Questions and Answers

1. Equality

2. Low IQ

3. Sterilization

4. IQ and Bias

5. Alleviating metabolic disorders

6. A dangerous idea

7. Ignorance

8. Values

9. Fear

10. What is intelligence?

11. The disconnect

1. Doesn't it say in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal?

This is an objection that is frequently brought up. The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." This means they are equal before the law, that government can't (or shouldn't) take away these fundamental rights. The historical record is quite clear that the Founding Fathers meant equal before the law, not that everyone was born equal in intelligence, talent, or athletic ability. Their other writings amply attest to the fact that they did not believe in biological equality--between individuals, or between races. A number of them were slaveholders. In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson rejected the aristocracy based on one's birth as an artificial one, and spoke of "the natural aristocracy of talent and virtue," which he felt was our country's most precious gift. (And isn't that a lovely turn of phrase to express what he valued most highly?) Furthermore, in spite of the great admiration Americans rightfully feel towards the Founding Fathers, even if they had made the ridiculous assertion that all people are biologically equal (which they didn’t!), then it could be easily demonstrated that science has subsequently proven it to be utterly false.

2. Is there something inherently bad about having a low IQ?

Yes! From the standpoint of our whole society, it’s very, very bad. I personally have known people with low IQs whom I loved and respected. But collectively, in terms of society, they constitute a tremendous liability. Low IQ people are much more likely to be criminals, chronically dependent on welfare, unemployed, illiterate--in fact, they’re way over-represented in every category of social problems. They cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually. This may sound abstract, but it all translates very clearly into human misery!

The Bell Curve, by Herrnstein and Murray, is a brilliant book. I hear it's now out in paperback for only $16. It's looks a bit daunting because it's kind of long, but it's wonderfully well-written, and easy to read. It explains the role of IQ in our society far better than I can here. Anyway, the authors found that when they moved the average IQ of their sample down statistically by just 3 points, from 100 to 97, all social problems were exacerbated: the number of women chronically dependent on welfare increased by 7%; illegitimacy increased by 8%; men interviewed in jail increased by 12%; and the number of permanent high school dropouts increased by nearly 15%.

Everyone should be treated with respect, even retarded people, but compassion requires us to face the fact that they are a big drain on our economy, not to mention the economy of the future. This is why low IQ is inherently bad.

3. In the British Medical Journal (# 7108, September 6, 1997, p. 563) there’s an article entitled "Thousands of women sterilized in Sweden without consent.” The Swedish government is investigating why thousands of women were forcibly sterilized on eugenic grounds from the 1930s to the 1970s. There are similar allegations about forced sterlisations in Switzerland, Austria and Finland. Is this the kind of thing you support?

This conjures up shocking images: a young woman--selected for no good reason--is dragged from her home, kicking and screaming, pinned to the operating table, and sterilized against her will. But it's really hard to imagine that such things happen in Sweden. Sweden certainly appears to be a highly civilized country. Could it be the case that in every imaginable respect it's a highly civilized country, except for these isolated, totally atypical acts of barbarism? Or is it possible there's a higher ethical principle operating here that we can see only if we probe beneath the surface? The sad fact is that there are women in this world who are mentally incompetent (either severely retarded or mentally ill) who are also fertile. They present a serious ethical dilemma. It's easy to condemn Sweden's actions, but it's difficult to find alternatives that are demonstrably better.

There's a very real danger that if such women aren't sterilized, they'll get pregnant, because history has shown that there are plenty of unscrupulous men ready to take advantage of them. In mental institutions, women are sometimes impregnated ("raped" is probably more accurate) by attendants or janitors. Then, the infant is taken away from the mother (is this a good thing?) and given up for adoption. In many cases, the adoptive parents are never informed if the biological mother is a schizophrenic who was raped by an employee of the institution (is this fair to the adopting parents?). Most of the children born of such unions will be alright, but as a group, they are far more likely to develop psychopathologies of various sorts, causing them and their families much unhappiness.

