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Still Waters

Are humans getting less intelligent?

106 posts in this topic

I think it is pretty obvious that intelligence in developed countries is going down -- unless you reject evolution, that is.

Just look who is breeding.... the intelligent segment of the population? Obviously not. They have zero or 1 kid per woman. The segment of the population that is reproducing like crazy is the mass of welfare recipients. And among those, the ones who are intelligent and make something of themselves in turn have few children. So, it is simply the same evolution at work... way back in Africa, high IQ was an asset to procreation. In modern society, it has been made irrelevant, and the high-IQ section of the population does not reproduce. Et voila.

Incidentally, the state of Singapore has recognized this and is offering subsidies for high IQ couples to have more children. Alas, with little success.

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I think you are confused about what evolution really is. Having more children that survive IS winning the evolution game. Nature does not give a flying fig about your career or intellectual pursuits. All nature cares about is that you pass your DNA on to as many healthy offspring as possible. So the people that wait, get nice careers, pair up and reproduce later and have fewer kids LOSE the evolutionary battle to those who have more children sooner that survive.

That's exactly what I meant. You have misinterpreted my quote.

Many societies now have built-in safety nets to provide for those who can't provide for themselves. This allows people who would not have been evolutionarily successful in the past to pass on their genes.

Putting a career first often means having fewer kids, and starting later--decreasing evolutionary success. This is relative to the less educated members of society, who tend to have more kids and to start having them earlier--i.e.-increasing evolutionary success. Intelligence may have increased fitness in the past, but I don't believe it does any longer.

Edited by Cybele

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And similarly until recently the rich have outbred the poor as a result of access to more/better food, better shelter etc. Now it is the other way around. The rich are arguably richer because they are smarter, so now the less smart are outbreeding the smart.

My understanding is that lower classes tended to marry earlier than higher classes in prior centuries as well, at least in the Western world. Rich people aren't necessarily rich because they're smarter, but because of inheritance and increased opportunities, such as access to education without going into debt, etc.

One might argue your case more convincingly with self-made millionaires and billionaires. Certainly you have to have great intelligence and creativity to become the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but these are extremes. I don't know how the statistics would play out.

Edited by Cybele

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As far as intelligence goes we are at a peak because we have almost boundless intellectual abilities locked away from us right now. We are all mathematical geniuses, and all musical masters but we simply don't have access these sides of our intelligence.

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As far as intelligence goes we are at a peak because we have almost boundless intellectual abilities locked away from us right now. We are all mathematical geniuses, and all musical masters but we simply don't have access these sides of our intelligence.

Intelligence is a tricky concept. People with significant life impairments can have artistic or mnemonic abilities far beyond the average person and be considered genius (i.e.-savants). Intelligence is generally assessed more holistically than this, by testing memory, verbal, quantitative, spatial abilities and the like.

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all people everywhere are better educated that in the past....but common sense is going out the window...

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Our intelligence and behaviour requires optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain.

Now, in a provocative theory, a team from Stanford University claim we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes which endows us with our brain power is particularly vulnerable to mutations - and these mutations are not being selected against our modern society because we no longer need intelligence to survive.

http://www.dailymail...ce-survive.html

Our society is run all backwards.

We should live in a nation where the intellectuals, the beautiful, the atheltic and the generally gifted all have 10 kids each. But our society is setup to take away their wages and give them to the down and outs who have the 10 kids each instead. Therefore as the generations pass peoples eyes gradually get closer and closer together.

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Key intelligence indicator: common sense or the lack thereof.

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This is relative to the less educated members of society, who tend to have more kids and to start having them earlier--i.e.-increasing evolutionary success.

I'll throw something else into the mix... Marriage is BAD for the species, as it keeps from a more rapid combination of genetics. It is far more to one's benefit biologically speaking, to have children by more than one father/mother.

But our society is setup to take away their wages and give them to the down and outs who have the 10 kids each instead

No it's not.

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I think so.

The other day some little ****s ran out infront of my friends car screaming "Yolo".

I told him that if he had hit them I'd have helped hide the bodies. :lol:

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I think so.

The other day some little ****s ran out infront of my friends car screaming "Yolo".

I told him that if he had hit them I'd have helped hide the bodies. :lol:

Good one but out of curiosity whats a "Yolo" ? :unsure2:

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Good one but out of curiosity whats a "Yolo" ? :unsure2:

Yolo means "you only live once"

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meh who cares we are eventually just going to rely on computers, and after that physical abilities will have greater value and the leader of the people will be the strongest, fastest ,or just the one that can kick the most ass.

