Brave New World

Since I just found out  that someone already wrote the story about Sauron as the doomed hero leading an abortive Industrial Revolution,  was thinking about a different fantasy world: one in which the environmentalists were correct.  One where interventions work & have lasting, significant, results. Head Start equalizes. Guys, after a hitch in the Job Corps,  are far more employable then they were before.  Pre-K materially improves outcomes, even without p-hacking ( which is hardly necessary, since the world works the way that social psychologists wish it did).  Adopted kids, exposed to the same family environment, are just like the true-blood children, not especially likely to be screwed up.

MZ twins don’t even look like each other.

Race does not exist.  Well, people look a little different, but given similar environments, they have the same chance of winning the 100-meter dash, or becoming first-rate mathematicians.

Teenage girls are just as likely to wrap their jalopy around a telephone pole as their boyfriends – at least, that became true when we modernized childcare.

Going to elite schools actually makes you smarter – and the negatives are less than here, because over there the crap that they push is true.

Left-wing behavioral geneticists are working fast food,  since their subject does not exist, but at least they’re happy.

The Soviet Union, which still exists, exports massive quantities of Arctic  wheat.

You can train a basset hound to act just like a Chihuahua.

Gaps faded away: they just had to.

Given a chance, along with some DDT and chloroquine, Africans start exporting scads of high-end cars and machine tools, while winning Nobels and proving the ERH.  Not only that: places like Indonesia and Pakistan and Nigeria are great powers, perfectly capable of  inventing and building new superweapons, perfecting armored warfare, and coming up with – and implementing – demented ideologies that  devastate whole continents. Africa and South America are wracked by industrialized total war.   Poison gas, not machetes ! Brazil is the country of the present – and always will be.

Of course, you have to be real careful raising toddlers, because even looking at them sideways can leave them psychologically crippled. The right kind of toilet training is crucial.  Detached moms can inflict autism without hardly trying: overprotective moms can turn any boy gay.  Although that’s also, at the same time,  entirely genetic, unlike anything else.

And considering how awful the results of bad early environments can be, it’s a wonder  how the children of the Depression ever managed to do more than chip flint.




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111 Responses to Brave New World

  1. jbbigf says:

    An illuminating exercise. Because, if environmentalism were correct, then all that would be necessary, is to get it right one time. After that, it would just stay right forever, since everyone’s environment would be optimal. So, when you consider the stakes, it’s worth almost any sacrifice to achieve that single perfect generation, right? And anyone who doesn’t want to be part of The Solution, is part of The Problem!

    • David Chamberlin says:

      I like environmentalism. WTF is wrong with it. Someone educate me. The world is overcrowded with humans and we are fucking things up. Sure they sometimes sell simplistic bullshit, it’s a stupid world, if you explain things as complex as they are, nobody listens. A+ to Cochran on the rest of his sarcasm, I wish him a greater platform to correct the dumbshits, but like I said, it’s a stupid world.

      • reiner Tor says:

        I hate environmental explanations, because if they were true, it’d be so much easier to screw up your children.

        My childrearing is so much more relaxed than many other parents because I know I cannot screw my daughter up that easily. I’d hate it if I had to be so super-careful about what I do or tell her.

        • ghazisiz says:

          That seemed to be the motivation for Judith Rich Harris to write “The Nurture Assumption”: she was disturbed at the blaming of mothers for the outcomes of their children, and the anxiety that was generating in many women. The lesson from the twin studies is that, within the normal ranges of middle class family environments, you can’t screw up your kids.

        • Deter Naturalist says:

          Hmm. Given that embracing a lot of behavioral insanity that’s popular today could be A. extremely harmful (e.g., forcing a child into the transgender track) or B. regularly harmful (e.g., encouraging your 14-year-old kids to have both-sex sleepovers), I have difficulty embracing the parents-have-no-meaningful-effect position. Maybe it’s true when collective insanity isn’t quite so fashionable.

