[ExI] A Gedanken Rational Eugenics Experiment (AGREE)

rex rex at nosyntax.net
Thu Oct 24 16:33:13 UTC 2013

Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> [2013-10-24 07:29]:
>Fertility is surprisingly changeable through culture and 
>institutions. The points made about higher education being 
>parent-unfriendly are just the tip of the iceberg; the big birth 
>differential between northern and southern Europe is largely due to 
>institutional affordances... and *soap operas* have been a major 
>vector in changing fertility patterns in Brazil and India.

Soap operas changed fertility patterns? How would a causal relationship
be proven?

>But getting less smart people have fewer children requires them to 
>(1) think this is a good idea, and (2) recognize that they are less 
>smart. 2 often fails due to the Dunning-Kruger effect. And 1 is often 
>overruled by emotion and (one could argue) freerider problems ("Yes, 
>we are a stupid couple, but we *and our children* will benefit from 
>living in a smarter society.")

The payments would make some fraction think it's a good idea. What
fraction that would be depends upon the amount of payment and the IQ
required to qualify (the sim used -1 SD, but -1.5 SDs or -2 SDs)
would also work.

>This is why I think liberal eugenics, which works by parents 
>selecting themselves what traits to go for, might be more robust. And 

It's merely a Gedanken experiment to illustrate the ideas, and not
intended to be a policy to be compared with others which may well be
more socially viable. And, it's not an exclusive policy. 

>On 2013-10-24 02:16, rex wrote:
>>Since IQ is highly heritable, all else being equal, mean IQ would rise
>>if low IQ individuals were offered payment not to breed.
>Note that you would need to pay *a lot*. The below 1 SD population is 
>around 15%, so in the US that would be about 47 million people you 
>need to pay off. I am not sure what the going price for getting 
>sterilized is, but at least I expect it to be on the order of a few 
>thousand dollars - we are easily talking hundreds of billions here. 
>Not quite as much as is already spent on elementary schools, but 
>still a lot.

But only half that 47 million are females, and if the qualifying IQ
were -2 SDs, the number of qualified females would be about 3 million,
and only perhaps half would participate. BTW, as I expect you know, in
the long run delayed fertility has a similar effect to lowering
fertility, so birth control would be viable and removes the need for a
(difficult) sterilization decision. Payments could be semi-annual
contingent upon 6-month birth control implants, and costs would be at
least partially offset by lower food stamp expenditures.

>>Note that even when only 25% of the low-IQ women choose not to breed
>>the fraction of high-IQ people increases by a factor of 5.
>Impressive. Except, as noted, it takes 15 generations and would cost 
>you a lot.

In politics 15 generations is an unthinkably long period. In
evolutionary biology it's an eyeblink.

>I am mildly sceptical of the smart fraction theory. Yes, breakthrough 
>happens because of geniuses and clusters of genius (I am fond of 
>Murray's "Human Excellence"). But most of the big economic and 
>technological growth requires a lot of talent rather than a few 
>spearheads: the network effects of a smart, long-term oriented, 
>low-friction society seem to matter enormously.

La Griffe du Lion's smart fraction theory is not about genius; it's
about a critical fraction with the modest IQ required to be useful to
society. (I don't know who he really is, but he's clearly an incisive
thinker who uses statistical inference fluently.)


  "Thus, for a technologically sophisticated society, SFT asserts that a
  nation's per capita GDP is determined by the population fraction with
  IQ greater than or equal to some threshold IQ. Consistent with the
  data of Lynn and Vanhanen, that threshold IQ is 108, a bit less than
  the minimum required for what used to be a bachelor's degree. Figure
  3 illustrates the fit of (3) to the data of Lynn and Vanhanen."

>Cynically, it might be more cost-effective to spend those billions on 
>deworming and education in Africa and Asia, and then open your 
>borders to brain-drain smart people...

Yes, perhaps. 

I'm more interested in varying parameters in simulations to see how
they behave than in comparing potential policies. For example,
assortative mating and the high heritability of IQ cause speciation
pressure. As these values large enough to eventually cause speciation
in humans? If not, how large must the correlation between the IQs of
mates be to cause speciation?

For every complex problem, there is a solution that's simple,
straightforward -- and wrong.     -- H.L. Mencken

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