What, precisely, does the phrase "without consent" mean when talking about mentally incompetent people? By definition, mentally incompetent people cannot make rational decisions on their own. And what if they gave their consent? How could such consent be meaningful as long as they never fully understood what they were consenting to? Maybe the authorities in Sweden realized they'd have decide the issue of reproduction for these women, just as they must decide many other issues for them. The authorities didn't bother to ask their permission because they knew that ‘permission’ from a mentally incompetent person is meaningless. Of course, one might attempt to explain to the women how babies are made, and why it might be better if they didn't have one, and then say, "So, now do we have your permission to be sterilized?" But this would be a mere charade.

Furthermore, it might be asked, "Did these women give their consent to get pregnant, give birth, and have their babies taken away from them?" The answer is “No.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, pregnancy and childbirth, in and of themselves, are not terrific experiences!! They involve nausea, depression, mood swings, bladder problems, severe discomfort towards the end (just from being so fat), to say nothing of pain. Few women would argue that pregnancy and childbirth are inherently enjoyable. Surrogate mothers are paid considerable sums of money by infertile couples, presumably because there aren't lots of women volunteering to do it for free. If, after being pregnant for nine months, a woman delivers a baby and then has it forcibly taken away from her, this is a wrenching experience, not soon forgotten, and far more traumatic than having a simple operation to prevent pregnancy in the first place, a procedure that thousands of normal women chose to have each year.

By sterilizing mentally incompetent women, society is not depriving them of the experience of motherhood -- they are already denied that by the fact that they would be totally unfit mothers. Rather, society is depriving them of the dubious joys of pregnancy and childbirth, which, as the majority of women would attest, is doing them a favor. In addition, society is preventing altogether the heartbreak of having babies taken from their mothers at birth, never to be seen again.

(In cases of less severe retardation, a mother may not be institutionalized and may keep her baby, but there's a good deal of evidence that the mentally retarded make very poor parents. In this instance the child often suffers years of neglect or abuse before being taken away from the mother by social services at a later date. Is this fair to the mother, or to the child?)

So clearly society is going to have to “force” mentally incompetent women to do something -- either to be sterilized, or to give up their babies at birth. The only alternative is for the children to be raised in institutions for the severely retarded or insane asylums - hardly the ideal environment. (It should be noted parenthetically that the problem of fertility among mentally incompetent men is not nearly as great because they are rarely able to find sexual partners.)

In the Introduction to Future Generations it was stated: "We advocate measures to improve the innate quality of humankind which are entirely voluntary." It may seem like we're making an exception in this case, but that’s not exactly correct. We believe the mentally incompetent must have decisions made by others for their own good, and for the good of everyone involved, in the area of reproduction, just as in all other areas of their lives. It's inappropriate to use words like "coercion" in such a situation because there's no way of knowing what they would want if they were rational and could see things clearly. The only sensible and compassionate solution is to do for them what we would want for ourselves if we were in their position, and most of us would much rather not get pregnant than to give birth to a child we couldn’t keep.

This same principle applies to all people who lack the ability to make competent decisions for themselves, such as infants, children, and those in a coma. It's doubtful that anyone has ever been incensed by a headline that read, "Six-year-old Forced to Attend First Grade Against His Will." Almost all children go to school, and many of them don't particularly like it. A six-year-old may not see the necessity of learning to read, but his parents do, so they make him go to school whether he wants to or not, and we all know that when he grows up he'll be glad they did.

Society can and does make decisions for mentally incompetent adults all the time--for example, to institutionalize them. To allow them total "freedom" means to abandon them, allowing them to wander the streets mumbling to themselves, hovering in doorways, easy prey for criminals, possibly doing harm to themselves or others. The same is true with regard to their reproduction. To do nothing to help them means to abandon them, and the net result is more misery. It's clearly in their best interest, and in the best interest of society, if these people do not procreate.

4. Everyone knows that IQ tests are biased--what makes you think they’re not biased?

“Everyone knows” that IQ tests are biased because the media keep telling us this, but it’s an outright lie. Here's an example of real bias: Say an IQ test is standardized in England, and in the vocabulary section there are words like "lift" [as a noun] and "lorry" and "scones." If this same test were given to American kids, these items would stand out rather conspicuously. When you looked at the data, you would recognize immediately that: (1) answers to these questions are merely random guesses, (2) kids who score high on the test as a whole aren’t any more likely to get them right than those who score low, and (3) older kids don’t do any better than younger kids. This means they're worthless questions with no predictive value for the American kids, because all they do is add "noise," thereby reducing the reliability and validity of the test. Furthermore, if nobody ever bothered to look at the data and delete these items from the American version, these items could legitimately be said to be "biased" against American kids.

