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The story of what was hidden in our genes

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A century or so ago, Darwin, the aristocracy, and the intellectuals were ferociously pessimistic about the genetic limitations of the masses (the “scum”). They could be improved marginally but would always remain violent and incapable of significant social roles. We test this against the record of the last century. Cognitive progress has meant that 35 percent today play significant social roles (massive IQ gains over time attest to this). Moral progress has seen violence decline within and between nations. People in advanced nations tend to universalize their moral principles, rather than treat them as an inheritance in which cruelty and benevolence are mixed. Racism and nationalism are on the defensive. However, unsolved problems threaten progress. Nothing in our genes bars solutions, but a leap toward internationalism is necessary.

The talk is open to the public.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Psychometrics Centre Seminars series.

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