[Marxism] Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 1 08:01:51 MDT 2019

NY Times, August 1, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA
By James B. Stewart, Matthew Goldstein and Jessica Silver-Greenberg

Jeffrey E. Epstein, the wealthy financier who is accused of sex 
trafficking, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with 
his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch.

Mr. Epstein over the years confided to scientists and others about his 
scheme, according to four people familiar with his thinking, although 
there is no evidence that it ever came to fruition.

Mr. Epstein’s vision reflected his longstanding fascination with what 
has become known as transhumanism: the science of improving the human 
population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial 
intelligence. Critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version 
of eugenics, the discredited field of improving the human race through 
controlled breeding.

Mr. Epstein, who was charged in July with the sexual trafficking of 
girls as young as 14, was a serial illusionist: He lied about the 
identities of his clients, his wealth, his financial prowess, his 
personal achievements. But he managed to use connections and charisma to 
cultivate valuable relationships with business and political leaders.

Interviews with more than a dozen of his acquaintances, as well as 
public documents, show that he used the same tactics to insinuate 
himself into an elite scientific community, thus allowing him to pursue 
his interests in eugenics and other fringe fields like cryonics.

Lawyers for Mr. Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty to the 
sex-trafficking charges, did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Epstein attracted a glittering array of prominent scientists. They 
included the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who 
discovered the quark; the theoretical physicist and best-selling author 
Stephen Hawking; the paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen 
Jay Gould; Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and best-selling author; George 
M. Church, a molecular engineer who has worked to identify genes that 
could be altered to create superior humans; and the M.I.T. theoretical 
physicist Frank Wilczek, a Nobel laureate.

The lure for some of the scientists was Mr. Epstein’s money. He dangled 
financing for their pet projects. Some of the scientists said that the 
prospect of financing blinded them to the seriousness of his sexual 
transgressions, and even led them to give credence to some of Mr. 
Epstein’s half-baked scientific musings.

Scientists gathered at dinner parties at Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan 
mansion, where Dom Pérignon and expensive wines flowed freely, even 
though Mr. Epstein did not drink. He hosted buffet lunches at Harvard’s 
Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, which he had helped start with a $6.5 
million donation.

Others flew to conferences sponsored by Mr. Epstein in the United States 
Virgin Islands and were feted on his private island there. Once, the 
scientists — including Mr. Hawking — crowded on board a submarine that 
Mr. Epstein had chartered.

The Harvard cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker said he was invited by 
colleagues — including Martin Nowak, a Harvard professor of mathematics 
and biology, and the theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss — to “salons 
and coffee klatsches” at which Mr. Epstein would hold court.

While some of Mr. Pinker’s peers hailed Mr. Epstein as brilliant, Mr. 
Pinker described him as an “intellectual impostor.”

“He would abruptly change the subject, A.D.D.-style, dismiss an 
observation with an adolescent wisecrack,” Mr. Pinker said.

Another scientist cultivated by Mr. Epstein, Jaron Lanier, a prolific 
author who is a founder of virtual reality, said that Mr. Epstein’s 
ideas did not amount to science, in that they did not lend themselves to 
rigorous proof. Mr. Lanier said Mr. Epstein had once hypothesized that 
atoms behaved like investors in a marketplace.

Mr. Lanier said he had declined any funding from Mr. Epstein and that he 
had met with him only once after Mr. Epstein in 2008 pleaded guilty to 
charges of soliciting prostitution from a minor.

Harvard’s Steven Pinker was one of the scientific luminaries who met 
with Mr. Epstein.CreditKayana Szymczak for The New York Times
Mr. Epstein was willing to finance research that others viewed as 
bizarre. He told one scientist that he was bankrolling efforts to 
identify a mysterious particle that might trigger the feeling that 
someone is watching you.

At one session at Harvard, Mr. Epstein criticized efforts to reduce 
starvation and provide health care to the poor because doing so 
increased the risk of overpopulation, said Mr. Pinker, who was there. 
Mr. Pinker said he had rebutted the argument, citing research showing 
that high rates of infant mortality simply caused people to have more 
children. Mr. Epstein seemed annoyed, and a Harvard colleague later told 
Mr. Pinker that he had been “voted off the island” and was no longer 
welcome at Mr. Epstein’s gatherings.

Then there was Mr. Epstein’s interest in eugenics.

On multiple occasions starting in the early 2000s, Mr. Epstein told 
scientists and businessmen about his ambitions to use his New Mexico 
ranch as a base where women would be inseminated with his sperm and 
would give birth to his babies, according to two award-winning 
scientists and an adviser to large companies and wealthy individuals, 
all of whom Mr. Epstein told about it.

It was not a secret. The adviser, for example, said he was told about 
the plans not only by Mr. Epstein, at a gathering at his Manhattan 
townhouse, but also by at least one prominent member of the business 
community. One of the scientists said Mr. Epstein divulged his idea in 
2001 at a dinner at the same townhouse; the other recalled Mr. Epstein 
discussing it with him at a 2006 conference that he hosted in St. Thomas 
in the Virgin Islands.

The idea struck all three as far-fetched and disturbing. There is no 
indication that it would have been against the law.

Once, at a dinner at Mr. Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East 
Side, Mr. Lanier said he talked to a scientist who told him that Mr. 
Epstein’s goal was to have 20 women at a time impregnated at his 
33,000-square-foot Zorro Ranch in a tiny town outside Santa Fe. Mr. 
Lanier said the scientist identified herself as working at NASA, but he 
did not remember her name.

