2004 March 22 Monday
Niall Ferguson: European Politics A Dance Of Death

Does a united Europe have a future as a world power? How can it? Demographics is destiny. Niall Ferguson points out that many European countries face both aging and shrinking populations.

The fundamental problem that Europe faces is senescence. By the year 2050, which is less remote than it may sound, current projections by the United Nations suggest that the median age of the current fifteen European Union countries will rise from thirty-eight to forty-nine.

Over the same period, the German population will decline--absolutely, not in relative terms--from 82 to 67 million. Falling populations will characterize the hitherto dominant societies of Western Europe. An increase in retirement ages would not suffice to alter the problems that will beset the social security systems of Western Europe. Immigration is the only way out for that continent. Europe holds an obvious source of youthful workers who aspire to nothing more than a better standard of living. All around Europe are countries whose birth rate is more than twice the European average.

I disagree with Ferguson about the inevitable need for immigation as a solution. First of all, it is not a solution. How can the importation of a hostile culture and religion solve any problems? If the Europeans could only find the will to do so they could control their borders and stop the influx of illegal aliens. While open borders advocates try to get people to accept mass immigration by arguing that it can not be stopped immigration law really could be enforced if politicians only wanted to enforce it.

Ferguson sees Europe as decadent by a few different measures.

Europeans inhabit a post-Christian society that is economically, demographically, and culturally decadent. Europe can-not resist forever the migration that must inevitably occur from the south and from the east. Indeed, they try even now to resist the migration that really ought legally to be permissible from the new member states to the old member states after ten more countries join the European Union on May 1.

Increasingly, European politics is dominated by a kind of dance of death as politicians and voters try desperately and vainly to prop up the moribund welfare states of the post-Second World War era, but above all to prop up what little remains of their traditional cultures.

This is no reason for Americans to crow about their relative good fortune. The US also has very serious demographic and cultural problems of its own. The average skilll level of Americans will probably decline as a result. Plus, the US is facing huge unfunded pension liabilities. In spite of the rancor that has come to characterize relations between the United States and Europe these two poles of Western civilization need each other and both are in trouble.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 March 22 02:57 PM  Economics Demographic

John D. said at March 22, 2004 11:22 PM:

Dear Mr. Ferguson,
The quality of your thinking in regards to Europe’s demographic crisis is second-rate, perhaps this is attributable to that growing senescense much lamented by you in Europe’s population overall occurring in your own person.

You say “[immigrants] aspire to nothing more than a better standard of living”. This is not true. A goal mooted openly and without shame in some quarters in the Moslem community in Britain is the desire to transform Britain into a Moslem theocracy. And with your help they’ll do it. You say Europe is evolving to be “colonized by exogenous forces. “ Those unnamed ‘exogenous forces’ wouldn’t be immigrants from the South and East would they now? Isn’t calling it ‘colonization’ a bit at odds with your asseverating their simple desire for a better standard of living. I'm confused.

First generation Moslem immigrants may have many admirable qualities but their children born in decadent Europe do not. They combine the worst aspects of their own culture and the decadence of ours. What accounts for the recent kidnap, torture and murder of “at the hands of an Asian lynch mob” (http://www.bnp.org.uk/news/2004_march/news_mar17.htm) of 15 year old Kris Donald in Glasgow recently and why might people not consider this a harbinger of worse things to come.

“Immigration is the only way out for that continent.” Immigration is national suicide. The sense of alienation that immigration fosters amongst the indigenous population is probably fostering the birth dearth crisis you write about. Give European people the assurance there will still be a homeland for them in 50 years and maybe they’ll start delivering the heirs to their own patrimony.

“Europe cannot resist forever the migration that must inevitably occur from the south and from the east.” With politicians like Blair in power this is too true; with leaders like Nick Griffin of the British Nationalist Party we will stand a fighting chance. Isn’t it just a tad decadent to give up the ghost before the fight has even begun as you would have us do.

