China’s Massive Eugenics Project To Choose High-IQ Embryos

Via Edge.org, NYU evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller on how the biggest eugenics push in history is just unfolding, which he feels will dramatically shape the future:

China has been running the world’s largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China’s ever-faster rise as the global superpower. When I learned about Chinese eugenics this summer, I was astonished that its population policies had received so little attention. China makes no secret of its eugenic ambitions, in either its cultural history or its government policies.

The BGI-Shenzhen Cognitive Genomics Project is currently doing whole-genome sequencing of 1,000 very-high-IQ people around the world, hunting for sets of sets of IQ-predicting alleles. I know because I recently contributed my DNA to the project, not fully understanding the implications. These IQ gene-sets will be found eventually—but will probably be used mostly in China, for China.

Potentially, the results would allow all Chinese couples to maximize the intelligence of their offspring by selecting among their own fertilized eggs for the one or two that include the highest likelihood of the highest intelligence. Kids produced by any one couple typically differ by 5 to 15 IQ points. So this method of “preimplantation embryo selection” might allow IQ within every Chinese family to increase by 5 to 15 IQ points per generation. After a couple of generations, it would be game over for Western global competitiveness.

Chinese eugenics will quickly become even more effective, given its massive investment in genomic research on human mental and physical traits. BGI-Shenzhen employs more than 4,000 researchers. It has far more “next-generation” DNA sequencers that anywhere else in the world, and is sequencing more than 50,000 genomes per year.

There is unusually close cooperation in China between government, academia, medicine, education, media, parents, and consumerism in promoting a utopian Han ethno-state. Given what I understand of evolutionary behavior genetics, I expect—and hope—that they will succeed. The welfare and happiness of the world’s most populous country depends upon it.

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Yeo Ming was a result of a planned marriage in order to produce a star basketball player.

  • LucidDreamR

    Great post, very interesting article. Looking at our population, and what our gene pool seems to be becoming; I can’t help but think we may have a thing or two to learn from some of these policies…

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      I think its a dead end. To some degree modern society is insulated from some normal effects of natural selection, that earlier populations were subject to.

      However, artificial selection really paints a population into a genetic corner very quickly. Just look at pure bred dogs. They get faster, they get smarter, they get bigger they get smaller, you can shape them how you want, but eventually they get too inbred and go to shit.

      Also in nature over specialization leads to extinction, but it happens much more slowly than in artificial selection.

      • Anarchy Pony

        They also become allergic to every fucking thing.

    • mannyfurious

      One of the major problems is that basing “intelligence” on IQ scores is retarded. Any links between IQ and “success” are tenuous. Last I read, the man with the highest IQ was unemployed and digging ditches. There’s more that goes into a “complete” person than their IQ. High IQ doesn’t fix work ethic, inquisitiveness, adaptability, emotional stability, etc. All China’s gonna have is a bunch of dipshits walking around correcting other people on their grammar and shit.

      • mannyfurious

        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-16-smartest-people-on-earth-24252591.html

        I mean half the people on that list sound like they don’t even have jobs. Not that there’s anything wrong with focusing on art or chess or reading manga or on scoring a higher IQ, it’s just that I don’t think that’s what the Chinese government’s hoping for.

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          Yeah I agree IQ is problematic.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        Its not purely genetic, no, and it is subjective. But there is something to it. I mean you can definitely breed smarter mice. Border collies are bred to be smart. They can get a little whacky though and neurotic. So there are trade offs.

        Also people have been engaging in eugenics for thousands of years, through infanticide, caste systems and arranged marriages.

        • mannyfurious

          Well, you can breed mice who can get through a maze quicker. And you can breed border collies who are better at whatever job it is they’re supposed to do. But is that “intelligence?” It’s a type of an intelligence. I think the discussion should about breeding people who can do certain things better, not breeding intelligence. It’s like we can breed people who will be faster than other people, but that doesn’t make them smarter. It makes them better at running. We can probably breed people who are better at math, but that makes them better at math, not necessarily “smarter.”

          I agree with you, though, that there are always unintended side-effects when you mess with nature in this way. You can’t get something for nothing, and that’s doubly true with Nature. It’s sort of sad, actually, that China is home to some of the world’s great philosophical schools, almost all of which extol the virtues of nature and of according with nature, and yet here they are spitting in Nature’s face. In their race to become “Westernized” they’ve lost precisely whatever it was that would’ve given them an advantage over most Western nations…..

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Yeah, I think the “brave new World” thing is a like what ants do. Soldier ants aren’t better, etc. just more specialized. I think that is the idea.

