RE: Serious concern

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue 19 Aug 2003 - 00:24:10 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: Serious concern"

    At 12:33 PM 18/08/03 -0700, Virginia wrote:


    >But this leads to something I've been mulling lately. Do you all think
    >that memes are *genetically* inheritable? I was wondering just
    >yesterday if the general level of introspective intelligence in the
    >populace at large would be affected with the seeming lack of huge
    >reproduction numbers among the more academic sorts. If more gullible
    >memes are genetically inheritable, then we're on a downslide for sure.

    No, memes are not genetically inheritable, different mechanism.

    That said, Aaron Lynch has argued for years that children are largely infected by parental memes, so that meme sets that encourage large families
    (e.g. Mormons) would spread by this way as well as "horizontally."

    Aaron makes a strong case.

    I am personally convinced that psychological traits such as gullibility have strong genetic components. For example, descendants of Mormons would be expected genetically to be more susceptible to cults than others whose ancestors were not sucked into the major cult of a century and a half ago. This seems to be born out in that an unexpectedly large number of
    (for example) scientologists have Mormon ancestry.

    Your point about the larger genetic contribution of non academic types
    (read lower IQ) is certainly a subject you can worry about. It used to bother me a great deal. Roughly a decade ago I finally realized that *any* measurable trait tends to result in reduced reproductive success at both ends of the bell curve.

    If this were not so, and the trait was due to genes, then the center of the curve would drift due to differential gene selection until both ends *were* seeing reduced reproductive success in about the same amounts. You can see this in that very bright and very stupid people both tend to have fewer kids. (It would be an interesting curve to plot)

    Humans are (in my estimation) less than a generation away from gaining complete control of their genes. If I felt it was even two generations away, I would put more effort into encouraging bright people to have more kids. Being the sort who leads by example, I had 5 (all girls) by two really bright women.

    "Regression to the mean" means that really bright parents will (on average) have kids that are less bright than they are, but still well above average, and a few of them will be sharper than their parents.

    A major problem is that one kid can outnumber two parents. :-) Kid raising is a tribal project, always was.

    Keith Henson

    Keith Henson

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