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Genetics: Mutational Load as Bad as Climate Change
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From Genetics:

Mutation and Human Exceptionalism: Our Future Genetic Load
Michael Lynch
GENETICS March 7, 2016 vol. 202 no. 3 869-875; DOI: 10.1534/genetics.115.180471
Abstract

Although the human germline mutation rate is higher than that in any other well-studied species, the rate is not exceptional once the effective genome size and effective population size are taken into consideration. Human somatic mutation rates are substantially elevated above those in the germline, but this is also seen in other species. What is exceptional about humans is the recent detachment from the challenges of the natural environment and the ability to modify phenotypic traits in ways that mitigate the fitness effects of mutations, e.g., precision and personalized medicine. This results in a relaxation of selection against mildly deleterious mutations, including those magnifying the mutation rate itself. The long-term consequence of such effects is an expected genetic deterioration in the baseline human condition, potentially measurable on the timescale of a few generations in westernized societies, and because the brain is a particularly large mutational target, this is of particular concern. Ultimately, the price will have to be covered by further investment in various forms of medical intervention. Resolving the uncertainties of the magnitude and timescale of these effects will require the establishment of stable, standardized, multigenerational measurement procedures for various human traits.

… Taking the lower end of the latter range suggests that the recurrent load of mutations imposed on the human population drags fitness down per generation …

Summing up to this point, our current knowledge of the rate and likely effects of mutation in humans suggests a 1% or so decline in the baseline performance of physical and mental attributes in populations with the resources and inclination toward minimizing the fitness consequences of mutations with minor effects.

A fitness decline of a few percent on the timescale of a century is on the order of the rate of global warming, and that is part of the problem. What will it take to promote serious discourse on the slowly emerging, long-term negative consequences of policies jointly promoted by political, social, and religious factors? Should such a discussion even be pursued or should the process of accelerated genetic change simply be allowed to run its course—a slow walk down the path to what Hamilton (2001) called “the great Planetary Hospital”? Unlike global environmental change, there is no obvious technological fix for the uniquely human goal of intentionally ameliorating the effects of mutation, nor is there a simple ethical imperative for doing otherwise, short of refocusing our ethical goals on future descendants.

This is the kind of dysgenic logic that worried people like the great William D. Hamilton (a lot, in Hamilton’s case, due to personal reasons besides the Darwinian cultural heritage — he grew up five miles from Darwin’s home). Note that it’s a different cause for dysgenic worry than the differential rate of breeding worry featured in Idiocracy.

On the other hand, doot-dee-doot-dee-doo, I’m not all that worried.

First, I don’t know for sure that it’s really happening.

Second, the persuasiveness of dysgenic logic is one reason why people kept discovering the Flynn Effect and then losing it (until James Flynn made sure that after him it would stay discovered).

Third, I would assume that while the advent of practical genetic engineering for humans isn’t going to happen as fast as I figured it would back in 1999, it will likely still happen within a few generations. So, that looks like a solution that will likely kick in before things get too bad.

On the other hand, fifty years ago everybody assumed that the problems caused by fossil fuel use would soon be gone because nuclear power is only going to get ever more cost-effective. (Not to mention that fusion power would be here Real Soon Now.) Last summer, however, I went for a memorable walk along the base of the recently shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant.

So, what do I know about the future?

 
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  1. Because it’s a human problem, and because it is—might be–occurring at a glacial pace, so to speak, seems like it would be a problem that the organism called society would accidentally solve by accretion of hedge bets and miniature safety nets, things invisible to the naked eye except in radical retrospect.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's my general explanation for the Flynn Effect.

    On the other hand, there's also the opportunity cost angle.

    , @jJay
    On the other hand, fifty years ago everybody assumed that the problems caused by fossil fuel use would soon be gone because nuclear power is only going to get ever more cost-effective.

    A popular meme today, especially on the alt-right, is that labor jobs will be displaced by robots in the next 20 years or so. Randall Parker is big on this. I wish that were true, but it won't happen.

    Why did we have an explosion in electronics and communications technology during the last 50 years but we still have few jet packs and no flying cars? Well, my best guess is that a computer is a much more well- behaved machine than a bicycle. This is counter-intuitive as it takes no knowledge of quantum mechanics to build or ride a bike.
  2. @Pat Casey
    Because it's a human problem, and because it is---might be--occurring at a glacial pace, so to speak, seems like it would be a problem that the organism called society would accidentally solve by accretion of hedge bets and miniature safety nets, things invisible to the naked eye except in radical retrospect.

    That’s my general explanation for the Flynn Effect.

    On the other hand, there’s also the opportunity cost angle.

    • Replies: @random observer
    Any chance of elaboration [or a link] on this point:

    "That’s my general explanation for the Flynn Effect."

    I have at least one work colleague for whom the Flynn Effect is a catch-all justification for why human civilization is just getting better and better in every possible way every day, or words to that effect. Millennial, natch.
  3. Yup, it’s not certain dysgenics is actually happening.

    Idiocracy Can Wait?

    Similar results come out of Scandinavia.

    And yes you’re quite right, even if it were happening, the rate would be slow enough that all manner of interventions would likely become available before it became a real problem.

    • Replies: @lauris
    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher - close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
    I am also sceptical about the personal genetic engineering. We may learn to target clearly deleterious variants in this century but doubful if there ever will be a way to estimate and alter the huge number of small "network" changes. Unless we start to synthesize long DNA fragments and using these as replacement of "natural" genome fragments in zygote.
    , @Economic Sophisms
    We already have the ability to measure rare alleles in living humans (that paper Cochran talked about showing lots of mutations in Quebec). And we have the ability to look at the genomes of fertilized embryos. So...we should be able to pick embryos for low genetic load, right?
  4. I’m worried about germs eventually catching up to us. After all they mutate much faster than us.

