April 20, 2006
Will Restrictions On Human Enhancement Lead To Animal Takeover?

In the comments section of a previous post, "Human Stem Cells Partially Fix Rodent Stroke Disability", Brett Bellmore opined:

I sometimes in my darker moments suspect that the sigularity will consist of lab rats taking over the universe, due to regulation delaying human trials of all the various treatments and augmentations.

Brett's idea is that if human enhancement is so restricted by government regulations then under relatively less restrictive regulations animals could receive genetic enhancements that would make them intellectually so improved (in science fiction writer David Brin's terminology "uplifted") that they'd surpass humans in intellectual ability. While he was jesting this does not seem impossible.

A more likely outcome in my view is that some countries will allow much more offspring genetic engineering than other countries and their populations will far surpass the rest of humanity in intellectual ability.

What I find hard to predict is just which countries will have more or less restrictive approaches toward genetic engineering of offspring for the purpose of cognitive enhancement. Current Western left-liberal denial of genetic causes of differences in IQ won't last for another 10 years once cheaper DNA sequencing leads to the discovery of lots of genetic variations responsible for differences in intelligence. At that point will leftists come to see genetic engineering as the best way to end poverty? Will right wing hawks decide that genetic enhancement is needed to compete militarily?

One might expect the Chinese to embrace genetic enhancement without ethical qualms of the sort that show up in discussions in Western countries. On the other hand, the Chinese leadership might decide cognitive enhancement is bound to produce too many people who are so smart that they will lack sufficient deference to authority (ie they will oppose the regime). Genetic enhancement might come to be seen as a threat to stability and a threat to those in power.

Offspring genetic engineering will probably come with a high initial price tag. However, that doesn't mean that offspring genetic engineering will be out of reach of poor people in industrialized countries. Elites might decide (quite correctly in my view) that government subsidies for genetic enhancement will pay off many times over for governments that subsidize it. 160 IQ children who might overwise have been born with 80 or 90 IQs will be orders of magnitude more productive and hence will generate enough tax revenue for governments that any costs for the genetic engineering will get paid back many times over.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 April 20 09:30 PM  Transhumans Posthumans


Comments
AA2 said at April 21, 2006 1:35 AM:

"Elites might decide (quite correctly in my view) that government subsidies for genetic enhancement will pay off many times over for governments that subsidize it. 160 IQ children who might overwise have been born with 80 or 90 IQs will be orders of magnitude more productive and hence will generate enough tax revenue for governments that any costs for the genetic engineering will get paid back many times over."

Good point.. we see in the world 80 IQ people can handle only marginal tasks, and also have pathological social problems. Especially in the future world where robots are going to do most manual tasks.. most work will be intellectual and artistic in nature. There a genius is infinently better then an 80 IQ person. The 80 IQ person wouldn't be able to grasp a programming language well enough to program anything useful. Especially as we are automating and abstracting those processes too.

Splicing human brain genes, into a big animal like a horse could pay off. Going with like 5 times the grey matter as humans. Unfortunately we might not be able to control such animals to get them to do work for us... as its impossible to control anything smarter then yourself. Like doing that high level programming I was talking about.

Brett Bellmore said at April 21, 2006 3:28 AM:

It was a joke, based on how many nifty treatments the rats get, that I can't obtain yet. I agree, far more likely that it would just be humans, in another country.

Paul Dietz said at April 21, 2006 7:12 AM:

I suspect uplift is going to happen anyway, since arguably the best way to understand biological intelligence is to attempt to recreate it.

Rob said at April 21, 2006 7:57 AM:

I'd just like to suggest that we restrict the one-two punch of opposable thumbs and big brains to ourselves.

As long as an uplifted horse can't use an assault rifle, I think we might do ok.

Dave said at April 21, 2006 9:07 AM:

Didn't Stalin try to create human-ape dumb workers to do menial tasks that wouldn't be smart enough to question their orders, isn't there a danger that some people might try to do the same again?

You seem to assume in all (or most) of your posts about this that the general public will be enhanced, in the end if not to start with. Is it not possible that one group of people will focus on intelligence while others are 'encouraged' to focus less on brain but more on physical ability, therefor creating a two tier society far worse than the class system that used to exist in Europe?

