Eloi & Morlocks

Recent paper (h/t @whyvert).

Kim, Yuri, and James J. Lee. 2018. “The Genetics of Human Fertility.Current Opinion in Psychology 27 (August): 41–45.

There’s basically two classes of people having more kids:

Overall, there is a suggestion of two different reproductive strategies proving to be successful in modern Western societies:

(1) a strategy associated with socially conservative values, including a high commitment to the bearing of children within marriage; and
(2) a strategy associated with antisocial behavior, early sexual experimentation, a variety of sexual partners, low educational attainment, low commitment to marriage, haphazard pregnancies, and indifference to politics. [AK: I.e., the People of Walmart]

Interesting to see who will win out by the time of the Age of Malthusian Industrialism. (Certainly the former would be more successful if/when Malthusian conditions return).

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Imagine thinking that eugenics is a bad thign

  2. ImmortalRationalist says

    In the Age of Malthusian Industrialism, what do you think is the probability that there will be another pandemic on par with the Black Death in the 1300s? With a population in the tens of billions living in the most densely populated conditions in history, meaning more chances for new diseases to appear/mutate, on top of intercontinental travel, the potential for bioterrorism, antibiotic resistance, and declining IQs, the prospect of such a pandemic killing off a sizeable portion of the world’s population in the future doesn’t sound that unlikely.

  3. Eloi would be the childless naive pampered liberals, though, not the traditional prosperous conservatives like Mormons or our twinkie. The Morlocks wouldn’t stand a chance against them.

  4. Yes, that plus the end of antibiotic resistance (as seems logical in a technologically stagnant world) means that disease may well be the most important check on population.

  5. How will bioethics play into this, assuming that we won’t be able to feed the bioethicists to packs of feral dogs?

    I think the underclass will have greater risk tolerance and incentives to engage in biomechanical and genetic augmentations that will decide the future of humanity, relative to the socially conservative upper class. Sure, it won’t be John Hopkins University grade, but John Hopkins University will spend next few centuries writing bioethics philosophical poems and not doing much else. Meanwhile, in a Hong Kong chop shop where you can pick up a spare kidney no questions asked, they will be selling eyeballs that see in infrared.

    I mean, if you are getting a tattoo, why not make it out of a solar cell film that will generate electricity? If you are already getting breast implants, why not install a neuro linked computer in the silicone bag so you can play Candy Crush while you sleep? If you are already having a meth baby, why not augment him so that he is radiation resistant and glows in the dark. Also boost his calcium retention to make teeth look better. (We will need both of those genetic modifications for long range space exploration, and meth people might be good terrestrial market).

    I see transhumanism arriving via lifestyle accessories, and I think lower class adoption rates will be higher than upper class, if you get the marketing right. If that’s the case, I can see lower class leapfrogging the evolutionary limits ahead of the conservative elite.

  6. The Morlocks wouldn’t stand a chance against them.

    Why not?

  7. if you get the marketing right. If that’s the case, I can see lower class leapfrogging the evolutionary limits ahead of the conservative elite.

    I don’t know. Transhumanist practices that help humans with life extension sound expensive for one, and secondly proles don’t often expend much interest today in simple things that can already help live longer than normal life expectancies: diet, supplements, exercise. These are already more in the purview of upper class folks. I think marketing activities for extending life expectancy will be targeted towards the upper classes, as it already is being done – for those that already have an inclination towards a healthy lifestyle.

  8. Hippopotamusdrome says

    The Gene Bomb

    is a 1996 book by David E. Comings, self-published by Hope Press, that puts forth the theory that higher education and advanced technology may unintentionally favor the selection of genes that increase the likelihood of ADHD, autism, drug addiction, learning disorders, and behavior problems. Comings claims that the prevalence of these disorders is rising and I.Q. is decreasing; others argue that other factors may be responsible, including increased detection of these disorders.[1] He claims that society is inadvertently creating delays for the highly educated that reduce their reproductivity and causes them to have children later in life, thus raising the odds of certain disorders like autism. On the other hand, he claims that those having learning disorders tend to drop out of school earlier and have more children, thus passing on learning disorders at a higher rate. Environmental and societal factors are usually accepted as the cause, but Comings argues the opposite.[2]

  9. Life extension doesn’t translate into evolutionary success though, quite the opposite actually. When humans gain ability to breed at age 70, or computer brain transplants are invented, maybe, but not until then. To win at evolution, you need to breed the young and kill the old. Insects have it right.

    Otherwise you end up like Japan. I strongly recommend reading up on mental health developments in Japan, it is on one hand kinda funny, but on the other, totally horrific.

    Japan’s upshot – they are very healthy, and have good healthcare, and live long, healthy lifestyle, just like you say. Rich Japanese do all this even better, and live even longer than average. Makes sense.

    Well, just because your body can hack it, after certain age, doesn’t mean your mind can. Instead of dying from heart attacks and diabetes, Japanese refuse to die and their brain breaks down and they get Alzheimers, dementia, and other brain disorders that we cant cure.

    Japan is literally going insane. And the richer you are, the longer you live, and the more demented you get. Not only is this horrific, this is also a problem for wealth management funds – what do you with people who have trillions of dollars in their pockets, yet are incapable of basic mental functions?

    This dynamic is well worth paying attention to this century.

