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Charles Murray: "Deeper into the Brain"

Genetic Crossroads
February 4th, 2000

Charles Murray: "Deeper into the Brain"Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, is the Bradley Fellow at the

American Enterprise Institute. Here's an excerpt from an article
he wrote in the January 24, 2000 issue of National Review, titled
"Deeper into the Brain."

"[W]hen we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that
the population below the poverty line in the United States has a
configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly
different from the configuration of the population above the poverty
line….As the biological basis for personal qualities statistically
associated with social problems--low IQ, impulsiveness, short time-
horizons, sociopathy, indolence--is understood, the old arguments
about causality (e.g., `It's poverty and disadvantage that create
the low IQ, not the other way around') will be resolved….

"I have no idea how the new eugenicism will play out, only a general
expectation that eugenics, anathema today, will be a spinoff of the
neurogenetic revolution tomorrow….[S]hould we expect that Homo
sapiens will take it into its collective head to redesign itself?

"I confess to a certain optimism. I suppose that sex selection will
be common, and that some parents will, if they can, opt to make their
babies more compassionate, or more competitive, or "more" of some
other personality trait that they favor. Some parents may want to
grow seven-foot-tall basketball players….[But t]he popular voluntary
uses of gene manipulation are likely to be ones that avoid birth
defects and ones that lead to improved overall physical and mental
abilities. I find it hard to get upset about that prospect."


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