Genes have been doing this for some time matey

Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘We’re coming close to the point where we can create people who are superior to others’

18 thoughts on “Genes have been doing this for some time matey”

  1. There was an interesting concept being explored in a novel I was reading yesterday. Wealth can be transient. The rich can lose the cars & the houses & the brimming bank accounts. But if they can buy inheritable genetic enhancements for their children, the children & their children will have those irrespective of life’s fortunes. They will truly be a different breed of people.

  2. BiS

    Fascinating. Would have a longer effect than sending the kiddies to posh school or hiring a tutor, since it’d penetrate further down the family tree.

    But doesn’t regression to the mean occur on genetic traits (in fact isn’t that where Galton first observed it?) as well as economic ones?

  3. ‘Imagine a two-tiered society with elite citizens’

    It’s easy if you try.

    Half of Americans have below average intelligence. H/T George Carlin

  4. MrsBud and I are confident that we are there. Our second son has a PhD in materials engineering investigating soluble stints. Our eldest son is half way through a PhD researching communication with stroke victims. We are sure our youngest, Speech Pathology student, will also do a Phd.

  5. “if they can buy inheritable genetic enhancements for their children”: just marry a clever, beautiful, healthy girl.

  6. Actually it is natural selection wot dunnit not genes.

    Genes which make an organism best adapted to its environment, reproduce more successfully…. but the determinant is the environment, not the gene.

    That does not mean the organism is superior to others… this is the usual ‘survival of the fittest’ pitfall.

  7. Belief in equality “All men are created equal in the sight of God” is not a function of living in a liberal democracy although it may have been a factor in their creation – Mr Ishiguro obviously believes that he himself is a god if he is determining what will make future people unequal in the sight of God.

  8. @ John B
    I agree with Tim – it’s genes that make some people superior *at certain things*. Natural selection merely encourages the survival of those best fitted to their environment (or best equipped to amend their environment to fit themselves).

  9. Isn’t this going to happen naturally? The increased amount of communication and travel opportunities means the intelligent will increasingly mate with the intelligent, rather than make do with whatever is near to hand, as in the past. So rather than the regression to the mean you are going to get divergence, just as one does in animals when they are specifically bred for a a certain trait.

  10. Jim – essentially the argument in “The Bell Curve.” Instead of travel / interconnectedness (although all factors could work together), Murray and Herrnstein posited that changes in work structure were stratifying workplaces by cognitive demands, which meant that there would be less interaction between people of different levels of intelligence, and more interaction between people of similar levels, high or low. This would then lead to ‘assortive mating’ and development of parallel populations with divergent intelligence.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    And the number of doctors marrying doctors, lawyers marrying lawyers, politicians marrying politicians …….

  12. But this can’t be true. The left keep telling us ‘we’re all the same under the skin’ and that evolution ends at the neck. There are no superior and inferior people, just some more lucky and privileged than others.

  13. “The increased amount of communication and travel opportunities means the intelligent will increasingly mate with the intelligent.”

    I know plenty of high-IQ couples, and none of them have kids. It might be a fluke, but in most cases both of them are far too busy with their careers to breed. Just another reason human intelligence is going down, not up.

  14. Edward M. Grant
    The fact that the most able people produce the fewest children was observed by the ancient Romans, and I doubt they were the first. They did attempt to correct this with laws but with little success.

    It seems to be an inevitable side effect of civilisation, which provides so many more interesting uses of a successful citizen’s time and energies than making more citizens. This aplies especially to females. If you did produce a race of super men and women, they would almost certainly decline to breed.

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