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FertilityTeasers

PAPER REVIEW

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partridge-artificial-wombs

Abstract:

Here we report the development of a system that incorporates a pumpless oxygenator circuit connected to the fetus of a lamb via an umbilical cord interface that is maintained within a closed ‘amniotic fluid’ circuit that closely reproduces the environment of the womb. We show that fetal lambs that are developmentally equivalent to the extreme premature human infant can be physiologically supported in this extra-uterine device for up to 4 weeks. Lambs on support maintain stable haemodynamics, have normal blood gas and oxygenation parameters and maintain patency of the fetal circulation. With appropriate nutritional support, lambs on the system demonstrate normal somatic growth, lung maturation and brain growth and myelination.

This is really cool.

twitter-artificial-wombs I have been advocating this technology since I started blogging in 2008.

The immediate benefits, which the authors cite, are a reduction in infant mortality caused by extreme prematurity. This is good, though not that big of a deal, since it is very low in First World countries anyway, while poorer countries will probably not be able to afford the technology anyway.

The real promise is in its eugenic potential.

It is common knowledge that the well-educated reproduce less than the poorly educated, and that has resulted in decades of dysgenic decline throughout the developed world. This dysgenic effect has overtaken the Flynn effect. One of the reasons the well-educated, and especially well-educated women, have few or zero children is because it is bad for their career prospects. There are also some women who are just uncomfortable with the idea of pregnancy and childbirth.

There are essentially just a few solutions to this problem:

(1) Do nothing, deny heritability of IQ. Import Afro-Muslims to breed the next generation of doctors and engineers.

(2) Do nothing, hope for a literal deus ex machina solution, such as Musk’s neural lace or superintelligence.

(3) The Alt Right solution: Send the women back to the kitchen.

Ethical considerations aside, there’s also the matter of practicality – you’d have to be really hardcore at enforcing your “White Sharia” to make any substantive difference. Even most conservative Muslim societies, where female labor participation is very low, have seen plummeting fertility rates. And, needless to say, it does nothing about the dysgenic aspect of modern fertility patterns, which are a significantly bigger problem than falling fertility rates anyway.

(4) Develop artificial wombs.

This is a good idea from all sorts of ideological perspectives.

Everyone: Immediate higher fertility rates in the countries that develop them, especially amongst well-educated women. This might cancel out dysgenic decline at a single stroke.

Liberals: Alternate option for women who don’t want to undergo pregnancy/childbirth for whatever reason. No more market for surrogate mothers – an end to a particularly icky form of Third World exploitation.

Libertarians: People with the means to pay – that is, millionaires and especially billionaires – will no longer be bounded in their reproductive capacity by the biology of their female partner or by the culture of their society (generally, no polygamy). Since wealth is moderately correlated with IQ, this will be eugenic. That said, this might strike some as dystopian. Maybe one could start taxing additional artificial womb-grown offspring past the first five or ten? Then you’d get “offshore hatcheries.” Okay, I suppose that’s even more dystopian.

Zensunnis: I suppose cultures that really dislike women can just gradually start making do without them by replacing them with the equivalent of Axlotl tanks. Conversely, (almost) all female “Amazonian” societies will also become possible. Let’s make sci-fi tropes real.

Futurists: Combining artificial wombs with CRISPR gene-editing for IQ on a mass scale pretty much directly leads to a biosingularity.

As I pointed out, a biosingularity may be preferable to one born of machine superintelligence because it bypasses the AI alignment problem and doesn’t risk the end of conscious experience.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Fertility, Paper Review, Transhumanism 

Now that we have established that immigration is not much good, let’s take a look at another component undergirding our transition to Idiocracy – the differential fertility rates of different IQ groups.

This is a highly contentious topic, and not just on account of the usual political kurfuffles, but also on real disagreements as to its actual extent. Psychologists such as Richard Lynn, Edward Dutton, and Michael Woodley are pessimistic (Woodley 2014; Dutton et al. 2016). OTOH, JayMan has argued based on WORDSUM analysis that “Idiocracy can Wait.” This topic is extra difficult because you also have to disentangle the dysgenics trend from the Flynn effect that has raised IQs in the developed by about 10 points during the 20th century.

The PISA Data Explorer is truly an invaluable tool for bringing the light of cold, hard facts on these issues.

While playing around with it, I noticed you can select the variable “same age siblings,” which ranges from zero to ten. Zero siblings implies, of course, that the student in question is an only child; by definition, the survey excludes entirely the childless portion of the population, which is also its brightest. Data only exists for the Mathematics part of PISA 2000, but it is more than enough to get an idea of the general trend – and as you might expect, it’s not a very good one.

I calculated the “slope” in terms of PISA-adjusted IQ points lost per additional sibling for the first four siblings (in practice, since TFR <<6 for all countries in PISA 2000, the IQ of children from even larger families won’t have much of an effect). See the table at the bottom of this post.

