Scientists discover hundreds of new genes that may affect cognitive ability


Originally published at:


Racists: So you’re saying people with good genes are smarter?
Scientists: Well that’s a gross oversimplif—
Racists: OKgreatthanksbye!


“Hundreds of new genes”, but this one simple trick…


There’s some unfortunate dumbed-down coverage of this that overstates the findings, but it is a remarkable breakthrough nonetheless.

Wait until Charles Murray and the rest of the pseudo-scientific racists get their hands on the findings – then we’ll see dumbed-down.

[Jinx @Brainspore !]


Of course ten years from now when it turns out that black people have an average of 0.2% more of the “smart genes” than white people the racists will have known it was pseudoscience all along.


and I bet it drives doctors crazy.


The racists will have to find something else to brag about. It looks like their pride in having Neanderthaler genes is in jeopardy.


Wait, racists are bragging about Neanderthal genes?

Dammit, first the teabaggers took my Gadsden flag, and now this. I need a gene editor.


Some of them anyway.

Jedidiah Carlson was googling a genetics research paper when he stumbled upon the white nationalist forum Stormfront. Carlson is a graduate student at the University of Michigan, and he is—to be clear—absolutely not a white nationalist. But one link led to another and he ended up reading page after page of Stormfront discussions on the reliability of 23andMe ancestry results and whether Neanderthal interbreeding is the reason for the genetic superiority of whites. Obsession with racial purity is easily channeled, apparently, into an obsession with genetics.


Yeah, what a world, eh?


Well, Neanderthals did have universal health care and seemingly did not object to mixed marriages*. Maybe we all need more Neanderthal DNA.

*For certain values of “marriage”.


Instead of making this discovery about how “Haha My Group Is Better Than Yours”, or “No it’s not, it is all cultural”, maybe we could CRISPR up a nice way to make everybody smarter and longer living with these results?


For a plan designed to help humanity rise above its differences it kind of sounds a bit eugenics-y.


Maybe more Gattaca-ey? Depends on the effects. A pill that makes you 10% smarter and longer lived, available by choice, I’d pop one. 200% smarter and longer lived? Well, that sounds like the haves would be hoarding those pills from the have nots.


My anthropologist buddy says wear marks and muscle attachment points on Neanderthal children’s bones suggest they were brutally overworked by their elders, and there are also indications that some of them were butchered for meat. This rarely makes it into the popular literature.


Gattaca is a movie about eugenics and discrimination.


Sorry, Eugenics is a rather broad term. Okay, so how do you feel about people getting an education to get smarter? Eating healthy to live longer? Does it spoil it to make it easy to pop a pill?


Eugenics is, by definition, a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population.

Education and nutrition aren’t about breeding a new generation of genetically superior super-humans, they’re about giving humanity opportunities to make the best of what we are.



See, Eugenics always seems to have that whole culling and sterilization thing going on. Perhaps Transhumanism is a better description of making people better than they are versus using discrimination to keep people down.