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I am writing a story about an extreme meritocracy that applies artificial selection and eugenics to humans. This society (called Sophia) views intelligence as the most important trait to have. Almost everyone in Sophia does whatever they can to maximize the knowledge, brainpower, and wisdom of themselves.

The Sophian Government has a highly elite reproduction program. All children at the age of 9 have to take a comprehensive test that measures IQ and other intellectual capabilities. Only the top 10% of boys and top 70% of girls are expected to pass the test (there is a different target score for each sex). All the boys who didn't pass get chemically neutered; all the girls who didn't pass get chemically spayed. The sterile boys and girls are effectively a new gender societally speaking and do all of the less valuable jobs in Sophia. Physically demanding jobs that are too hard for eunuchs or women are handled by either robots or farm animals. The breeders get all of the leadership positions and valuable jobs. The highest performing breeders and sterile folks are part of a political circle that determines how the country is run.

The breeders who do pass the test sexually reproduce during their teens and 20s; afterwards they use IVF to maximize reproduction. All offspring are raised by hospitals, then daycare centers, and finally boarding schools. Many children have no idea who their parents are.

Adults in Sophia do whatever they can to become pioneers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, philosophy, and art. Events similar to the Nobel Prize are the most important ceremonies in the country. Anyone that makes a great invention or discovery or magnum opus gets immortalized in a national hall of fame. Sophia is supposed to be the most technologically and mathematically advanced nation in its world. Sophia has a command economy ran by oligarchs. Sophia has mostly modern technology, but they're more advanced than real life Earth in a few areas (like having artificial wombs and advanced AI).

So my question is can a hierarchical society where humans are selectively bred similar to animals (only worthy specimens reproduce and the rest are sterilized) to maximize intelligence, function without fatal biological or sociocultural flaws?

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Worldbuilding Meta, or in Worldbuilding Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 25, 2023 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ One more point is that you're creating a literal aristocracy (rule by the best), not a meritocracy. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Oct 25, 2023 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn They are the same thing, in literal meaning, anyway. $\endgroup$
    – user458
    Oct 26, 2023 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ There's just far too many things to address in this question. There's a lot of baggage with your primary question. "Can selective breeding increase intelligence?" Of course. Can it do it with all this other stuff you have in this world? Maybe not, for a lot of different reasons (complications, as you called them). $\endgroup$
    – user458
    Oct 26, 2023 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @fredsbend if they are the same, why are there two different words? $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Oct 26, 2023 at 19:20

11 Answers 11

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No the society would be doomed to corruption and scientific stagnation.

This has been tried multiple times and the results are always the same, it becomes an autocracy of the test writers. Your system is anti-science not pro-science. Science can be practiced by anyone it is a methodology not an ideology. see late imperial, China or the USSR as examples. Science cannot function if it is exclusive to elites. Test based meritocracies always fail because test taking is not merit. So you are not even breeding for the right thing.

Science is messy
To get the most scientific advancement you want science being practiced by more of the population not few "elites". Many of the most influential scientists in history would have failed out of your system and been denied access. They disagreed with the standing consensus or were ignorant of it, they specialized on one field and were ignorant of others, they had horrid literary skills or struggled with math. You also have how important argument and debate is in science, science is not about memorizing the correct answer it is about discovering the most correct answer, can you jury rig a method when there is no good method not can you solve the same example problem you have solved a million times. Science is messy and requires the ability to fail and encourage new approaches. Using the known approaches only gets you the known answers, it can't innovate. Innovation comes from people thinking outside the box, which you can't test for, worse if you try to you just create an autocracy. people who know the "correct" out of the box answer advance and people who actually think outside the box fail.

You are falling for the myth of the lone genius scientist and its just not how science works. The more people you teach science the faster it will advance.
Lets also consider how many scientists have atypical neurology and classifiable learning disorders. More scientists leads to more advancements in science, excluding such people would just reduce scientific development. A million mediocre scientists can do far more than ten elite scientists. Even better a thousand specialists can advance information faster than a thousand generalists, more scientists allow for more specialization. There is a lot of trial and error and collective action in science. Science is a collaborative action, and you need more people. Ask a scientists and they will tell you their science lack bodies not quality. There is also a lot of experimentation in science , more scientists means more and different experiments. many advancements in science were accidents but even those that were not were the product of many hands.

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    – L.Dutch
    Oct 25, 2023 at 8:38
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No... But for a different reason then what anyone else has suggested.

