2013 December 14 Saturday
Judge Supports Right Of Women To Share A Husband

The oppressive legal system prevents women from sharing the limited supply of suitable husbands. But one heroic enlightened judge has stepped up to defend these women against the adverse impact of laws against polygamist marriage. Judge Cites Same-Sex Marriage in Declaring Polygamy Ban Unconstitutional.

It is about time. This ruling renews my faith in the slippery slope. Though the logical conclusion does not seem certain: US Supreme Court knocks down the limitation of marriage as being between just 2 people and legalizes elaborate group marriages with multiple men and multiple women in the same marriage.

But this might work against genetic decay of civilization. Once genetic testing enables us to know who has the lowest genetic load the best prospects for fathering healthy, conscientious, talented children I do not want the legal system to stand in the way of grassroots eugenics led by women who care.

Update: The welfare state is a form of polygamy where single moms marry the government. Imagine legalizing polygamous marriages with one condition: the women and the husband would have to agree to use no welfare state services.

On the other hand: If polygamy makes it easy for women to find someone to marry imagine instead welfare eligibility being dependent on marrying and living with someone. Of course, a problem presents: two non-lesbian women could marry each other just to get welfare eligibility. I have to say, it is really hard to save civilization.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 December 14 09:40 AM 

Joe Walker said at December 14, 2013 10:07 AM:

I hope you are being sarcastic. Polygamy is allowed in many Islamic nations and the results have not been that eugenic.

map said at December 14, 2013 11:10 AM:

I predicted a long time ago that the purpose of gay marriage is to allow the creation of the "no fault" open marriage that would eventually lead to polygamy.

BC said at December 14, 2013 11:53 AM:

Polygamy could be considered "eugenic" in a polygamous environment. By definition. That is it will select for people who are "good" at polygamy in the polygamous environment - people who have the traits that enable them to be better polygamists in the polygamous environment.

But this tells us nothing about the actual quality or content of traits like "health", "talent", "intelligence", etc., in such an environment. Yes, the polygamists in this environment that get selected for will be "intelligent" and "talented" at polygamy. They will be better at using their brains and talents than others at being polygamists. Again, by definition. But there's no reason to believe that this "intelligence" and "talent" will be identical or similar to the "intelligence" and "talent" that most of us have in mind today.

Michael L said at December 14, 2013 1:16 PM:

Monogamous Roman North Africa was the breadbasket of the Mediterranean and culturally part of the "Roman West" along with France and Italy. Polygamous Muslim North Africa is historically notable for desertification, nomad encroachment on farmland, Barbary pirates, slave trade and the inability of even Muslim (Ottoman) central governments to keep a lid on them.

Also, in today's political environment any "one condition" and "agree" are meaningless notions. Today you got your compromise condition, tomorrow it turns out to be an affront to human rights in general and a Dem constituency in particular, so away it goes; while what you have conceded (in this case, polygamy) stays put. This is why today the Burkean principle of avoiding undue reform is so significant - any reform, no matter how apparently wise and useful, will always get coopted by destructive agendas once the "change" ball starts rolling. The "change agents" are all about drumming up reforms as a smokescreen for pushing through the liberal agenda.

Tom said at December 14, 2013 2:15 PM:

North Africa was already Africanized by the time of the Roman Empire. The Egyptians and others in North Africa had been importing sub-Saharan Africans into North Africa before them. The Roman Empire of course was also heavily involved in the slave trade. North Africa and the Middle East were already significantly desertified by the time of the Romans, and Roman cities and practices of intensive farming desertified the area even more. By the time of the Muslim Arabs, the area had already been heavily desertified by the Romans and others before them. That's partly why the Muslim Arabs were able to conquer the area. Because of desertification and the collapse of the Roman Empire, the cities and population of North Africa dropped.

It's also not clear how much less, if at all, polygamous Roman North Africa was compared to Muslim North Africa. There were already lots of Africans in Roman North Africa, there was slavery in Roman North Africa, and the agricultural plantations thus the wealth was highly centralized in Roman North Africa. The Muslims may have lowered the degree of polygamy in North Africa.

Wolf-Dog said at December 14, 2013 8:04 PM:

But sperm banks also allow women to procreate with high quality, without having to get married.

Question: How will extra-marital affairs be punished in a polygamous marriage? Compared to women who only have one husband, would a woman who shares her husband with several women, be less guilty if she commits infidelity during her marriage?

Randall Parker said at December 14, 2013 10:27 PM:

Joe Walker,

Sarcasm aside, I am making some accurate points. Consider:

- There really is a shortage of suitable men for marriage. This is especially true in the lower classes where the men can no longer get decent jobs.

