The Dangers of Turning Inward
Some people seem intent on reaching within themselves for guidance on what to believe. This is lamentable! For when a person turns inward for guidance, he is asking to be led by his slave masters, the genes!Although objective reality has helped to create brain circuits for intuiting the nature of the world, the genes have been successful in creating brain circuits that distort our intuiting of reality in ways that serve the genes agenda for genetic proliferation at whatever cost is required to the individual! Our brains are assembled (by the genes) with circuitry that renders us blind to certain realities. Hence, our intuitions can only sometimes be trusted, and are many times betrayers!
The person who looks inward for affirmation of an idea is less inclined to look outward for observational evidence to be judged rationally using logic. In contrast, the scientific endeavor owes its immense success to the custom of bravely measuring ideas against outward looking observations. But while science marches forward, people from an older mold continue to look inward. We have "two cultures" of people marching into an uncertain future.When a person looks inward in search for wisdom he is more likely to find "belief traps" set by self‑serving genes, and unlikely to find that cold reality called Truth. It is irrelevant that the monk returns from the mountain with a measure of poise, and with the demeanor of someone who has attained superior insight. Any inward contemplation is at risk of delivering the unwary individual to a gene‑created sucker’s heaven. Liberation is more likely to come from the brave adventurer who has survived forays into the real world, where stark truths force themselves upon a reluctant mind.
Throughout the 2.5 millennia of recorded human thought the inward and outward approaches to understanding have been in conflict. Aristotle was a voracious observer, whose observation‑based system was abandoned for almost 2 millennia. His ideas retained their authority for so long because after his era the world abandoned the outward looking approach to learning, as if a cultural pendulum had swung "inward" where no new information could be found. During this sterile period, when endless arguments could rage over how many teeth were in a horse's mouth, the discovery of knowledge was paralyzed. The Dark Ages brought with it the darkness of a world outlook riddled with spiritual explanations, culminating in 3 centuries of witch hunts throughoutIt can be argued that the inward turning mind was a result of changes that had already been set in motion by other forces, and is not a cause of change. But it should also be valued as an indicator, or harbinger of changes to come. Let us be vigilant when movements appear that preach the inward‑looking mind-set.
Europeand . Fortunately, the 18th Century swung the pendulum "outward." The Philosophes challenged Aristotle's authority and an era of exploration, literal and figurative, was initiated. America
As described in the previous chapter, 20th Century LBS (Left‑Brain Styled) scientists are acutely aware of the threat posed by the newly‑emboldened RBS (Right‑Brain Styled) common man. It is ironic that in a series of public lectures by Jose Ortega y Gasset in 1928, collected and published posthumously as What is Philosophy (1960), 19th Century scientists are criticized for their expansive dominance of the climate of thought. Ortega y Gasset's accusation is that the philosophers of this period were "humiliated by the imperialism of physics and frightened by the terrorism of the laboratories. The natural sciences dominated the surrounding atmosphere." He then asserts that "When the surrounding atmosphere ... is hostile to us, it forces us to a perpetual state of struggle and dissociation, it depresses us and makes it difficult for our personality to develop and come to full fruition." He characterizes the conflict between philosophers and scientists with the phrase "...philosophers, having suffered the disdain of those men of science who kept throwing up at them the charge that philosophy is not a science..." but then wins the argument by claiming that "...philosophy is not a science, because it is much more than a science." As a scientist, I find this logic somewhat tortured, especially coming from the person most responsible for presenting the argument that mass man unfairly resents the esteem and influence of the academic who devotes his life to understanding a subject. So strong are the RBS neural circuits that even Jose Ortega y Gasset was occasionally misled by them!If this, then what else? How can we expect the uninformed masses to restrain their resentment and contempt for knowledgeable people if even an academic is occasionally gripped by this primitive impulse?
In his The Revolt of the Masses (1930) Ortega y Gasset wrote that because the 19th Century empowered the masses economically, the masses were emboldened to view their undisciplined opinions, coming from within themselves without the benefit of academic study, to have equal validity compared to those from scholars. He writes: Today ... the average man has ... "ideas" on all that happens or ought to happen in the universe. Hence, he has lost the use of his hearing. Why should he listen if he has within him all that is necessary? There is no reason now for listening, but rather for judging, pronouncing, deciding. There is no question concerning public life in which he does not intervene, blind and deaf as he is, imposing his ‘opinions.’ "To the extent that the newly empowered and unschooled mass of men influence public opinion (see Price, 1970 and Allen, 1989), new forces are returning the pendulum "inward" where today's fashion claims Truth can be found. Seeking truth by looking inward is a dangerous trend. It contrasts with the scientific approach of looking outward: observing, speculating, and testing the speculations by appeal to additional observations designed to possibly falsify the speculation.
