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Author Topic: QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?  (Read 43448 times)

Offline thedoc

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A good friend and I were talking the other day about a possible reversal of natural selection in todayís world.  She theorized that with modern society as it is, highly skilled, intelligent people are either having less children or putting it off altogether due to the time constraints and lifestyle choices. Leaving those, while trying to put it nicely, less intellectually gifted, the job of providing the bulk of population growth. But is there any scientific evidence to back it up?

Asked by Steve, from Dubai

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« Last Edit: 20/05/2009 10:41:59 by BenV »


 

Offline thedoc

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« Reply #1 on: 20/05/2009 10:08:59 »
We put this to James R. Flynn, presently at the Sage Foundation in New York, but normally a Professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The question of this dysgenic mating, and by that we mean that people with lesser education are having more children than people with more education, would, if it were universal and persistent, and not contradicted by anything else, probably be a problem over a period of 100 or 200 years. But itís not universal and countries where everyone has a middleclass lifestyle like Scandinavia, and where you have real educational quality for everyone, you donít have this trend.

Now you can always say, is there any chance that countries like Britain, or America will achieve that degree of social justice, maybe they wonít. But there is the Flynn effect, that is: well we might be losing one IQ-point a generation through dysgenic mating, we are picking up something like 9-points a generation due to environmental factors. Better schooling, more interaction between parent and child, a more cognitively rich environment.

Now that may run out of steam eventually but we donít have any real reason to be concerned in the meantime. If IQ gains due to environmental factors stop happening and if we are silly enough not to make our societies more equal, then over a 200-year period you might start worrying about the fact that the brighter people arenít having as many kids.

« Last Edit: 20/05/2009 10:42:08 by BenV »
 

Offline Make it Lady

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #2 on: 20/05/2009 21:08:44 »
It is not just nature you know. 3000 girls under the age of 16 years old have a baby in one year in Britain. This means that not only are these babies being born to very stupid girls and boys but also there are children being brought up by children. I think the latter has more of a bearing on the future generation as these children are more likely to fail at school. One fertility stopper for the less educated is that most people in prison can not read and a good portion have educational special needs.
OK I'm very tongue in cheek here but I guess if we protect our weak links they will breed and in some cases pass on the problems both by nature and nurture. In more severe circumstances these week links would not survive and breed.
Having said that, thank god we can protect our weak links. I love our diverse society and if we were all super intelligent life would be dull. However, the teenage Mums concern me. It shows a lack of imagination, drive and probably parental love amongst our teens.
 

Offline RD

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #3 on: 20/05/2009 22:11:54 »
3000 girls under the age of 16 years old have a baby in one year in Britain.
This means that not only are these babies being born to very stupid girls


This isn't stupidity it's exploitation: they are giving birth to hostages who will fund their lifestyle.
 

Offline Don_1

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #4 on: 21/05/2009 12:15:39 »
I have to agree with you MIL. This shows a lack of parental guidance and concern and will get worse since the new generation parents are little more than children themselves. It also concerns me that there appears to be a 'competition' culture emerging to be the oldest mother, the youngest mother, the youngest grandmother etc.

I think that to some extent the problems lye in the modern attitude to treat children as 'young adults', putting pressure on them to grow up too quickly. They should be allowed to be children and to enjoy and explore there childhood years.
 

Offline thelastman

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #5 on: 24/05/2009 16:16:04 »
I don't think that would be a reversal of Natural Selection.  All that matters is survival and reproductive success.  So if the stupid, by way of their stupid-ness, are selected by a stupid-environment more so then the un-stupid, then stupid-ness will spread across the land.

 
 

Offline JnA

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #6 on: 25/05/2009 06:25:34 »
People who lack education have, for centuries, been the more prolific breeders, yet we are more intelligent (as far as discoveries and understanding self) as a race than we have ever been before.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #7 on: 25/05/2009 22:33:13 »
I guess if all the top intellectuals took part in selective breeding the offspring would start to weaken. This showed up in royal families that had to marry people of their own standing. Certainly all the pedigree animals I have ever met have been think as the proverbial.
 

