21 June 2012

An Apocalypse of Stupidity: One Possible Future

They will tell you that the world will end by nuclear holocaust, or by climate catastrophe. Or perhaps they'll say the world will choke to death on its own pollution, or starve for lack of enough resources to feed an overpopulated planet.
But more likely to seal the fate of humanity, is the slow and steady loss of human problem-solving ability.

Regional Variations in IQ Test Scores

Over tens of thousands of years, separate human breeding populations evolved to meet divergent challenges in their environments (Kanazawa PDF). Some environments presented greater challenges to be solved, for the sake of survival. The farther from the equator a group migrated, the greater the seasonal challenges of survival. As greater intelligence evolved, humans devised sophisticated societies and technologies to shield them from the environment.

But in the course of becoming more intelligent, they created micro-environments of culture, with differential rates of divergent intellectual revolution.
Rates of Population Growth

Not all populations reproduced at the same rates. More affluent, more intelligent, and better educated women chose to reproduce at lower levels -- or not at all -- compared to women of lower educational attainment (on average). Higher birthrates among less intelligent populations began to affect overall average IQ levels.

And since IQ is strongly correlated with level of economic achievement (Gottfredson PDF), societies with lower average IQ levels tended to be the most impoverished societies.
Besides economic achievement, scientific and technological achievement tends to accompany high average IQ. Low IQ nations in the map above tend to be very tiny, unless they are lucky enough to have a high IQ smart fraction.

The higher IQ populations which are responsible for the economic, scientific, and technological accomplishments in the map above, are also the populations which are shrinking in size -- while lower IQ populations are growing.

Finally, crime and corruption tend to correlate with low average IQ levels. So that even low IQ populations lucky enough to have a smart fraction, will be less able to efficiently utilise that lucky bit of human capital.
Homicide per 100,000

There is no reason to expect the differential birthrates between the different strata of IQ and education, to change. The global decline in average IQ seen in the graph above, is likely to continue unless something significant happens to change the trend.

Many people are aware of the trend, but no one has a good answer for it. Good people may well think the answer may be found thru better education:
While the smart people know they must fight the tyrannical government or run away to another country, the not so smart grow in numbers. In our current state, we will not be able to hold government accountable and put a stop to the tyranny. We must overcome the stupid somehow. We must find a method to show them the folly of their ways. We must “educate” them on what their responsibilities are in society and we must show them how to exercise those responsibilities properly. _LibertarianViewpoint

But no one really believes that such "education" can be both effective and humane. And since we voluntarily limit ourselves to humane methods, we must admit that we will have to look for other solutions.

Here is an analogy: Realistic energy analysts generally accept that humans should use unconventional oil, gas, and liquids as temporary "bridge" fuels to better forms of power and energy such as advanced nuclear power. In other words, we must make good use of the next few decades to develop long term energy solutions that will last for many thousands of years.

In the same way, realistic students of the human future understand that brighter people must make very good use of the next few decades to develop bridge technologies which will see us past the approaching dysgenic bottleneck.

First, we must take the trouble to understand that the problem is real.

Genetics, Genes, Genomics, and g (Plomin PDF) _via Meng hus blog

g: Highly General and Highly Practical (Gottfredson PDF)

We must understand how differences in average intelligence between population groups influence quality of life issues such as crime, affluence, social trust, levels of corruption, etc. Such an understanding is likely to influence important life choices.

And we must be able to project current trends -- often contradictory trends -- into the near future. Then we must devise ways of best dealing with our conclusions for our own sake, and for the sake of our dependents.

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Blogger Eric said...

TV and easy access to abortions works well. Condoms require too much training and forethought. Sterilization programs that trade money or vouchers are effective.

Increasing their per capita income is sometimes effective. In the long run it's going to be a pain in the ass dragging 7 billion people up to middle class American standards unless they can pull some of the weight themselves though.

When Brazil’s Rede Globo TV network spread into new areas in the 1970s and 1980s, women in those parts of the country started having fewer babies, according to researchers at the Inter-American Development Bank.

In fact, living in an area with access to the Globo network lowered a woman’s fertility rate as much as two more years of education. And you can’t credit commercials or public service announcements for that, because contraceptive advertising was banned and the country had no population control policy. Women apparently were getting new social cues from plausible female characters with few children, according to an article on this phenomenon published in Foreign Policy.

Something similar happened in India. Just giving a rural village in India access to cable TV can lower fertility rates, or the number of children a woman has, as much as adding five years to the length of time girls stay in school would, researchers found.

That kind of revelation led India’s health and family welfare minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad to promote TV as a form of birth control. His rationale: People who stay up late watching TV then fall asleep, too tired to have sex.

Thursday, 21 June, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, it does seem that fertility is often reduced when women begin to see that there are other ways to do things than the traditional way.

What we are looking for is an increased proportion of competent (novel) problem solvers within the overall population, as well as a larger absolute number of competent (novel) problem solvers.

The ability to solve novel problems is a function of g, and overall personal competence is related to executive function.

A reduction of fertility within low IQ third world populations might help maintain the overall proportion of competent, novel problem solvers. But it does not help raise the absolute numbers of such persons.