Although I think it would be great to have real smart humans, I wouldn't like to see a small group of super humans controlling the world.

Brock said at April 21, 2006 11:34 AM:

Dave,

Any human smart enough to drive a garbage truck is smart enough to rob you at gun point. Any nation which attempted to breed a race of dumb laborers would be "a self correcting problem", as that country implodes.

Sheila said at April 21, 2006 12:54 PM:

Gloomy thoughts: 1. Maybe smarter people will just think of cleverer ways to be evil.(exhibit A: what's-his-name at princeton who thinks defective babies should be euthanized, but unwanted dogs shouldn't.) 2. Humans branch into two species: the genetically enhanced, and the genetically left-behind. 3. There's always some unforseen blow-back that nobody thought of.

Rather than creating a glut of geniuses, it would be better to lift up the lower margin. Just ensuring that IQs are above 110 or 120 would probably improve the world in a zillion ways. It's the sub-90 people who have miserable lives and who sometimes cause suffering for others.

AA2 said at April 21, 2006 2:07 PM:

Dave - dumbing down the population is definately a way for the communist types to keep power. A people too inquisitive, thoughtful, creative and so on would be hard to control. And in addition the welfare state needs poverty to sustain itself. People capable of looking after themselves would not make much use of the welfare state. And thus wouldn't support its current size, let alone its expansion.

CASpears said at April 21, 2006 2:15 PM:

a rise in IQ correlates pretty well to an increase of many mental illnesses. Smart people commit crime, it is just more organized and higher level. High IQ people killed 6 million Jews, whereas low IQ people run around the back country of Rwanda hacking people to death for the same reasons. Instead of robbing a liquor store, a high IQ person will rob a bank or a corporation for 10's of millions using a computer instead of a gun. Intelligence does not make one moral.

This only means we would have more mental health problems to deal with in society, assuming that this would be available to the general public, which I doubt, because first of all it will be illegal for a very long time and cost prohibitive, which would mean only the elite and wealthy could have it done for thier offspring which will create a new permanant ruling class...like Morlockes and Eloi...have we learned nothing?

CASpears said at April 21, 2006 2:16 PM:

a rise in IQ correlates pretty well to an increase of many mental illnesses. Smart people commit crime, it is just more organized and higher level. High IQ people killed 6 million Jews, whereas low IQ people run around the back country of Rwanda hacking people to death for the same reasons. Instead of robbing a liquor store, a high IQ person will rob a bank or a corporation for 10's of millions using a computer instead of a gun. Intelligence does not make one moral.

This only means we would have more mental health problems to deal with in society, assuming that this would be available to the general public, which I doubt, because first of all it will be illegal for a very long time and cost prohibitive, which would mean only the elite and wealthy could have it done for thier offspring which will create a new permanant ruling class...like Morlockes and Eloi...have we learned nothing?

Mark said at April 21, 2006 3:16 PM:

Ever incarcerated (men)
IQ under 75 7%
IQ 75 to 90 7%
IQ 90 to 110 3%
IQ 110 to 125 1%
IQ over 125 less than 1%


Ontogen said at April 21, 2006 3:17 PM:

Sheila: social progressives (and humankind) are in luck; as has been discussed in Randall's articles, it will be easier to bring 80 IQ to 120 than it will be to raise 120 to 150.

Ontogen said at April 21, 2006 3:20 PM:

Mark, what's the source for those figures?

Randall Parker said at April 21, 2006 3:52 PM:

Mark's figures are for young white males in America. I've linked a number of times to this graph from a paper by psychometrician Linda Gottfredson and the graph contains that information.

Bob Badour said at April 21, 2006 4:12 PM:

If the chinese were smart, they would focus more on verbal intelligence. In fact, raising the mean verbal IQ to 120 or 125 to bring a large chunk of the bell curve above 106 would suit me just fine.

Ontogen,

Mark probably got those figures from this diagram from an essay by Linda S. Gottfredson acknowledging the reality of general intelligence, g.

