Thursday, 17 September 2015

Does group selection provide a realistic hope for escape from Mouse Utopia?

If we consider the scenario of Mouse Utopia - i.e. a massive reduction in human fitness due to mutation accumulation due to the removal of the main mechanism of generation-by-generation, mutation-purging natural selection (mainly the reduction of average child mortality from probably more than fifty percent to one or a few percent) - then there seems little or no grounds for realistic hope of avoiding a mega-death outcome.

(...Indeed, not merely mega- but a giga-death outcome, involving not just millions but billions of humans - because there are currently about seven billion humans compared to the recent historical global population of about one billion - and the Mouse Utopia scenario predicts that human fitness will drop below historical levels; presumably implying a lower than historical population. )

One particularly worrisome aspect is that the mutation driven incremental decline of human capability (due to an increase in human pathology) creates a positive feedback situation in which humans presumably would get less-and-less-capable of solving the multiple damaging consequences of mutation accumulation; including the problem of mutation accumulations itself.

This, at least, seems almost inescapable from the perspective of individual level selection; but if group selection mechanisms are real and applicable (as I believe they are), then it may be that behaviours will emerge that tend to counteract mutation accumulation, and avert the mutational meltdown positive feedback cycle.

But group selection is rather poorly understood, and perhaps works by multiple pathways. At any rate, by comparison with individual-level selection, group selection would appear to be ('as if) goal-directed, cognitive in nature, altruistic, and with foresight to look beyond short term individual reproductive disadvantage to long term group genetic benefit.

(Group selection may actually, or may not, actually be these things - teleological, cognitive, altruistic, predictive - but at any rate, this is how it would appear to us.)

So group selection might lead to a variety of quasi-purposive mutation-purging, fitness enhancing outcomes. These would not, of course, necessarily be conscious - indeed would likely be more effective if unconscious.

Possible examples might be an instinctive self-elimination of heavily mutated individuals from reproduction - varieties of genetic suicide. So, ordinary individual selection might tend to reduce reproduction of heavily mutated individuals due to them suffering from the effects of pathology - but in addition there might be some kind of system of internal monitoring of mutation load which made heavily mutated individuals 'give-up', lose interest in reproduction, avoid reproduction - perhaps at extremes allow themselves to die from starvation, infection or some other cause?

This would amount to a kind of apoptosis at the organism level (apoptosis is the biological process of cell-suicide, which may be triggered in genetically-damaged cells - for example to reduce the incidence of cancers). 

Alternatively, group selection may lead to the emergence of a higher incidence of the kind of human individuals who - by their dispositions and behaviours - have the best chance of solving the mutation accumulation problem in some way. For instance, it might lead to an increased number of problem-solving

WD Hamilton believed-in and wrote about such mechanisms of positive self-elimination, and argued that their existence is theoretically-predicted as well as consistent with some observation - so we should not regard them as implausible - even though they not well understood, and hard to discriminate from the passive consequences of mutational damage.

(Of course, group selection is not - contrary to some views - nicer than individual level selection; because group selection involves in some way the sacrifice of the individual for the genetic benefit the group.)

Nonetheless, if group selection is active, a range of such possibilities may already be at work, or may become more powerful - and this may affect the development and outcome of the Mouse Utopia scenario to a greater or lesser extent.  

Note: Some of these ideas were developed in conversation with Michael A Woodley of Menie, to whom acknowledgement and credit is due. 

Mouse Utopia from mutational meltdown foreseen by Science Fiction

Thanks to Adam Greenwood for discovering this science fiction short story called Spacemaster, published in 1965 by James H Schmitz - which very clearly foresees a Mouse Utopia scenario of mutation accumulation, meltdown and extinction of humans, due to insufficient natural selection.

But, added to what he had been shown from Vinence's incredible ship, there had been enough he understood to present the story of the genetic collapse of Man -- or Spacemaster's version of it. It was not too implausible. The death seed of multitudinous abnormal genes had been planted in the race before it set out to explore and inhabit the galaxy, and with the expansion their rate of development increased. For another long time, improving medical skills maintained the appearance of a balance; it had become very much less easy for civilized Man to die even under a heavy genetic burden. But since he continued to give short shrift to any government audacious enough to make the attempt of regulating his breeding preferences, that burden also continued to grow. A point regularly came where medical knowledge, great as it might be, was suddenly shown to be no longer capable of the human repair work needed now to keep some specific civilization on its feet. The lethal genes, the innumerable minor mutations, had established at last a subnormal population, chronically sick and beginning to decrease rapidly in numbers. Spacemaster's charts indicated that this period, once entered, was not prolonged. When there were simply not enough healthy minds and bodies left to attend to the requirements of existence, the final descent became catastrophically swift and was irreversible. On Liot, Haddan had been living through the last years of such a period, modified only by Spacemaster's intervention. Spacemaster, with its supermachines and superscience, had come into existence as an organization almost too late to act as more than humanity's undertakers. Liot had been the last of all islands of galactic civilization. In less than fifteen centuries, the race had gone everywhere from its peak of achievement and expansion to near-extinction.

Chapter 6 Spacemaster from

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Psychiatric aspects of Mouse Utopia

Note: The meaning of 'mouse utopia' can be seen in various posts on my Intelligence, Personality & Genius blog:

The thesis is that we are already living in mouse Utopia, and that this will become more and more apparent until its reality will become... well, I was going to say 'undeniable' but that is silly: people can and do deny the most obvious things, and the process of population wide and cumulative mutational damage of the genome is certainly not obvious; but rather, at present, invisible.

So Mouse Utopia will never be undeniable, and indeed it is likely that the vast majority of mankind will never know what has hit them, and continues to hit them; nor will it ever be easy to disentangle the effects of genetic damage from other causes of maladaptive behaviour and disease. But at any rate, let's just say that the hypothesis of mutational accumulation in the human species will presumably gather more and more consistent evidence as time goes by.

What will life be like in Mouse Utopia? In The Narrow Roads of Gene Land Volume 2, WD Hamilton partially described that world in a chapter entitled The Hospitals are coming, and that is perhaps a good starting point - the idea that everyone will be damaged and most will be sick, in one way or another; so that life will resemble a hospital in which (some of) the less-sick (or the damaged but not-yet sick) tend the more-sick, as best they may - in intervals between doing whatever it takes to stay alive.

But this is not by any means an unusual or unprecedented situation for humans through much of the history of the species. For much of the time, Malthusian mechanisms have been in force, and populations have been limited by various combinations of starvation and infectious disease. Infections - in particular - have sometimes been endemic at a high prevalence, so that the majority or even all of the population might be suffering from, be affected by, some chronic parasitic disease - but at a relatively low degree of severity.

And with respect to the Mouse Utopia society being a Hospital, it is important to recognize that much of the pathology will be psychiatric rather than physical - this can be seen from the fact that the problems of the original Mouse Utopia were most behavioural rather than physical; and it follows from the fact that the highly complex human brain is exceptionally sensitive to random mutational damage.

Intelligence is probably damaged by mutation accumulation in an incremental and quantitative fashion - the more mutations, the more the lowering of intelligence. Therefore, decline of intelligence as mutations accumulate is likely to be relative smooth (rather than step-like).

But intelligence is 'general' intelligence, and is unusual in being a general attribute of cognitive function - it roughly corresponds to speed of processing, or coordinated functional efficiency. By contrast, most psychological functions are specific; and genetic damage is likely to be more qualitative and either step-like, or all-or-nothing.

What I think would happen, is that accumulating mutation damage would most likely show-up as varieties of specific brain functional damage leading to specific behavioural impairments of a social and sexual type - in a general context of continuing declining intelligence. (See reference below)

The kind of damage I am talking about represents a decline in functional adaptation of the human organism to its environment (its sexual, social and surrounding environment) - that is, a loss of effective functionality. This represents a decline in fitness, but not just relative fitness (because it is happening throughout the population) - it is a decline in group fitness - ultimately in species fitness.

