Human beings are becoming stupider and stupider.
Writing in the journal Trends in Genetics, that’s the proposition of a Stanford University scientist, the appropriately-named Dr. Gerald Crabtree. In fact, Crabtree says, we humans have been steadily losing intelligence for thousands of years.
Crabtree’s thesis goes like this (the words in dark red are mine):
In the early period of the human species — the hunter-and-gatherer period that lasted at least a million years — homo sapiens lived and died by their ability to organize things spatially in their minds, tasks necessary when it came to constructing a shelter. We can thank our ancestors for that ability because nearly anyone can mow a lawn, though that deceptively simple task actually takes a lot of brainpower.
But then came CIVILIZATION, the advent of agriculture and cities. And with civilization [and the WELFARE STATE], humans became increasingly reliant on one another for survival, and concomitantly less reliant on our own skills and intelligence that natural selection long ago had favored. In other words, the advent of civilization also meant the sunset of the mechanism of natural selection, making it less necessary for humans to weed out harmful mutations [like stupidity].
“A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his/her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate. Clearly, extreme selection is a thing of the past,” Crabtree and his colleagues write.
Over the course of 3,000 years or 120 generations, Crabtree has calculated that, on average, each person has two mutations that work against their intelligence, which is “eroding our intellectual and emotional capabilities” [translation: “making us dumber and dumber”].
And here’s the proof!
FOTM’s Joan received this email that’s circulating on the net — of handwritten answers to questions by schoolchildren. Their ages and country are unknown, as is whether the school(s) is
public government or private. Some of their answers (my favorite is “crushed asians”) would be funny, if the implications weren’t so disturbing. (H/t FOTM’s Joan)
I have evidence that’s even more compelling than the samples above, that humans are getting dumber and dumber:
The Americans — all 62,306,898 of them — who last Tuesday reelected the mediocre 2.6 GPA Barry Soetoro Obama for a second term in the White House, because we all know what a smashing good job he did in his first term.