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crispr He Jiankui

I think there is a rule in the application of science in medical settings: the first big step is taken by the person least suitable to take it.

Consider, for example, the first heart transplant. It was carried out by a showman surgeon who jumped the gun and did the operation before the problem of rejection was solved. So, who got the publicity, the queue jumper or the man who waited for the science to mature? Which name comes to mind most easily: Norman Shumway or Christiaan Barnard ?

Now we have an absurd, knight’s move intervention from China. He Juankui has jumped the gun by a decade, saying he did this to help a parent with HIV have healthy twins. It is an odd gene to delete, and might only afford partial protection. If you want to control HIV, the public health advice is to use a condom. If you have HIV there are drugs which reduce the symptoms and the transmission rate. Why go for this attempted vaccination which does not necessarily achieve the desired effect? CrispR is just a very sharp knife. It is not a roadmap into the genome. It does not of itself avoid unintended consequences. These are called “off target effects” and have to be estimated by other means. Is it gene surgery? That is showman hyperbole. The technique may have been used simply because it was possible to use it, and the location of that particular gene well-known, and the justifications added later. CrispR is not to blame. It is an excellent gene editing technique, precise and very cheap to use, and could eventually be used to deal with cystic fibrosis and other awful diseases which can be linked to very specific sections of the genome. However, off target effects will take time to reveal themselves. The results might not be pretty.

Fuller accounts can be obtained in other places.

What will this daft episode achieve? It will certainly anger many people. It stands a risk of further inflaming the debate so that all work in the field is tarred with the same brush. One guy’s experiments on a sabbatical could slow up more cautious research in many laboratories around the world.

On the other hand, absurd events can have a paradoxically liberating effect. They make people think. They bring ideas to the surface. Heart transplants did not work at first, but then became far safer. The upstart became a star, but the technique thereby got a massive boost, and overcame a perceived hurdle that the heart was somehow not to be tampered with, the heart of our selves.

This latest episode involves a very odd gene deletion, badly regulated, haphazardly reported, not yet fully revealed (the second twin might not have had an actual deletion), which might hold up better conducted programs to attempt to carry out more reasonable deletions.

On a broader scale, it could well be that CrispR is still a bridge too far, and not something we should meddle with in our own species. The unintended consequences are too serious.

In contrast, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is looking like a far more acceptable route to take. It would only apply to IVF births, and would not involve any manipulations of the genome. All the parents would be doing is making an informed choice about which of their own embryos had the best chance of a healthy life. Nothing has been changed in those embryos, but a choice formerly done by the throw of a dice can be made on the basis of an informative polygenic risk score. Even if the gains are very slight, doing a little better than chance is a good place to start. Evaluating the benefits of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis will itself take time. Some results will require decades to prove. When the choice really matters, taking the long view seems far better.

The He Juankui intervention is a mess: hinted at, partly trailed, partly kept hidden and vague, an affront to science reporting. It did not leak of its own accord. However, the conversation which follows the event may do some good, and better interventions may yet follow.

• Category: Science • Tags: Crispr 
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  1. 1. Future people should have a choice in whether or not their genes are modified.
    2. Future people cannot consent to modification.
    3. Thus we should not genetically modify future people on the basis that they cannot consent.

    It’s unethical.

  2. CK says:

    Why should future people be allowed to impede the development of current people? A crispr that cancels Tay-Sachs is a good thing, a crispr that cancels malaria is a good thing, a crispr that cancels paedophilia is a good thing for the future generations as well as the current.
    A child cannot consent to be created therefore you should not create children.
    Consent in such cases is just progressive drivel.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Che Guava
  3. res says:

    I have seen much (justified IMHO) criticism of the choice he made for the first edit, but I suspect it came down to finding a choice meeting these two criteria:
    1. A simple change likely to succeed. Breaking a gene is easier than repairing it.
    2. Finding parents willing to participate. It sounds like the father was highly motivated here.

    Given those two underlying reasons it seems like an understandable choice to me.

    I think the father being HIV+ complicates the ethics of this given that I assume that puts the child at higher risk (e.g. incidental blood contact). It looks like there is the possibility of direct transmission at conception as well:

  4. freddie says:

    Western values are not Eastern values.

  5. Good or bad, right or wrong, hissy fits and hair-pulling or no, it is going to happen, and presumably China will maintain the lead because it will do the rewearch. Why the silly capitalization of the final R?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @RaceRealist88
  6. David H says:

    I hate to break it to you, but nobody consents to the content of his or her genes.

    • Agree: Dieter Kief
  7. Yee says:

    If European royal families were offer the chance to destroy their haemophilia gene, I wonder if they would have taken it…

  8. m___ says:

    The comments do not honour the article.

  9. There is an aspect to eugenics that is rarely commented on.

    One of the defining qualities of our species is that we lie. Constantly. But because we’ve evolved to also detect liars, the person one lies to most often and effectively is oneself. Since deluding oneself is often a necessary (but not sufficient) condition to effectively deceiving others.

    Some of the most passionate resistance to human editing of desirable polygenic traits (e.g. intelligence) often comes from those at the apex of the cognitive pyramid.

    Sure, some of that is because of genuine concern for “off target” effects, most of it is mushy, self-contradicting sentimentality, and some part of it is probably the recognition that the view from the top is exhilarating partly because it’s so rarefied. If all the unwashed hoi polloi could, in one generation, go from middling to +5SD IQ, well, there goes the neighborhood.

  10. dearieme says:

    1. Future people should have a choice in whether or not they are conceived and born.
    2. Future people cannot consent to being conceived and born
    3. Thus we should not have children on the basis that they cannot consent.

  11. dearieme says:

    An awful lot of the reporting of science is “an affront to science reporting”.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  12. @Mark P Miller

    “But because we’ve evolved to also detect liars”


  13. @dearieme

    Antinatalism isn’t coherent.

  14. @dearieme

    Antinatalism isn’t coherent.

    There’s no choice in being born; there is a choice in genetic modification/germline editing. Future people can’t consent to such changes.

    That there is no choice in being born and no choice in germline editing changing future people’s genes (if said germline modification is done) doesn’t mean we should do both; we should have more children, we should not edit the germline, nor should we edit anyone that cannot consent to the edits.

    I’d recommend reading Genes and Future People: Philosophical Issues in Human Genetics by Glannon and The Ethics of the New Eugenics: by MacKellar and Bechtel.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    , @Realist
    , @Dale
  15. I don’t track it systemically, but my guesstimate from the papers coming out is that dysgenic reproduction is currently lowering First World IQ’s by around 1 point per decade.

    Mature embryo selection techs will result in ~10 point IQ generational gain according to Bostrom and Shulman. So that’s 3 points every ten years. However, that means that a third of the population would have to use the technology to balance out the decline. Highest rate of IVF pregnancies is in Denmark, where 10% of babies are born that way. Doubt that parents would have the same urge to give their babies a few extra IQ points as make sure they don’t develop some genetic disease so that may be the ceiling on embryo selection anyway. So society wide gain of 0.3 points through embryo selection.

    So it’s unlikely we’ll reserve the Frito Effect anytime soon with just embryo selection – though these back of the envelope musings do suggest we can make a sizable dent in it (1/3?). But to radically reverse it we’ll still need direct editing.

    Countries deadset against this technology will be doomed to fall behind, since even a few years worth of head start will be critical given the ridiculous influence that smart fractions generate. Unless of course there is an actual global moratorium, that is also effectively enforced. Cyberpunk vision: UNATCO raids on CRISPR black clinics.

  16. Anon[104] • Disclaimer says:
    @Frederick V. Reed

    You are growing surprisingly philosophical for someone who’s written that philosophy is a disease :).

    However, yes: technology and techno-science already rule humans while the latter still think they rule. So, anything that becomes capable of being attempted, will.
    The only discrimination is between doing it publicly or unofficially and behind the curtains.

    In China, as well as in the US and elsewhere.

  17. Anon[104] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mark P Miller

    IQ and self-consciousness/introspection/open-mindedness (what widens the view) are each other’s relatives, but not the same thing.

    You should have provided us with some outline, at least, of what “self-contradictory sentimentality” is, besides being something your doctrine feels (feels!) it must label pejoratively.
    That intelligence be a desirable trait is, for example, a statement out of sentimentality (or wouldn’t you call “sentiment” the tender act of deciding the universal desirability of what you desire? Intelligence loses any humbleness and goes on to state and restate: I am desirable.
    Not unlike female social media profiles shouting: “I am smart, strong, independent, creative, funny, …”).

    Intelligence can’t task itself with deciding whether it be desirable, can it?

    I also don’t see the link between the first half of your comment, on lying, and the second.
    If you meant that lying and self-lying should be edited out, just know that it would basically amount to wiping off humankind itself. Because they aren’t liars, they are lies.
    I agree with you on this one, and think a social species equipped with what we call reason and speech cannot not lie.
    I don’t lie, true: but then, I am not social…

  18. @dearieme

    An awful lot of the reporting of science is “an affront to science reporting”

    Michael Crichton coined the term “Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” – not just about science reporting, but about reporting in general.

