THE FULFORD FILE: Does Philosopher Nick Bostrom Believe In "Eugenics On Steroids," Or Just Heredity?
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Earlier: The Growth Of Science Denialism: ”Anthropologists Take Up Arms Against ‘Race Science’”

Rebecca Sear [Email her] is an anthropologist who is opposed to science, which she tends to call ”race science,” as noted by Steve Sailer, above.

One of her anti-science quests—to jawbone science journals to retract papers from the late Richard Lynn. As reported in Science Magazine, and quoted by Sailer:

Rebecca Sear, an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is targeting problematic papers. She’s been on a quest to convince journals to retract articles based on widely discredited data from Ulster University psychologist and self-described “scientific racist” Richard Lynn, who died last year. In 2002, Lynn and colleagues published a “national IQ data set” based on IQ tests given in 81 nations, then extrapolated those scores for an additional 104. Among other faults, Lynn’s methods included “wholly” unrepresentative sampling, and cognitive tests of a kind that could not allow valid comparisons between populations, Sear notes. Psychologists and anthropologists alike have roundly described the data as worthless, yet some academic studies still cite them.

Sear contacted the editors or publishers of 12 journals about 14 papers that used Lynn’s data set. Most editors declined to take any action; others added a note of caution to the manuscript but did not retract it. One exception was the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In what Sear described as a “ray of hope,” editors there responded promptly to her complaint about a June 2010 paper linking the worldwide distribution of parasite prevalence to the cognitive variations Lynn claimed to have mapped. They investigated and retracted the paper earlier this month.

She has just sent out this tweet about “eugenics”:

Following up with this Tweet:

Sear is talking about this story, which is about a think tank associated with philosopher Nick Bostrom: ‘Eugenics on steroids’: the toxic and contested legacy of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, by Andrew Anthony, The Guardian, April 28, 2024.

According to the Guardian:

Fifteen months ago Bostrom was forced to issue an apology for comments he’d made in a group email back in 1996, when he was a 23-year-old postgraduate student at the London School of Economics. In the retrieved message Bostrom used the N-word and argued that white people were more intelligent than black people.

The apology did little to placate Bostrom’s critics, not least because he conspicuously failed to withdraw his central contention regarding race and intelligence, and seemed to make a partial defence of eugenics. Although, after an investigation, Oxford University did accept that Bostrom was not a racist, the whole episode left a stain on the institute’s reputation at a time when issues of anti-racism and decolonisation have become critically important to many university departments.

The email was creepily dug up by a guy named Émile P. Torres [Tweet him/Email him], who describes himself as a “philosopher and historian whose work focuses on existential threats to civilization and humanity,” i.e., one of Bostrom’s competitors. (He also describes himself as theirself, et cetera, which suggests he isn’t much of a philosopher.)

He’s the author of Nick Bostrom, Longtermism, and the Eternal Return of Eugenics,, January 23, 2023, which digs up the old email and says this about Bostrom’s philosophy of

longtermism, which emerged out of the effective altruism (EA) movement over the past few years, is eugenics on steroids. On the one hand, many of the same racist, xenophobic, classist and ableist attitudes that animated 20th-century eugenics are found all over the longtermist literature and community. On the other hand, there’s good reason to believe that if the longtermist program were actually implemented by powerful actors in high-income countries, the result would be more or less indistinguishable from what the eugenicists of old hoped to bring about. Societies would homogenize, liberty would be seriously undermined, global inequality would worsen and white supremacy—famously described by Charles Mills as the “unnamed political system that has made the modern world what it is today”—would become even more entrenched than it currently is.

It may be true that “longtermism”—basically the idea of being responsible for future generations—may affect people’s attitude to child-bearing, dysgenics, and so on, but what Bostrom is being accused of believing in is not “eugenics,” which implies planned breeding and/or a ban on reproduction by people with genetic diseases, but genetics, or to put it another way, heredity.

IQ does vary by race, and it does seem to be largely hereditary. That’s just a fact, not the foundation of system of control of reproduction.

n the same way, believing that policies with dysgenic effects may somehow change the future of humanity isn’t believing in ”eugenics,” it’s believing in evolution.

Most actual ”eugenics” in Western society is done by individuals choosing someone to marry that they think will be a good father or mother to their children—I went into this in a 2010 piece titled “Eugenics” Is What Happens When Cousins Don’t Marry.

See also

One of the people who claims to practice this ”choosing a good mother” is former President Donald Trump, who has publicly stated that he feels that if a clever fellow like himself marries beautiful and intelligent women, they’ll have good-looking smart kids. This produced horror at the Huffington Post in 2016:

Trump’s father instilled in him the idea that their family’s success was genetic, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

“The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development,” D’Antonio says in the documentary. “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”

The Huffington Post dug back through the archives and found numerous examples of Trump suggesting that intellect and success are purely genetic qualities and that having “the right genes” gave him his “very good brain.”

This May Be The Most Horrible Thing That Donald Trump Believes| And it just may be the master key to unlocking how he thinks, by Marina Fang and JM Rieger, Huffington Post, September 28, 2016

At the time, I was astounded by this—not because this is what Trump believes, but because it’s what everyone believes. Not believing in it is not believing in heredity, which more like not believing in gravity than it is like not believing in evolution.

In any event, Trump seems to have been right:

James Fulford [Email him] is writer and editor for

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