            I couple monkey wrenches I want to throw into the discussion:

            Wolves are smarter than dogs. Wild boars are smarter than domestic hogs, and even feral hogs that revert back to the wild still have smaller brains that wild boars do. The domestication process tends to makes everything stupider. Humans have been subjected to this same proccess to varying degrees. Often domestic animals will have throw backs, like a reversion to an agouti coat, and other wild characteristics. So the same thing probably happens to people. I think some kids might have more vitality then other kids and end up as juvenile delinquents and eventually criminals in and out of prison, because of this. More placid and docile kids are easier to control.

            So I think reversing the domestication process would bring gains in health and fitness and overall general intelligence, but a lot of the people with these “good genes” are probably in prison.

          • mannyfurious

            Spot on. I liked what you said about criminals. I worked as a therapist for a couple of years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, and the criminals who aren’t sociopaths (the vast majority are not sociopaths) are either very stupid or very intelligent. There’s rarely an in-between. The intelligent ones are generally highly creative and very interesting. However–and I know this is cliche, but it’s also true in my experience– I will say that there is almost always some kind of trauma in their life, usually at a young age, that I think contributes to the “vitality.” If we look at it as a “vitality” instead of as “criminality,” I think it might help us understand how their minds have been unblocked and no longer feel the need to follow an arbitrary set of rules that provided them with no safety and no stability.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            In literature, I think of a character like Randle Patrick McMurphy as an example of an undomesticated human.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            I think industrial schooling treats “throw backs” with psychiatric drugs. Misbehaving? IE) Not conforming to arbitrary and harmful management? Dose the kid with amphetamines. I have heard of many studies showing ADD and ADHD kids as significantly smarter in various capacities than their peers. Most of all, perhaps, in the area of critical thinking, even if it doesn’t present as such in the classroom.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            yeah, exactly are you familiar with Thom Hartmann’s “hunter in a Farmer’s world” theory?

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            yeah, exactly are you familiar with Thom Hartmann’s “hunter in a Farmer’s world” theory?

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            Not yet. Another rabbit hole to tumble down. Thanks!

          • lazy_friend

            I agree, there are different types of intelligence. I can rationalize like the best of them, most of the time but when it comes to emotional intelligence, I keep sticking my foot in my mouth all the times. I just came to the realization that I am “cold”. Just leave me out of the conversation when it’s about emotional matters please. I did learn compassion tho, so I am not hopeless.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            As a breeder of livestock, I have more than a passing familiarity with artificial selection. I’ve seen what’s become of most breeds of several species of domesticated animals, and let me just tell you that it’s been a hundred years since most breeds were generally well-bred for the type of performance standards at which you hint.

            The problem with single phenotype (a presenting characteristic) selection is that it’s incredibly short sighted. Any set of genetic codes only means anything as it exists in the physical world, under the specific conditions of the organism’s lifetime. Many times, how well an animal thrives or fails in any particular specialty says more about the management system than the genetics; or more accurately, how well they synch. It’s very difficult, even in controlled experiments in laboratories, to filter out the noise of something as simple as how the animals are fed. Is the animal growing fast because it converts food efficiently, or because it is aggressive? All to often, such traits are linked, further muddying the waters.

            The best one can hope for, IMO is a sustainable, relatively stable management regime with breeding guided by a very holistic assessment of each breeding animal in that specific context. Evolution by natural selection is an elegant solution. Traditional animal husbandry mimics that elegance with a dash of human interest mixed in. But hubris compels some to try to improve on that system. When taken to the extremes that industrial culture demands, the results are uniformly abominable.

            BTW, collies are supposed to herd animals. The neurotic ones generally don’t herd animals, which is what they are made for. People buy them because they’re pretty and they don’t realize the heart of this posting. Context determines success in animal management.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            from what i understand “land races” are hardier than breeds. Landraces, just develop over time, more naturally, regionally. Breeds are more intensely subjected to artificial selection.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            That’s generally true about landraces. Again, you get a lot of folks in a region, farmers, homesteaders, etc, they breed for animals that fit the conditions, not some arbitrary standard. People are familiar with “pure” bred dogs being terrible and its no coincidence. They breed to narrow standards for color or facial conformation, with disastrous results in terms of temperament and illness.

          • jnana

            well, I agree w/ you 100%. But, in many respects the genetic engineers aren’t stupid. They are creating species to adapt to the modern environment, not a natural one. Same goes for what others said about schools. They are meant to help people adapt to society. If you don’t adapt yer a degenerate, and may as well be sterilized or euthanized.
            By the way, anyone ever listen to the Chinese punk band Youth in Asia?