If fitness is measured in terms of the capacity to raise sufficient viable offspring in a given environment; then the sexual and social changes induced by mutation accumulation will be such as to reduce the probability of doing this: partly by damage causing reduced brain processing speed and efficiency (detectable as reduced intelligence) and partly by damage causing specific functional impairments (detectable as sexual and social pathologies).

So, Mouse Utopia will be not so much be a hospital of sick people with the less sick tending the more sick; but more like the less crazy looking after the more crazy: a case of the lunatics have taken over the asylum because there is nobody left but the lunatics - so everyone in Mouse Utopia is mad, more-or-less; but with the sanest and most sensible people in charge.

At least, that would be optimal.

If the world is a psychiatric hospital where everyone is socio-sexually dysfunctional to some extent, then the people running the hospital ought to be the most coherent of the patients. Indeed, sanity is probably more of a priority than high intelligence - since a moderately intelligent coherent person (at least arguably) makes a better leader than a more highly intelligent crazy.

However, for the past fifty years and increasingly, we have been getting a taste of something different; and most nations and large organizations are now being run by - not the least impaired people - but energetic incoherent semi-lunatics; because in a mass media democracy, that is what the more-seriously-crazed majority seem to want.

Democracy as a system for choosing government has never made much sense; mass democracy in a mass media addicted world makes even less sense; democracy in a lunatic asylum is... crazy.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Use of the imagination in scientific psychology - a personal example

In saying that imagination is the primary aspect of true understanding, an example might be helpful. When I was working on my book Psychiatry and the Human Condition:

I decided not to include any theories about illnesses which I had been unable to confirm by imagination.

Imagination was not the term I used at the time; I instead called it phenomenology and introspection. Phenomenology is the term for the subjective description of psychological symptoms - e.g. what it is like to experience an hallucination, an endogenously depressed mood etc.

So, in my discussions of psychiatric phenomena and the effects of psychotropic drugs, I only wrote about theories which I had been able to enact imaginatively in myself - by examining my inner state and extrapolating from personal experience.

For example, in discussing mania I drew on experiences of staying up all night - when working as a doctor on call, or on a transatlantic flight - and the different stages about how it felt. For depression I had experiences of glandular fever and influenza, and recovering from them. For psychotic states I had memories of dreams, and the brief hypnagogic hallucinations when dropping off to sleep.

For psychotropic drugs, I had the 'advantage' of having taken many of the therapeutic classes of agents as attempted (and failed) curative or preventive treatments for migraine. Since I never found an effective preventive agent, I went through quite a large number of therapeutic trials before giving up. In addition I had for several years been very attentive to the effects of any drugs I was taking for anything: for example the antihistamines taken for treating Hay Fever, or introspectively studying the effects of simple pain killers, and how they got rid of pain.

So I had a kind of 'library' of knowledge about how drugs affect the way I feel, and this - combined with scientific knowledge about drugs and their effects - meant that I had a basis for understanding what drugs might to to psychiatric illness.

This amounted to an imaginative knowledge of psychiatric phenomena - and clarifies that imagination can be understood in terms of looking-within and becoming aware of subjective feelings.

The value of imagination was both at the beginning and at the end of theorizing. In the first place, phenomenology provided the primary basis of theories of how diseases may be caused, what is their essence, and of drug actions.

Then, after the theory was developed and elaborated and tested against the existing scientific literature using normal 'scientific' knowledge; phenomenology also provided a final test of plausibility and adequacy - could I imagine, could I experience within myself, the hypothetical cause or illness or treatment? If I could enact the proposed mechanism in imaginative experience, then the hypothesis would be allowed to stand - but if I could not enact them, then I would eliminate the hypothesis.

For example, the book was delayed for a few months by my initial inability to imagine experiencing mania - and this was helped by discussing mania empathically with someone who had experienced it and remembered the experience (by 'empathically', I mean in such a way that I could feel and experience what that person felt). Only when I could imagine myself as manic, and then imagine how that mania might be treated - how the manic inner state could be alleviated by inner change, could I finish the book.

This, then, is an actual example of how imagination can work - in a scientific context. Of course, when I wrote the book I mostly left-out the subjective and imaginative aspects - or used them only as illustrative examples. So the published Psychiatry and the Human Condition book is written and justified almost as if everything in it comes from the scientific literature and with reference to the experience of eminent psychiatrists and other objective and publicly available sources of information.

However, in reality, in terms of scientific creativity - the imagination was primary. It was primary in terms of generating hypotheses, and also exercised a veto in terms of testing hypotheses.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Boy Genius: Childhood signs of high intelligence related to the Endogenous personality

I have long been intrigued by the fact that I can sometimes tell that a child is of very high intelligence, even when I do not know the age of that child, and therefore have no basis for age-adjusted comparisons - and this sometimes happens when the child is not a prodigy, and has no exceptional ability. There is something about them that lets me know that they are of exceptional intelligence.

If intelligence is conceptualized as merely the upper range of a normal distribution curve of intellectual ability, then this should not be possible (except when the child's current ability is prodigious).

I have always assumed that being able to detect an intelligent child meant that what was truly being detected was not intellectual ability but personality; and I now think that what is being detected, what is detectable from early childhood, is the Endogenous personality.

The Endogenous personality is a package of high intelligence and a type of personality designed (by evolution) for creativity; in effect what is being detected is that the child has a brain specialized for a genius type role. What is being detected is not really the high intelligence so much as the other two aspects of the Creative Triad of high intelligence, inner-motivation and intuitive personality

In most children with high intelligence, their intelligence is only observable by making age-adjusted comparisons of their cognitive abilities because they have all different kinds of personality types.

But in the minority of children who are Endogenous personality types, the intelligence is part of a cluster of traits, and can be recognized from an early age - indeed, people with experience of a range of children (e.g. astute good school teachers) can recognize the Endogenous personality in young children at, say, six or seven years old.

In a sensible world, such children would be noticed, and treated as the different kind of people they are: people with some kind of creative destiny that, if discovered and allowed to develop, could benefit the rest of society.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Two ways of being highly intelligent - Good Genes or Endogenous personality

The usual way is that someone is intelligent (I mean within a population - I am not talking about the evolution of population differences) is by what is termed Good Genes: that is, having few faults or errors - the person has a normal brain but with nothing (or nothing much) wrong with it: in other words he has a low load of deleterious mutations (or, conversely, he is not suffering from mutation accumulation).

But there is another way - which is by having an Endogenous personality - which means that his brain is purposely designed (by group selection) to be creative, to make breakthroughs - he is, in sum, a genius (albeit very probably not a world historical genius; but a tribal or local genius). My assumption is that - if we could know this - we would see a brain wired-up to be intelligent.

Therefore the brain of an Endogenous personality has high intelligence not so much negatively from lack of mutations; as positively - because it is a brain specialized to be highly efficient for the purpose of creative discovery.

And this is why the genius has a special (Endogenous) personality. Usually personality and intelligence are almost distinct and little-correlated; but the brain of a genius is differently wired from a normal brain: it is a specialized and purposive brain, a lop-sided brain, a brain in which circuits usually used for social intelligence and reproductive success are co-opted to this purpose.

In sum, the brain of a genius is one that is specialized for creative discovery and both high intelligence and an 'inner-oriented' personality are features of this specialization.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Do you (really) understand intelligence? (Hardly anybody does)

I have recently been reading the likes of Owen Barfield, Rudolf Steiner and (excerpts from) Goethe on the nature of scientific thinking as it should be - and this has clarified for me that real science requires real understanding which requires bringing the subject to life in your mind so that your mind is actually thinking-it (thinking the entity, the object or more usually the process).