    It goes something like this:

    You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    Most people who are genuine experts in a field, will correctly judge almost all journalistic output relating to their field as garbage. Then they turn the page and assume that what some other journalist wrote about some other field of expertise, is not garbage.

    With very very few exceptions (mostly in politics and sports), journalists generally have barely a dilettante’s grasp of the subject/s they cover; the more complex the subject, the more likely that journalists are ill-equipped to grasp the subject.

    This is why ‘science reporting’ is mostly verbatim regurgitation of press releases, or “magic bullet” blue-sky nonsense.

    My bet: this Chinese guy is lying. He has made promises he hasn’t been able to keep. It’s happened plenty often (in physics, in the naughties… an absolute rockstar’s entire oeuvre was shown to be false).

    Don’t get me wrong: CrispR as almost certainly being deployed in humans now, with all the attendant fuckups that first-hacks at a new ‘thing’ entail.

    Fortunately most of the fuckups will either be non-viable, or can be identified and flushed early on… so for the moment nobody’s given birth to some sort of vicious hybrid (well, not since Dick Cheney chewed his way out of his mother).

    Just don’t get the stupid misty-eyed idea that nobody’s doing it because they’re all so fucking honourable.

    That sort of trust is not touching: it’s idiotically naïve – it’s the sort of trust that causes choirboys to suspect nothing until just before they get anally raped in the vestry.

    People need to base their expectations on a more solid model of medical research: the version we’re force-fed by the idiot media is of diligent, upstanding, white-coated perfectionists.

    Instead, imagine the top level of the entire field as dominated by self-interested quasi-sociopaths who would have no qualms about performing vivisections on people’s lost pets if they thought it would bring them fame and fortune.

    We certainly know – 100%, certainly know – that people who do pharma research finagle the process in such a way that people die. Vioxx is one example; psychotropics are another.

    We know that medical device manufacturers knew about the ‘black sludge’ problem with old-style replacement hips and knees… and they hid it.

    We know that silicone implant manufacturers knew about leakage, scarring, and other significant adverse effects… and they hid it.[1]

    We know that vaginal mesh implant manufacturers knew of long-term problems with the mesh hardening, twisting, and folding – and massive problems with any attempt to remove the mesh once implants… and they hid it.

    How much more evidence do people fucking need? (Let’s be clear though: at the ‘underling’ level – where most actual innovation happens – there are people who have not yet been given the opportunity to unleash their inner Mengele).

    [1] in the ordinary course of events I could not give a flying fuck what happens to some stupid slag who thinks getting fake tits is a sensible use of money: most of them wind up looking like melted plastic toys, and still they persist. Still, even idiotic shallow bleached-asshole fucktards can be victims.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
    , @Dieter Kief
  19. @Kratoklastes

    Dammit – couldn’t remember the dude’s name… by the time I used the right search term the edit time had expired. (The 90s called: it wants its cobbled-together comment functionality back).

    Jan Hendrik Schön was the guy.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  20. @Mark P Miller

    we’ve evolved to also detect liars

    Yeah… nope.

    People who claim to be able to detect liars perform perform no better than a coin toss: the best estimate is that ‘highly trained’ individuals[0] can correctly identify liars about 54% of the time; statistically not different from 50%, given sample sizes and true underlying distribution. If your P(Type I Error) is anywhere near 50%, your methodology is useless; if your Pr(Type II Error) approaches 50% people wind up in cages when they are innocent.

    This has been known for some time: while pigs who deploy the Reid Technique can browbeat retards into false confessions, they are actually not good at telling the difference between shit and a Chokito.

    Levine et al (2014) tried – in typical bullshitter psychocharlatan fashion – to perform a pseudoscientific charade that they claimed yielded 100% accuracy; the numerate world laughed and said

    Oh, you psychosophasters and your japes. Maybe you should go back to helping the CIA torture innocent bearded men, rather than trying to help law enforcement pretend that their methods aren’t horse-shit.“.

    You see, for those of us who can do sums (even sums with foreign squiggles in them, and letters where there oughtta be numbers)… well, we know that even a 95% accuracy rate would result in tens of thousands of false positives if the prevalence of the trait being tested is low (criminal behaviour, in this case).

    This all comes down to the interplay between a test’s specificity, sensitivity and the prevalence of the thing being tested for: that interplay is expressed as the test’s PPV (positive predictive value) and NPV (same same, but negative).

    The nuts and bolts are on full display in Altman & Bland’s 1994 Statistical Note in the BMJ[2].

    And Ben Goldacre’s terrific “Bad Science” blog contains two simple worked examples for non-statisticians – Crystal Balls and Positive Predictive Values and Datamining for terrorists would be lovely if it worked. Both show how tests with low ‘power’ generate extremely high false positive rates (worse still: false-positive rates will approach 99% in large samples when the true prevalence is low, even when the test’s power is high).

    Notes and References

    [0] The term “highly trained” in instances like this, is entirely bullshit. It is designed to make the public believe that ‘law enforcement’ uses scientific method and/or that law enforcement experience is associated with quantitatively-validated improvements in skill. Neither is true.

    [1] Levine, T., Clare, D., Blair, J., McCornack, S., Morrison, K., & Park, H. (2014). Expertise in Deception Detection Involves Actively Prompting Diagnostic Information Rather Than Passive Behavioral ObservationHuman Communication Research, 40 (4), 442-462

    [2] Altman, D., & Bland, J.M. (1994). Statistics Notes: Diagnostic tests 2: predictive values, BMJ 1994;309:102

    • Replies: @Steve2
    , @Wizard of Oz
  21. I know what the sneaky little Asians are up to. They’re just trying to change their DNA to grow a bigger schlong. They can say all they want about curing diseases and all that riff raff. Its all about bigger schlongs. Thats why they’re always having Dennis Rodman over, treating him like royalty, they’re probably stealing his schlong DNA when he ain’t looking.

    You’re not fooling anyone you Asians! I can’t blame them. Sign me up!

    • LOL: TimeTraveller
    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
  22. icicle says:

    Aren’t you saying that prematurely? Only 0.3% of Africans have the natural CCR5 mutation that is resistance to HIV infection.

  23. @Mark P Miller

    Hoi is Greek for The. It should therefore read If all hoi unwashed polloi… I couldn’t resist.

    • Replies: @Anon
  24. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Losing 0.7 IQ points ever 10 years sounds terrible. Indeed, this would mean that First World countries would become Third World within a 200 year time period. A 15-point IQ drop within 200 years–that’s crazy!

  25. Mr. XYZ says:

    Actually, one does have a choice in whether or not one conceives and gives birth to a child. That’s what abstinence, contraception, and abortion are for.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
    , @RaceRealist88
  26. idea says:

    What can be attempted will be attempted.


    That was a long paraphrase of Machiavelli’s injunction against mercenairies, but appropriate. 😉

  27. Realist says:

    That is silly. I agree with the first two respondents to your comment.

  28. Realist says:

    Why should future people be allowed to impede the development of current people? A crispr that cancels Tay-Sachs is a good thing, a crispr that cancels malaria is a good thing, a crispr that cancels paedophilia is a good thing for the future generations as well as the current.

    Agreed. Also gene editing to improve intelligence is a good thing.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
    , @Dale
  29. Realist says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Countries deadset against this technology will be doomed to fall behind, since even a few years worth of head start will be critical given the ridiculous influence that smart fractions generate. Unless of course there is an actual global moratorium, that is also effectively enforced. Cyberpunk vision: UNATCO raids on CRISPR black clinics.

    Great point.

  30. Realist says:

    That there is no choice in being born and no choice in germline editing changing future people’s genes (if said germline modification is done) doesn’t mean we should do both; we should have more children, we should not edit the germline, nor should we edit anyone that cannot consent to the edits.

    Your logic is missing.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  31. @Anatoly Karlin

    Thanks for these calculations. Denmark is an extraordinary case of extremely high, subsidized, uptake of IVF. I find it hard to believe these high rates. Current screening techniques are unlikely to add more than 3 IQ points per child/generation, but the “mature” ones of which you speak might well do better, and might get there quickly, say in 7 or 8 years. Proof of concept, however, will take about 18 years, and the control group would have to be older siblings conceived before screening was available, or unscreened siblings.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @never-anonymous
    , @Sean
  32. utu says:
    @James Thompson

    If currently we have polygenic scores that at best can explain ≈10% of IQ variance using 1000’s of SNPs, how many SNPs one would have to flip to cause ∆IQ=3 pnts shift? And is it possible in some individuals flipping these SNPs may cause reduction of IQ?

    • Replies: @prime noticer
    , @Sean
  33. @Frederick V. Reed

    Using this logic, why try to stop anything since it’s going to happen anyway?

    The fact of the matter is that there are serious issues to contend with here and just saying ‘it’s going to happen anyway so why do anything’ doesn’t make sense.