  5. Now that the Flynn effect has stopped and, indeed, reversed in advanced societies, it does seem clear that the Idiocracy theory of dysgenic breeding has a basis in fact.

    Sure, modern medicine slows the rate at which bad genes cull the herd, but dysgenic breeding surely is harming humanity’s civilizational capacities.

  6. TG says:

    Humm… Well it is an issue.

    ‘Survival of the fittest.’ It sounds so simple. Newton’s law of gravity is also simple, but just three orbiting bodies and it becomes insoluble…

    How about: sexual selection pressure? Even if we all have plenty of food and medicine etc., the strongest and prettiest will still seek each other out… Darwin is not dead, and his insights live on…

    • Replies: @anowow
    The pill has changed that equation somewhat.

    Pretty people are like other people, breeding later and less.
  7. Correct me if I am wrong here, but isn’t a vastly increased human population likely to have far more chances for positive mutations? And hasn’t the human race mutated the more and more intensely it has used certain tools and technologies: metal, farming/agriculture, domestication of animals, etc?

    What is likely to be the effect of AI fusion with humans, “enhanced” ability to process and recognize data, upon genetic mutation? Surely those more fit for the tool so to speak will have more successful progeny than those who do not, given a struggle over resources and the African population explosion.

    • Replies: @Eric Rasmusen
    Very good point--- more people, more chance of mutations. Also, we have probably created a better atmosphere for mutations by all the artificial chemicals around, keeping in mind especially that the countries with the most people have the weakest safety laws. On the other hand, if people stay indoors perhaps they get less radiation.
  8. It’s possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming. OTOH Muslim Cousin Marriage + Welfare State does seem massively dysgenic – in the West, but also in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries with functioning Welfare health care systems.

    • Replies: @Lauris
    Inbreeding is not dysgenic in the strict sense. While it lowers the fitness of individuals, it does not change the genetic structure of population.
    If anything inbreeding may accelerate the "cleaning up" of mutations by exposing more deleterious variants that will normally be hidden.
    , @Anonymous
    Perhaps, due to the cost of funding the Saudi welfare state, which of course is for Saudis only and not 'migrant' workers, the price of oil will never rise above current levels.
    , @Eric Rasmusen

    It’s possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming.
     
    Excellent point. Were there any good genetic effects from farming? A reduction in tendency towards laziness? Foresight? Farming also allowed for the luxury of bigger brains.
  9. I’m reminded of lyrics from an early DEVO demo tape:

    Boy plus girl make mess out of sex,
    No babies come–what happens next?

    De-evolution, self-execution, no solution
    I’m a potato and I’m so hip!

    • Replies: @Olorin
    Then if you've got it
    You don't want it
    Seems to be the rule of thumb

    Don't be tricked by what you see
    You've got two ways to go...

    ...Freedom of choice is what you've got
    Freedom from choice is what you want

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVGINIsLnqU
  10. This was documented in Mad Max: Fury Road.

  11. Isn’t that overwhelming population explosion in Africa a counter to this?

    Wont that population bring more genetic diversity and less inbreeding to the world?

    The article was horrifically written, typical of the math nerd/reductionist scientist mindset so I’m going to have to wait for the clearer English language translation.

    • Replies: @ziel
    Well then (with Africa) you do have the Idiocracy effect - bringing an average healthy baseline IQ of 85 (at best) along with it. Along with a behavioral suite that might not be so conducive to modern, dense, technological societies. Plus it's not clear the genetic load in Africa is any less of a problem in and of itself. If you're relying on the African population explosion to Make Things Right, you're putting your eggs in one very fragile basket.
    , @Romanian
    I don't think inbreeding is a problem in Europe. It might actually be a problem in the rural areas of Africa, or in places like US ghettos. This fantasy of a Africans saving us genetically is just that. Not just because of what you have to work with. While Europeans descend from the small number of people that came out of Africa, they have had plenty of time for genetic drift, aided by having a large population for a good deal longer than Africa and a culture that was against inbreeding, except for royalty. Remember that African population was 5 times less than today in 1950. If ultimate miscegenation is your goal, then Africans will benefit, not Europeans. But there won't be enough Euro wombs to go around.
  12. I think that’s the whole twist on the “demographics is destiny” as the elites become relatively smaller (invisible and powerful), they’ll siphon off the best and the brightest from the rest. It’s instructive to remember (apparently) that the poorest Westerner is wealthier than 90% of the global population.

    Finally I think climate change worries and even genetic mutational concerns need to be weighed down by the time value of money argument, it’s a basic and rather useful financial concept (money today is worth much much more than money in the future). So it really can be a bit counter-productive to speculate on the lives of our descendants (you couldn’t make up the Trump campaign as an example)..

    • Replies: @AndrewR

    the poorest Westerner is wealthier than 90% of the global population.
     
    That's laughably false, especially given that, unless one uses the narrowest possible definition of "Westerners", "Westerners" make up well over 10% of the global population.
  13. OT:

    How to solve Germany’s migrant crisis? Make sure each migrant has a German girlfriend:

    http://www.dw.com/en/finding-love-in-germany-a-road-to-integration-for-refugees/a-19113974?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

    So now german men will not only have to compete with immigrants for jobs but also for women.

