Tag Archives: selection

Hidden Selection

Stein, R. (2008). Abortions hit lowest number since 1976. Washington Post. January 17, 2008. Available online: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/16/AR2008011603624.html?hpid=topnews.

As someone who believes in the equal worth of every human person, this is good news:

The number of abortions performed in the United States dropped to 1.2 million in 2005 — the lowest level since 1976, according to a new report.

The number of abortions fell at least in part because the proportion of women ending their pregnancies with an abortion dropped 9 percent between 2000 and 2005, hitting the lowest level since 1975, according to a nationwide survey.

Some data:

The total number of abortions among women ages 15 to 44 declined from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2005, an 8 percent drop that continued a trend that began in 1990, when the number of abortions peaked at more than 1.6 million, the survey found. The last time the number of abortions was that low was 1976, when slightly fewer than 1.2 million abortions were performed.

The abortion rate fell from 21.3 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2000 to 19.4 in 2005, a 9 percent decline. That is the lowest since 1974, when the rate was 19.3, and far below the 1981 peak of 29.3.

The abortion rate varies widely around the country, tending to be higher in the Northeast and lower in the South and Midwest. The rate in the District dropped 20 percent but remained higher than that of any state at 54.2. Virginia’s rate fell 9 percent, to 16.5, while Maryland’s rate rose 8 percent, to 31.5.

The proportion of pregnancies ending in abortion also declined, falling from 24.5 percent in 2000 to 22.4 percent in 2005 — a 9 percent drop and down from a high of 30.4 in 1983.

It’d be interesting to see the source of these numbers in more detail.

On first glance, it would appear that abortion is a highly effective informal genetic selection program against political liberals and those of low general intelligence.

Certainly the article implies that “blue states” have higher abortion rates than “red states,” and I would guess the politically conservative (who tend to oppose abortion as a lifestyle choice) practice it less than the politically liberal (who tend to support it as a lifestyle choice). Likewise, as a commonly cited reason for abortion is necessity, I would imagine that abortions are more common among the poor than the rich. As wealth correlates with general intelligence, abortion is thus a eugenics program that increases societal general intelligence across generations.

Development Biology: Even Quicker and Dirtier Than Usual

If you felt that my quick and dirty literature reviews on learning disabled students and ultimatum game were too polished, too coherent, and too well written, this is the post for you! Below the fold are some sloppily thrown together notes, for my benefit only. I’ll try to write an actually readable post later in the day.


Among even the educated public, evolution is a controversial and poorly understood topic (Alter & Nelson, 2002).
Evolutionary psychology is a fruitful research area that generates specific, testable, and interesting hypothes (Buss, 1995).

Except in extreme cases, nature and nurture cannot be seperated (Vetta & Courgeau, 2003). Additionally, new abilities emerge in predictable ways (Carpenter, et al. 1998). “Developmental biology” — a synthesis of information-processing theory and evolutionary psychology — may be the next step in understanding cognitive development (Bjorklund, 1997). Simulations have been used to model information processing theory in childhood art (Burton, 1997).

Humans have inborn, social affections (Hofer, 1987) and physical abilities (Thelen, Ulrich, & Wolff, 1991).Group selection may explain cultural change in as little as five to ten cutires (Soltis, Boyd & Richerson, 1995)..
The view that altruism may be truly altruistic, rather than an expression of genetic or individual selfishness, is gaining ground (Piliavin & Charng, 1990).

Neurobiology and evolutionary biology emerged at around the same time, the 1960s and 1970s (Sokal, 1970).

The issue of group and individual selection is widely debated in adaptionist circles, but group selection theories are more favored in genetic circles (Goodnight & Stevens, 1997).

Six broad categories of genetic-environmental questions exist: the degree to which it affects quantitative variations, the degree to which it influences social structure, the how human populations face selection pressures (Thoday, et al, 1970).

r means growth rate, while K refers to the saturdation density (Kurihara, Shikano, & Toda, 1990).
Interpersonal skills may fall into basic interaction, communication skills, conflict resolution, and team building (De Natale & Russell, 1995).

The origin of multiple intelligiences has been studied by examining the traces of human ancestor and competitor species (Wunn, 2000). Indeed, evidence argues that most of the domains that Gardner originally outlined are actually collections of domains (Visser, Ashton, & Vernon, 2006a; 2006b). A view of modular intelligence that is effected by genetic-environmental interaction has been used to fight racist notions through scholarly literature (Graves & Johnson, 1995). Kinesthetic intelligence may split into fine motor intelligence and whole body intelligence (Gardner, 2006).

Alter, B.J. & Nelson, C.E. (2002). Perspective: Teaching Evolution in Higher Education. Evolution 56(10): 1891-1901.
Bjorklund, D.F. (1997). In Search of a Metatheory for Cognitive Development (Or, Piaget Is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself). Child Development 68(1): 144-148.
Burton, E. (1997). Artificial Innocence: Interactions between the Study of Children’s Drawing and Artificial Intelligence. Leonardo 30(4): 301-309.
Buss, D.M. (1995). Evolutionary Psychology: A New Paradigm for Psychological Science. Psychological Inquiry 6(1): 1-30.
Carpenter, Malinda, et al. (1998). Social Cognition, Joint Attention, and Communicative Competence from 9 to 15 Months of Age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 63(4).
Di Datale, J. J. & Russell, G.S. (1995). Cooperative Learning for Better Performance. Music Educators Journal 82(2): 26-28.
Gardner, H. On failing to grasp the core of MI theory: A response to Visser et al. Intelligence 34(5): 503-505.
Goodnight, C.J. & Stevens, L. (1997). Experimental Studies of Group Selection: What Do They Tell Us About Group Selection in Nature?. The American Naturalist 150: S59-S79.
Graves, J.L., Jr., & Johnson, A. (1995). The Pseudoscience of Psychometry and The Bell Curve. The Journal of Negro Education 64(3): 277-294.
Hofer, M.A. (1987). . Early Social Relationships: A Psychobiologist’s View. Child Development 58(#): 633-647.
Kurihara, Y., Shikano, S., & Toda, M. (1990). Trade-Off between Interspecific Competitive Ability and Growth Rate in Bacteria. Ecolony 71(2): 645-650.
Pilviavin, J.A. & Charng, H. Altruism: A Review of Recent Theory and Research. Annual Review of Sociology 16: 27-65.
Sokal, R.R. (1970). Another New Biology. BioScience 20(3): 152-159.
Soltis, J., Boyd, R., & Richerson, P.J. (1995). Can Group-Functional Behaviors Evolve by Culturla Group Selection: An Empirical Test. Current Anthropology 36(3): 473-494.
Thelen, E., Ulrich, B.D., & Wolff, P.H. (1991). Hidden Skills: A Dynamic Systems Analysis of Treadmill Stepping during the First Year. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 56(1).
Thoday, J.M. (1970). The Interrelation between Genetics and the Social Sciences. Population Studies 24: 49-54.
Wunn, Ina. (2000). Beginning of Religion. Numen 47(4): 417-452.
Vetta, A. & Courgeau, D. (2003). Demographic Behaviour and Behaviour Genetics. Population (English Edition, 2002-) 55(4/5): 401-428.
Visser, B.A., Ashton, M.C., & Vernon, P.A. (2006a). Beyond g: Putting multiple intelligences theory to the test. Intelligence 34(5): 487-502.
Visser, B.A., Ashton, M.C., & Vernon, P.A. (2006b). g and the measurement of Multiple Intelligences: A response to Gardner. Intelligence 34(5): 507-510.