Here are some general points to take away:

(1) Indonesia is the only country, at least as judged from the Math portion of PISA 2000, that has eugenic fertility patterns (since its a developing country with a TFR = c.2.5, we can be pretty sure that childlessness will not impact these statistics down by very much since its simply very rare). Second is Thailand. Both are lower-middle income Asian countries that only escaped the Malthusian trap within living memory and are in the middle stages of the demographic transition. (That said, in PISA 2015, coverage of the 15 year old population was not great in either country – 68% in Indonesia, 71% in Thailand – and assuming that was also generally true in 2000, those not turning up are sure to be less bright and will probably come from more rural, bigger families).

[Epistemic status: Speculative]. However, despite also being within the middle-income brackets, the Latin American countries have moderately dysgenic fertility patterns. I wonder if this could explain Steve Sailer’s observation that Latin American countries seem to have smaller smart fractions than Middle Eastern ones, despite similar average IQs. Maybe their European and, critically, Europeanized, upper classes have simply failed to reproduce in the last couple of generations?

(2) The East Asian and European Nordic states have more eugenic fertility patterns. The European Mediterranean – Greece, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria – has some of the worst. France, Spain, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the US all cluster close to each other (though American White fertility is probably more eugenic, perhaps around Australia’s and Canada’s level, since minority and especially Black fertility patterns are known to be highly dysgenic even according to JayMan’s optimistic analysis).

(3) The rate of childlessness is considerably lower, at around 10%, in the ex-Soviet bloc and East-Central Europe than in Western Europe and the US.

childlessness-by-country

This means that their real figures will get a modest boost relative to those of Western Europe, since not as big a percentage of the professional class are getting cut out entirely.

(4) You can’t precisely quantify the dysgenic impact from this with any exactitude, since you’ll also need to combine it far more detailed fertility data.

That data does exist, at least for many of the OECD countries and Russia, so its doable, but it would be a pretty big project.

(5) Eyeballing it there seems to be a moderate degree of correlation with commenter Cicerone’s country estimates of dysgenic fertility extracted from fertility data of educational classes.

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IQ vs. #Siblings

Country #0 #1 #2 #3 #4 b
Indonesia 78 82 83 81 80 0.37
Thailand 88 91 90 89 88 -0.16
Japan 103 104 103 103 102 -0.48
Ireland 104 106 106 104 102 -0.51
Iceland 103 102 101 101 100 -0.59
Denmark 99 101 100 98 97 -0.70
Finland 108 108 107 107 105 -0.70
Norway 101 102 102 101 98 -0.71
Sweden 102 104 104 102 99 -0.83
Korea 103 104 103 102 100 -0.88
Chile 87 88 88 85 84 -0.93
Israel 95 96 97 94 91 -0.94
Canada 106 106 105 105 102 -1.07
New Zealand 103 107 106 104 99 -1.13
Australia 105 106 105 102 101 -1.13
Peru 75 80 79 74 71 -1.27
Mexico 89 94 92 88 85 -1.37
Switzerland 99 100 100 98 93 -1.42
Austria 100 100 99 97 93 -1.69
Latvia 95 96 94 91 89 -1.70
Albania 76 81 79 75 70 -1.83
France 102 102 102 98 95 -1.86
Spain 101 100 98 96 94 -1.88
Brazil 87 88 86 83 80 -1.93
United Kingdom 107 106 104 102 99 -1.93
Germany 99 100 97 92 93 -1.93
Poland 101 99 97 92 94 -1.95
Russia 98 96 92 90 90 -2.01
United States 103 105 102 99 96 -2.01
Luxembourg 94 93 91 89 85 -2.17
Hong Kong 106 105 103 101 96 -2.41
Belgium 103 104 102 99 93 -2.45
Czechia 101 101 98 95 91 -2.63
Greece 101 97 95 93 90 -2.66
Hungary 99 99 96 92 89 -2.75
FYROM 80 84 78 72 72 -2.84
Romania 93 92 88 85 81 -3.03
Italy 102 99 96 94 89 -3.03
Bulgaria 92 91 85 83 80 -3.19
Portugal 100 97 94 92 87 -3.20
OECD Average 101 101 99 97 95 -1.57
Total Average 97 98 96 94 91 -1.64

.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Dysgenic, Fertility, IQ, Psychometrics 

When I posted a 2007 map of the share of European children born out of wedlock from Reddit to Twitter, it generated considerably discussion, including a discussion at Razib Kan’s blog.

europe-nonmarital-fertility-2007

There are many rather interesting patterns here:

  • The Nordics, France, The Former GDR, Estonia, Bulgaria all have high rates out of wedlock births. Most but not all of them are socially liberal; all of them, however, are highly secular and irreligious.
  • There does not seem to be a high correlation between out of wedlock births and total fertility rates. “Traditionalist” Italy, West Germany, and Spain all have low TFRs; conservative and strongly religious Poland has one of the very lowest TFRs in all of Europe.
  • On the other hand, ultraconservative and very religious Far West Ukraine has consistently had some of the very highest TFRs in Europe, along with moderately conservative Ireland and very liberal France, Scandinavia, and Iceland.