          • gcochran9 says:

            I don’t think that parental actions made those kids crazy, but embracing a particular insane kind of ‘therapy’ has to be bad for the kids. { worse than phlebotomy? } . It’s not very common, as yet – remember parental uninfluence is a statistical generalization.

      • @ David Chamberlin. Different meanings of environmentalism. I was confused for a bit as well, as Greg had never weighed in on climate change, ZPG, or green power before, and I wondered how they had gotten into this story. He means environmental explanations for human behavior.

        As to overcrowding, I always consider that a technological question for any region and for the world as a whole. Indoor plumbing and waste treatment allows a higher population density than dirt scrapes a few yards outside the village. Population of any species tends to grow to survival level, not comfort level, for any set of resources. Therefore, most places will have lots of survival-level people until their technology far outpaces that. Good book on that:

        • David Chamberlin says:

          thanks, that makes sense

        • Zeinish says:

          Greg had never weighed in on climate change, ZPG, or green power before,

          For good reason. Mr.Cochran does not want to find out how many of his rational, skeptic, independent thinking readers believe that climate change is Chinese hoax and forest fire cannot melt steel beams.

      • Frau Katze says:

        The term “environmentalist” is vague. I don’t think Greg means that the world isn’t overpopulated and there aren’t any environmental problems.

        I think he is referring to the nature vs nurture debate. It’s still widely held that the way you bring up your children determines 100% of how they turn out as adults, ie, environment matters 100%.

        I see all the time.

  2. Peter Connor says:

    Ghana and Equatorial Guinea combine to land the first woman on the sun…protected by a forcefield designed by LesothoTech students.

  3. TWS says:

    Speaking of raising children, do you think the Chinese crispr babies are probable? If so, what’s the end game, IQ, no errors, docility (sp?)?

  4. ThisCannotBeTheFuture says:

    Schizophrenia and autism are caused by rearing from cold parents.

    The Dutch are taller than pygmies because they eat w protein rich western diet.

    MZ twins are somewhat similar because people treat them the same way.

    With enough grit anyone can get into MIT.

    • Engenheiro Estrutural. says:

      “With enough grit”

      Didn’t understand that, everyone is born with the same grit, if your parents encourage you, your grit increases(stimulation), and if they discourage you, your grit increases(training and overcoming).

      • reiner Tor says:

        Maybe it’s not just your parents, it could be Society instead. So like black parents could be super nice and encouraging, but once you look discouragingly at a black child somewhere from the other side of the street, and so you ruin the whole thing and he gets discouraged.

  5. Emilia says:

    Regarding adoption, I think adopted children do benefit from a (generally) better environment than they would have experienced staying with their biological parent(s), even if I do not think the adoption completely mitigates any negative genetic or prenatal (like exposure to alcohol in utero) effects. A study on this was done in New Zealand comparing adopted children, children in biological two-parent families, and children of single mothers.

    Click to access 0058137.pdf

    • István Nagy says:

      “Linda Gildea (1992 ) contacted families of transnationally adopted Koreans through an overseas adoption agency serving the New England area. The participating sample is 31 white American families with 43 adopted Korean children, ages 8-12. The average age of the children was 10.5 years old. They were all adopted between 1976-1980, and the data was collected from about mid 1989 to mid 1990. The average age of adoptive placement was 7 months; 74% were placed before 9 months and 94% were placed before two years. 83% of the children were girls. 74% of the fathers and 68% of the mothers were college graduates. 81% of the fathers and 55% of the mothers were professionals. Most were dual income households. Their median income was $50,000. (This is similar to the socioeconomic profile of parents in other adoption studies (pp. 116-117)).
      These elementary school children were tested with the California Achievement Test (reading and mathematics) and the Wechlser Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised. They performed much better than average on these tests (p. 94). The average child scored at the 79th percentile on CAT reading, and at the 77th percentile on CAT mathematics. The table with the Wechsler IQ scores (p. 96) is reproduced below.
      The Wechsler norms used for the raw score conversion were from 1974, so 5 points should be deducted from the full-scale IQ of 122 (!!) to account for 16 years of norm inflation. This leaves us with a not much less intimidating average IQ of 117 for 43 transracially adopted Korean children.”

