William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Another Academic Calls For A Return To Eugenics (To Battle Global Warming)

Trust us. We're academics.

Trust us. We’re academics.

Academic philosopher S Matthew Liao (NYU) and pals are coming to get you. They want to monkey with your genes, kill your unwanted, inject growth-stunting hormones into your womb, poison your food, and hook you permanently on oxytocin. But, hey: it’s for your own good. And it’s going to save the planet.

In the peer-reviewed article Mein Kulturkampf—no! I’m only kidding. It’s “Human Engineering and Climate Change” in Ethics, Policy and the Environment. Our jolly eugenicists set out a Master Plan to create race of genetically superior Supermen, enlightened beings who care deeply about the environment.

How’s it work?

“[P]eople often lack the motivation or willpower to give up eating red meat even if they wish they could. Human engineering could help here.” Solution? Poison the food. Add vomit-inducing chemicals to your chops. Presumably armed government agents would pull up to supermarkets and supervise its administration.

Sadly, “anyone not strongly committed to giving up red meat is unlikely to be attracted to this option.” Solution? Force (he uses the word “encourage”) people to wear poison-release patches that would “induce mild intolerance” (emphasis mine) by causing the immune system to “react” against meat proteins. “[H]enceforth eating ‘eco-unfriendly’ food would induce unpleasant experiences. Even if the effects do not last a lifetime, the learning effect is likely to persist for a long time.” You bet it will.

S Matthew Liao is a little guy. Yours Truly is the opposite. Fellow big men, ever notice how some of our diminutive brothers bark excessively and nip at our heels like small dogs trying to prove their toughness? And how others, enraged by their lack of stature, cherish a hate against our superior manliness? Perhaps this is what accounts for Liao’s next idea.

There are too many tall people, Liao says. Solution? Reduce height via “preimplantation genetic diagnosis”. How? “[I]t would simply involve rethinking the criteria for selecting which embryos to implant.” Implanting embryos? Say, isn’t that the brave new idea Aldous Huxley had? I wonder which government bureaucracy would certify embryos.

Yet Liao, perhaps because of the blindness of jealously, has neglected the obvious solution: since there are more short people than the majestic tall, just eliminate the unsightly short people! This removes unwanted flesh and preserves beauty. For those men less than 6′ who manage to escape the Gene Police or are not killed in the womb, I say after-birth abortion should be considered seriously. And since we need a mechanism for their dispatchment, how about baseball bats upside the head? Let this be our song!

Liao seems to believe only stupid people have kids. Thus he suggests “cognitive enhancement” to lower birth rates. He says “many environmental problems seem to be exacerbated by—or perhaps even result from—a lack of appreciation of the value of other life forms and nature itself.” Solution? Shoot people up with the “prosocial hormone oxytocin” or a “noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor”. And also—you could see this one coming from a mile off—reduce testosterone. Sorry, big men. Liao seems to have it in for us.

All this seem intrusive to you? Not so, says our little friend: “human engineering could be liberty-enhancing.” Liberty enhancing? Yes, sir. Why, “if we were able to scale the size of human beings, then given the same fixed allocation of greenhouse gas emissions, some families may be able to have more than two children.” How generous!

But, say: have these guys thought this all through? Sure, they’re all PhDs at major universities, and therefore are as near to human infallibility as possible, but nobody bats 1.000. Should we be concerned?

Of course not. Human engineering is safer than geo-engineering, say our cognitively superior colleagues. Safer? Yes, sir: safer. Proof? Hey, if their word is good enough for themselves, it’s good enough for us. Besides, their recommendations have been peer reviewed. What more proof do you need?

Liao knows what you’re thinking and says, “examining intuitively absurd or apparently drastic ideas can be an important learning experience”. Amen to that. I learned to steer clear of NYU. Also: “History is replete with examples of issues or ideas which, whilst widely supported or even invaluable now, were ridiculed and dismissed when they were first proposed.”

That’s true. But History is even more replete with lunacies rightly rejected, their inventors tarred and feathered by a horrified citizenry or locked in a small padded cell without their shoelaces lest they come to harm.

That was then. Now we give promoters of the preposterous cushy jobs at elite universities. The end cannot be long in coming.

Update This paper has been rediscovered (YOS had it a year ago; see below) by HotAir and National Review.

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Thanks to Mike B. for alerting us to this new idiocy. For more about eugenics, click here.

24 Comments

  1. This article has been seen and discussed before?

    http://www.climatedepot.com/?s=LIAO

  2. Wow, you cranked that out fast, Matt! Well done.

    When I first came across this, there was a long list of people I wanted to see it, on all sides of the political spectrum. But when I read the part about making people smaller, you moved to the top of the list.

    It was so ridiculous, that I partly expected, to the very end, some sort of tip-off that this was a Jonathan Swift-style “Modest Proposal”. But the lunacy that CAGW is bringing to the surface of academia is starting to get entertaining.

  3. Sander van der Wal

    July 25, 2014 at 8:14 am

    He’s talking about large people. Isn’t that polite language for people who have eaten so much food that they could be two people?

    Then, red meat doesn’t make you large. Crap sugars and crap fats make you large, and both of those substances are made from plants.

  4. Briggs

    July 25, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Shub,

    Not by us!

    All,

    Apropos: Will doctors be forced to kill?

    http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/07/will-doctors-be-forced-to-kill

  5. Sander: in the paper he talks about giving kids hormones so their epiphyseal lines seal sooner, essentially creating generations of dwarves. So he’s not just talking about fat people.