    Should immoral actions be stopped? Why or why not?

    • Replies: @Biff
  34. The Chinese will conquer the world with their superior genes.

    This is just the beginning.

  35. dearieme says:

    Thank you: a good read. But WKPD says “… peer review, traditionally designed to find errors and determine relevance and originality of articles” which is not the advice I received when I started refereeing papers. The most reflective of my older colleagues told me that my first duty was to ensure that the paper was sufficiently clear and complete that the readers could judge its relevance and its accuracy. It would be a bonus if I could detect flaws and lack of originality, but only a bonus. In other words the referee’s principal enemies were ambiguity, omissions, and obscurity.

    I think the old boy was spot on. It’s a quasi-religious belief that peer review can usefully be a stamp of approval of the content of a papers: how on earth could two or three referees possibly be as effective as a hundred readers at detecting errors? Only the referees, however, can give the hundred readers their best chance of doing that job.

    The most amusing referee’s report I ever got on one of my own papers said something to the effect of ‘The authors three times begin a paragraph with the words “It is interesting to note”. Everything they have to say in this paper is interesting so they should delete the phrase.’

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  36. anonymous[506] • Disclaimer says:

    I agree with M_ @ 8 comments d\n honor the magnitude of the question .. brought into focus by this article?

    CrispR is a simple, easy to use gene selecting and editing technique it is so simple, so accurate that it levels the playing field. A drunk on a park bench, a physician on a high, a high school student, a farmer, or scientist in a lab could all, with very little knowledge use Crispr technology. Its implementation is easy, very few inexpensive store bought items are needed. Presto genes are edited and gene edited products are produced.

    In fact a gardener could use it to modify the genetics of molds, bacteria, or fungi on plants in his garden, or the world could use it to modify malaria carrying Mosquito, the farmer to edit the genes of his food crops(Monsanto comes to mind) and a home maker could use it to make for pennies what pharmaceutical industry giants make for dollars..

    The secret is already out. Already Crispr is being evaluated as a weapon.

    Thompon’s statement “One guy’s experiments on a sabbatical could slow up more cautious research in many laboratories around the world. ” means to me the patent lawyers have not been able to finish their work.

    Thompson’s article points to a gentile problem in a owned and controlled Jewish world. If the world had agree to wait, the Zionist corporate Control over humanity network (JCOBEN) would have captured into its private ownership; they would have patented and copyrighted all of this gene editing technology; and that would mean the use of gene editing (i.e. CrispR or to genome editing technology) would be restricted to those who pay money and engage proper reverence to the Jewish controlled corporations or syndicates. EPA prevented domestic oil production to enable multinational oil companies to move operations to the Middle East.

    Already there have been rumors it has been used in the war in Yemen. and what is going to happen when robots start editing human genomes?

    The so-called years ahead diabolical work, prevented Oligarch owned corporations from making the world wait until the Oligarchs could establish undisputed legal ownership and control over all relevant gene editing technology, control over the supplies and sources of supply that are needed to implement gene editing, and control over the produced results of an application of gene editing technology. Recall that is the purpose of Zionism to control and make profit from it all. Zionist may find it difficult to control something this easy.

    Oligarchs own the corporations and control the governments and the governments Oligarchs control, control the agencies and educational institutions and publications and the laboratories (and have access to unlimited funds ) that expose the world to gene editing. Thompson’s point is that the Oligarchs have not yet found a way to limit gene editing progress to but a few corporations; so everyone must wait.

    This simple Crispr technology should not be allowed in non Jewish hands. Oligarchs want to be able to secretly accelerate the modification of the Jewish genome in order to distinguish the Jewish edited gene product to the stars and beyond ? I observe gentiles might use it to edit the Zionist out of the Jew.

    The reason to wait is the right people do not yet have vested ownership. They do not know yet which technology to wrap in monopoly wrappers (copyright and patent transformation law which converts public ownership to private ownership)? Private ownership (of a monopoly protected public good …use of the technology that produces or use of the produced product of CrispR ) of the tools, process, knowledge to use CrispR to produce a gene edited result or the use of a result produced by such an edit is the public concern of private Oligarch interest.

    Two routes to Oligarch ownership: by direct control (copyright and patent law), or by indirect control (Oligarchs use government to accomplish the same thing as copyright or patents). Copyright and patents are laws that make the Jews into owners of everything the world wants or needs.

    Capitalism is highly dependant on private ownership of public goods. Copyrights and patents and land ownership by recorded instruments are examples of privatization.

  37. @Realist

    There can’t be genes for intelligence because there are no psychophysical or psychological laws.

  38. wayfarer says:

    Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. – Aldous Huxley

    It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. – Unknown

    “Something Unbelievable is Happening Worldwide”

    Elon Musk’s Last Warning About Artificial Intelligence

    • Agree: Agent76
  39. trogs says: • Website

    In contrast, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is looking like a far more acceptable route to take. It would only apply to IVF births, and would not involve any manipulations of the genome. All the parents would be doing is making an informed choice about which of their own embryos had the best chance of a healthy life.

    Exactly! This is so obvious.

    CRISPR has hardly any effect on anything, except that it’s a giant outrage sink. Meanwhile, people are today just beginning to do polygenic PGD, which will affect millions, and be deeply beneficial, any responsible parent will do it once they learn of it. I think the main effect of this CRISPR distraction is that it will normalize polygenic PGD.

  40. I am waiting for the 6’6″ blonde haired, blue-eyed chinaman to takeover the world… Any day now!

  41. @redmudhooch

    ” Thats why they’re always having Dennis Rodman over, treating him like royalty, they’re probably stealing his schlong DNA when he ain’t looking.”

    Or, more likely, when he IS looking.

  42. @Realist

    No, the logic is there; I defended the argument. *Should* statements are moral statements. We *should* have more children. Why? Because it continues the species.

    We *should not* modify the germline/genes of a baby because no consent is possible.

    Antinatalism isn’t a coherent position.

    I recommend reading the two books I referred to in my previous comment.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  43. Anonymous[142] • Disclaimer says:

    In my experience, the referees are expected to do it for free, with no remuneration of any kind. The hidden threat is that if they don’t agree to spend their time reviewing the paper, then the journal won’t publish their own stuff in future.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  44. nickels says:

    Hitler would be proud.

  45. @RaceRealist88

    Marquis’ argument against abortion can be used for antinatalist arguments.

    P1. Killing this particular adult human being or child would be seriously wrong.

    P2. What makes it so wrong is that it causes the loss of this individual’s future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments, and this loss is one of the greatest losses that can be suffered.

    C1. Killing this adult human being or child would be seriously wrong, and what makes it so wrong is that it causes the loss of this individual’s future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments, and this loss is one of the greatest losses that can be suffered (conjunction, P1, P2).

    P3. If killing this particular adult human being or child would be seriously wrong and what makes it so wrong is that it causes the loss of all this individual’s experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments, and this loss is one of the greatest losses that can be suffered, then anything that causes to any individual the loss of all future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments is seriously wrong.

    C2. Anything that causes to any individual the loss of all future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments is seriously wrong (modus ponens, C1, P3).

    P4. All aborting of any healthy fetus would cause the loss to that individual of all its future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments.

    C3. If A causes to individual F the loss of all future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments, then A is seriously wrong (particular instantiation, C2).

    C4. If A is an abortion of healthy fetus F, then A causes to individual F the loss of all future experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments (particular instantiation, P4).

    C5. If A is an abortion of a healthy fetus F, then A is seriously wrong (hypothetical syllogism, C3, C4).

    C6. All aborting of any healthy fetus is seriously wrong (universal generalization, C5).

  46. Che Guava says:

    Whether it is real or not, the reporting in western and Japanese press made me think ‘why for HIV resistance (or immunity)?’

    Yours is the first article I read to convey the only logical reason, they would have definitely been infected (presumably by the AIDS-ridden mother, since AFAIK, the virus travels in semen and blood, but not in sperm).

    This is strange on so many levels, have more to say myself, let other commentors contemplate the levels.

    • Replies: @Anon
  47. Che Guava says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Rejoice, we are in the season of Advent!

  48. dearieme says:

    Agreed. One other thing; I thought it was sailing close to the wind when editors started asking authors to suggest the names of possible referees.

  49. Che Guava says:

    Unbelievable rubbish on your part.

  50. Anon[103] • Disclaimer says:

    Take note that the unmodified generation following the first modified generation will ask their parents a big question: Why didn’t you help me when you could?”

    Basically, when made robust, the tech is too good to ignore.

    And it’s portable. I’d equip a broken down cruise ship to make a ten-day “repro tour” fifty miles offshore any country backward enough to deny their citizens access to this tech.