    • Replies: @thisisaknife
    Does anyone care? Anybody even notice? Seems like women do not care, nor are capable of it. Germany threw its sons under the bus. It's sink or swim. The math is depressing. I find this all extremely disturbing.
    , @Laura
    The German woman in that article hadn't had a boyfriend in six years, so it doesn't sound like the German male population is terribly interested in completing for her attentions. It sounds like she threw herself at the Iraqi guy, and he was lonely enough to go along with it, although without much enthusiasm.

    It's more a sad story of a woman who is completely clueless about relationships, than a story of an immigrant horning in on a hot commodity.
    , @Reg Cæsar
    That article is one big Ali-and-Lena joke. The only thing missing is Sven.
    , @Olorin
    The globalista elites are absolutely ignorant of biology (including population genetics) and statistics.

    All they know is money.
  14. @Simon in London
    It's possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming. OTOH Muslim Cousin Marriage + Welfare State does seem massively dysgenic - in the West, but also in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries with functioning Welfare health care systems.

    Inbreeding is not dysgenic in the strict sense. While it lowers the fitness of individuals, it does not change the genetic structure of population.
    If anything inbreeding may accelerate the “cleaning up” of mutations by exposing more deleterious variants that will normally be hidden.

  15. @JayMan
    Yup, it's not certain dysgenics is actually happening.

    Idiocracy Can Wait?

    Similar results come out of Scandinavia.

    And yes you're quite right, even if it were happening, the rate would be slow enough that all manner of interventions would likely become available before it became a real problem.

    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
    I am also sceptical about the personal genetic engineering. We may learn to target clearly deleterious variants in this century but doubful if there ever will be a way to estimate and alter the huge number of small “network” changes. Unless we start to synthesize long DNA fragments and using these as replacement of “natural” genome fragments in zygote.

    • Replies: @Hail

    estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
     
    Dr. Richard Lynn estimated genotypic IQ loss at around 0.5 points per decade in the USA and Britain, controlled for race, over the past 150 years or so. (Due to the lower half of the bell curve having the majority of surviving children; "dysgenic pressure")
    , @Charlie_U
    It's interesting that you mention Woodley, since he is often referred to and quoted by Dr. Bruce Charlton, who is of course on Steve's blogroll.

    Charlton himself has written a lot about mutation accumulation/mutational load, and a cursory blogsearch of the word Woodley throws up plenty of relevant and interesting reading material for those of you out there who are interested:

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=woodley

    , @JayMan

    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
     
    Pigs have been estimated to fly, too.
  16. @Simon in London
    It's possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming. OTOH Muslim Cousin Marriage + Welfare State does seem massively dysgenic - in the West, but also in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries with functioning Welfare health care systems.

    Perhaps, due to the cost of funding the Saudi welfare state, which of course is for Saudis only and not ‘migrant’ workers, the price of oil will never rise above current levels.

  17. OT: This article is haunting me, calling (I guess) for a middle-american moral revivalism focused on getting off pills and unemployment: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/432796/working-class-whites-have-moral-responsibilities-defense-kevin-williamson

    Maybe a sort of Minimum-Wage-Anonymous 12-step movement that acknowledges that we all have to start over as McDonalds frycooks or the equivalent and claw our way up to whatever extent we’re able, supporting each other and rejecting the fraudulent expectations the media’s been dangling…

    (It occurs to me now this is sounding like the old Nation of Islam, raising ourselves from the ghetto to dignity by our bootstraps?)

  18. Off topic: Topix.com can be an interesting outlet for what people can’t say anywhere else, and a local here just complained that white kids are getting bullied by black kids in the local public schools– is this a general-but-unspeakable problem? It worries me that poor and middle class white parents might be stuck sending their daughters to schools where they have to deal with adolescent black males acting out sexually.

  19. Hail says: • Website
    @lauris
    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher - close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
    I am also sceptical about the personal genetic engineering. We may learn to target clearly deleterious variants in this century but doubful if there ever will be a way to estimate and alter the huge number of small "network" changes. Unless we start to synthesize long DNA fragments and using these as replacement of "natural" genome fragments in zygote.

    estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.

    Dr. Richard Lynn estimated genotypic IQ loss at around 0.5 points per decade in the USA and Britain, controlled for race, over the past 150 years or so. (Due to the lower half of the bell curve having the majority of surviving children; “dysgenic pressure”)

  20. @TG
    Humm… Well it is an issue.

    'Survival of the fittest.' It sounds so simple. Newton's law of gravity is also simple, but just three orbiting bodies and it becomes insoluble…

    How about: sexual selection pressure? Even if we all have plenty of food and medicine etc., the strongest and prettiest will still seek each other out… Darwin is not dead, and his insights live on...

    The pill has changed that equation somewhat.

    Pretty people are like other people, breeding later and less.

  21. In most species, the majority of individuals live at the edge of starvation; an occasional rapid environmental change wipes out the majority, leaving the survivors with a fresh start. The human gene pool hasn’t had a good bleach treatment in a long time, and man has created for himself the delusion that he enjoys a state of grace – freedom from the rules of evolution, reward for man’s exceptionality. History, though, shows otherwise, and harbors a total disregard for man’s ephemeral and transient beliefs.

    Adjustments are coming, the only real questions are when and to what scale.

    • Agree: AndrewR
  22. @Pat Casey
    Because it's a human problem, and because it is---might be--occurring at a glacial pace, so to speak, seems like it would be a problem that the organism called society would accidentally solve by accretion of hedge bets and miniature safety nets, things invisible to the naked eye except in radical retrospect.

