Henry T. Greely, 2016. “In 20 to 40 years, most Americans won’t have sex to reproduce. Get Ready.” Vox.com, September 16.The implications of the reproductive technologies described here are stunning, and profoundly disturbing.
The worshipers of free markets and libertarians should never get their way to fully privatise such technologies, because modifying the human genome could have potentially catastrophic effects.
Having said that, I am not a Luddite. If such technology is safe, it seems reasonable to use it to help people suffering from genetic disorders or genetic predispositions to diseases (and to physical or mental handicaps) to have healthy children free from those diseases, for not allowing a very carefully regulated service subject to intense government scrutiny seems cruel.
There is another controversial issue here that will set off a fierce debate: IQ.
The reproductive technologies of the future will allow parents to have higher IQ children. And you thought the plot of the movie Gattaca was far-fetched! No longer.
I find the world imagined in Gattaca a horrendous free market dystopia. There’s no way I would want that for an Alt Left / Realist Left future.
If the kind of reproductive technologies described in the article above become real, they need to be subject to:
(1) severe government regulation and ethical scrutiny;So I think that a Social Democratic society subject to the proper policies can manage this challenge.
(2) provided as a public service available to everybody, just like universal health care, and
(3) the whole world of business and employment subject to rigorous scrutiny to see that the use of gene sequencing doesn’t result in grossly unfair and socially destructive hiring practices and other unethical behvaiour.
No massive changes to the human genome, or extreme genetic engineering should be allowed, because I can just imagine current regressive leftism, cultural leftism and transhumanist cultists would produce all sorts of insane plans to genetically change human beings.
Finally, we come to a paradoxical outcome of all this. Read what I say below in its proper context.
The issue of race and average IQ is extremely controversial and I have given my opinion here. I am afraid this has become topical again, because the Alt Right is constantly raising this issue.
I still defend what I have written in my post, especially with respect to the Third World, because I think the case for a largely environmental explanation of the various average IQ gaps is still defensible. My views on this issue are based on the work of the democratic socialist Jim Flynn (see Flynn 2008; 2009a; 2009b; 2010; 2012a; 2012b; 2013; 2016), after whom the Flynn effect is named. I think there are reasons to think that, with proper economic and social development in the Third World, an intergenerational Flynn effect will raise the average IQ of people in Third World nations towards that of the developed world.
But let us – for the sake of argument, and I stress “for the sake of argument” – grant the Alt Right race realists their theory: that there is a significant gap in the average IQ of certain racial groups owing to Darwinian evolution and genetics.
What is the Alt Left answer to this? Even if true, the solution to it does not lie in policies proposed by the Alt Right.
The solution is providing the kind of regulated reproductive technologies described above to all people, and, above all, to people at risk of having children disadvantaged by the accident of genetics, so that average IQ gaps between groups can be eliminated over time.
This does not mean that our societies will be engaged in some kind of endless, mad genetic engineering to create “superhumans” or any such thing. Rather, it would be a Social Democratic society that allows parents to have children who are not disadvantaged by genetic diseases, serious predisposition to diseases or mental disorders, handicaps, or lower than average IQ, in a system where all such reproductive technologies are intensely regulated and subject to severe ethical and social scrutiny.
So essentially: it’s game over for Alt Right race realists. Checkmate.
You are done. Your endless obsession over race and average IQ has a final, definitive answer.
In the long run, any such serious group differences, or individual differences, in IQ, in either developed nations or the Third World, can be fixed by universal health care systems that include free access to severely regulated reproductive technologies to fix this problem.
This is the answer that should be given to all Alt Right race realists.
Having engaged in this hypothetical, I hasten to say: I still defend the environmental position on group IQ gaps, and I still think it is a bad mistake for the Alt Left to get bogged down in debates with the Alt Right over race. But, as we can see, there is a perfectly good refutation of the Alt Right on race realism, even if – for the sake of argument – we grant that the latter were true.
Flynn, James R. 2008. Where Have All the Liberals Gone?: Race, Class, and Ideals in America. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.
Flynn, James R. 2009a. What Is Intelligence: Beyond the Flynn Effect (expanded edn.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Flynn J. R. 2009b. “Requiem for Nutrition as the Cause of IQ Gains: Raven’s Gains in Britain 1838–2008,” Economics and Human Biology 7: 18–27.
Flynn, J. R. 2010. “The Spectacles through which I see the Race and IQ Debate,” Intelligence 38: 363–366.
Flynn, James R. 2012a. Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.
Flynn, James Robert. 2012b. How to Improve your Mind: Twenty Keys to Unlock the Modern World. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA.
Flynn, James R. 2013. Intelligence and Human Progress: The Story of What was Hidden in our Genes. Elsevier Inc. Oxford, UK and Waltham, MA.
Flynn, James R. 2016. Does your Family make you Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.