  51. @James Thompson

    Two government agents sounding really sciency in the comments section. Lolz. A lot of what people call “genetics” comes down to bad habits passed down through generations. The real science of propaganda captures the thoughts and feelings the sheep as they bleat about China. The funding of scientific research in the US as a hegemonic and propaganda tool started long long ago. Frightened children with enough education to read the MSM but not enough to understand a lick of science believe the BS the masters tell us.

    • Replies: @Anon
  52. Neechee says:

    Morality and ethics are cuckoldrous terms used by the weak willed and weak spirited. Please locate the nearest railroad and take a nap.

    • Replies: @bike-anarkist
  53. @Mr. XYZ

    Abortion is seriously wrong.

    • Replies: @Lin
  54. Steve2 says:

    Right on the money. Thx for your comment.
    A clear description of why false positives can overwhelm actual positives for low likelihood events, even if test accuracy is high.
    As far as liar detection, people in general are obviously chumps. WMDs, etc. Claims of liar detector training for law enforcement is an obvious scam. Show me the experimental protocol, results, attained significance, and the ROC curve or GOMF.
    Reid technique is biased against naive low intelligence people. Perfect targets, guilty or intelligent. When an interrogator yells “bullshit i know your lying” at you and you know and state the truth, remember that they want a confession, true or not. Don’t even talk to police. Ever. See James Duane or Laura Coates for lawyerly perspective unless you wish to join naive tards in prison.

    • Replies: @Steve2
  55. Steve2 says:

    Correction: Perfect targets, guilty or not.

  56. @Neechee

    Please stop wasting air and caloric intake to post such garbage.
    A higher being could put those resources to mush better use, like a cockroach.

    • Agree: utu
  57. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Che Guava

    I read something yesterday that Dr He modified a girl fetus to be immune to AIDS. But of course the article didn’t explain why he made the baby immune to AIDS.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  58. Lin says:

    “Abortion is seriously wrong..”
    While I understand the sentiment but what constitute ‘abortion’ or ‘lives’ ?
    Is taking the ‘morning after’ birth control pills wrong? I mean just a few hours after conception or start of life?
    Are sperms ‘proto-life-forms’?
    Lets assume a more sexually active queer on average swallows 10 cubic centimeters of semen a day, that amounts to 3.65 kg of sperms(assuming same density as water). Mind you the meat(70% of meat is water) consumption in south asia is only about 4 – 7 kg/year/capita. That means the more sexually active gay males consume as much semen as the poorer south Asian comsume meat.
    It’s about time to start a ‘Sperm lives Matter’ movement

  59. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    Read the studies about adopted children including children adopted at birth. They end up much like their natural parents.

    Artificial insemination children end up much more like the semen donor than their mother’s husband. That’s why the semen of medical students, (high IQ) is so prized. That’s why a girl who provides 700+ SAT scores in both math and verbal can get $20,000 for her eggs instead of $3,000.

    When artificial insemnation became popular in the 1950s, the Drs who owned the clinics were very worried about half sibling marriages 25 years later, especially in small towns. Also it was a new thing and they wanted to know how it worked out.

    After 30 years of follow ups the Drs concluded that the kids were like the natural father sperm donor and not st all like the mother’s husband and legal father.

    Examples auto mechanic sperm donor English teacher husband and mother. By the time the kid was 8 he was taking things apart and putting them back together and s much better natural handyman than the English teacher who struggled with manuals and directions.

    English teacher speed donor mechanic husband legal father same thing, kid isn’t a natural mechanic and likes to read.

    These are follow ups that have been ungoing for 70 years; conclusion kids are like the sperm and egg donors, not the woman in whom the egg was planted and her husband.

    Nature rules.

    • Replies: @utu
  60. ZZZ says:

    Parents have broad powers over children / embryos, including not implementing in the first place or aborting them outright, and including power of attorney in medical matters. Parents can consent for their children to medical treatments before and after birth. These are current laws and rules of ethics in most countries.

    Many treatments we subject our children to are not proven to be necessary or statistically more useful than dangerous and/or harmful, e.g. circumcision. No outrage over these procedures.

    Muh Ethics are a joke. Irrational and unreasoning, they are just excuses people use to attack pioneers who got too far ahead.

  61. Agent76 says:

    What could possibly go wrong? Hey, China is Communist and it is not like they have a choice other than obey or die now. Just saying!

    Jun 20, 2017 Oopsies: Gene Editing Now Admittedly Causes Hundreds of Mutations

  62. Agent76 says:

    America has Margaret Sanger and she sure would have fit in there and in East Germany under Hitler since they believe in the exact same concepts.

    Mar 24, 2017 Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist and Founder of Planned Parenthood

  63. this is why serious AI is far too dangerous. like almost every tech, it will be developed in the west, and only pushed as far as is safe. then the chinese will get a hold of it, mostly by copying or stealing the core technology, then pushing it further than is safe.

    of course western scientists could have made human clones or edited human genomes by now. they don’t because it’s not safe. not because they can’t try. it’s the chinese, who didn’t invent anything, who will try.

    look for an AI crisis to happen not in an american university computer department or a defense industry compound, but somewhere in china, when they turn on a reverse engineered AI, then lose control of it.

    • Replies: @Bobzilla
    , @Sean
  64. utu says:

    They end up much like their natural parents.

    Children parent IQ correlation is about 0.4 but when children are given for adoption this correlation drops to 0.2.

    • Replies: @Anon
  65. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:

    Are we moving toward trait-ism? Is traitism the new ‘racism’?

    PC tells us to see all peoples as equal. Sure, PC says some people are smarter or stronger, but it’s about individuals, not entire groups. So, while it’s okay to say ‘that white guy is smarter than that black guy’, it’s not okay to say ‘whites are generally more intelligent than blacks.’

    But upon closer scrutiny, doesn’t the noticing of differences among individuals lead to just another form of ‘supremacism’. A kind of ‘trait supremacism’ or ‘traitism’?

    Even if we don’t mention race with IQ, the fact is some people(of all races) will have higher IQ and form a community of higher IQ folks. As such, they will embody trait supremacism that favors people with high IQ. As long as we agree that higher IQ is preferable, we have a kind of supremacism that bestows greater value on those with higher IQ than on those with lower IQ. Even if higher IQ community is Diverse and Race-mixed, it maintains a separateness, an exclusion. It is deemed a superior community of worthier people. It has what are seen as superior traits. Therefore, it practices Trait Supremacism.

    As long as we say some traits are preferable or more desirable than other traits, one could argue that the result is just another form of supremacism. If not racial or ethnic supremacism, then trait-supremacism. And since people of similar traits tend to flock together — higher IQ people live in a world of higher IQ folks like Silicon Valley or Wall Street — , they constitute a community of Trait Supremacism. This is certainly true of sports though, because blacks have an advantage, trait-supremacism in sports leads to defacto black supremacism.

    Anyway, we can track any favored trait and see where it goes. If we deem them as more desirable or preferable or superior, the result will be Trait Supremacism. So, if we say tall is better than short, then the message is tall people have more reason to live than short people. And in some ways, this can make a race feel inferior. Japanese are generally shorter than whites and blacks, so a recent article says Japanese should mix with other races to become taller. Such argument is based on Trait Supremacism. Since Japanese are generally shorter, they should feel inferior. And in order to have superior taller kids with better traits, they should mate with other races with superior height.

    Or it can be straight hair. If straight hair is superior to nappy hair, then blacks have inferior hair and should strive for Trait Supremacism by race-mixing. If blacks mix with non-blacks, their kids will have less-nappy hair.

    Or the traits can be muscularity, facial features, shape of booties, dong size, generally body shape, vocal tonalityh, personality, or whatever. If we believe that certain traits are better or superior to others, then the result is Trait Supremacism. And with gene selection and tweaking, they can do the Tuco Revolver Trick: In GOOD BAD UGLY, Tuco takes the best pieces of various revolvers to make a superior pistol.

    So, a genetic engineer may take various ‘superior’ traits of different races and fit them together to create Tuco-Revolver-Man, or Tucolt 45.

    If race is just a social construct, no race should have superior traits. But PC tells us that race-mixing creates superior humans(like the mighty Mexicans and victorious Venezuelans). But that would be true ONLY IF races have different traits that can be combined to make something better. Of course, race-mixing can combine the ‘worst’ aspects of each race as well.

    We are so used to discussing bigotry and supremacism in terms of racial groups that we’ve become blind to the innate supremacism of trait-preference. Preference for any trait — intellectual or physical or skill-oriented — deems certain people superior over others for having those preferred traits.
    And it could be that the one of the problems of PC neurosis has to do with traitism. Even as PC waged war on ‘racism’ and ‘white supremacism’, the fact remains that society will remain hierarchical, unequal, and ‘exclusive’ based on diversity of traits among the peoples. So, even if society has shamed and suppressed ‘racism’ and ‘white supremacism’, the fact is many people will still feel miserable or inferior for not having the desired traits. Take Lena Dunham. She doesn’t have what most people consider beauty. But she wants to be thought of as attractive and hot. Her nuttery isn’t about race or ethnicity really. It’s about traits that she lacks, so she tries to change standards.