Randall Parker said at April 21, 2006 4:22 PM:

Raising the intelligence level of the lowest IQ people would do the most to reduce poverty. Raising the intelligence of the higher IQ people would do the most to accelerate scientific and technologies advances.

Dave,

I do not think that creation of a large low IQ working class would provide a net benefit. Robots are going to do an increasing fraction of the manual labor. Other manual labor will be eliminated by better device design. For example, nanotechnology will make many surfaces self-cleaning.

However, it will become possible to create lower intelligence people who are very averse to committing crimes.

CASpears said at April 21, 2006 5:33 PM:

Mark:

If those stats are correct...the prison population is that way because in America prison time is typically handed out disportionately for violent crimes. Many white color crimes result in no prison time or very short prison sentences. Also the war on drugs, although typically not busting violent felons results in prison time, but the people who are the street slingers, and likely lower in IQ are busted more often...whereas (from my own personal observation) white kids in the suburbs who sell drugs use pagers/cell phones to call drug dealers and do the transaction behind closed doors, not in the public, making it much harder for the police to arrest them. Also the people who import the drugs into the country are rarely low IQ urban youths, they are usually higher IQ Hispanic and white anglos who are rarely arrested because they have the economic power to buy corrupt officials.

So once again...intelligence, does not equal morality or stop criminality. All it does is change the type of crime committed.

And I will also restate that high intelligents correlates strongly with a rise in mental illness, including depression, bi-polar disorder, etc.

Bob Badour said at April 21, 2006 9:03 PM:

Restating it is less effective than providing substantive evidence for it. Do you have a reference to cite?

Bob Badour said at April 21, 2006 9:12 PM:
Raising the intelligence level of the lowest IQ people would do the most to reduce poverty. Raising the intelligence of the higher IQ people would do the most to accelerate scientific and technologies advances.

Raising verbal IQ as I indicated gets the per-capita GDP to a position of diminishing returns, which is a significant increase in productivity which will raise all of our living standards. Without that shift up the curve, too many of your geniuses will be busy doing non-inventive work. Once near the top of the curve, all of the geniuses will be available to raise the asymptote.

crush41 said at April 22, 2006 1:30 AM:

CAspears,

Your argument is fallacious. East Asia is the smartest place on the planet. It also has some of the lowest levels of crime in the world. It doesn't get much safer than Tokyo or Singapore.

People in countries with high IQs live longer than people in duller places (IQ and life expectancy correlates at the very high, statistically significant rate of .85--every iq point "provides" about 13.5 months of life), so overall health is obviously improved. White collar crimes occur much less often than other sorts of criminal activity (at about a tenth the rate). Some smart people are miscreants. But it's a smaller portion than what exists among less endowed people. To say that IQ is not synonymous with uprightedness is to prevaricate--produce evidence that gives us reason to believe that IQ inversely correlates with morality.

Your position seems to be that intelligence is a negative attribute because it potentially allows people to do more evil. That's pretty misanthropic and it ignores all the other correlations between IQ and beneficial attributes (like educational attainment, income, marriage stability, civil engagement, etc)

CASpears said at April 22, 2006 9:51 AM:

Crush41:

High IQ tied to mental illness

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/10.23/01-creativity.html
http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/byrd.html

"While the absent-minded professor notion is not without merit, a genius is just as likely to encounter emotional problems as anyone else. Note the peculiarities of figures like Glenn Gould and Bobby Fischer. Such examples, however, are likely products of mental or emotional instability rather than genius per se, though there is a researched correlation between I.Q. and maladjustment [1]."

# Harold Bloom (November 2002). Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds, Warner Books. ISBN 0446527173.
# Clifford A. Pickover (May 1, 1998). Strange Brains and Genius: The Secret Lives of Eccentric Scientists and Madmen, Plenum Publishing Corporation. ISBN 0306457849.


