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I don’t know for sure that Palo Alto, CA, the home of the venture capital industry and next door to Stanford U., is really the highest IQ town in America. The highest test score public schools in America are in Lexington, MA, a suburb preferred by Boston area college professors. And I imagine tiny, rich municipalities like Atherton, CA might have higher average IQ residents than sprawling Palo Alto with its pretty middle class housing stock.

But still … the average home price in Palo Alto is $2.5 million, which is kind of a lot considering the average home is a nothing special ranch style house. Palo Alto houses average $1,471 per square foot, so a 3,000 square foot house would cost $4.4 million.

So if you took the average IQ of the people who live in Palo Alto and the people who work in Palo Alto, it would be awfully high.

Historically, that’s not a coincidence. As I pointed out in Taki’s Magazine in 2012, Palo Alto has been as central to the story of IQ science in America as it has been to the story of electronics in America. Just before WWI, Lee de Forrest invented an important version of the vacuum tube in Palo Alto, while Stanford professor Lewis Terman published America’s first major IQ test, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales in 1916.

As I wrote in my history of Silicon Valley’s ongoing obsession with intelligence:

In 1921, Terman began his landmark study of gifted children with IQs of 135 and above, which continues even today to track its dwindling band of aged subjects. (Ironically, the young William Shockley was nominated for inclusion in Lewis Terman’s study, but his test score fell just short of the cutoff.) To the public’s surprise, “Terman’s Termites” showed that highly intelligent children were not particularly likely to grow up to be misfits like the much publicized prodigy/bad example William James Sidis. Indeed, the higher the IQ, the better the outcome. Terman’s study was an early landmark in Nerd Liberation, one of the 20th century’s most important social developments.

Hewlett, Packard, F. Terman

Lewis’s son Fred Terman, dean of engineering at Stanford, pretty much invented the distinctive aspects of the Silicon Valley educational-industrial complex, such as by encouraging his students Hewlett & Packard to go into business for themselves.

The other main candidate for Father of Silicon Valley, William Shockley, was a good friend of Terman’s. During WWII, they’d been in charge of mirror image R&D projects for the military in terms of electronic warfare over Germany. Stanford missed out on the federal lucre during WWII, and Terman resolved for Stanford to be ready when the Cold War cranked up. (See Steve Blank’s lecture Hidden in Plain Sight: The Secret History of Silicon Valley for the fascinating back story.)

But Palo Alto wants to stay at the forefront of the growing fad for damnatio memoriae, by rewriting its history to eliminate the names of its now politically inappropriate founding fathers.

From Palo Alto Online:

School board majority supports renaming schools

One trustee worries renaming will distract from deeper issues

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 9:15 am

A majority of the school board agreed on Tuesday that two of the school district’s middle schools should be renamed in light of their namesakes’ leadership roles in the eugenics movement.

Recognizing an opposing view in the community — that to rename these schools would be to sever generations of alumni’s ties to tradition and history — most board members said that in a public school district in 2017, however, schools cannot carry the names of men who actively advocated for policies grounded in a belief that people of certain races and disabilities were inferior to others.

All five trustees said they support a majority recommendation from a district committee, convened last year to study and make recommendations on the renaming issue, to give David Starr Jordan Middle School a new name, and a majority said they also believe Terman Middle School should be renamed.

David Starr Jordan was the first president of Stanford U. He was an anti-imperialist who wrote a famous anti-war treatise pointing out that war was dysgenic: the morally best young men would get gunned down in vast numbers, while the sleazier would be more likely to avoid such a fate.

Terman’s fate is slightly more complicated given its naming history, trustees said Tuesday. Terman was first named after Lewis Terman, a prominent Stanford University psychologist, when the school opened in 1958. When the school later closed and then reopened in 2001, it was named to honor both Lewis and his son, Frederick, an accomplished Stanford electrical engineer. There is no clear evidence, committee members said Tuesday, that Frederick played an active role in or supported the eugenics movement, as Lewis did.

Eh … As I wrote in 2012 about Fred:

His son inherited Lewis’s biases: Fred Terman’s wife of 47 years, who had been one of his father’s grad students, said he only became serious about courting her after he went to the Psych Department and looked up her IQ score.

Back to the Palo Alto Weekly:

One committee member recommended retaining the Terman name, but making clear that it honors the son, not the father. A majority of the committee recommended against this, arguing that “retaining the surname will not effectively disconnect the school from Lewis and does not effectively disavow his eugenics legacy,” committee member and parent Sara Armstrong said Tuesday.

It’s almost as if the anti-eugenics witch-hunters believe that Fred Terman, the primary founder of Silicon Valley, inherited the sins of the father, IQ scientist Lewis Terman, via ideological Corruption of Blood.

Ofelia Prado said as a Mexican mother of a Jordan seventh-grader, it was “negative and shameful and degrading” to hear that her child’s school was named after a eugenicist. (In Jordan’s writings, he called Mexicans “ignorant, superstitious, with little self control and no conception of industry or thrift” and also wrote that “to say that one race is superior to another is merely to confirm the common observation of every intelligent citizen.”)

They should rename Jordan the Angelo Mozilo School, because at least Angelo didn’t believe the wrong things. Angelo put your money where his mouth was when it came to believing that Mexican were good bets to pay back their mortgages.

… Some board members said the estimated cost of renaming — about $200,000 to cover both schools — is a secondary consideration that would not stop them from voting in support. …

The board will vote on the renaming proposals at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 14. …

Many parents urged the board Tuesday night to seize the opportunity to take a visible stand for the values it so often cites: equality, diversity and inclusion.

After all, there’s nothing that screams equality, diversity, and inclusion than Palo Alto’s NIMBY policies that keep the average house selling for $2.5 million.