    On the other hand, fifty years ago everybody assumed that the problems caused by fossil fuel use would soon be gone because nuclear power is only going to get ever more cost-effective.

    A popular meme today, especially on the alt-right, is that labor jobs will be displaced by robots in the next 20 years or so. Randall Parker is big on this. I wish that were true, but it won’t happen.

    Why did we have an explosion in electronics and communications technology during the last 50 years but we still have few jet packs and no flying cars? Well, my best guess is that a computer is a much more well- behaved machine than a bicycle. This is counter-intuitive as it takes no knowledge of quantum mechanics to build or ride a bike.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Flying cars is as dumb an idea as is computers relying solely on voice recognition. It's a hogwash.
  23. @Anonymousa
    OT:

    How to solve Germany's migrant crisis? Make sure each migrant has a German girlfriend:
    http://www.dw.com/en/finding-love-in-germany-a-road-to-integration-for-refugees/a-19113974?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

    So now german men will not only have to compete with immigrants for jobs but also for women.

    Does anyone care? Anybody even notice? Seems like women do not care, nor are capable of it. Germany threw its sons under the bus. It’s sink or swim. The math is depressing. I find this all extremely disturbing.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Jews clearly have self-destructive tendencies. They're not content with a pro-Jew, anti-racist, docile German population. They have to import people who hate Jews with the passion of the Nazis and breed them with German women. How are they expecting this to end? How does this pass the ITGFTJ test? Are they just hoping to make aliyah once Europe is a miscegenated caliphate and the Middle East is empty enough to clear out Israeli Lebensraum?
  24. please do not tell me that the future is stupid. The past and present were also very stupid, ”even” the times who you believed that were superior than today.

    I want to go to a rehab against this addiction ” hbd ”.

    Genetics is accumulation, seems a good work to define it literaly and briefly.

    Excess mutations is metaphorically speaking the same as kidney stones. But no evolutionary leap occurs without mutations.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
    woRd and not work, =(
  25. @Rifleman
    Isn't that overwhelming population explosion in Africa a counter to this?

    Wont that population bring more genetic diversity and less inbreeding to the world?

    The article was horrifically written, typical of the math nerd/reductionist scientist mindset so I'm going to have to wait for the clearer English language translation.

    Well then (with Africa) you do have the Idiocracy effect – bringing an average healthy baseline IQ of 85 (at best) along with it. Along with a behavioral suite that might not be so conducive to modern, dense, technological societies. Plus it’s not clear the genetic load in Africa is any less of a problem in and of itself. If you’re relying on the African population explosion to Make Things Right, you’re putting your eggs in one very fragile basket.

  26. The Genetics abstract just sounds like a repackaged version of Sewall Wright’s ‘Shifting Balance Theory’. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shifting_balance_theory

  27. On the other hand, fifty years ago everybody assumed that the problems caused by fossil fuel use would soon be gone because nuclear power is only going to get ever more cost-effective.

    I have a cynical assumption that, back in the ’70s, OPEC devoted some of its windfall profits to astroturfing up US opposition to fission power, in order for OPEC oil ministers to preserve their phony-baloney jobs. (Similar to the organic foods industry funding anti-Monsanto research today).

    The question about whether we could genetically engineer away deleterious mutations and the effects of dysgenic breeding isn’t a technical one–if we can’t now, we will be able to in a few decades. Instead, it’s a question of whether the rich and powerful will see a way to get richer and more powerful from it. If they can, they’ll back human genetic engineering (just like G**gle today is backing fusion power R&D and self-driving cars). If they can’t, they’ll astroturf up opposition and fund some Ivy faculty to demand “no human genetic engineering, because Hitler.”

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    You think Monsanto is the victim of a conspiracy? Monsanto is the most evil company in the world.
  28. @lauris
    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher - close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
    I am also sceptical about the personal genetic engineering. We may learn to target clearly deleterious variants in this century but doubful if there ever will be a way to estimate and alter the huge number of small "network" changes. Unless we start to synthesize long DNA fragments and using these as replacement of "natural" genome fragments in zygote.

    It’s interesting that you mention Woodley, since he is often referred to and quoted by Dr. Bruce Charlton, who is of course on Steve’s blogroll.

    Charlton himself has written a lot about mutation accumulation/mutational load, and a cursory blogsearch of the word Woodley throws up plenty of relevant and interesting reading material for those of you out there who are interested:

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=woodley

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Woodley is a dynamo.
  29. @Zachary Latif
    I think that's the whole twist on the "demographics is destiny" as the elites become relatively smaller (invisible and powerful), they'll siphon off the best and the brightest from the rest. It's instructive to remember (apparently) that the poorest Westerner is wealthier than 90% of the global population.

    Finally I think climate change worries and even genetic mutational concerns need to be weighed down by the time value of money argument, it's a basic and rather useful financial concept (money today is worth much much more than money in the future). So it really can be a bit counter-productive to speculate on the lives of our descendants (you couldn't make up the Trump campaign as an example)..

    the poorest Westerner is wealthier than 90% of the global population.

    That’s laughably false, especially given that, unless one uses the narrowest possible definition of “Westerners”, “Westerners” make up well over 10% of the global population.

  30. @Rifleman
    Isn't that overwhelming population explosion in Africa a counter to this?

    Wont that population bring more genetic diversity and less inbreeding to the world?

    The article was horrifically written, typical of the math nerd/reductionist scientist mindset so I'm going to have to wait for the clearer English language translation.