- Many women instead choose to marry the welfare state.

- Women who marry the welfare state are committing a different but real form of polygamy.

- Women who marry the welfare state are getting knocked up by lower quality men.

- We would be better off if the larger number less bright women got knocked up by smaller upper class and smarter men.

Wolf-Dog said at December 15, 2013 2:14 AM:

RP:" Women who marry the welfare state are getting knocked up by lower quality men."

This is true, but it is important to note that compared to Republicans, Democrats have significantly higher IQ scores and more diplomas from better schools. At least the women who marry the government should have children from intelligent government officials, such as Obama, or the Energy Secretary, or the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Anonymous said at December 15, 2013 3:40 AM:

regarding the condition for polygamy:

why would a woman choose an unreliable provider (her polygamous husband with no option of welfare in case he should lose his job/money) over the financial stability of the welfare state?

Randall Parker said at December 15, 2013 10:39 AM:


If he is sufficiently Alpha she will choose him due to instincts.

An ideal system would actually do the opposite of what I suggested. Eligibility for welfare benefits would be dependent on being married. But there's the twist: dependent on being married to a guy who has genetic variants that do not cause crime or stupidity.


You are mistaken about IQ and party affiliation. The Democrats have more of the right side of the bell curve. But they also have far more of the left side. They've got more people with advanced degrees. But they don't have a majority of college grads. They've got a very large majority of high school drop-outs.

Gerard Mason said at December 15, 2013 12:07 PM:

@Map -- The condition of gays in heterosexual society can be compared without exaggeration to that of Helots in ancient Sparta or infidels in Islamic societies: that is, execrable at best and often subject to rapid and brutal change for the worse. The denial of the affectionate bond of marriage to us was both a desecration of our humanity and an attempt to destroy in us any hope of a better life. If the "progressive" left has captured the gay vote, it's because of our repeated rejection from the right: you have no one to blame but yourselves. If the West needs more western kids, then perhaps it's up to you people to do more of one the thing you're *supposed* to be good for, i.e. actually breeding! And hopefully gays will come to realise that the left's plan for us is simply to be footsoldiers in their war and, our fight to have our humanity recognised won, we can return to a politics based less on wishful thinking and more on engagement with reality.

WJ said at December 15, 2013 4:42 PM:

Three present-day forms of polygamy immediately spring to mind:
1) Mormon fundamentalist polygamy (50-100 thousand in the Western US).
2) Ghetto polygamy (>10 million US blacks & Hispanics).
3) Islamic polygamy (tens of millions in the >1 billion Islamic world).

Which of these communities do you desire to emulate?

Over half of the ~6700 residents of the polygamous sister cities of Hildale/Colorado City are on Medicaid. 44% of the overwhelmingly white residents of Colorado City use food stamps, with an average household benefit of $10,000 per year. I'd guess they're at least 5-6 times as likely as non-polygamous whites to be on food stamps.

As with welfare today, there will be no denying welfare to children of polygamous marriages whose parents can't support them. Society won't let them starve to death anymore than it will allow any other child to starve to death - not in the day of 24/7 sob story journalism - so the caveat that they be exempt from welfare is a fiction. Some large number of polygamist fathers will not be up to the task, and their spawn will go on welfare. And that doesn't include the unwanted, surplus sons ("lost boys") they dupe non-polygs into raising (I actually have a friend who was one such "lost boy").

Polygamy is probably dysgenic in some ways and eugenic in others. Overall, the observed results from the Muslim world suggests it does not help to create the kind of society most of us would want to live in. The most widespread form of polygamy in the US - Ghetto Polygamy, where alpha-male black gang-bangers knock up a succession of horny black woman - also doesn't appear to be particularly eugenic.

Yes, plenty of men aren't cut out to be be fathers, and perhaps shouldn't breed. But plenty of women aren't cut out to be mothers, and they shouldn't breed, either.

You want eugenics? That means getting smart, creative, responsible and/or hardworking men to marry smart, creative, responsible and/or hardworking women and produce large broods. There's probably no shortcut. If there is, it doesn't involve polygamy.

James Bowery said at December 15, 2013 4:51 PM:

The Feds continue their attack on the 10th Amendment. First, it was to get Utah to outlaw polygyny and now it is to get Utah to legalize it. The Feds just can't keep it in their pants.

Of course, this represents the Africanization of the Federal government with a Jack-Mormon poster-boy. In the mopping-up operation something done to get rid of them through selective enforcement of incidental laws or systemic bias in dispensing government support of "the children".

LURKER said at December 15, 2013 5:34 PM:

Two words: Family Reunification. Third world immigrants allowed to import an unlimited number of "plural spouses" under family reunification laws. De-Westernization on steroids.