By the way, Stanford is running a project to make school district average test scores comparable across the country. As I pointed out in Taki’s Magazine last spring, the worst white-black test score gap in the country was found in violently liberal Berkeley, CA. The next four least equal school districts were Chapel Hill-Carrboro, NC; Shaker Heights, OH; Asheville, NC; and Evanston, IL.

Other liberal college towns with massive white-black gaps include Madison (U. of Wisconsin), Iowa City (U. of Iowa), Charlottesville (U. of Virginia), Austin (U. of Texas), Bernie Sanders’ Burlington (U. of Vermont), Durham (Duke U.), and Ann Arbor (U. of Michigan). Palo Alto, next door to Stanford U., the sponsor of this research project, also has an intense white-black gap, but not enough blacks can afford to live in Palo Alto for it to make my sample-size cutoff for reliability.

Now that’s what I call equality, diversity and inclusion!

By the way, I’m reminded of this conversation between Russ Roberts and Yale psychologist Paul Bloom:

Screenshot 2017-03-09 03.00.02

I’ve met Pinker and Murray, and they really are noticeably smarter than I am.

Back in 2010 it occurred to me that I ought to write about a book explaining why it isn’t the end of the world that some people are smarter than other people. That would be my great contribution if I could explain why, just as it’s not a global crisis that all the medalists in the next Olympic men’s 100m dash will be black, the fact that some races tend to be smarter than others doesn’t mean we should dig up Hitler’s DNA and elect him President.

But, you’ll notice, I haven’t written that book yet.

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Sperm banking may sound derisible. But it’s a heartrendingly serious matter to those who have the misfortune to need the industry’s services. About one million Americans alive today were conceived with donor sperm. Another 30,000 are born every year.

And sperm banking is worth thinking about in depth because it vividly illustrates two general principles that the American Establishmentdoesn’t want you to think about:

  1. Humans differ strikingly, so selection—whether choosing who will father a baby or which foreigners will be allowed to immigrate to the United States—is important. Yet in American public discourse, we are all supposed to ignore the 800 pound gorilla of Nature. We’re supposed to talk only about the 10pound poodle of Nurture, whether education or assimilation.
  1. Just because American elites and other interest groups want to banish debate over human selection from polite society doesn’t mean these questions don’t matter. Somebodyalways has to do the selecting. What they are trying to do is keep you from doing it.

For example, under our system of government, the voters’ elected representatives are supposed to decide how many immigrants are admitted and how they should be chosen. Then the laws are supposed to be enforced by the executive branch.

Yet powerful people don’t want that to happen. President Bush, for example, simply refuses to enforce some of the immigration laws and hamstrings the enforcement of others. And the political elite will simply not entertain the idea that we should make more of an effort, as Canada and Australia do, to choose from among the hundreds ofmillions of foreigners who would like to immigrate to America those who would most benefit the general welfare of existing citizens.

You see, to select is to Discriminate. And Discrimination is the worst thing in the whole world.

But somebody gets to choose. Under our current system, recent immigrants, legal and illegal, just end up getting to choose their relatives in foreign countries.

Nobody can explain why this is just or efficient. But then nobody needs to. The current system benefits potent groups—ethnic lobbies, the Democratic Party, employers looking for cheap labor. And they are quick to smear anybody who asks questions as racists,””nativists,” and xenophobes.”

The artificial insemination business isn’t as important as immigration indetermining America’s future. But in that field, fortunately, there’s been encouraging progress.

It may seem reasonable that how many and who get born in America are decisions that should be made by American citizens in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

But doctors sure didn’t feel that way, as’s David Plotz points out in his new book The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank:

“In this first generation of AID [Artificial Insemination by Donor], doctors tyrannized their patients. When a red-faced couple appeared at the office, mumbling about infertility, the doctor told them he would take care of everything. Mothers were discouraged from asking questions about the donor. The doctor did a little poking around for a suitable donor—often the closest medical student at hand. The doctor would make sure the donor was the right skin color—white parents got white donors. If the doctor was feeling benevolent, he would also try to match the eye color of the father.”

Doctors assumed that doctors’ DNA was the ideal—and that the parents who would actually raise the child shouldn’t get a say.

But today, the consumer’s freedom of choice reigns supreme in the sperm market. For instance, if you have a fast web connection, you can download the 26 page (and 2 meg) application that donors at the California Cryobank fill out.

Lesbians and other feminists are particularly enthusiastic and choosy clients.

Thus, according to numerous reports in the British press in 1998, two-time Oscar winning actress Jodie Foster had proudly announced to friends that, after a long search for the perfect DNA, she had hadherself impregnated with the gametes of a tall and handsome scientist with an IQ of 160.

She was apparently so pleased with how her first child turned out that she obtained more sperm from the same brainy hunk for her second child.

What accounted for this dramatic increase in customer choice? The single most important individual in liberating the sperm bank industry from elite paternalism, according to Plotz’s book, was the elderly, eccentric millionaire eugenicist Robert K. Graham. In 1980 he founded the endlessly-denounced Repository for Germinal Choice, better known as the Nobel Prize sperm bank.

Among his five initial donors were the inventor of the transistor, William Shockley—and also, according to Plotz, the inventor of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk.

Unsurprisingly, because Graham valued IQ so highly, a disproportionate fraction of his donors were Ashkenazi Jews, like Salk.

Also, unsurprisingly but under the circumstances ironically, Graham was constantly denounced as a Nazi.

Yet, despite the calumny he had to put up with, Graham vastly improved the industry.