    I don’t think inbreeding is a problem in Europe. It might actually be a problem in the rural areas of Africa, or in places like US ghettos. This fantasy of a Africans saving us genetically is just that. Not just because of what you have to work with. While Europeans descend from the small number of people that came out of Africa, they have had plenty of time for genetic drift, aided by having a large population for a good deal longer than Africa and a culture that was against inbreeding, except for royalty. Remember that African population was 5 times less than today in 1950. If ultimate miscegenation is your goal, then Africans will benefit, not Europeans. But there won’t be enough Euro wombs to go around.

  31. @Raymund Eich

    On the other hand, fifty years ago everybody assumed that the problems caused by fossil fuel use would soon be gone because nuclear power is only going to get ever more cost-effective.
     
    I have a cynical assumption that, back in the '70s, OPEC devoted some of its windfall profits to astroturfing up US opposition to fission power, in order for OPEC oil ministers to preserve their phony-baloney jobs. (Similar to the organic foods industry funding anti-Monsanto research today).

    The question about whether we could genetically engineer away deleterious mutations and the effects of dysgenic breeding isn't a technical one--if we can't now, we will be able to in a few decades. Instead, it's a question of whether the rich and powerful will see a way to get richer and more powerful from it. If they can, they'll back human genetic engineering (just like G**gle today is backing fusion power R&D and self-driving cars). If they can't, they'll astroturf up opposition and fund some Ivy faculty to demand "no human genetic engineering, because Hitler."

    You think Monsanto is the victim of a conspiracy? Monsanto is the most evil company in the world.

    • Replies: @Raymund Eich

    Monsanto is the most evil company in the world.
     
    Full disclosure: about twenty years ago, at a prior employer, Monsanto was a client for whom I worked on some projects.

    On what do you base your opinion of Monsanto's evil? I'm truly and legitimately curious.

    You don't like genetic engineering? Plant scientists have been randomly mutating crop plants with radiation for decades without any noticeable harm to people or the environment.

    Monsanto patented living things? Monsanto's earliest patents on insecticidal crops have expired and its earliest patents on Roundup tolerant crops are close to expiration. Once the patent expires, anyone can make or use those transgenic crops and Monsanto doesn't get a penny in royalties.

    Monsanto sued a Canadian canola farmer for patent infringement? He did plant non-Roundup-tolerant canola near his neighbor who used Roundup tolerant canola. He saved seeds from his plants pollinated by his neighbor's canola. Some of his saved seeds contained the Roundup-tolerant gene. He then planted those saved seeds and sprayed the germinated plants with Roundup. Result: only Roundup tolerant plants survived. He saved seeds from those and grew a Roundup tolerant crop in future years without paying a licensing fee to Monsanto.

    Monsanto disregards the precautionary principle? So did Angela Merkel. Is she the "most evil politician in the world" because of her recent immigration policy? If not, why not?

    Have I missed a legitimate reason someone might call Monsanto "the most evil company in the world?"

    Finally, I lack hard evidence that "the organic foods industry fund[s] anti-Monsanto research today." Here's a basis for speculation, though: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/prince-charles-food-organic-farming-dc_n_857546.html. At the bottom of the piece is a quote:

    The heir to Britain's throne is a firm supporter of environmentalist causes, and runs an organic farm on his Highgrove estate in western England. He has a line of organic foods, Duchy Originals, which donates profits to his charities.
     
    Prince Charles' "organic farm" covers almost two square miles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highgrove_House. His food company, Duchy Originals, had about $4 million in profits in 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waitrose_Duchy_Organic.

    It's almost like organic farming is a ploy by the rich and powerful to become more so, while having useful idiots smokescreen their wealth-and-power grab with environmental activism.
  32. @Charlie_U
    It's interesting that you mention Woodley, since he is often referred to and quoted by Dr. Bruce Charlton, who is of course on Steve's blogroll.

    Charlton himself has written a lot about mutation accumulation/mutational load, and a cursory blogsearch of the word Woodley throws up plenty of relevant and interesting reading material for those of you out there who are interested:

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=woodley

    Woodley is a dynamo.

  33. @Santoculto
    please do not tell me that the future is stupid. The past and present were also very stupid, ''even'' the times who you believed that were superior than today.

    I want to go to a rehab against this addiction '' hbd ''.

    Genetics is accumulation, seems a good work to define it literaly and briefly.

    Excess mutations is metaphorically speaking the same as kidney stones. But no evolutionary leap occurs without mutations.

    woRd and not work, =(

  34. @thisisaknife
    Does anyone care? Anybody even notice? Seems like women do not care, nor are capable of it. Germany threw its sons under the bus. It's sink or swim. The math is depressing. I find this all extremely disturbing.

    Jews clearly have self-destructive tendencies. They’re not content with a pro-Jew, anti-racist, docile German population. They have to import people who hate Jews with the passion of the Nazis and breed them with German women. How are they expecting this to end? How does this pass the ITGFTJ test? Are they just hoping to make aliyah once Europe is a miscegenated caliphate and the Middle East is empty enough to clear out Israeli Lebensraum?

  35. @jJay
    On the other hand, fifty years ago everybody assumed that the problems caused by fossil fuel use would soon be gone because nuclear power is only going to get ever more cost-effective.

    A popular meme today, especially on the alt-right, is that labor jobs will be displaced by robots in the next 20 years or so. Randall Parker is big on this. I wish that were true, but it won't happen.

    Why did we have an explosion in electronics and communications technology during the last 50 years but we still have few jet packs and no flying cars? Well, my best guess is that a computer is a much more well- behaved machine than a bicycle. This is counter-intuitive as it takes no knowledge of quantum mechanics to build or ride a bike.