By analyzing the data this way, it’s possible to determine definitively whether a test is, or is not, biased against any group, or whether particular items are biased. If a test doesn't satisfy the criteria for bias, it's not biased. People's feelings, and what may appear on the surface to be bias, have nothing to do with making this determination. Also, there's the crucial question of whether the test predicts success equally well for all groups. The fact is that IQ tests and other standardized tests predict success in college and in career in blacks as well as whites.

In Arthur Jensen’s definitive work on the subject, Bias in Mental Testing, he found that IQ tests are not biased (using statistical criteria), except that the tiny unreliability of the tests slightly favors low-scoring groups. Also, it’s hard to imagine how the argument of bias towards Caucasians could be refuted any more effectively than by the fact that Japanese kids do better (on average) than American kids.

5. Wouldn’t it be impossible to make a serious dent in the incidence of recessive metabolic disorders through eugenics?

Yes, that’s a good point. Most children born with them come from parents who didn’t know they were carriers. If everyone who actually had the disorder didn’t have children, it still wouldn’t make much difference. But nowadays, there are many powerful new ways to deal with these problems. Parents can be tested to see if they’re carriers, and if a fetus is affected, they have the option to abort. Or, they could have in vitro fertilization, and implant only the fertilized egg that was not affected. These procedures are part of contemporary eugenics, which really has many more options than early eugenics had.

6. There are good reasons to reject eugenics, even if it’s scientifically valid. One is that the world is not ready to handle this research. It’s true the media have a kind of filter that is heavily biased in favor of equality, so pro-eugenics views are hardly ever heard. However, there’s a reason this filter exists: it’s more important for the majority of people to have a good life than it is for them to consider dangerous or volatile ideas.

Ah, now you've hit on something! You very aptly describe the suppression of these ideas as a "filter." I agree absolutely that this belief--that the public should be protected from radical ideas, particularly ones the media themselves find distasteful-- is a major reason journalists and others have lied to the public about IQ. But as reasons go, this one is not nearly good enough!! Don’t journalists have an ethical obligation to report the facts? In The IQ Controversy, Snyderman and Rothman showed that in this debate, the ultra-liberal media have actually kept expert opinion from the public.

While mentally incompetent people must have decisions made for them by others (because, by definition, they're incapable of making rational choices), the public can hardly be considered mentally incompetent. Are you suggesting that the public is too stupid and too unstable to be trusted with the truth? This is precisely the reason why many in the anti-eugenics camp distort or suppress the truth about IQ. Also, what a handy rationalization for journalists and others who are simply too cowardly to express an unpopular truth! They don't even have to admit it to themselves. Instead, they can congratulate themselves on being "real humanitarians.”

To me, the attitude you express conveys a chilling arrogance, and utter contempt for the humanity of the public. It indicates they (you?) don't value truth, or freedom, very much. Because you "care" about them, you want to decide what's best for them to believe?! Would you want people to "care" about you that way? Who are you--who is anyone-- to decide what truths the masses can, and cannot, be told? Do you believe in freedom of speech? Or is it only for certain people? Who is the fascist here?

7. Maybe there are valid reasons why many people are ignorant about sociobiology and eugenics--ie, because they are scared of their implications.

I think you’re right. But wouldn’t it be much better to know exactly what the facts are, and then start worrying? Maybe it’s not as bad as we fear. Has it ever been a good strategy to stick our heads in the sand, like an ostrich? And really, the facts are basically the same things people have always believed in since the beginning of time. Now science has confirmed what common sense told people for millennia, so there’s no reason to think these beliefs will somehow bring about the end of the world. The idea that everyone is born exactly equal on everything that matters is totally new. Before Marx and Freud, it would have been laughed at, and it will be laughed at in the future, because an illusion--especially one this blatantly obvious--can’t sustain itself indefinitely.

8. There are many admirable human qualities that aren’t measured by IQ tests. There will never be consensus on what all of those qualities are. What gives any of us the right to decide which ones to phase out?