Randall Parker said at December 15, 2013 8:04 PM:


Those polygamist societies are quite different from each other and another polygamist society could be more different still.

What I'm really saying: I want eugenic reproduction. I'm willing to embrace forms of family that are not mainstream in order to do it. The stakes are really really high. I'd rather the less bright women have kids with smart men than with dumb men. The less bright are going to make babies anyway. If they did it with really bright men the kids would be smarter.

Getting smart women to put careers aside to make babies: Good luck with that. They think they've got more important things to do.

It is much harder to put in place bans on damaging behavior (reproductive or otherwise) than it is to put in place incentives for constructive behavior that makes society better in the long run.

Gerard Mason,

I'm fairly indifferent to the gay marriage debate because its outcome will have very little effect on patterns of reproduction. I look at marriage primarily from the standpoint of how policies around it will boost or lower reproduction by smarter or dumber, conscientious or careless, criminal or well behaved people.

destructure said at December 15, 2013 9:16 PM:

This is an enormously complicated issue. I'd really have to think this through to understand all the secondary effects. I'm not sure I could have an opinion without more data, statistics, etc.

James Bowery said at December 16, 2013 10:35 AM:

Randall, how do you propose to deal with W. D. Hamilton's indictment of civilization that I have mentioned here at parapundit before on the grounds that it slowly destroys the genetic potential for cultural creativity? Or do you consider "Innate Social Aptitudes of Man", as does Trivers, to be "fascist" pseudoscience?

Randall Parker said at December 16, 2013 10:02 PM:


Without civilization Beethoven and Mozart would not have composed music. Without civilization the selective pressures during the late Malthusian Trap period in Britain would not have elevated intelligence and lowered innate discount rates.


Selective pressure for higher intelligence would tend to swamp any other effects of a social order that creates that selective pressure.

Vektor said at December 17, 2013 6:16 AM:

Polygamy is final nail in the coffin of modern marriage. It's really just a formalization of the trend that has been growing since the sexual revolution - 80% of the women seek to mate with the top 20% of men.

Monogamous marriage was created to give beta men a stake in civilization. Men seeking to attract a mate will work hard to increase their value to society to be an attractive prospect. Men that are married with a family will work hard to provide value to society so they have the resources to provide for their wife and children.

Men with no prospect for marriage and family have no incentive to provide any value to society except the bare minimum to survive.


"Male Economic Disengagement and Resultant Tax-Base Erosion : Earlier passages have highlighted how even the most stridently egomaniacal 'feminist' is heavily dependent on male endeavors. I will repeat again that there will never, ever be a successful human society where men have no incentive to aspire to the full maximum of their productive and entrepreneurial capabilities."

map said at December 17, 2013 8:29 PM:

Gerard Mason, thank you, that is very good rhetoric. The hoi polloi have been quite taken in by such sobbing imagery.

Now, let's focus on reality.

The reason why a homosexual population exists in this day and age is because, for countless generations, the fathers of patriarchal families insisted that their offspring get married and bear them grandchildren. This was non-negotiable. Recalcitrant children who not only failed to marry but insisted on carrying on in same-sex relationships were either shipped off to convents and monasteries or they took their chances in the various wars that were going on somewhere in the world. This was done not only to spare the family embarrassment, but to guarantee that a family blood line would continue. Thus, all incentives were aligned toward creating and maintaining traditional, man-woman marriages, regardless of the sexual orientation of the participants.

In other words, and quite ironically, modern gay populations exist because of the subterfuge occasionally practiced by closeted conservative societies. Fathers insisted that gay sons and daughters marry unknowing heterosexual spouses. The result of the union was children who would, inevitably, carry the gay gene. The gay gene has survived to this day because of such pairings.

All gay marriage is doing is guaranteeing that gays will not be pushed into marrying non-gays just to maintain appearances. It means children will not be born to at least one spouse who happens to be gay. It guarantees disappearance of the gay gene within a generation or two.

Now, George Mason, do you think the Leftists who engineered this policy don't know where it leads? You think they are not aware that open homosexuality will eventually lead to gays disappearing? So if they know this, then to what destructive purpose do they want to put gays before they are removed from the population?

Gays do not practice monogamy. A male sex drive and no danger of children guarantees that. Opening homosexuals to heterosexual marriage will not lead to greater monogamy among gays. It will lead to gays insisting that heterosexual marriage adopt the "open relationship" model of a gay relationship. Gay practices will be imported into straight marriages, resulting in the dissolution of those marriages.