A query from Charles Murray provoked me into seeking out its source: A 2015 paper by Sebastian Klüsener, “Spatial variation in non-marital fertility across Europe in the 20th-21st centuries.”

That study is basically a statistical survey of the history of nonmarital fertility (NMF) in Europe in the past three centuries.

Here is a map of nonmarital fertility rates in 1910, just before modern nationstates began to break down traditional marriage folkways through laws and regulations:

europe-nonmarital-fertility-1910

As we can see, there are significant but not overwhelming continuities between 1910 and 2007. Klüsener found a Spearman’s rho correlation of 0.29 between regional out of wedlock shares of births.

What determines NMF?

Klüsener lays out several factors:

  • Economic instability – Favors NMF.
  • Preexisting traditions – Some regions like Iceland and parts of Sweden have always had less of an absolute emphasis on marriage.
  • Laws/Customs – Historically, Jews in Austrian Galicia had children almost entirely within wedlock, but they were not officially registered; hence the unexpectedly rather high share of out of wedlock births across the eastern Habsburg domains in the 1910 map are more a statistical artefact than a reality. Today, similar factors apply to Kosovan Muslims.
  • Agricultural inheritance systems
  • Secularization levels – Favors NMF.
  • Female autonomy and economic participation – Favors NMF.

In Temporal Terms

Initially very low before the early 18th century, NMF became a significant phenomenon in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. He doesn’t mention a cause, but the obvious suspect would be the wellknown secularization of European society after the religious wars of the 17th century.

NMF decreased significantly during the postwar miracle economy years, ushering in the “Golden Age of Marriage.” After 1960, however, this model began breaking down.

europe-nonmarital-fertility-history It began in Northern Europe, and then spread to Western and Central Europe by the 1980s; Southern and Eastern Europe followed in the 1990s, albeit the latter reversed direction from the mid-2000s, presumably due to some combination of economic stabilization and post-Soviet desecularization (indeed, Eastern Europe went from being the region with the highest share of out of wedlock births in the 1950s and 1960s, to the lowest share as of today). NMF in Northern Europe seems to have reached a plateau at around 50%, but continues rising steadily in Western Europe, having reached 64% in France.

The author links this with legislative actions providing greater autonomy for women, which is supported by institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and the EU. Its worth noting that French laws on marriage and paternity are (in)famously favorable to women, prohibiting paternity testing without both partners’ consent and obligating men to look after “their” children even if they discover they are not theirs. In substantial part, ergo for Sweden. In such a legal environment, coupled with the high secularism rates and expansive welfare states, it is hardly surprising that many men appear to be “striking” against marriage.

In Regional Terms

In the 1910 map, the big cities in the more backward and traditionalist countries – Madrid in Spain, Rome in Italy, Saint Petersburg and Moscow in Russia – stand out, having West European like NMF rates in a sea of near universal traditional marriage patterns.

central-europe-nonmarital-fertilityA century ago and earlier, Germany used to have a general east/west division, in which Bavaria belonged to the high NMF region (this is also mentioned by Emmanuel Todd in The Explanation of Ideology). But while Austria, which also had historically high NMF, remains an NMF hotspot to this day, Bavaria has converged with the rest of Western Germany; the author links this to its adoption of the unified German civil code in 1900, which stated that children born outside marriage were not related to the father and invalidated Bavarian regional legal norms giving out of wedlock children substantial rights.

Switzerland has traditionally had the lowest NMF rates of any Germanic region. Is in any way connected to the fact it was the last major European country to give women the vote?

intermarium-nonmarital-fertility This traditional east German propensity for high NMF (present well before the GDR), even continues to be reflected on the map of Poland today, where the parts previous under German rule continue to have somewhat higher NMF rates than the otherwise very low Polish average (just like the famous map of Polish voting patterns). Poland has traditionally had the lowest NMF rates in East-Central Europe, but since 1990 and especially since 2000 they have started going up sharply. In this case at least, Estonia can into Nordic.

east-europe-nonmarital-fertility In the future, Klüsener suggests increasing convergence between the Protestant and Catholic regions of Europe, as secularization in the latter drives up their NMF rates further. However, the Orthodox regions of Europe may be an exception to the general European pattern due to their “reactionary trend” of rising religiosity and rejection of a “wide range of family formation behaviors that are not in line with traditional norms.” As for the Muslim regions of Europe, their NMF rates remain stable at a very low level.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Demographics, Fertility 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.


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