    • bomag says:

      I think adopted children do benefit from a (generally) better environment than they would have experienced staying with their biological parent(s), even if I do not think the adoption completely mitigates any negative genetic… effects

      Yes, better trained soldiers do better in combat.

      But public policy today has been completely triangulated out of considering any genetic antecedent to life outcomes; and now our tastemakers blather on about how all life outcomes are possible for any particular person with enough training and guidance.

      The debate should be how much is nurture; how much is nature. Instead, it is the 100% nurture side shouting down those who want a debate.

      • Emilia says:

        I don’t think the Fergusson study shows a 100% nurture scenario. Rather, he seems to say that adoptees’ outcomes depend on a mixture of “nature” and “nurture” (note: the only question I have with “nature” is that many think nature=genetics, even though prenatal factors like exposure to alcohol or tobacco might play a role – just look at the kids adopted from the former Soviet Union).

    • reinertor says:

      At age 16 the environmental effect is probably still larger than at age 20.

      • reinertor says:

        I meant to write: parental/family environmental effect.

        • Emilia says:

          I do not know of any follow-up study to Fergusson’s work. However, he seems to say that both family environment and genetics/prenatal environment(?) have an effect on adopted children. One question he didn’t address is whether the single mothers and birth mothers in his study drank alcohol; that might have had an impact on the children’s development. I suspect alcohol consumption or lack of it is a big factor in why Chinese adoptees today appear much-better adjusted than those from the former Soviet Union. It is ironic, because perhaps some (White) parents of Eastern European adopted children decided to adopt them because they thought that being of the same race as their adoptive parents, they would have an easier time in the West than non-White children like Chinese and Koreans.

    • Frau Katze says:

      It could also be that a young woman who likely sadly decides adoption would give her baby a better life is also a more responsible and unselfish person.

      • Emilia says:

        While I shy away from using words like “responsible” and “unselfish,” I think in some situations it’s better for everyone if a baby is adopted rather than raised by his or her biological parents, say in cases where the mother is a teenager (or even younger), an alcoholic or drug addict who can’t even take care of herself, or even a woman, of any age, who doesn’t want children but doesn’t feel comfortable having an abortion.

  6. Coagulopath says:

    Of course, you have to be real careful raising toddlers, because even looking at them sideways can leave them psychologically crippled.

  7. lhtness says:

    Does the theory extend far enough to say that Chimps can be raised such that they excel at MIT?

  8. Weltanschauung says:

    After a short stay in the psych ward, people come out cured.

  9. Yes, yes, we get it Greg, the genetics deniers are fools. There are other factors as well as genes out there though, otherwise genes wouldnt have to build bodies at all, or have anything to build them with.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      I think his point is that, if the world actually worked the way Blank Slaters think it does, it would be a nightmare – or perhaps one should say, a bigger nightmare.

    • Zeinish says:

      They are fools, but they are in charge and you are not.
      This post is nothing than cheap mocking of enemy who won totally and decisively, who crushed you like bug is crushed on the windshield of car.
      If you were reading some communist blog and saw 10,000th posting how capitalism sucks, what would you answer? “Of course capitalism sucks. We all here are comrades, we all are communists, we all know that capitalism is shit, this is why we are there. The question is: what we can do with it?”

    • Jacob says:

      One detail that gets lost in the nature-nurture “debate” is the evolutionary and physiological consequence of a gene, or genes. Everything an organism can possibly do is predicated, at least in part, by its genetics. Otherwise, it could not have inherited the ability to do it.

