Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-09-2015, 06:43 PM   #11
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Designing a Secret Eugenics Society

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
The success of any such program is going to be heavily dependent on how it intersects with the open rules of the host society: political power, economics, inheritance, etc. Manipulating the lower classes (however defined) won't be hard in most hierarchical societies, but that presumes the ruling class sees some benefit in it for themselves. The ruling class itself will be difficult to manipulate unless the eugenicists are (say) arbiters of marriage or succession, or power passes primarily through non-hereditary means.

Examples from fiction (Bradley's Darkover novels and Stross' Corporate Wars series come to mind) usually focus on one specific, beneficial trait that confers a significant advantage to its inheritors: usually some form of psychic aptitude.
The group could be on a separate power track from the nobility. Indeed it sounds like they would have to. Much of their breeding would be endogamous, and marriages with nobility would be negotiated carefully to avoid geneological confusion and to prevent connecting them to the nobility's power games. Promoted commoners would not be a problem in that regard, they would just be dumped into the gene pool and would not have a large mess of inheirited problems coming with them. The result would be something like the difference between Brahmins and Kshitriya.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 06:54 PM   #12
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Designing a Secret Eugenics Society

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
S
And there's the moral dilemma of disposing of people or turning women into factories in the first place. Assume that they don't go so far as murder, that they want to find a productive role for all the misses, it's still a lot of kids. Say a hundred candidate females (with maybe 30 candidate males), you get 500 kids age 0 to 5 over 5 years.
This church will have to control a heckuvalotta resources; if it has them, how are they not an utterly dominant political force? And what better use for all the rejects than war?
The ones who don't make the cut could be outbred into the nobility or the new rich. They would have enough prestige behind them to be high on the matchmaker market even if not as high as the members. There is no need to eliminate them.

As for turning women into baby factories, that is the sort of thing a low-tech culture would be doing anyway. Most men would be bread factories too so it is not as if it was totally uneven.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Designing a Secret Eugenics Society

Does anyone have advice on what sort of set of physical and mental aptitudes they might start with before they start getting data? Did any ancient philosophers describe something like a theory of multiple intelligences?

It occurs to me that they probably make some of their funds by doing conventional animal and plant breeding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
I think you underestimate the difficulty. There are a number of examples of that sort of thing. Feminine examples would include Imperial concubinage contests, and male examples the Janisaries. Nor do they have to be involuntary; if the group has enough prestige, common folk would actually compete for places. Examples of that would be Chinese Mandarins, Medieval low level Churchmen, Lamas, and court eunechs in some empires. The concept of the ruling class combing the lower for useful servants for various tasks is well known.
I think it would be significantly challenging to produce quality observations for eugenics purposes starting with just observable genetics in animals and plants.

Mentally you don't want just a test that vaguely correlates to how well someone will do at a job like the Chinese imperial examination, you need to basically invent a set of ways in which someone can be mentally gifted, find ways to test a person for each of them (even ones that aren't traditionally valued by the culture) and hope that your set of mental aptitudes was good enough to be improvable when you start to get actual data instead of being fundamentally unworkable. In addition to tests you can probably have some of the competitions at the festivals have to do with mental aptitudes. Memory is probably a good example.

Physical aptitudes are easier to break up into different traits to test and you can both test people for jobs (perhaps for temple guards) and at the festivals but you have to ensure that you are getting data from all levels of society which might mean careful social engineering to make the same festivals acceptable for the lower and upper classes (even if they don't directly compete against each other) or different competitions for each that you can compare against each other. You also need to develop the anatomical knowledge to know what morphological features you even want.

For both of them you need to develop methods of describing the results that allow an analyst at the sacred isle to take the reports from two different village priests and compare them against each other. Hopefully you can also find a way to weight results to control for observable non-genetic factors that can influence the results.

