Re: poly: Heinleinian eugenics

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Thu Feb 26 1998 - 10:27:24 PST

Carl writes:
>It is of interest to consider what traits are worth selecting for. ...
>(3) The trait should not be a positional good. ... Better to just
>not let it get started by banning selection for height.

This is a solid argument, but the tricky part is that most goods that
have a positional component also have substantial functional components
as well. So as usual, "where do we draw the line?"

Height is attractive not just because of the possibility of a job as
a basketball player, but mainly because it is a signal of health and
nutrition in childhood, which correlates with lots of desirable

We already have a vast number of positional goods which we do not now
ban efforts at attaining. I think we need to better understand this
behavior before being very confident of the value of analogous bans
in new areas such as genetic choice.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Thu Feb 26 18:33:57 1998

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