Plotz writes:

“Robert Graham strolled into the world of dictatorial doctors and cowed patients and accidentally launched arevolution…All he wanted to do was propagate genius. But he knew that his grand experiment would flop unlesswomen wanted to shop with him… So Graham did whatno one in the business had ever done: he marketed hismen…

“His Repository catalog was very spare … but it thrilled his customers. Women who saw it realized, for the firsttime, that they had a genuine choice… Thanks to itsattentiveness to consumers, the Repository upended thehierarchy of the fertility industry. Before the Repository, fertility doctors had ordered, women had accepted… Mother after mother said the same thing to me: she had picked the Repository because it was the only place that let her select what she wanted.

“Where Graham went, other sperm banks — and the rest of the fertility industry—followed… All sperm banks have become eugenic sperm banks.”

I quote Plotz at length to show that, by any objective standard, Graham is an American hero.

Graham’s place as a national benefactor is secure not because he accomplished his goal of improving the national germ plasm—donorinsemination is rare enough and the results variable enough that the entire industry could barely move the most sensitive needle on a national scale—but because he turned the process of selection over to the people who rightfully should have the choice.

I’ve admired Plotz’s journalism in since the 1990s. His book The Genius Factory is an outgrowth of his excellent 2001 series of articles in Slate, in which he used the power of the Internet to facilitate introductions between some of the so-called “genius babies” and their biological fathers.

This was a touching journalistic feat on the emotional level. And on the intellectual level, it was refreshingly free of the usual knee-jerkdenigration of Graham’s Repository. (For the sake of full disclosure, let me note that Plotz requested my help with his original series, and I may—or may not—have made some trivial contributions to it.)

So I was looking forward to his book. Unfortunately, I can’t say that four more years of work have added much.

Although there are many nuggets of independent insight still buried within it, Plotz has added a lot of conventional cant of the Stephen Jay Gould School of Tendentious Demonology. (That Plotz’s book has nosource notes or index does not increase one’s confidence in it.)

For example, Plotz trots out the old chestnut,

“The eugenicists … won passage of the 1924 Immigration Act, which choked off the flow of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.”

As Harvard’s Mark Snyderman and Richard J. Herrnstein pointed out in the American Psychologist journal way back in 1983 after reading the Congressional debates, the most important backers of immigration restriction were union leaders, such as American Federation of Labor founder (and Jewish immigrant) Samuel Gompers.

But the fact that the left was the biggest force behind the immigration cutoff doesn’t suit the demagogic mythology concocted by leftists like Gould about how IQ-test-wielding anti-Semitic eugenicists pushed through the 1924 Act.

The early 20th Century eugenics fad has plenty of actual faults to account for, without the biased blarney you read in popular accounts like Plotz’s.

In reality, early supporters of eugenics tended to be the same sort of people as those who read Plotz’s today: secular centrists and leftists who enthusiastically endorse Darwinism without actually knowing much about it. Eugenics’ opponents were primarily religious, led by the brilliant Catholic controversialist G.K. Chesterton, author of Eugenics and Other Evils.

Chesterton pointed out that the “positive eugenics” of society arranging marriages among the most fit was self-defeating. If arranged marriages actually succeeded in breeding better men and women, the first thing these healthier, smarter, more robust individuals would do would be to tell society to butt out of arranging their marriages, and they’d go back to choosing their own mates!

Unfortunately, Plotz dodges many of the most interesting questions about sperm banking, such as whether or not it works.

Also, his tone has grown more snide and lowbrow—more like that of all the other purveyors of the conventional wisdom who have condemned Graham.

Plotz is a smart, sensible, good-hearted guy. All I can imagine is that he suffered a failure of courage. Perhaps someone made clear to himthat a frank, thought-provoking, independent-minded book about heredity would not be good for his career.

The demonizing of eugenics doesn’t make American elites immune to eugenic reasoning. Instead, it just makes them more susceptible toincorrect eugenic logic.

Look at how the chattering class has fallen hook, line, and sinker for celebrity economist Steven D. Levitt’s crypto-eugenic theory, as promoted in his enormous bestseller Freakonomics, that legalizing abortion cut crime by pre-emptively executing those fetuses most likely to grow up to be criminals.

Six years ago in my debate with Levitt in, I pointed out that, as seductive as Levitt’s eugenic logic may be, the direct opposite actually happened. The first cohort born after abortion was legalized grew up to be the most violent teens in American history. (The problem with Levitt’s theory is that the biggest impact of legalizingabortion was not to cut down on unwanted births as he implies, but to increase unwanted pregnancies, which had a highly uncertaineffect on who ended up getting born.)

So let’s take a look at a question that Plotz simply fails to do any research upon: does selecting a donor with the genes you want mean your child will inherit his traits?

A few minutes’ thought demonstrates there are no guarantees. Look at how different siblings, born of the same parents, typically turn out to be.

Consider two famous pairs of Hollywood brothers, the Bridges and the Quaids. The amusing thing is that Jeff Bridges and Dennis Quaid, thetwo leading men, are in many ways more similar to each other than they are to their respective brothers, Beau Bridges and Randy Quaid, who are both character actors.

Similarly, Graham’s assumption that Nobel Prize-winning dads would generate abundant geniuses was obviously silly. For example, over the last century, only six offspring of Nobel-winners have gone on to wintheir own Nobels. So the odds that the child of a Nobel Prize-winner will grow up to be a Nobel Laureate are hundreds to one against.

On the other hand, the odds that somebody who is not a Nobel winner will be the parent of a Laureate are millions to one against.

The coiner of the word “eugenics” was Sir Francis Galton, the half-cousin of Charles Darwin (their one grandparent in common was theremarkable Erasmus Darwin). Among Galton’s extraordinary range of inventions, including the forensic fingerprinting, the weather map, and the silent dog whistle, was the idea of “regression toward mediocrity” (what we now call “regression to the mean”) and theassociated statistical concepts of correlation and regression. Jim Holt recently wrote in The New Yorker:

“It took Galton nearly two decades to work out thesubtleties of regression, an achievement that, accordingto Stephen M. Stigler, a statistician at the University of Chicago, ‘should rank with the greatest individual events in the history of science—at a level with William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood and with Isaac Newton’s of the separation of light.’”

