THE ANNOUNCEMENT that a bank has been established in which Nobel prize winners are invited to deposit their sperm, so that it may be used later to fertilize women who are credited with also having unusual intelligence, has been treated by most commentators, and especially by other scientists, as little more than ludicrous. One French Nobel prize winner, Francois Jacob, has said that the idea must be a spoof.
But surely we should consider the possibility that the sponsors of the bank, and the four Nobel laureates who have so far contributed specimens of their manhood, are displaying a breadth of vision which we are merely too plodding to appreciate.
The promise of this daring experiment is that by the scientific fertilization of intelligence with intelligence we can be sure of breeding children who will in turn be exceptionally gifted. One of the missionaries of the idea, Dr. William H. Shockley, has already banked his sperm. He has long held the belief that heredity and even race are important factors in determining the intelligence of human beings. Undeterred by his inability to demonstrate this in any other way, he has now been willing to lay himself on the altar of science. Such dedication is not to be idly mocked.
The possibilities in the scheme are endless.
Let us take, for one thing, the idea of a bank. Since inflation seems likely to continue its heady career forever, presumably people will go on trying to put their wealth into tangible assets. It cannot be long before the supplies of gold, silver, gems, stamps, art and antiques will be exhausted. Why not then invest one's money in the sperm of Novel laureates? There is the promise, after all, that it will fructify, from generation unto generation: that is the intention of the idea.
Since it is considered that only the Nobel prize winners in the sciences have the kind of intelligence which can be measured for the purpose, and since the United States has a disproportionate number of scientists who win the Novel prize, America's position in the world as a trading nation will be restored at once: It will be the OPEC of sperm and be able to fix the price for sperm-consuming nations.
Fort Knox will take on new life as the U.S. Sperm Bullion Depository, and Nobel scientists will labor as hard in sperm mining as coolies once did in gold mining in the Transvaal. The Soviet Union will try to catch up by sending its dissident Nobel scientists to exile in sperm labor camps, but presumably in Turkestan rather than Siberia, since warm climates are considered more stimulating to such productivity. And how many Nobel prize winners, it is reassuring to think, are there in the whole Islamic world?
Since the Nobel prize winners are not noticeably uninterested in their pecuniary rewards, the awards each year will take on a new character, for the winners will then be able to put themselves out to stud at considerable fees, as if they had won the Triple Crown. On-course betting will be allowed before the awards. Syndicates will be formed to purchase the winners.
Organized crime will enter the market, and real estate values in Cambridge will soar.There will be stories of how the prize winners were drugged when they made their discoveries. The Nobel committee will be taken over by The Family. The king of Sweden will receive visits from the Godfather. The FEB will keep potential prize winners under surveillance at intellectual parties to find out their price.
Since by and large it is only the advanced industrial nations which have the resources with which to produce prize-winning scientists, Dr. Shockley will in fact be able to claim that by proving his first point he has also proved the second. Because it is the white nations which are most productive of this kind of intelligence, he can in one stroke argue that race as well as heredity is one of the controlling factors in intelligence. Racism will be vindicated.
But so, at last, will sexism. The women's movement has been very slow so far in seeing the implications. The role of the highly intelligent women who are selected as the vessels to produce this master race will be hardly less noble than that of a mare to a stallion. But how are the "highly intelligent women" to be identified, since the Nobel prizes in science are largely a male preserve?
Will the work be entrusted to Radcliffe, which some will say once existed for the purpose, and was a clearly fitted for it? Must not the chosen women be confined to a cloister, lest they be tempted to try "the old way," as one Nobel laureate has pleasantly called it? Indeed, will not the promising young stallions have to be confined, too? Have we not been warned by "Brave New World" what happens when "the old way" of conceiving a child for mere love rears its head?
As Alfred Rosenberg made very clear in his scriptures of Nazi racial theory, which presumably Dr. Shockley has studiously conned, a master race cannot be reproduced without a slave race of women. They will of course be most privileged slaves. They will be allowed to graze on the most succulent blue grass in Kentucky until they are ready for their service to the state. But those most sympathetic to his idea must be uncertain of Dr. Shockley's seriousness in this experiment -- and other laureates will continue to say damagingly that he is only spoofing -- until he tells the unbelieving how the intelligent women are to be reared and preserved as fit receptacles.
Those who wish that his far-reaching vision should be realized must also be disturbed because he does not seem to have considered what he will do with the failures of the unions. There are going to be some slip-ups. Francois Jacob has said that the result of the scheme will be to produce children among whom the proportion of idiots will be exactly the same as in the rest of the population. The evidence of this needs to be concealed.
What is Dr. Shockley going to do with the idiots? If they are exposed by hiding them in the bulrushes, they may turn out to be the most tiresome rebels against the master race. Give them to a peasant woman to wet-nurse and, as both legend and history warn, they will discover their true lineage when they grow up, and cause endless trouble for the master race of usurpers. Will or will not Dr. Shockley, like Herod, put them to the sword?
Francois Jacob says again that "only someone who does not know the Nobel prize winners would want to reproduce them in thousands." There will be a lot of populist talk like this. But once more Dr. Shockley does not seem to have anticipated the rude and ignorant opposition which will have to be met.
He does not seem to have taken the trouble, for example, to prepare his own resume with this in mind. Since he is a pioneer in contributing his own sperm as a Nobel laureate for the reproduction of intelligence, he must be able to show that his own rare intelligence is the result of the kind of union which he now boldly prescribes. Was his own father, investigative reporters from the Scientific American will ask, a Nobel laureate in science? Was his own mother a woman of exceptionally high IQ?
There will be mischievous people who will say that he is proof of his own theories of heredity only if his own obtuseness on the question can be traced back to thick-headed parents. If intelligence will breed intelligence, they will point and say, his own idiocy must have been bred from idiots. This will be only the commonest form of the malignant ignorance which he will have to meet. But, unanswered, it could be very damaging.
There are also those who will say that Nobel scientists who are so gifted in their own fields are usually dumb and slow-witted when they offer their opinions on any subject outside it. Dr. Shockley received his Nobel prize for being one of three scientists who discovered the transistor effect, and he must demonstrate to the ignorant why this equips him to be an authority in genetics.
Others will even inquire about the other two scientists who were responsible with him for the transistor discovery and who shared in the 1956 physics prize. John Bardeen and Walter Brattain are both still alive, and there must be some progeny, grandchildren as well as children, on whom the ignorant will fix their gaze. How many of them have inherited the rare intelligence of their fathers? If none have done so, is it because their fathers gave them dumb mothers? Dr. Shockley must be ready with the evidence that, since Nobel laureates in science are not known to have produced new generations of Nobel laureates, it is because they have consistently taken stupid women as wives.
Unless Dr. Shockley is ready to meet these kinds of ignorant criticism from the multitude, those who would like to be his disciples must fear that his high purpose will be frustrated. For it is not merely the breeding of a few master rulers of society which is at stake. Once he has proved his point, we can stop wasting so much money on futile schemes of educating; we can start getting not only the dumb but Indians and blacks and Hispanics out of school; we need train women only to be ovens; and we can have the Third World subservient again to its western masters.
There is at the University of Colorado an anthropologist of some renown who has perhaps carried Dr. Shockley's ideas even a more daring step forward. w He says that Indians have a gene which makes them drink. He has never been able to show anyone the gene. But then, who for so long could show that the world was round? It is the future of such revolutionary advances in the western concept of humanity that hand on the success of Dr. Shockley's life-giving experiment.