Re: virus: Memes and Genes, stupid

Martz (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 20:59:27 +0000

Sorry for lack of attribution here but I'm replying to a reply where I
don't appear to have received the original message.

On Fri, 17 Jan 1997, Duane Hewitt <> wrote:
>On Fri, 17 Jan 1997 wrote:
>> On Thu, 16 Jan 1997, Martz wrote:
>> > Perhaps you'd like to support my new campaign.
>> >
>> > Free to forward, free to copy, free to mutate.
>> > ----------------------------------------------------------
>> [CLIP]
>> > The people with the most kids are the people with the least
>> > brains. This propogation of stupid genes carries the seed
>> > of mankinds destruction, yet it is dangerous to advocate the slaughter
>> > of the senseless. They outnumber us by a huge margin, after all, and
>> > are prone to using violence as a debating tool of first resort.
>> >
>> > I have a solution.
>> >
>> I have a problem with the direction this argument is taking. Not that
>> the stupid shouldn't be neutered (a fine idea), but it overlooks the data.
>> Statisticly two idiots are as likely to have genius offspring as two
>> geniuses are of having idiot children. The outcome will tend toward the
>> mean and therefore idiots are much more likely to have children whose
>> intellect is an improvement than the geniuses.
>> Both you and Dave Pape assume that intelligence is a wholely genetic
>> trait. I see no statistical evidence for this.

Point one; it was an attempt at humour and there are gaping holes in the
argument that I wouldn't even try to defend. I hadn't expected anyone to
take it seriously...but I'm kind of glad you did.

Point two; you are correct that within the post the argument was based
purely on genetics. However, there is an important memetic effect at
play here also. Most kids are brought up by their genetic forebears,
therefore the cultural effect that your parents / extended family have
on you during your formative years is probably the most profound you
will ever experience. The memes that your early role models carry will
influence the memes that you carry (although not necessarily by direct
transmission). A perfect example is that most religious people share the
same beliefs as their parents.

So, even if you don't agree that genes influence intelligence at all,
would you accept that being exposed to the influences of stupid people
at an early age will encourage you to be stupid too?


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No more random quotes.