involved in violent crime, and this is very important AT THE POPULATION LEVEL.

          • enoch arden

            So, you claim that low IQ is (statistically) sufficient for the violent behaviour. It is obviously not true: people with Down syndrome are well known to be nice and kind.

          • nutsingha

            Again, low IQ populations are certainly more violent. We know this (at the population level). Down’s Syndrome is a disorder that affects a lot of different things, including IQ – this disorder does not refute the fact that low IQ populations are much more violent on average.

          • enoch arden

            It doesn’t agree with my personal experience. Stupid guys were never among most notorious street fighters, as far as I remember. Rather, they were reasonably humble.

          • Mary Ann

            People with Downs have the normal range of behaviour, they can be nice or nasty just like the rest of us. My source of information is from someone who has experience of looking after Adults with learning difficulties.

          • SunnyD

            your husband?

    • nutsingha

      I think you are a bit confused between inbreeding and genetic selection. Inbreeding is – of course – bad; genetic selection can be a source of great good. We are in fact starting to uncover the genes responsible for intelligence (along with many other traits, such as disease traits). It makes sense to use that information for the greater good of the future child and society as a whole. In fact, we already do use this information to screen for diseased embryos, and this is an overwhelmingly good thing for everyone.

      • enoch arden

        For heavens sake. Are you trying (together with Dawkins) to explain us how Maxwell’s Demon works?

        Read the following, slowly.

        There is a fundamental law of nature: The complexity of the result of a selection routine cannot exceed the complexity of the selection algorithm. That is, in order to make a child smarter by changing whatever gens the one who is doing that manipulation must be smarter than the child produced by that manipulation.

        • nutsingha

          Rubbish.

          • enoch arden

            Never heard of Maxwell’s Demon? Take your school textbook of physics and learn what you missed.

          • Bokonon

            Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment proposed by James Clerk Maxwell, in which he suggested how the Second Law of Thermodynamics could hypothetically be violated. I do not quite see its relevance to a discussion about eugenics.

          • enoch arden

            It is not exactly the second law that the Demon violates. Nevertheless, the point of Maxwell was that the Demon cannot be. The relevance is that the suggested selection is essentially a Maxwell’s Demon. Therefore, it cannot work. In simple terms, you cannot improve genetics by selection. The history of the dog’s selection illustrates it. The result of a selection process is always worse than what you have started with. Information is irreversibly lost.

            Here is the same basic principle expressed in other terms: The complexity of the result of a selection routine cannot exceed the complexity of the selection algorithm.

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            Racehorses have been improved by selection. Also greyhounds, sheepdogs, guard dogs etc.

          • enoch arden

            A simple question: do you know a breed of dog smarter than wolves?

            I explain once again. You can repeat breeding greyhounds or a poodles from wolves. The reverse breeding is impossible.

          • DaHitman

            So you do spend the day trolling people as I thought, what a sad moron

          • #toryscum

            Collies and german shepherds are both more intelligent than wolves.
            You seem to spend a lot of time and effort trying to demonstrate how clever you are to people you don’t know on the internet? Did your mother not love you?

          • enoch arden

            I have to upset you. Shepherds aren’t very clever even comparing to other dogs.

            And a reciprocal question: do you think your school teacher tried to demonstrate how clever she/he was when you were getting low grades for arithmetics?

          • EdmundFoster

            No it isn’t.

          • enoch arden

            Prove it. Take a spaniel and try to restore, by selection, some specific features of wolf’s phenotype. Like the latter’s cognitive capacity.

          • EdmundFoster

            Science has moved on. We would use an integrating lentiviral vector if the gene was <10kb or an HSV vector for a larger gene. There are also various non-viral options.

            Google "New England Journal of Medicine Severe Combined Immunodeficiency interleukin receptor"… forget dogs, you can alter people…

            "After nearly 10 years of follow-up, gene therapy was shown to have corrected the immunodeficiency associated with SCID-X1. Gene therapy may be an option for patients who do not have an HLA-identical donor for hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation and for whom the risks are deemed acceptable. This treatment is associated with a risk of acute leukemia. "

          • enoch arden

            Besides this technical abracadabra. Do you seriously claim that you can in the described way produce a new type of species never seen before? Information out of nothing?

            I wouldn’t be surprised if this journal of veterinarian paramedics you refer to also reports perpetuum mobie.

          • EdmundFoster

            you sound dumb

          • enoch arden

            Sorry to disappoint you.

    • EdmundFoster

      Eh? It is easy to create new genetic information and dogs aren’t bred through IVF.

      • enoch arden

        Easy? Do it. Report your success in Nature. And don’t forget to invite me to the Nobel dinner.

        • EdmundFoster

          Yes, clone the open reading frames of two unrelated genes (green fluorescent protein and the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor) into an expression plasmid and voila… a new gene, a new protein never before seen. Happens every day in the lab. Sadly it doesn’t get you a Nobel prize these days.

          • enoch arden

            I am sure you will be Nobel laureate if demonstrating a new kind of species produced by your genetic manipulation. Don’t be humble. Surprise the mankind and destroy physics.

          • EdmundFoster

            Craig Venter beat me to it.

          • enoch arden

            And what did he produce? A new kind of hominid? Or a new sort of fish? A fruit that nobody saw before?

          • EdmundFoster

            The first completely synthetic life form.

          • enoch arden

            Synthetic of what? DNA constructed of separate atoms, by hand?

          • EdmundFoster

            50% of the population are ‘retarded’ you say…

          • enoch arden

            Describe the process of synthesis, and I’ll tell you in which 50% you are.

          • EdmundFoster

            English please

          • enoch arden

            Read slowly: 50% of the population have their IQ above the median value, and the other 50% are below it. Your answering the above question will indicate your place in this classification of biological species.

    • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

      Are we to assume that you favour the idea of Intelligent Design?

      • enoch arden

        It would be helpful if before assuming you explain what exactly you are talking about.

        • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

          You appear to hold the view that selection cannot work due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics forbidding it, therefore the only option is Intelligent Design.

          • enoch arden

            And what do you mean by “intelligent design”?

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            By “Intelligent Design” I mean the proposal that the complexity of life is due to an intelligent cause rather than selection, whether natural or human-directed.

            I assumed that you favoured this hypothesis since you stated that in your opinion selection was forbidden by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          • enoch arden

            Is this what you mean?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8

            Very amusing indeed.

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            Come now, Enoch, that’s very amusing, but let’s get back on topic. If selection is forbidden by the laws of physics, the only explanation for the complexity of life is surely Intelligent Design – or is it?

          • enoch arden

            Regretfully, you still didn’t explain what you mean, if you disagree with the great scientist of our time Dawkins.

            Dirac suggested another view on the same problem:

            “It could be that it is extremely difficult to start life. It might be that it is so difficult to start life that it has happened only once among all the planets. …Let us consider, just as a conjecture, that the chance life starting when we have got suitable physical conditions is 10^-100. I don’t have any logical reason for proposing this figure, I just want you to consider it as a possibility. Under those conditions…it is almost certain that life would not have started. And I feel that under those conditions it will be necessary to assume the existence of a god to start off life. I would like, therefore, to set up this connexion between the existence of a god and the physical laws: if physical laws are such that to start off life involves an excessively small chance, so that it will not be reasonable to suppose that life would have started just by blind chance, then there must be a god, and such a god would probably be showing his influence in the quantum jumps which are taking place later on. On the other hand, if life can start very easily and does not need any divine influence, then I will say that there is no god.”

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            Enoch, you have stated that in your view complexity cannot be explained by selection. How do you propose to explain the evident complexity of life?

          • enoch arden

            If you are talking about the appearance of the first self-replicated molecule, there was nothing to select.

            The point of Dirac: it cannot be explained using the laws of nature we know. It is a direct result of the initial condition of the Universe. In this way, it is an independent (complementary) law of nature, as well as the following evolution.

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            I was actually referring to the apparent progress of living organisms from single-celled organisms to highly complex mammals.

            Dirac?

          • enoch arden

            Dirac’s point is quite simple, let me repeat the quote:

            “if physical laws are such that to start off life involves an excessively small chance, so that it will not be reasonable to suppose that life would have started just by blind chance, then there must be a god, and such a god would probably be showing his influence in the quantum jumps which are taking place later on.”

            I explain: the same reason (the initial state of the Universe) that necessitated the appearance of the first self-replicating molecule also necessitated the further appearances of new species (quantum steps of evolution). It couldn’t be funny Darwinian “selection”, unless you assume a superintelligent selecting algorithm (God).

    • polidorisghost

      “As a result, dogs look like mentally and physically handicapped cripples as compared with wolves, their remote ancestors.”
      Perhaps that’s because it was those wolfish characteristics that we were so keen to breed out of the species.- Try going down to the zoo and patting a wolf on the head whilst saying “who’s a good boy then”

      • enoch arden

        I don’t think you would behave better than a wolf after spending a couple of years in a zoo.

        • polidorisghost

          Try a wild one then – you’ll still lose your hand

          • Callipygian

            This is late for you — ain’t it?

          • polidorisghost

            Early rather than late.
            Got up, made a cup of tea, cuddled a cat and went back to bed – I can be very English sometimes.

          • Callipygian

            I *hope* that I can be very English sometimes. Cup of tea: check. Cuddled a furry angel: check. Back to bed: check. The early rather than late depends on a travel day, however. Also, I reserve the right to defend myself and am resolved some time to learn how to shoot a gun.

            That’s right: yours truly will fire a gun. Yours sincerely will pack heat. Yours regretfully will be Annie Get Your Gun because the world ain’t Disneyland, baby.

  • Sargon the bone crusher

    The only way of cutting off the constant stream of idiots and imbeciles and feeble-minded persons who help to fill our prisons and workhouses, reformatories, and asylums is to prevent those who are known to be mentally defective from producing offspring. Undoubtedly the best way of doing this is to place these defectives under control. Even if this were a hardship to the individual it would be necessary for the sake of protecting the race.

    — The Spectator, 25 May 1912

    This policy is actively pursued in Scotland with a policy of promoting Fried Mars Bars, Irn Brwe, and such delectables as Nuttocks.

  • thetrashheap

    The problem with eugenics is that the nazis ruined the concept.

    Eugenics doesn’t have to be about sterilization and killing. We should worry about the genetic health of the nation it matters, eugenics is real.

    For instants having a society set up in which intelligent driven women no longer have kids while those without drive breed like rabbits. Will have a massive influence on future society.

    Not talking about this because of what the nazis did is remarkably short sighted.

    Politicians make decisions that affect the genetic health of the nation all the time. It should be acknowledged. Instead of facing unpleasant truths we have opted for ignorance. The results will be all the associates problems will happen.

    It is possible to address this problem through provision of childcare, career flexibility, social values, welfare reform etc without resorting to mass sterilization but we can’t even talk about the problem which is never good.

    We could then move on to even more controversial subjects like what happens to genetic health of a nation when you import millions of people who the majority of like to marry a cousin….