As an admirer of Galton, Graham should have understood how little assurance there would be that children of geniuses would turn out to be geniuses themselves.

For example, consider the alleged 160 IQ of Jodie Foster’s baby daddy. That’s an extraordinary number: Only 1 out of about 30,000Americans scores so high. (Indeed, the score is so rare that you can be sure that a lot of the people you meet who claim to have a 160 IQ … don’t.) Does this guarantee that the Foster family will be blessed with two prodigies?

Definitely not. According to psychometrician Chris Brand, the “narrow sense” heritability (i.e., the heritability between the average of both parents and their child, who shares half of their variable genes, rather than the “broad sense” heritability found between identical twins, who share all their genes), is about 0.4. That means the expectedboost in a kid’s IQ from using a sperm donor with an IQ of 160 instead of a one with the average IQ of 100 is only 12 points. And your results may vary … and almost certainly will.

(However, if the sperm donor comes from an ancestral group, such as Ashkenazi Jews or Northeast Asians, with an average IQ above 100, then the bonus would tend to be more.)

Now, twelve IQ points (80% of a standard deviation) is nothing to sneer at. It’s the difference between the 50th percentile and the 79thpercentile on the Bell Curve.

Still, I fear Jodie might find herself a tad disappointed.

But nothing is certain in the human world. All you can do is nudge the odds a little.

And keep in mind: I’m not aware of any other technique, apart from selective breeding, that would provide an average expected IQ boost of 12 points.

Just because eugenic sperm banking won’t have any noticeable impact on the national average IQ, doesn’t mean Graham wasn’t a valuable innovator.

It was also silly of Columbus to underestimate the circumference of the Earth by 7,000 miles, making Asia look within easy reach—eventhough scholars had known the true size ever since Eratosthenes had accurately measured it 1,700 years before.

But heroes sometimes make those kinds of courageous—and creative—errors.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: Eugenics 
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Few scientific studies besides Jane Goodall’s chimp research are beloved by the public. One that comes close is the famous Minnesota Study of Identical Twins Reared Apart (better known as the Minnesota Twins project), which reunited separated twins from around the world. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, lead by Thomas Bouchard and including David Lykken and Nancy Segal, flew in 62 pairs of genetically identical and 43 pairs of fraternal twins, many of whom had not seen each other since infancy, for a week of testing.

The public was amazed and delighted by the similarities found among the identical twins raised apart. In his lively book A Question of Intelligence, Dan Seligman described the extreme case of the famous “Nazi and Jew” twins: permanently separated shortly after birth, one was raised as a Nazi in the Sudetenland, the other as a Jew in Trinidad. Yet both turned out to have an extraordinary range of traits – and eccentricities – in common.

Twin studies go back to St. Augustine. He pointed to the differences between fraternal twins, such as Jacob and Esau in the Old Testament, to disprove the central tenet of astrology – that time of birth determines personality and fate. It was also long recognized that twins who look alike (for example, Ann Landers and Dear Abby) tended to act more alike than those who look different – for instance, the smooth mama’s boy Jacob and his twin, the hairy hunter Esau.

But did identical twins act more alike because they were treated more alike? The Minnesota Twins study largely solved that methodological problem. Bouchard found that, on quantitative tests of IQ and personality, identical twins reared apart were systematically much more similar than fraternal twins raised apart. Remarkably, separated identical twins were more similar than fraternal twins raised in the same home.

Along with the Texas Adoption Project’s finding that adoptees are much more like their biological mothers than their adoptive families, this nailed down the answer to the ancient nature vs. nurture debate. Heredity does indeed play a major (though by no means complete) role in human differences.

Few charitable foundations that give money to scientists are fanatically hated by the chattering class. Yet the New York-based Pioneer Fund has managed to attract countless spittle-emitting enemies. Just go to, type in “pioneer fund” and “racist,” and see all the fulminations. Seldom mentioned is that the Pioneer Fund gave more money to that much-loved Minnesota Twins study than anything else in its 64-year history. (Pioneer also helped fund the Texas Adoption Project.)

Perhaps the most bizarre example of Pioneer Fundophobia was the Wall Street Journal’s front-page “news” article of June 11, 1999, which attacked Morgan Guaranty Trust for having several decades ago allowed Pioneer Fund founder Wickliffe Preston Draper to withdraw his own dollars from his own Morgan bank account to give to the Pioneer Fund. The WSJ said this “highlight[s] the ethical issues that confront an institution like Morgan Guaranty, the private-banking unit of J.P. Morgan & Co., when it is drawn, even unwittingly, into a client’s support for repugnant causes.”

In other words, if your bank doesn’t agree politically with what you want to do with your own money, it should not let you have it (i.e. should steal it from you). Note that Pioneer Fundophobia is so mind-warping that this wholly absurd (not to mention totalitarian) “ethical issue” was raised, not in Mother Jones, but on the front page of the Wall Street Journal!

Richard Lynn, the first scientist to prove that Northeastern Asians average higher on IQ tests than Europeans, has now written The Science of Human Diversity: A History of the Pioneer Fund. The book contains brief biographies of 32 scientists funded by Pioneer. I must say I wonder about the prudence of making it so easy for the foam-at-the-mouth crowd to find out at whom to scream “Nazi”. But Lynn’s book certainly makes for impressive reading. It’s a painless way of becoming familiar with these great issues, attractively succinct and tastily garnished with some human interest.