“the German population will decline--absolutely, not in relative terms--from 82 to 67 million.” And Germany is so much more prosperous than Switzerland with a population of 10 million or thereabouts? Why is this decline the catastrophe you claim. In two generations we should be able to ween people off the idea of an automatic all expenses paid retirement at age 65. Given that European governments are willing to shaft their own populations when it comes to immigration it’s easy to imagine if push comes to shove they would quite merrily renege on their promises to their elderly. Let’s put it this way – the temporary problem of the shortfall of workers can be finessed during the time the Baby Boomers are exiting stage left. The problems of this on-going ill considered immigration will be with us, the Europeans, forever.

The only relevant question regarding Germany’s population decline is does Germany have sufficient manpower to maintain its territorial integrity. Yet from your point of view that is hardly a problem worth considering. By throwing open the door wide to the ongoing invasion from the South and East you’ve done away with what makes that territorial integrity meaningful: that a country and its culture are one and the same. The demographic shortfall will have it most pronounced effect when Europeans find themselves at a growing disadvantage confronting metastasizing immigrant populations in their cities, towns and villages. How can this be a solution? What right do you have to will Europeans' destruction by changing the nature and character of Europe's population? Your cure is our disease.

You say Germany’s problems will manifest themselves in “[b]y the year 2050, which is less remote than it may sound”. So the problem will manifest itself in the time required to sire two whole generations of Europeans. Those generations may shrink the demographic shortfall. Against that you propose a massive inundation of alien peoples right now which will likely lead to a population explosion in the long-term that will be left for our descendants to contend with.

“All around Europe are countries whose birth rate is more than twice the European average.” All around Europe are countries undergoing a demographic explosion every bit as deleterious to their societies as you claim senescense is to ours. Their uncontrolled breeding should be considered a failure instead it is held up to be our salvation.

“Europeans inhabit a post-Christian society that is economically, demographically, and culturally decadent.” The decline is most advanced in those Western Intellectuals whose best solution is to offer us the choice of the loss of our pension system or loss of our culture and opting for the latter. You are planning to fund your retirement by leaving your children’s children with nothing but the name of a region: Eurabia.

Immigration is not the antidote to Europe’s decadence. Immigration is decadence. Immigration only serves those who wish Europe and the West harm.


John D.

Proborders said at April 1, 2004 9:36 AM:

Randall, if Europe really needs immigrants, it should consider increasing immigration from Latin America. Most Latin Americans are not Moslems or practitioners of traditional African religions.

If Europe really needs "low cost" labor, it should consider increasing immigration from Mexico. By bringing in Mexicans instead of Moslems Europeans can quite likely reduce the risks of Moslem terrorism and Moslem proselytizing in Europe.

If the Russian Far East really needs "low cost" labor, it should consider immigrants from Mexico. By bringing in Mexican migrants instead of Chinese migrants the Russians can reduce the risk of the loss of Russian Far East lands to China.

The US can reduce the risk of the loss of parts or all of the American Southwest to Mexico or a new Hispanic nation-state by reducing immigration from Mexico.

Some may say that Mexican immigrants are better than Moslem immigrants.

However, there are many possible immigrants who are neither Mexican nor Moslem. Immigration could be increased from Poland, Romania, the Ukraine, Vietnam, and the Philippines (although there are Moslems in the Philippines, most immigrants from the Philippines living in the US are Christian).

Guy L said at June 15, 2004 5:29 PM:

Europe clearly has a severe population problem. Its population is ageing and declining. You can tap-dance around it al you want with re-jigged pensions schemes etc. but the fact is that no-one really believes that a nation composed of grey-heads is a good thing.

Why is everyone just too shy to say the obvious thing: That the catastrophic decline in our birthrate since the 1970's has been almost solelyl due to legalized abortion? Six million abortions have been carried out in the UK since 1967. If those children had been born alive, the population of the UK would be (assuming they themselves had had children) approaching 70 million. A young, vibrant dynamic country.