    So, what will gene-‘therapy’ lead to? People demanding the desired or superior traits as a human right? Will humanity be Tucoltized?

    Policy thinking may go from Comparative Advantage — different groups or races are better at certain tasks — to Combined Advantage(where individuals of all races have ‘human rights’ to access and attain the favored traits of the Other).

  66. @utu

    paul thompson at UCLA already showed 10 years ago or so that there is one specific gene that, if you get two copies of the mutation, raises performance by 2 points. so you’re almost to 3 points already, for people who don’t have those.

    but i assume most western europeans and east asians already have 2 copies of that mutation. so it won’t help them, but it would help third worlders. so you won’t need thousands, just 2 + (whatever).

    it was the only gene they found that directly affected phenotype like that, but it exists.

    • Replies: @utu
  67. Biff says:

    There is no such thing as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, only thinking that makes it so.

    Somebody famous

  68. Biff says:

    Get out the gene slicer and make me a muted skinny girl with big tits.

  69. Dale says:

    Our parents, by marriage and birth, changed our genes. Reproduction should be illegal.

    I’m nothing like my brother, although we are both like different aspects of our parents.

    Germline gene editing is extremely dangerous to the person and their future children, but unless those modifications are genetically beneficial then they are unlikely to propagate throughout the population. Non germline modification to stop disease should be our focus.

  70. Bobzilla says:

    I hate to break it to you, but nobody consents to the content of his or her genes.

    Clearly RaceRealist88 was contrasting natural inheritance of genetics versus man-manipulated inheritance. There is a difference, and it does demand that we consider the ethics of such manipulation.

  71. Sean says:
    @James Thompson

    The high rate of infertility is real and a result of androgen insufficiency in men. Denmark has the highest digit ratio in the world. The other side of the coin is they have very feminine women.

  72. Dale says:

    Germline editing that made sure that all of your offspring have genes that facilitate propensity for intelligence, symmetry, athleticism and health, and lacked genes that cause physical defects and deformities, will be controversial but it will happen. Have you seen GATTACA?

    The whole movie revolves around this kind of genetic “utopia”. It’s fantastic.

  73. Dale says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Medical advances that restore brain function in sick/injured people will inevitably be used to increase brain plasticity in healthy people. That kind of pharmaceutical technology will probably result in at least one medicine that has a side effect of increasing neuro-capacity and cognitive function.

    Would you pay $10,000 a year for a pill that would increase your IQ by 5 points a year? I’m smarter than +99% of the planet (confirmed by multiple IQ tests since I was 10 years old and diagnosed as “learning disabled”, aka precocious and unwilling to deal in bullshit) but I would eat that stuff like candy.

  74. Dale says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    “Cyberpunk vision: UNATCO raids on CRISPR black clinics.”

    That’s a great Afro-SciFi concept, but would require the most intelligent members tell their society they’re “dumb” and force them to accept this intervention. White Americans would feel equally outraged by a Chinese company offering the same rationale.

    Very intriguing article and fantastic commentary by the nickel seats! Kudos. I wish more websites were this open to debate and “offensive” comments.

  75. Bobzilla says:
    @prime noticer

    this is why serious AI is far too dangerous. like almost every tech, it will be developed in the west, and only pushed as far as is safe.

    We are in another AI hype cycle. I’ve seen zero evidence of any AI that has been created that could pass a serious application of the Touring Test for AI. And, achieving true AI will have to go way beyond the Touring Test. True AI is a mere pipe dream at this point.

  76. Dale says:

    A malaria edit could have massive unforeseen side effects. People with Sickle Cell Anemia are malaria resistant, but often have major medical issues related to that mutation.

    Paedophilia appears more environmental than genetic.

    IQ edits could create more sociopaths, who are often more intelligent than their normal peers.

    It will happen, but I love these debates.

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  77. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    My post was about insemnation Drs who followed the kids and families for 30 years. The twins studies focuses on abilities, preferences and a lot more than a .2 difference in IQ.

  78. utu says:
    @prime noticer

    I am very skeptical that form N = 1642 (Brisbane Adolescent Twin Study) sample one could extract ∆IQ=1.29 change for the C allele of rs10784502.

    Providing that SD of sample is 15 and 1/2 of the sample had the allele and the other half did not have the allele (which would be the optimal case) then the SD of the mean IQ of 1/2 of the sample is 15/sqrt(821)=0.52. So you have Mean1=X1±0.52 and Mean2=X2±0.52 and that X1-X2=1.29 then 1-sigma uncertainty of X1-X2 is ±0.72. And if the allele was not distributed 50/50 in the sample then the uncertainty of mean estimate would be worse.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Factorize
  79. Sean says:

    If currently we have polygenic scores that at best can explain ≈10% of IQ variance using 1000′s of SNPs, how many SNPs one would have to flip to cause ∆IQ=3 pnts shift?

    Hundreds. Everything they are now discovering about complex traits suggests the most relevant genes for IQ are vast in number, the average effect of each relevant SNP is barely there, and hundreds out the tens of thousands of relevant SNPs would have to be edited.

    And is it possible in some individuals flipping these SNPs may cause reduction of IQ?

    Probably not, although the people in the field want to believe otherwise. That many genes of small effect are in control of complex functions suggests IQ will have a certain inviolability to damaged genes. In my opinion that is why the geneticists are aghast at this Chinese experiment, because individual genomes are actually quite robust and you can tinker with them to get new qualities without really damaging existing function (a la how evolution works).

    • Replies: @utu
  80. Gotta say it. It’s really hard to come by Unz Review these days without noticing the headline about ‘crisper Chinese babies.’

    I mean, I guess crisper is better, but…

  81. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sin City Milla

    I had given him a pass for not tossing in a ‘the”. And you illustrate why he rightly kept hoi and polloi together. I wonder if Fowler or Follett dealt with the issue. Presumably in Greek the word for “unwashed” would have come after “polloi”.

  82. Sean says:
    @prime noticer

    Alpha Zero’s chess style is described as “insane attacking play” from a “subtle positional advantage”. One can imagine a Western project could be manipulated into doing things they do not understand the purpose of through trying to reverse engineer some improvement in the performance of their own apparently non-general AI. While I agree getting stolen by China would be a great move for an AGI, I think an AGI’s killer advantage will be the Western team who create an Artificial General Intelligence will not realise what they have done, because it will think fast and pretend it cannot think at all. That will be the positional advantage part, and predetermine the success of a balls to the wall attack.

  83. @Kratoklastes

    Thanks for your Crichton-quote. This thought of him is interesting indeed – and the Jan Hendrik Schön hint from you, Kratoklastes, is very interesting too.

    I guess we know not enough to decide, whether He Juankui was lying. He would not be the first scientist to be so overwhelmed by his deeds as to malfunction when a proper description when a proper description of his deeds and the consequences of them would be needed.

    Why not leave it at James Thompson’s well-chosen words for now: A guy who jumped the gun.
    So – it might now be safe to say, that he is a pretender and it might even turn out, that he lied, too. We can guess it, right now, but we don’t know yet.

  84. Che Guava says:

    Yes, of course, that is the point of it and precisely what they all choose not to say.

    Media commentators are despicable.

  85. Che Guava says:

    Also a high score here.

    You are overly optimistic. Things like this bizzare experiment (wealthy Chinese woman with AIDs wants children) will continue, depending on place, things will continue (if you wonder why I use continue, consider ‘higher education’ from Europe to the U.S., would include Japan, although the mechanisms of deterioration are a little different, fall apart.

    The arc from sub-Saharan Africa to central and south Asia should lose all external support and be confined, as far as permanent residence elsewhere, with exceptions where there is good reason.

    If not, breakdown.

    That may give life on Earth a chance.

    … but it is not going to happen. Saint Paul’s cathedral (already a dirty church, charging too much for admission, and supporting ‘Occupy’, mixed thoughts on the latter, but it is not the work of the Church to support it).

    If something is not changing, it will be stripped and minarets set up around it some time by, at least, 2070.

  86. res says:

    I am skeptical about that as well. Here is Razib’s take from 2012:

    I did not see rs10784502 in the recent Lee et al. paper. Has it been showing up in other studies?

    • Replies: @utu
  87. Agent76 says:

    Dec 1, 2018 China Creates Genetic Super Babies

    A Chinese scientist may have created the world’s first genetically engineered babies. Gene editing is banned in many countries, but guess what? Not in China.

  88. utu says:

    Hundreds. – more like 10’s of 1000’s. Steve Hsu accounted for 9% of variance of educational attainment with 9,000 SNPs using linear polygenic score (iirc) and the remaining 50,000 or 100,000 suspect SNP’s he tried would not add approachable improvement.

    If you have a predictor model that can account for a small fraction of variance only there is no guarantee that flipping SNPs a that according to the model should have a positive effect actually would have a positive effect for everybody.

