I am losing my sanity!!!


#1

Is it normal to have nightmares about books that you have read???(To be honest, reading The Bell Curve required a lot of fortitude as I did not like the message of the “inferiority” of the poor, and minority races). The Bell Curve also reminds us that the lives of these people are miserable and we cannot do anything to help them because their problems are hereditary. Instead, the book argues that we shouldn’t help them and live with this inequality insouciantly.

I became interested in that book after I read an article by Steve Sailer (since I am not allowed to post it here as it promotes bigotry; the article is titled “Racial reality and the New Orleans nightmare”).

After reading *The Bell Curve *, which argues that many people are innately “defective,” I could only think about mass murder, genocide, and forced sterilization. Although Murray and Herrnstein do not endorse these policies (but they do not explicitly reject them), accepting the thesis of The Bell Curve it will inevitably lead to eugenics.

I fear The Bell Curve will bring out the worst in me and I might advocate cruel policies. I fear I might metamorphize into a compassionless person.

A symptom of this includes the fact that I recently requested *Eugenics: A Reassessment * by Richard Lynn from a library because I am interested in the procedures for modern eugenics and its ethical implications. To me, it is inevitable the germline genetic engineering and embryo selection will be used in making major reproductive decisions regarding controlling the genotype of the progeny. I would also read Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis (also by Lynn).
From wikipedia:

In Eugenics, Lynn argues embryo selection as a form of standard reproductive therapy would raise the average intelligence of the population by 15 IQ points in a single generation (p. 300). If couples produce a hundred embryos, he argues, the range in potential IQ would be around 15 points above and below the parents’ IQ. Lynn argues this gain could be repeated each generation, eventually stabilizing the population’s IQ at a theoretical maximum of around 200 after as little as six or seven generations.

I want to know the genetic rationalization for that… I would actually expect diminishing returns after the first generation.

Any comment about this modern manifestation of eugenics. If individual inequality is caused by heredity, maybe eugenics might be the only solution to rectify these inequalities. I do not know if one should embrace eugenics to create an egalitarian society (where everyone is equal).


#2

Lynn argues this gain could be repeated each generation, eventually stabilizing the population’s IQ at a theoretical maximum of around 200 after as little as six or seven generations.

I can’t address the genetic rationale for that–i.e., whether it would work. But I wonder why even a eugenics enthusiast would think that such an artificial measure as IQ is the only thing worth “breeding” for. Might not trying to raise the general level of kindness to others perhaps be more beneficial?

If the IQ of general populations began to rise to an average of 200 or above as a result of genetic manipulation, but they all had the character of a Machiavelli or a Pol Pot, would civilization be the better? Would it be illegal to bear children who had not been subjected to the quality control police? Big Brother, here we come!


#3

The Bell Curve argues that people who have a low IQ live in poverty and are prone to incarceration; thus, they live miserably lives. Therefore, if we want to reduce human suffering, we should increase whatever quantity IQ purports to measure.

I would suspect that that in this state, such children would be aborted… It will probably rationalized in the interest of kindness; they will probably live a life of misery if they are not aborted and that would be the utilitarian thing to do.

It would not be unusual in this society as embryo selection kills 99 out of 100 babies that are created through* in vitro *fertilization. If you disagree, ask yourself what happens to those embryos that are not implanted.

I am considering accepting eugenics because it might be the only path toward human equality and egalitarianism. The path to human equality might come with a high price. Maybe Lynn might rebut that argument that only the rich will use this technology and this will further exacerbate existing inequality. If eugenics is used in that fashion, I would oppose it.

Since I am seriously considering eugenics, I think this an indicator of insanity.


#4

The problem here, however, is that only forced eugenics would create an “equal” society, and at the expense of individual freedom (a highly regarded virtue in the US) and individual dignity (a highly regarded virtue in the CC).

I highly recommend reading the novel The Giver. It’s for teens, but it’s a great story about a genetically manipulated utopian society. Wonderful story with a great moral – that unconditional love is vital to our humanity.

Are we loving people if we allow them to “weed themselves out”? Are we loving them if we select which embryos “deserve” to live? Are we loving God if we determine that some of His creations are not fit for life on this earth – are not fit to be part of His Body?

Peace,
Dante


#5

I agree with Dante that a program of eugenics would only work in a dictatorship. And to force “equality,” whatever that is, on the entire world would require a world dictatorship. In such a world, the people running the eugenics program would of course, be more equal than others.

Also, I simply don’t believe that people with lower IQ’s must be destined to misery and incarceration. Children with Downs Syndrome, for example, seem to give great joy to others, and I haven’t heard of any being incarcerated. Speaking at least for America and the generations of people who have built it up, it wasn’t all done by people with IQ’s of 200.


