A little while ago I wrote about Geoffrey Miller’s racist brain fart on Chinese eugenics, in which he attempted to disguise his fear-mongering with a bizarre message that we ought to admire and emulate China’s supposed eugenics programs. It’s pretty frightening that some people today still seem to think that eugenics is a good idea, a point of view that puts them in the company of Nazism and other respectable ideologies.
Anyway, VICE magazine (which I’d previously thought was quite a good magazine) decided to continue to spread this message with an interview titled “China Is Engineering Genius Babies”, by Aleks Eror. This article goes a lot further than Miller’s did in promoting the idea that eugenics is a policy to be admired and emulated, lest we lose out to China (which is, surprise surprise, going to “take over the world”).
The VICE article talks about a project in China which is apparently collecting the genes of intelligent people to try and figure out how to breed more of them. This is very reminiscent of Nazism. Now, I don’t know if this is or isn’t going on in China, but either way, it’s certainly not something to be admired. Aside from the fact the eugenics is totally flawed and would never work to achieve its claimed goals, it’s completely immoral as an idea.
The basic premise of eugenics is that certain genetic groups are undesirable and need to be eliminated. Turning this round and saying that certain groups are desirable and need to be promoted (as Miller and co claim) doesn’t make it any better. It’s exactly the same idea. Ultimately you’ve got to impose top-down control on human reproduction on a vast scale: it’s about artificial human breeding programs. I’m just amazed that people don’t immediately see how utterly perverted it is as an idea.
The VICE article even reveals that Miller contributed his own genes to the program in China. He’s basically saying “Yeah so what we need to do is delete all the undesirables and create more people like me, so the world will be a better place.” One commenter on my last post on this described Miller as “a proper nazi”, and it’s not an outrageous claim in light of this. More from that commenter:
"Miller’s fear mongering is more like an idealisation of what he fancies to be the Chinese state and culture. I thought the strangest part of his piece is he takes it for a given that eugenics works, and the only reason it is not done in the west is some kind of backward political correctness."
That’s what’s wrong with this. This has gone beyond whether or not China actually is doing this kind of stuff. It’s the insane attitude of Miller and VICE that is so shocking - they seem to think that countries not carrying out human breeding programs are somehow putting themselves at a disadvantage and ought to step up to the mark as soon as possible.
Some lovely quotes from the VICE interview
Here’s a few choice quotes from the VICE piece to give you a flavour of this stuff:
"...they've spent a lot of money researching human genetics to figure out which genes make people smarter."
The idea that something as complex as intelligence is controlled by a few genes is total nonsense and nothing more.
"They seem mostly interested in people of Chinese and European descent."
Specifically no black people, then. I wonder why…
"...you can sample one of the cells to figure out the expected intelligence if it’s implanted and becomes a person."
"You can test multiple embryos and analyze which one’s going to be the smartest."
"Even if it only boosts the average kid by five IQ points, that’s a huge difference."
"How does Western research in genetics compare to China’s? We’re pretty far behind."
Well that settles it, better start sterilising the undesirables! They’re life unworthy of life!
"they’re creating new systems of universities that emphasise more creative approaches to learning"
Shame on Miller and shame on VICE for publishing this stuff.
Some fun with Aleks Eror on Twitter
The first I knew about the VICE piece was via this article by Akshat Rathi. Akshat called Aleks Eror (author of the VICE piece) out on Twitter, and the three of us got into this ridiculous exchange, in which I got accused of being a nipple-hating, uppity square (no, seriously):
I don’t think I even need to comment on what Aleks Eror said, there - it speaks for itself.