    Flying cars is as dumb an idea as is computers relying solely on voice recognition. It’s a hogwash.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Flying cars is as dumb an idea as is computers relying solely on voice recognition. It’s a hogwash.
     
    As they used to say about the amphibious vehicles of a half-century ago, they sailed like cars and drove like boats.
  36. @lauris
    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher - close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.
    I am also sceptical about the personal genetic engineering. We may learn to target clearly deleterious variants in this century but doubful if there ever will be a way to estimate and alter the huge number of small "network" changes. Unless we start to synthesize long DNA fragments and using these as replacement of "natural" genome fragments in zygote.

    Michael Woodley estimates the dysgenic effect to be much higher – close to 1 IQ point in 10 years.

    Pigs have been estimated to fly, too.

  37. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    WD Hamilton wrote an interesting essay years ago entitled ‘The Planetary Hospital’ about the ultimate effects of deleterious genetic loads in the human population, unpurged by natural selection.
    I haven’t been able to track it down since neither on-line or in print.
    Neither can I find ‘The Narrow Paths of Gene land’, or whatever it is called.

  38. @Steve Sailer
    That's my general explanation for the Flynn Effect.

    On the other hand, there's also the opportunity cost angle.

    Any chance of elaboration [or a link] on this point:

    “That’s my general explanation for the Flynn Effect.”

    I have at least one work colleague for whom the Flynn Effect is a catch-all justification for why human civilization is just getting better and better in every possible way every day, or words to that effect. Millennial, natch.

  39. Peripheral to the topic but does anyone here know the name of a science fiction story along the following lines;

    - a team of scientists from a distant future in which something like mutation load has been identified as the cause of humanity having a definite near-term end in sight,
    - is sent back to the last glacial max period [or perhaps one even farther back]
    - to help one small band of humans [or earlier hominids] survive a dangerous journey to a new temperate homeland
    - on the grounds that if even one additional member of the band survives who previously would have been killed, humanity at the far end gains millions of years of additional viability;

    I can’t tell you the author or the time of first publication. I would have read it in one of the many anthologies published in the 1980s.

    I have an intermittent project to identify and list all the short stories that have left concepts in my head the past 30 years but for which I can remember no publication details. This one in particular has nagged at the back of my head for years.

    • Replies: @Whoever
    Saber Tiger, a graphic novel, contains similar elements: Hot babes in cat suits come from the future to blast saber-tooth tigers with their ray guns to save the last remaining humans from extinction during the ice age. Published 1981.
    It's available on-line here:
    http://www.mangahere.co/manga/saber_tiger/v01/c001/
  40. @Anonymousa
    OT:

    How to solve Germany's migrant crisis? Make sure each migrant has a German girlfriend:
    http://www.dw.com/en/finding-love-in-germany-a-road-to-integration-for-refugees/a-19113974?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

    So now german men will not only have to compete with immigrants for jobs but also for women.

    The German woman in that article hadn’t had a boyfriend in six years, so it doesn’t sound like the German male population is terribly interested in completing for her attentions. It sounds like she threw herself at the Iraqi guy, and he was lonely enough to go along with it, although without much enthusiasm.

    It’s more a sad story of a woman who is completely clueless about relationships, than a story of an immigrant horning in on a hot commodity.

  41. @JayMan
    Yup, it's not certain dysgenics is actually happening.

    Idiocracy Can Wait?

    Similar results come out of Scandinavia.

    And yes you're quite right, even if it were happening, the rate would be slow enough that all manner of interventions would likely become available before it became a real problem.

    We already have the ability to measure rare alleles in living humans (that paper Cochran talked about showing lots of mutations in Quebec). And we have the ability to look at the genomes of fertilized embryos. So…we should be able to pick embryos for low genetic load, right?

    • Replies: @Xenophon Hendrix
    I think that is what at least the upper-middle class and wealthier soon is going to start doing. Gene sequencing is getting cheap and soon will be even cheaper. If you are going to rear a child, why not pick out an embryo that has few serious problems? It's not direct germ line engineering, but it ought to be effective.
  42. @Anonymous
    Flying cars is as dumb an idea as is computers relying solely on voice recognition. It's a hogwash.

    Flying cars is as dumb an idea as is computers relying solely on voice recognition. It’s a hogwash.

    As they used to say about the amphibious vehicles of a half-century ago, they sailed like cars and drove like boats.

  43. @Anonymousa
    OT:

    How to solve Germany's migrant crisis? Make sure each migrant has a German girlfriend:
    http://www.dw.com/en/finding-love-in-germany-a-road-to-integration-for-refugees/a-19113974?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

    So now german men will not only have to compete with immigrants for jobs but also for women.

    That article is one big Ali-and-Lena joke. The only thing missing is Sven.

  44. @AndrewR
    You think Monsanto is the victim of a conspiracy? Monsanto is the most evil company in the world.

    Monsanto is the most evil company in the world.

    Full disclosure: about twenty years ago, at a prior employer, Monsanto was a client for whom I worked on some projects.

    On what do you base your opinion of Monsanto’s evil? I’m truly and legitimately curious.

    You don’t like genetic engineering? Plant scientists have been randomly mutating crop plants with radiation for decades without any noticeable harm to people or the environment.

    Monsanto patented living things? Monsanto’s earliest patents on insecticidal crops have expired and its earliest patents on Roundup tolerant crops are close to expiration. Once the patent expires, anyone can make or use those transgenic crops and Monsanto doesn’t get a penny in royalties.