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            Stupid is one of those prism words for me. You can view the world through it, and just slightly change the pitch and all of a sudden everything is incomparably different. Aside from the prerequisite denial of our ineffable connection with all life which eugenics requires(a very profound kind of stupid), their priorities are shortsighted, and therefore will not be robust or sustainably effective. Morally repugnant and materially deficient; they fail perpetually and with great harm.

      • Spikeygrrl

        If “the man with the highest IQ” to whom you refer to is International Mensa’s World’s Smartest Man, Garth Zietsman, he is definitely NOT digging ditches! He is a statistician at the National Bank of South Africa and a personal friend of mine for over a decade. See his profile at http://www.blogger.com/profile/01680048751752721742 . We also served together for half a dozen years on the Board of a not-for-profit high-IQ association (NOT Mensa, though we’re both members there, too). The untruth of your characterization sure doesn’t augur well for the validity of any of the OTHER opinions you expressed in this post.

      • Spikeygrrl

        If “the man with the highest IQ” to whom you refer to is International Mensa’s World’s Smartest Man, Garth Zietsman, he is definitely NOT digging ditches! He is a statistician at the National Bank of South Africa and a personal friend of mine for over a decade. See his profile at http://www.blogger.com/profile/01680048751752721742 . We also served together for half a dozen years on the Board of a not-for-profit high-IQ association (NOT Mensa, though we’re both members there, too). The untruth of your characterization sure doesn’t augur well for the validity of any of the OTHER opinions you expressed in this post.

        • Andrew

          Statistician at the National Bank of South Africa? What a waste of brainpower!

        • mannyfurious

          Actually I was talking about Chris Lagan, who was featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” which is, admittedly several years old and probably out of date in terms of who has the highest IQ. However, based on the article I linked above, Evangelos Katsioulis is the man with the highest IQ currently. So fuck you, anyway.

          See, this is what I’m talking about. You give people a high IQ and instead of doing anything useful they become statisticians at National Banks and, apparently, troll the internet to insult mediocre plebs like myself while ensuring to include the word “auger” because, despite the high IQ, their self-esteem is still shit. Good luck with that China.

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          At least he has one friend…

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          At least he has one friend…

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    If China would just solve their pollution problem, which does cause health problems, they wouldn’t have to relie on eugenics to boost I.Q.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I find this paragraph creepy:

    “There is unusually close cooperation in China between government,
    academia, medicine, education, media, parents, and consumerism in
    promoting a utopian Han ethno-state. Given what I understand of
    evolutionary behavior genetics, I expect—and hope—that they will
    succeed. The welfare and happiness of the world’s most populous country
    depends upon it.”

    Just wanted to say that.

  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    Chinese trans-human super geeks. Good god. These people will be like nerdy Space Marines.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Unfortunately, they’ll all be men.

    • “Big” Richard Johnson

      They’ll likely all have Asperger’s too.

      • Anarchy Pony

        So; lose, lose? Is what you’re saying?

        • “Big” Richard Johnson

          I’m just saying this will have unintended consequences.

  • jnana

    wouldn’t it be cool if a group of the super smart Chinese initiated a democratic revolution in china?

    • BuzzCoastin

      no, if the “democracy” of Der Homeland hasn’t informed you
      let me
      democracy is just another form of oligarchic tyranny
      in both Der Homeland & China
      a small group of elites determine who will “lead” the sheeple
      but the sheeple in Der Homeland think it represents a choice
      the Chinese aren’t that stupid

      • jnana

        I was just thinkin it would be a strange twist of fate if they “created” people smarter than them who figure out how to subvert them because of their advanced intelligence. With advanced intelligence they may be less likely to buy any lies and perhaps be less afraid of death, so more likely to ignite a revolution. it’d at least make a good sci-fi story.

        • BuzzCoastin

          China has a long history
          of what you have described as a desired result
          the rulers being outsmarted & replaced
          by what they would call a man of 德 dé “virtue”
          Laozi & Zhuangzi being the most subtle examples
          Kongming (Zhuge Liang )& Gaozu being the most famous

          don’t underestimate the Chinese
          in relationship to their government
          it’s one of the few governments in the world
          actually afraid of its people’s backlash

  • BuzzCoastin

    before I lived in China I had a similar sense of awe expressed in this article
    but after 4 years of living in China
    (among the Chinese & not in an expat commune)
    I still admire their resourcefulness
    but their present understanding of modernity and its technology
    still lags decades behind the West
    as evidenced by their genetically chasing a high IQ
    a meaningless measurement of intelligence
    that has never ever been proven to be a good indicator of intelligence
    let alone wisdom & understanding

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  • MCMoose

    So when do us High IQ Jews get to mate with those Chinese ladies?

  • MCMoose

    So when do us High IQ Jews get to mate with those Chinese ladies?