Therefore science requires understanding ,and understanding is qualitative not quantitative - understanding is not about description and measurement.

(These are possible when scientific understanding is utterly lacking; - they can even be done mechanically even, by a machine - although there must first be some-thing to draw-a-line-around that which is described or measured.)

Before science can be done, there must be this qualitative understanding of the phenomenon as an irreducible entity - not in terms of other things, but in terms of itself.

This kind of understanding is more lacking from intelligence research, even from the best of intelligence research, than in almost any field I have encountered (although Epidemiology runs it close) - indeed the lack of understanding of intelligence is often celebrated, and a 'theory-free' activity of intelligence description, measurement and correlation is put forward as - not merely an expedient or temporary necessity, but - the ideal.

People therefore misunderstand the IQ score as the reality, and intelligence as merely mathematically-derived from IQ scores.

But to understand intelligence requires understanding that a person may be of high intelligence and not have a high IQ score (no matter how validly, often and carefully the IQ is measured and calculated); and another person may have high IQ scores (measured in the best ways and by the best methods) yet not be of high intelligence ^.

This is a simple consequence of the fact that intelligence is not reducible to IQ score or any other measurement: it is an indivisible, qualitative entity.

Intelligence can be 'thought' hence understood - but understanding intelligence is like knowing a person (as compared with describing a person, their hair colour, height etc); getting to know intelligence is therefore like getting to know a person - it is a result of experience.

^ Highly intelligent people who do not score highly on IQ tests are easy to understand - because anything which reduces test performance could lead to this outcome: illness, pain, impaired consciousness and concentration from sleepiness, drugs, drug-withdrawal, mental illness... there are multiple causes, and some are chronic (long-lasting, perhaps life-long).

People with high IQ scores who are not of similarly high intelligence are familiar to anyone who has attended a highly-selective college or educational programme or who are members of intellectually 'elite' professions; since they make-up the majority of participants.  

Note added: The 'Flynn effect' - of rising average IQ scores in a context of reducing average real-intelligence - is an historical record of the emergence of more and more people with high IQ scores who do not have similarly high real intelligence - until now it seems likely that many or most people with among high IQ scorers do not have similarly high real-intelligence - and this applies especially at highly-educationally-selective institutions where Endogenous personalities are substantially selected-out. The correlation between IQ score and 'g' was much higher in the past (a century plus ago) than it is now. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

If humans are recapitulating mouse utopia, what is the approximate timescale for extinction?

In the Mouse Utopia experiment, an optimal environment with ample food, space, temperature, no predation etc. was created for 8 pairs of healthy breeding mice - but eventually the entire colony died, every single mouse - because after about two and a half years there were no more conceptions. The colony became sterile.

Before they died there were several phases

Phase A - 104 days - establishment of the mice in their new environment, then the first litters were born.

Phase B - up to day 315 - exponential population growth doubling every 55 days.

Phase C - from day 315-560 population growth abruptly slowed to a doubling time of 145 days.

Phase D - days 560-920; population stagnant with births just matching deaths. Emergence of many pathological behaviours.

Terminal Phase - population declining to zero. The last conception was about day 920, after which there were no more births, all females were menopausal, the colony aged and all of them died.

This is interpreted as a consequence of mutation accumulation leading to extinction from mutational meltdown:


As far as I can gather, mice are fully ready to reproduce at about 4 months, so the average generation time is probably about 5 months which is about 150 days.

So, starting with 104 days as zero - when reproduction began; we can convert the above timings into mouse generations

Phase B exponential growth doubling every 55 days lasted 201 days, = 1.3 mouse generations.

Phase C exponential growth doubling every 145 days lasted a further 245 days = 1.6 mouse generations.

So population growth phase in utopian conditions lasted only 3 mouse generations. 

Phase D of population stagnation phase lasted a further 360 days = 2.4 mouse generations

Therefore, the last conception (and de facto inevitable extinction) was 816 days after breeding commenced = 5.4 mouse generations.


Human generations are conventionally 25 years, although these have slowed to about 30 years in Western countries in the past several decades - but let us therefore give two values - one for 25 year, and the other for 30 year human generations.

If we start at 1850 as the date when the Industrial Revolution seems to have become certainly established and child mortality rates began to drop rapidly, and start counting generations from that point, and if humans were made like mice (which they are not!)...

We would then predict that human population growth phase (B & C) would last three generations up to 1925-1940 

And the stagnation phase (D) for another 2.4 generations - with 5.4 human generations taking us up to 1985-2012.


Well, clearly English people did not stop conceiving three years ago, because babies are still being born to native English - albeit not at a high rate!

I have previously guesstimated that the English situation  was that the slower growth phase c began in about 1920 (not about 1880) and the plateau phase began in about 1970) not 1930-ish

So maybe England is lagged about 40 years, because 1. we are not mice, and 2. our mouse utopia emerged only incrementally and was probably not complete until about 1950.

So we do not need to worry about mutational meltdown and de facto extinction (i.e. the final English child of English parents and ancestry being conceived) for, oh, another thirty or forty years...


Nonetheless, I draw the following lessons.

1. Assuming the decline and extinction of mouse utopia was due to mutation accumulation leading to mutational meltdown - then it happened very quickly indeed: only mouse 5.4 generations to the final conception, with half of that being stagnation.

2. The decline in rate of population increase after only 1.3m mouse generations suggests that the effect of relaxed natural selection and mutation accumulation leads to genetic damage immediately, in the very first generation.

3. Although humans (maturing over 14 years and with a natural life expectancy about 70 years) are built to last longer than mice (maturing over 4 months and living about 2 years) - this may mean that humans are more vulnerable to mutation accumulation - because we have a more prolonged and multi-phasic development and depend on extremely-complex brains which use many genes make and to function, and constitution large mutational targets.

4. In mouse utopia, the mouse environment, shelter, food, hygiene etc were all managed by humans - and did not depend on the mice doing anything much for themselves except east, sleep, fight, groom and reproduce (until they altogether lost interest in sex)- but humans depend on other humans for survival.

When the human population is damaged from mutation accumulation, this will destroy the 'utopian' environment. If this destruction is severe enough and comes early enough- then mutational meltdown will be avoided.

But if there is a generational lag - and utopia is maintained sufficiently that further mutational damage to younger generations continues to accumulate - then this will hasten the meltdown and extinction; because by the time utopia comes to an end, the younger generations will be unfit to survive the harsher conditions.

Have a nice day!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Mutation accumulation and modern Western sexuality

If the sexual revolution can briefly be defined as the long-term and strategic legalization, toleration, equalization, and now official advocacy and approval of sexuality outwith the context of traditional and permanent marriage - then one extraordinary and neglected aspect is: that it has been able to happen.

In The West, we find ourselves in an extraordinary situation with respect to sexuality - and the single most extraordinary aspect is that a critical mass of people do not find it extraordinary at all!

Plenty of Westerners apparently regard the current situation of moral inversion with bland equanimity - a situation in which the goods and bads, rewards and punishments, official supports and persecutions of sexuality have been turned on their heads... and yet this unprecedented ethos elicits little more than a shrug or a grin from the masses.

It looks very much as if the sexual revolution has been pushing at an open door - and yet, in world historical terms we are in uncharted territory: there never has been a society like ours, now, in which sexual transgression (according to world historical consensus) has been so actively-endorsed at every level from mass media and the arts, to government policy and the workplace.

This is utterly remarkable - yet clearly it is not viscerally regarded as remarkable - it is, more or less, accepted.


Why is the extraordinary situation of the sexual revolution accepted so placidly, when it is so extraordinary? Clearly there must be unprecedented factors at work, things that have never before been operative.

