Friday, September 05, 2008

Question: My last post got me thinking. If I'm not mistaken, women who get an abortion most often abort their first child, but research tells us that the oldest, on average, is the smartest. So, are we killing our most capable? (Not that it would be a good thing to kill our less capable). (A related post by Sailer here.)


  1. "So, are we killing our most capable?"

    No, because it's caused by family dynamics, not by anything inherent to the child. Technically it's about being the oldest sibling in the house, not "first born". Having older siblings around depresses your IQ.

    If this is true (and I doubt it is), smaller family sizes would boost national IQ, which would actually enhance economic growth.

  2. Also I recently read a sexuality textbook published before the Levitt crime theory. It discussed a Romanian study that tracked the children of women denied abortions. At adolescence they had higher rates of psychological problems, less friends, and worse academic outcomes. (this study was never cited by Levitt)

    It did not support the dysgenic theory of abortion.

  3. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Please. Common sense says that the type of women who get abortions are not too bright to start with - otherwise they would have prevented the pregnancy in the first place. Any bright woman who has big plans for her life is well aware how much an unplanned baby can f*ck that up and will remember her birth control no matter how carried away or drunk she is.

  4. It's not obvious that it's family dynamics that causes the first born to be the smartest. There are lots of permanent hormonal changes in the mother with the first child.

    There are diseases that only occur for the first child. For example pyloric stenosis in which the valve between stomach and intestine is too big at birth and blocks exit from the stomach, occurs only in first male children. An operation is required to correct this condition.

  5. "It's not obvious that it's family dynamics that causes the first born to be the smartest."

    You didn't read my supporting link. They tested this by looking at families where the oldest child died.

  6. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Did they control for the fact that smaller families have more resources to spend on each child and probably have higher IQs as a result?

    I bet you dollars to doughnuts Manhattan yuppies can probably groom their average offspring up to a 110 or so whereas rural types with five kids have them idling around 95 or so. Shoot, Inductivist, in a laudable spirit of truth-seeking, actually showed us white people are smarter in the Northeast.

    (Note that I am NOT arguing that this means that conservatism is wrong or anything like that. There's no guarantee the Ivy education prepares you to accurately assess what's better for the country. I am a liberal, but I always found the argument from genetic superiority unconvincing.)


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