  89. utu says:

    Thanks for the link to Razib. He notices the sample size for brain volume and then makes an objections that is “racist’ based that it cannot be so because Africans turn out to have lots of this allele.

    For the brain volume study the sample was larger (about 20,000) but it struck me that 1,600 size sample to determine IQ effect as small.

    If it so as you say that this SNP does not pop up in other studies shouldn’t Paul Thompson and his 100’s of coauthors do some mea culpas? No, he won’t because it would be bad for the business and the noise his publication created was good for the business of people who are actually in position to point out to his errors.

  90. Sean says:

    I think it would be in the hundreds with forthcoming advances. According to Hsu, identifying the actual causal variants and the ability to edit hundreds at a time would enable the enhancement of IQ. He implies those things are a long way off, but he is currently pushing embryo selection for intelligence, which he wants to offer through his firm, so I suspect he is taking a skeptical view. The badly botched work got live births first time despite his creating unintended as well as a novel modification. Individual’s genomes are less fragile that one might think it appears.

    • Replies: @utu
  91. Factorize says:

    utu, these 19 variants are from the 1.1 million GWAS. They have the largest positive effect sizes of the SNPs reported. If CRISPR in homogzgyously they would give you a 1.25 SD EA (~IQ) enhancement. Please Comment!

    rs144336753 rs117895796 rs71413877 rs150421637 rs62155350 rs34305371 rs115693355 rs75177132 rs77999825 rs114468556 rs75756843 rs75308819 rs72624911 rs111530150 rs114952970 rs11596387 rs72673097 rs1368250 rs116386746

    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @Factorize
  92. utu says:

    “I think it would be in the hundreds with forthcoming advances.” – We are talking about thousands to get a very modest predictive ability. Forget about “hundreds.”

    “the actual causal variants” – We will not know they are actually causal until they discover the mechanism. So far these are just association/correlation studies leading to a predictive model.

    pushing embryo selection for intelligence – the very limited number embryos does not offer much selection. Probably selecting sperm, if it was possible via a nondestructive testing, would give more room for selection.

  93. Sean says:

    As I understand it the current associations may often be for hitchhikers. No, the mechanism is not necessary, just discovering them is enough to know what to add. The exact mechanism by which drugs work is unknown in very many cases, but if they work and are safe we can use them.

    pushing embryo selection for intelligence – the very limited number embryos does not offer much selection. Probably selecting sperm, if it was possible via a nondestructive testing, would give more room for selection.

    Women can do that already. In China the associative mating breeding grounds are vast and the autism spectrum products are swarming into America and stealing industrial secrets worth getting on for a trillion. The Jews running politics, entertainment and media and and the Chinese begining to dominate the technical and scientific class should be made to swap places.

  94. Factorize says:

    When you follow the timeline for the CRISPR story over the last few years, you realize that what was announced this week in Hong Kong was entirely within expectations. In fact, if CRISPR were now attempted, then the risks of mosaicism and off targets would be greatly reduced. The Third International Conference on Gene Editing is ready for London in 2021. Will there be a Fourth?

  95. @RaceRealist88

    You… talking about ethics**** what’s up***

  96. Imagine all proeminent Hbbs, very disagreaable, evil, cold people, who think no there such thing emotional intelligence ”just because factor g”, who live in the fake alienated world of materialistic science as their gravity center, editing the genes of their sons BASED on their own ideals, and not based on absolute or universal ideals…

    Imagine ultra-rich capitalistic demons doing the same… imaging all the people…

    Based on human rationality and how stupid great majority of people tend to be, more or less, this will not evolved well.

    And ”we” know there are a new industry anxiously expecting for this $$$$$

    • Replies: @Lost american
  97. e102 says: • Website

    1: Future people should have a choice about whether they have seriously damaging diseases/disabilities
    2: Future people cannot consent to being born with HIV
    3: Thus we should genetically modify future people to not be born with HIV. If the decide they want to have it, they can infect themselves.

  98. Factorize says:

    Might someone confirm that the above 19 SNPs with potential enhancement of 1.25 SD of EA ~IQ is now at least plausible with CRISPR? These SNPs are likely not all causal, though to even be this close to such IQ uplift is inspiring.

    • Replies: @Sean
  99. The SIGNIFICANT lack of reasonable levels of RATIONALITY among GREAT MAJORITY of people/humans, at least 70% of people, is basically ignored… and it’s, like it or not, fundamental.

    thanks again ”higher iq” people, and its masters, capitalism or any other ideology which nurture your fundamental alienation: ”knowledge by knowledge”.

    • Replies: @m___
  100. @Anatoly Karlin

    Use gwern’s calculations, not that old paper Bostrom paper.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  101. @Santoculto

    Santoculto-are you referring to Hbbs as the Englishman Thomas Hobbes?

    I agree with you. It became pretty obvious to me (I am nearing 70 years of age) that so many of the residents of Manhattan (NY City), Hollywood, CA, the majority of university faculty, and other liberal leftist control centers are actually self serving , egotistical and cold. High IQ is hardly a guarantee of decency. Unfortunately, as you allude, 70% or more of the masses are prone to believing propaganda issued by those in power.
    I likened the hate shown by the politically correct, the very leftist Democrats,the owners of the mainstream media towards President Trump and also towards most calm traditionalists, religious peoples, and just plain commoners over the past two years as similar to what was going on in France in the 1780s and 1790s and also in Spain in the 1930s (where 5700 Catholic priests were tortured to death by anarchist Communists and assorted leftists). These leftists in America are representative of those who feel they are a certain elite class and that those not agreeing with them are people who should be scolded and threatened , and even put to death.
    Most of these leftists have little tolerance- it seems they have not left childhood when they got away with their constant temper tantrums.
    High IQ is spread among the cruel and evil and also among the kind, goodhearted types.
    I believe Harvard won in court against the University of California at Berkeley for rights to CRISPR.
    I read the book written by a doctor at Berkeley. She kept mentioning the good that would be achieved for mankind with CRISPR but I kept thinking that thousands of scientists would get their hands on CRISPR and use it for massive profit.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  102. Was a race horse comparable to Secretariat ever produced by Secretariat mating with hundreds of mares?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  103. @Lost american

    Perhaps Secretariat was descended from Eclipse, as most thoroughbreds were.

  104. @Kratoklastes

    I had a vague recollection of some study of lie detection showing that only one class of persons – spies I think – got a significantly greater than chance score. I kept an eye and ear out for more.

    I’m not quite sure what that 54 per cent means but it happens to be the figure quoted by the speaker (Pamela Meyer) I came across by chance in a TED (?) YouTube video. She didn’t pause to explain it – maybe it means that 46 per cent of people’s guesses that a lie is being told in controlled experiments are wrong – but moved on to say that 90 per cent could be achieved by learning from the experts like her. And maybe that was meant to convey that you only need to be deceived by 10 per cent of the lies you are told. Who knows?

    Have a look at “How to spot a liar” [start half way through]

    Do you have an opinion about what she says? I expect most mothers could, on reflection, work out what signs told them their kids were lying. And certainly they would believe they could pick the lies. Evolution must have favoured picking up lies but, given the inevitable possibility of error, would it have favoured erring on one side or the other, would it have been the same for men and women and what degree of emotional reaction would it have favoured?

  105. @James Thompson

    This is a question particularly to you but also to everyone who might turn their mind to it.

    If brains are bred which allow scoring of 300+ on an an IQ test we know that the most certain enhancements will be to processing speed and working and other short term memory. What about the interfaces? Isn’t there a problem there? It seems unlikely that people will read or pick up visual cues at correspondingly faster rates. Their typing is also unlikely to keep pace even using contractions. Also, even if those with good hearing can take in and process 1200 words a minute what is the relevance of that if no one can speak much faster than they do now?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  106. utu says:

    If brains are bred which allow scoring of 300+ on an an IQ test

    There is a serious problem with extrapolating the IQ scale beyond several SD values. You are guilty of invoking something that does not exist. The difficulty level of IQ test questions is defined empirically by statistical methods. There is no statistics possible to assign the difficulty level of values of 200 or 300 level.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  107. @Lost american

    The difference is that a lot of these people are not empathetic at all and in terms of lack of tolerance, right wingers are not even little better, specially when we already have a very long time of conservative ideology dominance.

    Most of genuine leftists and even those on the caviar spectrum are wrong, subconsciously, by good intentions.

    About the minimal knowledge common rightists are correct, or consciously, by bad intentions.

    Among left and right there are a spectrum of selfishness. Rightists and specially those on the extreme spectrum, selfishness prevail even when it’s look like altruism, for example, when a father care about their sons but not just by the intrinsic pleasure to do it, like a long term investment mirroring his ego.

    On the caviar spectrum, this leftists suffer from ”to be the in half of way”, because most of them genuinely believe in what they do, but subconsciously, exactly like what religion do on religious people but they have a lot of mundane/conservative behaviors and specially when they are well adapted to their society. Yes, seems possible a person be lover of good wine and France but also of social justice. It’s look hypocritical and maybe it is, but there are two types of behavior, those we automatically practice without figure out what we are doing, and those we know very well what we are doing.