I think there are two main plausible candidates: Irreligion and genetic damage.

1. Irrelegion

Irreligion refers to the unprecedented state of incremental mass apostasy from Christianity. We live in a world where religion is not just absent from, but excluded from , the public sphere - and this is something new in human history. Irreligion means that there is no reason - except personal preference, which is labile and malleable - not to do anything.

This means that instinctive feelings of approval or disapproval cannot be ordered; cannot even be rationally discussed - people feel unsure, unconfident; modern people therefore are demotivated, lack the courage of their convictions, and seem unable coherently to oppose anything being imposed from above.

2. Mutation accumulation.

But the lack of resistance to the sexual revolution seems even more profound than this. The impression is not one of a mass of passive people whose instinctive valuations are being violated but lack the clarity and courage to respond; but instead of people whose sexual instincts are absent, weak or disordered - and therefore see no reason not to go along with whatever sexual innovation is being advocated.

The impression is therefore that the mass of people are suffering from a mass of sexual pathologies - such that sexuality is - in multiple ways - weakened, labile, misdirected, futile.

Is this plausible? Yes. There are powerful theoretical grounds for assuming that since the industrial revolution, the extreme reduction in natural selection on humans (mainly, but not entirely, due to reduction of child mortality rates from more-than-half to almost none) must have led to a generation-by-generation accumulation of deleterious genetic mutations - which would be expected to damage social and sexual adaptations before anything else.


Why sexuality?

Because the development of adaptive sexuality is an extremely complex and multi-step linear sequence, with many things that can (and do) go wrong at every step - and only if every step in the sequence has gone well, will sexuality be optimally adaptive.

There is genetics; then (controlled by the genes) multiple waves of multiple hormone-induced changes - primarily in the womb during the earliest and most fundamental development, and secondarily at adolescence and the development of fertility; there are calibrations to the early environment ('life history'), critical learning experiences and adaptations to the socio-political system and others... all of which must successfully be negotiated for sexuality to be 'normal'.

This complex sequentiality of development is why sexuality is a function where genetic damage first and most sensitively shows-up.


It might be asked how sexual development could possible be so fragile, considering that - until now - the human species has not died out but has indeed grown in numbers!

The answer is that the errors in sexual development were weeded-out generation upon generation - by mortality rates being heaviest, and near total, among the most genetically damaged in the first place; then by sexual selection and assortative mating as a kind of back-stop - whereby the most genetically-healthy would choose each other and reproduce to yield (mostly) viable offspring - and the least genetically-healthy would be left-out; or mate to yield (mostly) non-viable offspring.

The harshnness and rigour of this historical selection process is hard to exaggerate. It used to be near universal, yet in the past 200 years it has been incrementally all-but eliminated from ever-more of the world.

Thereby the failures of normal sexual development would continuously be being-'purged' from the gene pool - and this was necessary because they were continually incident (mostly due to genetics, but also due to the environment).


Our current situation is merely the lag phase in which genetic damage is relatively subtle and apparent mainly in sexual and social behaviour; and it will be followed by more and more obvious and severe dysfunctionalities.

The seeming slowness of sexual and social change - operating over a decades timescale - is merely an artefact of the slow generation time of the human species. There have been only about eight generations since the industrial revolution, even in England where it began; and the increasing longevity of humans further buffers apparent change.


So it is plausible that the modern lack of concern at the sexual revolution was enabled, was facilitated, and is more-or-less accepted due to the high prevalence of greater-or-lesser types and quantities of disordered sexuality in the population at large.

In sum, it seems probable that almost everybody in the modern West, and indeed most of the rest of the world (the rapidity of change is likely to vary by population and location) is suffering from genetically-disordered sexuality of varying degrees and types; caused by the unique conditions of the post-industrial revolution on ameliorating the harshness of human selection.

And this would explain how it is that the truly extraordinary and unprecedented modern situation with respect to Western sexuality has met with so little response or resistance.

Note: these ideas were developed in conversation and collaboration with Michael A Woodley of Menie. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Personality is buffered against dysgenic change, compared with average population intelligence


In sum: Although both intelligence and personality differences (within a population) are highly heritable - general intelligence is a highly sensitive fitness marker (perhaps the most sensitive); therefore absolute (not differential) intelligence declines with dysgenic change.

In other words average intelligence tracks population average population fitness.

But, since it is highly heritable but not sensitive to fitness, personality should be much more robust to population fitness change.


The work of Geoffrey Miller made clear that general intelligence is a sensitive fitness marker - in other words, high intelligence is a marker (or honest advertisement) of low mutational load.

(Because the brain is a large mutational target, therefore any deleterious mutation has a high probability of affecting brain function - and intelligence is the main summary measure of overall brain function.)

So as the mutational load of a population declines, we would also expect to observe a decline in intelligence - and this is indeed what we find. So average population intelligence (expressed on an absolute scale and measured - for example - by simple reaction times) has been declining for the same period as mutational accumulation has become significant - i.e. since the industrial revolution began sharply to reduce child mortality rates, and the differential mortality rates between the more-intelligent (lower mutational load) and less-intelligent (higher mutational load) went into reverse (with low intelligence becoming associated with higher reproductive success to relatively sustained fertility rates among the less intelligent, ion a context of greatly reduced/ nearly abolished mortality rates).


BUT, although personality differences is approximately as heritable as intelligence, personality is not a sensitive marker of mutational load - although eventually personality would inevitably be affected by the cumulative dysfunctionalities of increasing mutation load.

Thus, personality is relatively buffered against dysgenics.

Therefore, when deleterious genetic mutations are accumulating in a population, we would not expect national personality to change as rapidly as national intelligence will change.

And indeed that seems to be what we observe! English national characteristics seem to have remained similar for several generations - indeed until about the middle of the twentieth century; despite the reduction in English intelligence and the collapse and near-disappearance of English genius.

But nowadays, at last - after several generations of buffering, we are seeing the consequences of mutation accumulation on personality, and on national character; with the English population - on average and en masse - showing many signs of change, and indeed decline into dysfunctionality and overt pathology.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Endogenous Personality... What does it mean? What its importance?

Simply, the inner man - the man whose outlook is inward.

And his importance? That this is the type of a genius -- whether a large sclae, world historical genius - a Shakespeare, a Beethoven or Einstein -- or a local, tribal, town genius whose name is unrecorded (yet who might be the originator of some great anonymous ballad, folk song -- or a technological breakthrough such as the spade, spear-thrower, arch or stirrup).

Such creativity is so rare, so difficult (far more difficult than commonly imagined) that it requires a special kind of mind -- a mind especially designed for this kind of work (inner work).

There need not be many such men -- indeed, there should not be too many, since the necessary mind is relatively unfit for the primary, day-to-day, activities of survival and reproduction of the species. But such men are needed -- sooner or later, from time to time.

When the Endogenous Personality is combined with a special ability we get a genius - of greatness in proportion to the ability.

But even on its own, even with near-average special ability - and although less-powerfully useful, the Endogenous Personality brings - provides - a special angle, a perspective, to the problems of group living.

The EP will stay focused on a problem longer than most men -- he will look at the problem in a different way -- he will deploy different (more inward) procedures of understanding -- more detached, more abstracting. Hence he is more likely to see something new -- useful in a new and different way.

His stance is less personal -- he stands back somewhat -- he sees the problme in a wide scope exactly because he sees the problem detached from his personal concerns (for instance with status, sex, wealth) - which is how most men see problems: just a a means to that end.

The inner man gets the greatest satisfaction from inner work - it is what he most wants to do.


Further reading:

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Intelligence should be expressed as IQ Age (in children), because IQ scores expressed on a percentile basis *will* confuse a stupid person (and many people who need to interpret IQ scores are inevitably going to be stupid)

I recently heard an actual example of the way that IQ scores, expressed as they currently are - in terms of percentiles, will confuse a stupid person.