#6

Straight out of George Orwell – I love it! :thumbsup:


#7

I don’t know about insanity, but certainly you should take an inventory of your empathy level - I would suspect this type of elitism may bleed over into other aspects of your life. :frowning:

Eugenics only means exploitation and oppression of the “lower masses”. It is shameful and cruel, and I don’t think that is what you want to promote.


#8

“Miserable lives” by whose standards? Many poor people are happy, and many rich people are depressed.

Therefore, if we want to reduce human suffering, we should increase whatever quantity IQ purports to measure.

IQ is not the answer to reducing human suffering. The answer is compassion and love towards your fellow man – regardless of their mental and physical attributes.

Since I am seriously considering eugenics, I think this an indicator of insanity.

Insanity? No, but I wonder how much time you’ve devoted to the studying other side of the coin – God and His purpose for us. You’ve spent a great deal of time reading about (and worrying about) the study of genetics and its possible ramifications for our society. The result is, you’re losing a lot of sleep, having nightmares, and now you think you’re going insane.

I strongly suggest that you take a few weeks away from the scientific literature, and try some spiritual literature. I know your immediate reaction is probably “I don’t believe in God, so why should I bother?” Well, I’m only suggesting that you try it for a few weeks. Try something simple and quick, with a very basic but fulfilling message, such as St. Therese of Lisieux’s “Story of a Soul,” or something by Teresa of Avila. These are real people who have experienced the opposite of what you’re feeling. They’ve experienced the wonderful love of God through prayer.

If your mental block about such literature is because you don’t believe in God, well, since you’re obviously a very intelligent person, you could probably tackle the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Just start with the Prima Pars of his Summa Theologica, in which he proves rationally the existence of God.

Look ribozyme, you’re young, and you have your whole life in front of you. You want to know the truth, don’t you? You’ve spent a great deal of time studying the scientific side of humans, why don’t you investigate the possibility of a divine side? If you’re still 17 years old, I figure you have another 83 years to live. That’s 4316 weeks. If you take, say 10 of those weeks, it’s only 0.2% of your remaining life. If it keeps you from insanity, and gives you more confidence that you know the truth about humanity, and helps you sleep better those 83 years, it’s more than worth it, don’t you think?


#9

I don’t think people with high IQs are innately happy. Look at all the miserable people in the news, many of whom are high achieving people. I’ve known some extremely intelligent people in my life, who were also rich, and spent big bucks on psychiatry to help them be happy.

There is a factor called Emotional IQ, that is more important. It’s vital in order to be a well integrated person. Look at the movie Forest Gump. The man had an extremely high emotional IQ. That’s an example of that. Remember his friend, the Black man in the army, who was from Louisiana? He was also ‘slow’. But, he was happy and fulfilled. He had a loving family. Some of the happiest people I’ve met are not too ‘intelligent’, they don’t have much money, they don’t have status, but they’re happy.


#10

:banghead: GRRRRRR!

The Bell Curve is nonsense!

The measure of IQ, and all measures of standardised testing, measure particular, culturally specific things.

As a start, I’d read Michael Apple’s Education and Power - how do IQ tests work? A bunch of white middle-class men sit in a University, so people call them ‘educated’, they then ask these ‘educated’ people to measure how educated other people are, and they devise a measure, in good faith, but from within their own consciousness, that measures how white and middle-class another person is.

This was written long before *The &@!% Bell #&&!? Curve.

There are two genuine issues which the Bell Curve debate raises, it shows how biased our social structures are towards perpetuating the social structures that already exist by privileging certain cultural learning as worth more than the learning of other cultures, and it shows that we are still labouring under the misconception that this bias is ‘objective’.

Besides, would a Eugenic solution solve inequality? Not likely. You raise everybody’s IQ by 50 points, so you have people with IQ’s of 200 at university and people with IQ’s of 140 sweeping the streets. Why should someone with an IQ of 140 be sweeping the streets? IQ itself is not a sign of a happy or fulfilled life. Iain Brady, the Moors Murderer, had an IQ of close to 190, but was a psychopath. Einstein’s IQ was only around 110.

Jesus said “You will always have the poor among you”. It’s what we do with this poverty, whether we learn to embrace poverty ourselves that others may be rich, or whether we allow ourselves to be discouraged and apathetic to others’ suffering, that matters.

St Francis, richest of poor men, pray for us.


#11

Ribozyme:

All men are equal already, not because of equal talents but because we all have the same rights. If you want an egalitarian society, you create laws that apply to everyone. You don’t tamper with people. Your problem is you are approaching this from the wrong direction. People who refuse to help themselves aren’t inferior because of anything you can change. Their attitude has to change. When we stop playing group politics and granting “special privileges” to victim classes, and instead expect the same from everyone, society will be more egalitarian. The authors you are reading are starting from flawed premises.
Don’t lose your sanity. Change your paradigm.


