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Dysgenics


Uncle Martin
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Here is an interesting topic I've not seen discussed in these forums. The notion crossed my mind while observing my neighbors years ago, before I had heard of it or even knew it was a named scientific discipline.

 

For those unaware of the definition; "Dysgenics refers to the problem of those with poor intelligence or character producing disproportionately more progeny. The result is a steady genetic deterioration in human populations."

 

Some studies indicate that intelligence is mostly genetic. Others assert environmental causes. I'm in the genetic camp. This topic has potential, so let's see your views.

 

My personal experience tells me dysgenics is a very real danger and is long overdue for remedial measures. Look at some of the posts on this website for evidence.

 

This link is quite informative; http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/dysgenic.htm

 

 

(Don't let the wording of the link throw you, the page is quite unbiased)

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by Guiness...

All you have to do is look at a cross section of MENSA members and see that intelligent people come from all over. I would think education is a much greater factor at work here.

 

Guiness, are you a Mensa-ite? And do you honestly believe that looking at a cross section of Mensa members will show the variety of intelligent people in this country? As someone that qualifies for membership (along with at least half of the members of this forum!), I can tell you that belonging to that organization is not always a sign of intelligence. Doing well on a standard IQ test does not mean that a person is truly intelligent!

 

In answer to your question Unc, I had never heard of this as a science either. But I do think it has some merit. There will always be exceptions, of course. Brilliant people will not always produce gifted children. Some absolute prodigy will come from less-than-brilliant parents. Stuff happens. But overall, I think that it is valid. But i'm not sure that it is all hereditary. My children are all incredibly bright. of course, i'm the mom, so I totallly believe that. But I also know that I am not a stupid person, I have a very high IQ, I did well in school, etc. I have always had really high goals and standards for myself, and that has always been applied to my children as well. (Poor little ducks, never allowed to slack off a bit!). I think I expect more from them because I know what I was capable of, and I expect them to be better than me. So far, they have all shown that they are more than capable of living at least to my standards. I think some of it must have been passed to them from me, but some of it is also just that I push them to succeed, and failure is just not an option. I think that if you allow your children to accept less than their absolute best from themselves, they will set lower goals for themselves than they are capable of, and will keep lowering the bar.

 

Education is part of it, heredity is part of it. Goals are part of it. Work is part of it. Anyhow, that's MHO. But it seems like a great topic, hope it's fruitful!!

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Originally posted by: Guinness

All you have to do is look at a cross section of MENSA members and see that intelligent people come from all over. I would think education is a much greater factor at work here.

Being in the top 2% is nice, however, globally we are looking at over 120 MILLION people being eligible for membership in MENSA. Not so impressive when viewed in that light. Of course intelligent people come from "all over", Japan, Bora Bora, .....heck, I've even heard that there may be one in Alabama. As Irish pointed out, people with low IQs can produce very intelligent offspring, the reverse being true as well. The subject here is proportionality. For the sake of argument suppose that people with IQs under 100 have five children, those with IQs above 100 have three. If, as many studies suggest, intelligence is largely a genetic trait, this will lead to an increasingly larger percentage of less intelligent people.

 

I don't know what could be done to reverse the current trend of professionals having few or no children and welfare mothers having eight or more, but our government surely should stop encouraging those on social assistance to procreate. I have a neighbor whom claims that he can't work because of a "bad back", they have eight kids and one on the way. He told me that they intentionally planned this next child because they need the extra money to afford the horses he loves to ride all day with his "bad back". Our government rewards failure. We are tampering with natural selection here. Many people that would not have naturally survived are not only surviving, they're flourishing and producing offspring that would not have come into existence naturally.

 

Education is a factor, however I don't see an indication of it being more important than genetics. All of the education possible is moot when the student fails to understand. Ambition and determination are also factors, but no matter how hard you try and how long you persist, if you don't get it, ...you just don't get it. Education allows us to realize our full potential. We are born with that potential, whether it is high or low is genetic.

 

You still haven't explained your contradictory claim. "Anyone who believes this and has children is contributing to dysgenics." In this sentence you accept dysgenics, yet in the quote at the beginning of this post you reject dysgenics. Which is it? I truly want you to explain how I am contributing to something that you deny. Surely a Mensan can explain this paradox.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have no faith in IQ as a real test of anything. I remember having to complete IQ tests when I was drafted by the army fifteen years ago and it was completely ridiculous.

 

Your opening quote, Unc, implies that dysgenics is about stopping poor, uneducated people from having children because it makes the world a dumber place. That sounds dangerously like ideas belonging to another "ideology" which caused the deaths of millions of jews sixty years ago.

 

Dysgenics - from what little I have read about it - is a quasi science based on a right-wing, Christian view that intelligence is innate (you either have a high IQ or you don't) and that education is the trigger which lets the IQ flourish.

