Paper Review: Icelandic Dysgenics


Kong, Augustine et al. – 2016 – Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment


This paper makes the case that there has been a decline in the prevalence of genes increasing propensity for more education (POLYEDU) in Iceland from 1910-1975.


Here are some of the key points:

  • The main mechanism was greater age at first child, not total number of children (i.e. the clever are breeding more slowly).
  • As in many such studies, the effect is stronger for women.
  • One allele associated with more children and having them earlier also tags a haplotype associated with “reduced intercranial volume” and neuroticism: “… thus a striking case where a variant associated with a phenotype typically regarded as unfavorable could nonetheless be also associated with increased “ fitness” in the evolutionary sense.
  • The decrease in POLYEDU prevalence was faster earlier this century, but this is an artifact of the higher survival schedules of people with a higher propensity for education (i.e. tying in with the well known finding that higher IQ is associated with higher life expectancy). The decline from 1940 onwards becomes linear, and is a better measure of estimating the change of the average polygenic score over time.
  • It is estimated that is POLYEDU declining by 0.010 SUs per decade, but this rises to 0.028 SUs per decade because the measure captures only a fraction of the full genetic component of education attainment (POLYFULL).
  • The trends in POLYFULL are estimated to be causing a decline of 0.30 IQ points per decade.
  • The authors note that this has entirely canceled out and then some by the Flynn effect, but it could still have “a very substantial effect if the trend persists for centuries.”

Many other studies indicate that the FLynn effect has ended or gone into reverse across the developed world around the 2000s by the latest.

If it’s a permanent plateau, we could be seeing 3 IQ point declines per century. Extend that out for two or three centuries, add some more Third World immigration, and you get the 1 S.D. IQ decline that I posited for the Age of Malthusian Industrialism aka the business as usual scenario.

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. Oh, but none of it matters, coz them boffins have invented this wonderful thing called CRAPR or something, so every baby born will be an optimal test tube creation real soon now.

  2. … real soon now.

    I didn’t say that.

    I did say that absent government proscriptions, it is likely to happen at least on the timescale of this century.

  3. Iceland needs to scrap Universal Healthcare and let Natural Selection work its magic

  4. Even without public health care natural selection might select for traits other than intelligence.

  5. Peter Johnson says

    Thanks for the link to an interesting article. I suspect that there will be more articles along the same lines appearing over the next few years. Iceland is easy due to high genetic similarity in the population. How does the speed of IQ change (decrease) compare to the implied speed of IQ change (increase) during the Industrial Revolution in England (a la Gregory Clark)? Clark does not spell it out in terms of a specific rate of increase but perhaps that rate could be inferred in some way from his data?

  6. anony-mouse says

    ‘… (i.e. the clever are breeding more slowly)…’

    Well then find groups of above average intelligence who are breeding more quickly and help them.

    What am I saying-this is Oh well.

  7. IQ change (increase) during the Industrial Revolution in England

    I think Greg Clark wrote something else. He proposed IQs (except he never used the expression) increased substantially during the late medieval and early modern periods, but this process stalled and the quickly went into reverse during the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps that’s how you meant it, but it’s almost the opposite of what you wrote.

  8. I guess you mean Orthodox Ashkenazi groups or something. I guess you are aware why most alt-right/dark enlightenment/hbd/whatever people find that problematic. First, having a closely inbred clannish/sectarian ethno-religious group, which will probably be hostile or at best indifferent to the population at large, as an elite, might actually be worse than having a friendly but dumb elite. Second, IQ is not the only heritable trait that matters. Third, heritable traits are not the only things that matter, quickly breeding Ashkenazi groups for example don’t seem to be conducive of scientific progress for cultural reasons if nothing else.

    Why are all of your comments like that?

  9. Control dysgenics is so more easy than start to use this pedantic machine of senseless purfecction. This histrionic possibility look plain dumb. You have something more easy to be done but you prefer to do what is by now unpredictable and hard. And with this kind of situation the battle against white Caucasian extinction will be won by globallistas because with the probability to buy their preferred biological traits any argument against en masse immigration, miscegenation and white dispossession will be useless at least for most people on the west.

    When this system that lies to you all the time have the total control of the genes of your family…

    Think holistic firstly

    Before to act think about the bigger picture and their chains of relatedness.

    But hbabies is that people on the right who think politically correctness is ” applied boring ethics” while it’s not exactly like that. PC is not ethical, it’s not about ethics as a crucial goal. It’s about how to use ethics to impose via pacific ways total control over minds, hearts and bodies of people.

  10. I’m very familiar with Clark’s work.

    You’re right about Clark’s view on the Medieval era.

    Here’s a brief outline of later periods:

    Pre-1820: wealthier had more children.
    1820-1880: neutral
    1880-1980: poor had more
    1980-current: neutral (for pre-1950 origin population, at least)

    It’s a bit more complicated than that; but that’s a good first order approximation.

  11. I agree.

    Most American Jews are (still) non-ultra Orthodox, and that population might have relatively high IQ; but that group has below-replacement fertility. Ultra-Orthodox Jews are increasing in number very quickly, and could be a majority of Jews in the US in a few decades. It seems likely that average IQ for ultra-Orthodox Jews is about as far below the Reform Jewish average as the average for Jehovah’s Witnesseses is below the Unitarian average.

    The main hope for maintaining Jewish IQ is assortive mating between Jews and intelligent gentiles, who then raise the children Jewish. I have a cousin who married a Jew and converted. Ivanka Trump did the same thing.

  12. I don’t believe that Icelandic fertility is currently dysgenic.

    Recent Icelandic Prime Ministers have had relatively high fertility:

    Benediktsson — 4 children
    Jóhannesson — 5
    Gunnlaugsson — 1
    Sigurðardóttir — 2 (pretty good for a lesbian)
    Haarde — 5
    Ásgrímsson — 3
    Oddson– 1
    Hermannson — 5

    These Lutherans seem to follow the Pope’s statements on birth control more faithfully than Catholics do (wink).

  13. 1980-current: neutral (for pre-1950 origin population, at least)

    I don’t recall Clark (or anybody, for that matter) writing this.

    Could you please give a source?

    Re-Icelandic PMs. Not sure you can extrapolate much from n=8. For that matter, their birth dates go back as far back as the 1920s. Their average completed fertility rate is 2.9 children. Iceland’s TFR only fell below that number in the early 1970s, and not by all that much.

  14. You’re right. Clark isn’t the source for the last one. Fertility in recent decades isn’t his specialty.

    I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for; but you might be interested in this

  15. > As the economists prosaically explain: “The relationship between fertility and women’s education in the US has recently become U-shaped.” <<

  16. Bullshit. The text says that high school women having more babies than advanced degree educated women. And high school educated (or less) women are equal numerous than college educated women (or more)