Offline techmatt

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #8 on: 28/05/2009 00:01:38 »
Lets just say it is true for a minute. I have the cure. Remove all warning labels. The stupid ones will kill them selves before they have a chance to breed. It would be a return to natural selection.  ;)
 

Offline DrN

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #9 on: 28/05/2009 00:09:02 »
People who lack education have, for centuries, been the more prolific breeders, yet we are more intelligent (as far as discoveries and understanding self) as a race than we have ever been before.

Yes, but historically, those of less education had vastly higher mortality rates than the educated.

Also, the children of the rich and educated were often brought up by servants, so I'm not sure how this affects the arguement of kids being brought up by the ill-educated.
 

Offline JnA

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #10 on: 28/05/2009 01:07:45 »
People who lack education have, for centuries, been the more prolific breeders, yet we are more intelligent (as far as discoveries and understanding self) as a race than we have ever been before.

Yes, but historically, those of less education had vastly higher mortality rates than the educated.


without actually looking at figures I still hazard a guess that the higher mortality rate had little real effect on ratios of breeding between the groups.


Also, the children of the rich and educated were often brought up by servants, so I'm not sure how this affects the arguement of kids being brought up by the ill-educated.

They were cared for by others, sure, but wealthy children still had access to better education and more opportunity. Even as very young children the sorts of experiences they had (outings, visitors and toys) would have been more conducive to 'better education'.
Even today, wealthier families are able to afford education systems that allow for greater opportunities.

Of course, I am not saying that the individual is stuck within their social position, we all know people who rise through adversity and those who sink in prosperity.. just being general.

I don't think the 'stupid' will outbreed the clever.. I'm also sceptical that there are 'more stupid' people around now than (proportionally) at any time before. What I do know is that in our modern world the people that would once have continued on with their lives in relative obscurity now have youtube.

 

Offline thedoc

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Offline keokeo

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #12 on: 18/06/2009 04:23:20 »
I would love to join this forum. Nice to meet you here :P

stealth spam from a stealthy spam merchant - now banned and blacklisted!
« Last Edit: 04/07/2009 10:58:35 by BenV »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #13 on: 18/06/2009 04:46:08 »
I would love to join this forum. Nice to meet you here :P
Nice try, I nearly missed it.

-----
The link that he's got is in white.
« Last Edit: 19/06/2009 03:13:07 by Chemistry4me »
 

Offline pakman

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #14 on: 04/07/2009 08:46:56 »
im sure with proper education and schools, the retarded ones can become as smart as the last generation of smart ones.IQ is rising among peeps.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #15 on: 04/07/2009 08:53:33 »
IQ is rising among peeps.
I'm sure that's what they all say....
 

Offline mudd1

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #16 on: 28/07/2009 08:35:06 »
It's a potential problem caused by the current social and technological state. Social and technological change is much faster though than biological evolution so I don't think we have any reason to be concerned.

James Flynn pointed out a social change that might solve the alleged problem, let me point out technical ones: As much as we currently find the idea of genetically manipulating human beings revolting, let's assume people will one day find a set of genes that determines intellectual genius and possess a mechanism of safely inserting this set of genes into a fertilised egg. Do you seriously think that not a single country on earth will think of this as the quick and easy solution for most of its economical and educational problems? And how will the other countries react? Even if they all decide that their traditional values are more important, how many of their inhabitants will beg to differ and just travel to that country to conceive their children to give them what they think to be a headstart? My point just is: No matter how determined we currently are not to change the genetic makeup of humans, it will some day happen and that will shape the human genome much more than any selection for large family sizes.

If you don't believe this however, family sizes might actually correlate positively with income when medical progress increases the life span and especially the reproductive life span further.

So the bottom line is: Our society will continue to change dramatically both socially and technologically and any projection based on the current state while assuming it to persist over evolutionary time scales is probably not going to predict anything that's really going to happen. And in any case, if in a couple of centuries we're still around and the issue didn't just resolve itself, we can still then try to find a solution.
 