Aside from the ghastly physical actuality of abortion - the crushed skulls, torn off limbs and ripped flesh - and the moral and theological concerns, the bigger issue is that our generation has systematically killed off large numbers of our fellows and now we face the consequence. An ageing, decadent and guilt-ridden society.

I laughed out loud when I saw that SPAIN, which has one of the lowest birthrates in the world and has an influx of eager young Muslims, is planning to liberalize its abortion laws. Its like slitting your wrists while you drown.

I am sad for Europe, but it is their own decacdence that has caused this. Their decline and eventual slip into oblivion is deserved. Islam is a flawed faith but it has more to offer than decandent depressed European secularism.

Randall Parker said at June 15, 2004 7:06 PM:

Guy L,

If the reproduction rate could fall so far in Spain before they liberalized abortion then doesn't that argue that abortion didn't play a major role in the decline? If, say, the UK had kept abortion illegal my guess is that women would have tried much harder to avoid pregnancy in the first place.

Ceacescu banned abortion in Romania around about 1965 and the birth rate boomed about 9 months later. But within a year it began to drop again and dropped to a much lower level than it was before abortion was outlawed.

Guy L said at June 16, 2004 8:10 PM:

Randall, I agree, abortion is the most inhuman face of the gloomily sterile sexualized culture that envelops much or Europe. Spain still had abortion, and many women would cross to France or the UK.

Abortion is merely the tip of the spear. Contraception has ensured that women won't have children, promiscuity and pornography have made most men view sex with as many women as possible without producing children a noble goal. Legalized abortion is really the endgame of such a culture; children and reproduction are an unwanted intrusion into your life.

The problem is that although these things are legalized and the liberal media routinely trumpet-blasts this as progress most Europeans are NOT happy; most are a little more honest about agonized ethics of abortion; most are worried that their nations, their countries are dying; most do feel a bit uneasy about the selfishness of contemproary society that sacrifices the future of the nation on a bonfire of RU-486 pills and dismembered fetuses.

I know. I am a European, and I used to be (if not a beliver) one of those uneasy people I spoke of in my last paragraph. This is the cause of the malaise, the loss of confidence and will, the gloominess of most Europeans. An ageing society is not a young, vibrant, optimistic society. It is weakening, sickening, declining. And it knows it.

I have observed the same phenomenon in Japan, a country which has been called "Abortion heaven" - the utter collapse in regard for children and reporduction, coupled with an uneasiness about what this brings - decline and oblivion.

I disbelieve your figures on Romania; I do not call on you to prove them however, I also lived in the former Soviet Union and know the utter unreliability of their figures and facts.

Randall Parker said at June 16, 2004 9:19 PM:

Guy L,

The Ceausescu regime really did ban all means of birth control in Romania.

Because contraceptives were not manufactured in Romania, and all legal importation of them had stopped, the sudden unavailability of abortion made birth control extremely difficult. Sex had traditionally been a taboo subject, and sex education, even in the 1980s, was practically nonexistent. Consequently the pronatalist policies had an immediate impact, with the number of live births rising from 273,687 in 1966 to 527,764 in 1967--an increase of 92.8 percent. Legal abortions fell just as dramatically with only 52,000 performed in 1967 as compared to more than 1 million in 1965. This success was due in part to the presence of police in hospitals to ensure that no illegal abortions would be performed. But the policy's initial success was marred by rising maternal and infant mortality rates closely associated with the restrictions on abortion.

Once birth control and abortion became more difficult to get live births did surge for a couple of years. Then live births declined somewhat - but not back to the level they were when abortion was fully legal. Abortion was still legal under some circumstances and the numbers rose and fall as the regime varied the intensity of its enforcement. Surely there were doctors accepting bribes to misclassify the purpose of abortions to justify them. If you follow down thru the table add births and abortions you can see that over time the general trend was toward a lower sum of the two until the regime was overthrown and abortion was once again made legal.

Guy L said at June 22, 2004 6:41 PM:

Well two things.