  10. Japan is literally going insane. And the richer you are, the longer you live, and the more demented you get. Not only is this horrific, this is also a problem for wealth management funds – what do you with people who have trillions of dollars in their pockets, yet are incapable of basic mental functions?

    A very related point that I’ve brought up at this blog before is the quite existential problem of people living quite long lives, but till find no meaning in it. It’s not only mental functions that degenerate as we age, but even with the best of transhumanist practices, physical functions will also diminish, albeit at a slower rate. There are no Mr. Olympias slated to reach the exalted throne at age 130? Read this great piece provided by the Onion and see if you don’t find yourself agreeing with the great sarcasm presented:

    When administered high doses of the hormone over a seven-month period, Dermott showed such rapid improvement that doctors now estimate he will be able to return to his soul-crushing, spiritually hollow toil within as little as three months.

    “I was bedridden, just waiting to die,” Dermott told reporters. “But now, they tell me I can go back to that same dock where I’ve already wasted almost 20 years of my life, and waste the rest of it while waiting to die there instead.”


  11. Haha, yes, Onion is great. When it comes to longevity, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. And you won’t like that at all.

  12. Plenty of people can live long lives with meaning. I recall reading a psychology textbook with a passage describing people in societies where extreme old age (>100 old) is common. It mentioned Abkhazia, which apparently has a massive amount of centenarians, and discussed how the 100+ year old Abkhazians seemed perfectly upbeat. Their happiness was explained as being the result of a culture that respects elders.

    Not to say that I disagree with you completely, but this isn’t necessarily a universal problem.

  13. I had in mind people living in Western societies, where life extension will no doubt gain momentum before anywhere else on the planet. I’m pretty sure that Yuri & Lee’s study doesn’t correlate well to the siuation in Bangladesh or Somalia.

  14. In that case I agree, living to be as old as Moses probably wouldn’t be so pleasant in the West. If I were somehow to survive to that age, I would probably prefer to live somewhere else.

  15. Two reproductive strategies – this is one of the reasons UBI might not be a such a good idea.

  16. Philip Owen says

    I tried to get funding for a subcutaneous solar cell a couple of months ago. It enables/reduces costs & risks for a lot of medical devices.

    Good piece.

  17. I hope you get funding – this sort of stuff is very important for the future of humanity.

  18. Kim, Yuri, and James J. Lee. 2018. “The Genetics of Human Fertility.” Current Opinion in Psychology 27 (August): 41–45.

    Yuri is a female Asian name. Very interesting.

    Anyway, studies such as this one should motivate liberals to breed more and also motivate us to develop IQ-enhancing technology such as embryo selection for intelligence and gene editing.

  19. Overcrowded atmospheres are more susceptible to disease, no? I seem to recall previously reading that people in rural areas had a higher chance of surviving the Black Death than people in urban areas had.

  20. Hyperborean says

    Yuri is a female Asian name. Very interesting.

    Why is it interesting?

  21. Morlocks are too dumb and not skillful enough.

  22. Mitchell Porter says

    “Haphazard pregnancies” is a good phrase. But it’s not a new thing, this has always been common among lower classes.

  23. What about bacteriophages instead of antibiotics? Since they’re alive, they could presumably evolve in tandem with the bacteria, if needed. Plus, they’ve been around a long time to learn tricks. And they can be tweaked.


  24. Wells may have been inspired in his choice of the name Morlocks by the existing name Morlachs:

    Morlachs came to mean Christians in the mountains of Lika and Herzegovina; you know, dummies like Nikola Tesla.

  25. Philip Owen says

    No. No funding. No explanation for being the ed down either. The step from research project (plenty of funding) to nascent business (years of speculation on regulatory requirements) is tough in medical devices.

  26. Philip Owen says

    The Morlocks had the skills and brains.

  27. Daniel Chieh says

    By and large, the overwhelming purpose of evidence is to convince people to further do what they are already doing – cognitive dissonance is a real thing. A good thing, as well, as the best purpose of a liberal is to cease to exist.

  28. That sucks. And then Tyler Cowen complains about technological stagnation. Offices of the biomedical technology regulators should be located next to the same feral dog kennel as the offices of the bioethicists.

  29. They had rudimentary skills and some cunning but little brains, and were no match for the time traveler who would probably be an approximation for modern fecund wealthier traditional conservatives..

  30. “The Time Machine” was written by a pinko. I highly doubt your interpretation is what he had in mind.

  31. ImmortalRationalist says

    The only problem is that the declining population of high IQ individuals might make the development and efficient use of bacteriophages for future diseases more difficult.

  32. Prester John says

    Totally agree with ImmortalRationalist. Given the unprecedented migrations of peoples from country to country, from continent to continent, from one large population center to another, the probability of such a disaster unfolding is heightened all the more. Not to mention the ongoing development of heretofore undeveloped (and inaccessible) parts of the world i.e. the jungles of Amazonia, the Siberian heartland etc. which might result in the unearthing of heretofore dormant (and unknown) viruses and strains of bacteria.

    It may be only a matter of time before some kind of major corrective sets in–and with all the attendant weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  33. Because it’s also a Russian male name.

  34. Anonymous says

    G. Hardin already proved that can’t happen any longer.

  35. inselaffen says

    It isn’t, unless you watch far too much anime.

  36. ImmortalRationalist says