In the book’s Preface, the Pioneer Fund’s president, Harry F. Weyher, offers a list of what has befallen some Pioneer-funded scientists:

One scientist [presumably the great Arthur Jensen] had to be accompanied by an armed guard on his own campus, as well as guarded in his own home. Another scientist was required by his university to teach his classes by closed circuit television, supposedly in order to prevent a riot breaking out in his class. Several scientists had university and other speaking engagements canceled or interrupted by gangs of students or outside toughs. … Two scientists who had speaking engagements in Australia needed 50 policemen to rescue them from a mob. At one major university a professor invaded the class of another professor, led a raucous demonstration there, and had to be removed by campus police. The son of one of Pioneer’s directors agreed to succeed his father on the Pioneer board, but then withdrew when the son’s wife objected, citing social ostracism and physical danger.

Other examples of the intimidation of Pioneer-funded scientists include the 1973 beating of Britain’s best-known psychologist Hans J. Eysenck as he attempted to lecture at the London School of Economics. In 1990, the Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, where Eysenck had been for 44 years, prohibited him from receiving any further support from the Pioneer Fund. Yet that was the same year that a survey of leading American psychologists and historians named Eysenck among the top ten most influential psychologists in the world.

This hysteria has an unquestionable chilling effect on scientific research. Lynn mentions that one promising Pioneer-Funded expert on ethnocentrism, A. James Gregor, a Professor of Political Science at Berkeley, abruptly abandoned all research into this subject in the Goldwater year of 1964 and built an entire new career for himself in topics having nothing to do with race.

I have a personal example of how Pioneer Fundophobia hurts science. The world’s leading expert on the physiology of running emailed me from Africa a couple of years ago. Even though his initial research into the fascinating question of why certain Kenyan tribes so dominate distance running had proven highly popular with Africans of all races – because they are rightfully proud of their continent’s Olympic success – he was having trouble finding anyone to fund further research. He asked me if I thought he should apply for a Pioneer Fund grant. The amazing success of the Kalenjin – “The Running Tribe” as an upcoming book calls them – has long been one of my favorite topics in human biodiversity studies. But I had to caution him to think hard before subjecting himself to Fundophobia.

So what’s the story behind Pioneer Fundophobia?

It’s undeniable that Draper (1891-1972) was an ethnocentric Anglo-American. Not being of pioneer stock myself, I can’t get terribly enthusiastic about the man’s ethnic bias. On the other hand, I can’t think of any general moral principle justifying his critics’ presumption that, while black or Irish or Jewish ethnocentric foundations are hunky-dory, the early Pioneer Fund’s WASP ethnocentrism was the blackest sin imaginable. Further, that was a long time ago. I don’t think my friend Nancy Segal of twins fame is a Daughter of the American Revolution (or a Nazi, for that matter).

Draper was also enthusiastic about eugenics. So were other Americans of the time, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. My experience is that everybody is, personally, a eugenicist. They all look for the best genes for their offspring. Trust me on this one – I got turned down for a lot of dates.

I’m much less sanguine about the long run impact of eugenics than Draper was. My 1999 Thatcher Presentation on the future of the human race pointed out the unsettling fact that the new genetic technologies are finally making eugenics practical enough to be popular with couples. This will only accelerate. Through genetic selection and modification, private couples will be able to transform human nature, for better . . . or worse.

Will this be good for humanity or bad? Beats me, but it definitely demands careful study. We should not walk into the coming era of individualist eugenics with our eyes closed. Yet how can we reasonably forecast the effect of the changes in gene frequencies that the new genetic technologies will bring? The only way is to study, honestly, the naturally-occurring human genetic diversity we see all around us – and learn how it already affects society.

And that’s the Pioneer Fund’s real sin: supporting scientific research into human biodiversity. Around 1930, the curtain began coming down (to use John R. Baker’s phrase in his magisterial study Race) on this entire area of science. This is usually attributed to revulsion against Hitler. However, that explanation doesn’t stand up fully. Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot murdered even more millions in the name of equality than Hitler murdered in the name of inequality, but somehow that has failed to blacken the names of people like the Marxist egalitarianoid Stephen Jay Gould.

The historical record shows that leftist ideologues like anthropologist Franz Boas, the sponsor of Margaret Mead’s notorious 1928 Samoan hoax, were already gaining the upper hand in academe well before Hitler came to power. Perhaps the Depression was the key event, just as it made Marx-inspired thought dominant in much else of the intellectual world. (See feminist historian Carl N. Degler’s award-winning In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought for documentation.)

It was precisely because no-one else would fund research into human biodiversity that the Pioneer Fund had the playing field to itself. Thus Audrey M. Shuey was otherwise completely unable to find a commercial or academic publisher for her 1958 metastudy The Testing Of Negro Intelligence. But it is now recognized as having “swayed the balance,” as Hans J. Eysenck later put it, so that it was no longer possible to deny the role of genetics. Under these unfortunate circumstances, it is simply undeniable that no organization has done more than the Pioneer Fund to develop scientific knowledge about human biodiversity.

I’ll just list some of the most important Pioneer-funded scientists, along with links to interesting articles. Two of the five most cited psychologists are IQ researcher Jensen (my review “The Half Full glass” of his last book is particularly useful for understanding the future of IQ research) and the British giant Eysenck, who published 1,000 scholarly articles. Garrett Hardin is the inventor of the phrase “Tragedy of the Commons,” which first grounded environmentalism in a solid understanding of market economics. Linda Gottfredson is the leading expert on the important role IQ plays in the job market. J. Philippe Rushton is a fount of fascinating ideas. (For example, I just used his Genetic Similarity Theory to explain in my movie review of Spy Game why Robert Redford takes such an avuncular interest in Brad Pitt.)

Allow me to end by issuing a challenge to the enemies of the Pioneer Fund. Rather than devoting so much time and furious energy to trying to prevent scientific research, if you don’t like what these scientists are discovering, go fund your own research.