First, as I said before I have lived in the former Soviet Union. Romania was viewed with distate even by the Soviets as a corrupt and "Failing" Communist state. Figures and statistics for were faked and fiddled everywhere. For much of the cold war, the world believed that economy of the USSR was half the size that of the US. Yet anyone who spent any time there then or now knows that that was an utter lie.

So I doubt your figures, and knowing how sensitive abortion is and how abortion figures are routinely over/understated depending on who you listen to, doubt your analysis.

I doubt your implied reasoning too. You seem to be trying to indicate that there is a "natural" rate of abortion that occurs in the world, and that there is an invevitability about that rate, that legalized or not, it will occur. This is a common ploy of the dwindling, ageing band of radicals who now call themselves "pro-choice" rather than the stomach-churning "pro-abortion"

Randall, Communist Romania was a deeply flawed society and the abortion rate was probably high throughout its existence. A nation of desensitized, cowed and poverty-stricken virtual-serfs ruled by an Atheist autocracy should hardly be taken as an indication of model human behaviour or a "Natural Rate" or anything.

Why not pull some statistics on the empires of the ancient world and define humanity's a "natural rate of slavery" or pull examples of Romania treatment of Jews in the Second World War, or Hungary's, or Italy's, and say that there is a natural rate of anti-semitism. Statistically it would make sense, and logically you would say, "ah well, legalise both of those, they will occur anyway". But morally, deep down, we know that it DOESNT make sense, that to accept evil or wrongdoing is to be vanquished by it. Slavery and Nazism are gone. Not completely. But they are do not have the same terrible prevalence they had in their time.

Secondy, you should look at some other countries that DON'T feel the need to indulge in mass-fetal murder as a means of social leveling or economic advancement. Malta. Much of South America. Ireland (North and South). The Muslim world. Even oppressed Palestine, despite appalling social dislocation. There is still abortion there, legal or not, I know. And drug taking, and murder. And all the other bad things that go with being human. But I do know that in those countries its incidince is a FRACTION of countries like Communist Romania or even late 20th Century America.

You have done some interesting analysis on some dubious figures but your reasoning lacks simple common sense. Stop overcomplicating and confusing yourself with numbers and statistics. You KNOW a society that is ageing and declining in numbers is NOT a good thing. You KNOW legalized abortion is not a good thing. You KNOW that mass-immigration from the Maghreb to Europe is NOT a good thing.

Admit it instead of poring over numbers and spreadsheets and seeking questions for your answers.

Randall Parker said at June 22, 2004 6:57 PM:

Guy L,

Regarding the accuracy of the Romanian figures: Yes, I know that communist societies lied about a great many things. They usually had motive to do so. But what would have been the Romanian government's motive to lie in this case?

I am not relaying the Romanian figures in order to defend abortion. My point is that if abortion is outlawed then women will try harder to avoid getting pregnant in the first place. Outlawing abortion will increase births by some amount. But that amount will be far less than the number of abortions prevented.

A society that has widespread means of avoiding pregnancy in the first place will see a smaller decrease in births in response to a ban on abortion than a society which does not have other means of birth control available.

BTW, abortion is now legal in Ireland, isn't it?

Yes, I know America's demographic trends and the demographic trends in Europe are bad news.

Guy L said at June 23, 2004 1:49 PM:

Firstly, abortion is not legal in Ireland. It was outlawed in Poland in 1994 and the abortion rate fell from over 500,000 a year to fractional levels (circa 1000).

Secondly, I agree, outlawing abortion will make women (and Men!) try to avoid getting unintentionally pregnant much harder than they do now. That's human nature.

But you are somewhat narrow in your view. You view humanity through the lenses of the late-20th Century suppose that (aside from Catholic nuts) all people naturally view childbearing as a negative thing and that all people, if given the chance, seek only extremely limited parenthood - one or two children, max, if any. Whether this is achieved through abortion, infanticide, contraception or even abstinence, the natural human tendency is avoid reproduction.