The percentile expression is simply too complex, mathematical and abstract for general usage; and too incomprehensible to serve their proper function. Instead, intelligence (in children) should be expressed as IQ Age

In my real life example; a headmistress assumed that an eight year old child with an IQ of 120 should be moved up two classes to be taught with ten year olds; then the Head could not understand why the eight year old child was struggling to keep up in the new class.

Having previously been at the top of the class among 8 year olds, the moved-child was now scoring below average in class tests compared with ten year olds. Since the child's class position had plummeted, the Head thought that the fault must lie with the class teacher.


It emerged that the headmistress believed that children of all ages that had a measured IQ of 120 were of the same cognitive ability, and should be taught together.

When an attempt was made to explain the true meaning of IQ 120, the Head simply could not understand, and dismissed the objection.

Now, clearly this was an unintelligent head teacher, but the fact is that some head teachers are unintelligent - and they simply cannot understand the true explanation of how IQ scores are generated, and what they mean.


But, all is not lost, because even unintelligent head teachers can understand 'Reading Age' because it is much easier to understand. If the Reading Age of an 8 year old is 9, then it means that the 8 year old can read as well as the average 9 year old.

So, if such an 8 year old child was put up one class to be taught with 9 year olds, then their reading performance would be average for that class; but if the child was put up two classes to be taught among 10 year olds, their reading performance would be below average for that class.

So if an 8 year old with an IQ of about 120 instead had their intelligence expressed as IQ Age equivalent to the Reading Age; then the head teacher would have been told:

"This eight year old has an IQ Age of (about) nine-and-a-half."

The Head would then have understood that when the IQ 120 child was moved to a class of ten year olds, that child would be expected to perform at a lower than average level (because an IQ Age of about 9.5 is obviously less than the class age of 10).


Note: Of course this IQ Age method of expressing IQ is not possible among adults, or for older children substantially above average intelligence, because IQ scores level out at about age 16 for women and 18 for men.

This means that there is an age and intelligence ceiling on the IQ Age measure.

But the main and most important use of IQ testing is among younger children - so this would not be much of a problem in practice.

And, if necessary, a combination method could be used - so a 16 year old girl with an IQ of 125, could be said to have an IQ Age of 'Plus 25%' or something like that.

But among children up to about 13-14, and not of super-high intelligence, IQ Age would be a superior expression. The advantages of clarity and comprehensibility surely outweigh the limitations.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

How to tell if someone has the Endogenous personality type - autonomy, motivation and intelligence

The Endogenous Personality refers to someone who is inner-orientated: inner-directed, inner-driven, inner-motivated; one who uses inner modes of thinking, inner evaluations; one who is to a high degree autonomous, self-sufficient; one who is relatively indifferent to social pressures, influences and inducements.

The suggestion is that this personality complex is associated with genuine creativity and - in rare instances, with creative genius.

But how can you tell if someone has the Endogenous personality type, rather than just being socially-impaired for some reason?


1. Motivation

The Endogenous person has a strong inner motivation. He does not avoid groups and social responsibilities simply from lack of interest, because he wants to do nothing; but because hewants to 'do his own thing', because he is powerfully interested in some thing, driven to do something. His mind is often full with plans and aims and aspirations.

These may or may come come to fruition - some people with an Endogenous personality are late-developers, and may superficially seem to be adrift, or to change direction too frequently to become successful; but they are actually trying to find their subject, trying to find their destiny.

For example Francis Crick started and gave-up two PhDs, and worked on naval research before he found what he 'should' have been doing in his mid-thirties, and co-discovered the structure of DNA.

2. Intelligence

The Endogenous personality has high intelligence. This may be apparent through good exam results in a 'g'-loaded evaluation - but may require formal intelligence testing to detect, if the individual has either suffered from poor or absent education, or else has lacks the conscientiousness to apply himself to studies.

High intelligence is a sign of having an overall efficient, fast-processing brain - with (as Geoffrey Miller has pointed-out) a minimal load of deleterious mutations, and indicates that the individual's lack of interest in social or sexual matters is not simply part of having a damaged brain, but a matter of having developmentally a differently-and-inner-orientated focus.

The idea is that the Endogenous personality evolved indirectly to benefit the reproductive success of a group - so the Endogenous personality type should not be regarded as a pathology or a defect state, but as being evolutionarily optimized for creative innovation and problem-solving; therefore he would be expected to have the necessary enhanced abilities for this purpose.


So, the Endogenous personality may be recognized not just by their relative autonomy - that is, their lack of need for social validation and consequent uninterest in social and sexual matters -  but also by their high intelligence and positive motivation to do (or to find) ... whatever it is that they are equipped by their nature to do.

In sum, the Endogenous personality is (at minimum) a triad of autonomous self-sufficiency, inner-motivation and intelligence.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A critique of functional brain imaging (1995)

This is extracted from an un-published essay I wrote in 1995 named A manifesto for research in cognitive neuropsychiatry, with additional commentary from 1996.

I have corrected a few phrases and added a few sub-heading, but made no substantive changes.

19 years later, I can only observe "I was right".


A Critique of Functional Brain Imaging, 1995
by Bruce G Charlton
School of Psychology, Newcastle University, England 

Structure-Function correlations
One of the most fruitful constraints in biology has been the assumption of correlations between structure and function. This assumption is valid only when structure is examined at the appropriate level; and may be obscured by inter-subject differences in developmental history, age, coincident disease etc. Furthermore, the necessary scale of analysis to reveal an association is not always obvious.

Nonetheless, a useful degree of functional localization has been described for many neuroanatomical scales in the brain ranging from the basic divisions between primitive fore-, mid-, and hind-brain to the tendency of individual cells to respond to specific classes of visual information (Zeki, 1993).

The existence of structure-function correlations is not surprising given an understanding of natural selection. Newly-evolved functions usually require appropriately-modified structures: so that a cognitive adaptation usually needs a specifically constructed neural circuitry to perform novel computations.

And because natural selection must produce a reproductive advantage for each evolutionary change (Dawkins, 1987) , this limits evolution to an incremental, stepwise modification of the parameters of existing neural circuitry. Redesigning the brain from scratch is not an option, and ‘rewiring’ of the brain is therefore piecemeal and additive, rather than radical and substitutive.  

Hence the neocortex has evolved many additional stages of complexity to its hierarchy of processing throughout evolutionary history. New structural/ functional specializations have typically been accommodated by lateral expansion of the surface of the cortex (Barton & Dunbar, 1997). Each distinct intermediate cognitive process tends to be functionally localized to a cortical area; the integrity of which area is necessary for performance of a particular class of inferential reasoning tasks; and disruption to which area is sufficient to impair performance of this class of tasks.  

The proper purpose of functional brain imaging
The purpose of imaging in cognitive research is therefore to fractionate function by displaying the location and sequence of activation in he brain structures which are necessary for performance of specific stages in cognitive processing (Jacobs & Carr, 1995). A method is therefore required that discriminates neural activity at an adequately precise level of both spatial and temporal resolution (Kosslyn, 1994).

Such an imaging technology could potentially demonstrate both the modularity of intermediate level processes, and the number of steps of cognitive processing within each of these pathways.

Functional imaging might then constrain theories of cognitive functioning, yielding a template of the number of modules, the number of discrete processing steps within modules and the nature of the temporal inter-relationship between these processes.

Brain imaging would, in a sense, provide a flow diagram comprising ‘boxes’ with ‘arrows’ between them: it would remain for cognitive psychology to fill the boxes by defining the nature of processing at each locus.

