What Can We Learn From Dog Eugenics?
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Genetic engineering, in its many varieties, is slowly becoming feasible. For example, last month the FDA approved two gene therapies for treating already born people with sickle cell disease.

Medical progress in recent decades has been slower than in the heroic 1850-1950 age, but it’s likely to continue grinding forward. But what will people choose to do with their new choices?

Many have long assumed, with hope or dread, that parents will want to maximize their children’s IQ.

But is that realistic?

For example, how many people buy Border Collies, a breed that winds up near the top of most tables of dog intelligence?

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In my neighborhood, at least, Border Collies are not very common.

Or consider the German Shepherd, one of the crowning achievements of 19th century dog breeding. In the 125 years or so since the quite intelligent German Shepherd breed was established, have dog breeders continued to work tirelessly to raise its IQ ever further?


Instead, they’ve tried to make the German Shepherd look even cooler, according to their own peculiar tastes, by making its back legs ever shorter than its front legs.

Similarly, the Collie was once seen as the dog equivalent of its Scots breeders, who were possibly the best businessmen of the late 19th century. In 1898, Mark Twain, after spending 18 months in Vienna and meeting Sigmund Freud and many others, opined that the Jews were the best businessmen in most parts of the world, except, of course, in Scotland:

There are a few Jews in Glasgow, and one in Aberdeen; but that is because they can’t earn enough to get away. The Scotch pay themselves that compliment, but it is authentic.

But Collies haven’t been rescuing Timmy from the well much lately because Collie breeders have decided that narrow skulls look cool, and narrow skulls, according to high-functioning autistic college professor Temple Grandin, mandate narrow minds.

My guess is that dog breeding has gone downscale over the last 150 years or so. Why? Well, because killing puppies who aren’t up to the desired standard isn’t something that Americans with advanced degrees feel like making their hobby anymore.

Breeding used to be a prestigious hobby among the family and friends of Charles Darwin. These days, however, the title of the TV show Pit Bulls and Parolees suggests the demographic base that’s trying to evolve the American Bully XL into the American Bully XXL:

So, it seems more likely that American parents, when endowed with eugenic superpowers, will instead tend to choose whatever stupid thing their peer group thinks look cool for their kids at the moment.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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