Let me repeat. It has been shown to be a strong correlation between high IQ and mental illness. Excessively high IQs have also been argued to be aborations, not a normative feature in human populations, that is why it is often that two high IQ people produce children less intelligent then themselves, which is also called "regression toward the mean..." I have read more than one study that believes due to the fact that brains are expensive organs, in that they take up a lot of energy, high IQ takes up more resources than the typical body can maintain, which leads to disbalance in the brain....which in turn leads to mental illness. This is a theory but reality is no one knows why there is so much mental illness in high IQ individuals. Still to be fair I have also read a few studies on depression and schizophrenia that found it more common in low IQ individuals. Both things could be true. The further someone moves from "average" the extreme their mental health issues might be. To be honest no one can say definitively.

I also never said that IQ is inversely related to morality. I suppose reading is not fundamental. I said that IQ does not equal moral uprightness.

I also talked about crime as a whole and violent crime. Violent crime is a subsection of crime. Most American in prison today are not even in jail for violent crime. They are in prison for drug related crimes. These crimes are economic in nature, not due to violent impulse on illogical behavior caused by a fault in IQ. East Asia, where I lived, in Tokyo, Japan and in Shanghai, China has a lot of crime that is never reported. Prostitution and sex slavery is endemic in Tokyo, illegal but it is rare anyone is ever prosecuted because it is controlled by the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) and the police are corrupt. COrruption is very high in China, Vietnaml, Thailand, etc. These are crimes are they not? Look at Transparency International for the stats on that, these nations are more corrupt than supposedly lower IQ black nations in the Carribean. China also has a rising drug problem in its major cities. So yes violent crime is low, however there is a lot of crime, just because it is not reported due to corruption does not mean it does not exist. Please explain that?

This is really here nor there, as I said I believe raising the general IQ of people may be a good thing in the abstract. I do not believe it will be legal for a long time, and even if it will be cost prohibitive. THis will mean wealthier people wil have an advantage over poorer people, and this will aggravate the socio-economic gap and create a permanent oligarchy. I truly do believe that, and that is why I think eugenics (which is what we are discussing) is dangerious. We do not fully know the effect such an event will have on society.


crush41 said at April 22, 2006 11:09 AM:

CAspears,

Do you know what the correlation between high IQ and mental illness stands at? An obvious explanation for mental disorders being disproportionately high on both ends of the bell curve is that it's a lonely place to be. Imagine what it would be like going through life with virtually everyone around you mentally handicapped. Or everyone discussing cricket all the time (assuming you don't know the rules and can't learn them).

I still do not see your argument against raising IQs as cogent. Maybe it will raise the occurence of white collar crime. But it will also produce a lot of smart people to catch and prosecute the purveyors of that crime. Certainly violent and property crime will decrease, which is more pertinent to quality of life considerations (I'll risk a few more Enrons in exchange for a bunch more Microsofts and the ability to let my kids play outside or take my wife downtown).

Also, I do not see how it will increase the wealth gap. A nation's IQ and its gini coefficient correlates inversely at a statistically significant .51. Latin America and Africa are quite unequal. By contrast, the Asian Pacific is relatively equitable. If a population has lots of professionals and few menial laborers, the professionals will compete with one another keeping the cost of their services relatively low. The small number of menial laborers, meanwhile, will result in the cost of their labor rising. In a society with a few professionals and lots of laborers, professionals will be able to charge exorbitant amounts and the large labor pool will drive menial wages into the ground. Not only does a smarter society have more economic equality than a dumber one, the total economy is much larger (because lots of professionals are going to add more total utility than lots of menial laborers).

CASpears said at April 22, 2006 4:31 PM:

Crush41:

You raise in interesting point about "loneliness" leading to mental illness. That would be an interesting study. I won't argue the point, I see it as valid.

As far as increasing higher IQs increasing the wealth gap. Well let me restate for late commers to this conversation, that I am speaking of a situation where the majority of the population can not take part in these genetic IQ treatments. In this situation it will be more like high IQ Jews moving in mass (lets say 5 million of them) to a country with an an average IQ of 80, lets say Nigeria, and let's say Nigeria for the sake of argument, Nigeria only has 50 million people). In this situation do you not think that everything else being equal, this Jewish immigrants will dominate most of the professional class and the intelligensia of that nation in a generation or so? This is what I'm refering to.

