Climate change denier billboard featuring Unabomber

 Sys-Images Environment Pix Columnists 2012 5 4 1336125117472 Leo-Blog--The-Heartland-I-007

Climate change deniers Heartland Institute funded this lovely billboard in Chicago and took it down after one day. They say it was "always intended to be an experiment. And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people’s attention." From the press release announcing the billboard:

The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.

Why did Heartland choose to feature these people on its billboards? Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the "mainstream" media, and liberal politicians say about global warming… The point is that believing in global warming is not "mainstream," smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things.

"Heartland Institute Ends Experiment with ‘Unabomber’ Global Warming Billboard" (via The Guardian)


    1. Hitler believed the world is round.  DO YOU?

      Stalin believed the world is round.  DO YOU?

      John Wayne Gacy believed the world is round.  DO YOU?

      Pol Pot believed the world is round.  DO YOU?

      Timothy McVeigh believed the world is round.  DO YOU?

      That guy at work that totally creeps you out believes the world is round.  DO YOU?

      1. You could really mess with these people.

        Hitler believed in God, do you?

        President Obama believes in God, do you?

        Countless death-row inmates have believed in God, do you?

        SATAN believes in God, do YOU?

          1. Hitler loved his dog. Do you?

            That’s a ridiculous question. I never even MET Hitler’s dog.

          1.  Nonsense.

            “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

             Hitler, Adolph. Mein Kampf. Trans. Ralph Manheim. p. 65.

          2. Hitler gain power by pandering to Christians from 1922 to 1935 and promising a “positive Christianity.”  Whether or not he was a “good Christian” is largely irrelevant, because his rise to power was driven by both the Protestant and Catholic churches.

            The Enabling Act of 1933 amended the Constitution to give Hitler the power to really terrorize the German people. His speech introducing the Enabling Act was all about Christianity.

            “………The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society…..The national Government will allow and confirm to the Christian denominations the enjoyment of their due influence in schools and education……..And it will be concerned for the sincere cooperation between Church and State…..”

          3.  I’m always amused by the lengths people will go to in order to put the “atheist” brand on someone.  Atheists claim Einstein was one of them, and Stalin wasn’t, and Xians claim Hitler was an atheist… as if theism, or the lack of it, had been a defining factor in these people’s morality and/or success.

            Here in reality, the majority of humans are not atheists, so the majority of criminals and psychopaths are (predictably) also not atheists.

          4. Wasn’t Hitler into pagan mysticism?

            It seems to me Hitler was completely opportunistic when it came to religion. When he needed to pander to the population, claiming some Christian justification is just good strategy. When he needs to claim Germans are better than anyone else, Teutonic mysticism can help. But the only thing he truly believed in was himself.

      2. Surely someone can make this happen – it’d be great news/PR fodder for a climate change awareness group – if such things exist (it would be nice if they didn’t have to, ay?).

      3. An Undead riding a raptor riding a rocket-propelled shark firing a laser.[1] Therefore, your argument is invalid.

  1. I’ve never understood the ‘There are bad people who believe X, so it must be false” logic(or its inverted twin, “A bad person did the research that concluded X, so it must be false”). It seems to be very popular, though.

    It’s particularly weird in this case, both because Heartland and friends usually like to dig up very smart and well educated people who don’t accept climate change(and Kaczynski was definitely both of those), and also because Kaczynski’s writings were explicitly critical of contemporary leftism, restrictions on freedom made inevitable by large-scale technological society, and similar.

    Odd choice.

    1. These are some folks who really, really love every single rhetorical fallacy.  It is how they build the flimsy house of cards that make up their ideology.  Flawed from axioms & first principals.

    2. The term ‘ad hominem’ is widely abused and misused on the internet, but this billboard is actually an excellent example of the argumentum ad hominem – “arguing to the person”:  the idea that an argument’s validity is based on the qualities of  the person  making it. 

