Dysgenics (also known as cacogenics ) is the study of factors producing the accumulation and perpetuation of defective or disadvantageous genes and traits in offspring of a particular population or species.
The adjective "dysgenic" is the antonym of "eugenic". It was first used c. 1915 by David Starr Jordan, describing the dysgenic effect of World War I. Jordan believed that healthy men were as likely to die in modern warfare as anyone else, and that war killed only the physically healthy men of the populace whilst preserving the disabled at home, who were then more likely to pass on their genes.
In the context of human genetics, a dysgenic effect is the projected or observed tendency of a reduction in selection pressures and decreased infant mortality since the Industrial Revolution resulting in the increased propagation of deleterious traits and genetic disorders. Richard Lynn in his Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (1996) identified three main concerns, deterioration in health, in intelligence and in conscientiousness.
In animal experiments like the "mouse utopia", the elimination of selection pressures seems to cause a slow decline in vigor and reproduction, and behaviors that can seem autistic or narcissistic, sometimes followed by a dramatic population crash. It has been argued this is now happening in the Western world and parts of east Asia, and to a lesser extent elsewhere.
Human genetic qualities may also be adversely affected by the widespread but uneven use of birth control, which in particular causes women of higher intelligence and conscientiousness to have fewer children. This may weaken ethnic groups where these traits were formerly selected for, but which may now be vulnerable to population replacement from immigrants with higher birth rates.
Dysgenics are important in the study of human biodiversity as a possible explanation for the measured differences in many attributes between human racial groups, such as intelligence and many other types of robustness. It has been argued that combining traits from different populations that have never previously co-evolved may also be dysgenic.
Politically, such talk is considered problematic by both left-wing opinion leaders and mainstream conservatives. For this reason and others, the latter have increasingly been derided as cuckservatives by their alt-right opponents, who have enthusiastically promoted dysgenic research results in online forums like Jim's Blog, Steve Sailer's blogs, and Chateau Heartiste.
Rui Nunes wrote that dysgenics is the selection of genetic traits that are "commonly accepted as a disabling condition," and like eugenics, dysgenics can be positively selected or negatively selected. Nunes defined positive dysgenics as a selection that increases the number of individuals with dysgenic traits, while negative dysgenics is the discarding of genetics that cause disability. In the Western world, insurance companies are required by law to fund vastly expensive medical treatments to keep alive infants who would otherwise have died of their genetic disabilities. Some of them may survive long enough to pass on these genes to the next generation. By making health insurance less affordable, such practices may also make healthy people less likely to have children and pass on their genes.
Fertility and intelligence
Lynn argued that natural selection in pre-industrial societies, particularly in the complex conditions and harsher climates found in Europe and eastern Asia, favored traits such as intelligence and character, but this is no longer the case in modern societies. The hypothesized dysgenic decline in human intelligence is traced to a change in the distribution in fertility and intelligence by Woodley (2015).
Lynn (1996) has received both favourable and unfavourablereviews, the latter mostly from culturally or politically left-wing academics active in the social sciences and the humanities.
Lynn and Harvey (2008) suggest that designer babies may have an important counter-acting effect in the future. Initially this may be limited to wealthy couples, who may possibly travel abroad for the procedure if prohibited in their own country, and then gradually spread to increasingly larger groups. Alternatively, authoritarian states might decide to impose measures such as a licensing requirement for having a child, which would only be given to persons of a certain minimum intelligence. The Chinese one-child policy was an example of how fertility can be regulated by authoritarian means. Geoffrey Miller claims the one-child policy was implemented to reduce China's population explosion, and "to reduce dysgenic fertility among rural peasants." However, the one-child policy has made longstanding exceptions for rural families so that those families could have 2 children. Dysgenic effects might lower the ability of society to invent and develop such techniques, however.
Cyril M. Kornbluth's 1951 short story The Marching Morons is an example of dysgenic fiction, describing a man who accidentally ends up in the distant future and discovers that dysgenics has resulted in mass stupidity. Mike Judge's 2006 film Idiocracy has the same premise, with the main character the subject of a military hibernation experiment that goes awry, taking him 500 years into the future. While in the Kornbluth short story, civilization is kept afloat by a small group of dedicated geniuses, their function has been replaced by automated systems in Idiocracy.
- "cacogenics". Freedictionary.com. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
Cacogenics, the study of the operation of factors that cause degeneration in offspring, especially as applied to factors unique to separate races. Also called dysgenics.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Oxford English Dictionary
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- Dysgenics: Genetic deterioration in modern populations: by Richard Lynn. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996, 238 pp. $59.95., Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, Volume 21, Issue 3, 1998, Pages 343-345, ISSN 1061-7361, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1061-7361(98)80008-8 "This could be one of the most important books written in the last fifty years. "
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Lynn's distortions and misrepresentations of the data constitute a truly venomous racism, combined with scandalous disregard for scientific objectivity.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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- Dysgenics online ebook.