    Monsanto sued a Canadian canola farmer for patent infringement? He did plant non-Roundup-tolerant canola near his neighbor who used Roundup tolerant canola. He saved seeds from his plants pollinated by his neighbor’s canola. Some of his saved seeds contained the Roundup-tolerant gene. He then planted those saved seeds and sprayed the germinated plants with Roundup. Result: only Roundup tolerant plants survived. He saved seeds from those and grew a Roundup tolerant crop in future years without paying a licensing fee to Monsanto.

    Monsanto disregards the precautionary principle? So did Angela Merkel. Is she the “most evil politician in the world” because of her recent immigration policy? If not, why not?

    Have I missed a legitimate reason someone might call Monsanto “the most evil company in the world?”

    Finally, I lack hard evidence that “the organic foods industry fund[s] anti-Monsanto research today.” Here’s a basis for speculation, though: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/prince-charles-food-organic-farming-dc_n_857546.html. At the bottom of the piece is a quote:

    The heir to Britain’s throne is a firm supporter of environmentalist causes, and runs an organic farm on his Highgrove estate in western England. He has a line of organic foods, Duchy Originals, which donates profits to his charities.

    Prince Charles’ “organic farm” covers almost two square miles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highgrove_House. His food company, Duchy Originals, had about $4 million in profits in 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waitrose_Duchy_Organic.

    It’s almost like organic farming is a ploy by the rich and powerful to become more so, while having useful idiots smokescreen their wealth-and-power grab with environmental activism.

    • Replies: @Pericles

    Monsanto disregards the precautionary principle? So did Angela Merkel. Is she the “most evil politician in the world” because of her recent immigration policy? If not, why not?
     
    Well she's up there, but there are some strong contenders.
  45. @random observer
    Peripheral to the topic but does anyone here know the name of a science fiction story along the following lines;

    - a team of scientists from a distant future in which something like mutation load has been identified as the cause of humanity having a definite near-term end in sight,
    - is sent back to the last glacial max period [or perhaps one even farther back]
    - to help one small band of humans [or earlier hominids] survive a dangerous journey to a new temperate homeland
    - on the grounds that if even one additional member of the band survives who previously would have been killed, humanity at the far end gains millions of years of additional viability;

    I can't tell you the author or the time of first publication. I would have read it in one of the many anthologies published in the 1980s.

    I have an intermittent project to identify and list all the short stories that have left concepts in my head the past 30 years but for which I can remember no publication details. This one in particular has nagged at the back of my head for years.

    Saber Tiger, a graphic novel, contains similar elements: Hot babes in cat suits come from the future to blast saber-tooth tigers with their ray guns to save the last remaining humans from extinction during the ice age. Published 1981.
    It’s available on-line here:

    http://www.mangahere.co/manga/saber_tiger/v01/c001/

  46. @Reginald Maplethorp
    I'm reminded of lyrics from an early DEVO demo tape:

    Boy plus girl make mess out of sex,
    No babies come--what happens next?

    De-evolution, self-execution, no solution
    I'm a potato and I'm so hip!

     

    Then if you’ve got it
    You don’t want it
    Seems to be the rule of thumb

    Don’t be tricked by what you see
    You’ve got two ways to go…

    …Freedom of choice is what you’ve got
    Freedom from choice is what you want

  47. @Economic Sophisms
    We already have the ability to measure rare alleles in living humans (that paper Cochran talked about showing lots of mutations in Quebec). And we have the ability to look at the genomes of fertilized embryos. So...we should be able to pick embryos for low genetic load, right?

    I think that is what at least the upper-middle class and wealthier soon is going to start doing. Gene sequencing is getting cheap and soon will be even cheaper. If you are going to rear a child, why not pick out an embryo that has few serious problems? It’s not direct germ line engineering, but it ought to be effective.

  48. @Anonymousa
    OT:

    How to solve Germany's migrant crisis? Make sure each migrant has a German girlfriend:
    http://www.dw.com/en/finding-love-in-germany-a-road-to-integration-for-refugees/a-19113974?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

    So now german men will not only have to compete with immigrants for jobs but also for women.

    The globalista elites are absolutely ignorant of biology (including population genetics) and statistics.

    All they know is money.

  49. @Raymund Eich

    Monsanto is the most evil company in the world.
     
    Full disclosure: about twenty years ago, at a prior employer, Monsanto was a client for whom I worked on some projects.

    On what do you base your opinion of Monsanto's evil? I'm truly and legitimately curious.

    You don't like genetic engineering? Plant scientists have been randomly mutating crop plants with radiation for decades without any noticeable harm to people or the environment.

    Monsanto patented living things? Monsanto's earliest patents on insecticidal crops have expired and its earliest patents on Roundup tolerant crops are close to expiration. Once the patent expires, anyone can make or use those transgenic crops and Monsanto doesn't get a penny in royalties.

    Monsanto sued a Canadian canola farmer for patent infringement? He did plant non-Roundup-tolerant canola near his neighbor who used Roundup tolerant canola. He saved seeds from his plants pollinated by his neighbor's canola. Some of his saved seeds contained the Roundup-tolerant gene. He then planted those saved seeds and sprayed the germinated plants with Roundup. Result: only Roundup tolerant plants survived. He saved seeds from those and grew a Roundup tolerant crop in future years without paying a licensing fee to Monsanto.

    Monsanto disregards the precautionary principle? So did Angela Merkel. Is she the "most evil politician in the world" because of her recent immigration policy? If not, why not?

    Have I missed a legitimate reason someone might call Monsanto "the most evil company in the world?"