  6. “Shoot people up with the prosocial hormone oxytocin”?

    In other news there is this:

    http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.ca/2014/06/the-downside-of-oxytocin.html

  7. I have argued that for approximately the thousand years between the late first millennium and around 1850, certain teachings of the Catholic Church, being reflected in customs and positive law in the West, had a tremendous eugenic effect on Europeans, explaining much of Europe’s rise to world dominance.

    Somewhere around the middle of the 19th Century, two (probably not unrelated) trends took hold in the West. The first was the traditional Christian concern for the poor became overwrought. False Enlightenment notions of equality and universal liberty combined to turn ordinary concern for the poor into cover of various vices (like marrying and procreating when you cannot afford to). This was (obviously) dysgenic.

    [BTW, I’ve found that the phrase “opposition to dysgenic trends” doesn’t antagonize social conservatives or anti-fa leftists nearly as much as “eugenics”.]

    Because of locally dysgenic trends, e.g., during the English industrial revolution, numbers of the poor, and the harshness of their misery, swelled. This lead to the second trend: Conscious eugenics. Aided by Darwin, and poisoned by Enlightenment rationalism, do-gooders of various stripes all agreed together, “We MUST DO SOMETHING!” And that something was improve the genetic stock by force.

    Never mind that Western Civilization had already been unconsciously improving genetic stock for about a millennium.

    So modernity creates a problem; and then in an attempt to correct that problem, modernity creates another problem. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is Progressivism 101.

    I say all that to say…. I believe that traditional religion has implicit eugenic effects which over many generations provide massive adaptive advantages to various peoples. (The Mormons make a particularly excellent study.) I also believe that humans may be on a massive dysgenic trend, only masked by the Flynn Effect and technological advancement, for at least 150 years. (Bruce Charlton writes much about this.)

    I think social conservatives should be concerned about dysgenic trends. I cannot imagine a stupider application for that concern than Climate Change™.

  8. It is good to be a delta and pass the Soma.

  9. Sander van der Wal

    July 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

    @Nick B. Stevens

    Does your argument considers the fact that much of Western Europe was Protestant after 1650 or so?

  10. Sander van der Wal

    July 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

    @Scotian

    A bit off-topic, but why are these people always asking to throw somebody else under the bus? Why don’t they ask whether you would jump, be a big hero saving lots of people?

  11. Sander van der Wal: Nobody ever volunteers. It’s embarrassing to ask for volunteers and be greated by a deafing silence. Thus, tossing people under the bus.

    Not just tall guys like Briggs are in trouble. The average height of American males is 5′ 10″ and women 5′ 4″. If the cutoff is at “average”, a lot of us are in trouble.

    We can’t eat red meat, but does that mean I can still have my bacon? After all, pork is the other white meat. 🙂

  12. @Sander van der Wal

    Certainly. It isn’t as though Protestantism dispensed with the entirety of Catholic teaching… at least not all at once. It was a process. Even down to this day, most Protestants believe in the trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the hypostatic union. And most also forbid adultery and cousin marriage. A bit more more wishy-washy on contraception, fornication, and wanking… but hey even a lot of Catholics are pretty wishy-washy on those.

  13. Milton Hathaway

    July 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I think most folks here are under-thinking this. Papers like Liao et al are intended to push the boundaries, to desensitize the population, drip by drip.

    As always, the root cause for the creation of such manure is a lack of accountability. As in, why do their employers continue to pay them to produce it? Answer that, then ask why a couple more times, and maybe a truly corrective action will become more apparent.

  14. So basically we’ve established that all shortarses should be turned into soylent green and fed to the undeserving poor. Or have I read the wrong memo?

  15. Sander van der Wal

    July 26, 2014 at 12:01 am

    @Milton Hathaway

    Academic freedom? Freedom of Speech?

  16. You might like this link, vaguely related.

    http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=5789

  17. As always with Leftists, the end justifies the means.

  18. I’ve noticed this bulshytt rarely comes from the climate scientists but instead from their camp followers.

  19. Lifestyle’ babies– A new culprit of climate change

    LONDON: A new culprit has been found causing climate change – “lifestyle” babies.
    Scientists have called for a blanket ban on free fertility treatment for those making “lifestyle” reproductive choices, such as sterilization reversal or single motherhood for fertile women.
    They have also called for a legislation that makes fertility clinics subject to carbon capping schemes, in a bid to help curb climate change.
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/global-warming/lifestyle-babies-a-new-culprit-of-climate-change/articleshow/39117026.cms

  20. Brent: Wow! She makes conservative Republican party line look like a massive supporter of women’s reproductive rights under any definition! (Not that I that I would necessarily disagree that our reproductive behaviour is not beneficial to society in many cases, but I certainly would not be so bold as to say someone can’t use a method if they pay for it themselves—note: That excludes the infamous Octomom, who should have been in a framed portrait at the beginning of the article.)

  21. MIlton Hathaway

    July 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    @Sander van der Wal

    Forgive me! I seem to have forgotten that academics are a privileged class that have been granted special freedom to say or write whatever they want , bringing disrepute upon their employer, without consequence. It’s right there in the Constitution – I don’t know how I could have missed. it.

  22. On first reading I was instantly reminded of the plot from Vonnegut’s book Slapstick.

    In the near future the Chinese had developed a miniaturization process to prevent overpopulation and resource consumption. In the end, they became so small they were inhaled and caused a global plague.

    I thought the article was a joke.

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