Feb 27, 1975  Sense and Nonsense

I used to be a Science Fiction nut. At the time I believed these books to be way out imaginings of the writers and in no way predictions of the future. Now I am beginning to wonder if some of the authors weren’t clairvoyant. One book I recall reading years ago was called Brave New World. It was written in the thirties by Aldous Huxley. It concerned the world of the future, a world in which people were hatched in bottles and graded like chicken eggs. “Mother” “father” and “parent” were obscene words.

Everyone was divided into groups. The working class groups looked a lot like one another. They were created by a process of egg-splitting which resulted in dozens of identical twins from one egg. The top groups were carefully selected and bred so that they would have high intelligence. People had no choice in their way of life and actually were content with their lot because of constant hypnotic conditioning. Naturally there were one or two rebels to make the story interesting. They did the unheard of thing of falling in love. However, there was no way they could buck the system so both the hero and the heroine died in the end.

On TV the other night they had an interesting documentary concerning cows. Some high class cows are being turned into breeding machines. The cows selected are fed fertility pills so that they are capable of having 8-14 calves. Eight days after the eggs are artificially fertilized by a bull, they remove the embryos from the cows’ uterus. They then plant them in the uteruses of other cows. These other cows, which are not necessarily pedigreed, bear these superior calves, little knowing that they are foster mothers to their own offspring. I suppose they sometimes wonder why junior resembles neither themselves nor papa but true mother-love overlooks such curiosity.

Apparently some scientists would like to try this with people. The trouble is people are not cows. They can read and write and protest a lot. The idea is to get people who are extremely intelligent to have numerous progeny supposedly as smart as they are. Brains are supposed to be hereditary. The trouble is they sometimes skip a generation if there is even one small dumb gene to gum up the works. They are like curly hair. My mother has curly hair but she was very selfish with it. My brother got a bit of a wave but as for me, my hair is so straight you could draw inches on it and use it for a ruler.

It would be terrible to have 8 – 14 children and find they were all less intelligent than you. Especially if none of them had curly hair. Of course if other people bore them for you, they would probably want to keep them. If it was me I would be very curious about them anyway. I would want to know how many were girls, how many were boys, and if they ever became mathematical geniuses or whatever.

If they became mathematical geniuses, it would not be because of my genes. Math was always my poorest subject in school. Luckily Brave New World will not come to pass in my generation, I’m afraid I would be selected as a host mother. I would hate to have kids spouting algebraic equations at two years old and balancing my cheque book at three. On second thought this may not be a bad idea. Our cheque book is always a mess so I usually place complete faith in the girls who work at the bank in hopes that their arithmetic is better than mine. If we had a real bright child he could also do our income tax returns. That would be a big step forward for modern science.

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