    Finally, I lack hard evidence that "the organic foods industry fund[s] anti-Monsanto research today." Here's a basis for speculation, though: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/prince-charles-food-organic-farming-dc_n_857546.html. At the bottom of the piece is a quote:

    The heir to Britain's throne is a firm supporter of environmentalist causes, and runs an organic farm on his Highgrove estate in western England. He has a line of organic foods, Duchy Originals, which donates profits to his charities.
     
    Prince Charles' "organic farm" covers almost two square miles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highgrove_House. His food company, Duchy Originals, had about $4 million in profits in 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waitrose_Duchy_Organic.

    It's almost like organic farming is a ploy by the rich and powerful to become more so, while having useful idiots smokescreen their wealth-and-power grab with environmental activism.

    Monsanto disregards the precautionary principle? So did Angela Merkel. Is she the “most evil politician in the world” because of her recent immigration policy? If not, why not?

    Well she’s up there, but there are some strong contenders.

  50. I have been writing a lot about mutation accumulation and its effect on human fitness over the past few years:

    http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=mutation+accumulation

    And it is included in my new book with Ed Dutton ‘The Genius Famine: Why we need geniuses, Why they’re dying out, and Why we must rescue them.’

    http://geniusfamine.blogspot.co.uk

    In sum, I believe that mutation accumulation is *mostly* due to the decline of child mortality rates from about 60 percent to about 1 percent since the industrial revolution 200 years ago – and a similar decline in intra-uterine deaths.

    The effects – which may already be very evident in sub-replacement fertility and mass maladaptive behaviours of Western nations – include (I suggest) reduced intelligence, and developmental disruption of many and various social and sexual adaptations.

  51. @Whiskey
    Correct me if I am wrong here, but isn't a vastly increased human population likely to have far more chances for positive mutations? And hasn't the human race mutated the more and more intensely it has used certain tools and technologies: metal, farming/agriculture, domestication of animals, etc?

    What is likely to be the effect of AI fusion with humans, "enhanced" ability to process and recognize data, upon genetic mutation? Surely those more fit for the tool so to speak will have more successful progeny than those who do not, given a struggle over resources and the African population explosion.

    Very good point— more people, more chance of mutations. Also, we have probably created a better atmosphere for mutations by all the artificial chemicals around, keeping in mind especially that the countries with the most people have the weakest safety laws. On the other hand, if people stay indoors perhaps they get less radiation.

  52. @Simon in London
    It's possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming. OTOH Muslim Cousin Marriage + Welfare State does seem massively dysgenic - in the West, but also in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries with functioning Welfare health care systems.

    It’s possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming.

    Excellent point. Were there any good genetic effects from farming? A reduction in tendency towards laziness? Foresight? Farming also allowed for the luxury of bigger brains.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The human brain shrank dramatically with the advent of farming. Its size peaked in the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic eras. Farming relaxed the demand for intelligence as it is less cognitively demanding to plant, process and store grain than it is to kill wild animals. Farming also produced a nutritionally insufficient diet, and there is evidence that post-agricultural populations underwent selection against Neanderthal introgression -- Neanderthal admixture is the most likely source of the increased brain size in Middle and Upper Paleolithic modern humans.
  53. “Dysgenic” is a term to be used carefully. From a purely evolutionary point of view, there’s nothing dysgenic about, say, being flat-footed so long as in our civilized circumstances you can still reproduce. Some things like lack of self-control or foresight may even be good for reproduction, since you can pack in two generations by age 35 instead of just one.

  54. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Eric Rasmusen

    It’s possible that current dysgenic effects are relatively mild compared to that from the adoption of farming.
     
    Excellent point. Were there any good genetic effects from farming? A reduction in tendency towards laziness? Foresight? Farming also allowed for the luxury of bigger brains.

    The human brain shrank dramatically with the advent of farming. Its size peaked in the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic eras. Farming relaxed the demand for intelligence as it is less cognitively demanding to plant, process and store grain than it is to kill wild animals. Farming also produced a nutritionally insufficient diet, and there is evidence that post-agricultural populations underwent selection against Neanderthal introgression — Neanderthal admixture is the most likely source of the increased brain size in Middle and Upper Paleolithic modern humans.

  55. Greg Cochran has commented on the issue of heritable deleterious mutations over at Westhunter more than once. It’s a problem. The only attractive solution to it is some form of artificial genetic selection/engineering–for example, genetically-informed IVF embryo selection or CRISPR-cas9 enabled genetic engineering of embryos. Steve Hsu and Nick Bostrom have written extensively on this prospect.

    The main questions, then, are whether these techniques will be legal, when they will be commercialized, how effective they will be, what they will cost, and how many people will use them. I’m optimistic on all these questions, though I do not know enough about genetics to predict how effective they will be. In particular, given how common pleiotropy is in human genes and how small some genetic effects are, we may never know exactly what a significant percentage of genes actually do.

    We will have the advantage of genomic and phenotypic records from many people born as far back as 100 years ago–taking us back almost to the beginning of the modern accumulation of deleterious mutations. That could function as baseline information.

    In the long run, medical interventions would not be enough, unless they included highly effective gene therapy. Genetic intervention at the embryonic stage will almost certainly be more effective, cheaper, less risky than later interventions.

  56. […] Load as Bad as Climate Change [According to Michael Lynch],” The Unz Review, March 14, 2016, http://www.unz.com/isteve/genetics-mutational-load-as-bad-as-climate-change/ Sailer doesn’t view mutation load as an immediate problem and postulates that if it is one […]

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