 

We covered a story back in 2001 about dysgenics stirring up political issues in Germany:

http://www.hypography.com/article.cfm?id=31199

 

Tormod

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Originally posted by: Tormod

I have no faith in IQ as a real test of anything. I remember having to complete IQ tests when I was drafted by the army fifteen years ago and it was completely ridiculous.

I take it you were less than satisfied with their results? I don't propose that IQ tests are 100% accurate, they are indicative however.

Your opening quote, Unc, implies that dysgenics is about stopping poor, uneducated people from having children because it makes the world a dumber place.

I never intended to imply any economic factors as relevant. Many intelligent individuals come from very modest means. You've twisted my wording, no, actually that IS my fault for trying to insert my governments deficiencies into this thread. That is another topic completely. I don't want to stop anyone from procreating, I am concerned that educated professionals, assumed to be highly intelligent, are having far fewer children than the average blue collar couple. I can't prove that the blue collar folks are less intelligent, it is a reasonable speculation I think. Remember, I'm talking overall population averages here. I am a blue collar guy.

That sounds dangerously like ideas belonging to another "ideology" which caused the deaths of millions of jews sixty years ago.

You may be confusing eugenics with dysgenics. The Nazi party, it was actually Heinrich Himmler's pet project, were interested in eugenics. They were trying to improve Germans as a race. I'm not aware of their interest in dysgenics. What evidence do you have that supports the Nazi's treatment of Jews as being based on genetics?

Dysgenics - from what little I have read about it - is a quasi science based on a right-wing, Christian view that intelligence is innate (you either have a high IQ or you don't) and that education is the trigger which lets the IQ flourish.

The link you provide has the Christians against genetic research. I do think the evidence points to intelligence being an innate genetic trait. That is not to say that a couple with less than average intelligence CAN'T have a really bright kid. They do have a less likely probability than a couple with higher than average IQs(intelligence). The intelligence you are born with is all you'll ever have. Realizing your full potential is something that few accomplish, but if education supercedes intelligence we could teach a down syndrome person to do neurosurgery and a chimpanzee rocket science. We are all born with potential and also with LIMITS.

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Originally posted by: Uncle Martin

Originally posted by: Tormod

 

I have no faith in IQ as a real test of anything. I remember having to complete IQ tests when I was drafted by the army fifteen years ago and it was completely ridiculous.

 

I take it you were less than satisfied with their results? I don't propose that IQ tests are 100% accurate, they are indicative however.

 

No, I was never told the results (classified, see). But I did take a class in evolution and science history at college, and I am pretty confident that IQ is neither indicative nor useful. Any person with a shred of intelligence can create something, call it an IQ test and make sure you will fail.

 

Your opening quote, Unc, implies that dysgenics is about stopping poor, uneducated people from having children because it makes the world a dumber place.

 

I never intended to imply any economic factors as relevant. Many intelligent individuals come from very modest means. You've twisted my wording, no, actually that IS my fault for trying to insert my governments deficiencies into this thread. That is another topic completely. I don't want to stop anyone from procreating, I am concerned that educated professionals, assumed to be highly intelligent, are having far fewer children than the average blue collar couple. I can't prove that the blue collar folks are less intelligent, it is a reasonable speculation I think. Remember, I'm talking overall population averages here. I am a blue collar guy.

 

Actually, I was referring to the definition you quoted, not your own words. No word-twisting intended.

 

That sounds dangerously like ideas belonging to another "ideology" which caused the deaths of millions of jews sixty years ago.

 

You may be confusing eugenics with dysgenics. The Nazi party, it was actually Heinrich Himmler's pet project, were interested in eugenics. They were trying to improve Germans as a race. I'm not aware of their interest in dysgenics. What evidence do you have that supports the Nazi's treatment of Jews as being based on genetics?

 

I have no evidence off hand...but there is plenty online (although most of it seems to be definitions).

 

Quote from http://www.remember.org/educate/medexp.html about the Nazi's medical research on captive Jews. The paper itself is about dysgenics but this quote pretty myuch says it all when it comes to genetics:

 

Genetic Experiments

 

The Nordic or Aryan Race was the most important goal of the Nazis. It was the largest part of the over all plan. The blonde hair, blue eye, super men were to be the only race. The Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and anyone else that did not meet the race requirements were to by cleansed from society through genocide. Hitler and the German High command made a list rules for the fellow Nazis to follow. The new rules required all SS before marriage must submit to general testing to insure racial purity. The rules for marriage were unbelievably complex. Thousands of marriages were denied. If the laws for marriage were broken it could mean the death penalty.

 

Dr. Sigmund Rascher and his wife learned what not following the marriage laws would hold for their lives. Mrs. Rascher was sterile. They were not illegally married; they adopted two children. They were later investigated by the Gestapo and executed for the crime. In this case, after his medical experimentation, it seems fitting that this killer was caught up by his own party.