This is certainly the case in much of the Europe and America. Childbearing is seen as an inconvenience, an interruption to the natural flow of life. No matter that none of the societies that have so successfully rendered themselves infertile are also rather unhappy, empty sociteties. But this is not the case in the rest of the world where children are viewed as a blessing and large families are a sign of security, prosperity and strength. In particular the Muslim world. Islam does not prohibit contraception, but Islam does explicitly urge Muslims to reproduce and create life (much as Biblical Judaism and Christianity did).

You can see the results of it in Palestine/Israel, Randall. The Palestinians, despite the best efforts of Israel, will in the end triumph because their numbers will swamp the Jewish state in the way blacks swamped the South African state.

I am sure you will fire the tired old argument at me, that these are uneducated people and once they are convinced of the virtues of abortion and contraception and 1.75 children per nuclear family will suddenly abandon their feckless ways. I don't believe that. Looking at the increasingly decrepit state of Europe's population, I think, will, if anything, deepen Islamic belief in the virtues of family, reproduction and fertility.

We hear now that countries like Germany and Italy (and France since the 1980s) are trying increase their miserable birthrates through subsidy etc. I would be interested to hear your opinions on this.

Randall Parker said at June 23, 2004 2:16 PM:

Guy L, I stand corrected on Ireland. Yes, abortion is illegal in Ireland as it is in Malta and Poland. I did not know that.

I am narrow in my view? My view is that a lot of people (especially in the West and especially among the most educated) really are avoiding reproduction. I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm just stating that this is what is happening.

No, I am not optimistic that Muslim birth rates will drop all that rapidly. I think the whole social structure of the Muslim countries with high rates of consanguineous marriage and a weak civil society with low status for women will continue for a long time.

European countries and pro-natalist policies: my fear is that such policies will have a bigger impact on Muslims in Europe than on native Europeans. I think pro-natalist policies ought to be aimed at upper class women who get a lot of education. My favorite policy prescription along these lines is to accelerate education since that will have a bigger impact on the reproduction of smart women than on dumb women as the reproduction of smarter women is decreased more because of the long time they spend in school.

BTW, it is not well known but Israeli government pro-natalist policies apply equally to Jews and non-Jews alike. So the higher birth rate of Israeli Arabs is being subsidized by non-Orthodox Jews who themselves have small families. I do not know whether these pro-natalist policies (which are some form of welfare payments I think) do more to increase Orthodox Jewish or Arab births.

Guy L said at June 23, 2004 4:49 PM:

You are narrow in your views in that you view low reproductive rates as a natural goal that we all seek - and logically you think that people are being denied this by Islam, Catholicism, government intransigence, stupidity, lack of education -- if ONLY they would listen to you and your educated liberal brethren, how happy they would be. You say you are "not optimistic" that Islamic birthrates will decrease. So high-birth rates are a "bad thing".

Your use of terms "Smart" and "Dumb" women smacks of eugenics, I'm afraid. Get the educated classes to breed more, strengthen the race etc. These are grand ideas at the macro level, but they fall to bits at the individual level.

You are worried about Muslims taking advantage of pro-natalist policies? Why? A birth is a birth, a baby is a baby. You seem to value Muslims (or brown-skinned people?) less highly than non-Muslims. The fact is that they ARE growing. You also equate Muslim society with a low status for women, presumably for that reason, another piece of classical Western arrogance and foolishness. Muslim women may not have much economic opportunity right now (Muslim men do not have much either) but that is changing. Many many Muslim women look with horror on the West with its obsession with sexualized women and "reproductive rights" (i.e. the right for an angry boyfriend to demand his girlfriend "has an abortion or else"). Women and daughters get considerable respect in Muslim countries, and a pregnant women is treated almost reverently. Western women are treated less so, but that's only because the average Muslim man views them as ... sexualized and easy. I wonder why.

No, you would be somewhat surprised and deflated to learn that Muslim women and the Muslim world in general does NOT dream of emulating the West. A society that believes in an afterlife, final judgement and salvation or damnation is not as impressed with "Wimmin's Reproductive Rights" as you evidently belive.