Offline Ians Daddy

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #17 on: 09/08/2009 06:51:11 »
I don't feel that it is a question of stupidity. It never has been. Knowledge is there. It is, however, a case of laziness. Are we becoming more lazy? Sure we are. Will the Lazy outbreed the productive. I hope not.

Just a thought.
 

Offline graham.d

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #18 on: 09/08/2009 11:28:51 »
A whole lot of assumptions are being made in this thread. For a start, natural selection is about survival of the species and one assumption being made is that high IQ is going to be better for this. I think Douglas Adams made amusing comments about this in the "hitchhikers guide to the galaxy" when all the "useless people" were banished to another planet with a disasterous outcome. IQ tests are a measure of our ability to do IQ tests. As has been shown, and acknowledged in some comments above, IQ is not wholly governed (as was once believed by eminent psycholgists) by genetics but can be changed by quite a large extent by environment and education.

There has been much work on how to correlate simple tests (like IQ tests) with success in life, but I wonder to what extent we weight these tests with what we perceive as important today. I can think quite a few people who excel in their field of interest but are quite hopeless outside it and, in contrast, I can think of quite a few others who are generally very sensible and reliable but who do not have any outstanding talent. Both groups undoubtedly have a fairly wide IQ distribution and both groups are valuable and necessary in a working society.

It may be interesting to think how a society's demographics may be affected by a higher birthrate by sections of a community, but in discussing such issues it is worthwhile to try to step back and see these discussions from an "outside" perspective. Here are a bunch of reasonably high-IQ people discussing how their view of the future will change for the worse if nothing is done to give them a breeding advantage over the "lesser beings". How similar is this to the ideas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries which led to the ideas of eugenics and the resulting genocidal consequences?

As mudd1 says, we are probably approaching an era where we will be able to manipulate the genetic make-up of our offspring and that it will likely be yet another Pandora's box full of enabling, scientific advancement but without any ethical guidelines to go with it. I would not be confident that this will be of general advancement to the human race, at least not without setbacks, but I would agree it is likely to happen. It may be a measure of the quality of our society in how well such advances are handled. If such capability is limited and distibuted fairly we may have some chance of allowing more social interchange and reducing the problems resulting from class differentials. If it is something restricted in availability to those who can afford it, we are in danger of exacerbating problems and creating a more divergent social structure.
 

Simon from Oz

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« Reply #19 on: 14/11/2009 00:17:26 »
I think the original poster is correct to be concerned about the reversal of natural selection.  It's real and it's a problem.

But - as the above posters have mentioned, it has little or nothing to do with IQ. That was a red herring.  There is no evidence to suggest that the special as a whole would be worse off if less educated people breed more.  Perhaps the species would be better off - after all it's the smart ones who go on to invent things like nuclear weapons!

The real issue here - and it certainly worries me as an evolution "hobbyist" - is that people with diseases that should be fatal are in fact being treated and are able to breed.

Now don't get me wrong here - I'm not suggesting that people with diseases shouldn't be allowed to breed. I'm just observing the simple and scientific fact that as little as 50 years ago people with diseases like diabetes, hemophilia, certain genetic cancers, heart diseases etc, were statistically less likely to live long enough to have children.  Less likely than a person who didn't have those genes.  Natural selection would, by definition, favor the healthy people having children.  This tends to reduce diseases in the population as a whole.

My big concern is that because people with genetic conditions can get medical treatment and have children, these diseases will become more and more common.  Is it any wonder that diabetes, asthma and other diseases are increasingly common (in Australia the growth rates are huge).  It's not really a shock - it's to do with the reversal - or rather the dismantlement - of natural selection.  People who would never normally get to breed in the "wild" (read "olden days") are having babies.

Fast forward 200 years and I can see a situation where a huge percentage of the world has medical problems that were once very rare.  

This is what I research in my job.  And it scares me.

