Even among the ‘alt right’, HBD remains a divided issue.
Why is HBD so important? A lot of focus goes there. Is there a good reason besides making fun of deluded liberals? Some kind of non-obvious knowledge?
The specifics are fascinating for sure, if you’re into it, but that’s just like science in general…
The argument for HBD can be summarized as:
-Better policy (normative)
-Better understanding of the world (positive)
-Maximizing human potential (both)
HBD is important because a lot of money is wasted on policy that ignores the role of biology. HBD-based policy would save taxpayers money, but policy makers think it’s more important to not offend people than to confront the reality that, no, not everyone is equal or the same upon conception. For example, billions of dollars are spent on public schools that lump almost everyone together regardless of innate skill (that means that slow kids are often merged with the smarter ones); money wasted on special education while the gifted get far less funding; money wasted trying to futilely pull certain groups out of poverty despite the multi-decade persistence of achievement gaps; money wasted on college degrees as a form of ‘signaling’ because of ‘disparate impact’ litigation prevents the expanded use of IQ-testing for employers; also, money wasted on low and average-IQ young adults going to college, when they should not go but are prodded to anyway; billions of dollars annually spent on mass incarceration and welfare (although incarceration is necessary to protect society, HBD-based policy (such as eugenics and, related, mandatory birth control) may help, by raising national IQ and breaking the welfare-crime-poverty cycle); money wasted treating rare genetic diseases that significantly compromise quality and quantity of life, because policy makers believe ‘every life is worth saving’ at any cost. It’s estimated that 80% of healthcare is spent on the end-of-life care, or palliative care, for a total of about 5% of all patients. Instead of curing diseases, a lot of money is spent keeping people alive long after they stopped contributing economic value, or when the prognosis is already terminal.
Gene modification and embryo selection may, over many generations, boost national IQ, helping to eliminate or reducing persistent problems like crime and welfare spending, while accelerating economic growth and technological innovation. Costly, incurable diseases may be eliminated at the embryonic level through genetic engineering. Obesity, which costs $147 billion annually, may be eliminated by genetically modifying metabolism, by altering the neurology that controls satiety and hunger, or by modifying certain bacteria in the gut. The implications are enormous, and to squander these possibilities will possibly make America less competitive compared to countries like China that don’t have trepidation over HBD. It’s even a potential national security issue.
Overall, Incorporating HBD into policy, both at the national and local level, may make everything better, more efficient, and save taxpayer money.
I know it is heresy to say this in these parts, but HBD really is fallacious epic-level nonsense, a pseudoscience. Different people are different obviously, but anyone that claims that morbidly obese homosexual junkie`s lifestyle does not affect his life expectancy should not be taken seriously (it does not take bogus twin studies to conclude that).
Most proponents of HBD don’t entirely discard the role of environment, and it’s a common misconception that HBD ignores environment. But twin studies show a strong hereditary component to intelligence and obesity. That means when people with similar genetic makeup are raised apart, their genes still, in most instances, override their different environments. This applies to multitude of diseases that seem to have a hereditary component: susceptibility of cardiovascular disease, stroke, liver disease, lung cancer (both in smokers and non-smokers), etc.
There are numerous classical twin studies in obesity, and the average heritability (i.e., proportion of inter-individual difference in a trait explicable by genetic variability) reported consistently in these studies on the order of 40–75% (8,11,12).
Source: Human Obesity: A Heritable Neurobehavioral Disorder That Is Highly Sensitive to Environmental Conditions
But also, biology affects how people respond to their environments. A person who metabolizes food slowly or has insufficient leptin production, may be vulnerable to obesity in an environment that has a lot of high-calorie food.