 

Early in power the National Science groups were pushed into research of the race and experiments commenced. First the party needed

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Quote from Unc: "The intelligence you are born with is all you'll ever have. Realizing your full potential is something that few accomplish, but if education supercedes intelligence we could teach a down syndrome person to do neurosurgery and a chimpanzee rocket science. We are all born with potential and also with LIMITS."

 

This is surprisingly deterministic coming from you, Unc. Sorry but this sounds strange to me. How can education "supersede" intelligence?

 

IF intelligence is innate, is knowledge also innate? Or is knowledge something we unlock with our intelligence?

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Originally posted by: Tormod

This is surprisingly deterministic coming from you, Unc. Sorry but this sounds strange to me. How can education "supersede" intelligence?

It doesn't. Maybe you misinterpreted my meaning or I worded it incorrectly. Intelligence is the dominant factor? YES! Education is less of a factor? YES! "But IF education..." denotes a contrasting supposition. I think you missed the word "if" in my above post.

IF intelligence is innate, is knowledge also innate? Or is knowledge something we unlock with our intelligence?

Knowledge is "education". Intelligence is not what you are able to remember, it is your ability to decide WHAT to remember. How to think. How to apply what you know. Etc... Etc... My PC has infinitely more knowledge than I do, I am infinitely more intelligent than it however. (you would no doubt like to oppose that assertion)

 

This is turning into a debate of the definition of intelligence, which is not what I had intended. It would be an interesting topic though.

 

Are you asserting that education can overcome our inherent limits? This seems ludicrous to me.

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Originally posted by: Tormod

I have no faith in IQ as a real test of anything. I remember having to complete IQ tests when I was drafted by the army fifteen years ago and it was completely ridiculous.

I agree that the IQ scores are blown way out of valid relationship. But I do think it is a valid test for what it is testing for. The question is what is it testing for? And what specific areas does that correlate to? But there are definately language biases, ethnic biases, ... that make it unreliable if such factors are not filtered.

Dysgenics - from what little I have read about it - is a quasi science based on a right-wing, Christian view that intelligence is innate (you either have a high IQ or you don't) and that education is the trigger which lets the IQ flourish.

Yes, I noticed on the site originally referred, that they uncritically accept and strongly base support on the book "The Bell Curve". This book was discreditted long ago as dubious statistics and funding sources with very directed objectives.

We covered a story back in 2001 about dysgenics stirring up political issues in Germany:

 

<a target=_blank class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.hypography.com/article.cfm?id=31199">http://www.hypography.com/article.cfm?id=31199

</a>

 

Tormod

You da man! Way to be on top of things!

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Originally posted by: Uncle Martin

don't want to stop anyone from procreating, I am concerned that educated professionals, assumed to be highly intelligent, are having far fewer children than the average blue collar couple. I can't prove that the blue collar folks are less intelligent, it is a reasonable speculation I think. Remember, I'm talking overall population averages here. I am a blue collar guy.

 

Unc, I don't think that is a reasonable speculation. I think you (or typically, the American society) is confusing the term "intelligent" with "skilled". Differentiating between white collar and blue collar people is invalid in my eyes because if we accept that blue collar people are less intelligent (on average) than the white collar people, then we are saying that profession determines your intelligence. So if I am a stock broker I am likely to be more intelligent than you.

 

It is easy to prove, too, by making an IQ test which tests for the kinds of things a stock broker needs to know in order to do his job (recognize symbols, trends and such).

 

I consider myself a "blue collar guy", coming from what used to be a "working class" family. That distinction is wearing thin as there is hardly any working class left in Norway, everyone seems to be "middle class" these days...but since I work as a journalist and communication officer I guess I am more intelligent than, say, a metal worker. No! I don't buy that. I simply chose a different career. Granted, for a lot of people (and this is more obvious in the States) my career choices are out of reach, but that is a financial and social question. I do NOT agree that it is a matter of intelligence. However, it could be a matter of "skill" - being able to learn new things and adapt to your surroundings in a clever way so that a career path opens up. If one does not get any education then that is difficult.

 

Sorry, getting long-winded here - I just don't find any support for social development being due to - what shall we call it - "individual intelligence" and the amount of progeny one has.

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Originally posted by: Uncle Martin

Originally posted by: Tormod

 

This is surprisingly deterministic coming from you, Unc. Sorry but this sounds strange to me. How can education "supersede" intelligence?

 

It doesn't. Maybe you misinterpreted my meaning or I worded it incorrectly. Intelligence is the dominant factor? YES! Education is less of a factor? YES! "But IF education..." denotes a contrasting supposition. I think you missed the word "if" in my above post.

 

No, I did not miss it. In fact, even asking the question whether education can supersede intelligence implies to me that either we are talking past each other or I am not understanding what you are trying to say.