    • nutsingha

      Exactly, we need to get over the ridiculous allusions to the Nazis, which are mostly totally false anyway (in regards to approach). Genetics can be a source of great good. The Nazis actually set out to destroy the most intelligent, creative people on earth (the Jewish people), so they were actually working in the opposite direction to that which is being suggested now.
      To answer your last question: we know that the average IQ of muslims coming in is in the low 80s. Much of the problems they have, including IQ, are linked to first cousin marriages. They will continue to lose IQ points as they become ever more (monstrously, in my opinion) inbred. However, the sub-Saharan Africans are even lower on the IQ scale. For Africa to develop in line with Western countries, the simple truth is that they need to raise IQ levels significantly.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        It was heavily practiced in the US before the war. Race conciousness was entirely mainstream.
        Great days.
        Bring them back!!!!!

      • James Crowe

        The Nazis actually set out to destroy the most intelligent, creative people on earth (the Jewish people), so they were actually working in the opposite direction to that which is being suggested now.

        That’s not why they wanted to do away with the Jews. If anything, Hitler knew that the Jews were too smart for their own good and had a tendency to support left-wing causes (principally communism at that time), that weakened nations’ ability to compete and to demonstrate citizen solidarity, thus wrecking those nations from within.

        We see this coming to fruition with Bond villains like Soros and propagandists like the Hollywood movie producers and news media moguls brainwashing the public to support degenerate nonsense like transsexual bathroom rights, emasculating feminism, and globalization of borders to the point where nations, comprised of like peoples who share common features, traits and allegiances, no longer exist.

        People are also waking up to the hypocrisy of Zionist Israel being allowed and even encouraged to select who comes into its territory — and who is allowed to stay — based on how much their presence contributes to or diminishes the nation’s “ethnic character.” The former European colonies in Asia, Africa and the Americas are given the same right of “self-determination” for their peoples that are denied, perhaps as a form of collective penance, to the white Pan-Euro nations, not just in Europe proper but in England’s children of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Why is Israel permitted to have jus sanguinis citizenship as a rule (the Law of Return being extended only to Jewish people who meet the elders’ “criteria” for “who is a Jew”), but principally white nations — and even some industrialized Asian ones, like Japan, China and South Korea — must allow the whole world’s detritus to flood its borders and breed with impunity?

        It is worth noting that Merkel’s idiotic decision to “apologize” for the Holocaust by importing millions of Jew-haters has made her less popular than Hitler himself among the resisting German people. Especially when these animals committed the most of unspeakable of crimes against German women that New Year’s Eve. Nice going, GDR and its puppet Zydokomunas, attempting to impose left-wing “tolerance” on an unwilling people has backfired and led to a rise of the potential Fourth Reich. I say, let it come.

    • James H, London

      “The problem with eugenics is that the nazis ruined the concept.”

      Sphericals. The Nazis only illustrate the problem. Humans are not rational, but rationalising. Don’t you think it a little strange that no-one here thinks there are too many White English? Eugenics has always been associated with serious human rights abuses. Despite its high-falutin’ ideals, it ALWAYS boils down to: ‘Just enough of me, way too much of you.’

      • thetrashheap

        When we banned incest, we did so because of the genetic health. This is eugenics. Every farmer, every dog and horse breeder practices the animal version of eugenics. It is a simple fact of life that traits in humans like all other animals can be passed on and depending on the conditions that we breed become more or less prevalent within a group.

        If you look at the facts that in the UK we are importing people who like to marry cousins or that intelligent people aren’t having kids then it is utterly scientific to point out this could have negative consequences. But we don’t…

        I agree that human beings are rationalizing, that is why we have put Eugenics into a box marked “bad think”. It is now horrendously unfashionable to suggest a country has a genetic health and it is something we should worry about. the problem is no matter how unpalatable this is, it’s true.

        • #toryscum

          If we extend your farming analogy further it does raise one scary question for human eugenics. Who’s the farmer? Who do we trust to make the decisions about what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’? I personally wouldn’t like our politicians having free rein to shape the human race!

          • thetrashheap

            I am not suggesting we farm human and try to breed a super race.

            I am saying that normal political decisions affect the genetic health of the nation and the impact should be factored into the decision making.

            Politicians do shape the country, thats why they get voted in. I am not saying steralise people who aren’t bright or that politicians choose who gets to have kids. I am saying we need to look at our political systems and social values if we are creating a society where women who do well academical don’t have kids and those that don’t do. We have to acknowledge the real long term consequences of this and look at ways within a liberal democracy we can change that. ie socializing childcare to make it affordable to have larger familes if both parents work, not paying for the poor to have kids through welfare, having social values that laud being a stay at home mum, etc A system where only the rich and the poor can have replacement level size families is not going to create a balanced future because there is a lot more poor than rich

          • They have got a free rein and they are shaping the human race. In the wrong direction.

    • Bokonon

      Exactly. Eugenics doesn’t necessarily have to involve coercion. For instance, we could offer members of the underclass £10,000 if they consented to be sterilised.

      • ugly_fish

        Or we could pay a “negative” child allowance to young girls – get pregnant and lose it.

    • Spot on. Political correctness is driving us off the edge of a cliff.

      https://chaunceytinker.wordpress.com/category/dysgenics/

  • Ingmar Blessing

    I don’t see much of a problem anymore in eugenics. At least the soft version of it, where some people receive incentives of not having children and others to have one more.

    In the not too distant future this might become important to keep the Africans (and some Muslims..) from pushing a dent into the earth by their sheer number while making the life of everyone else a misery.

    1) When the upper(middle)class procreates more than average, the next generation will have a lot of genius
    2) When the middle class procreates more than average, the next generation will have a lot of stability

    3) When the lower class procreates more than average, the next generation will have a serious problem

    Since about 100 years (fertilizer) and especially 50 years (antibiotics) we are locked into scenario three and it is getting worse. Mankind is growing annually by 80m people, whereas the global middle class contracts to keep its standard of living intact, while being replaced by at least another 80m lower class children, who won’t have much of a chance in life. That’s not good news. They have no network, no social technique, no education in the family, no financial foundation. No nothing to make it more likely to succeed than not.

    Either this problem will be fixed at one point by Monsieur Ebola or Monsieur Zika (both unlikely), or by tittitainment (maybe), or there will have to be some serious thinking about how to reduce the global as well as regional risk structure for a complete break-down, based on too many who don’t know how to get a society going.

    Will genetic engineering do something positive about it? Well, maybe. It’s not much different to plant engineering. You can make corn safe from bugs and coldness, but that comes to the price that you have to do it over and over. Nature tends to adapt quickly, which means, every god-fix we try will cause a new problem. The best agricultural improvement still comes with gradual adaption on various levels.

    I guess it would be the same with human engineering. Maybe something like in Star Treks Wrath of Khan could happen. Or the superhumans (+intelligent computers) decide to go racist.

    That’s why I think we should give people financial incentives and limit genetic engineering to avert damage.

    • Sargon the bone crusher

      Maybe child allowances should only be available to those with IQs of 120 and over?????

      • Ingmar Blessing

        lol no. It probably would be enough to only pay social transfers when the recipients take permanent contraception for the time they can’t finance themselves plus 9 months after. This way, no drug addict or mentally ill person or working incapable person would have new children. If they want them they simply have to get a job.

        In Germany alone we have around 80k children born into the “mentally less agile” lower class. The likelihood for those kids to stay there is >60%. On the other hand when you’re born into a somewhat working or middle class family, you have about a 1% chance to end at the bottom.

        I guess things look comparable in Britain and other developed countries which also have an extended social security system. Currently we’re breeding the next generations lower class crisis.

  • A child might have perfect genes – we all do, arguably – but feed it a supermarket diet and it’ll never be able to express those genes. Bad teeth and glasses ahoy.

    • Sargon the bone crusher

      SO there is hope yet. Force people to eat supermarket junk.

      • Throwing fresh light, perhaps, on why Blair knighted Leahy, who made crap food available for many a plate.

    • Total idiocy.

    • #toryscum

      I don’t know where you live but last time i checked it is quite easy to buy an incredibly healthy diet from a supermarket.
      Glasses are nature, bad teeth are nurture. not comparable.

      • Teeth that don’t fit the face, improperly developed jawlines… I live on Earth, obviously nowhere near you.

        • #toryscum

          Do you hail from the third world Mr Kruse!?

          • I will soon the way things are going.

          • #toryscum

            touché

  • mike_in_brum

    Excellent article! I wouldn’t mind strip migrants of any civil rights. Even better, compassionate euthanasia. Bring it on!

    • James Crowe

      Let the kebabs have a last meal, though. But require that the only thing served be pork chops and bacon bits.

  • enoch arden

    Let us try to understand what exactly Fraser discusses.

    There are two separate and unrelated problems:

    1. How to clean a population of genetic defects (like pathologically low IQ)?

    2. How to improve the genetics of a population, that is to find a way to steadily change whatever chosen parameter (like IQ or the penis size).

    It is quite clear for anyone who studied thermodynamics within the limits of school textbook that any attempt to solve the second problem by dedicated selection (which is the main point of eugenics) is thoroughly idiotic.

    The first problem has nothing to with genetics. It is a matter of social regulation. In a reasonable society, people must be encouraged to do what they do best, and discouraged to do anything bad for the society. The latter can be of two kinds: (a) an idiot is promoted to a position of decision making or (b) a smart but evil-minded person gets an opportunity to inflict damage to other people, like all sorts of thieves and swindlers.

    The best way of solving the second problem is a system of meritocracy which existed in China since 2500 years ago. Smart people were promoted to higher positions using a system of examinations, regardless of the applicant’s origin. Stupid people did farming. People with criminal and violent minds were conscripted to the military service, and they had plenty of opportunity to exercise their violent character in the battlefield.

    • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

      It is quite clear for anyone who studied thermodynamics within the
      limits of school textbook that any attempt to solve the second problem
      by dedicated selection (which is the main point of eugenics) is
      thoroughly idiotic.

      It is not at all clear. Would you care to explain if you can, “enoch” [sic]?

      • enoch arden

        Maxwell’s Demon cannot work. That is a fundamental law of nature. That is, the general IQ of a population cannot be improved by genetic selection.

        • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

          I think you have completely missed the point of Maxwell’s Demon. But that aside, I agree with your contention that IQ is not genetic; everyone knows clever people with stupid parents and vice-versa.

          • enoch arden

            I would appreciate your kindly pointing out what exactly you suggest I missed about the Demon.

            A clever child of stupid parents doesn’t imply that the childs mental capacity isn’t genetically determined.

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            The Demon was a thought experiment in which Maxwell proposed a hypothetical way in which the Second Law of Thermodynamics could be violated.

            As to your second point, you stated that “the general IQ of a population cannot be improved by genetic selection” – surely that is tantamount to saying that it is not genetically determined?

          • enoch arden

            The first paragraph: copy-past from Wikipedia is correct.

            The second paragraph: no. Your conclusion doesn’t follow from the quoted statement. Keep thinking. Report your progress.

            And you still didn’t answer my question: what do you think I missed about the Demon?

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            Let me change tack.If intelligence cannot be improved by genetic selection – can it, in your opinion, be improved at all, and if so how?

          • enoch arden

            Could you please specify your question: are you talking about someone’s personal cognitive capacity or about its distribution over a population?

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            Both.

          • polidorisghost

            “I agree with your contention that IQ is not genetic; everyone knows clever people with stupid parents and vice-versa.”

            Well yes, but I wonder how, if intelligence isn’t genetically based, it evolved in the first place.

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            I was attempting to induce Enoch to admit that he is a Creationist.