Simon
 

Offline Ricardo Pedri Lopes

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #20 on: 22/04/2010 16:29:48 »
I have a solution for this: The Naked Science Dating program.
I can also volunteer as a breeder, for the sake of humanity of course  ;D
 

Offline Ophiolite

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #21 on: 22/04/2010 17:11:02 »
Several posts in this thread reveal a lack of understanding onatural selection.

First and foremost natural selection does not have a consistent direction, therefore it cannot be reversed.

That leads, naturally, to the second point: the direction of natural selection is to select organisms that are more fit for their current, specific environment. If the environment changes then the characteristics that will make the organsism fit also change.

Which leads to the third point. Natural selection is very much alive and well in humanity. We now have an environment in which it is not a major disadvantage (in terms of reproductive success) to have a genetically based disease. Consequently natural selection will tend not to select against such.

I have worn glasses since the age of eight. If I had lived in an environment in which corrective lenses were not available there would have been an inreased risk that I would not have lived long enugh to father children. As it is I have passed my genes on the the next generation and the one after that. Is my grandaughter an example of the reversal of natural selection. Obviously not.
 

Offline echochartruse

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #22 on: 22/04/2010 20:11:20 »
............The real issue here - and it certainly worries me as an evolution "hobbyist" - is that people with diseases that should be fatal are in fact being treated and are able to breed.

Now don't get me wrong here - I'm not suggesting that people with diseases shouldn't be allowed to breed. I'm just observing the simple and scientific fact that as little as 50 years ago people with diseases like diabetes, hemophilia, certain genetic cancers, heart diseases etc, were statistically less likely to live long enough to have children.  Less likely than a person who didn't have those genes.  Natural selection would, by definition, favor the healthy people having children.  This tends to reduce diseases in the population as a whole.

My big concern is that because people with genetic conditions can get medical treatment and have children, these diseases will become more and more common.  Is it any wonder that diabetes, asthma and other diseases are increasingly common (in Australia the growth rates are huge).  It's not really a shock - it's to do with the reversal - or rather the dismantlement - of natural selection.  People who would never normally get to breed in the "wild" (read "olden days") are having babies.

Fast forward 200 years and I can see a situation where a huge percentage of the world has medical problems that were once very rare. 

This is what I research in my job.  And it scares me.

Simon


Similarly is the fact that people who are unable to reproduce are given the opportunity, through science. Woman who can only birth via cesarean section for example. Doctors here in Oz are pushing all woman to elect to deliver via cesarean section whether they require it or not.

This should be a great concern to us all.
 

Offline echochartruse

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #23 on: 22/04/2010 20:13:19 »
im sure with proper education and schools, the retarded ones can become as smart as the last generation of smart ones.IQ is rising among peeps.

IQ is only as good as the person who devised the test.
 

Offline echochartruse

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #24 on: 22/04/2010 20:25:06 »
It is not just nature you know. 3000 girls under the age of 16 years old have a baby in one year in Britain. This means that not only are these babies being born to very stupid girls and boys but also there are children being brought up by children. I think the latter has more of a bearing on the future generation as these children are more likely to fail at school. One fertility stopper for the less educated is that most people in prison can not read and a good portion have educational special needs.
OK I'm very tongue in cheek here but I guess if we protect our weak links they will breed and in some cases pass on the problems both by nature and nurture. In more severe circumstances these week links would not survive and breed.
Having said that, thank god we can protect our weak links. I love our diverse society and if we were all super intelligent life would be dull. However, the teenage Mums concern me. It shows a lack of imagination, drive and probably parental love amongst our teens.
I personally think that being a teenage parent doesn't make you stupid. some woman's life ambition is to be a mum. Some just make a simple mistake. I would imagine in the days prior to contraception woman used to reproduce at the earliest age.

In Australian prisons it has been recorded that the majority of white collar crimes are done by genius. There are more genius in our gaols using their talents for evil than for good.

So I suppose a high IQ doesn't make you a good person or a good parent.
 

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QotW - 09.05.24 - Will the stupid outbreed the clever?
« Reply #24 on: 22/04/2010 20:25:06 »

 

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