July 28, 2013

Chinese Genetic Research

Wired on Chinese wunderkind Zhao Bowen, who is researching the genetic basis of intelligence (HT: Instapundit):
He and his collaborators, a transnational group of intelligence researchers, fully expect they will succeed in identifying a genetic basis for IQ. They also expect that within a decade their research will be used to screen embryos during in vitro fertilization, boosting the IQ of unborn children by up to 20 points.
The claim must be taken with salt, given the level of BS in cognitive science. However, IMHO it's likely the timetable, not the outcome, which may be wrong. And there is the potential for catastrophe: see Philip K. Dick's Our Friends from Frolix 8.

American religious kooks will not like this at all. They also won't like the opening of the Wired piece:
Zhao Bowen is late for a Satanic heavy metal concert.
(Satanic heavy metal...in Beijing? Really? This ain't your ancestors' Confucian austerity.)

The nation that invented go is putting down chips where they expect the future action to be. Success is not assured, but one wonders whether or if corresponding efforts are proceeding in the West---and whether there would be political pressure to the contrary (the Precautionary Principle in Europe and America, also the religious kooks in the US...talk about strange bedfellows).

Addendum 20130801. When Westerners sailed into Asia centuries ago, they found the locals entangled in religious and political systems that rendered them unable to resist the incursion. How the worm has turned.

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