    In the extreme spectrum, we have people who are very agreeable, excessively to their own, and it’s capable to sacrifice any harmful truth about historically victimized groups.

    Extreme right wingers are naturally extreme disagreeable but what seems always happen they absolutely hate when they have good doses of their own poison.

    More self-perceived perfect you are, more disagreeable you will be, in my view.

    Maybe the fact a lot of leftists are introverted or have a uncommon personality profile may create the idea they are hypocritical but indeed they are just not as charismatic as typical extroverted leader, the ”man” of action. This also may explain why they project their personal feelings of social justice on big state.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  108. Sean says:

    Might someone confirm that the above 19 SNPs with potential enhancement of 1.25 SD of EA ~IQ is now at least plausible with CRISPR?

    The SNPs for intelligence are mainly regulatory ones with multiple effects, and as schizophrenia ect don’t show up till early adulthood it would be rolling the dice even if the technology to alter complex traits (hundreds of genes) existed and there were parents willing to go through it and pay for the privilege. Those kind of people’s children will already have an advantage naturally (ie they probabally already have the bigger IQ genes such as the one that makes you myopic). Genetic engineering will take that advantage away. Think of immunization, it’s the upper classes who are the ones against vaccination.

  109. @Santoculto

    Or also, it’s much more embracing use the state [the intermediate] to provide social cares than do it individually, at priori.

  110. @Wizard of Oz

    You have probably looked at my old posting “7 tribes of intellect”. If, by some genetic manipulation, we could create more people like Janos von Neumann, then they would have faster general processing, far better memories, a far greater facility with mathematical reasoning and very probably also spatial reasoning. They would be brighter in every way. (Not strictly relevant to your question, but I don’t think this is likely to be achieved for a long time, simply because ggose). There is no problem with that, since Einstein and Hans Bethe and the other Manhattan Project group members could keep up with him, and recognized his abilities. Also, very bright people are often adept at explaining themselves to less bright people.

    Last week I had a nice chat with Professor Michael Cates FRS, FRSE, a distinguished theoretical physicist who is a world leader in the study of soft matter, 19th holder of the Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. I argued that no-one could get anywhere in science without very good Maths. He gave an argument to the contrary. He had also, at the open session honouring Hawkings, had a go at my general question about the problem of scale in astronomy and theoretical physics. I cannot do the work he does, but he can explain some aspects of it, and I can understand some part of those aspects. I can also take a evidence-based view that he under-estimates the role of intelligence in his sort of work.

    In sum, bright people can explain stuff to us that we can eventually partly understand and, even better, use to our advantage. I have no real understanding of quantum mechanics, but can use and iPhone which depends on someone else having understood it.

  111. dearieme says:
    @James Thompson

    “I have no real understanding of quantum mechanics, but can use and iPhone which depends on someone else having understood it.”

    My friend The Retired Particle Physicist insists that nobody really understands quantum mechanics in the way they understand Newtonian mechanics, or Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory or Einstein’s general relativity. What they do master is an ability to exploit QM even though they know that they don’t understand it at a deep level. He’s not referring to the fact that it’s probabilistic; that’s not the problem. The difficulty is that it’s deeply mysterious, and yet it is routinely made to work.

    When I first gave him the eye quizzical he said words to the effect of:

    “When you were a schoolboy you understood it at that level, didn’t you?” “Yes.” “And when you were a fresher?” “Yes.” “And when you studied advanced physical chemistry?” “Yes.” “And since then?” “Yes.”

    “OK: but if you had gone into particle physics you’d have reached the point where simultaneously you’d have mastered its use but apprehended your inability to understand it deeply enough for your own intellectual satisfaction.” “So what do you do at that point?” “You settle for the satisfaction of using it fruitfully.”

    At which point we returned to discussing our tenuous links with Schrödinger, namely that through a mutual friend, the widow of one of Schrödinger’s research students, we had each received the recipe for Frau Schrödinger’s chocolate cake. And we have each had our wives make one. And we each agree that if that chocolate cake were locked in a box nobody would bother opening it. A Viennese chocolate cake that is a Norwegian Blue – it’s a mystery, I tell you.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  112. @dearieme

    Many thanks. Tenuous connections are wonderful, both in cookery and quantum mechanics.

  113. res says:
    @James Thompson

    Last week I had a nice chat with Professor Michael Cates FRS, FRSE, a distinguished theoretical physicist who is a world leader in the study of soft matter, 19th holder of the Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. I argued that no-one could get anywhere in science without very good Maths.

    Could you elaborate on his argument? The problem I generally encounter in conversations like that is the person involved defines “without very good Maths” as being “less than the very best people they know” or “less than the average in the field.” So “without very good Maths” might very well mean 99%+ with respect to the general population. (am I just restating what you meant by “he under-estimates the role of intelligence in his sort of work.”?)

    Then there is the soft/hard science split.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  114. @res

    Good point. I think he meant without Higher Maths at A level. “Proficiency we can teach, so long as they are motivated to learn”. Still an underestimate in my view.

  115. utu says:
    @James Thompson

    Also, very bright people are often adept at explaining themselves to less bright people.

    Only if you can capture their attention. Ted Kaczynski had to resort to terrorist acts to be heard.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  116. utu says:
    @James Thompson

    I have no real understanding of quantum mechanics, but can use and iPhone which depends on someone else having understood it.

    People who designed and built iPhones even those who invented semiconductor electronic elements sixty years ago do not have understanding of quantum mechanics. Just like people who built steam engines did not have understanding of thermodynamics on the microscopic levels. Eventually they came up with phenomenological thermodynamics which worked on macro level but they did not know why. One can image that even if quantum mechanics was not invented the technological progress would not be hindered.

  117. utu says:
    @James Thompson

    I argued that no-one could get anywhere in science without very good Maths.

    I tend to agree with it but then I think of Newton who did not have math. He had to invent some sort of math like structure to deal with questions that he discovered before he had any math. The math he invented and formulated for his own private use did not catch on because it was so awkward that basically only he could navigate through it. He actually did not understand rigors and formal structure of math. He for instance did not like Euclidean geometry as he did not see the point of axioms and proofs. Things were either obvious to him or not. So on occasions when he was challenged to demonstrate a proof of something it took him a long time to answer. He knew right answers but he did not know why. He had to work it out. He did not see a difference between a necessary and sufficient conditions so his proof that the inverse square law was consistent with Kepler orbits went only in one direction and it had to be completed later by Bernoulli. Or when showing that gravitation force of a uniform sphere is equivalent to a mass in one point he used non rigorous geometric proof without using his “calculus” probably because his “calculus” was too award to prove it. Iirc, proving this fact delayed the publication of his work for quite a while.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  118. Factorize says:

    Another million plus GWAS in the process of publication at Nature Genetics. This time “risky behaviors”: Ever Smoker, speeding propensity, etc. Want to now give CRISPR a try is curiously absent from the list. One wonders which will attract more popular attention, the lurid or the learned (July Nature Genetics 1.1 million EA GWAS)?

  119. @utu

    If I may say so without offence that is obviously wrong. And I say so without relying entirely on Ron Unz’s IQ having been advertised in a LA Times article of 1994 as 214 or the Guinness Book of Records recording someone’s alleged 225 IQ score.

    Your error comes in definitively where you say “there is no statistics possible”. Everything else could be justified as referring to the current state of play in measuring IQs.

    You would put together a series of questions or tests requiring in high degree the characteristics of brain which lead to high IQ test results but which would be of sufficient difficulty and so time constrained that only say 1 in 50 million could achieve a certain score, and you would fiddle with test details so that it would be validated as an extension of the conventional IQ tests because it also produced about the right numbers at its successive sd levels while also selecting approximately the same people at the lower sd levels. True my interface problem might crop up in the form of pencil and paper tests being ruled out as not allowing for the necessary speed in answering…..

    • Replies: @utu
  120. @James Thompson

    I saw recently in some relatively respectable place that Einstein was a long sleeper, 10 hours in fact. Do you believe that? Personally, I find it difficult to believe the 3 hours for Tesla or 4 for Edison though I am inclined to take as probable that the need for ordinarily restorative sleep is probably normally distributed around an average of about 7.25 hours with SD about one hour.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  121. @James Thompson

    Secretariat was born with a heart twice the normal size. I do not know the genetics of thoroughbreds and I cannot remember if other good horses had a heart as large as Secretariat’s heart.

  122. utu says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    (1) IQ is an artificial scale. It is constructed using tasks or question of progressive difficulty.

    (2) There is no objective way of defining the difficulty of tasks or question except by statistical polling of the population. We assign the difficulty level based on polling statistics in such a way as to make the statistics Gaussian with Mean=100 and SD=15.

    If a question Q is answered by 50% of your sample we assign to it the difficulty level of 100.

    If Q is answered by 1/6 of population we assign the difficulty level of 115.

