[extropy-chat] The Bible Belt Paradox

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Wed Jan 17 11:25:21 UTC 2007

spike wrote:
> There is a lot of stuff in this post, but I want to comment on only one
> dimension.  I have traveled to places where living is cheap enough; the
> effect is astounding.  Places that have been populated for a long time but
> where there is little industry show the long term effects of removing the
> ambitious and capable for generations, leaving the others to breed.

I don't think the genetic selection effect is that strong, but I really
fear the cultural selection effect.

I note that while mobility increases with socioeconomic class (GSS again),
even in the lowest stratum 23% now live in a different state from the one
they lived in when they were 16. Only half of the people at the bottom end
live in the same city as they grew up. So it doesn't seem that we have an
inert remnant staying in place, slowly losing the bright ones. But there
might be an inert culture, with people arriving and leaving yet adopting
this culture limiting the growth potential of the place. While other
places develop a vibrant culture, rapidly attracting the creative and

> The flip side of this coin I saw when giving a math lecture at the local
> high school.  Those students seemed so much more intense, motivated and
> brighter than I recall my companions and myself ever being.  Perhaps it
> occurs to the locals that unless they are unusually successful early in
> life, their choices are to live with their parents or move far out into
> the
> Taxifornia central valley.

Interesting. I wonder how that has percolated into teenage culture? On the
other hand, you are a pretty good lecturer too, so you might have a cause
of bias there.

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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