I noticed an article in Slate (Practice Does Not Make Perfect), which made the perfectly sound point that people vary in their abilities, genes have a lot to do with it, and Malcolm Gladwell can’t help being a pinhead. He was probably born that way.
Of course, the authors cover their hairy asses by saying we don’t know that between-group differences in IQ or whatever are caused by genes. We just happen to live in a world that looks exactly the same as one in which that happened to be the case. Technically, I think that this is called a modified limited hangout.
But what about the future? One generally assumes that space colonists, assuming that there ever are any, will be picked individuals, somewhat like existing astronauts – the best out of hordes of applicants. They’ll be smarter than average, healthier than average, saner than average – and not by just a little.
Since all these traits are significantly heritable, some highly so, we have to expect that their descendants will be different – different above the neck. They’d likely be, on average, smarter than any existing ethnic group. If a Lunar colony really took off, early colonists might account for a disproportionate fraction of the population (just as Puritans do in the US), and the Loonies might continue to have inordinate amounts of the right stuff indefinitely. They’d notice: we’d notice. We’d worry about the Lunar Peril. They’d sneer at deluded groundlings, and talk about the menace from Earth.
Fantastic, winning-Powerball-with-a-ticket-you-found-in-an-Arab-privy luck has ensured that all existing human populations have the same average IQ (and the same standard deviation!) but there’s no guarantee that our luck will hold as we settle the Moon, and Mars, and the stars beyond. We will have to make it so: enforce the principle of mediocrity.
We will need to make sure that every such colony has its fair share of morons.