          • enoch arden

            But you didn’t explain what exactly you mean by that term. Are you sure you know what you are talking about?

          • polidorisghost

            Oh, Ok!

          • enoch arden

            I take the liberty to answer your questions.

            1. Cognitive capacity of a person is genetically predetermined. If an idiot, it is incurable.

            2. You probably wanted to ask how an intelligent kind of species could emerge in evolution. The answer is: nobody knows. But we know that the evolution wasn’t driven by “natural selection”.

            Conclusion: eugenics is an idiotic idea of naturally stupid and scientifically illiterate politicians.

    • Bonkim

      Modern farming needs brains and management skills. Not for the imbeciles.

      • enoch arden

        Give me a break. Just yesterday a dairy farmer from Wisconsin asked Trump what shall he do if unable to employ Mexican illegals.

        • paradise 33

          Which seems like a not entirely unintelligent question, to be fair.

          • enoch arden

            Possibly not. But it tells us that most of his labour are Mexican illegals, some probably unable to read and write English. That much for the necessity of high IQ for farming.

          • paradise 33

            Some of them also, I imagine, would be found to have a higher IQ – which is unrelated, of course, to an inability to write or read English – than D Trump.

          • enoch arden

            A relevant question: do you suggest that the farmer employs illiterate illegals by testing their IQ using some kind of non-verbal communication? And what kind of problem in this respect have you noticed in Trump (with a proper reference)?

          • paradise 33

            1. I doubt that the illegals’ IQs, so long as they appear willing and able to do the work, would have any great interest to the hypothetical farmer in question.

            2. Genuine intelligence has a natural radiance and clarity which should not be confused – though unfortunately often is – with the low cunning of coarse and self-aggrandising deceit (of which Senor Trump would appear to be something of a master).

          • DaHitman

            The troll who spends his day trolling people speaks about IQ…………LMFAO

          • enoch arden

            Thanks for your comprehensive answer.

          • DaHitman

            Christ get a life you sad lefty git

          • James Crowe

            Well, that’s only because an unusually tall gentleman from Illinois with mental illness, hirsutism and a peculiar taste in stovepipe haberdashery made it illegal to employ blacks as slave labour. Only half-kidding — after all, the former president of Mexico himself admitted to this fact: Vicente Fox in 2005, saying “Our people will do jobs that your blacks think they’re too good to do.” Says a lot about Mexico’s opinion of the lowly negro, but of course you’ll never hear that reported ever again by today’s Orwellian-newspeak media complex that loves to air their two-minute hate editorials against Herr (Hair) Trumpf.

            Democrats hate him because they think he’s racist, and because they abandoned labor leftism for the pretzel-logic stupidity of identity politics, campus feminism and political correctness. But Republicans hate him because they know that kicking out the illegals and putting a kibosh on H1 visas would mean they have to pay American workers fair wages and not Juan or Patel pennies on the dollar. Trump isn’t far to either side of the aisle. He’s right in the middle, and you know that because everyone but the working folk hates his guts.

          • enoch arden

            Now, it is a different topic. Trump is an isolationist ant protectionist, of the traditional American style. People like him for that, but free-traders and neocons, from both parties, hate him for that.

            The answer to the Mexican president is quite simple: The US have more than enough of its own idiots, it doesn’t need to import them from Mexico. It is a racially neutral statement.

    • Nigel Wallbridge

      Michael Young, who coined the word meritocracy (and who’s son is a long time contributor to this magazine), pointed out that such a system evolves to become hereditary. The Rise of the Meritocracy (1958) has turned out to be a far better dystopian blueprint for modern Britain, than those of Orwell or Huxley. We already have a meritocracy and the Kinnocks, Straws and Benns are just the most obvious sign that the elite can , through central planning, achieve the very best for society either by genetic, or academic examination systems.

      • enoch arden

        Young’s point is actually trivial: no system can work forever, the initial design is inevitably lost, it is a law of thermodynamics. But it doesn’t mean that meritocracy, first institutionalised by Shang Yang, is bad.

        The source of order is not a system, but a human mind which creates and corrects the system. Correction are necessarily discontinuous and accompanied by bloodsheds. The long history of China demonstrates it.

    • EdmundFoster

      “The first problem has nothing to with genetics. It is a matter of social regulation.”

      What?! How are cancer related BRAC1/2 polymorphisms addressed by “social regulation”? If you identify a polymorphism in a gene that increases the likelihood of cancer or dementia and you remove it aren’t you “clean(ing) a population of a genetic defect”?

      How does your meritocracy address familial genetic diseases?

      • enoch arden

        You totally missed the point. Social problems concern phenotypes, not genes. The question is what to do with the mentally retarded part of population which, in my estimation, exceeds 50%. The answer is simple: they are quite good for the available jobs.

        Examples. When in school I had a girlfriend who, despite all my efforts, couldn’t understand what is irrational number. She became a dentist. Look at yourself: despite being unable to comprehend basic physics, you are quite successful (I guess) in your veterinary science.

        • EdmundFoster

          Nothing you say makes any sense. It’s almost as if you’ve cut and paste random excerpts from god knows where. You keep quoting Maxwell but it is clear you need to read something a bit more recent. If you like physics so much try one of Feynmanns books, they are accessible.

        • EdmundFoster

          It is an effort to interpret your pseudspeak

    • James Crowe

      Er, you don’t want to select for a pathologically high IQ either. Even with intelligence, moderation is best. The 150+ types tend to have psychological disorders and autism as a trade-off. Not all autistics are head-banging, non-verbal throwbacks who require a bicycle helmet worn 24/7 to avoid hurting themselves crashing into a wall. The “higher functioning” ones are, on one hand, the kind of amoral sociopaths and robo-fetishists who populate Silicon Valley and MIT, and on another hand the long-suffering nerds who get perpetually jammed into their lockers and have to deal with the humiliating consequences of not “getting” the often unpredictable ways that people operate.

      So while you don’t want a world full of morons, you don’t want to increase an already severe epidemic of hygiene-challenged geniuses who will outlive their parent caregivers because there are no jobs available for Pokemon gym trainers and Star Wars experts. Autism is a terrible birth defect, and if sacrificing the next Einstein is a side effect of weeding out the upper-level brainiacs who endure chronic peculiarity, then it’s a sacrifice that society simply must make. Three generations of nose-picking physicists is more than enough.

      • enoch arden

        Most of the functions in the modern society and the modern economy don’t require any intelligence. In fact, most of the jobs people do in the developed countries require less education and lower level of intelligence than it was a generation ago.

        Therefore, clever people aren’t needed. There is already too many of them, and they create unnecessary disturbance in the society by asking questions the ruling class is unable to answer.

        Therefore, the problem can be solved by separating the clever part of the population from the rest. The less they communicate the better, for both sides.

  • Phelin M’Quirk

    The objectionable aspect of eugenics as advocated in the past was a reliance on coercive actions such as forcible sterilisation and involuntary euthanasia. There is a vast difference between such measures and genetic editing of the sort described in the article.

    Absent coercion, just what is wrong with eugenics? Is it that it will bring about inequality? We already have that, and will have it for the foreseeable future, whether or not it be brought about by non-coercive eugenic methods. Contrary to the American Declaration of Independence, the truly self-evident proposition is and always has been that all men are NOT created equal.

    The original plan of eugenics as suggested by Sir Francis Galton was to encourage young people of superior abilities to marry and procreate. Willy-nilly, this has already happened as a consequence of co-education, which has encouraged assortative mating based on intellectual capacity to an extent unknown during Galton’s lifetime. That it will result in the development of an hereditary elite is quite likely.

  • Oriolus

    The difference between screening for genetic diseases and nazi-style eugenics is like the difference between contraception and abortion. Certain organisations might try to push their moral equivalence but most people have the common sense to know the difference.

    Screening for personality traits sounds like wishful thinking to me: the child of a sociopath raised from birth by a nurturing family should not worry about their parentage, just as a child with “good” genes raised by a monster is in all probability going to end up a psychological mess at the very least.

    • #toryscum

      ”but most people have the common sense to know the difference”
      that’s a very dangerous assumption!!

    • ibmer

      They’re not morally equivalent at all, but they do not have to be to have either eugenic or dysgenic consequences. *Individually*, abortion is either right or wrong, but for high-IQ people the *population* result is dysgenic when their high IQ child is not born, regardless of whether that happened due to abortion or due to contraception.

    • ibmer

      “Screening for personality traits sounds like wishful thinking to me: the child of a sociopath raised from birth by a nurturing family should not worry about their parentage, just as a child with “good” genes raised by a monster is in all probability going to end up a psychological mess at the very least.” – Well, it does not work like that:

      https://jaymans.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/the-son-becomes-the-father/

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/07/some-non-effects-of-adoption/

    • Some aspects of personality are genetic. Read up on monoamine oxidase A, the “warrior gene”, which codes for aggression.

  • winston maraj

    So if I wanna have extremely athletic kids I am stupid?
    I am all for the next generation being more advanced in all respects.
    People will be doing it anyway.

  • 2987t529489

    The concept of Eugenics didn’t come from the Nazis. They got the idea from the United States – which was funded primarily by John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie (both Republicans). If you’re going to write an article that concerns history, at least get your facts correct.

    • Marian Hunter

      1920
      The very English Marie Stopes, the women’s rights, eugenics forerunner, and founder of birth control, born in 1880.

      • red2black

        ‘Sir Francis Galton first coined the term ‘eugenics’ in 1883. Put simply, eugenics means ‘well-born’.
        Initially, Galton focused on positive eugenics, encouraging healthy, capable people of above-average
        intelligence to bear more children, with the idea of building an ‘improved’ human race.’

    • EdmundFoster

      “the intellectual foundations were laid in England”

      He doesn’t claim it began with the Nazis! Did you read the article??

  • Monica

    What’s an unfertilsed embryo?
    The article uses the term ‘fertilized embryo’ but to my understanding that is tautologous, as far as I know an embryo is a fertilised ovum…

  • Matt

    One only has to look at the founders of “Planned Parenthood”. If you look at the circles they were in and what those groups advocated for, it will horrify a sensible person.

    • douglas redmayne

      It doesn’t horrify me and it is a shame they were not taken more seriously.

    • IanSeed

      Bill Gates’ parents were in withe Planned Parenthood – the lovely Bill Gates – a committed Eugenicist.

  • MC73

    “A hundred years ago the eugenic mission involved a handful of crude tools: bribing the ‘right’ people to have larger families, sterilising the weakest.”

    It’s a shame that mission never really took off. Western populations are now getting stupider because we subsidise the breeding of the feckless and stupid with the labour of contributing citizens, who are then too taxed and too tired to replace themselves.

    Perhaps the solution would be a new version of the 11-plus, with sterilisation for the failures. As most sterilisations are reversible, late-bloomers would always have the option of retaking. A similar test might be required for immigrants (not expat workers).

    Couple this with subsidised childcare for the best and brightest and the nation would profit enormously.

    • #toryscum

      Would you be prepared to re-take the test you mention yourself, with sterilization prepped for failure? Or if you’re old and already have children, maybe they take it instead? I’m going to set the questions.

      • MC73

        Of course, this plan means nothing unless it is applied equally to everybody.

