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.

Fix your posture

Bad posture can be the result of bad habits (texting, for example) or just as readily from a poor mindset.  The kicker is that regardless of where it began, one can propagate the other.

The effects of bad posture run deeper than just poor aesthetics.  It was shown from a study in 2010 that men who stand in a collapsed position for 2 minutes had a decrease in testosterone and increase in cortisol, compared to a “power posture” which had the opposite effect of increased testosterone and decreased cortisol levels (Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science, 21(10), 1363–1368).  This also implies you can have a “fake it til you make it” attitude towards fixing or improving your posture.  Consciously working on fixing it will have the benefits heretofore mentioned.

People look at you differently when you walk tall versus walk hunched over and closed in.  You give off a different aura.  And there really is a positive feedback loop between good posture and confidence.  Mike Cernovich talks about this at length in his fantastic book Gorilla Mindset, using the example of a gorilla for his purpose.  Your mood most certainly changes for the better as you improve your posture, and the way you carry yourself has great importance.

It’s not necessary to know the minutiae of every biological process to benefit from it.  The takeaway is bad posture looks terrible, induces bad biological processes, and projects weakness.  Good posture literally improves your health, on top of looking more aesthetically pleasing and projecting confidence and strength.  Check out the video above for a few short exercises that work your C5-C8 vertebral bodies to improve the poor posture many people are developing from hunching over from texting.

Teenage boys in England to be vaccinated for HPV

The vaccine will now be offered to 12-13 year old boys too.  Via The Guardian:

Boys aged 12 and 13 in England are to be vaccinated against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV), the government has said.

The decision, announced on Tuesday, comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended last week that the HPV vaccination, which protects girls against cervical cancer, should be extended to boys. It followed growing calls for the inoculation programme to be expanded.

HPV has emerged as the leading cause of throat cancers and is linked to 5% of all cancers worldwide, including some that affect only men.

And a bit further down:

Girls are offered the vaccine from the age of 12 or 13, although there is an opportunity to be given the vaccine up to the age of 18. A vaccination programme was recently introduced for men who have sex with other men.

Dr Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisations at Public Health England, said: “Almost all women under 25 have had the HPV vaccine and we’re confident that we will see a similarly high uptake in boys.

I’m not anti-vaccination by any means but I have a hard time with this.  We probably over vaccinate in general, and a lot of the long term consequences are either unknown or deliberately buried.  Is it really worth the unknowns of doing this long term?  I was reminded of a post by Vox Day highlighting an article of how declining birth rates are tied to women who have taken the HPV vaccination.  Given that this has been standard practice in England for girls since 2008-2009 it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on fertility rates there over the next generation to see if they continue to decline.  This could be one of many contributing factors.

TFREnglandAndWales

There are reasonable and pragmatic vaccinations and ones that are just overkill.  These days people freak out if you show any skepticism of vaccines.  It’s not that black and white.  Yes, some are vitally important and necessary.  Why some people cannot see that some may be overkill and/or more harm than good is beyond me.  For one of the least prevalent and least deadly types of cancer it’s at least worth speculating whether the prevention has worse long term consequences than having done nothing at all.  But hey, we all need to do our part to help out big pharma, amirite?

Show restraint with respect to imbibing alcohol

I have a hard time believing this is true, but according to a new study that is out as reported by the Daily Mail drinking four drinks in one session could permanently alter your sleep genes.  From the article:

For the study, the scientists exposed mice to levels of binge drinking seen in humans, using 200 proof ethyl alcohol, diluted to 20 percent in tap water.

In the following four hours, the mice experienced a significant increase in non-rapid eye movement sleep, or a dreamless sleep.

However, during periods when the lab rodents should have been asleep, they were awake.

The animals showed neither an increase in adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep, nor the urge to sleep.

The team discovered that binge drinking reduced the expression of the gene that controls sleep, known as ENT1.

Gene expression is the process by which the information contained within a gene becomes a useful product, meaning that the gene that controls sleep had become less effective following alcohol consumption.

‘What we have shown is a particular gene – which is very important for sleep regulation – is altered by just one session of binge drinking.’

He said: ‘We were not expecting this. We thought it would be affected after multiple sessions of binge drinking, not one.

‘That tells you that as soon as you consume four drinks, it can alter your genes.’

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or above.

Regardless if it’s true for one binge session or not, really anything over 3 drinks in a session is probably not ideal to do on a regular basis, if ever.  My quality sleep suffers with anything over 3.  As men of the West we have to take care of ourselves.  Exercise, diet, and quality sleep are three non-negotiable items if we’re to defend and preserve the West.