Inadequate spatial and temporal resolution of functional brain imaging
It is uncertain exactly what level of spatial resolution is required of an imaging technique to accomplish such fractionation, because the necessary size of neural structures needed for intermediate processing is not yet properly established (probably, the more complex the computational task, the larger the necessary size of neural circuitry).

However, many specialized cortical areas are some millimetres in diameter, so a resolution of at least tenths of a millimetre would seem to be necessary.

And temporal recording of neural activity would need millisecond resolution in order to discriminate the steps of neural activation involved in cognitive processing.

Unfortunately, none of the currently available techniques for functional imaging of the brain are able to provide the minimum necessary structural and functional discrimination of neural activation.

Magneto-encephalography (MEG) can so far attain this temporal resolution only for restricted cortical regions, and in situations where (probably) thousands of orientated neurons are operating synchronously (Naatanen et al, 1994).

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) has low spatial resolution and very low temporal resolution, and visualizes bllod flow changes – which are a crude, and probably unreliable, proxy measure of neural activation (Posner & Raichle, 1994).

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) probably has adequate spatial resolution, but cannot form images rapidly enough to resolve cognitive processes; and also uses proxy measures of neural activaty (Kosslyn, 1994).

PET and fMRI should, therefore, be considered as yielding proxy measures of brain anatomy averaged over time, rather than revealing sequences of neural activity corresponding to cognitive function.

Electroencephalography (EEG), by contrast, can demonstrate brain activation events in real-time; but even in its modern ‘high resolution’ form, the technique provides only a very blurred, two-dimensional structural image with a centimetre level of spatial resolution (Gevins at al, 1995).

Functional Brain Imaging - an enumeration of misleading artefacts
The present practice of disregarding the systematic limitations of existing functional imaging, and using techniques such as PET to explore cognitive functioning, is a dubious practice.

The intrinsic tendency of low-resolution techniques of imaging to mislead is exacerbated by the practice of constructing images using ‘subtraction’ techniques, averaging of repeated trials, and the pooling of patients in (often diagnostic) group studies (Posner & Raichle, 1994). Presumably, investigators believe (but without evidence or testing the assumption) that such procedures simply remove ‘noise’ and thereby enhance precision and sensitivity.

However, given the complexity and dynamic, non-repeating nature of brain states, it is almost certain that investigators are pooling systematically-different instances. A comparison of single case, real time data from MEG with averaged images from groups reveals highly significant averaging effects with time and across groups (personal communication, Andreas A Ioannides, 6. 12. 95).

Despite the proliferation of high status publications in the field of functional brain imaging; it therefore remains entirely possible that the results reported so far represent little more than an enumeration of artefacts.


  • Excerpt from note added in 1996:
[Functional brain] imaging has not ‘yet’ contributed anything of significance to the understanding of human psychology – despite the billions of pounds pent on it and the numbers of papers published into journals.

And I mean nothing at all.

Under the hype, the published work is merely fourth-rate, stamp-collecting, pre-science; pumped-up to high prestige by the cost of the technology and the attractiveness of its pictures.

  • Further note added today, 18 years later:
Nothing to add to, or subtract from, the above. Functional brain imaging was a successful scam for extracting funding; a quarter century  of which contributed nothing substantive to science, and grossly misallocated prestige away from real science and into an assortment of deluded and dishonest careerist confidence tricksters.



Barton R& Dunbar R. (1997). Evolution of the social brain. In RW Byrne, A Whiten (Editors) Machiavellian Intelligence II. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

Dawkins R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Logmans: London.

Gevins A et al. (1995). Mapping brain function with modern high-resolution electroencephalography. Trends in Neurosciences (TINS). 18: 429-436.

Kosslyn SM. (1994). Image and Brain. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA.

Naatanen R et al. (1994). Magnetoencephalography in studies of human cognitive brain function. Trends in Neurosciences (TINS). 17: 389-395.

Posner MI. (1994). Images of Mind. Scientific American Library: New York.

Zeki S. (1993). A Vision of the Brain. Blackwell: Oxford.

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Endogenous personality - its definition, paradox and evolutionary roots in group selection

Endogenous = Inner-generated, arising from within (in contrast to be externally-caused or 'Exogenous')

The Endogenous Personality is a term I have devised for the type of personality characteristic of a genius: the personality of one who is inner-orientated: inner-directed, inner-driven, inner-motivated; one who uses inner modes of thinking, inner evaluations; one who is to a high degree autonomous, self-sufficient; one who is relatively indifferent to social pressures, influences and inducements.

The Endogenous personality is always rare and exceptional, and much more often a man than a woman (but there certainly are women with the Endogenous personality).

The contrast is with the Exogenous personality - who are most people. These are orientated toward the environment, particularly the social environment; people who want more than anything else social (including sexual) status, success; people who perceptions are directed outwards - and who try to align their behaviour with group norms.


The Paradox

The Paradox of the Endogenous personality is that despite their relative indifference to socio-sexual imperatives; they are (in evolutionary terms) evolved to serve the group.

The Paradox is that only an inner-orientated personality can be sufficiently independent of the social consensus so as to be able to change the social consensus - when that is needed.


Group selection of the Endogenous personality.

In effect, and on average, the Endogenous personality sacrifices their own differential reproductive success (including their inclusive fitness, the reproductive success of their closer kin), to favour the reproductive success of the group.

The group are - in broad terms - an extended family; and the growth of the group may indeed favour the kin of the Endogenous personality - but this expansion would not necessarily benefit close kin more than remote relations - and the close kin typically have to bear the costs of supporting the Endogenous personality.

The function of the Endogenous personality is to solve problems which arise from group conflict.

Group conflict includes situations in which the individual is dependent on the group, and when the group is under extreme pressure from the 'environment'. A situation in which only the group as a group (and not individual - extended - families), can survive a harsh environment.

The environment includes both natural and social environments. Natural environmental pressure could be extreme temperatures (hot or cold), marked seasonality of food availability, predation from large animals... Social environmental pressure could include group versus group conflicts ('warfare') driven by factors like competition for land or other finite resources.


The Endogenous personality offers the possibility (but there is no guarantee) of a 'breakthrough' - a novel solution to a potentially-fatal social problem - e.g. the prospect of annihilation by the environment or another group unless there is a breakthrough; some new technology, some unifying art or religion, some way of extracting more resources per unit area, some new weapon or defense...

The proper social role of the Endogenous personality is not as leader (indeed, the Endogenous personality should be excluded from leadership); but a type of intuitive/ inspired 'adviser' of rulers.

Adviser-of-rulers is a term which should be taken to include various types of prophet, shaman, genius, wizard, hermit, and holy fool - the Socrates of the early Platonic dialogues is an historical example as is Diogenes the Cynic and the Fools for Christ who rebuked and shamed the Tsars; Merlin the Wizard is a legendary example; Gandalf the Grey is a 'fictional' example.

These are extremes; but the description Endogenous personality and of an 'inner orientation' also applies to most historical examples of creative genius.


The Endogenous personality - therefore - does not (as most Men) seek primarily for social, sexual or economic success; instead the Endogenous personality wants to live by his inner imperatives.

The way it is supposed-to-work, the 'deal', the 'social contract'; is that the Endogenous personality, by his non-social orientation, is working for the benefit of society.

His 'reward' is simply to be allowed, or - better - actively enabled, to have the minimal necessary sustenance, psychological support (principally being 'left alone' and not harassed or molested; but ideally sustained by his family, spouse, patron or the like)... the be somehow provided-with the time and space and wherewithal to do his work and communicate the outcome.

For the endogenous personality, this is its own reward.


In return, the Endogenous personality should not expect (although he might, by chance, get) social esteem, wealth, sexual success... Often he may need to be highly solitary, ascetic, celibate. He should not seek, and should try not to accept, leadership positions, or administrative responsibilities.  