        • IanSeed

          I remember this documentary where they took an unruly black kid of about 12 or 13 out of Hackney comprehensive and put him in an expensive boarding school. He got his head down, turned his results round and he became quite the star pupil. He was a big lad too – so he joined the rugby team and was a first teamer.

          Goes to show, doesn’t it?

          I wonder how you’d like it when the demand for designer kids is for the bigger stronger (and very much blacker) type of rugged male, like the Yoruba – who with the right schooling – are every bit as intelligent as you and your family.

          • ibmer

            BS, and even if it were true, it would be single data point that proves nothing. People who make this argument “I saw this one guy/gal whoever and that contradicts the trend and the statistic about population” are themselves pretty dumb.

          • IanSeed

            I can almost smell the butt hurt.

          • Define “star pupil”? Was he at the top of his class academically or did he merely managed to behave in class?

          • What you’re describing is an anecdote. This issue has been tested properly on a large scale in a study which followed identical non-white twins raised apart, one of them in an affluent white household. The IQ of such people at maturity converges on their genetic IQ, not the avg IQ of the white household. Google “Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study”.

    • douglas redmayne

      I agree.

  • Michael H Kenyon

    cousin marriage

  • SunnyD

    Father Todd Unctious is a living breathing advert for eugenics

  • Sunset66

    Well it’s always worth a laugh reading the comments posted under articles such as this.
    Being convinced that only right wing views are acceptable the posters quickly decide that people like them should be able to impose horrendous policies on the rest of the population.
    As after all they know best
    The sterilisation of the those deemed unfit to live in the same society as them
    Why not throw in a plan to reduce the minimum wage. The employees are fat and lazy why pay them at all. However the employer shouldn’t be taxed as it’s unreasonable and his salary must reflect his inate skills
    All teachers are lazy and Marxists
    Companies should be free to put as much sugar as they like in any of their foods
    The SNP only exist because they hate the English
    There was no need for an Easter Rising the UK was just about to grant independence
    The BBC is a nest of communism
    Who needs steel anyway?
    The EU gangs up to do Britain down

    You have to laugh !

  • One answer came four months ago, when 150 scientists and academics called for a complete shutdown of human gene editing. In a letter released before a summit in Washington DC, they argued that the technology would ‘open the door to an era of high-tech consumer eugenics’, with affluent parents choosing the best qualities and creating a new form of genetically modified human. To these scientists, the complex issue boils down to a simple point: ‘We must not engineer the genes we pass on to our descendants.’

    How is that an answer? They’re saying we shouldn’t do this just because. That’s hardly a compelling argument.

    If you use science to make the best of genes handed down to the next generation, that’s eugenics: ‘Sweeping the word under the carpet or sanitising it with another name merely conceals the appalling abuses that have occurred in the past and may lull people into a false sense of security.’

    “False sense of security?” Against what, exactly?

    ‘Imagine that, many years hence, there are two sorts of people: those who carry the messy inheritance of their ancestors, and those whose ancestors had the resources to clean up their germ cells before IVF.’ So you end up with two types of humans: the genetically tidy rich and everyone else.

    And that’s different from how things are today how, exactly? Have you read Gregory Clark?

    There seems to be a lot huffing and puffing about how this is worrisome and is a problem, but little by way of actual substance about why this is the case. You admit that:

    This — the genetic modification of human embryos — is what causes the concern. But here, and at each point in the new eugenics, you can argue: where is the moral problem? There are no deaths, no sterilisations, no abortions: just a scientifically guided conception. The potential avoidance of disease, to the betterment of humanity. So who could complain?

    Who indeed?

    Even if you’re concerned such technologies would be hoarded by the rich, there’s an easy way around that problem: use that wonderful British socialism to make it available to the masses.

    • ibmer

      Precisely, what you cited are all stupid, hot-headed sentiments with no calm thought behind them.

      My consolation here is that sooner rather than later we will have no option but to use genetic engineering to counter dysgenic effects of civilization.

  • douglas redmayne

    People should gave the choice to have the type of babies they want although there should be subsidy to encourage the editing out if genes associated with psychopathy, violence and stupidity. People should also be allowed to edit out disability and ugliness. There should also be no bars on allowing people to have blond haired blue eyed babies if they so wish.

    I have a nasty feeling that Frazer Nelson, committed to freedom of choice as he is, would month else’s like to stop this because they don’t appeal to his sensibilities. If so, then like abortion, it is none of his business.

  • IanSeed

    You chinless Tory eugenic loving freaks make me laugh.

    In your perfect world you’ll be killing off other people’s kids and merrily designing your own. But behind your backs your money grabbing wives will be boning their gym instructors because you’re just chinless maggots who couldn’t get it up when you come back from the golf club if your pathetic weedy little lives depended on it.

    • Badger

      I counted 12 assumptions with varying levels of stupidity in your comment.
      Well done.

      • IanSeed

        Oh did you. What a sad boring individual you truly are. I made zero assumptions before writing my previous sentence btw.

        Was my first assumption in the initial post that any woman of any shape, colour or class would ever marry a tedious maggot like you ?

        • Badger

          You really are dripping with hate. Have a nice day, sort yourself out.

          • IanSeed

            For those who believe in eugenics yes. Moreover, I don’t just drip with hate – I am immersed in it. Count yourself as a hated one if you think eugenics has a future.

          • Badger

            That’s nice for you.
            Just remember that name calling isn’t in itself an argument and makes you look unpleasant and inferior.

          • IanSeed

            Who said I was calling you names in order to ARGUE with you? I’m not. You little worm, you pathetic, servile, chinless Tory filth. See, not arguing, just telling you what you are.

            If I was a total bell end, say, like someone else in this two person conversation, I might say “I COUNTED X ASSUMPTIONS IN YOUR POST” hurr hurr hurr.

          • Badger

            More name calling and false assumptions.
            Covering yourself in glory so you are.

    • eddie too

      aldous huxley had a pretty good vision of where an embrace of eugenics will lead in his novel “brave new world”.

  • IanSeed

    “For good or ill, eugenics is back”

    How could killing off the unborn (or even the living!) possibly be for “good”?

    It’s pretty clear what weirdo Fraser Nelson thinks about the issue.

    PS – what is his horrific accent? Sort of Scottish but I can’t be sure. He was probbaly an experiment of some sort – a few drops of Thatcher and Cameron DNA put in a petri dish and left under a lamp. It’s all gone wonky.

    • enoch arden

      Anything you do is good if the result is good. The latter isn’t true in the case of eugenics. It is irrational, unscientific and entirely useless. Therefore it is evil.

      The allusion about the Scottish accent is entirely irrelevant and ill-conceived.

      • “Anything you do is good if the result is good.”

        What total nonsense. The end justifies the means, eh? No: some actions are evil by their own nature, whatever the intention and whatever the result.

        • enoch arden

          Comrade Stalin, you ashamed yourself by speaking as a liberal pacifist.

          • No, as a Christian. What you suggest is plain evil.

          • enoch arden

            Churchill too was a Christian. But not the kind of a Christian as Hitler’s lover cardinal Pachelli (Pius XII). Which one are you?

          • I do not think Winston really qualifies for what you have claimed for him.

          • enoch arden

            You sound like you regret the outcome of WWII. Do you think the wrong side won?

          • Given that two of my uncles died in combat, a third was in a German POW camp for five years, a fourth left a French beach at Dunkirk and landed on another one in Normandy while a fifth fought in the jungles against the Japs for three years, no.

            What a strange conclusion you came to. Haven’t a clue why.

          • enoch arden

            Were they liberal pacifists like you? Or they actually killed the enemies?

          • Looney alert!

          • enoch arden

            Your self-criticism is commendable.

      • ibmer

        Really? Marrying a woman who will probably take good care of the children is evil? (that’s eugenics) Contraception is evil too? (that is eugenics all right, just not called as such). And even in classical version, what’s wrong with eliminating genes for myopia or cardiac problems or increasing person’s IQ? I’m sure that most people who have problems with their eyesight, cardiac system or are not very bright would very much like to have their parents eliminate those problems with genetic engineering had their parents had a chance.

        • enoch arden

          You forgot to mention masturbation, same-sex intercourse and zoophilia as (evil) forms of eugenics.

          Are you sure your parents could have made you smarter using genetic engineering? The logical contradiction is that you wouldn’t have believed in this rubbish if you were smarter.

          • ibmer

            Whatever has the consequences for the biological traits of the next generation, whether good or ill, has eugenic or dysgenic effects. Your nonsensical ad-hominem and manic denial do not change that. And I doubt any measure, whether environmental or genetic-based, could make you smarter to any degree, you clearly being foaming at mouth and not having a single sensible thought.

            Eugenics is not evil, simply morons like you propagandize it as such, probably due to their inferiority syndrome such as yours.

          • enoch arden

            As I have already explained, the idea of eugenics is idiotic invented by poorly educated people suffering from an apparent cognitive deficiency. Like Spencer who coined the famous remarkably meaningless formula: “Survival of the fittest”. And those who seriously repeat this rubbish. In this way it is definitely evil since stupidity is an ultimate evil. Unfortunately we cannot get rid of it: evil is a fundamental natural phenomenon. As such it is indestructible. The best strategy to deal with evil is to separate from it.

          • ibmer

            You have explained nothing, merely threw some sentiments around. What you claim is not evil, it’s just you don’t like it because of your inferiority syndrome. That’s the truth and the facts:

            http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/07/some-non-effects-of-adoption/#.VwFn13V96_4

            That’s no evil, that’s just science, whether we like it or not (you being the moron who dislikes simple truth so much you call it evil). You have no truth and no facts. You will lose, and your separation is indeed act of intellectual masturbation: futile.

          • Your entire “case” against eugenics consist of meaningless, emotional adjectives “evil”, “stupid”, “idiotic”. You have yet to provide a scientific, logical, dispassionate argument against eugenics.

          • enoch arden

            The case against eugenics is quite simple. I repeat:

            The complexity of the result of a selection routine cannot exceed the complexity of the selection algorithm.

            Sorry for my emotional adjectives: I am allergic to stupidity.

          • Stop repeating “stupidity” over and over and concentrate on arguments. Your statement “complex result require a complex algorithms” is false. Have you seen fractals, those fanciful, colorful patterns that repeat endlessly no matter how deep you go? The most basic of them, Mandelbrot is produced by a trivial equation: z(n+1)=z(n)^2+c. Similarly, the entire complexity of a tree (trunk, branches, twigs, etc) is governed by something called an L-system which has simple rules. You can get an entire complex tree with nothing more than a short L-system rule like: (X → F−[[X]+X]+F[+FX]−X), (F → FF). Simple enough for you?

            Evolution is another example of complex results from a simple rule. The entire variety of life on Earth was made by one simple rule “survive long enough to reproduce”. That’s it. In the case of humans and many other animals, evolution is also driven by sexual selection, which is a simple decision: “yes” (I want to mate with this person) or “no” (I don’t want to mate). Today it’s as simple as swiping your finger on Tinder app left or right. This is nothing else but everyday eugenics in action. Sexual selection can lead to complex results, like the fanciful tail in a peacock, which was selected for by a series of “yes”/”no” decisions by many generations of peahens. Again, you have not provided as single valid argument against eugenics besides emotional outbursts.

          • enoch arden

            Complexity of a structure is defined as a (minimum) length of the defining it algorithm. Fractals are trivial structures, as you correctly wrote.