  10. There were at least two (three?) books with Sauron/”darks” being good guys.
    Which one do you mean?
    The last rihgbearer?
    The black book of Arda series?
    Кольцо тьмы (the ring of the darkness) — doesn’t yet exist in English

  11. Maciano says:

    “Without American interventions Islamic terrorism wouldn’t exist”

    • Sultan Bigwheel says:

      Good one. Here’s a similar one stupid people believe: “The reason there’s no Islamic terrorism in Japan is because Japan doesn’t intervene in the Middle East.”

      • Jim says:

        Do you think that it would be a good policy for Japan to intervene militarily in the Middle East? Would Japan benefit for example by becoming involved in the Saudi-Yemeni conflict or the Syrian civil war?

        • reinertor says:

          No, I don’t think Sultan thinks that, but it’s still stupid to believe that Japan has no Islamic terrorism due to no intervention in the ME, instead of due to no Muslim immigrants.

          • Jim says:

            Certainly idiotic interventions in the Middle East combined with allowing massive Muslim immigration into the US is doubly stupid. 9-11 was the joint consequence of both stupidities.

          • Sultan Bigwheel says:

            Right, as badly as they would like to revenge the martyred sailors of that Ottoman frigate that sunk on its way home from a goodwill journey to Japan in 1863 (accused improbably by Japanese officials at the time of having drifted into a reef), prospective Muslim terrorists are either too poor or too dumb to think of buying a one way ticket to Japan, a souvenir katana, and a trip to Tokyo Station at rush hour.

            • Sultan Bigwheel says:

              Actually it’s not impossible that prospective Muslim terrorists really are too poor or too dumb to think of that. I hope I haven’t given them any ideas.

              It’s harder to pull off the sarcastic know-it-all shtick that Cochran makes seem easy. You can look really bad if you’re ever wrong.

      • X says:

        No, don’t be silly! It’s because Muslims like anime so much (even if they won’t admit it in public) that they don’t want to kill any potential future anime creators! 😉 /s

      • JerryC says:

        Would be more accurate to say that Japan doesn’t have a big problem with Muslim terrorism because Japan has very few Muslims.

  12. RCB says:

    Reminds me of a classic post from a few years ago: What if all populations had the same mean IQ?

    • X says:

      That post is very interesting, but the avg IQ for all groups in the scenario in that post should be 110 rather than 100. After all, if no ethnic differences in avg IQ are due to genetics, then all human groups’ full IQ potential should be the U.S. Ashkenazi Jewish avg IQ rather than the U.S. White Gentile avg IQ.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wages would be really similar, programmers would make as much as office clerks since similar supply would be available for both labors.
    Professional athletes and geniuses would be spread much more evenly across the population and
    ironically you could actually convince people that hereditarianism is true (given the right environment) since their belief in it would not depend on their genes.

  14. CriticalThought says:

    Race does not exist. Well, people look a little different, but given similar environments, they have the same chance of winning the 100-meter dash, or becoming first-rate mathematicians.

    I’m reminded of Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven, whose protagonist finds that his lucid dreams become reality. He dreams of a world where race does not exist and awakens to a world where everyone is gray, and his girlfriend is absent. Being Black was so central to her identity she could not exist in a world without race.

  15. egregious philbin says:

    after we equalize all environments, the only reason people will differ will be due to genetics :-0

  16. Glengarry says:

    This makes me think of Arthur C Clarke for some reason. So don’t forget that all humans not interfered with by society are natural and relaxed bisexuals.

  17. Space Ghost says:

    The Irish keep drinking, not because they still lack certain ADH SNPs but because centuries of oppression by the English still happened

  18. X says:

    In this scenario, I would presume that a high emphasis is placed on getting extremely high-IQ caretakers and tutors for one’s children, correct? After all, in this scenario, this could make the difference between them having a low IQ and having an Einstein-level IQ, no?

  19. Zeinish says:

    Let us contemplate another hypothetical scenario.

    Imagine that all powers that be of the world, all movers and shakers from Trump to Putin, from May to Merkel, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, from Forbes 100 to Time 100, suddenly became enlightened and accepted HBD-IQ hereditarianism as 100% scientific truth.

    What would happen? What would change in the world, and would you like it?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Depends on motives.

      • Zeinish says:

        Assuming only the facts change, values stay the same.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I know what I’d do, but I’m not confident that I understand where a lot of the Fools at the Top are coming from.

        • Chomsky was quite explicit that facts about B-W intellectual comparison don’t matter; we should do what we should.
          I am quite sure sizable fraction of elites are aware of HBD; after all, electronic giants are outsourcing production to SEA not Africa.

          Soros helps flooding Europe with refugees — make me please believe he thinks it’s good and expects to find new Ramanujans; he simply enjoys it.

          Even if you know some eugenics program gives good results — they would be fully available only after ~25 years (geniuses aren’t useful when they are babies), but expenses of running eugenics program are immediate, and the politicians want to be reelected now.

          • Unladen Swallow says:

            What fraction would you say actually believe that genes matter? I don’t think it is a very high percentage, you would see more people in the establishment dissenting from blank slate views if it was “sizable”.

            Offshoring to Asia instead of Africa doesn’t require honesty about biology, people don’t think that deeply usually. Quite a few liberals still seem to think South Africa should be an economic power once their educational system is “fixed”.

            • dearieme says:

              Isn’t there a tape of Nixon discussing in private the problems with blacks and arguing that it would be cruel and probably pointless to be frank about it in public?

    • That’s a good one. I imagine they’d first pretend nothing has changed. But tone would gradually change, instead of fighting for social justice/income equality the spiel would be social harmony/decent living standard for all. After a while, universities would lose funding, and remaining funds shifted to hard sciences, we’d find another word for positive eugenics and then start doing it. Immigration would be tightened and merit based. We’d lock people up not to fix’em but to keep them away from the rest of us until they have aged and mellowed. Overall I guess we’d run things more like the Chinese, which isn’t terrible.

      A more pessimistic take is we’d all be killing each other in WW3, trying to stop the “yellow peril” before its too late.

  20. Oops looks like I can’t insert a comment about some mid-20th century US president and some other. Is that a some filter, or Greg keeps deleting it?

  21. Little spoon says:

    I missed the thread on truths known to but a few. But I’ll add one more rather silly one:

    Media says that Kylie Jenner’s daughter’s father is Travis Scott, a black entertainer. I find this amazing. How?!!! Look hardly anyone is paying attention to adoption studies and correlated outcomes. But the whole worlds eyes are constantly on Kylie Jenner, the “self made” billionaire teen mom. And with all that media attention, there is barely a whisper about the clear and obvious fact that Travis Scott cannot possibly be stormi’s biological father. The kid looks like she’s unlikely to even be half black at all. If the American public can believe Travis fathered stormi while ogglying every detail of Kylie’s social media photos, I am convinced they can be easily led to believe almost anything.

    • Zeinish says:

      I had to check on wikipedia who are all these people you named, shall I be ashamed or proud?

      • Zeinish says:

        I missed the thread on truths known to but a few

        You missed nothing. Just lame jokes, boring UFO/paranormal bullshit and oodles of other ignorance.
        There were, for example, some people, who certainly thought they are “woke” who whined about modern art and blamed communism.

        Everyone who is only minimally sentient knows that modern abstract art is the greatest work of CIA. The truth is out there, declassified long ago.

        View at

        The greatest victory of the Cold War, the finest hour, when CAPITALISM

        won over COMMUNISM.

        Be proud.

  22. J says:

    We need a Miguel de Cervantes to develop Greg’s proposition. In Spain XVI century, there was a craze for chivalry books, and people acted and spoke like horseback caballeros. Cervantes, while bored in prison, wrote a book of a good man who believes in chivalry so much that takes up a lance and goes out into the world to implement its ideals. Thanks to Don Quixote, everybody realized that chivalry taken to the extreme was ridiculous and absurd and it stopped for good.

    A contemporary Cervantes could describe an Environmental Warrior who goes out to find environmental evildoers, systemic racists, malign microaggressors and other demons that afflict our society, etc. and defy and combat them, getting himself involved in hilarious, absurd situations.

    Laugh is the best remedy (for stupidity), quote Reader’s Digest.

  23. Steven Wilson says:

    There is an Orson Scott Card novel in which items become more refined through use. The title escapes me and I never read it only heard about it. Slap some boards together, call it a table, pay people to use and ultimately it achieves the quality of Chippendale. I call all of these Jake Barnes’ moments from the conclusion of “The Sun Also Rises” when Jake says to Lady Brett “Yes, isn’t pretty to think so.” I guess I shorten it to “That’s JB”.

  24. Lennart Edenpalm says:

    Totally unrelated.
    I would like to hear Greg´s views and opinions on “military–industrial complex”. Which is supposed to be an alliance between a nation’s military and the defense industry that supplies it.

    In the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (a five star general) on January 17, 1961 warned about this.

    In 2011, the United States spent more (in absolute numbers) on its military than the next 13 nations combined.

  25. Weltanschauung says:

    For a memorable statement of the environmentalist view, see “Israfel” by Edgar Allan Poe, which concludes:

    If I could dwell
    Where Israfel
    Hath dwelt, and he where I,
    He might not sing so wildly well
    A mortal melody,
    While a bolder note than this might swell
    From my lyre within the sky.

  26. Tanturn says:

    You can do the same thought experiment for other belief systems. Suppose, for instance, the “ethnic genetic interests” people were right. People would be naturally averse to mixing across group lines. You’d have a lot more ethnic groups in every given country, in France you’d have groups descended from the Gauls, Romans, Franks, Vikings, and even the group the Gauls conquered. Countries would thus be more unstable, though on the other hand it would be easier to quash secessionist movements by appealing to common ethnic origins, when they exist. Spain would still have its American colonies. Royal intermarriage would not exist.

    Or you could ask yourselves what the world would look like if the Tradcucks were right about how women are the more “monogamous” and “traditional” sex. Men would be the gender initiating most of the divorces. They’d still have the reputation as the gender most resistant to getting married, but they’d actually stay unmarried, the number of men over age 40 who have never married would have actually gone up over the past 20 years. “Go to church” would be among the most common advice given to single men and along with exaggerating their height and income, men would exaggerate how Trad they are. Never would it occur to them to try to exaggerate past sexual experience, instead they’d try to hide it.

    • gcochran9 says:

      If there were built-in feelings about ‘ethnic genetic interests”, you’d have had Amerindian solidarity against Europeans. You wouldn’t have had half the Greeks helping the Persians. France would never have allied with the Ottoman empire. Etc.

      Women are the more monogamous sex, of course.

  27. Pingback: What If… – Motus Mentis

  28. Deter Naturalist says:

    Sorry for late question: Is there a handy study that well-supports the notion that adoptees are “especially likely to be screwed up?” I find this intriguing, given my own conflicted views of adoption and being an adoptee.

    • gcochran9 says:

      “Comprehensive reviews in the 1990s, for example, found that adoptees manifested more attachment-related problems, school-related behavioral issues, lower academic achievement, a greater likelihood to run away from home, and less desire to go to college than non-adoptees. Another study showed that between 5 and 17 percent of adopted adolescents received counseling and/or spent time in mental health clinics and residential care facilities, about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the rate for their non-adopted peers. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 9 percent of adoptees and 4 percent of non-adoptees have been diagnosed with depression; 26 percent of adoptees and 10 percent of non-adoptees with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; 15 percent of adoptees and 4 percent of non-adoptees with behavior and conduct problems; and 14 percent of adoptees and 9 percent of non-adoptees with social behavior problems.”

      I would guess that these negative trends are entirely driven by genetics.

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