Eugenics refers to the improvement of the viability of a population by improving the gene pool by selective breeding or genetic engineering. The opposite of eugenics is called dysgenics. Much like most forms of environmentalism, eugenics is largely ideological because its benefits will mostly only come to fruition far in the future, so it is not something that is based in real, immediate values.
Objective definition of dysgenics[edit | edit source]
Some have argued that the only form of dysgenics that can be scientifically argued to actually exist is dysgenics driven by the intergenerational accumulation of de-novo mutations that damage the evolutionary fitness of the organism, in reference to the parental environment.
According to this argument, evidence of traits like intelligence being sexually selected against do not represent dysgenics at all, and just represent typical evolutionary adaptions, regardless of the subjective socially valued nature of such traits. It could actually be argued that selecting for intelligence is dysgenic, as intelligence is now negatively associated with fertility, and is therefore is currently an arguably maladaptive trait.
Ethical eugenics[edit | edit source]
Eugenics that involve inceldom or death are evidently unethical. Eugenicists also often overlook the negative utility in violent eugenics in that it divides and demotivates the population, and eventually causes more violence through a counter-reaction, a point that critiques of eugenics write at length about. Ethical eugenics would hence only involve prenatal eugenics, sperm donations, sterilization, embryo-selection, genetic engineering etc. Ethical eugenics would also be voluntary which may prevent degeneration into excessive arguments and judgements about breeding.
Non-invasive, permanent, medically-based sterilization is still on the horizon. Vasectomys are safe and relatively non-invasive, but are still a surgical procedure, turning off many potential willing subjects. Even less invasive methods, such as vasalgel still involve balls injection, which is just too-much for some. It is likely that permanent, non-invasive sterilization will only become popular through possible technological replacements for sexual activity, such as advanced sex robots and immersive AI simulations. The least invasive, formal sterilization methods in use today are temporary and include contraception for poor people, which many modern religions condemn, making such religions arguably dysgenic in regards to intelligence.
Some have argued that actual eugenics (as in actually increasing the viability/genetic quality of the population instead of just attempting to halt genetic decline) is highly ethnically questionable, as it would involve the sterilization of the vast majority of the population to prevent increases in the mutational load of the population, in accordance with a well known genetic theory that states up to 88% of the population with the highest mutational load must be prevented from breeding via natural selection to prevent the buildup of deleterious mutations in the genome. Though this strikingly high figure required to prevent population 'mutational meltdown' is argued to be much lower when taking into account relative differences in reproductive fitness between individuals with varying levels of mutational load.
Is enforced monogamy dysgenic?[edit | edit source]
Evidence suggests people do not select based on health very much or not at all in their partner choices. It follows that enforcing monogamy does not decrease the genetic quality of the gene pool by much if at all.
This also suggests that sexual selection does very little in maintaining high quality, highly viable gene pool because people presumably select for other traits such as ornament, resources etc. In the natural setting, viability is presumably almost exclusively maintained by mortality selection. The strongest drivers of current dysgenics are presumably rather modern medicine and much lower infant mortality.
Not enforcing monogamy may also mean that mate choice reduces to physical intimidation between males, which means the most dominant and aggressive males who aren't much interested in long-term relationships will reproduce more. In addition to that, many women appear to have a preference for aggressive males as evidenced by their rape fantasies and hybristophilia, and women's mating preferences may receive more weight in absence of enforced monogamy. Propagating the genes of aggressive males not interested in long-term investment will presumably decrease population viability.
Another argued consequence of the lack of monogamy norms/social pressure against singlehood in Western countries, is that with lack of monogamy norms/social pressure against singlehood, highly intelligent women will tend to focus on their careers and academic achievements, with them often refraining from marriage and ultimately, reproduction. This may be largely due to their natural hypergamous instincts (as there are few men at their educational or social 'level'), or it may be due to more intelligent people generally being more interested in abstract ideas rather than more primitive, instinctual evolutionary concerns, but whatever the cause(s) of this phenomena, it leads to many intelligent women becoming perpetual spinsters, as opposed them to being married off and producing children as they would in the past.
This relative lack of intelligent female fertility has been argued to be a major factor in the secular decline in IQ in Western countries that has been observed by some intelligence researchers, with it being discovered that more intelligent women have a greater tendency to delay reproduction until their limited window of fertility has nearly closed (leaving them with less children), or they fail to reproduce before they have become completely sterile altogether.
Moreover, if only a small number of men get to reproduce, in a civilized society, this means a large portion of the next generation are inter-related, knowingly or not, and this will lead to inbreeding, which is dysgenic. This is well documented in polygamist societies. Monogamy encourages genetic diversity which helps to prevent inbreeding, among other things.
References[edit | edit source]