But HBD is also about improving understanding about the implications of traits such as IQ, and correcting the many persistent misconceptions about IQ (such as that IQ is not important, that IQ doesn’t measure anything important, that IQ tests are wrong and or are culturally biased, that high-IQ people are unethical or not creative, and other persistent falsehoods). It’s also about debunking attempts to create ‘substitutes’ for IQ, such as Howard Gardner’s flawed Multiple Intelligences ‘theory’. Thus HBD is not just about biology but also about education, choosing empirical evidence over wishful thinking and political correctness, and making the general public better-informed about these issues.
A common criticism is that HBD focuses too much on IQ, that there are other facets of humanity than intelligence. This may be a valid criticism, but IQ is very important as a ‘sorting mechanism’ for who succeeds of fails in modern society, and looking at things like wealth inequality, entitlement spending, achievement gaps, and crime, from an HBD-perspective can shed new light on these issues.
For example, HBD can explain why the gender gap is so persistent in the sciences, or why the wage gap exists. For example, studies have shown that women have less variance in IQ, meaning that there are fewer superior-IQ scores among women despite men and women having roughly the same average IQ. Attempts by policy makers to try to narrow ‘gender gaps’ may be futile due to limitations imposed by biology.
IQ explains wealth of nations: why some nations stay poor and others advance technologically and economically. IQ explains why Silicon Valley is so successful but Detroit isn’t.
IQ explains, contrary to Gladwell, why some never succeeded or attain ‘mastery’, no matter how many hours of practice they may accumulate, or why some seem innately better than others despite practicing less. Knowing your IQ can help set realistic expectations.
IQ can explain the persistent gap in wealth and achievement not just among nations but races, too.
IQ is not a trait that exists in a vacuum…it’s linked to other things like job performance, morality, and temperament. Although the trope of the ‘evil genius’ or ‘psychopathic serial killer’ is common in pop culture, death row inmates have below-average intelligence.
IQ can explains why ‘good-intentioned’ attempts by policy makers to ‘re-educate’ the workforce in response to technological unemployment may fail, again due to limitations imposed by biology.
The folly of the leftist intelligentsia is their belief that the rest of the world can (or should) become like them, and in doing so problems like technological unemployment will go away. A poster on r/slatestarcodex who goes by ‘Guomindang’ articulates the flaws of this reasoning better than I do:
The people being made useless by technology are not the same people who can find employment mastering the Foucaldian hermeneutics of transgender Chicano poetry to deconstruct the performative ontology of white heteronormativity. Technology is a rising tide of water in a room full of people who are only as tall as their IQ, and the mastery of scholastic nonsense can only benefit those farthest from the water line. I do think of it as an employment program, but perpetuated to employ and reward people of a certain political tendency. Societies, too, have long benefited from the stability of keeping restless intellects occupied with producing harmless scholastic nonsense, although this safety valve does sometimes falter.
I think the much larger government employment program for the increasing mass of useless people is what Moldbug calls Solution D-1. We just don’t perceive it as a government employment program because the employment occurs in the nominally private sector of the economy.
Then there is the ethno-nationalist argument against HBD, which is that a hierarchy by IQ possibly puts Christian Whites behind Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians. Even if this is true, the list of achievements and inventions by Whites should be enough to assuage these fears. IQ and creativity are linked, but perhaps Whites have slightly more creativity as a substitute for less IQ than Asians. But not to make this into a political post, America, which is predominantly a Christian nation, does risk losing its dominance in the event of runaway leftism, as we are seeing with EU.
Although epigenetics (the left’s version of HBD) plays a role in cancer development and various genomic imprinting disorders, there is no evidence epigenetics plays a greater role in IQ than genes.
Some of this possibly veers into ‘political incorrectness’, but a reality-based approach is superior to willful ignorance. The latter means going around in circles, repeating the same platitudes over and over, with no meaningful progress or understanding ever being made; the former leads to solutions and understanding. Ignorance dominates discourse, for fear of the consequences of noticing inconvenient truths, as we saw with Larry Summers in 2005, James Watson, and many other leading science and public figures who were ‘tarred and feathered’ for expressing these inconvenient truths.