Your example of East Asia, assumes that the average IQ of the population is 105 or higher. In this situation I would agree with you, if there was a true bell curve. The situation I propose is not a true bell curve. There are actually two. The first being the oligarchy that has access to genetic manipulation technology, who are a wealthy but powerful minority...who might have an average IQ of 160, and then everyone else who has an IQ of let's say 100 or less. In this situation what you propose will not take place, it will be more like the situation in many Latin American countries where there is a Iberian or European ruling class that is almost pure, and everyone else on the bottom.

We are basically two very different assumptions. You assume because the technology might come into existance, that is will become available to most of the population or enough to benefit all of society. I'm saying this is a dream. I am 100% sure that if this technology does every come into existance, it will be branded as dangerious eugenics and most people in North America and especially EUrope will want it banned. We both know this will not stop the wealthy and powerful from leaving the country and getting it administered to their unborn children, etc. The results of which will be bad for all.

In theory I do not disagree with you, in practice I think it is unrealistic.

Randall Parker said at April 22, 2006 5:02 PM:

On the link between IQ and mental illness: First, assume a world (probably about 10 years out) where DNA sequencing costs are incredibly low and therefore millions of people with and without mental illness and with varying levels of IQ can be compared in their DNA sequences.

I figure what we'll find is that some genetic variations that increase IQ also increase the risk of mental illness but that other IQ boosting variations do not do that.

I also figure we will find other genetic variations that do not raise or lower IQ that increase and decrease the risk of mental illness.

Given that knowledge I expect scientists will find ways to boost IQ while simultaneously lowering the risk of mental illness among the higher IQ folks.

As for societies splitting into higher and lower IQ groups: That pretty much describes the world already.

Bob Badour said at April 22, 2006 5:35 PM:

Crush41,

I think you are wasting your time with CASpears. He will point to the fewer than 1% of smart people jailed for crimes as proof that smart people commit crimes while totally ignoring the relative prevalence when comparing to the 7% of dumb people.

Fewer than 1% times the 35million smartest American men means fewer than 350k. Is 350k a significant number? Yes. But it is much less significant than 2.45 *million* representing 7% of the 35million dumbest American men. That's only at least 1.1 million more dumb than smart.

He has all sorts of theories about smart people committing non-violent crimes. However, if one bothers to read texts like Samenow's, one learns that strong, young violent criminals age to become feeble, old non-violent criminals. This is backed up by statistics from other sources. This PDF file from the state of california has some nice graphs. Another PDF file from California shatters his mythology regarding drug arrests.

He posts links showing that creativity is a combination of intelligence and low latent inhibition to show that intelligence causes mental instability. His cited references do not support his thesis. The only thing suggested to me is dumb people with low inhibition are not considered creative.

CASpears said at April 22, 2006 6:50 PM:

Bob:

What types of crime are the bottom 7% committing the most? If you just want to talk about crime...there are many countries in the Carribean that have a lower IQ than America or the average European country that have very little crime...there are many causes to crime that are socio-economic and cultural, that have little to do with IQ. Countries also define crime differently, so comparing crime by country is not valuable unless you first define what crime is. Even murder varies from country to country. If I shoot a man dead who comes into my house, but does not threaten me, in Texas that is not murder. In Japan it is. Not to mention the violation of the law for having a gun.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_mur_percap

so you are telling me that Russian have an average lower IQ than people in Zimbabwe or Saudi Arabians are smarter than people in Switzerland...well Russians have a very high murder rate, and so do the Swiss when compared to Saudis...the correlations just is not that strong.


If you look on pg 7 of the first PDF from the state of California, it shows that most people in prison are in prison for nonviolent crime. As far as most people being incarcerated for drug crimes...please look at some national stats: http://www.cjcj.org/pubs/poor/pp.html.

I was not speaking to the state of California specifically. The truth is when you criminalize drugs you create crime, whereas in a country like the Neatherlands the crime rate is lower because they have no created drug crime by legislation, in fact the opposite they have reduced crime by legalization.

crush41 said at April 22, 2006 10:59 PM:

CASpears,

It is uncharted water. But I agree with Randall. Just because there may be some connection between IQ and some debilitating diseases (like Tay-Sachs in Ashkenazi) doesn't mean the links aren't navigable.