There’s already a consensus on the fundamental traits we value--for example, what traits would you want to see in your children? Most people would say they want their children to be healthy, intelligent, sane, law-abiding, and conscientious--meaning possessing good character (honest, hard-working, concerned for well-being of others). These are universally valued traits. Have any parents, anywhere, ever said, “We’re hoping our son will grow up to be a psychopath?” These values were exactly the same 100 years ago, and 1000 years ago.

Another way this consensus is expressed is in governmental expenditures on hospitals, research on diseases and mental illness, prisons, police, etc. We as a society are already very clearly trying to change people, using environmental engineering in a not-very-effective attempt to make people smart, law-abiding, sane, and healthy. Why not do something that actually works?

A “right” implies there’s something in it for us, when in reality, there’s nothing in it for us. I believe that we have a responsibility to future generations, and a great and unique opportunity to help them. We already agree on what is good, and what is not. There’s absolutely no doubt about it--we are quite sure that we wouldn't want to be diseased, retarded, a criminal, a psychopath, or insane--so it's no great leap of faith to assume people of the future don't want that, either!

9. What you say may be true, but still, you frighten me!

I realize eugenics upsets many people, and I’m sorry. I know from long experience that besides frightening people, it also makes them extremely angry, believe me! I wish I could say what is true without upsetting people, but I can’t. The reason I have devoted myself to eugenics is because I believe there’s an enormous amount to be gained from it, and that eugenics can bring about a vast increase in happiness and well-being. But in the short term, just mentioning the word upsets people--there’s no doubt about it.

I'm not unsympathetic to people who are horrified at the thought of eugenics, because they think it’s some form of cruelty, and cruelty in any form is something I personally abhor. The two traits I value most highly are honesty and kindness. I believe passionately in eugenics because I see it as the most immense kindness. People who think of eugenics as some form of cruelty wrongly associate it with the Nazi’s. This is an unfair association, since 28 other countries had eugenics legislation, but did not commit genocide, or anything like it. Remember, to do good in the world, we must be brave!!

10. What is intelligence?

One simple, straightforward definition is that intelligence is problem-solving ability. There are other ways to define it. Egalitarians may object, "Since we can’t all agree on a definition, it’s a useless concept." Not true! Intelligence is like heat. We know the difference between hot and cold, and we can measure fine gradations of heat. But, they may ask, what is heat, really? It's molecules rushing about. OK, but what is that really? Some people say, "It's too hot in here!" while others will say, "It's too cold!" Does this mean we must discard the concept of heat? No. Almost any definition of any word could give rise to disagreement. We don't have unanimity on definitions of many important constructs which we use every day, but we carry on nevertheless, and we are much better off with them, than without them.

Egalitarians also love to say, "But IQ isn’t everything!" That’s true. (Is there anything which is everything?) But IQ clearly is something very, very important. Prediction is the gold standard in science. Those who pooh-pooh it have a difficult time (or maybe I should say "an impossible task") explaining why IQ is the single best predictor of success in life. How could anything which measures nothing--or even something trivial--predict success so well?

11. It seems like there’s a total "disconnect" on this issue between science on the one hand, and popular opinion, on the other.

You’re absolutely right. There are 2 arenas in which the Nature-Nurture debate is taking place --the scientific one, and the public one--and the outcomes are exactly opposite. Scientifically, the egalitarian (nurture) position that heredity has no influence on behavior, that everyone is born exactly the same, and that the environment determines everything--is totally bankrupt. Proponents of this view have been not just beaten, but clobbered by overwhelming evidence-- from numerous twin studies, adoption studies, and studies like the one by Charles Murray (on this website). And the egalitarians have been clobbered despite the fact that the "playing field" is absurdly uneven in their favor--it is far easier to get funds for research if you take an egalitarian stance, your articles will be greeted with great interest and approval, and you won't have even one-thousandth the problem finding a publisher for your book, which will get good reviews and sell lots of copies. In spite of all that, the egalitarians have been thoroughly trounced in the scientific arena for the plain and simple reason that they’re wrong, and the evidence is overwhelming.

