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June 14, 2003


There is an interview with John Maynard Smith in the current issue of New Scientist (14 June). Among other things, he says:

"Eugenics is a dirty word, but I don't think it should be. I think we are going to have to think quite seriously about it. The words 'eugenics' and 'fascism' are regarded as almost synonymous and I think that's just plain silly".

He also reveals that he has 'just finished' writing a book on the evolution of animal signals. But he says he is currently 'working on tuberculosis. There are a number of problems that arise from the evolution of antibiotic resistance'.

He also thinks the most exciting issues in evolutionary biology concern the theory of development. He believes there is now enough detailed information on developmental processes to begin work on a theory of the genetic regulation of development, by analogy with computer programming. 'It's tremendously exciting! If I were 40 years younger, this is what I would be doing.'

John Maynard Smith is 83.


Posted by David B at 06:52 AM

we do 'eugenics' everyday when we evaluate partners that we might want to have children with. the key is to futher empower the individual rather than allowing the state to stick their noses into the business of private citizens. as an example, i think it's repulsive the way the media talked about the women who was going to have early onset alzheimers and tested her eggs to make sure she didn't pass it on as if she was a freak going against nature. after all, the media wouldn't speak in such a fashion about a traditionalist catholic couple that chose to continue a pregnancy that they knew would end in a child that had anencephaly....

i'm not saying that the collective has no interest-but the burden should be put upon groups to show how they must intervene in individual decisions.

Posted by: razib at June 14, 2003 12:25 PM

link to the interview.


The stuff he says about game theory and religion kinda wakes up the connection again in my mind. Religion as a evolutionary strategy etc..

Posted by: Stephen at June 17, 2003 12:39 AM