The Dumbing Down

The weekend is upon us and time to change the tone and subject matter……I know I have been extremely hard on my fellow humans……saying that I feel that somehow we mere mortals have gotten dumber over the years…….especially when it comes to our politics…….

And now I have read a study that goes with my feelings……

(Newser) – Talk about optimism: A genetics professor in California argues that human beings have been dumbing down for thousands of years and will only grow dimmer down the road, the Independent reports. We probably peaked as hunter-gatherers, who survived by their wits, and saw a decline in natural selection of the intellect as we shifted to agricultural and city life, argues Gerald Crabtree of Stanford University. Then we just got dumber as genes mutated with each generation. (His paper is in two parts, here and here.)

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions,” writes Crabtree. “Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues.” But not all are convinced: “At first sight this is a classic case of Arts Faculty science,” says a geneticist in London. “Never mind the hypothesis, give me the data, and there aren’t any.”

Any thoughts on this?


8 thoughts on “The Dumbing Down

  1. I suspect that he’s referring to our survival skills being lost. The ability to plan beyond driving to the supermarket to furnish us with basic needs is no longer there. We have become dependent on an economic system that does everything that people had to do for themselves a few hundred years ago. Such as, find and kill our own food, or later, cultivate and farm our food and then know how to actually prepare it other than opening a package and adding contents to water.

  2. I heard this on NPR yesterday. My first thoughts were, isn’t natural selection supposed to lead to organisms that are better-adapted to their environments? Why would less intelligent humans have an advantage? If natural selection is not working for us, is it because people have been selecting for other things like looks, family connections, or (often inherited) wealth for so long? (things that wouldn’t necessarily come with genes for good intellect, as far as I know.) And if we’re a dimmer race now, with exceptions, is it because of entropy, with things falling apart and more mutations occurring because of pollution, etc.? If that’s the case, then someone could explain our scientific progress as people ‘doing the best with what they’ve been given, bless their hearts.’

    1. Hi Kelli and thanx for stopping by….it is always a pleasure to have new people show up and hopefully they will stick around…..

      I think that we humans no longer try to stimulate our intellect….we prefer letting someone or something do it for us, whether games, TV or whatever….in short we have become lazy…..

      1. Cool. The way I see it is everything is dumbing down by the day. Next thing ya know, people will be walking around with little hand-held devises that tell em what to do.

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