But in the public arena, it's just the opposite. The egalitarians, in collusion with the liberal media, have clearly won the day. The egalitarian strategy has been all along to snipe at the research of the hereditarians. [I use "hereditarians" to mean people who believe heredity exerts a strong influence on behavior. No hereditarians I’ve ever heard of believe the environment is unimportant.] Egalitarians use ad hominim attacks, portraying hereditarians as hateful, bigoted villains who deliberately distort their data in order to make themselves feel superior and other people feel bad. I mean, how stupid can you get?! Egalitarians have no compelling evidence and they know it, so their best tactic is to confuse the issue: "Nobody can ever know for sure." "It hasn't been proven." "Who can say what intelligence really is?" They like to say that heredity and environment are so hopelessly entangled, how could anyone figure out the relative influence of each? [Easy--by studying identical twins reared apart.] Their obscurantist strategy is powerless against vast areas of new research (e.g., on biological correlates of IQ), so they simply ignore them. They point to small flaws in one twin study done 50 years ago, for example, to try to invalidate it, but neglect to inform the reader that a dozen more studies done since then have found exactly the same thing. They give examples of questions taken from IQ tests discarded decades ago, saying they’re "obviously biased," as if it's sufficient to simply make the assertion and leave it at that. But do the egalitarians really want to get at the truth? Ask yourself this question, "What research have Gould, Lewontin, Rose, et al ever produced to prove the egalitarians are correct?" Answer: None.

Among researchers in the field of IQ, it’s been common knowledge for many years that the leading proponents of egalitarianism are not merely mistaken or misinformed, they are thoroughly dishonest. They deliberately mislead people into accepting egalitarianism in order to further their own political agenda, and their allies in the media do likewise. (And in so doing, they all make lots of money--they must be in hog heaven.) Not only is their position true, they insist, it’s the only moral stance. I ask you: doesn’t this sound suspicious? How can a question of fact become also a moral duty to believe? Brilliant and sincere scientists, such as Jensen, Whitney, Lynn, Rushton, Herrnstein, and Murray, who consistently report the truth even though they know it’s unpopular, are the villains in this little "morality play," while the egalitarians portray themselves as the "good guys." It’s downright disgusting the way they take on pious airs while blatantly lying. The reader must surely be thinking by now, "What kind of insanity are we witnessing here?!" I’ll tell you what kind--it’s called temporary insanity, because the egalitarians won’t be able to suppress the truth forever. (If you want to learn who these people are and precisely why they are doing this, read The Culture of Critique by Kevin MacDonald.)

Everyone knows that if a person listens to only one side in a bitter divorce, he/she is liable to come away with a totally biased impression. (The wife's friends will say "The husband is a monster!" and the husband's friends will say "The wife’s a psychopath!") But even though we know better, we still fall prey to believing what we hear based on just one side, and we do it all the time, because there are only so many hours in a day, and we can’t probe deeply into every single question. On the issue of genetics and behavior, the egalitarians and the liberal media have tightly controlled public discourse, so for decades, only their side has been presented to the public. Is it any wonder the public accepts what they say uncritically? It’s certainly not anyone’s fault for believing it. If I didn't happen to study and do research on IQ, I'd probably believe it, too.

But then maybe someday, I might think to myself, "Why not just see what the other side has to say?" Many, many people are incapable of doing this, because they’re terrified the other side might be right, and to discover this would be such a jolt to their psyches it would be profoundly demoralizing and upsetting. Then, not only would they feel like fools (“embarrassed in front of themselves”), they’d have to re-assess many more of their beliefs. Anyway, just imagine I summoned up the courage to venture into forbidden territory, and I read one really good book, such as The Bell Curve, by Herrnstein and Murray. I'd think to myself "Gee, what a totally different world this is! It's not a pretentious piece of propaganda like Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man--it's down to earth, clearly stated, interesting, even engrossing. Hmmm . . . kind of exciting! It’s easy to read, yet it feels more . . . substantive, more like meat-and-potatoes, whereas that other stuff . . . was like cotton candy. And look--all these interesting graphs and tables! I guess that's because this is, well, science." And when I'd finished, I don't think I'd feel foolish at all -- I think I'd be plenty angry at the dishonest low-lifes who had blatantly lied to me for decades.

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