November 9, 2009
Richard Dawkins
New College
Holywell Street
Oxford OX1 3BN
United Kingdom

Dear Dr. Dawkins:
I have taken an interest in the fact that in humans fertility is intimately related to the kinship of parents and grandparents and so forth.  Inbreeding is obviously bad, but after a narrow optimal range, outbreeding is just as bad.  I was working on this for years before the proof was published.  The evidence and references are on the enclosed DVD or, rather less conveniently, spelled out at on the internet along with some of my attempts at correspondence. 

The disturbing thing is that evolution paints itself into a corner.  This should be no surprise.  Evolution has no foresight.  A complex organism that has been optimized by evolution cannot survive with an unlimited gene pool size.  That problem is now compounded by the fact that our civilization now supports very large gene pools, so large that fertility is dropping worldwide and in advanced societies is has long since fallen below what can be survived. 

As if worse news were needed, when I point this out to people, one of the strongest reactions I get is effectively, “God wouldn’t let that happen to us.”  Sorry.  It has happened so often before that one can make a firm prediction that there will be no divine intervention. 

Another reaction seems to be, “I’m to busy to worry about that.”  This I do not believe.  Micahel Shermer, to whom I have appealed for help, recently published an essay on whether intelligent life elsewhere would look humanoid.  Now I just gave a lecture at a science fiction convention on exobiology.  For two hours I hammered out history, hard data and fielded questions as fast as I could, but there simply was no time to consider something for which there was no data.  (Unless you count two arguably face like formations on Mars, which I did mention.)  Shermer has more time than I do.  I am also enclosing a CD of the lecture. 

And what could be more important?  This has implications for the survival of civilization and indeed for the survival of the species.  Anyone who is guided by adaptive genes should put the survival of human genes above any other interest. 

In my formulation, as given in the 10 minute DVD, the unit of survival is effectively the chromosome.  While genes undeniably are selfish, they also have to work together.  So “The Cooperative Gene” is also an important concept from a biological standpoint.  

Please look this over and get back to me.  Time is short.  The CD lays out evidence and logic that suggest we are already 10 years past the last moment when it would have been possible to save ourselves.  Personally I don’t believe that, not on the basis of evidence, but simply because that would be too horrible.  I have been working on this for more than 10 years, and I simply refuse to accept that my own failure to communicate effectively has allowed us to drop over the edge. 

You will notice a scriptural reference in the CD.  Don’t let that put you off.  In order to find anything close to a similar insight I had to go so far back in time that atheism had not yet been invented, so it had to be couched in religious terms.  Even so I do not believe it, but I thought it only honest to point it out. 

You of course might take the attitude, “Just leave it to the experts,” but as we all know science is constantly advancing, and thus science never has the whole truth.  Putting faith in science always to find the truth in time is about as logical as trusting providence.  It would seem to mean you were a closet theist.  Please do respond with help or hard evidence to the contrary; as this is an open letter, it might fall into less sympathetic hands.  So if you demonstrate by silence an irrational confidence, prepare to be outed. 


M. Linton Herbert MD 

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