I do not think resistance to eugenic practices will be near as strong as you fear. We are not talking about forced abortions or sterilizations. Manipulating genetic variations is a form of positive eugenics. From a parental perspective, positive eugenics are nothing more than doing what's best for the kid. People are not going to turn that down. The market for it will be huge, allowing lots of competition to flourish. The payoff on all levels of society stands to be enormous--as I and others have been laying out, higher IQ correlates with a whole host of positives and nations with higher average IQs are better places to live by virtually every standard than less endowed places are.

Bob,

Thanks for the Cali links. I wasn't aware of how drug arrests comprise so relatively small a number of total arrests. Of course it is the rate increases that get the headlines.

CASpears said at April 23, 2006 5:58 AM:

Crush:

You obviously did not look at my link. He gave you a link of Cali. I gave you a national link on drug crime imprisonment.

You make amazing assumptions, that no matter what the issue, science will instantaneously figure out a solution, so all these things will happen in parrallel. I seriously doubt that is the case. The EU currently does not even allow much genetically manipulated food. Do you really think that they will approve of human manipulation? Do you really think that the relgious fundamentalist (who control the Republican party in the US) will allow somone to do what you suggest? That sets up a situation where the cost of gaining such treatment, would be absorbant, because it would be illegal, and most people can not obtain it, or might be afraid to. I really think you live in a fantasy world, I"m sorry. You are not looking at the real world application of what you suggest in a way that is close to realistic. You are relying on your emotional attachment to this issue, not on logic. Congnitive disonance is hard, but come on...

So you would rather live in Hong Kong than Switzerland? Would you rather live in Taiwan than Italy? Have you been to any of those Asian countries?? I have. Trust me the standard of living is not higher than most countries in Europe for a host of issues that IQ alone does not solve.


Randell:

You are right, that is the way things are now, but I'm suggesting, eugenics will only serve to aggravate an existing problem.

Bob Badour said at April 23, 2006 11:44 AM:

With more than due respect, CASpears, cherrypicking juvenile arrests does not prove your point. In fact, if you had bothered to read and comprehend the articles at the other ends of the links I posted, you would have seen a large increase in the arrests for marijuana use among juveniles. However, focusing on that one statistic while ignoring the vast bulk of information regarding criminality is just plain obtuse.

You ask what crimes the 7% commit? All of them. The statistics show that crimes in general are about 70% property crimes and about 30% violent crimes. While this fluctuates a little over time and across geographies, it doesn't fluctuate all that far. The links I provided already demonstrate the statistic. Observing, then, that the majority of prisoners were jailed for the majority of crimes is pointlessly redundant.

The only reason I provided links to california was the fbi and doj servers were taken offline for some electrical work this weekend.

As I pointed out to Crush41, addressing CASpears is a complete waste of time. It's utterly pointless. One might as well address a dull rock.

dbfair said at April 23, 2006 12:12 PM:

"On the other hand, the Chinese leadership might decide cognitive enhancement is bound to produce too many people who are so smart that they will lack sufficient deference to authority (ie they will oppose the regime). Genetic enhancement might come to be seen as a threat to stability and a threat to those in power."

What scares me more is that the Chinese (or other) leadership might try to look for a gene that promotes deference to authority, and seek to enhance people with it. Instead of an Orwellian vision of scaring people into submission, you breed them into submission. While at first glance it seems unrealistic that anyone would allow their children to be modified in that way, what if it were combined with guaranteed property rights, or the right to have a second child? What if it were combined with a gene that increases intelligence? And what if the government only told you about the gene that increases intelligence?

CASpears said at April 23, 2006 3:10 PM:

Bob:

No need to be a complete prick. This is not my area of study. The crime issue is just one argument I have used based off of information I have read in the media and personal experience. Unlike you I do have a life, because people actually like me as a person (because I'm not a psuedo-intellecdtual internet prick) so I can not be on the internet all day searching for information about crime stats. This seems to be your only focus. Basically..."well his crime idea doesn't add up so dismiss everything else he says..."