            Let me explain it once again: if a selection algorithm can produce a result with complexity exceeding its own, this implies that the algorithm in question is able to spontaneously increase its own complexity. That is produce information from nothing. An apparent rubbish.

          • First off, I didn’t say fractals were “trivial structures”, I said they’re constructed by a trivial equation. Learn to quote correctly. Secondly, two posts above you stated that “complex results cannot exceed the complexity of the algorithm”. Don’t try to backpedal or shift the goalposts on me. The Mandelbrot equation consists of 3 terms, the results are infinite in detail. Fractals prove your statement false.

            No, complexity is not the length of an algorithm, except Kolomogorov complexity in IT. From Wiki: “Complexity is generally used to characterize something with many parts where those parts interact with each other in multiple ways” Websters: “The quality of being intricate and compounded” Chambers: “Composed of many parts, intricate, difficult”.

            How exactly does your statement apply to eugenics? By “selection algorithm” do you mean terminating some lives and letting other lives go on? By “complexity of results” do you mean the complexity of a living being? What is the “complexity” of a living being if not the compound result of a myriad of single, eugenic events over millions of years? Explain to me how man-driven eugenics is any different from natural selection (eugenics occurring in nature) in its ability to create complex results.

            You last paragraph is an exercise in undisciplined thinking. The fact that an algorithm can produce complex results in no way says that the algorithm can increase “its own” (the algorithm’s) complexity. The algorithm (survival of the fittest, eugenics, evolution, etc) and its results (living beings) are SEPARATE entities. The results exist OUTSIDE of the algorithm. The results arise when the algorithm operates on an environment in a way that perpetuates its existence.

            The seeds of a sunflower, the scales of a pineapple or a pine cone form spirals that follow the Fibonacci series. The larvae of a cicada wait underground and emerge only in intervals of prime number of years (17, 19) to avoid predators. How did such abstract concepts as Fibonacci numbers or prime numbers arise in nature if evolution doesn’t have the faintest clue about math, Fibonacci series, prime numbers or their meaning? According to your logic, the dumb “survival” algorithm of evolution couldn’t have possibly led nature to advanced, previously-unknown concepts like Fibonacci series or prime numbers. Yet it did.

          • enoch arden

            For your education. Read slowly:

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

            In algorithmic information theory (a subfield of computer science and mathematics), the Kolmogorov complexity of an object, such as a piece of text, is the length of the shortest computer program (in a predetermined programming language) that produces the object as output. It is a measure of the computational resources needed to specify the object, and is also known as descriptive complexity, Kolmogorov–Chaitin complexity, algorithmic entropy, or program-size complexity. It is named after Andrey Kolmogorov, who first published on the subject in 1963.

          • ibmer

            Nah, you just have inferiority syndrome which you project onto me so you think that that button is there in me and you try to push it.

            What you failed to grasp is that masturbation or zoophilia do not impact the genes of the next (human) generation. So no contradiction there (especially that we’re talking what is empirical and statistical, not logical thinking; not very bright people equate all kinds of reasoning with logic). Although I understand lack of link between zoophilia and genes of next generation might be hard to for you to understand given your genealogy.

            Anyway, I would not mind my parents adding 20 pts to my IQ at all, whatever that level would be in alternative life lines. Would you not?

          • enoch arden

            Let me explain. I just extend your logic: if you think that constraining one’s ability to procreate changes the distribution of genes in the next generation, then both Masturbation and zoophilia would be as good as contraception.

            And why do you associate masturbation with inferiority? Did your grandmother suggest it?

          • ibmer

            Well, if masturbation did cause more babies to appear, it would not be masturbation, would it, genius? And of course, Mr. Enoch Turnip, you try to pin “masturbation is bad” on me when I said “masturbation is ineffectual in making more babies”, which is a trick as transparent as zero on your IQ test. I’m sure though that you will try to repeat that trick over and over in a Goebbelsian attempt of making the lie appear as the truth by repeating the lie a thousand times. Call it Goebbels-Enoch-Turnip maneuver. Brilliant.

            (and no, moron, again it is about empirics and statistics, not “logic”, which like all morons you mix up)

      • ibmer

        Erm, why would an irrational and useless thing be evil? If it can’t work and meddling in those genes has no impact on what we are, it’s ineffectual and therefore neither good or evil?

        Methinks that you know damn well it is completely scientific, not irrational at all and it already works in many respects, it will work even better in future and that’s the thing you are scared of.

        • enoch arden

          Methinks you have no idea what science you are talking about when claiming it is scientific. Any irrationality is evil. A lot of blood was spilt in the 17th century to rid the human mind of idiotic rubbish.

          • red2black

            Any irrationality is evil? How about Duchamp’s ‘Bicycle Wheel’?

          • enoch arden

            Let us introduce some classification. Duchamp is quite rational: he is an ordinary charlatan selling rubbish to naive idiots. The entire story is evil, as a phenomenon.

          • red2black

            I find Duchamp’s artworks amusing and interesting, and they haven’t cost me a penny.
            I’m sure it would be rational of me to buy one of his artworks as an investment, but irrational of me to buy one and smash it to pieces in iconoclastic Dada fashion.

          • enoch arden

            Every day people buy papers at the stock exchange being perfectly aware of the fact that their real value is next to zero. The purpose of that operation popularly known as “investment” is to sell that garbage for a higher price later.

            In the case of so to say “art” the market fluctuations are caused by skilled marketing. A useless mediocrity is turned into a pop star by a huge marketing investment. A classical case case of the emperor’s new cloths. Chekhov summarised it by saying: “The public is a stupid woman”.

          • red2black

            Chekov? I never really rated ‘Star Trek’, but he was probably right.

          • ibmer

            You’re changing subject, to ad hominem about me again. The point is, irrationality that is harmless is not evil. You can’t comprehend that if mucking around in genes has no effect, it’s harmless, therefore it can’t be evil.

            Ah, but it is effective: http://fredoneverything.org/the-inevitability-of-eugenics-a-race-of-self-designing-tinker-toys/

            That’s what you’re afraid of: being left behind with your low IQ.

  • enoch arden

    Speaking about correlation between IQ and criminal behaviour: here is a report about chess tournament between the Russian and the American jail inmates. The Russians happened to be smarter.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-22542983

    • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

      An ability to play chess well is a freak talent; it has no correlation with general intelligence.

      • enoch arden

        Do you know any idiots among the grandmasters?

        • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

          There are many grandmasters who can do nothing well except play chess. They have no special ability for mathematics or logic, for instance. You are making the mistake that intelligence is required to play chess; in reality it is intuition, which is why it computers can play chess better than any human.

          • enoch arden

            Give us an example of an idiot grandmaster.

          • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

            Re-read my comment. I did not mention “idiot” grandmasters.

          • “Intuition” makes computers can play chess better than humans? I’ve never heard of computer “intuition” can you point me to a scientific article describing how “intuition” in computers was achieved? Last time I checked computers play chess based on very sophisticated algorithms.

      • You need to read a scientific article once in a while:
        From Pacific Standard: “Expert Chess Players Are Smart. Yes, That Was Questioned”

        A new analysis rebuts the claim that there is no link between general intelligence and expertise in a specific arena such as chess.

        “Several studies employing psychometric tests of intelligence have revealed that expert chess players display significantly higher intelligence than controls, and that their playing strength is related to their intelligence level.”

  • eddie too

    typical totalitarian logic, freedom for me but not for you. i am your master and you are no more than my slave. nothing new here except that now they plan to use science to establish their dictatorship.

    still, it is completely false and unscientific that highly intelligent people cannot be produced by people of average intelligence and vice versa. intelligence itself is a mental construct evaluated by human made tests as though those tests were sufficient for making some humans less than human under the law.

    these people would take us back to slavery if they get their way.

    • ibmer

      So are temperature and money mental constructs, but that alone does not mean that IQ, temperature or money as ideas do not designate something real. IQ is real in entirely physical and biological terms: g-factor, or result of Spearman’s factor analysis, has been found to be highly heritable. That is no less real than gravity or genes determining person’s height.

    • If intelligence was a “mental construct”, IQ tests wouldn’t produce repeatable results (bell curves, the same as for human height), instead you’d get random results. Also, if intelligence was a mental construct there wouldn’t be a correlation between IQ and income, lack of crime, academic success, winning a Nobel prize (almost all Nobel prize winners are >130 IQ). Google “Hypocrites who deny linear IQ income correlation”.

  • Captain Dryland

    Eugenics at the individual level is the norm in all societies and for almost everyone. Anyone who practices selection in their choice of mate by dismissing many suitors for physical, intellectual and character traits that are disliked, and choosing another possessed of those traits that are liked, is a eugenicist on a personal scale. This is fully accepted as sensible, and moral. There is not a mother or father in the land who would be content and complacent to see their daughter at risk of impregnation by a scoundrel, a slob, a dunderhead, a criminal, a lunatic, or somebody with significant hereditary mental or physical disorders.

    The problem with eugenics is when the state attempts to prescribe and enforce a formula for the ideal human being.

    • marc

      Incredible to speak of eugenism when at the same time we let freewheel for so called refugees ,among them ISIS members !!!! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3455254/There-5-000-ISIS-trained-jihadists-roaming-large-European-Union-warns-head-Interpol.html We don’t trust each others in Europe but we trust others amongst the least trustable .

      • ‘It is not failure, but success, that concerns me,’ says Professor Stickaknifeinmeheart

    • outlawState

      “There is not a mother or father…..”
      You’re wrong. The way that children are bought up proves that many parents don’t care. If they cared, they would inculcate morals, but they don’t. I speak from personal knowledge, and the bible also discloses that pagan parents are complacent about moral education in children. To produce offspring does not require any moral convictions whatever, and having them does not cause pagans to become moral.

      The real problem today is lack of moral education in parents and children alike. Eugenics is a side show.

      “This is fully accepted as sensible, and moral.”
      Only up to a point. If you commit yourself to a relation, you commit yourself. No eugenetic argument can justify backing out once committed unless exceptional.

      • The issue is that “committing” oneself to a relation is done on pretty much eugenic basis, as the OP correctly pointed out.

  • SonOfaGun

    If a farm or zoo bred a race of club foot, kebab eating feral pigeons, it would be sanctioned.

    • red2black

      We got rid of most of them as ‘cannon fodder’ a few years later.

  • serguei_p

    You can’t close down science if the facts science finds are politically incorrect.

    And you can’t fight the progress of technology be that computers or embryo selection.

    • Paul

      Why not?

      We are currently struggling to prevent the spread of nuclear bombs – indeed we have bombed “new technology” in Iran. Is that “closing down science”?

      Science is here to serve us, we are not here to serve science.

      • serguei_p

        Preventing the spread of nuclear bombs does not stop up from learning more about nuclear physics or stopping us from using nuclear power generation.
        And we don’t pretend that nuclear fission does not exist because it is politically incorrect.

        • Paul

          This way of questioning people “do you believe in….?” annoys me.

          I usually answer with something along the lines of “I believe it exists / happens, but I believe it is wrong (and this is because…)”.

          This idea of “pretending gene editing doesn’t exist” is like that way of questioning. It implies that the person who disagrees is naïve or trying to live in a fantasy dreamland where ethics is easy.

          We have free will – it is not necessary to always go where we can.

