[ExI] shining example and COVID-19

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Tue Mar 24 03:21:33 UTC 2020

On Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 7:51 PM Keith Henson via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Our psychological traits such as introversion have also been
> selected.by evolution.  Intelligence too.  Statistically, people far
> from the center of the intelligence distribution don't reproduce as
> well as those nearer the center.  It's fairly clear that people are
> not likely to reproduce who are too low on the scale, but it is also
> true that really smart people don't reproduce very well either.

### You say that current IQ levels are optimized for maximum fitness around
average IQ, similar to height. I disagree.

IQ is under natural conditions adaptive throughout the whole range of
variability. The reason why very high IQ is maladaptive in women (but not
in men) *today* is because of new and old cultural factors - the
combination of contraception, hypergamy and gender equality, perhaps other
factors as well. High IQ does not force a trade-off on general health, sex
drive, ambition or other important traits. In fact, high IQ persons are
likely to be overall healthier, stronger, faster, more robust than lower IQ
persons, over the whole range of the trait.

In comparison, height does force significant trade-offs in important
characteristics, such as energy use. While being taller makes it easier to
win fights, it also makes it much more difficult to find enough food to
thrive. At some level of height above average this increased energy cost
creates negative selection for height. This is why we are not all giants.
Further, height is a biologically "simple" characteristic - just more or
less bone growth at the right time that can be effectively regulated by
just a few genes - e.g. by variations in growth hormone receptors.

IQ is different from height. Under almost all natural environmental
conditions and in all social positions a more intelligent person will be
fitter than a less intelligent one. This means that there is some positive
selection for IQ at all levels. However, IQ depends on a large number of
genes working perfectly together to create a very complex and finely tuned
structure - and the more genes there are, the more likely that some of them
will have more or less deleterious mutations. The fewer damaged genes you
have, the higher IQ you can achieve. We are all afflicted by literally
thousands of rare variants that collectively limit our intelligence and it
takes very harsh selection and endogamy to significantly reduce such
polygenic afflictions. This is why we are not all geniuses - the historical
selection pressure in favor of high IQ wasn't strong enough to overcome
error accumulation, except in a few small groups subjected to harsh
selection with endogamy, such as the Ashkenazim or the Parsees.

As you mentioned, mismatch between the EEA and today's world often exists.
Today's conditions are clearly dysgenic with respect to IQ. But the world
needs more intelligence! If the current situation continued, in a couple of
hundred years we could expect the "Idiocracy" to end our civilization as we
know it. Luckily, AI and uploading will soon make biological human IQ a
moot issue.

It's still interesting to think about IQ levels that will be established
after the AI or uploading singularity. I would expect that there will be
niches available for minds with different levels of IQ, based on energy/IQ
trade-offs, similar to what Robin mentioned in his Age of Em, except that I
think the differences will be much larger than what Robin expects.

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