#12

There is no utopia, the concept of an egalitarian society is alive in this American society. All start out the same and those who achieve more do so by the amount of work they are willing to put in. The fact is that the poor man and the rich man are equal they just made different choices. I agree with DL82.


#13

That’s a somewhat whitewashed view of American life, don’t you think? Many are those who work diligently and loyally, study enthusiastically, and aim for the stars, only to fall far short of their dreams because a) they aren’t skilled/smart/creative enough, b) they run into racial/gender/age bias, c) they or someone they love gets sick or seriously hurt, or any number of other factors beyond their control.

The fact is that, while the ideal of an egalitarian society is alive in our country, the reality of it is inconsistent at best. For much of our society, being born into a good or bad social position has much to do with where one ends up, and that’s an undeniable problem.

Please don’t take this to mean that I support things like affirmative action, however.

Peace,
Dante


#14

Eugenics is exactly the opposite of human equality. See “Hitler, Jews, Holocaust”. Or Margaret Sanger’s teachings. I seriously recommend you to back away from the subject and maybe consider some spiritual or professional guidance on the matter.


#15

There is no utopia, the concept of an egalitarian society is alive in this American society. All start out the same and those who achieve more do so by the amount of work they are willing to put in. The fact is that the poor man and the rich man are equal they just made different choices. I agree with DL82.


#16

There is no utopia, the concept of an egalitarian society is alive in this American society. All start out the same and those who achieve more do so by the amount of work they are willing to put in. The fact is that the poor man and the rich man are equal they just made different choices. I agree with DL82.


#17

Johnny, why the multiple posts? Are you trying to stress your point? With all due respect, repeating yourself in such a manner doesn’t show much respect for the spirit of discussion.

Peace,
Dante


#18

lol, most likely a computer glitch :smiley:


#19

A serious question that deserves a serious answer. I’ve had nightmares before about books I’ve read. Just like me, you’ve found something in this book that disturbs you - I don’t mean that I was disturbed by this particular book. Yes, I read it shortly after it was published. Let me tell you why it didn’t disturb me in the way that it does you. Relative IQ isn’t a proxy for happiness. The book doesn’t claim to establish any statistical correlation between the two. Furthermore, a statistical study can only give us data like a mean or median of a sample group. In that way it is representative of a large group of people if the sample is large enough and certain other variables are successfully controlled. But it can’t let us know whether any particular person who might fall within these parameters actually does have the mean or median IQ. In fact, it is highly likely that any given person that fits within the group does not meet the exact mean or median. It is true that probabilities can be assigned to a certain degree of accuracy (never absolute accuracy) that they will fall within a certain range of IQ values. My point is that a particular person that meets the parameters of the sample group my have a very high IQ, even higher than the other groups that are supposedly “genetically superior.”

After reading *The Bell Curve *, which argues that many people are innately “defective,” I could only think about mass murder, genocide, and forced sterilization. Although Murray and Herrnstein do not endorse these policies (but they do not explicitly reject them), accepting the thesis of The Bell Curve it will inevitably lead to eugenics.

Even if you conclude that the book is correct in it’s conclusions (something that I was never convinced of) your first genocidal option would actually remove those individuals that fit the sample group that do score far above the mean. Of more interest to me though is the notion you could ever get to the place where you believe that genocide and forced sterilization would bring greater happiness. Happiness isn’t something that the natural sciences can tell us a whole lot about. Before you could ever justify this extreme action you’d need a whole lot better explanation for how it would bring about greater happiness, which means that you would need to delve into the philosophy of ethics. :wink:

I fear The Bell Curve will bring out the worst in me and I might advocate cruel policies. I fear I might metamorphize into a compassionless person.

Lol! I highly doubt it. You haven’t given any good reason for how or why this would increase happiness. The fact that you are disturbed at the thought tells me that your intuition is already leading you in the right direction - away from it.

Any comment about this modern manifestation of eugenics. If individual inequality is caused by heredity, maybe eugenics might be the only solution to rectify these inequalities. I do not know if one should embrace eugenics to create an egalitarian society (where everyone is equal).

You have the same problem of what specific eugenic program would increase happiness as opposed to decreasing it. In the naturalistic and deterministic worldview, natural selection is supposed to sort all this out. What justification in your view would anyone have messing with the holy grail of evolution? Anyone who even attempted to do this would need to be on rock solid ground that could only come from the discipline of philosophical ethics. A statistical study can only give us raw data that represents a large class of people, not any one person. How we ought to act on that data is for the discipline of ethics. Hope this helps bro.


#20

I did my best today to avoid think about this rather bitter topic.

I watched some DVDs of the Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes (The English dubbed version is horribly censored; for example see this) for four hours yesterday. I did not help me expunge those thoughts about the pernicious book.

About two years ago when I played the card game avidly and pedantically, and I never had to dealt with this…

I will get back to this tomorrow…

I will watch more episodes while my parents are at Mass tomorrow.


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