Saturday 14 December 2013

ISIR closes on dysgenic note


Just as delegates are congratulating themselves on having attended a feast of intelligence research in Melbourne, they are given a reality check by young Woodley, who has been looking at climate data from the cheerful perspective of calculating how much of the peasantry were killed off in cold winters, thus allowing the brighter folk to prosper.

Climatic Variability, Group Selection and Dysgenics: Testing a Multi-Level Selection Model
Michael AWoodley1, Heitor B. F. Fernandes2, Aurelio José Figueredo3
1Umeå University, Sweden & Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
2Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
3University of Arizona;;

Novelty. A multi-level selection model published recently by Woodley and Figueredo
proposes that climatic changes have historically affected the direction of gene-frequency changes for g via their alternating impact on group vs. individual level fitness. In the West, colder environments imposed high extrinsic mortality on peasantry, whilst also creating fitness opportunities for those with higher-g. This also encouraged group selection for ultra high-g but low-fitness geniuses, whose innovations facilitated range expansion (i.e. colonialism).
Warmer environments led to lower mortality amongst those with low-g. Concomitant social and scientific innovations (i.e. welfare, medicine) further increased the mildness of Western environments, leading to diminished group selection, coupled with greater individual level selection for those with low-g responding to the fitness-incentives provided by the improved ecology, in addition to individual level selection against those with high-g, whose fitness diminished in the face of improved fertility control and redistributionist economic policy.
Importance. Multiple indexes of major innovation in science and technology indicate a pronounced per capita decline commencing in the latter half of the 19th century. Indexes of per capita scientific genius show a similar decline. Woodley and Figueredo, using hierarchical structural equations modelling, found that both of these trends relate to simulated declines in heritable g estimated on the basis of the negative relationship between fertility and IQ throughout this period. Recently, much attention was paid to the finding that simple reaction time performance seems to have been slowing throughout this same period, suggesting that the dysgenic decline in g predicted in previous works might be an actuality.
These findings are all consistent with the multi-level selection model as described above. Understanding how these ecological factors might explicitly relate to real changes in the patterns of selective pressure is important for understanding the interconnected and varied nature of the determinants of accelerating adaptive biological and cultural evolution amongst Holocene populations.
Methods. Here we test the multi-level selection model over the last 1.5 centuries using a cascade General Linear Model. Climate warming is operationalized using three convergent indicators of global temperature anomaly means spanning the period from 1859 to 1975. A lexical approach to measuring historical attitudes was used to determine group selection strength in the US+UK. Three convergent group selection \'loaded\' words were selected, and their diminishing frequencies across printed matter were measured using Google Ngram. Declining g was measured using meta-analytically matched simple reaction time trend data from the UK+US corrected for various sources of error, spanning the period 1889 to 1993. US+UK innovations were taken from a database of global innovations and weighted on the basis of US+UK population growth.
The model: Climate warming -> Group selected attitudes (with a lag of ten years) ->
Declining g (with a lag of one generation) -> Innovation rates; fit excellently. The fit
improved when war years were excluded from the innovation index. This is consistent with the model.

Contact the authors above for drafts of their presentation.

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