This will lead to a lot of dead babies. And other serious problems... But not interestingly enough because of inbreeding or genetic problems. Something similar-ish has been done before. In Romania.

All offspring are raised by hospitals, then daycare centers, and finally boarding schools

Hospitals

I think it was Romania that tested this out. They had a perceived population shortage, so the government started encouraging people to have babies, and then stuck all of those unwanted babies the parents couldn't afford into orphanages to raise the future generation by the state for the better of the state.

A large percentage of the babies died, because they were not held enough. An even large percentage were severely impaired because they didn't have the interactions between a mother and her child that are required for brain stimulation and growth. (An aside the increased rate of non-maternal care corelates strongly with the increased rates of autism.)

The caregivers I assume are going to be made up of the population that has been sterilized? They will likely be extremely abusive towards the children (The Romanian nurses/orphanage staff were at least). Which will teach the older children that survive to be physically abusive to the younger children.

If I wanted to create a dystopian hell that lasts one generation as the second one is a horde of feral, psychotic , and mentally impaired young people, this is one of the ways that I would do it.

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    $\begingroup$ there was also a strong decline in marriage because it turns out children raised in crèches together unconsciously saw each other as siblings and suffered the same revulsion against incest we see for biological siblings. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 24, 2023 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ @John yep... basically any idea that tries to place the responsibility of child rearing onto society as a whole instead of the parents does terrible things, and could be considered child abuse. $\endgroup$
    – Questor
    Oct 24, 2023 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ There's a pretty good article about the Romanian orphanages here: theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/07/… $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 3:58
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    $\begingroup$ It would still make a good story, just a different genre (dystopian gritty sci-fy, horror). $\endgroup$
    – Ivana
    Oct 25, 2023 at 12:01
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    $\begingroup$ "You can't have healthy humans without healthy families" would have been my answer. Neat (but actually kind of sad) that you have a real world example that fits this aspect of the question. $\endgroup$
    – user458
    Oct 26, 2023 at 19:18
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Your system would make people who are maximally adapted to the system.

Sophia is effectively implementing hill-climbing optimization. Eventually the system itself becomes the limiting factor that hinders eg. variance that is needed to avoid getting stuck in local maxima. You would be getting one trick ponies, smug ones.

Freer societies without such fixed goal and strict selection would eventually surpass Sophia as they can better avoid this and develop novel features that sometimes start with subpar performance.

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    $\begingroup$ There won’t be any progress without some selection. Do you think that the (average) modern human is going to become genetically more intelligent over time? Selecting for performance on a test at the age of 9 might not be optimal, but with a good test I don’t think it’s as bad as you make it sound. Especially if there are categories (logic, linguistics, arithmetic, spatial thinking …) and you don’t have to score great in all of them. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Oct 25, 2023 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael (1) It is nigh impossible to avoid selection. You have to make serious effort to get rid of it. Most of it is implicit: does the baby live, is it capable of being parent in some way or other, can the offspring produce offspring and so on? The question therefore is: what kind of selection is happening. In a free society, people make the choices themselves. This allows wisdom of the crowd to emerge and run effectively, and usually it outperforms committees that would be running Sophia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_of_the_crowd $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 7:26
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    $\begingroup$ (2) Hill-climbing algorithm is notorious in its tendency to find suboptimal solutions and get stuck in there. The stricter the selection, the higher the probability. Sofia's selection criteria are such that it will relatively quickly increase those aspects of intelligence that it wants to maximize, but eventually it will find out what diminishing returns means. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminishing_returns $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ (3) People and the environment are hard to separate. Two non-identical twins with exact same intelligence can perform differently just because one is more compatible with where they live in and other less so. Some cognitive capacity gets allotted to dealing with eg. rules that some can find too restricting, and thus their apparent IQ measured in test can drop a bit. This introduces an implicit selection criteria, and the only way to eliminate it is get rid of the causes, but here the cause is the system itself. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_and_intelligence $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ So how do you make humans genetically more intelligent? Preferably with consistent long term improvements without running into a local maximum. Even if it’s just on a well designed test. And don’t tell me it’s impossible, obviously natural evolution managed it to some point. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Oct 25, 2023 at 7:51
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To address just the question in the title: "Can selective breeding maximize human intelligence without major complications?" - no, not with the setup you've suggested.