It is not surprising you don't respond to any of the apparent socialogical effects of what is being proposed by some here, because the simple fact is you don't understand people and likely do not associate with them on a regular basis. I have pointed out very clearly that higher average IQ in a society does not necessarily lead to a better society. As I said previously:

"So you would rather live in Hong Kong than Switzerland? Would you rather live in Taiwan than Italy? Have you been to any of those Asian countries?? I have. Trust me the standard of living is not higher than most countries in Europe for a host of issues that IQ alone does not solve."

You ignored this, but why?:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_mur_percap

so you are telling me that Russian have an average lower IQ than people in Zimbabwe or Saudi Arabians are smarter than people in Switzerland...well Russians have a very high murder rate, and so do the Swiss when compared to Saudis...the correlations just is not that strong.

Maybe because IQ is one of many independent variables, not the key independent variable in crime.

You also never spoke to the real world application of what you are saying and its feesability given the political climate in most Western countries.

Joseph Hertzlinger said at April 23, 2006 3:49 PM:

Research done "without ethical qualms" usually turns out to be a means of lining the pockets of the people in charge. One type of sleaziness leads to another.

Randall Parker said at April 23, 2006 3:51 PM:

CASpears,

Griffe has explained why the East Asians underperform in spite of their general IQs. The verbal component is more important for per capita income.

I suspect that there's an additional genetic influence on cognition relating to levels of latent inhibition or conformity that might also be contributing to the East Asian underperformance as compared to general IQ. But higher IQ East Asians make more money than lower IQ East Asians on average. Raise their IQs and their per capita GDPs would rise.

Crime: Yes, IQ is only one of the causes of crime rate. Other genetic and social factors influence crime rate. For example, the United States lowered the crime rate by locking up lots of people. Similarly, Saudi Arabia metes out such harsh punishment (e.g. chopping off hands) that the crime rate there is very low.

But IQ is an incredibly powerful predictor of crime rate. I think the evidence on the causes of crime is clear enough that one can state with confidence that if IQ gets raised in a given population then the crime rate will drop. One would need to simultaneously greatly reduce punishments to make crime go up while IQ is going up.

CASpears said at April 23, 2006 4:03 PM:

Thank you Randell for brining back a respectful tone.

I do not and have never disagreed that IQ is a indepedent variable in evaluating crime rates. My point, something that seems to be missed on many people here, maybe because they are so obessed with the idea that technology and science can "save" man, is that it is by far the only factor.

If we legalized drug usage. We could easily eliminate almost 25% of felonies in this country. In some countries these things are not a crime, or they are not enforced, so direct comparisons even across states within this country are difficult, let alone making radom comparisons across borders.

I will read the article on East Asians IQ differences. Thank you for the info.

Randall Parker said at April 23, 2006 4:58 PM:

CASpears,

I'm a former libertarian for a number of reasons (all revolving around my views of human nature) and one of those reasons is the drug legalization debate. I have a category archive Brain Addiction which I started basically to accumulate links to scientific evidence about limits to the human ability to exercise free will and the human lack of evolutionary adaptiveness to addictive drugs.

In the process of accumulating that archive I've also accumulated some discussion threads by drug addicts talking about their problems with coke, meth, and other drugs and their attempts to stop using. The threads make for hard reading. Read the 62 comments in Partial Recovery From Methamphetamine-Induced Brain Damage. They have tragic stories.

My views on drug addiction in a nutshell: legalization would increase use, abuse, and addiction. It would increase costs in the form of birth defects, violence, disabilities, and in other forms. I doubt it would provide a net reduction in costs to society as a whole. It certainly would increase the number of people with brain damage from drugs.

MikeD said at April 23, 2006 7:17 PM:

All these posts about IQ... Doesn't anybody remember that IQ=100 is the top of the bell curve for 'normal'? If you engineer more 'smarts', the median IQ will still be 100 despite the fact that this new definition of normal may be an order of magnitude more capable than the previously non-engineered default.