For example, let's say Ace and Gary are married. Gary is angry that Ace keeps seeing and flirting with other men. Gary files for divorce, insisting that vows were not honored. Ace shoots back that Gary has always understood that their marriage was open. He produces witnesses. Gary loses, in the sense that he cannot extricate his finances from the relationship (after all, divorces are about money.) The judge enshrines a new "no fault" open marriage that, conveniently, is now the law that sets a precedent for all heterosexuals, since the laws says we must treat heterosexuals like homosexuals.

See, George, there is a great chess match going on. The match has many dimensions beyond you solipsistic preening.

map said at December 17, 2013 8:33 PM:

Vektor is right as well. Men work hard to raise their status to pursue positional goods that will give them some equivalent of a decent spouse. They then work hard to suppor the resultant family. If, of course, those spouses and families are not to be had, then why should men do more beyond simple survival?

James Bowery said at December 17, 2013 9:33 PM:

map, what? You don't think being gay is good enough for you? What are you, some kind of a homophobe? That's it, isn't it? You're suffering from homosexual panic resulting from the part of your psyche that is seeking liberation! I'm sure you'll love changing the diapers of all those mullato babies and maybe you'll even get to share a black Man with that woman you pretend now to seek -- that is if you don't scratch each other's eyes out in jealousy over Him.

TR said at December 18, 2013 12:00 PM:

It's interesting how quickly mainstream media and academia support for polygamy is coming out. Remember, just recently when gay marriage was in contention and its opponents were claiming that it would lead to a "slippery slope" and that it would be followed by polygamy, the mainstream media was vigorously denying or downplaying the notion that polygamy would follow. The mainstream media was portraying the gay marriage battle as being about more monogamy, since in the eyes of gay marriage opponents, monogamy is a good thing.

Now that the gay marriage issue is basically settled, they're coming out of the woodwork for polygamy, despite assuring everyone to the contrary only recently. It's quite brazen.


"It's time to reconsider polygamy"
By Mark Goldfeder
updated 6:37 PM EST, Mon December 16, 2013

Editor's note: Mark Goldfeder is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, senior lecturer at Emory Law School and adjunct professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law.

(CNN) -- Polygamy is back in the headlines.

"Last week, a federal judge in Utah struck down part of the state's anti-polygamy law as unconstitutional, although he kept the ban on possessing more than one marriage license at a time. Fans of the "Sister Wives" reality TV stars, who filed the suit, are rejoicing in the news.

At the other end of the spectrum, TLC debuted its newest docuseries, "Breaking the Faith," which tells the dark story of women and children trying to escape from the practice.

Another lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice alleges that polygamous clans are secretly running the show in Utah and Arizona townships, manipulating the political process from behind the scenes. And in Texas, the Attorney General's Office is inching closer to seizing a massive polygamous ranch.

Across the country, angry citizens are calling for the government to follow its own laws and crack down on polygamy.

Meanwhile, celebrities like Akon and various news outlets encourage people of all ages to reconsider plural marriage....."

LURKER said at December 18, 2013 4:48 PM:

No one has addressed the family reunification issue. If polygamy is legalized, Muslim and African immigrants will be able to bring in unlimited spouses under family reunification laws. We can't let that happen.

Engineer-Poet said at December 18, 2013 6:11 PM:

Fortunately the decision only addresses cohabitation, not the legality of multiple spouses.

LURKER said at December 18, 2013 6:28 PM:

Fortunately the decision only addresses cohabitation, not the legality of multiple spouses.

For NOW. But do you really believe that they won't start demanding full legalization, with all attendant rights such as family reunification? Think a few moves ahead.

James Bowery said at December 18, 2013 10:41 PM:

Randall, I'm sure WD Hamilton would agree that without civilization Beethoven and Mozart would not have composed music. From his hypothesis about barbarian pastoralist invasions causing, with about an 800 year lag, the emergence of cultural creativity, he apparently would claim that the classical composers of Europe would also not have composed their music without the Viking invasions. The point here is that if you are interested in the fruits of civilization, you have to cultivate -- that is to say culture (as a verb) -- those fruits.

So lets leave aside talk about the "benefits" of civilization as a response to WD Hamilton's concern since those are 800 years out of phase with their culture (again, as a verb).

The assertion about the late Malthusian Trap period in Britain doesn't seem to address the distinction between civilized society and "barbarian pastoralist" society, but between stages of civilization. Again, if you want to assert the eugenic benefits of civilization, it is all well and good to point to data points where genetic potentials seem to have risen. However, this doesn't address WD Hamilton's concern which is all too obvious in the present circumstance, ie: That the sacrifices to fitness are of cultural creativity are quite real in that the benefits of fitness, such as they are, go to a mass of individuals bearing little genetic correlation to the risk taker who frequently pays dearly for his sacrifice. The same is also true of the sine qua non of civilization: war. There has not been a society yet that takes pains to ensure the reproductive compensation of war heroes. War is a very obviously dysgenic process and it is a central feature of civilization -- particularly if one is intellectually honest enough to recognize that politics is war continued by other means.