Selection for any trait is highly likely to also select for undesirable traits. For example, selective breeding for red tomatoes also produces worse tasting tomatoes. No-one wanted those bad tasting tomatoes but consumers liked to buy nice bright red tomatoes, so that's what sold, so that's what breeders produced. If you breed for intelligence only, you're likely to co-select for a host of negative traits. In the real world, in order to deal with this you have to carefully track lineages and select pairings to breed out these negative traits and breed in the traits you want but, in your world, society is deliberately destroying lineage information.

And, unless you're selecting for exactly what you want you're probably not going to succeed: for example, in your case you're not actually selecting for intelligence, you're selecting for intelligence at age 9 rather than intelligence. The best way to produce that isn't being smarter as an adult, it's developing faster as a child; and those may well be opposing traits, as well as being likely to produce negative side effects in terms of skeletal development, etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ “Selection for any trait is highly likely to also select for undesirable traits.” Maybe people in OP’s society will have bigger heads or a higher rate of psychological disorders or require more nutrients … but that doesn’t sound like a major complication in an advanced society, unless it’s extreme. And you can always select for several traits instead of laser-focusing on a single one. The fact that OP’s children have to survive to the age of 9 and be able to take a test (probably requiring working eyes and hands) already selects for some general fitness. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Oct 25, 2023 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael: We're not talking about trivial complications, it's quite likely that you will have major negative effects. You're likely to have severely reduced general health, and quite likely also much increased rates of mental disorders. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 6:32
  • $\begingroup$ We are accomplishing drastic changes in other species through selective breeding without severely impacting their general health. As mentioned you can also select for other traits apart from intelligence. A society with sperm banks and IVF would also have a lot more long-term options (e.g. breeding from a male who's long dead, if it turns out his offspring are exceptionally intelligent and healthy). $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Oct 25, 2023 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael: I agree it's possible to address the problems with selective breeding; but that doesn't mean the setup as outlined in the question does. I am only talking about the setup described. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 7:50
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    $\begingroup$ "We are accomplishing drastic changes in other species through selective breeding without severely impacting their general health." is this true? Most dogs breeds have serious health problems. I don't know if this holds for bred animals in general. $\endgroup$
    – Ivana
    Oct 25, 2023 at 12:08
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I think the societal complications would be more dire than the biological ones.

I get it- you just want to focus on the biological health complications. However, Major Complications is pretty open phrase. Yes, I think neutering 90% of the male population and spaying 30% of the female population would lead to major societal complications.

  1. Like the 60 percent of the population told that they couldn't have kids because they were "too stupid", eventually trying to overturn the government.

  2. Parents would do anything to make their kids succeed in that system, and that would lead to desperate actions.

  3. The way you describe Sophia seems to push towards a fairly narrow definition of intelligence, I am not saying this definitively, because you say "philosophy, and even art". Just generally speaking you seem to want only scientists, mathematicians and engineers in this society. As much as I admire the accomplishments of these groups, I think it may result in an imbalance.

(I have a slight detour to go on with my answer.

Generally society would want to foster intelligence to be as broad as possible. One of the reasons is we haven't yet defined everything that defines intelligence.

So far Eugenics movements, have probably resulted in more intelligences being discriminated out of the picture more than they have resulted in them being nurtured. Great scientists and thinkers were forced to leave Nazi Germany, for example. Einstein is the prime example.

In a book called "Neurotribes" I came across some interesting facts. The author intended to talk more about autism and the approaches people have had to it, and societal perceptions about it. He pointed out that some famous scientists such as Henry Cavendish who innovated precise measurement devices to calculate the Earth's mass and density in 1798, could not tolerate social company. In fact, Cavendish's idiosyncratic behaviour was probably somewhat ridiculed in his time, and wouldn't have been entertained were he not a) well-off b)and a great scientist. I think what the author Silberman was pointing out, is that we don't always identify correctly what is intelligence in society. He pointed out that Asperger, the foundational figure that studied autism in children, understood that high functioning autistic kids had completely unrecognized talents, and were about to be exterminated by Eugenics. However, the idea that intelligence often goes unidentified because we define it one way or the other- that goes for whether it is a scientific contribution or some other field.

Obviously Cavendish is only one type of genius, and it is hard to say whether he would succeed in all types of intelligence tests. It illustrates the point, which goes equally well for the "humanities" or the "art" genius, is that intelligence is unpredictable. Obviously social and emotional genius exists as well. People like that push conventional definitions.