So far you have offered some interesting statistics and some barely disguised theories of eugenics which belong in the dusbin of history along with Nazism and Bonaparte's cult of reason.

Please tell me your ideal future for Europe from a demographic perspective and how it would be achieved. Please ensure that you address abortionand contraception and immigration.

Randall Parker said at June 23, 2004 5:52 PM:

Where did I say that I view low reproductive rates as a "natural" goal that we all seek?

Smart and dumb women: Do smart women have children that are, on average, of the same level of intelligence as the children of dumb women? No, of course not. Smarter women have, on average, smarter children. Do you deny this?

While we are at what might be getting denied: Do you believe that evolution happened? If you do not deny it do you accept that it is still happening? Do you accept that we have developed technologies that have changed the selective pressures on us and that this is changing what sorts of characteristics are being passed on?

Why am I worried about Muslims having more babies? Because I do not want to see the West overrun by Muslims. Is there something immoral about my desire? Please explain.

Do you think that Muslim societies do not grant women a lower status? You think that Muslim women in Saudi Arabia who can't drive have equal status? Do you think the Muslim women who are now more afraid to go outside in Baghdad without a veil have not lost some status as Islamists have become more powerful?

Europe: If I was in charge of their immigration policy I'd stop all Muslim immigration. I'd also change their education system to accelerate the education of the brightest.

Contraception: I think people should be free to use it. Are you in favor of legalized contraception or do you think it should be outlawed.

I'm ambivalent about abortion for the same reason I'm ambivalent about when brain-dead people: I do not know how to define a rights-possessing human being. This is going to become a much larger problem as technology advances. Abortion and the keeping alive of brain-dead are both the result of medical advances. We will gain the ability to make much smarter and dumber humans and the ability to make other species as smart as humans. Where are we going to draw the line on what gets human rights?

Or suppose we develop artificial intelligences. Should they have rights?

Guy L said at September 1, 2004 4:14 PM:

Apologies for the delay in responding ....

Your implication throughout the thread is that progress and development invariably leads to an ageing and eventually declining population. Perhaps I am wrong, offer another opiinon if so.

You are keen for "white" nations to reverse this (though you have no good ideas about how to do this) as witnessed by your comment:

"European countries and pro-natalist policies: my fear is that such policies will have a bigger impact on Muslims in Europe than on native Europeans."

And you are also eager to curb the fertility of non-white nations and peoples:

"No, I am not optimistic that Muslim birth rates will drop all that rapidly."

Neo-fascist opinions like these may disturb Western Europeans about their downward spiral but they will not convince people to reproduce.

You also state:

"Why am I worried about Muslims having more babies? Because I do not want to see the West overrun by Muslims. Is there something immoral about my desire? Please explain."

But Randall, you have to look at the world through the eyes of the current generation. Unless new labour is brought into the nations of Western Europe, the standard of living will decline precipitiously. Who will empty the trash cans, clean the bedpans of the ageing masses, sweep the streets? If not immigrants, natives will have to do it, and at the market rate that those tasks demand. The present generation in Europe, which by-and-large is gloomy and pessimistic about the future anyway, will not ruin their economies and their own remaining years by throwing out the immigrants. Better to enjoy what they have now and leave the immigrant problem to future generations. Selfish, but people are selfish.

Contraception by itself I don't have a problem with, it can be useful to manage fertility. However, its usage in Western Society has been to allow women to effectively sterilze themselves for material gain, or encourage manic promiscuity amongst the young. The resulting expolosion in cases Sexually Transmitted Diseases and abortions and the decline in the birthrate as a result is entirely logical and I don't see a course of reversal.

Finally, your point:

"Smart and dumb women: Do smart women have children that are, on average, of the same level of intelligence as the children of dumb women? No, of course not. Smarter women have, on average, smarter children. Do you deny this?"