The scientific process can lead to unexpected, unwanted insights. Thus, LBS inquiry represents a threat to RBS beliefs, and naturally RBS people react by restricting LBS research. Many subjects still cannot be studied because they are too threatening to RBS beliefs. Some of the most lamentable example today are: 1) race differences (Rushton, 1995), 2) the genetic basis of intelligence (Jensen, 1973), 3) eugenics, 4) the sociobiological basis for rape (Thornhill and Palmer, 2000), 5) the role of sociobiological "group strategies" to account for Jewish history (MacDonald, 1998), and 6) the origin of religious belief as an evolutionary adaptation (Alper, 2000).Scientific inquiry into "uncomfortable" subjects is suppressed by RBS people, such as the (take a deep breath) “Jewish, Marxist, politically-correct
intellectuals” who have already hijacked a few choice nuggets of our culture and who continue to try to remold our values. New Age "feeling" people may be viewed as harmless, but their politically correct intellectual comrades are harmful, for every time they interfere with "thinking" people there is an incremental loss in the prospects for civilization's continued growth and prosperity. New York
The Mutational Load TheoryIn most contemporary primitive cultures women have an average of eight babies. Allowing for the fact that in prehistoric times women may have died during their reproductive years (due to difficult births, disease, starvation, tribal warfare, etc), 50% to 75% of offspring would die before reaching reproductive age (which was 16 or 17 years until modern diets changed it to its present 12 or 13 years). In modern cultures women bear an average of two babies, and both of them are likely to live throughout their reproductive years. If this sounds like progress, read on!
According to Alexey S. Kondrashov (1988, p435) "in modern human populations detrimental mutations are probably accumulating faster than they are being eliminated by selection" due to the survival of a larger fraction of newborns than in former times. He postulates that normally there is a steady‑state between the processes of mutational degradation and preferential survival of babies with few deleterious mutations.Now, pause again, and take a deep breath! Anyone reading this far will sense that they're entering politically incorrect waters! To rationalize your desire to draw back, to recoil away from the uncomfortable implications that you suspect are implied by the preceding, you will probably feel obliged to question Kondrashov's allegation: "Surely, deleterious mutations do not occur at high enough incidence to matter in just one generation!" But what if they do? Because if they do, and if humanity's slow march forward toward an ever‑higher and more glorious pinnacle has depended upon the "sacrifice" of those bearing the deleterious mutations, then what Pandora's box have we opened by creating a society that assures survival for virtually everyone?
The implications are unthinkable! "Would God permit a world that produces an ever‑expanding population of people afflicted by physical deformities, physiological weaknesses, and mental defects?" "If we are in dysgenic decline, is our only recourse that reviled, discredited, mean‑spirited theory called eugenics?" "Didn't Hitler practice eugenics?" (For the record, the answer is “no” – Jews score higher on IQ tests than non-Jews.)Theory predicts that a population's genetic quality should decline when the mutational load is not removed by a process of differential survival of individuals before they reach reproductive age. This should be self‑evident (but I can provide an analysis to support it, upon request). Is there evidence for a decline in genetic quality during recent generations? The published literature has little to say about this, possibly because it is a taboo subject. Epidemiologists are still puzzling over the dramatic increase in asthma during the past few decades (they say you can't blame it on air pollution). And the incidence of "learning disabled" children is increasing rapidly (although this may be due to changing thresholds for labeling children as such). Herrnstein (1978) has studied IQ in
and concludes that it has declined 4 or 5 points during the past 5 or 6 generations. However, Herrnstein attributes this decline to a higher fertility rate for people with low IQ, and this explanation is unrelated to mutational load theory. Most traits are a product of both genetics and environment, and this presents a special challenge to anyone seeking evidence for the case that we are in dysgenic decline due to an accumulation of a load of genetic mutations. America