 

IF intelligence is innate, is knowledge also innate? Or is knowledge something we unlock with our intelligence?

 

Knowledge is "education". Intelligence is not what you are able to remember, it is your ability to decide WHAT to remember. How to think. How to apply what you know. Etc... Etc... My PC has infinitely more knowledge than I do, I am infinitely more intelligent than it however. (you would no doubt like to oppose that assertion)

 

You pc is as dumb as a piece of silicon and wires can possibly be.

 

 

Here is a definition of knowledge:

1. The body of truth, information, and principles acquired by mankind. 2. Interpreted information that can be used.

http://www.iteawww.org/TAA/Glossary.htm

 

Your computer has no knowledge. remember our discussion about awareness? I think knowledge would require awareness. Hard to prove, but the definitions support my claim.

 

This is turning into a debate of the definition of intelligence, which is not what I had intended. It would be an interesting topic though.

 

You know I love semantics. I think that is EXACTLY what is important to discuss when issues like eugenics and dysgenics come up. What is intelligence? What is knowledge? Who defines what level of each is "good enough"? Do we blindly believe statistics that show that our population is becoming more stupid (or, less intelligent) because those with low IQ has more children than those with a high IQ?

 

We need to ask the basic questions: Who made the statistics, what were they trying to prove, who did they make the statistics for, what are they going to use the stats for? Do we buy into the framework the statistics were gathered in? Do we know that the data is not biased (well, we *know* it is, since all statistics is by definition biased, but how and in what way?).

 

So I disagree that dysgenics has any scientific value.

 

Are you asserting that education can overcome our inherent limits? This seems ludicrous to me.

 

If I stated that then I must have been drunk. No. I do NOT mean that. I think that education is very important. But, as we have discussed at Hypography before, the quality and purpose of any schooling must be questioned before we can say that it is good. FT does not like Irish' home schooling, for example. I disagree with the Christian perspective of Norwegian public schools. Yet I think it is infinitely better that my kids attend that school than no school at all. Not because it makes them "intelligent" but because they learn how to learn, and they learn social skills, and they spend a lot of time with children. all of those things are very important.

 

In some countries "education" consists of reading the Koran from you are a young boy until you know it by heart - many times. In many of those countries girls do not receive any education at all. THAT is a worrying situation to me!

 

I *stron

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Two comments:

 

1) Race does not exist in BIOLOGY. the very basis for Dysgenics is that there is some specific identifiable biological division with-in the humans that is "Race". Yet this does not bare out. Characteristics often defined as 'racial' are in fact 'cultural'. Joseph L. Graves, Jr., Core Director, Professor, Biological Sciences, Farleigh Dickinson University wrote, "The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America" and "The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium"

"to show that there is no biological basis for separation of human beings into races and that the idea of race is a relatively recent social and political construction."

 

Link (edited by Tormod for brevity)

 

2) In regard to concepts such as...

Originally posted by: Tormod

I *strongly* disagree with the notion that we are born with "limits".

I originally held that all people are born with similar levels of intellegence. Perhaps various relative strengths and weaknesses in narrowly defined areas, but overall on par. But this is obviously not the case in other "physical" attributes. Some are better at athletics. Some have bigger breasts :-), some can play music better, why would it not then be obvious that some were born with greater mental abilities? And it seems to be subject specific. Some are better at math, others philosophy, ...

 

This would establish functional limits for individuals. Just as it would in pole vaulting or swimsuit competition.

 

It just does not seem to have a "race" component.

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Originally posted by: Freethinker

Originally posted by: Tormod

 

I *strongly* disagree with the notion that we are born with "limits".

 

I originally held that all people are born with similar levels of intellegence. Perhaps various relative strengths and weaknesses in narrowly defined areas, but overall on par. But this is obviously not the case in other "physical" attributes. Some are better at athletics. Some have bigger breasts :-), some can play music better, why would it not then be obvious that some were born with greater mental abilities? And it seems to be subject specific. Some are better at math, others philosophy, ...

 

This would establish functional limits for individuals. Just as it would in pole vaulting or swimsuit competition.

 

It just does not seem to have a "race" component.

 

I did not say that we do not have different mental capabilities. Obviously people are different in every way conceiveable, which is a good thing in my eyes.

 

However, I don't see how being born with a certain "mental capability" would impose a limit. I would ask, limit on what? The ability to play music? Paint a house? Learn mathematics?

 

And again - is this limit measurable in any way? If not, I fail to see the scientific value of this idea. If IQ tests are the only way to test someone's "limit", then I don't buy it (since I have already stated that I do not accept IQ tests as scientific evidence).

 

If something can be proved to establish a "functional limit", then we should be able to spot the future world champions in anything from chess to pole vault simply by doing genetic tests.

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