One final thing remains to be said. The Endogenous personality can be regarded as the psychological environment which allows, and perhaps encourages, visitation by genius.

But - if the genius-visited person becomes corrupted by status, power, sex, dishonesty etc; then this creates an environment hostile to the continued occupancy of genius; and usually the genius will leave.

History is littered with examples of those who were visited by genius, for a while; only for them to betray that genius. And then the genius departs, to leave an ex-genius, an apostate genius, a spoilt genius - who might become a malign and antisocial influence.


Teen genius is mentor-orientated rather than peer-orientated; befriending parents and teachers and authors - rather than having same-age friends

That's it, really...

Monday, 11 May 2015

Visual hallucinations imply 'whole brain' dysfunction; auditory hallucinations not so much

It is well known that 'hearing voices' (when nobody is there) is a common sign of the 'functional psychoses' of schizophrenia, mania and psychotic depression - when patients may appear to be alert and orientated; but that true visual hallucinations are rare except when there is delirium, acute confusional state, 'clouded consciousness' - when the patient is distractible, perplexed, either hyper-excited or drowsy, and disorientated  (does not know where they are, the time or who are the people in their environment).

I suggest that the reason may be related to the necessity for 'global', multi-system brain dysfunction before visual illusions become real and convincing - and this is because humans are highly visual animals such that about half of the brain seems to be involved - in some way or another - with the visual system.

This massive input from the visual system has bee posited as a major driver in the evolution of sleep - a state when eyes are closed and the brain largely cut-off from the environment, presumably to allow internal processing - since an animal's sleep needs seem to correlate with the volume and complexity of its visual input:

This implies that for a person to become convinced that an internally-generated visual illusion is actually real, would require that a great deal of the brain be functioning abnormally, and this would imply a global brain dysfunction with multiple deficits, such as delirium or widespread dementia - which probably is itself exacerbated by delirium:

When only a part of the brain is involved in generating a visual illusion, as happens with some instances of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, the experience is of a visual illusion which is known to be false, not really happening in the environment - i.e. a 'vision', rather than a visual hallucination which is experienced as real.

So a temporal lobe seizure may create a stereotyped 'vision' (probably an activated memory) of small human figures performing actions, rather like a video replay; but this is not experienced as really happening in the environment so it is not a true hallucination.

In other words, when the input from the various parts of the visual system is inconsistent - so that one input contradicts another - then the experience is of an illusion, not an hallucination.

By contrast, the auditory system involves, as I understand, a much smaller proportion of the brain than the visual system. We may infer that in the functional psychoses, a much more localized and partial brain abnormality, involving the totality of auditory regions, may generate auditory material such as voices that are experienced as real because the auditory information in self-consistent, un-contradicted.

The results is that people suffering only from auditory hallucination are more partially impaired, and therefore less globally impaired, than those who suffer from visual hallucinations.


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Creativity and Christianity

I have recently come to regard creativity as second only to love in God's scale of values; perhaps the second-most-important attribute of God; after love. This implies that creativity is perhaps also the second-most-important human value, after love.

The relationship can be clarified by thinking of love as primarily directed towards persons (which is the normal kind of love) or towards values (which is creativity).

This creativity is a consequence of love of non-personal positive values: truth, beauty, virtue, Goodness, harmony - and their subdivisions. So a primarily creative person can be regarded as one whose love is directed at values, rather than persons - in that sense they are devoted primarily to abstractions.

(Creative people are seldom 'good with people', indeed being on average much less interested or influenced by 'other people' than is usual. The opposite also applies as a generality. So, as creative scientists are seldom good with people, scientists who are adept a networking, management and who are interested by groups and committees are seldom creative. The psychological relationship of creativity and sociality is antagonistic.)


Creativity can then be seen as a consequence of loving abstract Goods. Just as love of persons points towards fecundity of persons (family, marriage, friendship) - love of Goods points-towards fecundity of Goods.

(The good creativity of a genius is positive behaviour as a consequence of a love of God's values; the creativity of an evil genius is destructive of The Good: it is a consequence of rejection, often hatred, of God's values.)


Someone who loves literature will want to add to the possibilities of literature; the scientist will want to add to science, the painter to painting; a concert pianist who loves music or  an actor who loves acting will want each and every performance to be a re-creation of music; a teacher who loves teaching will want each lecture to be an unique event growing from that love.

The positive creative impulse or impetus (which may be very variously expressed, and only partially recognized as such) is therefore a natural overflowing of the creative person's love of God's values as expressed in an abstract subject matter.


Most people are relatively uncreative; only a few people are highly creative, and even fewer are primarily creative. This may suggest that God makes most people in hope they will choose to live by love of persons (including Himself) above all (to be "people-persons"); but that God also makes a few people who love God's own values above all (therefore, they are destined not to be people-persons): this creative minority would include most of the real geniuses, whose main life efforts and energies are directed non-socially.

Creativity seems to be (perhaps) the only valid positive spiritual path or 'way' to be solitary, or to 'neglect' fellow Men.

In effect, the dedicated creative person loves God before Man (as is commanded) but this creative love is expressed primarily via love of God's values rather than God's person.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Women geniuses - have there been any new ones discovered in the past fifty years?

It is a tenet of feminist 'scholarship' that there were women geniuses who were neglected; and a large part of feminist scholarship has been dedicated to raising awareness of women geniuses.

That there are women geniuses is clear - examples abound especially in literature; but I do not think feminist scholarship of the past fifty years has come up with a single 'neglected' example of a woman genius.

Instead there has been a combination of the pretence that real women geniuses were 'previously neglected' until feminism came along; plus the hyping of women non-geniuses (such as Hildegard of Bingen as a composer and spiritual writer, the DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin, and playwright Aphra Benn).

But I ask - are there any examples of

1. real women geniuses, who were

2. indeed neglected or unknown, and were

3. re-discovered by feminist scholarship of he past half century?

"I ask merely for information" - as Algernon said in The Importance of Being Earnest; when enquiring why his butler, Lane, had been drinking so much of his master's champagne. Having acted both Lane and Algy, this is a line I recall well.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

What kind of genius for England? (If we could choose.)

For me, it would be a spiritual leader - in essence a religious leader - who could awaken the true spirits of the English people that are now enslaved and confined by the nihilistic mass choice to live according to mass media-enforced secular Leftism.

I don't think any kind of genius scientist, mathematician, engineer, artist, poet, economist, lawyer, politician (etc)- would (even if recognized and taken notice of, which seems unlikely) do more than perpetuate (and probably exacerbate - by their work being misapplied) current problems.

So what kind of person? Ideally some multi-faceted genius who is also a patriotic leader; someone like King Alfred the Great (849-899 AD). That is probably way too much to ask, since there are few if any other men in history who combine political, military, legal and scholarly ability as he did.

But that is the kind of person we need; and it is not clear to me that anybody much less wide-ranging than Alfred would suffice to inspire, encourage and mobilize a crushed and craven people with the right spirit, and get them aiming in the right direction.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Be careful before you wish for more geniuses: you might get what you ask for!

What makes you think you want more geniuses in the West; what makes you think they would improve matters?


Of course, only geniuses could save us from where we are now.

But reflect:

1. We do not want to be saved.

2. We will fight against anyone who offers credible hope of salvation.

3. We will try to corrupt and invert creative genius into destruction.


The genius is a person with a massively amplified and manifold impact - and this also applies to evil geniuses, and to the evil products of genius and the evil misapplication of genius. Thus one single person may generate vast misery, annihilation, demotivation and despair.

Geniuses led to the distinctively great achievements of Western Civilization - also to the bad stuff on a colossal scale: individuals like Rousseau, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao unleashed unprecedented wholesale horror.

And except for Hitler, all these are revered figures among our current ruling elites.