          It was wrong for the Nazis to carry out experiments on POWs and concentration camp prisoners even if it yielded knowledge they thought useful. Do you agree?

          We abhor torture, therefore we do not carry out tests on better torture methods. “I need to know” is the attitude of a child who is impatient to open their presents, “there are some things I need not know” is the attitude of someone who would take into account the consequences of their actions.

          • serguei_p

            It is wrong to experiment on people. But it does not mean that the science behind eugenics was wrong.
            We have free will only until someone bans us from going where we can.

            Whatever you personally think about selecting embryos based on particular traits, it will happen because this is what people will want to do. And it is not up to you to tell people that they should not. It is there children, not yours.

            And pretending that ability to learn, person’s character etc are not genetically inherited does not change the fact that they are.

          • Stevie Mac

            “And pretending that ability to learn, person’s character etc are not genetically inherited does not change the fact that they are.”

            Yes, they are. So denying it isn’t the way to go. If people really believed those traits aren’t heritable then they wouldn’t have to worry about gene editing since it wouldn’t work and so be discontinued.

          • IQ is strongly heritable: 0.6-0.8 (the same factor as human height). In monozygotic twins raised in the same environment the correlation is as high as 0.9 (see “Minnesota Twin Family Study”). You give the number 0.5, but I’m not sure if it’s just an example or if it’s for non-IQ psychological traits

          • Stevie Mac

            I often say that IQ is highly heritable, as heritable as height (0.7 or 0.8). I think personality traits such as the ‘big five’ are 0.4-0.6. My 0.5 did refer to these. So I guess we agree.

      • ibmer

        Apparently everyone is supposed to observe your sentiments about science. One could also inverse the argument – you have no right to stop people from using the biotech that can make life literally better for their children.

      • James Crowe

        That has nothing to do with science and everything to do with the type of people using it. Iran is a feckless theocracy run by madmen attempting to refashion the whole world into the way it was 1,600 years ago when an itinerant, schizophrenic serial killer founded his cult on a rock because voices in his head told him that he was the chosen Jedi (more like a Sith if you ask me). Similarly with eugenics, just because Hitler went haywire 75 years ago doesn’t mean that more civilized people can’t temper their approach to bettering the species and wiping out diseases and heritable birth defects regardless of how many Godwin fallacies liberal “social justice warriors” pull out of particular orifices.

        Hitler this, Hitler that. Why must we put a kibosh on innovations just because a tiny vocal minority of Luddites blows the whistle and says “What would Hitler do”? Hitler loved his dogs also, should we stop keeping German Shepherds as pets? Hitler was a vegetarian, should we all switch to a 100% carnivorous diet? Hitler was a voracious reader, should we all become illiterate? Hitler breathed oxygen, should we all commit suicide? No, wait — Hitler did that too, but in doing so he also killed Hitler, so does that mean suicide is an inexorably good thing? And it’s turtles mouthing Hitler fallacies all the way down. Enough about Hitler. Stick to the science and its potential for improvement rather than obsessing over the most extreme examples of abuse many years ago in history.

        • red2black

          The National Socialists also had their very own Green Party, headed by Walther Darré.
          Should we regard ‘Green’ issues in the same way that many critics of ‘the Left’ regard Eugenics?

  • Do you ever consider the dysgenic results of welfare? If we stop the cuckolding that is welfare, is that eugenics? Welfare naturally contributes to the demographic time bomb that will properly go off in the next couple of decades.

    • ibmer

      “Do you ever consider the dysgenic results of welfare? If we stop the cuckolding that is welfare, is that eugenics?” – that’s precisly eugenics, and welfare is dysgenic, just people do not call it as such. So are contraception, abortion and freedom eugenic factors.

    • No, Mr. Nelson doesn’t consider that. Mr. Nelson never thinks outside his confines of political correctness. That’s the whole point of this article, to specifically not talk about dysgenics and welfare.

      https://chaunceytinker.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/dysgenics-and-welfare/

  • Ipsmick

    There are some very very horrible people posting here. It’s distressing to discover the extent to which there is no sense of shared humanity, compassion, understanding of foibles. So it goes.

    • serguei_p

      Compassion, shared humanity etc. is about helping a person to have a better life. If someone is born disabled, we should help that person to have a better life. If someone’s IQ is too low or someone can’t find or keep job for some reason, we should provide them with some help.
      But it is not about financing other people to have children, who in turn will require our support, in an age when the humans have learnt how to control their own reproduction.

      As it is impossible to stop the scientific development in this area, for as long as a person can afford it financially, the person should be able to have as many children as they fancy and they should be free to screen the embryos etc. provided they don’t specifically do it with “negative” aims – i.e. creating a new life that will suffer from disabilities.

      • James Crowe

        the person should be able to have as many children as they fancy and they should be free to screen the embryos etc. provided they don’t specifically do it with “negative” aims – i.e. creating a new life that will suffer from disabilities.

        This is, sadly, already happening within a group of so-called “deaf culture” activists, deaf people who consider themselves a race unto themselves and who persuade genetic counsellors to help them birth mini-Helen Kellers to teach “normal” society a lesson about “disability as diversity.” They consider the “hearing world” that prizes spoken language ahead of sign language, the equivalent of genocidal colonialists who wiped out the languages of the First Nations peoples of the Americas and Aboriginal Australia.

        One man “spoke” at (I suppose the more accurate term would be “addressed”) a conference of these proud dysgenics promoters, by demanding that the “hearing world” learn to experience life “through the ears” of the “non-hearing” by wearing a “deafening aid” — ear plugs or cotton balls — rather than he or his wife or any future deaf children who might be given cochlear implants coerced to wear a hearing aid. They’ve since increased their numbers by partnering with the radical “autism activists” who object to so-called “neurotypicals” attempting to “impose” a “non-autistic view of the world” — one facet of this being that non-verbal autistic children or people should not have to learn to speak.

        A similar defiant stance can be found in the demands of Spanish-speaking immigrants who demand that the rest of the world (chiefly the United States) learn to speak Spanish rather than they, English, not to mention the demands of Muslims that the rest of the world learn to accommodate their barbaric worldview and 7th-century principles. The only difference is that neither speaking Spanish nor being a Muslim is a genetically-heritable birth defect as deafness or autism are, though it’s arguable that the latter could be construed as some type of mental illness.

        This “deaf culture” thing, where deaf people object to their children learning to hear and speak, or receiving cochlear implants or wearing hearing aids, not to mention seeking out genetic counsellors to select for heritable deafness, sounds like something from the movie Idiocracy, but I can assure you that it is, in fact true. Archived article from 2000 in the New York Times which you can read here:

        https://web.archive.org/web/20010514091030/http://www.ling.upenn.edu/courses/Fall_2000/ling001/nytimes_deaf.htm

        • red2black

          Looks like no-one’s asked their kids what they want.

    • ibmer

      We’ll see how much compassion works when dysgenic effects of civilization drive people’s IQ down. It already started in Scandinavian countries – the Flynn effect has reversed there. Real-world version of “Idiocracy” would not be (will not be?) anywhere near that funny or civilized.

    • Muireach MacGilleChaluim

      You must be new around here. The Spectator is famed for its horrid commenters.

  • Nessa

    I’ve got Asperger’s Syndrome and I’m on benefits – does that doubly qualify me for being jettisoned out of the gene pool? I’ve never wanted children though so not to worry everyone.

    • James Crowe

      Then what’s your beef if you’ve already weeded yourself out? 1 out of every 50 people has some form of autism. It can’t solely be due to “expanded diagnostic criteria” the imperfect and rather subjective “science” of psychiatry is known for, categorizing people who get an A in their maths courses but do poorly in humanities courses as being “on the spectrum”.

      Neuroscience is filling the gap for psychiatry’s ill-formed opinionating, and MRI scans and DNA research is showing that autism is plainly due to certain mutations that correspond with lack of development or even damage in parts of the brain responsible for forging social connections and language ability. Society owes it to future generations of sufferers not to allow this epidemic to continue.

      The same could be said of other brain-based birth defects like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. What good is it to permit millions of people to suffer from an incurable and debilitating ailment just because naive “activists” want to pretend like “neurodiversity” is a welcome addition and normal variant of human existence? Isn’t three generations of Silicon Valley sociopaths and Sheldon Coopers who will never get asked to the prom more than enough?

      • red2black

        ‘brain-based birth defects like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.’ Aren’t some of these problems caused by events that have happened in people’s lives? Not so long back there was some sort of clique in the American Psychiatric Association that wanted Introversion to be used as an indicator of abnormality, which sounds pretty much like eugenics of the mind.

  • Machiavelli

    How did Fabians manage to slip through the net in this article?

    • The Fabian society that Sadiq Khan appears to be connected with?

    • red2black

      Other people from across the political board who also supported Eugenics made a big hole in it for them.

  • Striebs

    Eugenics has always been one of the central tenets of the Green movement .

    It’s not sufficient for them just to reduce the population arbitrarily .

    They believe that the masses have gone down a genetic dead and that it is their duty to help get evolution back on track .

    I suspected that most people who voted for the UK Green party would be unaware of the Eugenics policy but after talking with a few green voters found them authoritarian and not opposed to eugenics at all .

    • No their policy is the opposite of eugenics.

    • Nathan Gamble

      Oh please, the Green party have some idiotic policies, but they’re so against any sort of genetic modification that it’s painful.

  • Calum Millbank

    Some food for thought….all 258 of us who have commented so far…. In an “perfect” eugenics based society, we would never exist…. We forget that it is very often our inabilities, our shortcomings and our struggles that push the limits of human development. “You” would not be you had it not been for your trials and tribulations thus far. I have a feeling a lot of people are thinking about this is terms of “themselves – but better”.I think it’s silly to think that any of us can understand the essence of a super-human. Eventually we would eradicate things like arrogance, greed, lust etc as internal competition is only driven by need. So the most efficient species would be one that is highly “intelligent”, incredibly strong, has a much longer life span and is part of a small and select population (to limit resource depletion). Does that sound like something you or I can fathom?? If we can control the environment (which we cannot, the Earth is a subtle energy system that we seem to truly believe we can ignore) and if we can fully control our genetic code – who among us should shape the next evolutionary step in humanity? The Scientists – with their academia, their logic, theories and simulations? The Entrepenuer – with their spreadsheets and profit margins? The Politician – with their firm grasp on reality?? The Masses – the uncaring, uninformed masses???? Ask yourself if you know what it means to be human, then ask the person you are most intimate with, the same question? Not the same eh, maybe not even close?? Do not presume that we are ready for a concensus on genetic preselection – it may change things far quicker and more drastically than you or I are prepared for. Eugenics is essentially humanity f@cking itself….

    • KittyR

      Reminds me of the film Gattaca. In our desire to create the ‘perfect’ we end up with a far greater nightmare.

  • ibmer

    We are already practicing eugenics really, even without gene editing. What is contraception but means of reducing probability that people who are not fit or willing parents are not going to have children, effectively eliminating themselves from the gene pool? That’s eugenics all right, just the one practiced voluntarily.

    There are also factors that work opposite of eugenics – welfare certainly has dysgenic effects.

    • red2black

      People who have children also make the best parents? That doesn’t seem to be the case.