Conduct your own twin and adoption studies. See what you find for yourself.

That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the Fundophobes to conduct any science of their own.

They already know what they’d find.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Eugenics 
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Part I: Jodie Foster’s Baby
In the wake of Father’s Day, we’ll consider some of the fascinating implications surrounding a special kind of father, one that’s increasingly in demand in Hollywood: the Sperm Donor Dad.

(“What does this have to do with immigration?” you might well beasking. Well, just wait and see. One reason why immigration is such a tremendous topic is that to think rigorously about the peopling of America you have to consider such elemental aspects of life as mating and birth.)

Lesbian rock star Melissa Etheridge recently revealed the identity of the sperm donor who is the father of the two children of her girlfriend J ulieCypher. (Ms. Cypher was previously married to actor Lou Diamond Philips, but that’s a whole different story.) The test-tube dad turned out to be Rock and Roll Hall of Famer David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Young. Admittedly, Crosby is equally legendary for substance abuse so severe that he’s still alive only because of a liver transplant. But Melissa would sacrifice a lot for those guitar god genes. She explained her choice with typical rock star articulateness:“For one, he’s musical, which means a lot to me, you know, and I admire his work.”

Feminist heroine/single mother/glamour queen Jodie Foster apparently undertook a more methodical search for the perfect sperm donor. According to numerous reports in the British press in 1998, she had proudly announced that after a long hunt, she had had herself impregnated with the gametes of a tall, dark, handsome scientist with an IQ of 160.

While Miss Foster will neither confirm nor deny these articles, this doesnot at all seem out of character. In her movies and personal life, Miss Foster has often appeared to be loyally trying to reproduce her unusual upbringing. According to her ne’er-do-well brother Buddy’s tell-allbook Foster Child, Alicia Foster’s nickname of “Jodie” is a tribute to “Aunt” Jo, who was their mother’s pistol-packing live-in lesbian lover. Jodie was a child prodigy who thrived in this environment, reading at 18 months, becoming the Coppertone Kid at three, and later on graduating summa cum laude from Yale. Thus, her first directorial effort was Little Man Tate, in which she played a single mother raising a seven-year-old genius. Similarly, her production company received multiple Emmy nominations for Baby Dance, a Showtime cable movie about artificial insemination. Not surprisingly, she named her firm Egg Pictures.

Now, just because a wide gamut of the British press runs a story that jibes so well with her personality doesn’t mean it’s true. (Other rumors suggest various Hollywood players as the donor dad.) Interestingly, according to my web search, the only American outlet to even mention that the London papers were having a field day over the 160 IQ story was the National Enquirer. All the other U.S. newspapersand magazines periodicals just dutifully parroted Jodie’s “no comment” responses to Who’s Your Daddy questions about her little Charles Foster.

Nevertheless, this hardly disproves the Fleet Street stories. Starsroutinely blackmail “respectable” American publications like Vanity Fair by threatening to never, ever again pose for a glamorous cover photo if they dare publish anything image-tarnishing. Since the Enquirer, in contrast, prefers cover pictures of deranged-looking celebrities being hauled off to the Betty Ford Clinic in straitjackets, it is less shackled by the rules of “access journalism.”

And Jodie is widely celebrated for her leftist activism. The last story shewould want circulating is one that makes her sound like Nazi film directrix Leni Riefenstahl brainstorming with Himmler and Goebbels over the specs for the Master Race’s next generation. Especially because Jodie actually is going to produce and star in an upcoming bio-pic called The Leni Riefenstahl Project.

Whoever the father of Jodie Foster’s baby really is, the general truth isthat, despite the strident egalitarianism of so many feminists, the process of getting artificially inseminated inevitably turns women who can’t bear to be impregnated by a man into practicing eugenicists. They have to ask themselves which sperm donor is geneticallysuperior. Leafing through fertility clinics’ catalogs, they are forced to agonize over such politically incorrect questions as, “Does Donor #543′s curly blonde hair and 6′-3″ height mean he gives better seed than Donor #361, who is only 5′-7″ but has an SAT scoreof 1450?”

Now, the purpose of this column is not to mock sanctimonious feminist hypocrites (although it’s hard to think of anyone moredeserving). The necessity of choosing gamete donors based on estimated genetic desirability is hardly restricted to lesbians. Heterosexual couples suffering the tragedy of infertility often face the same choices. For an example of what a fertility clinic’s catalog looks like, check out this sample from a lovely young egg donor at

The going rate for an Ivy League coed’s egg has shot up to $5,000 each. (If any males reading this are suddenly envisioning themselves making money hand over fist down at their neighborhood fertility clinic, well, the going rate for sperm is several orders of magnitude less.) Denmark has become a major exporter of sperm to meet global demand for blonde genes.

Nor is this article just another sermon by a bioethicist about the dangers of genetic technology. Because even people who are creating children the old fashioned way are also informal eugenicists. All heterosexuals look for a member of the opposite sex who can supply good genes for their children—trust me on this one: I know, because Igot turned down for a lot of dates. In contrast, Wilt Chamberlain, the nearly superhuman basketball legend, claimed (not all that implausibly) that he had had sex with an average of 1.2 different women per day for forty years. Charles Darwin devoted much of his great book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex to the important consequences of mate choice. Geoffrey F. Miller’s The Mating Mind is a lively updating of Darwin that argues that much of the expansion of human capabilities over the last few million years stemmed from competition to impress the opposite sex. Why did early men invent music, art, humor, and sports? In effect, because chicks dig it. By demonstrating skill in these venues, males try to show females they have all-around good genes.