So what am I missing that makes it harder than I'm thinking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
Sorry, posted on a phone from work, so I couldn't elaborate. Obvious, selection works and was known in ancient times for the breeding of beasts, even if you don't know about DNA. (On the other hand, you run a real risk of breeding in flaws you can't see with the traits you want, for instance, larger beasts without correspondingly larger hearts.)
Well a too small heart is observable if you think to look for it. The point of doing multiple bloodlines in parallel though is so you can ignore flaws you have bred in until it comes time to breed them out against other bloodlines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
Selection takes time, though, multiple generations, and involves a lot of guesswork. Every newborn has a chance to be a step toward what you're looking for, but if it's a trait that involves multiple genes, the chance can be very low. Even if the chance of success for any attempt is low, you can make it a virtual certainty with a large enough number of attempts. You get a large number of attempts by having women have babies as fast as they can, as young as the can, in combination with different candidate fathers. If you get a hit, you require her to have more babies with the same father. This leads to first, a lot of babies, which is to say expense. You can't dispose of the rejects unttil you can be sure there are rejects. And there's the moral dilemma of disposing of people or turning women into factories in the first place. Assume that they don't go so far as murder, that they want to find a productive role for all the misses, it's still a lot of kids. Say a hundred candidate females (with maybe 30 candidate males), you get 500 kids age 0 to 5 over 5 years.
This church will have to control a heckuvalotta resources; if it has them, how are they not an utterly dominant political force? And what better use for all the rejects than war?
They're supposed to be somewhat morally challenged. They aren't cruel or wasteful and they're very good at not thinking of the upper class as intrinsically better but they're also not terribly bothered by having women have babies as soon as it is (relatively) safe and regularly after that. I don't see them as disposing of anyone rejected for breeding purposes, those people could be making them money farming or doing whatever. They're a significant political force but they also take pains to maintain neutrality with other forces and take the understated route to power instead of going for glamorous empire. Plus they end up funneling a fair amount of resources into a project with dubious results from a political point of view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
Say you get 20 successes, though. On a trait that's not sex-linked, that means 10 are girls. So, you can start churning out 10 special kids a year, right, by breeding them with the 10 males? All partners involved have two copies each of the required recessive genes, no possibility of contamination. The problem is that a breeding pool of 20 is not near enough genetic diversity. They might not call it that, but they'd know of the danger from animal breeding.
They also know that animal breeding involves deliberate inbreeding to achieve results and then later diversity strengthening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gef View Post
Do I gather that there's no magic/psi to sidestep the issues of low tech?
There is magic, but it's not really particularly useful for sidestepping genetics issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
The group could be on a separate power track from the nobility. Indeed it sounds like they would have to. Much of their breeding would be endogamous, and marriages with nobility would be negotiated carefully to avoid geneological confusion and to prevent connecting them to the nobility's power games. Promoted commoners would not be a problem in that regard, they would just be dumped into the gene pool and would not have a large mess of inheirited problems coming with them. The result would be something like the difference between Brahmins and Kshitriya.
Yes, this is a good description of what I was thinking of.

Last edited by Sindri; 01-09-2015 at 07:16 PM.
Sindri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 07:19 PM   #14
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Designing a Secret Eugenics Society

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
I think it would be significantly challenging to produce quality observations for eugenics purposes starting with just observable genetics in animals and plants.

Mentally you don't want just a test that vaguely correlates to how well someone will do at a job like the Chinese imperial examination, you need to basically invent a set of ways in which someone can be mentally gifted, find ways to test a person for each of them (even ones that aren't traditionally valued by the culture) and hope that your set of mental aptitudes was good enough to be improvable when you start to get actual data instead of being fundamentally unworkable. In addition to tests you can probably have some of the competitions at the festivals have to do with mental aptitudes. Memory is probably a good example.
Either you missed my point or I missed yours. I wasn't commenting on the technical difficulty of a low tech eugenics program but on the specific problem of getting breeding stock.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 07:29 PM   #15
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Designing a Secret Eugenics Society

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Either you missed my point or I missed yours. I wasn't commenting on the technical difficulty of a low tech eugenics program but on the specific problem of getting breeding stock.
Did you mean to say overestimate? What I said "won't be easy" originally was measuring those on the outside. Just acquiring people once you've measured their abilities won't be hard. Specific members of the upper class may require finesse to incorporate in the breeding program. Likewise it's worth being careful and disguising your actual intentions instead of revealing your organization's aims for most people of any class you are incorporating into the program. Although just attracting a bunch of people with impressive scores from a region to nearby your temples and letting them marry each other normally can't hurt either.
Sindri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2015, 07:48 PM   #16
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Designing a Secret Eugenics Society

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Did you mean to say overestimate? What I said "won't be easy" originally was measuring those on the outside. Just acquiring people once you've measured their abilities won't be hard. Specific members of the upper class may require finesse to incorporate in the breeding program. Likewise it's worth being careful and disguising your actual intentions instead of revealing your organization's aims for most people of any class you are incorporating into the program. Although just attracting a bunch of people with impressive scores from a region to nearby your temples and letting them marry each other normally can't hurt either.
I must have meant overestimate. Or meant "underestimating the ability to do so." Which comes to the same thing. I think you probably could provide a steady enough vetted influx to avoid over inbreeding as long as you know what you are vetting them for.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison

Last edited by jason taylor; 01-09-2015 at 07:58 PM.
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bio-tech, eugenics, low-tech, secret society, selective breeding

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.