TENS is falling apart

It should never be this way, but there are a few areas of science that are untouchable for one reason or another.  Questioning climate change will get you ridiculed and potentially risk your career.  Other topics, like the investigation of IQ and differences across races, is subverted to the point that it is hardly studied at all anymore, and like climate change is career suicide.  The theory of evolution by natural selection is another sacred cow that is all too often accepted as scientific fact.  But the theory is falling apart, and more than 1,000 brave scientists are risking their careers to sign a dissent statement about it.

Earlier this month, a long kept list of Ph.D. scientists who “dissent from Darwinism” reached a milestone — it crossed the threshold of 1,000 signers.

“There are 1,043 scientists on the ‘A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism’ list. It passed the 1,000 mark this month,” said Sarah Chaffee, a program officer for the Discovery Institute, which maintains the list.

“A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” is a simple, 32-word statement that reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

Launched in 2001, the list continues to collect support from scientists from universities across America and globally. Signers have earned their Ph.D.s at institutions that include Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. Others on the list earned their doctorates at Clemson, UT Austin, Ohio State, UCLA, Duke, Stanford, Emory, UNC Chapel Hill and many others universities. Still other signers are currently employed as professors across the nation.

Those who sign it “must either hold a Ph.D. in a scientific field such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or one of the other natural sciences; or they must hold an M.D. and serve as a professor of medicine,” according to the institute.

The group points out that signing the statement does not mean these scholars endorse “alternative theories such as self-organization, structuralism, or intelligent design,” but rather simply indicates “skepticism about modern Darwinian theories central claim that natural selection acting on random mutations is the driving force behind the complexity of life.”

According to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer, the signers “have all risked their careers or reputations in signing.”

The theory of evolution by natural selection, much like climate change, is one of those topics every lay person takes for granted assuming it is true because lots of scientists say that it is.  And like climate change, you are roundly laughed at or worse if you even remotely question its validity.

If you are willing to keep an open mind, consider watching the three videos below.  One is a debate between Vox Day and biologist Jean-Francois Gariépy.  It is Vox Day essentially positing his theory to JF about why he doesn’t think TENS is a realistic possibility.  What is interesting about it is he is coming at it from an economist point of view, as that is his background.  In short, the math doesn’t add up.

The debate goes a little bit off the rails so I’m also including a follow up video by Vox Day here where he goes into more detail and breaks down his line of thinking a bit more for those who did not understand the debate.  It is also clear that JF is dodging the question, but decide for yourselves.  And lastly, another video by VD…the nail in the coffin of human evolution.

Critics slam new test that can predict risk of low IQ in embryos

The mob has found a new issue to scream about, this time with embryo testing.  Via Daily Mail:

IVF clinics may soon use a controversial screening technique to get rid of embryos which are likely to grow up with low IQs.

A company in the US offering tests which can pick out ‘mental disabilities’ – and, in theory, predict intelligence – has confirmed it is in talks with fertility clinics.

The news has stoked fears about a rise in designer babies, which could be created by parents wanting to erase undesirable traits from their children.

Experts say it is ‘repugnant’ to think about terminating embryos because they are expected to have lower than average intelligence.

And further down:

Campaigners against screening for Down’s syndrome already argue an inclusive society should not be trying to erase people with disabilities.

Lynn Murray, spokesperson for Don’t Screen Us Out, told the New Scientist: ‘If we consider inclusion and diversity to be a measure of societal progress, then IQ screening proposals are unethical. There must be wide consultation.’

Sorry Ms. Murray, but I reject your underlying assumption that societal progress is measured by inclusion and diversity.

IQ-Bell-Curve

I guess this is supposed to be some kind of ethical dilemma but I’m really not seeing it.  What parent wouldn’t want their children to have every possible advantage in life to succeed?  Nobody is saying that we want to kill off mentally challenged people.  This isn’t even abortion.  It’s pre-selecting the best embryos that have the lowest risk for mental retardation.  Period.

People often times place some kind of ethical or moral superiority on something just because it is a tough situation.  Poverty, for example.  Being poor is not a virtue.  Being rich does not make you inherently evil.  The same goes with something like this.  I have all the admiration in the world for parents who have mentally challenged children.  It surely must be one of the most difficult jobs in the world.  But that doesn’t mean that you’re doing something inherently virtuous if you had the ability to greatly lower the risk of mental retardation and chose not to.  That is not virtuous in any way.

If anything, one could look at it as a selfish act.  Like it or not the reality is mentally challenged individuals are a huge financial burden not only to the family but also on society.  One that we wholeheartedly support for those now.  But couldn’t one make a moral argument to try and weed out mental retardation both for the family and also to society at large?  Going further, might it not be what’s best for the individual and the nation to have the best and brightest constituency possible?  Or at the very least one that tries to raise the lowest levels of IQ in the nation?  Read The Bell Curve, probably the best (and most easily readable) book on the topic of IQ in American society.  IQ is the best predictor we have for success.

It doesn’t seem that unrealistic to think it may be a necessary requirement just to keep up with other countries.  It’s not a stretch to think that China could one day require IVF for all births, with each embryo being selected for the highest intelligence, athleticism, or whatever trait they’re looking for possible.  Think Gattaca.  Over time that would make a mighty formidable Chinese population.  One that would have a distinct advantage over other nations that did not do this.  It’s an interesting thought experiment at least.

CRISPR could edit out autism trait

Researchers have successfully used CRISPR on mice to edit the gene that causes autism.  Via The Telegraph:

The technique, which was performed on mice, could also be developed to treat conditions ranging from opioid addiction and neuropathic pain to schizophrenia and epileptic seizures.

Scientists injected gold nanoparticles covered in a “forest” of DNA chains to alter the the genetic code of mouse models with a form of autism called fragile X syndrome (FXS).

The technique, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, resulted in in a 30 per cent drop in repetitive digging, and a 70 reduction in leaping, both indicative of autistic behaviour.

There are so many variables with this and who knows how many potential side effects.  But, it is inevitable that gene editing via approaches such as CRISPR are the future.  It is perhaps the only reasonable argument I’ve heard about the merits of universal healthcare given our current climate and makeup.  Picture the Chinese requiring CRISPR on all potential births to increase intelligence, for example.  It would be imperative for us to keep up, lest we get blown away by a generation of crazy high IQ Chinese.  Interesting thought anyway.  I highly recommend this talk from Stefan Molyneux and Dr Stephen Hsu.

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