As an aside, the "Flynn Effect" (Flynn, 1987) purports to show an IQ increase of between 11 and 18 points between 1950 and 1980 among young Americans, with similar upward trends in other countries. However, questions have been raised about the use of the early, original IQ tests for measuring changes across generations, and Flynn himself has concluded (1990) that this is the case. Interestingly, IQ scores over time are rising while SAT scores and academic performance are decreasing. These waters are muddied.With the observations of IQ trends ambiguous, we are left with mere theory to guide us. As there seem to be no publications that address this question, I developed a very simple model meant to explore how far a heritable trait can be "degraded" when mutational load is not "corrected" by the normal amount of differential survival of offspring. I used IQ, since it's a well‑studied, multi‑gene trait, and it has a high heritability (0.75 according to identical twin studies conducted by Bouchard et al, 1990). Allowance was made for the fact that the average offspring IQ is a 70/30 weighting of the parent's IQ and the genomic average IQ (defined to be 100) according to various studies that start with Galton (1909). If all of the bottom 50 % of offspring fail to reach reproductive age, the average adult IQ of the adult offspring would be 105.7 in the absence of mutational load. A more realistic assumption is to assume that survival probability ranges linearly from 0% at an IQ of 60, to 100% for an IQ of 140. This would produce an offspring average IQ of 102.0. I interpret this to mean that the mutational load on IQ is about 2 IQ points! In other words, starting with a parent generation IQ that averages 100, the average IQ of offspring is 98, but after the 50% culling of preferentially low IQ offspring during infancy and childhood, when the surviving offspring reach adulthood their average IQ is restored to near 100!
Since this culling effect is greatly reduced in developed societies, the theory predicts that we are producing generations of offspring that reach adulthood with IQs that average closer to 98 than 100. Over time this will lower the "genomic IQ" (the IQ, which is commonly taken to be 100, toward which offspring IQ is "attracted" with a 30/70 weighting). I calculate that this is a very slow process.If IQ is decreasing by amounts as large as the Herrnstein study suggests, then it probably is not due to mutational load. Herrnstein's theory of different fertility rates for groups with differing "genomic IQ" may be capable of producing the faster changes. That topic is not relevant to this essay, and will not be discussed further here.
IQ is a multi‑gene trait, and therefore has greater "inertia" to change from random mutations. Single‑gene traits, such as hemophilia, should be capable of increasing their representation in the gene pool at much faster rates. For example, before modern medicine most individuals carrying the X chromosome allele for hemophilia would have died before reaching reproductive age. Today, they can be treated, as almost all of them are, and they then have the full potential of reproductive years for passing on the hemophilic gene to their offspring (by way of a sex‑specific X chromosome transmission path). Under such conditions the hemophiliac gene can rise to levels in the genome that are much higher than had ever existed in earlier times. Although most cases of hemophilia can be attributed to an inheritance of it based on family history, some cases are apparently due to "spontaneous" mutations at a mutation prone site. This qualifies hemophilia as an example of mutational load.As more diseases become identified with DNA locations, the list of examples of mutational load genes will grow. The importance of addressing this problem will also grow, not just because we will be able to identify more diseases as gene‑caused, but because the incidence of gene‑caused diseases will be increasing and the burden to society will become more costly.
The mutational load theory, with its prediction of a deterioration of the mental and physical health, or vigor, of the population, is just one more pressure on a civilization’s continued existence. The timescale for repairing the damage that could be done to the genome by a “too kind” society is much longer than the timescale for creating the problem. Thus, the wealthy society unknowingly, and with the best of intentions, contributes to its own decline. In other words, a society that experiences a rise in wealth is hit by two new challenges: the poorest in society are encouraged to become parasitic and the wealthy are burdening society with defective children.Empathy for the plight of one’s children is a "micro-motive" produced by the genes. The "macro-behavior" resulting from these micro-motives may produce a perpetually recurrent oscillation of gene pool vigor, producing the rise and fall of civilizations. The oscillation will not be sinusoidal, for the building process should take far longer than the destructive process. How fortunate we are to be living through the cusp of our civilizations apex! Yet how disheartening it will be for our children who will live through the crash.
Why are the opinion shapers of society loathe to talk about this? Every year that society postpones dealing with the problem is a year that the problem grows, and becomes more difficult to solve. It's not just mutational load; there are many other subjects deserving attention that are not being addressed by responsible societal discourse. Some subjects are just naturally taboo!In this chapter several factors were suggested as possible contributors to the decline of a civilization. The next chapter provides some evidence that civilizations rise and fall in the manner described in this chapter, and that today’s global civilization might be the last one to exist because humanity is doomed to be become extinct during the current millennium.
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