Whether rat-brain-based or human-enhanced or computronium, the amalgam of all computing resources/substrates will still be superior to any individual. An entity's personhood will be measured by their contribution to the whole (Singularity and beyond), rather than the hardware their thinking is performed on. If this isn't true, then Homo Sapien meatbots will find their 'pound of flesh' is considerably devalued in the processing power per cubic centimeter measurement than silicon-based computers (or carbon nanotube based computers)

CASpears said at April 23, 2006 8:08 PM:

Randall:

I won't argue with you on this subject, because you obviously have done more research on it than I. I want to ask some questions though.

My attitude is that some things you will not stop people from doing. Alcohol in small amounts is okay, maybe some types of alcohol are even beneficial to health, but we all know in large amounts it can lead to birth defects, brain damage, death, homicide (impulsive killing or drunk driving) addiction, internal organ failure, etc.

So should all drugs be equally banned, or are some worse than others.

Do you also think we should ban alcohol for the same reasons?

Marajuana I feel is no worse than alcohol and should be legal.

Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, I don't know. My question is? How much more crime does a police state produce as opposed to legalization? Illegal drugs create violent crime, I think we all know that. Legal drugs will greatly reduce gang violence over drug territory, but probably not decrease personal violence associated with those addicts who kill or assult people for money. Birth defects will likely go up slightly, but is this cheaper for society than incarcerating people and tracking them on probation for years for personal use of these drugs? The death rate from these drugs might drop as purity can be controlled. Street stuff can be laced with anything from rat poison to draino.

I've been to two countries were Marajuana is pretty much legal, or at least not enforced by the police. Canada and the Neatherlands. People are not running amuk in the street because of it. Both nations are relatively safe by American standards.

I have basically the same argument with prostition. If you can't stop it, it makes more sense to regulate it. Make is safier, restrict it. Is it better to have women being pimped on the streets, not using protection, spreading disease? Is it better to legalize it, make women get licensed, and confine it to a district where whore houses are allowed as in Denmark, the Neatherlands, Taiwan, etc? I've been to the Neatherlands and Taiwan. I did not see prostitutes all over the place scattered. I did not here of rampant STD's, etc.

It is funny because these two issues, if you look at IQ are interesting, especially the drug one. The majority of drug users in America, even by percent of a given ethnic groups popuation do not live in stereotypical low IQ inner cities, but they live in suburban areas. THe majority of drug users are not black and hispanic, but white. However the majority of people arrested for drug possession are black, although they are not the ones importing it. That says a lot about society, more than IQ.

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/usa/Rcedrg00-05.htm

AA2 said at April 23, 2006 11:01 PM:

CASpears - I agree we could dramatically lower crime by decriminalizing drugs. Maybe the hardest like meth we would have to get invovled with, but those tend to disappear when safer drugs are easy and cheap to get.

Bob Badour said at April 24, 2006 12:39 PM:

AA2,

Are you suggesting that due to the liberal attitudes regarding cannabis and hashish in Amsterdam that Amsterdam lacks a hard-drug problem? No long term heroine addicts for instance?

Garett Jones said at May 14, 2006 6:51 PM:

Your point about the benefits to the government of raising IQ is a great one: IQ apparently matters much more at the national level than it does at the individual level. It looks like 1 IQ point raises a person's wages by about 1%--and that's true in the U.S. as well as in very poor countries. Not a big deal.

But if an entire *nation* raises its IQ by 1 point, it looks like that nation would get about 7% richer in the long run. 10 IQ points would apparently double a nation's living standards in the long run.

Why does IQ matter so much more at the macro level than at the micro level? I don't know the whole story, but my paper here (http://www.siue.edu/~garjone/naive.pdf) argues that about half the reason might be because of long-run capital accumulation: high-IQ countries produce a little more of everything, which means they produce more machines and equipment, which makes workers more productive. So high-IQ countries get a double benefit: Smarter workers in the short run, and more machines in the long run. It's not the whole story, but it's a start.....

So if 1 IQ point gets a government about 7% more output, that means about 7% more tax dollars, too....and that's too much for any government to resist, methinks....

P.S. Yeah, I'm being a little cavalier about cause-and-effect, but that's what the blogosphere is for, right?

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