How should we integrate Neanderthals into modern society?

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Chi019
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A thought experiment by Beijing Genomics Cognitive Genomics Project member Steve Hsu:

Now consider the following thought experiment. Imagine thousands of Neanderthals on some privately held land in Siberia, perhaps the secret project of a reclusive billionaire oligarch.

It's very likely these Neanderthals, although able to interbreed with humans, and probably capable of speech, will be on average considerably less intelligent than humans. If I had to guess I would suppose their average adult IQ to be about 70, or -2 SD relative to modern humans. You might wonder how they could have survived for 300k+ years with such modest intelligence, but based on my experiences with 5-10 year old kids I don't think that a sub-adult level of maximum intelligence precludes the ability to form societies and function as hunter-gatherers. (Apes survive with even less cognitive ability.) I just don't think that higher developments (e.g., invention of writing) are likely for such a population. What Homo Sapiens accomplished in 50-100k years far outstrips Neanderthal accomplishments over a much longer period of time.

Modern humans differ from each other at about 1 in 1000 places in the genome, whereas a Neanderthal and a human differ at a few per 1000 places. Some subset of these additional differences cause them to be broader, more powerfully muscled, and, most likely, less intelligent.

Now to the problem: how should we integrate these Neanderthals into modern society? Perhaps we should not integrate them -- better to leave them alone on protected lands, to live their ''natural'' (= nasty, brutish and short?) lives. But what if some Neanderthals express the wish to join our society? How should we best help them?

I think it's likely that no amount of special education or training will allow average Neanderthals to be successful in cognitively demanding jobs. They might face significant discrimination, given their appearance. However, let us suppose that in this future the technology exists to modify the genes which cause the cognitive gap between moderns and Neanderthals. Suppose it is possible, through genetic engineering, to modify the genomes of Neanderthal embryos, causing their brains to develop as ours do. Would it not be our moral duty to make this modification available to Neanderthal parents who want it?

Extra credit questions:

1) Is it "racist" to make the assumptions used in our hypothetical?

2) Is it also our moral duty to make similar modifications available to human parents who happen to be well below average in cognitive ability?
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Picnic1
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Ermm. we are little better than Neanderthals on the whole.

We already integrated them - it's called being a professional footballer. They kick a ball between two poles for a living. Sounds primitive enough to be regarded as Neanderthal to me.

They get paid handsomely for it.

Lots of other people do far more creative, intelligent work for far less pay whilst supporting the wages of said footballers. Who is the Neanderthal? The one who's clever enough to choose a career that gets paid so highly or the one who isn't?

There would be far more difference between a genius and the average person than there is between the average person and a Neanderthal.

Therefore no need to think about this dilemma. There wouldn't be one. They'd be relatively popular with women who'll go with anything that flatters them.
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Mequa
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Since they come under the genus Homo I would argue they would best be accorded basic human rights.

Their physical build and strength would probably give them a major edge over modern humans in sports such as rugby (maybe leading to them being barred from competing with modern humans), and they are likely to excel at various forms of manual labour.

From what I heard about Neanderthal traits: They were considerably physically stronger than modern humans, had a stocky build, had a high-pitched and nasal voice, and also matured faster than us and displayed less neoteny.

Although they *could* interbreed with Homo sapiens sapiens, I doubt they'd be considered very sexually attractive by many. I wonder if them raping would be a major problem...

As a distinct species or subspecies, debates about racism would take on a whole new meaning.
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darzenhabils
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It depends.

Their exact cognitive capacity is unknown. They may even have invented the first industrial process, who knows? And the only thing that gives us the edge is us being behaviourally modern. From our emergence 200,000 years ago to 50,000, we were perhaps much like the Neanderthals in culture, behaviour and technology.
IMO, it's a moot point, since they may be able to integrate, however the extent of this may depend on how smart they are.
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Chi019
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(Original post by Mequa)
Since they come under the genus Homo I would argue they would best be accorded basic human rights.

Their physical build and strength would probably give them a major edge over modern humans in sports such as rugby (maybe leading to them being barred from competing with modern humans), and they are likely to excel at various forms of manual labour.

From what I heard about Neanderthal traits: They were considerably physically stronger than modern humans, had a stocky build, had a high-pitched and nasal voice, and also matured faster than us and displayed less neoteny.

Although they *could* interbreed with Homo sapiens sapiens, I doubt they'd be considered very sexually attractive by many. I wonder if them raping would be a major problem...

As a distinct species or subspecies, debates about racism would take on a whole new meaning.
That's probably correct, they'd be given "human rights" and would probably seek to move to developed countries. In terms of interbreeding, interestingly European and Asian populations so far have been found to have some neanderthal ancestry so it clearly occurred - whether it was consensual I'm not sure.
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Origami Bullets
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Integration of 'native' tribes has rarely gone well, even when they're of the same species and intelligence e.g. Aboriginals, American Indians - and many of those show limited desire to integrate even now (not surprising - white man screwed them over royally), so I think that the chances these theoretical neanderthals would want to integrate is limited.

I'd suggest leaving them where they are, but providing medical treatment and housing for those who need and want it in situ. If they want to leave Siberia then they could, but I think that the suggestion that we should be trying to make an ancient species into another through the use of gene manipulation would be moderately offensive to most.

It's not racist - they're a different species. Very closely related, but a different species all the same.
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Bongo Bongo
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The definition of species is loose when we're talking about our recent extinct relatives. There's even the argument within anthropology that all the human relatives from the last 1 million years are in fact the same species. I'm doubtful that their intelligence would be that much lower than ours. Their brains were as big if not bigger than ours. Of course this comes down to the whole nature vs nurture debate and I believe that nurture is more important. I think that a neanderthal socialised in a modern human society would be very close to us intelligence wise. The whole concept of manipulating their genes to make them more intelligent is ridiculous.
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Dr DaMan
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We shouldn't
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Greg Jackson
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it would be weird as hell to encounter one irl
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Farm_Ecology
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There is plenty to suggest that Neanderthals were of about equal inteligence to us.

However, the fact that there would likely be significant differences in the formation of the brain would like cause problems. It is quite possible that cognative tasks that we find simple would be very difficult for them, and vice versa. It is difficult to tell.

Such issues would obviously cause conflict, with the obvious differences allowing us to intergrate very well. It would only be these "moments" where our differences would be pronounced, and we would be aware that we are not trying to intergrate another culture, but another species.
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mazigh
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By killing them all
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Jjj90
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(Original post by Picnic1)
Ermm. we are little better than Neanderthals on the whole.

We already integrated them - it's called being a professional footballer. They kick a ball between two poles for a living. Sounds primitive enough to be regarded as Neanderthal to me.

They get paid handsomely for it.

Lots of other people do far more creative, intelligent work for far less pay whilst supporting the wages of said footballers. Who is the Neanderthal? The one who's clever enough to choose a career that gets paid so highly or the one who isn't?

There would be far less difference between a genius and the average person than there is between the average person and a Neanderthal.

Therefore no need to think about this dilemma. There wouldn't be one. They'd be relatively popular with women who'll go with anything that flatters them.
What a witless ****.
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Picnic1
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(Original post by Jjj90)
What a witless ****.
Saying that someone is witless without saying what you object to makes you witless. I had plenty to say.
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