      • ibmer

        Well, not if they’re on welfare, that is dysgenic. Besides, define “best parents”. In evolutionary terms, there’s no such thing as “best parents”, merely “good enough not to deter their children from having children in turn”. Think about what would happen if those who have abortions or use contraceptives not to have any children would actually have children – would they be *better* parents than those who do have children, with all their parental imperfections?

        • red2black

          Good parents. Fair enough, but the question still remains. I live in England, where ‘welfare’ includes payments to people who are working full time and have children. People have children for all sorts of reasons, and people don’t have them for all sorts of reasons. The question you ask is impossible to answer, but there are certainly parents around that can only described as bad. Is the fact that they’re bad parents something that can be resolved through Eugenics, bearing in mind that there are also what can only be described as good parents who have children, and often themselves, who have problems that Eugenics would seek to eradicate?

    • GnosticBrian

      And what is your evidence for asserting that contraception is the: “means of reducing probability that people who are not fit or willing
      parents are not going to have children, effectively eliminating
      themselves from the gene pool?” Some might observe that those who should practice contraception are ther least likely so to do. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/227578/born-unequal-editors

      • ibmer

        “Some might observe that those who should practice contraception are the least likely so to do.” – that’s another unfit part of society. In empirical terms, one does not contradict the other.

        • red2black

          ‘another unfit part of society.’ Even allowing for individual irresponsibility, it seems to be more to do with poor education, religion, or both.

        • GnosticBrian

          You don’t think that too many negatives changed the sense of what you wanted to say?

  • Calum Millbank

    This is probably pointless to say at the bottom of an article on eugenics on a conservative paper’s website (ha!)… But welfare is not a bad thing. Also compassion isn’t a bad thing. I know a lot of people (men especially) like to think that they’re heartless b@st@rds who believe in ruthless human efficiency and zero percent rates of tax, the truth is though it’s much better to exercise compassion, especially in the face of violent adversity. Realistically, if someone shot you in the leg – would you A) want to shoot them B) want someone to help you get to a hospital or C) for the gunman not to have shot you in the first place….two out of three and compassion looks like the better option no? It certainly isn’t easy seeing as we’re designed to confront or run away from things that generate fear, but don’t just take the easy way out because something is hard…

    The same goes for a welfare system, people aren’t perfect or super efficient, they fall down, hurt themselves and others, they get addicted to things or they stop caring…Would you abandon your child if they stopped existing the way you wanted them to or made mistakes that changed their future? If we’re all children of society (we go to schools, work/live in society) then why should we expect society to abandon its children?

    I hope you would help your child whether they were messing up at 14 or 40 – not kick them to the curb because they’re crap at conventional academics or don’t understand societies laws…Remember though this is all in the context of man kinds fabricated rules for law and order – the comparison of Eugenics to Darwinian evolution is flawed because the only rule of the jungle is that the “strongest” survive. Most animals probably don’t speculate on the subjective nature of “strength” or “intelligence” but we can and do appreciate that Stephen Hawkins is around today because eugenics isn’t.

    • Darwinian evolution doesn’t favor the “strongest” but the “fittest” to the environment, which in a modern society involved intelligence.

  • johnb1945

    We’ve already been committing a form of Eugenics by aborting 90% of Downs babies, who can now be identified using a non-invasive blood test.

    Downs, a condition which is not incompatible with life and whose sufferers can, with the correct help, lead fulfilled and independent lives….. and which is self limiting, as sufferers are infertile………

    I find this massively, massively sad, and it does have implications for society.

    We will become less compassionate, less tolerant of the “other”. Imagine a society where we didn’t have to help other people because the “less fit” had been edited out and we were all engaged in some genetic arms race.

    It’s a truly scary thought……..

    • red2black

      Some people seem to have Muslims in mind.

      • johnb1945

        Probably. That’s sad also.

        • red2black

          That’s right. At one time there was a hunt for ‘a Red gene’.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Vallejo-Nájera

          • johnb1945

            Your political tendencies are a product of your personality, and it is long established that personality is influenced by genetics (and epigenetics – where genetics interplay with environment).

            It is my firm opinion that society needs a broad spectrum of intellectual abilities, physical abilities, personalities, views etc. to function, and trying to “edit” some out because they are supposedly less desirable is a hideous thought.

            It’s open to all kinds of abuses, as history shows us, or we could end up with evolution dictated purely by the market, i.e. our own intrinsic narcissism instead of being counterbalanced by random mutation.

            Either way, the end product would likely be something extreme, unforeseen and unintended………..

          • red2black

            I haven’t read it or seen the film, but Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ sometimes gets a mention.

          • BlingSco

            All technology is a double edged sword. Unless the tech is sentient. It’s the users/controllers who ultimately decide what it’s used for.

    • quotes

      I see where you’re coming from and don’t want to sound unsympathetic but I for one am not sad

      While you are right that sufferers can indeed live independently many cannot and most place great strains on their families

      Parents should be able to have healthy children if they want. I don’t agree that abortion should be obligatory, but personally I think that both choices (to bring an unhealthy child into the world knowingly, and to abort a child for being less than healthy) are equally immoral.

      • johnb1945

        That is depressing.

        • quotes

          Fair enough, but I think the sort of society that would result from your post would be too

          At the end of the day I don’t think it is “nice” or “good” or in any way moral to force people to be born with afflictions like that

          Have your own babies however you want, that’s your call. But other people’s babies aren’t.

          • johnb1945

            Sorry, but your consumer orthodoxy that our right to choice should be absolute is wrong.

            Downs people live happy and fulfilled lives, and they fulfil the lives of others.

            I care about society, and I do not wish to see its compassion eroded by a conviction that certain parts of it should never have been born, that somehow they are a blot on the landscape and a burden on the rest of us.

            That is what Eugenics is, that is where it leads, and aborting Downs babies is part of it.

          • quotes

            You are choosing a world where some parents will cruelly leave their babies, born with conditions they can’t or just won’t care for, to die

            I am choosing a world where only people like you who are willing to raise these children will have them. My world is better.

          • johnb1945

            Well. I guess that is what eugenics is about. Humans choosing their own future in accordance with some narcissistic template.

            Not everything in society can be about personal choice or gratification. Some things are just inconvenient. If we extinguish people with congenital disabilities our society will become less compassionate and less willing to deal with those who fall ill or become disabled later in life. If you can’t be bothered with a Downs baby then why bother with a relative who’s had a stroke? That will take up far more of your time.

          • quotes

            We obviously disagree about when life begins to merit protection. Fine. I think that your choice is about little more than your own personal gratification, by the way, you are insisting – despite the harm it will cause – that you have the right to determine the life chances of other people’s children in a way that can only ever be negative. I would call your position virtue signalling, really.

            If you want to get a warm glow from looking after a disabled child I don’t intend to stop you. But I think that prospective parents have the right to decide whether or not they share your feelings.

          • johnb1945

            This is not about when life merits protection, this is straightforwardly about eugenics, trying to produce a society full of supposedly superior beings using science. Clearly you believe in it, at least to some extent.

            I think there are far more virtue signallers extolling an absolute right to choice and control over one’s body than there are questioning this consumer orthodoxy, frankly.

            And I don’t believe in banning things or repealing previously granted rights.

            I believe it is necessary to have a conversation and to question this orthodoxy.

            Downs is a good example. It is not incompatible with life. It is not even incompatible with a good life. Downs babies are not even especially demanding to bring up and people who have it are infertile so the eugenecist fear that their inferior genes will be spread is assuaged. The only reasons to hit the abort button are vanity and fear, and that appals me.

          • quotes

            “I don’t believe in banning things”

            Just abortions and eugenics

            I have never said Downs is incompatible with life.

          • Bradypod

            Agree…modern eugenics risks becoming a sort of neurotic striving for the perfection of the human race, as it has become before. Striving for perfection isn’t a bad thing in itself, it’s just what we risk neglecting in this endeavour.

      • Maureen Matthew

        Today Down’s babies – tomorrow who knows? Maybe ‘little people’ because the people in the know have decided that they live unfulfilled lives, or maybe some other deformity that is deemed to be unacceptable. I know that is the slippery slope argument but that is the reality. At some point, someone in your family or some characteristic that you have can be deemed unacceptable, expensive or causes pain to someone and you will be sliced and diced out of the equation.

        We are no better than people 1,000 years ago who killed deformed babies after birth. There is no progress in today’s society. I’m glad that I will probably only live another 20 years and hopefully I will not be killed off because someone in authority has deemed that I am no longer worthy of living (regardless of what I might want!),

        I’m OK with supporting disabilities with taxpayer’s dollars – if we can support fully able people to do NOTHING all day long, I think we can find a few pennies for those with disabilities.

        • quotes

          It’s their parents’ decision, as far as I’m concerned. I am certainly not calling for mandatory abortions or engineering, I have been clear about that. If you want to have a disabled kid then I’ll even pay tax to support your choice too. But I think that all people should have the choice. And I don’t see any reason to deny parents the right to customise their children. We will be able to do it. We might as well regulate it.

        • NormanWells

          Very slippery slope alright. The unborn, the young, the old disabled are going to be targets.

        • BlingSco

          “Only a dead person does nothing” – BlingSco

    • Nathan Gamble

      ” Imagine a society where we didn’t have to help other people”

      How on earth is that a bad thing?

      • red2black

        Good luck the next time you’re critically injured in a serious road traffic accident (for example).

        • Nathan Gamble

          What on earth are you trying to say? A world where that’s possible would be a world where we have to help other people.

          • red2black

            It’s up to you whether you help other people or not.

      • johnb1945

        I think, philosophically, that having to help others is a check on unbounded competitiveness and self interest.

        Beings who were ruthlessly competitive and self-interested would not be human beings any more. They’d be something else, and I cannot foresee how this being would prosper in the way we do.

        • BlingSco

          You also assume that gene editing will result in beings who were ruthlessly competitive and self-interested. I do not see why that has to be the case,with gene editing.

        • Nathan Gamble

          “Beings who were ruthlessly competitive and self-interested would not be human beings any more.”

          Poetic, but obviously false.

    • BlingSco

      The one big problem here is, YOU assume that more intelligence people are less compassionate. If anything, this technology could be used to make people more compassionate.

  • MrBishi

    Anyone drawn towards eugenics should study meiosis.

    • Bradypod

      Your point being that it is is messy and imperfect? (I have note studied meiosis.)

      • MrBishi

        My point being that it shuffles the deck of genes.

  • mixodorians

    Regarding being a success or being a failure..When I was a teenager all I wanted to do was play guitar like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Now as a grown up..and having studied and mastered the instrument and now I can play guitar like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani (improvise like them and and play a lot of their songs note perfectly, and understand a lot of their music) I believe I have succeeded in life. I am a winner. I set out and achieved everything I ever wanted to in this world. Not many of us have achieved all our dreams in this world.. yet it is all I wanted to do and I can do it. I never wanted to become rich or famous, but the one thing I hoped to achieve..I did so who knows if I tried..

    My point is – all success is relative.

  • quotes

    Fascinating article. I agree it’s a minefield but it’s an unavoidable one, once the technology exists this is going to happen.

    There is no sensible reason to deny parents the tall, athletic, attractive and intelligent children they want

    We will be better as a species for it, eventually

    Technology lets individuals of our species survive things that nature never expected them to. Technology should help us prevent them ever having to, too.