Outside of the politically neutral areas of mathematics and theoretical physics; modern geniuses (and near geniuses) mostly have been and are being systematically ignored (they are the lucky ones) or persecuted, tormented, crushed and corrupted - especially by mass media-generated celebrity culture, mob frenzies and hate-fests.


What makes you think a generous crop of future geniuses (assuming such things were possible; which seems doubtful) would fare any better, or yield any better results?

Are modern conditions better than those which led to the evil and destructive geniuses of the past couple of centuries?

Does our social treatment of recent and current genius lead you to be optimistic?


I do not want more recognized and empowered geniuses - indeed I fear the consequences if there were more high-impact geniuses.

Under prevailing conditions the only high-impact geniuses will be bad geniuses; or geniuses from whom the bad is abstracted and amplified.

First must come repentance - and only somewhere in the far-side of a Christian revival, might there come to exist a situation where genius might reasonably be expected to do more good than harm.


Monday, 23 March 2015

Genius as a perfect storm of synergystic causal factors; golden ages triggered by a coincidence of synergystic geniuses triggering populaton growth

It is possible that genius may be a consequence of a 'perfect storm' of several independent causes coming together rarely. For example high ability (especially general intelligence), high creativity, and strong motivation directed in-line with ability and creativity - these are each relatively rare, and in combination very rare in indeed.

(Plus, there may need to be other factors.)

But the average sub-replacement fertility of geniuses (due to their relatively low interest in social and sexual gratification which is both the reciprocal of their high interest in 'their subject' and also the need to tolerate/ welcome considerable solitude and independence); means that the lineage of a one-off genius will most likely go extinct.


The existence of a single genius therefore probably (usually) does not create any greater chance of a genius to follow - since the number of copies of the causative genes (whatever they are) is no greater after the genius has died than before he was born.

However, when there are several geniuses that happen to be born at the same time, and in the same field - and when this field is one that increases the efficiency or effectiveness of the essentials of human survival and reproduction - e.g. breakthroughs in food production, industrial production, transport, weaponry, social organization... then these several geniuses may enable the total population to grow in such a way that there are more and more copies of the genes which (in rare combinations) lead to genius.


In these circumstances, the existence of several geniuses in a single generation number one may lead to even more geniuses in generation number two; and this amplification could continue if the population continues to expand (and if other factors remained constant).

It is possible that something of this kind happened through the 1700s and the early 1800s in the populations of Western and Central Europe - for example, several or many geniuses emerged in the domain of agriculture and food production from the 1700s in England; and in combination led to an increased productivity per worker and more than doubling the output of food by the mid 1800s - these changes freeing labour for industry and both enabling and kick-starting the industrial revolution.

The result was that the population of England doubled from about 1700 to 1820, which would mean that - all else being equal, there would be twice as many genes for genius in 1820 as there had been in 1700. This would tend to sustain the production of English geniuses, and maintain the 'golden age' of English high achievement.


However. we know that other factors were operating from about 1800 which would tend to reduce the proportion of geniuses in the English population; notably the decline of general intelligence ('g' which is implied by the slowing in reaction times measurable through the twentieth century). These adverse trends were probably due to a combination of differential reproduction against intelligence (an inverse correlation between intelligence and fertility) plus, and probably more importantly, a dysgenic accumulation of deleterious mutations caused by the relation of mutation filtering mostly caused by the sharp decline in child mortality rates.

So, the first effect of the perfect storm of English geniuses was to expand the population and thereby increase the number of English geniuses; but as the generations went by, the adverse selection factors and mutation accumulation would have 'sabotaged' the expansion of geniuses by reducing the average intelligence in the population - and firstly the proportion and then the actual number of people of very high intelligence, so that the number of new geniuses occurring dwindled into again being extremely rare and 'one off'.


Friday, 20 March 2015

What can we, should we, do without geniuses?

World historical geniuses have all-but disappeared from Western civilization - that is is simply a factual observation.

Either we can consider the disappearance due to a decline in intelligence and or creativity and or motivation; or we can consider that the deity has withdrawn genius from the West (because we have so often corrupted and misused it); or both.

But what could we, what should we, do about it?


The problem is that the problems of Western civilization are large, yet we have not enough geniuses to solve them (or else the geniuses are still there; but now unknown, un-empowered, ignored and/or suppressed).

In other words: the problems are significant and multiple, the problems need to be solved - but they cannot be solved at a large scale because we lack the people to do it.

Therefore it seems that the problems can only be solved partially, for instance, melioration and damage limitation rather than cure; or genuine solutions but only on a local and restricted scale.  

In a major-genius-free world, then those who are put forward (hyped and trumpeted), or put themselves forward, as world historical geniuses will be fakes of one sort or another.


The lesson may be analogous or akin to the Small is Beautiful, or 'intermediate technology' message of EF Schumacher: awareness of the need for a smaller scale, a more human scale: more local, more understandable... a preference for the partial and piecemeal.

And a rejection of gigantism and always-growing institutions; the massiveness of media; the world of master narratives, international panaceas, globalization of attitudes; the winner-take-all economy of cash, fame and kudos; and the strategic interconnection, interdependence and mutual subordination of everything.

In a world without genius; either we cultivate our gardens, or else nobody will cultivate any gardens; hence gardens will not be cultivated.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

The incidence of genius from a Christian perspective - when geniuses are just too dangerous to be risked

Since God is good and mortal life has a purpose, it seems reasonable to assume that the disposition of souls into bodies is not a random process; but that on the contrary part of some divine plan.

Therefore, the occurrence of genius is purposive - and this accounts for the destiny of each genius (the direction or path through life he ought to follow - whether or not he chooses to do so, or is prevented by circumstances and the choices of others).

Genius is not hereditary - or hardly-ever so. Rather, genius tends to be born into a family environment of high intelligence and abilities; presumably to provide sufficient nurturance of the necessary type.

The type of genius which God might be presumed to concern himself with, would be those Philosophical or Theological geniuses whose contribution is concerned with ultimate questions of the Human Condition:

In other words, the genius philosophers, theologians, prophets, mystics and saints: those who are intended (by God) to influence Man to (try to) work and live in accordance with God's hopes.

Yet all geniuses are also agents with free will and the capacity to choose; therefore they may (like Saruman) be sent to do a job which they themselves had volunteered and sworn to do - yet (like Saruman) become corrupted away from that job, and instead employ their great gifts against that job.

Thus, there is always the possibility of producing an evil genius instead of what was intended to be a good genius: the philosopher or theologian, the prophet or mystic gone-bad.

Such men are extremely dangerous - since the genius has manifold greater influence than ordinary men; and so we get the likes of Rousseau, Marx, Hitler, Lenin and Mao.


Or, a corrupt society may tend to take the output of a genius whose work included both good and bad - and may select and amplify the bad while neglecting the good.

And so we get the likes of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein; and also the pioneer 'liberal' biblical scholars and theologians over the past couple of centuries (but I am unsure of who are the major names in this field that are likely geniuses; probably Schleiermacher, David Friedrich Strauss, WE Channing; Charles Gore...).

Much the same applies to geniuses of the arts and sciences whose general cultural influence is (or is made) malign; the likes of James Joyce, Picasso, Schoenberg, Samuel Beckett...


It may well be that the rapid decline, and almost complete disappearance, of genius from the second half of the twentieth century was ultimately due to Western society becoming too hazardous a place for geniuses; a place where geniuses are too likely to go bad, to run off the rails.

What applies to geniuses of philosophy and theology applies even more powerfully to geniuses of art, science, politics and the rest of it - because when Man is aiming in the wrong direction then he cannot help but misuse his tools - and the more powerful the tools, the greater the potential for misuse.

So our civilisation stopped being allocated souls of genius.

For our own good.