I personally agree with the premise that if the definition of intelligence behind your eugenic system is too narrow and judges people too quickly, it will eliminate potential. )

That doesn't mean your idea for a story won't get into some complex issues, as long as you address the problems. Maybe Sophia would have a resistance movement?

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    $\begingroup$ Am reminded of the ancient Greek Spartan society, whom historian Bret C. Devereaux notes valued nothing more than oligarchy so much they produced a vanishingly small cultural record, which is why all we know of how they lived was written by visitors from other Greek states. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2023 at 21:48
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Standardized testing is not effective at measuring intelligence

The entire premise of this society is eugenics based on standardized testing. A quick read through that article should tell you why that is an unworkable idea; not just all the problems with making sure the test is truly "fair" to takers from different backgrounds, but simply measuring something like "intelligence" through one narrow means is not possible.

But there's a second, even bigger problem.

The oligarchs are the ones writing the test. They are also the ones with the most resources to educate and coach their children to pass it (you say that the children have no idea who their parents are, but ruling-class parents certainly would). Something as simple as preferential funding for the creches in the rich parts of the country where the oligarchs' children are assigned would tip the scales more every generation.

Your advanced society would be better off nurturing the intellectual development and opportunity of all its members, rather than attempting to crudely select the "best."

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    $\begingroup$ Morray House Test #12 was administered to 95% of Scottish 11 yr olds in 1932 (87k children). When they measured the same people at age 70, the score correlation was r=0.781 - this is amazingly consistent given the limitations of a standardized 1-hour test. 847 of the group were given the Stanford-Binet test, corr. r=.8, again very consistent. IQ tests are only proxy for whatever intelligence really is, but they are surprisingly consistent in the same population. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ I went looking for a video on the Morray House Test #12 and found an excellent presentation by Ian J. Deary - It includes include relationship against a number of life issues not obviously related to intelligence. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 3:04
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    $\begingroup$ It should be said more often, but IQ tests really only measure one's ability to pass an IQ test. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 13:12
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I see no reason why it shouldn’t work.

Sure, it could lead to uprising of the suppressed second class and other social problems. Sure, you are only selecting for performance at a test while 9 years old (not actual scientific accomplishments, problem solving, working capability (in a team) and the like). Sure, you’ll probably have some negative traits like bigger heads which makes natural births more difficult and risky. In a state like the one you envisage other unavoidable negative traits like having a higher resting metabolism probably won’t matter.

But just look how much humans changed lots of species in just a few generations. Dogs, tomatoes, canola, corn … Suddenly a few points more on an intelligence score doesn’t look all that difficult.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "not actual scientific accomplishments, problem solving, working capability (in a team) " Also perseverance and work ethic. $\endgroup$
    – Ivana
    Oct 25, 2023 at 12:11
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Inbreeding

Apart from the problems others have pointed out, there is one very serious problem that is going to undermine any other advantage your system could have (and I think it has very few advantages).

All children at the age of 9 have to take a comprehensive test that measures IQ and other intellectual capabilities. Only the top 10% of boys and top 70% of girls are expected to pass the test (there is a different target score for each sex). All the boys who didn't pass get chemically neutered; all the girls who didn't pass get chemically spayed.

Let's say that when this policy was first implemented, you start with a normal reproductive pool. You then remove 90% of boys and 30% of girls via chemical castration from the pool. Next generation is going to be born from a much smaller pool of parents. Then you again remove 90% of boys and 30% of girls from the already smaller genetic pool. And so on, every new generation.

By the way, if your eugenics program is supposed to produce smarter population, why aren't higher percentages of boys and girls passing the test? Or is the test getting harder each time?

Anyway, even though your population may be stable, your genetic pool will be constantly shrinking. Pretty soon you will be getting serious problems from inbreeding (including problems with intelligence) that will far outweigh any benefits you could otherwise get from this system.

The problem could be offset from influx of fresh genes from intelligent immigrants into Sophia, but I imagine other places in your world will have different values and I doubt many people will find the idea of moving into a country where their children are taken away from them at birth very appealing.

So your country is either heading towards a complete collapse, or a major social unrest leading to the abandonment of the system.

