Re: When it rains it pours(GE rich children for high intelligence)

From: John Grigg (
Date: Wed Dec 12 2001 - 22:16:10 MST

I have finally gotten to this post by Eliezer. I just had to get this response out! lol

Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
As I pointed out to Eliezer offlist, once you have applications
that allow the administration of brain cells into the brain and
once we understand the qualities of brain cells that serve to
increase intelligence (presumably intelligence genotyping is
ongoing as I type) then adding genes (or a chromosome) to
an embryonic stem cell for increased intelligence, producing
millions or billions of them and augmenting your brain isn't
going to be far behind. It is likely to raise some thorny
ethical issues because its likely to be a pretty expensive
therapy initially -- one which would serve to increase the
divide between rich and poor.

Eliezer wrote:
Leaving aside the pre-Singularity/FDA issues (i.e: no way), let's not
forget that this alleged divide between rich and poor is primarily a
Luddite memetic plot. A trick like this does not make the rich richer, it makes the rich's children more intelligent. Is this bad for the poor? I think emphatically NOT. It's stupid people with power that are the

I have to disagree with you on this one! Higher intelligence will tend to make the rich richer. Look at our present-day society, those with higher then normal I.Q.'s do tend to do better financially. Of course(and this has already been argued on the list), there are various forms of intelligence(or "abilities") which assist one in gaining financial and social success.

I do think the GE of the rich to boost intellect would create even greater disparity between the rich and poor, both in wealth and obviously intellectual ability. BUT, like you, I see it over the longterm being a very good thing. I would at least like to think that the GE generation of rich youth would now have the insight to want to improve not just there own fortunes, but those of everyone they can(greater intellect=greater vision?). And hopefully with superior intellects they could actually achieve such goals!

you continue:
Intelligence is not simply a tool in a war between factions. Intelligence affects which side you're on. Intelligence as tool is a Luddite concept; it is promoted by the side that sees no goodness in rationality, intelligence, and science. Given the amount of trouble that intelligent people have traditionally had in getting the rich to support their various philanthropic and altruistic efforts, making the rich's children more intelligent may be a roundabout way of accomplishing the same goal, but at least it should work.

Are all rich people of only average or below-average intellects? lol! Bill Gates and a host of other billionaires and multi-millionaires show that being very bright can definitely help to get one into the ranks of the super-wealthy! I realize we now live in an age where having high intelligence is very well rewarded when combined with education and ambition.

I do suppose Leonardo DaVinci would have totally agreed with you though! lol For many centuries what you described has been a problem. But, even without GE we have seen a great change.

you continue:
In other words, I do not view this as the "rich faction" gaining yet
another advantage, but rather as an unusually roundabout way of recruiting wealth into the "smart faction".

I think it is a worthy gambit, but I have my doubts. As I pointed out, there are already very intelligent AND super wealthy individuals out there like Gates who for some odd reason choose not to donate millions of dollars to Alcor and/or ExI. If Bill Gate's I.Q. were fifty points higher do you think that would change? LOL! I think this is not just about brain power, but also about memes.

I suppose you think GE superbright children would have a better chance of "breaking free" of certain powerful memes they were raised with. Well maybe, and maybe not...

best wishes,


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:26 MDT