Now, eugenics has a terrible reputation. Much of its notoriety may be well deserved, since its most visible manifestations in the 20th Century were governments murdering or sterilizing people they didn’t like. Voluntary eugenics, however, is too universal and too fundamental to human life for us to continue to observe the taboo against discussing itin print. The study of the competition for genes has broad implications for public policy, including immigration.

One benefit of thinking frankly about eugenics is that we can see graspits practical limitations. Consider the alleged 160 IQ of little Charles Foster’s daddy. That’s an extraordinary number: Only 1 out of about 30,000 Americans scores so high. Does this guarantee that, if the rumor is true, the Foster family will be blessed with another prodigy? Definitely not. According to psychologist Chris Brand , author of The g Factor (not available for sale—it was yanked from store shelves by its publisher, John Wiley, for political incorrectness shortly after its 1996 release), the expected boost in the kid’s IQ from using a sperm donor with an IQ of 160 instead of a one with the average IQ of 100 is only 12 points. And your mileage may vary … and almost certainly will varydramatically. (Another book showing how to do these calculations is Daniel Seligman’s delightful introduction to the science of IQ, A Question of Intelligence.)

Now, twelve IQ points (80% of a standard deviation) is nothing to sneer at. It’s the difference between the 50th percentile and the 79th percentile on the Bell Curve. Still, I fear Jodie would find herself a tad disappointed.

Why is the expected payoff of even such painstaking eugenic efforts as this so small and so uncertain? Regression to the Mean. We each carry two sets of genes. You might have gotten lucky and gotten dominant genes that granted you a huge amount of some desirable trait. But your recessive genes are also a random selection from the average of your ancestors’ genes, weighted by their closeness to you on the family tree. At the moment of your child’s conception, you and your mates’ four sets of genes are completely reshuffled. Thus, the children of the highly intelligent tend to have kids who aren’t as bright as they are. That’s why royal dynasties are founded by usurpers with exceptional talents, but quickly recede to nothing-specialness. In merciful contrast, the exceptionally dim tend to have children who are a little smarter than they are.

So, who will little Charles Foster take after the most? His NietzcheanSuperwoman mom? His handpicked dad? Or, just maybe, his Uncle Buddy?

Understanding regression to the mean is helpful in understanding theeffects of the 1965 Immigration Act, especially the “family reunification” policy under which most immigrants are now admitted to the U.S. I’ll consider that in detail in my column to be posted tomorrow.

TOMORROW: Part II: What It All Means for Immigration Policy (and theproposed H1B visa increase).

Part II: How to Keep Immigrants from Regressing to the Mean

When feminist icons like actress Jodie Foster and rock star MelissaEtheridge search for a sperm donor, they unavoidably turn themselves into eugenicists looking for men who can give their children genetic superiority. But that’s just an ironic instance of a truth that applies even more universally to heterosexuals: everybody looks for a matewho can supply their children with good genes.

The market for desirable genes, however, extends far beyond the mating game. All sorts of heritable traits—whether for height, good looks, musical skills, a winning personality, or intelligence—are in demand in the business world.

For example, the extremely smart are to America’s high-tech economy what seven foot tall men are to the National BasketballAssociation: highly useful freaks of nature. A November 25, 1996 Fortune article by Randall E. Stross, entitled “Microsoft’s Big Advantage—Hiring Only the Supersmart,” featured some surprisingly frank statements by Bill Gates that sound like The Bell Curve on steroids:

Gates is blunt. “There is no way of getting around [the fact] that, in terms of IQ, you’ve got to be very elitist in picking the people who deserve to write software.” … Microsoft could teach its employees in specific skill areas, but it could not instill intelligence andcreativity—those, Gates said, were “reasonably innate.” The best programmers, in Gates’s view, are people who are “supersmart.” … His self-confessed “bias” in hiring—“toward intelligence or smartness over anything else, even, in many cases, experience.”

The NBA has discovered that America, with only 1/22nd of the world’spopulation, has no monopoly on seven footers. Thus, it imports centers like Rik Smits (Holland), Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuania), Dikembe Mutombo (Congo), and that charter member of the Human Biodiversity Hall of Fame , 7’7″ 190 poundDinka herdsman Manute Bol (Sudan).

Similarly, Silicon Valley is famously peppered with the high-IQ folks from all over the world, like Andy Grove (Hungary), longtime CEO of Intel, and Vinod Khosla (India), venture capital dealmeister extraordinaire. The number of jobs and wealth created for Americans by the most brilliant immigrants has been enormous. The best immigrants also pay far more in taxes than they consume in government handouts.

Like the NBA and seven-footers, America is in the privileged position ofbeing able to brain-drain the most talented people from all over the world.

How many immigrants we should admit is a separate question. But whatever that number should be, my own view is that we ought toadmit the best immigrants available, with “best” defined as “most benefiting current American citizens.”

Possibly the most impressive of all the new immigrant groups were theearly arrivals from India. Although immigration enthusiasts like Michael Barone and Ron Unz often compare immigrants from East Asia to Jewish immigrants of a century ago, South Asians are even more similar. Like the Jews, and unlike the East Asians, their verbal skills tend to be as strong as their technical talents.

So what’s not to like about our current immigration laws? Plenty. Let’s look at what’s been happening recently even to the poster children of the modern immigration era, the Indians.