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    $\begingroup$ The proposed policy wouldn't necessarily lead to enough inbreeding to cause collapse. For most of human history, reproductive success was heavily skewed in each generation, particularly for males. Furthermore, inbreeding does not become catastrophic until a fairly substantial threshold. For example, the Ashkenazi Jewish population is relatively inbred, yet most Ashkenazi Jewish people are completely healthy. So the precise numeric parameters of such a policy would determine the outcome. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2023 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ @BetterthanKwora, this is a completely different scenario. Ashkenazis and groups like that just have a small gene pool and keep it. Besides, in spite of taboos of marrying outside the group, such marriages may still happen sometimes, bringing in fresh blood. Here, you start with a small gene pool, which won't grow for reasons I've given, and then keep shrinking it by 60% (if my math is correct) every generation. After four generations, your overall gene pool will have shrunk by over 97%, and each generation it will keep getting worse. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also, "for most of human history, reproductive success was heavily skewed in each generation" - what's your basis for making this statement? For most of human history, humans were hunter-gatherers. Do we know enough about prehistoric humans to make that conclusion? After the agricultural revolution, almost all humans for most of 'civilized' history were peasant farmers - there you would find whatever wife you could, had as many kids as you could and hoped they wouldn't die of diseases or starvation. I don't see any basis for skewed reproductive success. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ OP could stop after 3 generations? Or tweak the parameters every two generations? $\endgroup$
    – Ivana
    Oct 25, 2023 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantSpaceHamster, for hunter-gatherer populations, see Skewed distributions of lifetime reproductive success: beyond mean and variance Shripad Tuljapurkar et al. Ecol Lett. 2020 Apr. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2023 at 15:32
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Unlikely

Intelligence is a combination of personal abilities and education. Even the widely used IQ test in the style of Mensa are greatly affected by the quality of the education. So much that when the quality of basic education made a great improvement between the '30s and the '70 the scores of the tests used in that period had to be regularly adjusted. In such a society all the parents naturally would do anything they can to provide their childer the best education. This could cause two problems. The result would be skewed depending on who can afford the best teachers. The children would be put under pressure even more than what happens in the Chinese society.

Intelligence can have a lot of different characters. Children and also adults learn best when an argument catches their fantasy and their attention. Only when all the conscious and all the unconscious processes in the brain are put together to work on something we can produce some good insights. But this attention is not something you can get by force, it is spontaneous and different for each person depending on the attitude and the existing memories. Different arguments trigger different attention and different intelligence for each person. Measuring intelligence is impossible. In such circumstances the development of the society would not be determined by intelligence as a quality, but by the way they decide to measure intelligence. I mean that the measurement method itself would be more important than the measured quality.

Conformism. Given what is at stake the members of such society would be afraid of looking stupid if they said something that does not match the common opinion. Creativity would be suppressed and progress would be slow or non-existent. Well actually here you could put a plot twist. Those who think they have an established position and feel safer may also become eager to speak their mind. So the unusual feature would be a society were the old people are the most creative.

Super intelligence is unlikely. Evolution is slow. Simply rewiring the instincts built in our brain should be one of the traits easier to change. Humans began to live in cities about 10000 years ago. More than 3000 years ago the majority of the population was living in cities or villages with a population of at least 100 individuals. But our instincts are still tuned for the creatures who lived in small tribes. If instincts take more than 3000 years to develop you can easily imagine that super intelligence would require at least 10000. Usually societies reach their decadent phase much earlier.

Final thought. The usual conundrum of nature against nurture. We really don't know how much is owed to one or the other. But I can bet that we owe to nurture a lot more than what you think.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not just education but also how close the takers culture matched the writers. like asking questions about mortgages when the readers culture does not have them. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 23, 2023 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @John The first paragraph of the answer refers to the kind of intelligence we try to measure. The intelligence of the IQ test. $\endgroup$
    – FluidCode
    Oct 23, 2023 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ thats what I mean it is not just personal ability and education, culture also plays a large part because most questions are culturally constrained. two people with identical abilities and education can preform noticeably differently due to cultural mismatches. Its still a great answer, its just a nitpick. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 23, 2023 at 20:38
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No

As other users pointed out the selection method is error prone and on the long term it could backfire in many different ways. Too many different ways. Would a society of intelligent people choose such a blunt and rough method? Doubtful, very doubtful.

Chances are that those who chose to shape a society in this way were not intelligent, but obsessed with intelligence. Their offspring selected in this way would have the same feature, more obsessed with intelligence than intelligent. Thus they would not be able to maximise intelligence.

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Yes and No.