      Arguments stand or fall on their own merits, no  matter who makes them.

      Claims to the contrary are patently ridiculous.  Argumentum ad hominem is one of the basic rhetorical fallacies.  

      People who make such arguments should be politely informed of their defect; people who persist after having been so informed should be roundly mocked and derided.

      1. Isn’t an ad hominem about attacking the person making the argument? None of the people currently involved in climate research are Unabombers. What we’re looking at here is Guilt by Association. Somebody who was bad (for completely unrelated reasons) also believed what you believe, therefore you are are wrong.

        (Never mind. Somebody below points out that this is a specific kind of Ad Hominem. Still, it’s worthwhile to be specific about just how fallacious the argument is.)

  2.   Maybe the point should be that global warming is so obvious even terrorists and madmen can’t fail to notice it. In any case, attempting to define an issue by it’s least sympathetic supporters is a popular tactic of the right lately. Believe in global warming you must be a terrorist, want birth control you must be a slut, support the Occupy movement (at all) and you’re a jobless, drugged out hippy (or worse, a union member!).     

    1. As a strange matter, conservatives seem to focus their worst bile on others than the union members.   I would guess that they have more respect for union members in a twisted sense; the unions may want ‘wealth distribution’ but they fight for it openly.  Contrasted with liberal notions of a social-safety net of (pretty-basic) health and retirement that are provided by the state, Conservatives distrust the liberals less since they see this as ‘creeping communism’.  It’s odd, but I would bet it’s directly related to the Fox.Glenn Beck effect; a secret and duplicitous enemy can be anyone or anything as defined by what frightens a person most.  Unions are transparent in comparison to the conspiracy of Progressives, whose naive army of sheeple is controlled by a conniving group of Soros-influenced-billionaire-welfare-queens-with-Cadillacs.

      That is obviously an exaggeration but I think you get my point.

    2. Except when the left goes and does the same thing. Just like when climate progress went nuts when they found out that Breivik was a climate change denier. Oh you don’t like that connection? Well, apparently the hyppocrites didn’t either, since when they brought this HI billboard stupidity to their front page their hypocrisy was exposed and soon thereafter their previous post was just deleted from their history. I could be an ass and just say that the left just loves to delete history.

    1. It’s not an ad hominem. In an ad hominem, the person making an argument is attacked rather than the argument itself.

      This is an “association fallacy.”

      (disregard this, I just learned that guilt by association is a specific type of ad hom when used in a certain way, and this would probably qualify)

      1. If it makes you feel better many arguments can be classified as multiple logical fallacies. 

        I would have called this one the genetic fallacy; that the idea is wrong simply because Ted is not a very good person.They’re not really attacking Kaczynski here. Besides the fact that they use his mugshot, nothing is being said about the person.

        It’s attacking the idea because the Unibomber believes in it.

        That said… if something is one fallacy or another or both or all fallacies… it’s still wrong! So it’s just a fun game to play after the fact.

  3. Where can I donate to a “I passed legislation against abortion and see what it got me”-campaign featuring Hitler?

    1. I doubt it. I imagine we’ll look back at these people and feel sick to the stomach at how much their scummy antics have cost the next century or two.

        1. Um, no.

          The so-called ‘Dark Ages’ were an invention of early modern writers who identified everything good with the Romans and everything bad with the ‘Barbarians.’

          Never mind that the Roman Empire was based on slavery, although serfdom was beginning to replace slavery in the Late Roman Empire and this continued in post-Roman times. Never mind that the Roman slave trade and the resulting warfare devastated much of Central and Eastern Europe. Never mind that post-Roman Europe often saw the breakup of the landed estates, the development of new agricultural technologies, and most likely improving living standards for most people. Never mind that the Late Roman Empire was prone to civil wars and massacres.

          Please, find another example. Lysenkoism, for the anti-science? The rush into the First World War? The deforestation of Rapa Nui?

        2. These are the dark ages. In the medieval times people didn’t know better. There was no modern science, agriculture, medicine and so on. But since the beginning of the 20th century humanity has had the capability to address its most dire problems, say, hunger, warfare, destruction of the biosphere… Well we didn’t. Greed and ego are still the ruling forces on this planet despite the technological advances and the potential to achieve utopia. …Look at the history of the last 100 years and tell me that these are not the dark ages.

          1. It is not the dark ages. At least people are aware, trying to change it and the global hunger is down.

            In pretty much any other time and culture, I’d be dead by this point.

          2.  The dark ages did not end at the start of the 20th century, though, but (supposedly, if they existed at all) in the 16th century.  Where you could equally argue that people “didn’t know better”.

            I agree with what you are saying.  It’s just your argument isn’t very good.

          3. @ @boingboing-96ddc5dc8fec52547e2b998e85bd2628:disqus People are aware? That’s news. Trying to change it? No, they really aren’t. They’re watching TV. At least those people you are talking about, because I suspect your comments are totally centered on the West.

            “In any other culture I’d be dead by now.” There’s that chance yes. Guess what, most people are not from your culture. And if they are starving/dying now, not so much has changed, don’t you agree? Only now there are so many more of them.
            “Global hunger is down.” You mean in the West, don’t you? A lot of people here are eating themselves to death. However in the ‘Third World’ about 60 Million people are dying of malnutrition every year, that’s roughly one fourth of the global population during the Early Middle Ages.

          4. You’ve certainly made a lot of assumptions. Guido is from a Latin American country with high levels of poverty and a burgeoning dictatorship.

          5. @ @shadowfirebird:disqus You misread. I’m well aware of the meaning of the Renaissance term ‘Dark Age’.

          6. The “dark ages” were golden ages for other civilizations.  Depends on what part of the world you were in. But agreed, the times they are a’ backwards.

    2. Survivors will dig up their corpses and put them in exhibits in museums that formerly housed Native Americans out of environmental racism.  Naturally, all the implants will be taken out and put in a bouncy castle.

    3. This is why we need statisticians. We should calculate the likely delay caused by this campaign, calculate the cost of global warming, and send them a bill. Sure, right now we would have trouble enforcing that bill, but every year the  data becomes firmer (and the bill becomes larger). Problem solved.

      1.  These are not the sort of people who believe statisticians – not when there was a cold snap just last Tuesday.

  4. I like this little tid-bit on their website:

    6. Why should I believe The Heartland Institute?
    We don’t think you should “believe” anyone. Do your own research. Come to your own conclusions. But since you ask …
    The Heartland Institute has been conducting research into the real science and economics of climate change for more than 15 years. We have assembled hundreds of scientists to share their knowledge, participate in debates, and conduct peer review of our publications. Importantly, nobody here is paid to believe in global warming.

    A right wing think tank that’s almost entirely funded on corporate profits isn’t likely to be paying anyone to believe in global warming, but I imagine they’re paying plenty of “scientists” to find the opposite.

    1. Oh and this bit from their “Why Does Heartland Address Global Warming?” page:

      The reason for the consensus among environmentalists is simple: If AGW is true, then stopping or preventing it requires higher taxes, more income redistribution, more wilderness preservation, more regulations on corporations, “smart growth,” subsidies for renewable energy, and on and on. In other words, many of the policies already on the liberal political agenda. Liberals have no reason to “look under the hood” of the global warming scare, to see what the real science says. They believe in global warming because they feel it justifies their ideological convictions

      Because an organisation that’s stated mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. is unlikely to ever have biases that justify their idealogical convictions.

  5. The minds at work behind this campaign are exactly the kinds of minds that would conclude global warming is fake.

  6. More projection from the right-wing lunatic fringe.

    In this case, it’s the not-so-rational climate change deniers, paid climate change deniers, and “belief based” climate change deniers, but the pattern repeats in most of their attacks.

    I’m not sure who I would put on a billboard as a “poster child” for the deniers movement, but I’m sure I could come up with someone at least as “questionable” as Ted K. Let’s see… Saddam, maybe? Khadafi? Syria’s Bashar al-Assad?

    And of course there’s also Bush/Cheney/Rush/Bill O/Glen Beck/Sarah Palin/Romney/Fox news/etc/etc/etc, but putting those on a billboard would probably appeal to the RWLF.

    1. If you think this is a cheap trick, then do you also think that the invention of the term “denier”, which you seem very fond of, is also rather below the belt?

      1.  It’s fairly accurate, and it describes the individual directly by their actions. So, no, no comparison.

        1. Fairly direct comparison I’d say. In one case, there’s a fairly reprehensible intent to associate sceptics with holocaust deniers, and in the other, the exact same action to associate people concerned with the environment with the Umabomber.
          If accuracy is all that matters, then I presume you’ll cease to be outraged if Kaczynski confirms he believes in global warming?

          1.  “…there’s a fairly reprehensible intent to associate sceptics with holocaust deniers…”

            Really? Where do you see that? Last time I checked, the holocaust wasn’t the only thing that anybody ever denied the existence of. Claiming that anybody who uses the word “denier” in any context other than the holocaust is attempting to create an association with holocaust deniers is… well, it’s reprehensible!

          2. Yes, of course it’s true that there are other things that people deny. Just as it is true that there are other things (besides his bombing campaign) that Kaczynski has done with his life, some of them probably quite nice. So why are you supposing people will form an association of Kaczynski with all that negative bombing stuff? Perhaps he likes cats?
            Maybe there’s a whiff of hypocrisy about all of this? To suggest people use the word “denier” without being aware of, and without being comfortable with, the association stretches credulity.

          3. “To suggest people use the word “denier” without being aware of, and without being comfortable with, the association stretches credulity.”

            Really? I guess I’m just one credulity-stretching anomaly then, because the “connection” never even occurred to me until you pointed it out. Sometimes a word is just a word…

          4. There’s an easy way to assess this objectively. Type “denier” into Google and see what you get.
            Now of course it is quite possible that you, as an individual, have used the term entirely innocently. Associations are dangerous things, and I’m sure that every one of us has innocently said things that others associate poorly.

            There was an article on BoingBoing recently about a bunch of guys with an SS flag . The apologist argument was that they hadn’t noticed the association, which might have been true of one or two of them, but I think people rightly felt that it can’t have been true of all of them. So it is here. There may well be people who use the word innocently, but I suggest that an awful lot more know exactly what they’re doing.

            It’s more subtle than the Heartland stunt, but no different from a moral perspective. In fact, I’d say the increased subterfuge makes it worse.

          5. Dude.. that’s a long bow to draw. I’ve heard the term used thousands of times as we are soon going to implement a price on carbon in Australia and you are the first person I’ve heard to make such a link. It never even crossed my mind. I have to agree that your comparison isn’t very apt.

            Even searching google as you suggested doesn’t support your argument. I see one result on the first page that directly relates to the holocaust and two that relate to climate change. All the dictionary-type websites list ‘denier’ as its own word, followed by holocaust/climate change/AIDS denier as an example.

            I have a feeling you are looking for talking points to support your own convictions on the subject.

          6. So you’ve followed my suggestion, found it associated on the first page of Google results, done some more research, found it referenced as an example of a common phrase in dictionaries, and yet you still think it’s a stretch to suggest the association exists? Dare I suggest you might be in denial? ;-)

      2. If you don’t like a word, don’t use it.  But don’t expect everyone else to get schizophrenic about it and adopt your unreasonable dislikes.

        The word “denier” appears to have been in use well before 1400 and was used by Medieval Christian bigots to characterize their opponents.

        We will not chisel the swastikas off the great monuments built before World War II.  We are not the taliban.

        1. I agree with you that word censorship is a bad thing. I personally think way too much of that goes on. I don’t so much object to the word, it’s the hypocrisy that’s the problem, and the dishonest claims of ignorance used to justify the hypocrisy. My point is that both sides are playing the same crass smear trick, but at least one side is blatant about the smear.

          1. No, the difference is that one side is sane and rational and the other side is a bunch of blithering idiot denialists.

  7. I wonder if this billboard actually existed or if it’s not a clever photoshop job. Up for one day?  At what expense? Ah, I see: it’s a digital billboard, so no need to send a crew out two days in a row.

    But what media company owned the billboard? I would like to know who was willing to take money for this sad joke.

  8. Picture of Osama Bin Laden. Text: “I believe that private citizens should be allowed to own firearms.”

    Picture of Hitler. Text: “I believe that the government should be allowed to regulate religion and sexuality.”

  9. I wonder how the same people would feel about a similar campaign featuring famous killers and cult leaders:


    on a more humorous note, i’d have rotfl if the next billboard down the street featured ronald mcdonald in their “Do you beleive in magic?” campaign. :-) hee hee

  10. “It was an experiment” – ah, the good old Livejournal shit-I-got-caught-out-being-a-jerk excuse….

    1. “It was designed to cause a reaction” is the real-life equivalent of “LOL I TROLL U”

  11. First, show pictures of prominent people fitting a specific category of Christian Conservative mindset.  (You’ll know which kind here in a sec.)

    Voice-over:  “These people don’t believe in global climate change.  *pause*  Or do they?”

    From here, proceed to detail their End-of-World/Apocalyptarian beliefs.

  12. Ew, dirtbags.

    The use of an ad hom is a nice highlight of the ranty right’s position: this is a thing for debate, it’s just an idea, and my idea can contend against yours just like politics or religion.  They really don’t “get” science.  

  13. I read this and thought, gee, all these horrible people are smarter and more logical thinkers than anyone at the Heartland Institute? THAT I believe.

  14. They say it was “always intended to be an experiment. And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people’s attention.”

    This sounds very much like the right’s response to the left’s response to this ad. Shame seems to be trending toward zero.

  15. I am constantly astounded by the cynical, willful ignorance of the oil industry shills and the credulous stupidity of the Republican masses who believe everything they’re spoon-fed.

    5 of 8 republican candidates publicly declaimed against evolution.  2-3 of them believe in a 10,000 year old Earth.  All of them, except Huntsman, didn’t “believe” in climate change.

    It’s just dumbfounding how an entire political party can make, as its very basis, the disparagement of science and scientists. 

    America cannot maintain its edge long if they’re led by people who doubt and distrust its scientists.

      1. But the magic of the modern Republican Party is that most of them are *not* paid by the oil companies, or the Koch foundation, or any other of the interest groups.  I mean obviously the Heartland Institute is full of stooges and hacks, but they are smart, educated hacks who have mostly come to their ideology on their own.How the GOP and the various right-wing elites and influencers (that’s a real word now; I declare by the power of Palin) have managed to box in almost their entire base into an incredibly efficient informational echo-chamber.  The exact term escapes me, but the right has built itself the perfect base.  Or perhaps the base, after drinking the cool-aid since Reagan has built the perfect elites to reaffirm their convictions… *head esplodes.*

    1. When has America ever trusted scientists?

      When Germany did, so we had to. That’s it.

        1. true that, but science as a real rival to religion in politics is pretty much a 20th century thing. An influence for hundreds of years, sure, but not a peer until lately.

          1. As Karl Popper noted, nobody has ever started a war over a scientific idea, but most wars are driven by religion.  Or war is caused by  some crackpot utopian visionary with religious zeal  trying to extend some philosophy way past the breaking point.  But science? Not so much.  

          2. >>@preston- until the cold war
            Popper was writing at the height of the Cold War.  Marxist Dialectic Materialism is not scientific, it is pseudo science for coffeehouse revolutionaries from  a time when scientists were embracing Logical Positivism.   Marx was what we would call a Futurist. 

            By the time we get to the Cold War, the Soviet Union has become much less ideological (despite the familiar slogans) and was a generic industrialized  authoritarian regime that could have embraced any ideology at a superficial level. 

          3.  Science and religion are only in opposition when at least one of them is wrong.

          4. @boingboing-e41803c944b3d68e5215c8b9cefb0196:disqus Prior to 1950, mutually assured distruction was unpossible. 

        2. >> America was pretty down with all those scientists
          “Scientists” weren’t driving that – it was the usual top-down move by the upper classes to consolidate power over the poor who were swelling the cities during the Industrial Revolution.  Also, much of the early eugenics movement was directed at poor whites, because blacks were pretty much already as oppressed as possible.  And remember, Darwin was an abolitionist. 

          1. And Thomas Hunt Morgan (the Nobel Laureate geneticist who first demonstrated that genes have physical reality and weren’t just abstractions) showed in 1915 that eugenics couldn’t work based on genetic principles. The fact that anyone believed in it after that was just evidence that they weren’t interested in it for the science.

          2.  Excuse me, “scientists” were of the upper classes.  You need to read history – pay special attention to the American Golgotha.

            You guys with your “scientists were never eugenicists” meme sound exactly like the “America is a Christian nation” historical revisionists.  Willful disregard of facts in favor of self-serving propaganda…

          3. +Jonathan Badger: Thomas Morgan demonstrated no such thing.

            We reject eugenics because it is inhumane, because it is cruel, because it is a violation of human rights, because it inevitably devolves into mindless racism, and because there cannot be any certain agreement on what human traits are worthy of cultivation.

            But to say “eugenics can’t work” is to deny the whole concept of natural selection, and to ignore the success humans have had in changing and improving other species by breeding them for specific traits.

            Maybe you need to clarify what exactly you’re saying.

          4.  Bryce Anderson, well said!

            If traits cannot be selected for, then we must all disappear in a puff of logic.

            Eugenics is ethically and scientifically improper, but not because it can’t work.

  16. Who cares about Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson and Fidel Castro; at least I’m not associated with Sarah Palin.


  18. I instantly thought of the Comics Authority Code when I saw this ad and wondered: “is there a body to regulate advertising BEFORE it’s put into the public sphere? To limit the foreseeable harm it can inflict on the public?” Surely the deliberate manipulative tactics employed behind this particular billboard were only to freak people out, make them react strongly (in both pro and con directions) and just incite more debate–and subsequently hate, considering the contentious nature of the billboard’s content and message.

    I mean, highlighting a known criminal (who is probably mentally disturbed) and relating it to climate change was obviously set to demean climate change and its believers, irregardless of the science behind it. It works solely on fear and anger. Surely there needs to be some way to prevent this getting out in the public. Information pollution.

    Another way to look at this is that these people aren’t so confident in their science/justifiable facts that they resort to petty “smear” campaigns, designed to do more damage to the general public (through the influence such continued back-and-forth debate will have) rather than contribute anything constructive to the common good.

    Petzl: America cannot maintain its edge long if they’re led by people who doubt and distrust its scientists.

    I think everything should have equal access to being questioned. If you start trusting things blankly without putting some thought into what you’re investing your faith/trust in, then you are foolish.

    1. The First Amendment trumps any concern about “information pollution.”  If it protects anything, it protects this.

  19. Heartland Institute, a.k.a Derek Zoolander’s Center for People Who Can’t Think Good:

  20. The aggregious abominations of typography really set me off! Such flagrant use of a condensed face. So makeshift. Commit those crimes of type, and you are utterly untrustworthy.

  21. Terrorist and child murderer Anders Breivik  believes global warming is a hoax.

    He’s also a Birther, believes in the “war on Christmas,” thinks secularists are conspiring against Christians, wants to restore “Christian culture,” hate “multiculturalism,” embraces Pat Buchannans antisemitic “cutltural marxism” theory, thinks he fighting “political correctness,” and thinks liberals are “the real fascists.” .  

    Insane Nordic white supremacist or just a Fox News viewer?

  22. I do find it ironic the called it “and experiment”. I thought science was the devil’s work.

    1. Jeez.  That took an unacceptably long time for someone to point out.

      The Koch brothers have a vendettta against the EPA (because they’ve been caught, multiple times, in gross violation of environmental law, and they’ve been forced to pay 9-digit fines).  Every time you see anti-AWG propaganda, the Kochs are funding it in some fashion.  Every time.

    1. At the risk of sounding sectarian, I only believe in Atlantic swordfish, which is fattier and more flavorful.

      1. If you order Swordfish in Lisbon, its a different fish – a long thin one shaped like a sword, so….

  23. @darth_schmoo:disqus 
    Thomas Hunt Morgan showed in 1915 what every geneticist knows now —  that you can’t eliminate a trait by controlling the reproduction of people with the trait because the allele for the trait is carried by plenty of people *without* the trait as well, and they will continue to have descendants with the trait. Plus there are always mutations going on introducing new alleles into the population. Ergo, eugenics doesn’t work. Eugenics was formulated in the pre-Mendelian era of blending inheritance.

    1. How does that work with dominant versus recessive traits? A friend of mine once told me that widow’s peaks were being bred out, which was possible because you could effectively deselect for dominant traits.

      1. Well, I’m not sure if the genetics behind widow’s peaks is really known or if they are declining, but assuming a truly dominant trait (in reality most traits are influenced by more than one gene), barring mutation, yes, you could eliminate it. But mutation is a real issue; the parents of children with dominant genetic disorders like Marfan syndrome generally aren’t sufferers themselves.

      2.  The binary dominant/recessive categorization does not actually represent reality.  Using the classic example, blue eyes are considered recessive and brown dominant – so the children of two blue-eyed parents should be 100% blue eyed.  My parents’  eyes are like icebergs – a pale translucent blue.  So are my aunts and uncles, and three of my grandparents.   Mine are hazelish with blue, green, yellow and brown flecks, and slightly changeable… just like the fourth grandparent.

        To say “eugenics doesn’t work” is to say that you cannot breed men for desired traits.  This flies in the face of actual physical data (as does the whole binary weighting of genes idea) and you can find plenty of historical examples of successful human breeding programs – for instance, the Samoan “big men”, or the ancient Spartans’ practice of exposure… any mammal can be bred for desired traits.

          1. I just googled it and got a lot of hits. Either there are a lot of old people online or the meme has lived on half a century past its referent.

          2. I just googled it and got a lot of hits. Either there are a lot of old people online or the meme has lived on half a century past its referent.

          3. My elementary school teacher smirklingly mentioned this when I pointed out the obvious flaws in supposing a two-state coding.  It took quite a few years before I understood he was insulting my mother.

            I’m still insulted, in case you’re wondering, and also very disappointed in you.

            If you try, you can see the obvious solution – my eye color is even less dominant than blue, and more than two genes are available (there is no such thing as “junk DNA”).  Posit a four-value system and figure it out.

            Given the physics and chemistry of DNA the idea that genetic weighting is a two-value system is ludicrous – but it’s also dogma, so it’s rarely challenged.

            The next thing after the milkman ad hominem is usually a patronizing mumble about polygenic traits…  I’ve spent a lot of time around geneticists so I’ve heard all the standards.  At least they admit I was right about so-called “junk” DNA these days – that was a heresy in the 1980s!

          4. I had light brown eyes until I was in my 20s and now they’re dark green, so I long ago gave up on trying to understand eye color.

    2. So by this argument, dog breeding is impossible?
      The point about eugenics surely is not that it doesn’t work, but that it probably would work, but nevertheless you shouldn’t do it…

Comments are closed.