According to Mr. Lanier, the NASA scientist said Mr. Epstein had based 
his idea for a baby ranch on accounts of the Repository for Germinal 
Choice, which was to be stocked with the sperm of Nobel laureates who 
wanted to strengthen the human gene pool. (Only one Nobel Prize winner 
has acknowledged contributing sperm to it. The repository discontinued 
operations in 1999.)

Mr. Lanier, the virtual-reality creator and author, said he had the 
impression that Mr. Epstein was using the dinner parties — where some 
guests were attractive women with impressive academic credentials — to 
screen candidates to bear Mr. Epstein’s children.

Mr. Epstein did not hide his interest in tinkering with genes — and in 
perpetuating his own DNA.

One adherent of transhumanism said that he and Mr. Epstein discussed the 
financier’s interest in cryonics, an unproven science in which people’s 
bodies are frozen to be brought back to life in the future. Mr. Epstein 
told this person that he wanted his head and penis to be frozen.

Southern Trust Company, Mr. Epstein’s Virgin Island-incorporated 
business, disclosed in a local filing that it was engaged in DNA 
analysis. Calls to Southern Trust, which sponsored a science and math 
fair for school children in the Virgin Islands in 2014, were not returned.

In 2011, a charity established by Mr. Epstein gave $20,000 to the 
Worldwide Transhumanist Association, which now operates under the name 
Humanity Plus. The group’s website says that its goal is “to deeply 
influence a new generation of thinkers who dare to envision humanity’s 
next steps.”

Mr. Epstein’s foundation, which is now defunct, also gave $100,000 to 
pay the salary of Ben Goertzel, vice chairman of Humanity Plus, 
according to Mr. Goertzel’s résumé.

“I have no desire to talk about Epstein right now,” Mr. Goertzel said in 
an email to The New York Times. “The stuff I’m reading about him in the 
papers is pretty disturbing and goes way beyond what I thought his 
misdoings and kinks were. Yecch.”

Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus of law at Harvard, recalled 
that at a lunch Mr. Epstein hosted in Cambridge, Mass., he steered the 
conversation toward the question of how humans could be improved 
genetically. Mr. Dershowitz said he was appalled, given the Nazis’ use 
of eugenics to justify their genocidal effort to purify the Aryan race.

Yet the lunches persisted.

“Everyone speculated about whether these scientists were more interested 
in his views or more interested in his money,” said Mr. Dershowitz, who 
was one of Mr. Epstein’s defense lawyers in the 2008 case.

Luminaries at Mr. Epstein’s St. Thomas conference in 2006 included Mr. 
Hawking and the Caltech theoretical physicist Kip S. Thorne. One 
participant at that conference, which was ostensibly on the subject of 
gravity, recalled that Mr. Epstein wanted to talk about perfecting the 
human genome. Mr. Epstein said he was fascinated with how certain traits 
were passed on, and how that could result in superior humans.

Mr. Epstein appears to have gained entree into the scientific community 
through John Brockman, a literary agent whose best-selling science 
writers include Richard Dawkins, Daniel Goleman and Jared Diamond. Mr. 
Brockman did not respond to requests for comment.

For two decades, Mr. Brockman presided over a series of salons that 
matched his scientist-authors with potential benefactors. (The so-called 
“billionaires’ dinners” apparently became a model for the gatherings at 
Mr. Epstein’s East 71st Street townhouse, which included some of the 
same guests.)

In 2004, Mr. Brockman hosted a dinner at the Indian Summer restaurant in 
Monterey, Calif., where Mr. Epstein was introduced to scientists, 
including Seth Lloyd, the M.I.T. physicist. Mr. Lloyd said that he found 
Mr. Epstein to be “charming” and to have “interesting ideas,” although 
they “turned out to be quite vague.”

Also at the Indian Summer dinner, according to an account on the website 
of Mr. Brockman’s Edge Foundation, were the Google founders Sergey Brin 
and Larry Page and Jeff Bezos, who was accompanied by his mother.

“All the good-looking women were sitting with the physicists’ table,” 
Daniel Dubno, who was a CBS producer at the time and attended the 
dinner, was quoted as saying. Mr. Dubno told The Times that he did not 
recall the dinner or having said those words.

Mr. Brockman was Mr. Gell-Mann’s agent, and Mr. Gell-Mann, in the 
acknowledgments section of his 1995 book “The Quark and the Jaguar,” 
thanked Mr. Epstein for his financial support.

However impressive his roster of scientific contacts, Mr. Epstein could 
not resist embellishing it. He claimed on one of his websites to have 
had “the privilege of sponsoring many prominent scientists,” including 
Mr. Pinker, Mr. Thorne and the M.I.T. mathematician and geneticist Eric 
S. Lander.

Mr. Pinker said he had never taken any financial or other support from 
Mr. Epstein. “Needless to say, I find Epstein’s behavior reprehensible,” 
he said.

Mr. Thorne, who recently won a Nobel Prize, said he attended Mr. 
Epstein’s 2006 conference, believing it to be co-sponsored by a 
reputable research center. Other than that, “I have had no contact with, 
relationship with, affiliation with or funding from Epstein,” he said. 
“I unequivocally condemn his abhorrent actions involving minors.”

Lee McGuire, a spokesman for Mr. Lander, said he has had no relationship 
with Mr. Epstein. “Mr. Epstein appears to have made up lots of things,” 
Mr. McGuire said, “and this seems to be among them.”

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