American Demographics magazine reported:

The median income for Asian-Indian households is $44,700, versus $31,200 for all U.S. households, according to the 1990 census. Not all Asian Indians are affluent, however. Dr. Arun Jain, professor of marketing at the State University of New York in Buffalo, divides the market into three distinct segments. The first, the majority of whom immigrated in the 1960s, is led by a cohort of highly educated men who came to this country because of professional opportunities. Most are doctors, scientists, academics, and other professionals … The second segment includes immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1970s. Like the first segment, the men are highly educated professionals. … The third segment is made up of relatives of earlier immigrants who have been sponsored by established family members in this country. They are often less well-educated than members of the first two segments. This is the group most likely to be running motels, small grocery stores, gas stations, or other ventures. …

“The earlier immigrants came because of their qualifications. They had no trouble getting green cards or professional posts,”says Dr. Madhulika Khandelwal of the Asian/American Center at Queens College in Flushing, New York. … “The more recent immigrants differ … This wave includes lower-middle-class Indians who tend to work in service industries, usually with members of their extended families,” says Khandelwal. [Asian-Indian Americans by Marcia Mogelonsky ,August 1995]

Please note that India has not suddenly run out of extremely smart people who want to become Americans. Its population just hit one billion. Certainly, the majority are undernourished, poorly educated peasants, but India’s middle class is estimated to be as large as 150,000,000. Many of these speak fine English and attend schools that still do a good job of following some of the principles instituted by Thomas Babington Macaulay in the 19th century. Southern India, lead by the software center of Bangalore, has become to computer programmers what the Dominican Republic is to baseball players: an unexpected mother lode of talent.

So, why are we getting fewer professionals and more cabdrivers out ofIndia these days? The 1965 Immigration Act “family reunification”policy gives priority not to immigrants who would most benefit the American public as a whole, but to recent immigrants’ siblings, parents, and adult children. Plus those relatives’ spouses and kids. This is flooding the country with mediocrities admitted only because they are previous immigrants’ brothers-in-law.

The Wall Street Journal’s front page reported on December 1999:

Of the 660,000 foreigners the U.S. accepted as permanent residents in 1998, 476,000 had family ties; just 77,000 others came in as employees, 40,000 fewer than in 1996 and half the limit set by law. Of the 77,000, half were spouses and children. Among working immigrants, more than half were heavyweight academics, hotshot executives, or celebrities. In other words, only about 14,000 came in exclusively because they were skilled or educated.[ Northern View: In Canada, the Point Of Immigration Is Mostly Unsentimental]

Why does the system have less and less room for talented would-be immigrants who lack family connections? During the early years after the 1965 Act, many immigrants were admitted because they had special skills needed by American organizations. But as America’s immigrant population swells, more and more new Americans thus possess the legal right to bring over their adult relatives and their spouses. In turn, each newly imported in-law can gain the power to bring in his or her relatives and in-laws. And on and on ad infinitum.

Second, our family reunification-based immigration system tends toward mediocrity for the same reason celebrity feminists who pick out tremendously talented sperm donors to father their children will tend to end up frustrated: genetic regression to the mean. However, extremely smart or musical people almost always have relatives who aren’t as smart or musical on average. And the genes you pass on to your kids aren’t just the ones you display, but also a weighted average of all your ancestors’ genes. This means that Melissa Etheridge’s girlfriend’s kids probably won’t grow up to be rock legends like their test tube daddy, David Crosby. Who knows? They may end up tone-deaf like some great uncle in his family tree.

When a Vinod Khosla helps found a Sun Microsystems, American customers, workers, and stockholders all benefit. But say this techwizard’s sister’s husband’s mother’s sister’s husband gets into the U.S. through “family reunification.” Due to regression to the mean, the odds are greatly against him being another wizard. So, say he buys a Motel Six, fires the old employees, and staffs it with his extended family. The economic results for current American citizens are much more mixed than when his distant in-law started Sun. American customers presumably get a slightly better product, but at the expense of the jobs of the laid off American workers. Maybe the tradeoff is positive for America, maybe it’s negative. (Wealthier Americans who vacation frequently will tend to see it as a benefit, poorer Americans who need jobs as motel maids will see it as a detriment.) But the opportunity cost is undeniably severe. Because we are admitting this run-of-the-mill middle-aged motel keeper, we aren’t admitting some young genius.

You might think that America’s high-tech “Jedi geeks” would want to reform the immigration laws so America would get more high-IQ computer geeks and fewer non-descript nobodies. After all, these moguls sure wouldn’t hire their employees the way the government selects immigrants. If they let their most recent hires start hiring all their relatives, their oldest employees and stockholders would rebel. All the Sand Hill Road set would have to do is cash in a few stock options, fund a few think tanks, rent a few Congressmen, and, voila, we’d have a more rational immigration law.

Of course, you don’t get to be a billionaire without being one sharpoperator. Nor do you make the gigabucks by putting the general welfare of Americans ahead of your own. Sure, Silicon Valley bosses desperately want more smart employees. But, what any employer wants, in his wildest dreams, are smart serfs.

So, rather than reforming the immigration system, the zillionaires gottheir pet Congressmen to bolt the ingenious H-1B system on top of the old law. Foreign technology workers admitted under H-1B are often referred to as “indentured servants” because they can’t quit to work for anybody else. Thus, their masters can pay them much less than they’d have to pay free American labor. (To understand how competition from the bondsman drives down the free man’s wages, see the 1858 campaign speeche s of A. Lincoln.)

Of course, labeling this mechanism “indentured servitude” does agrave injustice to the colonial American practice. True indentured servants were allowed to remain in America after their half dozen or so years of servitude. In contrast, when H-1B workers are just beginning to get assimilated after six years, they are kicked out of the country and replaced by new foreigners straight off the plane. Our high tech moguls don’t want their H-1B workers starting companies that would compete with them! So, don’t call these poor bastards “indenturedservants.” Call them “high-tech coolies.”

What would the perfect system for evaluating applicants for admissionlook like? Well, if you want to emigrate to Canada you can find out if you qualify online here. The Canadians let in way too many immigrants—even I, an aging pundit, would qualify. Still, they’ve grasped the basic principle that we’ve forgotten in America: immigration is not a rightpossessed by foreigners, it’s a tool for benefiting the current citizenry of America. So why not the best?

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: Eugenics 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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