Mthson said at December 21, 2013 12:19 AM:


Without high civilization, we'd never get SENS.

Dying poses a lot of problems. People hate it.

Curing it will save more human unhappiness than any other activity we could spend our time on.

Mthson said at December 21, 2013 12:59 AM:


We'd also never get reprogenetics. Reprogenetics is going to swamp whatever genetic trends have been occurring for the last 200 years.

For example, liberals are wrong when they predict that blonde hair will go extinct and everybody in the world is going to be brown.

There are going to be many more than today women like Gwyneth Paltrow, and guys like Chris Hemsworth, Paul Walker, and Brad Pitt (all attractive to the opposite sex of all races). There are attractive people in all shapes and colors, but this coloring is notable for the growth it's going to see, reversing its historical declines.

The U.S., Southern Europe, Latin America... all these places are probably going to end up pretty Gwyneth-Paltrow-ey. Give people the choice, and that's the form many will choose. Even e.g. Japan will probably have a significant rate of Gwyneth-Paltrow-ness.

Make humankind's genome as editable as lego blocks, and a lot of problems get solved. That editability might be developed in Asia before the West.

These trends will roll out over several decades, whereas life is lived in the short-term, but it's useful to know what track this train is on.

Paul Henderson said at December 21, 2013 1:09 AM:

Gwyneth Paltrow is not a natural blonde and she's had plastic surgery.

WJ said at December 21, 2013 3:15 AM:

"Those polygamist societies are quite different from each other and another polygamist society could be more different still. What I'm really saying: I want eugenic reproduction. I'm willing to embrace forms of family that are not mainstream in order to do it."

Given our rather miserable experience with the three variations of polygamy that come to mind, the burden of proof is on you and any others who think polygamy is a swell idea. If smart women don't want lots of children now, they won't want lots of children under polygamy. The men able to support multiple wives may be smarter and/or harder working than your average man, but the women willing to live in such relationships will be far, far dumber than the average woman - and evidence seem to suggests that, genetically, women have greater influence on heritable intelligence than men do.

I have lived in Utah, and have met quite a few polygamists. You would not consider them - culturally or genetically - to be an improvement on the general population, Mormon or otherwise.

Wolf-Dog said at December 21, 2013 6:08 AM:

Randall Parker: "You are mistaken about IQ and party affiliation. The Democrats have more of the right side of the bell curve. But they also have far more of the left side. They've got more people with advanced degrees. But they don't have a majority of college grads. They've got a very large majority of high school drop-outs."

Sorry for the misunderstanding. It is true that the unemployable groups vote for the Democrats, but when I said that the Democrats have higher IQs than Republicans, I was only comparing the government officials who are Democrats and Republicans, not the general population. In that sense, the people who vote for the Democrats, are not marrying the government, they are only marrying the average members of the population who have voted for the Democratic party. So if the nation married the Democratic politicians, they would be better off. Even the average Republican politician would be smarter than the average citizen. Thus it's OK to marry the government.

Randall Parker said at December 21, 2013 12:01 PM:


If you are trying to disagree with me or challenge me I'm unclear on what point exactly. Certainly during the Malthusian Trap period civilization created selection pressure for higher IQ, greater ability to cooperate in groups (which in turn helped keep civilization in place), propensity to save, and other attributes that helped fuel the industrial revolution. Certainly exit from the Malthusian Trap reversed those selective pressure? Certainly that reversal of selective pressures is large and growing problem. I mean, I've made these points enough times that if you want to tell me I'm missing something or shrinking from facing some ugly truth I'm unclear on what that is exactly.

James Bowery said at December 22, 2013 9:09 AM:

I honestly can't say whether or not you are facing, or even accept the reality of, WD Hamilton's assertion:

"Thus civilization probably slowly reduces its altruism of all kinds, including the kinds needed for cultural creativity (see also Eshel 1972)."

The reality of this seems obvious to me and I don't see how to address it given the resistance to reform implied by WD Hamilton's etiology of the reduction, which I also see as obvious:

"Often, however, the cost in fitness of such altruism and sublimated pugnacity to the individuals concerned is by no means metaphorical, and the benefits to fitness, such as they are, go to a mass of individuals whose genetic correlation with the innovator must be slight indeed."

This means in any civilized society, the power structure will be centered on those who enjoying the "benefits to fitness" drawn from the "mass of individuals" and will, hence, successfully resist reallocating those benefits to the innovator.