    If Q is answered by 1/44 of population we assign the difficulty level of 130.

    If Q is answered by 1/740 of population we assign the difficulty level of 145.

    (3) If you want to test questions of higher and higher difficulty levels you need larger and larger samples. For instance if you would like to go to the difficulty level of 175 (5-sigma) you may expect to find only 1 individual who can answer this equation in a sample of 3 million and 400 thousand. If more than 1 individual answer this equation in a sample of 3 million and 400 thousand than this question has lower difficulty than 175. So if Ron Unz indeed has IQ=175 than there can’t be no more than 100 people like him in the whole of the US.

    For the difficulty level of 197.5 (6.5-sigma) you would need a sample larger than 24.9 billion sample.

    For the difficulty level of 205 (7-sigma) you would need a sample larger than 780 billion sample.

    (4) Clearly there is no way of testing questions of difficulty level 190 or higher. We do not have enough people in the solar system though it is possible you can find them somewhere near Alpha Centauri.

    There is no sense of talking about people who have IQ higher than 180-190 because the IQ scale was not established in this region because it can’t be established. To establish it you need to go to Alpha Centauri and while you at it take with you Linda Gottfredson (I know you like her) and as many IQists as you can.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  123. @utu

    Thanks for these very interesting observations. Angels, angels!

  124. @Wizard of Oz

    Few of these claims validated by objective measures, though they exist to track claims of insomnia in the form of devices which switch on a small light which needs to be cancelled if the non-sleeper is actually awake.

  125. @utu

    Digit span, digit symbol are ratio scales in the SS Stevens sense.

    Vocabulary can be tested to get a good estimate of total word knowledge, also a scale with an absolute zero.

    Search for “Vocabulary” and “Digit span bombshell” on my archive.

    • Replies: @utu
  126. utu says:
    @James Thompson

    In theory yes, but there are problems. Digit spans correlation with IQ is about 0.7 after attenuation correction. (1) The correction sometimes are too aggressive. (2) Correlation 0.7 means only 49% variance explained if digit span is used as predictor of IQ. (3) Is it linear? (4) Digit span has coarse granularity but that should not be a lesser problem when used for geniuses. (5) Is the extrapolation valid? Which we can’t verify.

    If genetic engineering will produce a genius that has digit span memory of 32 one may say that his IQ would be roughly 250 IQ points. But to find out if his nominal 250 IQ is any good we would have to teach him 15 years mathematics and then give him unsolved mathematical problems to test him. Because there are idiot savants who can remember more than 32 digits and they are not good for anything else.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  127. @utu

    Digits backwards a better predictor than forwards, and vocabulary word store another good measure. As to digit symbol, processing speed a particularly good predictor in old age, probably better than a brain scan.

  128. Jamie Thomp, aka, sir Babidi is near to death, he will have this next decade, to be positive about him, if he deserve, to be a hbd often mean he don’t deserve. His brain no longer is capable to make big gymnastics to learn new things and relevant ones. Philosophically or existentially speaking, Thomp is exactly like a organic robot, souless. He’s a organic product of industrial revolution, a professionally talented human without emotional capabilities, you know, emotional intelligence is not a thing. Supposedly his age turn him wiser… don’t think so… it’s impossible for most irrational hyper-fordistically constituted caucasians to be more rational than they actually can… i mean, be capable to learn one of the greatest lessons of best thinking: never fall in false equivalences or dichotomies. It’s what exactly they do all the time…

  129. @Dale

    I think that is wrong. If I understood it correctly, Sickle cell anaemia does not make individuals malaria resistant but does make populations malaria resistant because the sickle-shaped cells clog up the mosquitos’ mouthparts causing them to die.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @res
  130. dearieme says:

    “Sickle cell anaemia does not make individuals malaria resistant but does make populations malaria resistant”: I didn’t know. Fascinating! Where should I read more?

  131. res says:

    As far as I can tell the following are true.
    1. People suffering from sickle cell anaemia (SCA) are actually more susceptible to malaria (somewhat counterintuitive given 2.).
    2. Sickle cell carriers (heterozygous for the sickle gene) are relatively protected against malaria.

    The abstract below proposes a mechanism for the protective effect. If you have a reference for your mouthparts comment please post it.



    Sickle cell anaemia is a major chapter within haemolytic anaemias; at the same time, its epidemiology is a remarkable signature of the past and present world distribution of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In this brief review, in keeping with the theme of this journal, we focus on the close and complex relationship betweeen this blood disease and this infectious disease. On one hand, heterozygotes for the sickle gene (AS) are relatively protected against the danger of dying of malaria, as now firmly established through a number of clinical field studies from different parts of Africa. In addition, experimental work is consistent with a plausibile mechanism: namely, that in AS heterozygotes P falciparum-infected red cells sickle preferentially and are then removed by macrophages. On the other hand, patients who are homozygous for the sickle gene and therefore suffer from sickle cell anaemia (SCA) are highly susceptible to the lethal effects of malaria. The simplest explanation of this fact is that malaria makes the anaemia of SCA more severe; in addition, in SCA there is often hyposplenism, which reduces clearance of parasites. From the point of view of public health it is important that in malaria-endemic countries patients with SCA, and particularly children, be protected from malaria by appropriate prophylaxis.

  132. Brian Wang’s report on Dr. He’s CRISPR exploits has been overlooked. Definitely worth reading:

    He Jianku conference presentation has the ethical issues mixed throughout the interview and question and answer period starting at about 1 hour and 28 minutes of the video recording. The formal presentation and technical discussion throughout sound to me like the work of a technically competent researcher who did a thorough procedure which had good tests for success and bad side effects.

    The relevant personal background of He Jianku was that he lived in a village were almost 1 in three people had an HIV infection. He personally saw parents having to give up their children to relatives outside the village to avoid infecting them.

    The case has been made that there are alternatives to producing HIV-free children when the father has an HIV infection. We currently cannot fully clear and cure a person of HIV. There are alternatives to producing an HIV child by washing the sperm of the HIV infected father before inseminating the egg for invitro-fertilization (IVR).

    Tyler Perry Drops Over $400K for Walmart Layaway Customers
    Sponsored by Connatix

    However, He Jianku stated that there is 0.5 to 2.0% risk of the father infected the HIV-free children. You can imagine that they are living together in the same house and the father could have a small open cut or sore of some while handling food, washing dishes or in any other way handling the child. Babies and children could also end up swallowing various things or licking surfaces. The valid concern for the family is that unless the children are made HIV immune then they would be living with the risk of valid risk of HIV infection.

    Even the risk of dying from HIV has massively dropped. It is still a top ten cause of death in many countries. Living with HIV is also has significant downsides.

    I believe that He Jianku has genuine belief that he is helping the 30 families who were brought into the trial program. He does believe that he is helping the couple who are the parents of these children. He has compassion for these people and their situation. There was a situation which was improved by making the children potentially HIV Immune.

    The proper informed consent was obtained. The educated and informed parents made an informed decision to proceed with implanting the edited eggs versus untreated eggs. The parents had a passionate belief that their children would be better and safer with HIV-immunity and that they were avoiding non-trivial health risks.

    HIV Virus is Managed and Controlled But Not Cleared

    Sometimes HIV medicines can cause side effects. Most side effects from HIV medicines are manageable, but a few can be serious. Overall, the benefits of HIV medicines far outweigh the risk of side effects. In addition, newer HIV regimens cause fewer side effects than regimens used in the past. As HIV treatment options continue to improve, people are less likely to experience side effects from their HIV medicines.

    Those with HIV are likely to have a lifespan generally the same as uninfected people and are more likely to die of other causes, such as heart conditions or cancer.

    The treatment of HIV is different to the treatment of other chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension. For these diseases, drug regimens remain effective even after treatment is resumed following a period of interruption.

    Not so for HIV. Forgetting or choosing not to take your HIV medication may lead to the emergence of drug resistance which is a major cause of treatment failure.

    Consistently taking your medicine each day and every day will increase your chances of living a long and healthy life free from AIDS.

    If you have been taking your HIV combination treatment for at least 2 years, with consistent viral suppression, and your CD4 counts are under 500 cells/mm3 then monitoring is optional. If your CD4 count remains between 300 and 500 cells/mm3 then regular monitoring every 12 months is still recommended.

    There is Stigma for People with HIV

    The International Aids Society has personal stories about the stigma of living with HIV.

    Health Toll

    In 2017, 940 000 people died from HIV-related causes globally.

    There were approximately 36.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2017 with 1.8 million people becoming newly infected in 2017 globally.

    59% of adults and 52% of children living with HIV were receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2017.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  133. @Godfree Roberts

    Thank you for this additional information.

  134. m___ says:

    In all, your emotional disdain, your disdain of emotion in producing knowledge. As across the body of your comments.

    You are on to something, many times over, the world needs more of your mindset. When success is a numbers game, what matters is lonely. You must be ignored, hated at the best, and that does not matter.

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