  • DEEKAYBEE

    Totally fascinated by the over confidence orphans all these “rationalist”. Looking at traits associated with certain genes. This is the terrifying result of correlation us causation crowd. No wonder more than half the scientific papers are gibberish.

  • Geo

    The crucial difference is that the eugenics projects of the early 20th century were focused on the removal of the civil rights of the “genetically unfit”. This is not what’s on the table now. Potential parents are allowed to choose for themselves whether to implant a healthy or “defective” embryo in this scenario. Perhaps there is an objection there (though I struggle to see it, other than the usual “rich people will pay for better stuff shocker”), but it is of a fundamentally different nature to the set of objections to classical eugenics.

  • Nathan Gamble

    Designer babies aren’t done with the intention of “improving” the genes of a population, only of individuals. This is why it is not eugenics.

    • Sean L

      Yes and his only argument against designer babies was that “we all know where that can lead.” In other words designer babies could pave the way to eugenics. But the tenor of the headline and article was that a eugenics programme was already underway, which isn’t the case at all.

  • Sean L

    This is typical of the dumbed-down, tail wagging dog, Daily Mail style journalism, where editorial content is driven by the need for sensational headlines. In this case an incoherent hotch potch of themes strung together in the service of a cheap “eugenics” headline. The point that old Spectator quote and Toby Young are making is not all that different from what Keith Joseph was slaughtered for saying in the 70s when he spoke about people on welfare in effect being subsidised by the state to breed. But why is it better for the state to encourage the reproductive capacities of the *least* able, the criminal, the indigent rather than discourage them? Why is dysgenics better than eugenics?

  • Richard Lutz

    Mr Nelson did a great job with his article, while readers might like to know that researchers have found that the widespread use of IVF may cause more harm than good – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271785.php

  • NormanWells

    If a gene is discovered for sexual orientation and it can be identified before birth, it should lead to some interesting conflicts.

  • Arclight101

    The reality is of course that Britain never stopped practicing eugenics, it simply turned it on its head, and ensured that through incentives, the weak, the indolent, the ferral and the plain criminal produced far more children, while the hard working middle classes had fewer.

    They called it child support and housing benefit. Both rewarded indolent breeding idiots by the number of children they produced. 1 kid and you only got X. Two and you got X + 1, three kids and its X + 2, and so on. It was the same with housing benefit which was unlimited and forever. Have eight kids, and you could demand and get a small London mansion, plus a whole lot of cash. Even the stupid could figure out it was a good deal. And, they reasoned, it certainly beat working.

    Ironically the father of this reverse eugenics or ‘welfare’ as he called it, was William Beveridge, who had previously argued that those with ‘general defects’ should be denied not only the vote, but ‘civil freedom and fatherhood’. Oh dear, a clear case of unintended consequences.

    By the 1970s the scale of the problem being created was apparent. Sir Keith Joseph famously caused a stir in liberal circles when he warned that a combination of high taxes for middle class workers, and generous benefits for idle breeders, was leading to the former being out-bred by the latter.

    “We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive. But for those on benefits, there is every incentive. Well, that’s not very sensible.” said Joseph.

    And of course he was right. But that’s not how the left viewed it. Joseph was shouted down by the London media classes. The great experiment in reverse eugenics continued, and the nation became familiar with a new curse, generations of families who had never worked, but who could be numbered in their dozens.

    We’ve been living with an escalating problem ever since. It’s almost embarrassing to compare British high streets today with films of the same streets in the 1950s and 60s, filled as the former are with swivel eyed. snarling, obese, track suit wearing, pram pushing indolent thugs and thugesses. In the old films rows of healthy and normal looking folk stare back at us like some strange new world, rathert than the past. Foreign nationals meanwhile increasingly see Britain (correctly) through the prism of Little Britain, their TV bias being confirmed as soon as they leave central London.

    A knock on effect of this has been that the the some among the middle classes have got it into their actually rather mediocre heads that they are special. Very special indeed, And this has had a knock on effect on salaries, with managers reasoning that if they’re the only ones capable of adding up and turning up to work on time, this must make them worth…, well whatever they fancied. Cue, runaway boardroom and executive pay.

    Another knock on effect was these same managers despairing that the local yof could ever be trusted to do a decent days work, started demanding immigration from places like Eastern Europe, where ironically under the auspices of communism, most people could only afford to have children in strict keeping with their wealth, which in term was closely correlated with their IQ and work ethic. The result, a nation of hardworking Poles who knock spots off their British counterparts.

    It’s a sorry story and one Labour certainly won’t want to acknowledge, but welfare really did destroy both Britain, and the British. Perhaps we should call it a ‘Warning from Britain’.

  • Jacobi

    Since this is a secular site I am always reluctant to introduce Christian, in my case, Catholic ideology, but it wasn’t me that started it! Coming the full circle simply means that Man carries the burden of Fallen Human Nature, and that is not going to change !

    Yes, so-called ethical techniques are advancing – as is the general disintegration of our societies whether we are in the EU, or just 20 miles offshore, or controlled by the US arms industry, or by Mr Putin or by Mr Xi Jinping.

    And it has become an “industry” so like all the other industries, vested interests will ensure it progresses.

    Oh we do live in interesting times Mr Jinping do we not?

  • flydlbee

    If we have the technology to eliminate some of the horrible genetic diseases, then it would be criminally negligent not to do so.

  • Kathleen McKeoghain

    DNA cut and paste. Simple idea. However, whole organism genomes do not operate as a simple DNA strand. Genomes are interactional. Just ask a GE-Atlantic salmon. It’s got one foreign promoter and a single Pacific coho growth hormone gene (the simple idea), and a whole lot of developmental abnormalities.
    Eugenics never considered “epigenetics”. Thankfully, the “epi-” will be a big snag and hopefully give us time to engage in a very necessary discussion of the ethics.

  • Richard Lutz

    Many people believe they have a natural right to kill or sterilize people under their control, which would help explain why most people overtly or tacitly support the actions of the Communist Party of China which is responsible for millions of forced abortions akin to a brutal rape and the murder of political dissidents and devout Falun Gong members who are used as organ banks for the rich. An uncomfortable truth that some people want to suppress. Does that include you comrade?

    “Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” – Thucydides.

    • Exactly. Eugenics is politics. It has always been political. This is why its main proponents in the US and Britain spent as much time lobbying and campaigning for eugenic measures as they did actually conducting or practicing actual science.
      SEE: http://www.HHLaughlin.com

      • Richard Lutz

        Thanks for the link. The only science that most eugenicists are interested in is that which justifies their pre-existing commitment to eliminating people they consider untermenschen.

        • Actually, there is a lot of truth in that. It quickly became clear to me in my research that the eugenicists seem to obsess on whatever particular ethnic minority was in their neck of the woods. The British focused on the Irish Catholics. The eugenicists in California focused on Mexican and Chinese immigration. The ones in the Northeast focused on blacks and Eastern Europeans.

  • Bayesian_Rationalist

    I see no ethical objection to using IVF, PGD and embryo screening to select for positive characteristics and ensure that the future child does not have negative characteristics.

    However, genetic engineering of embryos would be a step too far: it would lead to even further social divisions in society: those children with parents who were fine with genetic engineering, and those children whose parents – due to ethical and religious objections – were not okay with it. Engineering traits such as intelligence would lead to a massive gap in outcomes between these two sets of children.

    Embryoo screening, by contrast, keeps the traits within normal limits: an embryo selected for its ‘intelligence genes’ may have had the genetic makeup of what the child produced by normal reproduction would have had.

    The only exception would be if we could use genetic engineering of the human germ-line to make people more ethical; where ethical means reasoned, universal concern for all sentient beings, not overly emotionalistic.

  • John Riseley

    Fraser Nelson discusses forms of eugenics which I can agree are bad and ones which are impractical. But they are bad or impractical upon their own demerits rather than because their intent is eugenic. He doesn’t persuade me that there can be no scheme labelled as eugenic which is neither bad nor impractical, unless I accept that all are tarnished by association.

    We will wish to condemn violence and coercion. We may challenge the imposition of criteria for ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits. We might reject gene tampering. But why, for example, should we oppose bribery, knowing that material factors have long played a part in choices on reproduction? The standards set need not be monolithic but could reflect the subjective and diverse tastes of those putting up the money.

    We cannot (nor should we in an over-populated world) bribe the ‘right’ women to have large families. Indeed it is now difficult to persuade the ‘right’ women to have any children. We cannot (as Adam Perkins is reported to advocate) persuade the ‘wrong’ women to have few children by squeezing benefits to any degree which is politically plausible.

    We may, however, hope to bribe the ‘wrong’ women to have their children by the ‘right’ men. This could amount to some sort of sponsored sperm donation, with a gene team of backers helping the successful recipients of their favoured donor.

    Eugenicists have been prepared to think the unthinkably brutal. Why should they not instead think outside the box of conception within monogamy, especially given that the section of society they most wish to help has already relaxed that constraint?

    • Its called the Hardy-Weinberg Equation and it had disproved the viability of eugenics by 1911. You can get rid of and sterilize 98% of the human population and not make a dent in human heredity because of the fact that nature has an answer for that. Eugenics is not just a science. It is a political platform. It is the safety valve of Fabian Socialist economics. This is why John Maynard Keynes was a eugenic lobbyist both before AND after The Holocaust.
      SEE: https://www.academia.edu/3091739/Harvard_and_the_Holocaust

  • Sherdy

    If eugenics is to rid the world of imbecilics, would that mean the British royal family would no longer exist, thus saving considerable expense on an annual basis?
    And if it is to rid the world of those who would commit crime, the major criminals today belong to the banking and financial services industry, who cost the world economies untold billions, then we surely would be better off financially, but then who could or would accept such positions without the threat of extermination?

  • This article fails to mention that the initial push for eugenic legislation in Britain came from Winston Churchill. Churchill began the impetus that finally became the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act, a piece of legislation that had broad support in Britain. As a researcher I certainly found it curious that it was also Churchill that did not want to hold the Nuremberg trials.
    FOR MORE INFO: http://www.RaceOfMasters.com

  • Richard Lutz

    Unrestrained genetic engineering would, as with pure bred dogs, cause much harm. Some people spend enormous amounts of money on pure bred dogs which suffer all manner of problems because they favoured one characteristic at the expense of overall fitness. If parents can modify the genes of the unborn to increase the likelihood of them being very intelligent at the cost of overall fitness, what do you think many would do in light of the potential benefit smart offspring could bring to their parents/ family as brain surgeons or corporate CEOs? It is all too clear what will happen.

    Already we see an overuse of IVF which increases the incidence of underweight babies and structural defects merely to speed up the conception process. As the stigma associated with incest fades due to libertarians and leftists who demand the legalization of incest and close relative marriages in the name of liberty and equality the situation will worsen. How many people care that pure bred dogs are often the result of breeders mating closely related dogs? We have normalized what amounts to pre-birth infanticide and hideous acts of violence like the partial birth abortions of healthy late term babies in the name of reproductive freedom, so why not normalize inbreeding in the name of reproductive freedom? What business is it of ours what other free adults do in private? Do you want to be demonized as an oppressive incestophobic bigot for opposing this?

  • Caz

    see the youtube video ‘Ark schools academies and eugenics’ and the vid ‘Ark and Eim Group the dutroux scandal’ EUgenics is alive and well

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