Randall Parker said at December 22, 2013 9:35 AM:

Okay, I understand you. I will make a few points:

- One needs to separate reproductive fitness from financial success in this discussion.

- Reproductive fitness is negatively correlated with financial success today. You agree?

- If altruism is negatively correlated with financial success then altruism might be increasing reproductive fitness or it might be riding along with another trait that is increasing reproductive fitness in today's environment.

- On the other hand, conscientiousness seems like it is negatively correlated with reproductive fitness. Effective altruism seems like it depends on conscientiousness or at least conscientiousness amplifies altruism. But if the selective pressure is against conscientiousness then the resulting selection against altruism is more of a side effect.

- How productive are more altruistic people as compared to less altruistic people, all else equal? The answer is not clear to me. Some altruistic people choose, for example, uncompensated Linux kernel development or some other activity that makes others more productive (but a lot of open source devs are getting paid to do it). Other altruistic people choose to do activities that relieve\ some pain in the short run but which cause decay in the long run.

- The role of altruism in causing cultural creativity should not be overstated. A whole lot of guys are trying to do great creations in order to achieve status that will attract females.

So I'm not sure that WD Hamilton is correct.

James Bowery said at December 22, 2013 5:09 PM:

A negative correlation between financial success and reproductive fitness is evolutionarily unstable. However, I'll grant you that if we ignore folks like the Bush clan, residual correlations between financial success among white populations are limited to comparisons between the erstwhile middle and extant upper-middle classes. The financial devastation of the middle class has had a real and enduring impact on its reproductive fitness due to the conscientiousness of that class. Its only when you include the public sector rent-seeking represented by the enormous bias toward affirmative action hires in civil service (and military promotions) that you see what I would call a clear negative correlation between between "income" and reproductive fitness. However, these represent a different kind of financial metric: stability. The "full featured job" -- including full health coverage, retirement, college education assistance and immunity from layoff -- has become the province of affirmative action hires. The "income" of these jobs does not compare to the same income as an independent silicon valley consultant when it comes to reproductive fitness. Only after we have filtered through these "exceptions" do we get to the "Malthusian trap" kind of r-strategy we typically associate with lower-class welfare dependence with its de facto polygyny. This state-supported de facto polygyny is where I see the real power of civilization. Folks like the Bush family and other upper-class breeders, who manage to "marry well" and have 3 or more children are courtiers to the Mack Daddy reproductive royalty.

James Bowery said at December 22, 2013 5:33 PM:

Mthson, it SENS not only makes sense but is a virtual necessity in a dysgenic culture: Death means the loss of value in a dysgenic culture. In a eugenic culture death has meaning in that it makes way for greater value.

Perhaps your vision of "lego blocks" evolution will come to pass. I'm not optimistic given how little we understand of the complex interplay between genetic correlation structures and the environment into which they express. Clearly getting rid of genetic load (in particular single point mutations like Huntington's) is a piece of cake for the most part. Evolutionary advance? That's a different matter. Giving people blonde hair, blue eyes and aryan superman/woman features may appeal to some of the more shallow Nazi elements (and Jews that like to portray northern European "eugenics" as shallow Nazi elements) but it has very little to do with any rational conception of eugenics. Rational eugenics will need to ferret out inter-chromosome genetic correlation structures that and their interplay at the level of human ecology and natural ecology. When you really think about it, sexual reproduction doesn't seem all that bad a heuristic as long as selective power isn't limited to female selection.

Randall Parker said at December 25, 2013 4:48 PM:


I'm unclear why you put quotes around income in this sentence. But the sentence is clearly wrong:

Its only when you include the public sector rent-seeking represented by the enormous bias toward affirmative action hires in civil service (and military promotions) that you see what I would call a clear negative correlation between between "income" and reproductive fitness.

I would think, if anything, racial preferences weaken the correlation between income and fertility.

I will enumerate big reasons why I think fertility is inversely correlated with IQ:

  • Smarter people see a bigger ROI (as compared to dumber people) from spending more time in school before entering the workforce. Their perception is even correct.

  • Smarter people see a bigger ROI from working more to advance in their career (instead of spending time raising kids). I think they are correct and they are, on average, are on career ladders with more steps (as compared to dumber people).

  • Smarter people find satisfaction in intellectual pursuits that lessen their desire for the stimulations that come from raising children.

  • Smarter people feel the need to compete for status with similarly smart people. This causes delayed and lower reproduction.

  • Smarter people feel the need to buy expensive housing that will insulate their kids from lower IQ families and schools.

You disagree with any of these reasons?