On the Yes front - you've got for example the Ashkenazi Jews - who on average are a whole standard deviation smarter than the average person. This is a rather contentious topic - but some theories put it as a combination of factors:

  • Jews tend to date/marry other Jews
  • There have been a number of events that have put, shall we say, 'evolutionary pressure' on Jews - for example Mid-century Germany and Russia - and therefore only the smart survived.
  • Strong, two-parent families and a culture of excellence.

So - from this point of view, yes, I think it is entirely possible that your society would produce intelligent offspring.

However - this line:

All offspring are raised by hospitals, then daycare centers, and finally boarding schools. Many children have no idea who their parents are.

In my opinion would absolutely undo all that genetic work.

Now, I don't have the scientific data to hand to back this up per-se and I'm inferring a lot from a number data sets and combining it with my own experience as both a child and a parent.

I do not care how good your daycare system is, there is a biological and emotional investment that a Parent has in the wellbeing of their child that a stranger quite simply does not have.

Children know that on an instinctual level and as a parent, you know it too - because your children are part you. There are aspects of your personality/psyche that only you are privy to, that you can see manifest in your children and allows you to connect with them in a way that other people simply can't.

Then you have the issue of knowing who you are in the world. A bunch of super-smart people with an existential crisis about who their parents are - that sounds like a recipe for disaster - I don't think you can create a cultural or legal prohibition against this strong enough to deter it.

Case in point - in countries where they throw people off of buildings for being Gay, there are still people that are Gay.

As a parent, when my daughter was struggling to learn to read - yes, the Teachers were doing all they could - but a Teacher is responsible for 20-30 other children. It was Me, the Parent who is only responsible for 1 other child (at the time) that sat down every evening for an hour or so, making my child read - I did it because I want the best for my child - and I can assure you, whilst the best teacher also wants the best for my child - it's like comparing the hunger for your favorite food between someone who just ate and someone whose been starving on a desert island for a week.

My level of investment in my child is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than any institution or job or 3rd party can ever produce.

So - to recap:

Yes, I think that the premise of high-IQ people being paired with other high-IQ people to produce high-IQ offspring is reasonably sound (with a real world example to point to) - the disconnecting of a child from their biological parent will, IMO, be contrary to the desired outcome.

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    $\begingroup$ Just FYI that study fell apart when they used larger sample sizes and repeatable testing. Ashkenazi Jews have the same performance as other habitually bilingual ethnic groups. Such studies are classic examples of cherry picking or simply failing to account for covariance (like the ones in the US that never accounted for income) . the answer would make some good points without that misinformation. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 23, 2023 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ "Ashkenazi Jews on average are a whole standard deviation smarter than the average person": I do not believe you. Citation needed. (And, historically, this is very obviously very wrong -- until the end of the 19th century the vast majority of Ashkenazi Jews were poorly educated members of a downtrodden underclass.) (And, of course, there is the big problem of who counts as an Ashkenazi Jew nowadays... Until about 100 years ago it was easy: Ashkenazis were Yiddish-speaking Jews; but today Yiddish is an endangered language, well on its way to extinction.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 23, 2023 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, if a natural population would consistently score 107 to 115 controlled for other factors, that would indeed be a statistically significant result. Unfortunately, nobody has ever seen such results. For example, it is only to be expected that children from middle class stable urban families, be they Jewish, Protestant, or Catholic, would score a little better than average, when the average includes poor people and disorganized families. To make a meaningful comparison they would need to select comparable cohorts with similar socioeconomic backgrounds. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 23, 2023 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ Americans, Englishmen (including Scotsmen) and Germans are grossly overrepresented among Nobel prize winners. Arabs, Indians and the Chinese are grossly underrepresented. So we can conclude that Americans (300 million, 400 Nobel prize winners) are about 250 times smarter than the Chinese (1.5 billion, 8 Nobel prize winners). Which is completely unexpected, especially given that the notoriously mongrel Americans are not even an ethnicity in the traditional sense. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 24, 2023 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ Speaking of Jews, there is a historical explanation for their higher intelligence. Families invested in their most skilled sons, enabling them to become rabbis, start families and pass on their valuable genes to their children. Meanwhile, Christian families followed the same path, with their most skilled sons becoming priests. However, as the priests lived in celibacy, their valuable genes were lost. $\endgroup$
    – Trang Oul
    Oct 24, 2023 at 6:21

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