A static, confined-to-planet-Earth future does not necessarily demand increasing numbers of competent and intelligent people. But an expansive and abundant future will demand more such persons.

Thursday, 21 June, 2012  
Blogger Eric said...

That's actually not too hard to solve.

1. Artificial wombs (we both already know about this)

2. Change the concept of the career/job. Women put off child birth because they have to climb the corporate ladder, manage office politics, all of that. Women are employed heavily in large corporations or governments, mainly in bureaucratic positions. But employment is less secure and more variable, and becoming more so. The very nature of what it means to have a job is becoming mercurial.

There are no secure institutions where you can office-politik your way to a middle-management job and put off having kids. Non-essential personnel will be cut when a serious economic depression sinks in. Virtualize everything you can, localize everything else. Women will finally be able to get back to tending to small group - what they are good at.

3. Young people generally don't have enough money to get trained/educated and start a family. Edx and related programs are a step in the right direction in solving this. But really they need more money to do it right.

Thursday, 21 June, 2012  
Blogger sykes.1 said...

First, IQ is genetically determined (80%), and the variation in economic development is a result of the underlying and determinative IQ variation. Third World economies may improve, but the IQs of the Third World won't. Anyway, IQ 85 is clearly sufficient for most activities, otherwise natural selection would not have produced it.

Second, the population projection you (and everybody else) uses assumes that every country has a reproduction rate of 2.1 children per woman lifetime. This is the steady state replacement fertility rate. In most of the world, fertility is well below the replacement rate, and everywhere else, including Africa and the Muslim countries, fertility is rapidly declining. The best predicter of future world population is the UN's low projection. This projection suggests the population will peak at 8 to 8.5 billion people in 2030 and then steadily decline.

So, both of the lines on your graph are bogus.

Friday, 22 June, 2012  
Blogger Matt M said...

Of course dropping fertility has an upside - disposable income.

The reason the Chinese have money to buy all that US debt - is because they have a one child policy. If they were still trying to feed 6 and 8 child families - there would be no money left over to put in the bank.

Friday, 22 June, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. What efforts you put in to avoid the magic word: race.

Just say it. Most of the population growth is black. Most of the brains are white or asian. Therefore, the blacks are screwed unless the whites (the asians aren't stupid enough) decide to spend even more time and cash developing Africa, which has never worked.

Friday, 22 June, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Eric: Very good points.

Sykes: Accurate prediction is very difficult, particularly about the future.

MattM: Right. Much of the change came from urbanisation and industrialisation. Still, not all Chinese are happy with the one child policy. Expect it to break down over time, in various regions.

wntt: The Chinese are putting a great deal into developing Africa, albeit in a very cynical way in order to strip the continent's resources.

You may not be aware of this, but an intelligent reader is capable of reading between the lines. A good writer learns to show rather than tell. Rules of thumb: Do not tell readers what to think, and do not tell writers what to write.

Friday, 22 June, 2012  
Blogger Eric said...

As for TV, the Sabido method has showed some success:

I remember reading through books from the 1920's that mention the same dysgenic breeding problem in America, it's been around for awhile. It's hard to tackle but it can be done.

Friday, 22 June, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Plague, starvation, war, childhood disease, violent crime, large-scale capital punishment, slavery, and accidents have historically served as counterpoints to the ages-old pattern of differential birthrates. Think of it as an natural pattern that arises out of human variability rather than a problem.

More civilised times call for more rational and humane ways of not allowing the human future to be consumed by the natural excess production of the leftward tail of the curve.

Political correctness demands that we not acknowledge this pattern or where it leads. But any society that evolves into a suicide pact does not deserve to have its dysfunctional rules obeyed.

Western societies from Europe to North America to Oceania are beginning to look more and more like suicide pacts. What else would you call preferential hiring (and electing to public office) for the less qualified, or preferential immigration for those with less to contribute?

The pattern of differential birthrates among those of lesser executive function and lower intelligence is just one part of the overall dysfunctional dynamic.

Saturday, 23 June, 2012  
Blogger Eric said...

Political correctness has always seemed like a very feminine thing. It gives white knights an unlimited supply of damsels in distress to make themselves feel self-righteous. Appearances given more weight than actual output, forced egalitarianism, extremely high priority placed on consensus. The Western feminine social matrix is a dog that went feral decades ago. Either we retake the matrix and prune it or we create new institutions.


Saturday, 23 June, 2012  
Blogger Stephen said...

Al Fin,

I would love to hear what you think can be done about this. I have seen these articles over and over on your sites and they make a great point: ideocracy is real and might sink mankind. What ideas do you have to combat this? The parties of the center-right in the West seem almost as egalitarian as the parties of the left. Do you see some sort of political solution as being a necessity or do you think some sort of technological innovation offers us some sort of escape?

Sunday, 24 June, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Right. The answer is complex, hinging on a number of contingent developments.

Look for part of the answer in future postings. The answer is likely to be different for different readers.

Sunday, 24 June, 2012  
Blogger Caleb21 said...

Populations that have low education and low IQs certainly have higher birth rates but they also have much higher mortality rates---the intelligent produce fewer offspring but they will live longer and healthier lives.
This has been noted throughout history and will always be the case.

Tuesday, 23 October, 2012  

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