You have an ax to grid that makes it hard for me at times to puzzle out what you are trying to say. Not saying your grievances are unjustified. But I'm looking for greater clarity. Do you see additional reasons beyond the reasons I listed. Can you state them succinctly?

James Bowery said at December 26, 2013 9:21 AM:

I'm grinding only one ax and its pretty straight forward:

I'd like to be part of a eugenic culture so that the natural integrity of sex, love and death retains its value, and I do not perceive civilization, as we know it, to be such a culture. Hence, barring the emergence of such a eugenic culture, I agree that SENS is a priority so that at least we don't _lose_ value bequeathed us by our evolutionary heritage -- SENS as dysgenics-mitigation.

As for the various side-issues:

I put "income" into quotes for the same reason Elizabeth Warren would:

An employment situation's "income" does not accurately measure the situation's contribution to fecundity. Civil service is a situation far more conducive to fecundity than is the increasingly volatile private sector employment picture, despite its -- until recently -- lower "income".

And, yes, racial preferences do -- by routing low-income, high-benefit jobs such as civil service to high fecundity groups, does, thereby, weaken the correlation between income and fertility.

I accept, as true, all of your reasons why IQ will contribute to lowered fecundity.

However, as in the parable of the dumb, smart and genius birds there is a higher degree of intelligence that transcends the kind of "smart" you're talking about. IQ, like income, is a resource that can be applied in a wide variety of ways to service a wide variety of values. For these resources to be perverted into anti-fitness goals is evolutionarily unstable. Agreed, we might find "smart" people behaving as the cricket does with respect to the Nematomorpha worm (think of the Mack Daddy royalty as the worm and the Bush dynasty as the "smart" cricket doing the best job of reproducing that can be expected from among the "smart" population), as they do now. However, even if that becomes stable, there is still a marginal advantage to IQ and intelligence among the ruthlessly fit Nematomorpha.

Mthson said at December 27, 2013 7:40 PM:


It might take 20-40 years before we have enough knowledge for parents to edit babies' genomes.

If that's true, than we seem to be in the final decades of peak racial differences. Future generations will edit their genomes in trends that decrease group dissimilarity, like Jessica Alba and Paula Patton.

Changes in visual traits will be influential because they drive individuals' concept of who their "tribe" is, and how distant other "tribes" are from them. People who look like Gwyneth Paltrow or Brad Pitt are going to tend to feel enhanced kindredness with European culture, even if their parents are from somewhere else.

Regarding human ecologies, as long as societies have alleles for being smart and conscientious, they seem to be fine. Finland and Singapore are opposite systems in a lot of ways, but they're both pretty nice places. Australia's gene pool was selected in a pretty unusual way, but their society is basically the same as the rest of northern Europe.

As long as reprogenetics can take care of the smart and conscientious part, we'll be much better off than today's "wild-type" societies. And our reprogenetic technology will get more powerful with each generation, same as computers do.

Bob said at December 27, 2013 8:45 PM:

Future generations will edit their genomes in trends that decrease group dissimilarity if there is a global monoculture and global panmixia in the future that prevents and inhibits genetic diversity. If there are things like space colonies and genuine physical and cultural borders in the future that allow different genes and groups of genes to exist and different "genome editing cultures" to exist, then there wouldn't be decreasing group dissimilarity, but increasing dissimilarity and genetic diversity.

Whether or not there will be a global monoculture and panmixia in the future is a question of whether those genes and groups of genes out there right now that like and promote monoculture and panmixia will dominate. If they dominate, then monoculture will come to pass and future generations will edit their genomes to reduce dissimilarity by definition. But there's no reason to assume that these dominant genes will also like and promote "smart and conscientious" as we understand it or that the monoculture they will establish will be "much better off than today's "wild-type" societies." These are really unwarranted assumptions.

Mthson said at December 27, 2013 10:57 PM:


There's a lot of indication that average human coloring is going to lighten substantially. Consider the blonde model in this Indian skin-lightening commercial. All regions of the world outside northern Europe have popular skin-lightening products.

If Europeans were to not touch genome editing and mate only with Europeans, racial differences would still decrease because genes outside Europe will tend to be edited to be closer to European genes (lightened coloring, average height increased to European levels, and so on). They'll feel greater consanguinity with you, even if you don't feel it toward them.

Yes, there are many plausible scenarios in the long-term. But before those happen, one of the most predictable market behaviors once genome editing becomes possible is to lighten coloring. And the impact on human psychology likewise seems predictable ("racial empathy gap" based on appearances etc).

