08 April 2011

The disappointing ‘genius factory’

In the Sunday Telegraph magazine, Seven, there is a review of a book called The Genius Factory by David Plotz.

Scouting around for a hero to save the human race, few of us would immediately target the world of optometry. But, in 1980, Robert Graham, a millionaire who’d made a fortune from shatterproof spectacle lenses, announced a new project doing just that. His Repository for Germinal Choice would produce a master race of inspirational leaders by matching up high-IQ women with the sperm of Nobel Prize winners and other “geniuses”. (Seven magazine, 3 April 2011, article ‘Whatever happened to the babies bred to be geniuses’ by Lucinda Everett.)

I would not have thought that Nobel Prize winners would provide a particularly suitable population from which to produce either inspirational leaders or exceptionally high IQs. They have above-average IQs to be sure, but also personalities that lead to socially recognised success in their lifetime, which requires an ability to work within the career frameworks and socially acceptable ways of thinking of their time.

“If you compare them [the people born as a result of these matches] with a random sample of Americans of the same age, they’re slightly better, but nothing astounding,” says David Plotz, author of The Genius Factory, a book about Graham’s experiment. (Ibid.)

‘Some haven’t made anything of themselves’, says David Plotz. That is scarcely surprising. Personally, I have encountered every opposition throughout my life so as to make it as difficult as possible for me to do anything that might appear out of the ordinary.

Nevertheless, I have given quite enough evidence of ability in at least some areas to justify support to do more, but I have not received it.

We invite Doron Blake (named in this article), and any other product of this scheme, or anyone who thinks they may have a higher IQ than they might appear to have, to consider coming to join us, the high-IQ ghetto of Great Britain, and join in our cooperative efforts to build up our independent university, with several departments supported by a business empire, until such time as it is able to get sufficiently substantial support to dispense with supporting business activities.

Perhaps Robert Graham would like to come himself, or at least contribute support from a distance.