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Unnatural Selection, six years on...

Sunday,  12/28/08  09:03 PM

In preparation for starting a new year I've changed the navbar at right to have six years' worth of "on this date" links; I began blogging on January 1, 2003.  And doing so reminds me of six years ago, December 2002, when I had decided to write a book called Unnatural Selection, and as a sort of corollary, to start this blog.

At that time I was on fire to communicate and discuss the problems caused by the Earth's human population becoming less intelligent, because birth rates are higher among less intelligent people.  I still believe this is a problem - more so than ever - and still think educating people about this problem and talking about what can be done is important.  That is, I still want to write the book.  I don't know why I haven't [yet]; lack of time is my excuse, but I'm not sure that's the entire reason.  At times in the intervening six years I've thought about how best to approach communicating the problem; my original idea was a nonfiction book that would simply discuss the problem and talk about possible solutions, following the general outline I devised in early 2003.  But I've also thought perhaps it might work better as a novel, illustrating the ideas in a more entertaining fashion.  Not sure.

Interestingly, to some extent my blog has become my book; the book's outline has been the top hit on Google for "Unnatural Selection" for nearly six years.  And of course the blog has taken on a life of its own, far removed from the book :)

I think one of the obstacles to working on the book was that I understood the problem better than the solutions.  Although knowledge of the problem is useful in and of itself, and communicating the problem would hopefully stimulate discussion that might yield solutions, I really wanted to have a more constructive approach.  Fortunately in the intervening six years I've had a potentially useful insight that could lead to some solutions.

In the book outline I identified three factors that affect relative birth rates: 1) choice, 2) generation length, and 3) death rates.  I went on to note that "All solutions must affect choice, the first part of the equation which yields the overall reproductive rate. It is not feasible to affect generation length nor death rates."  But on further reflection this isn't really true; there are solutions which affect generation length.  In particular, it might be possible to delay child bearing among less intelligent people, which would have the same effect as reducing the number of children they have overall.  And this might be a lot more politically feasible.  For example, governments could offer some kind of financial incentive.  Granted, in many situations people have children without prior planning, but an incentive could foster some change in the generation length, as well as potentially influencing the "family values" affecting choice, which can be institutionalized from government incentives.

Anyway I am entering 2009 with a firm resolve to spend some time working on the book.  I don't know how much time I'll actually have free, nor how much time writing the book is going to require, but making steady progress is my goal.  Stay tuned!

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