Bob said at December 27, 2013 11:55 PM:

The "racial empathy gap" based on appearances is something that evolved when appearances were reliable clues to genetic differentiation. You're describing an environment where appearances become unreliable clues to genetic differentiation. That's unlikely to be the case because preference for things like hair color seem to be frequency dependent and there'd be an arms race for other visual clues for genetic differentiation. But even if we assume that appearances gave no clue to genetic differentiation, something else besides visual clues would take their place, odors, pheromones, behavior, etc. It would not have the impact on human psychology you think it would.

Light coloring is popular especially in women outside Europe, but non-European traits such as large buttocks and lips and thuggish male characteristics are as well and they are even increasingly having influence among Europeans as well. If a monocultural, panmixia situation comes to pass, it will be a result of the genes and groups of genes out there right now that like and promote monoculture and panmixia dominating. Are these genes also the genes that like and promote large buttocks and lips and thuggish male characteristics?

Randall Parker said at December 30, 2013 9:52 PM:


I expect the biotechnologies for selecting genetic variants for offspring will be embraced most by the smartest and most successful. Therefore reproductive technologies for embryo selection, chromosome selection, and DNA editing will increase differences in abilities and outcomes.

Genome editing is a later step. We will be able to get a lot of benefits just by selecting between genetically tested embryos. Fertilize a dozen eggs, grow them up to the cleavage stage, and do preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Then choose the best embryo for implantation. We do not even need to know which alleles we are selecting for. We just need their correlation with SNPs that serve as proxies for their presence. Guess what, we already have genetic markers useful for this purpose.


I expect embryo selection and genetic editing will cut the incidence of purely harmful genetic variants. But I do not expect to see humanity to become genetically homogeneous. More likely: divergence of humans into different groups with different innate values and personality characteristics.

Mthson said at January 4, 2014 7:30 PM:


Once elites are gaining "unfair" advantages from reprogenetics, I could see populist demand for it, similar to Occupy Wall Street and ObamaCare.

Sperm banks are a good analog. Parents' mindset once they walk in the doors of a sperm banks is pretty universal; they want sperm donors who are smart, pleasant, and athletic. They picture an idealized, polite kid who will be a pleasure to raise.

If parents check the boxes for excel at school and low likelyhood of divorce, many secondary traits that inversely correlate, like selfishness and violence, get selected against without anybody intending it.

And then it's too late. For the rest of history, those traits will be baked-in. Dumb cultures will have lost their future generations.

But I don't doubt you're right overall.

Mthson said at January 4, 2014 8:23 PM:


Thanks for the good discussion.

Reply rates in online dating show that the Cathedral is wrong on which ideals are most valued on the dating market.

(Full article. Average age around 26.)

Bob said at January 4, 2014 11:40 PM:

"The Cathedral" itself doesn't promote "ideals" such as large buttocks and lips, thuggish male characteristics, etc. It does so indirectly by promoting the genetic interests of their correlates, which are then able to express increasing influence and dominance in the culture.

The "ideals" that "the Cathedral" has tended to promote can be gleaned from Hollywood: heroic dark-haired caucasian men vs. evil/effeminate/immoral blond bad guys.

Mthson said at January 5, 2014 5:12 PM:


A good way to measure human preferences is to look at their choices in online dating data.

In that data, white males and asian females have the highest average success rates.

Whatever characteristics are driving those success rates can be expected to increase in frequency if humans are given reprogenetics.

Why is this thread important? Influential thinkers like Bill Gates, Warren Buffets' son, Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, and Silicon Valley billionaires are all looking for solutions that increase the size of the total pie, rather than redistribute slices. There's a utilitarian advantage to that: it makes it easier to gain allies.

Those influential thinkers tend to have an optimistic temperament because their lives have treated them very well. And they also tend to have innate optimism that was one of the factors that selected them for success.

Outcomes that are important for our personal slice of pie, like SENS, black swan asteroid defense, and sortocracy are more likely to occur if those types of thinkers can be brought on board.

Mthson said at January 5, 2014 5:37 PM:


The 10-word meta definition of sortocracy is great. Many people can get on board with it.

But a lot of subjective ideas and unnecessary complexity have been added, like about juries and gun rights.

That makes it much less practical to use the term or link to the site.

Ideally, the term would be useful for anybody, even if their personal moral tastes are opposites.

Mthson said at January 5, 2014 8:34 PM:

(Or that's my 2 cents anyway.)

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2014 7:20 PM:


My worries on reprogenetics:

- Some people will opt out for religious reasons (e.g. every fertilized egg is scared).

- Some will opt out because they do not realize how dumb, lazy, and defective they are. Dunning Kruger Effect.

- Some will make decisions in favor of really problematic attributes (e.g. psychopathy, narcissism).

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Web parapundit.com
Go Read More Posts On ParaPundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright