You might want to look up Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist and general bigot, who wrote a piece for John Brockman’s Edge site on Chinese eugenics in which he’s practically drooling at the prospect of manipulating the human germ plasm. No, really, the West is doomed if we allow the Chinese to race ahead of us in practical eugenics!
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. It recently acquired the California firm Complete Genomics to become a major rival to Illumina.
The BGI 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. Given the Mendelian genetic lottery, the 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.
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.
Oh god. The high-decoupling.
First, sequencing DNA is not eugenics. Telling me how many genomes they sequence per year is not the same as telling me they have a eugenics program in operation. The Chinese government’s crackdown on He Jiankui suggests that they are a bit more hesitant than Miller imagines.
Second, the whole idea that they can get a 5-15 IQ point per generation increase is ludicrous. He’s postulating that a) the observed variation is entirely genetic, and b) that a ruthless pattern of selection is desirable and would have no unforeseen consequences. You can get equal, more equitable, and less disruptive effects by investing in better education. Note that IQ scores have been going upwards for the last century without the state choosing to cull the undesirables.
Third, the idea that IQ scores are a proxy for “competitiveness”, rather than the ability to do well on IQ tests, is a fallacious leap.
Fourth, why would you think eugenics would increase welfare and happiness? It would do the opposite for the majority of the population that lacks the arbitrary genetic markers they use for selection.
Fifth, he is an evolutionary psychologist, which means his understanding of “evolutionary behavior genetics” is feeble at best.
But he does imagine a country that tightly regulates its families on the basis of poorly understood DNA sequences is a “utopian ethno-state” that will increase the welfare and happiness of its citizens, which makes him a kind of third-rate villain in a dystopian SF novel.
If DNA data were as powerful as he imagines it is, though, don’t worry about the Chinese supermen overwhelming us. Comrade Geoffrey has done his part to sabotage the program by donating his DNA, corrupting the database with his genome rich mainly in ignorance and arrogance.