This is old-style eugenics/Darwinism. What do you mean by "smart?". Do you think that Beethoven came from a family of Piano-playing geniuses? He came from a bottom-of-the-heap peasant family. Do you think that world-class athletes come from a long-line of world-class athletes? Again, many are the first in their family to show propensity.

Your view of "smart" is very very simplistic - two college lecturers might produce a college lecturer son ... then again he may be unacademic and be a world-class skipper of yachts. Or a brave Naval Officer. Or a Drug addict.

To try to apply Darwinistic eveoloutionary theory to human beings (particularly in this age of DNA and genetics) is simplistic. To answer your point I would say that most talent and capability is inborn and so complex and unpredicatble as to be random. To say "Smarter women have, on average, smarter children" is wrong. Women have children. The correct postion is: Children have talents and capabilities, some inherited from their parents, some from generations back. Some of these talents and capabilities will be revealed and used, some will not, depending on the environment and the child's opportunities. That's all there is to it.

Your opinions are alarmingly reminiscent of the Nazi-era program to "breed" perfect Germanic children.

Randall, in summation:

The problem with Europe and the West is cultural and moral decline, the reasons for which are complex, but in large part due to the blood-letting and orgy of -isms in the 20th Century, each of which has left their scar on society. The symptoms of this decline are accelerating degeneracy, population decline and a loss of confidence in society's future. You are myopically offering band-aids for the symptoms. You need to address the decline in society itself.

Your response?

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2004 12:37 PM:

Guy L,

I think IQ is a measure of real differences in ability between people. I think psychometrics is a valid discipline that has discovered real insights into differencess between humans in cognitive abilities.

No, my view of "smart" is not simplistic. I quite intentionally use the term "on average" and then you go citing single examples of individuals who do not amount to much. On average smart people learn more and produce more than dumb people. There are many ideas and many jobs that dummies can't do at all. The fact that motivation, personality characteristics and other factors also contribute to what a smarter person will do with their life does not negate the fact that a dumber person doesn't even have many of the options that a smarter person has.

Attempts to wave away the existence of smarter and dumber people are denials of reality. Brain scan research is strengthening the claims of the psychometricians as the size of particular parts of the brain are found to have stronger correlation with measured intelligence than total brain size. The existing body of psychometric literature already makes an incredibly strong case for the existence of inherited differences in intelligence.

Natural selection does operate on humans just as it operates on all species. Darwinism is not "old style". The theory of natural selection has not been replaced by some newer theory. The theory of natural selection has been fleshed out in greater detail to better explain biological phenomena.

There is nothing wrong with claiming that smarter women have smarter children than dumber women. That is a true claim based on a large body of empirical data. You don't like the implications of the claim and so you start spinning nonsense about Nazis. But the claim is still true.

T said at September 25, 2004 5:39 PM:

Beethoven's father was a musician, but I don't see the relevance. Smart parents generally have smart kids just as tall parents usually have tall kids.

Guy L said at October 21, 2004 2:02 PM:

Hmm, well I have touched a nerve.

Randall, there are rwo things wrong with your philosophy.

Firstly You seem to place greater value on "smart" than "non-smart" people, as if their life instrinsically worth more. That is an objectionable philosphy to the vast majority of humanity. One life is morally worth the equal of another, there is no algorithm or metric you can apply to determine the value of one life over another (though I'd like to see you try and construct one).

Secondly, "dummies" or "Muslims" breed (despite their inferred stupity and/or worthlessness) whereas "smart" people seem to choose sterility and childlessness (despite the obvious logic that their genetic legacy will disappear the world will become a "dumber" and "worthless" place). The first group will dominate the Earth, the second will extinct themselves ... who is really "dumb" in that situation.

I write tongue-in-cheek because I think your vision of a world of Dummies and Smarties (or whatever you want to call them) is laughable and ludicrous. You should try to meet some more of your fellow human beings, and engage them in mutually-enlightening conversation rather than studying their IQs or the shape of their skulls.

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