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I don't see why you think that. Our modern world allows people who would have died as children to live to a ripe old age because our medical technology overcomes the inherent weakness in their genetic code. By the same token, "think fast or die" situations are pretty rare for a modern human.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying these guys are right (especially since there's no real definitive way to measure intelligence among modern people, much less a way to apply it to previous generations), just that from a logical perspective our amassed knowledge base as a species may allow individuals to get by with learning less or more slowly than generations where individual knowledge was all that determined whether one would eat dinner or BE dinner...

You have the good fortune to live in a modern Country,and have the right to the best medical treatment,and are miles ahead of most Countries in Tech know how,but most people of todays world live in abject horrendous poverty. Have you stepped over dead bodies lying in the streets of Calcutta,or seen African children drinking muddy street water,and seen Indian children fighting over a scrap of bread on a city refuse dump.Just asking because I dont think you know what real poverty is..no offence meant.A lot of these poor people wont live into their teens never mind a ripe old age.

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Children are no longer taught cursive writing in school. They are not taught to do even basic math without using a calculator. If the grid ever did go down, they would soon be rather helpless without their electronic crutches. So would a lot of adults. Yes; I believe people are getting dumber.

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I'll throw something else into the mix... Marriage is BAD for the species, as it keeps from a more rapid combination of genetics. It is far more to one's benefit biologically speaking, to have children by more than one father/mother.

But then who would help raise said children?

Marriage may be adaptive in a species with complex social structures, as it might ensure that greater resources and focus can be devoted to raising children successfully. It makes sense to have long-term partnerships, considering the relatively long childhood, and greater helplessness during childhood, humans display compared to other species.

Edited by Cybele
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I'd say so. All I have to do is compare my current calculus book to the one at the library published in 1950.

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all you have to do to answer this question is watch tv. go to any site on the internet (besides this one, of course) and take a trip to your local modern music store.

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If I dont havd gps on my own, how can I fund my phone?

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Since we as a species have purposely evolved technology as a method of self preservation, our abilities have become more focused and perhaps less generalized. Indeed, there is more emphasis on attaining higher levels of education in order to assure vocational capabilities in a world where Moore's Law argues the doubling of digital density occurs every two years. The masses who live in urban jungles have perhaps lost the ability to survive in the rural jungles and have certainly lost the joy of commuting with nature. Yet we continue to adapt very successfully. And, perhaps that is our greatest challenge. How do we deal with our success and the consequential spiraling population growth and dwindling resources.

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Cremo was right. Devolution is real.

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Polymaths (people who were good at a lot of things) are dying out.

Eg. My Dad; a carpenter, woodworker, plumber, electrician, car mechanic, heavy duty mechanic, millwright, welder & fabricator, machine operator, tree faller, saw mill designer (the list goes on and on).

We're not getting less intelligent, just more specialized. Sure, there were better people in any of those one fields. Now, those people who were adept in all those fields (or any other list of fields) are getting fewer.

In short, I'd rather have someone with experience, than someone who's an 'expert'.

Sounds like you're read some Robert Heinlein (of Starship Trooper fame)

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

http://en.wikiquote....ert_A._Heinlein

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Children are no longer taught cursive writing in school.

Nor should they be, it is a useless skill in today's world. They should be taught how to print, then once they have mastery of the written language, they immediately should be taught how to keyboard.

Look around you at the next meeting you attend. If you are like most, everyone around will be using a laptop, or will be PRINTING their notes on a notepad. No need for cursive writing any longer. Time is better spent learning how to use a keyboard.

But then who would help raise said children?

Marriage may be adaptive in a species with complex social structures, as it might ensure that greater resources and focus can be devoted to raising children successfully. It makes sense to have long-term partnerships, considering the relatively long childhood, and greater helplessness during childhood, humans display compared to other species.

How did we ever survive without marriage then? well, here's how. The pair bond seems to last, biologically, for about 5-7 years. I think it is no coincidence that this is the amount of time it takes a child to achieve self sufficiency to the point where it does not need constant care.

I think that, biologically, we are serial monogamists.

Since we as a species have purposely evolved technology as a method of self preservation, our abilities have become more focused and perhaps less generalized. Indeed, there is more emphasis on attaining higher levels of education in order to assure vocational capabilities in a world where Moore's Law argues the doubling of digital density occurs every two years. The masses who live in urban jungles have perhaps lost the ability to survive in the rural jungles and have certainly lost the joy of commuting with nature.

I think you mean "communing." Unless you are talking about driving to work with some flowers in your car or something. Or maybe there's something in this Moore's law about riding around with grass in your pockets?

Polymaths (people who were good at a lot of things) are dying out.

I am not so sure about this. I think that the things that we are good at are changing, but I think that human beings are still good at many things. For instance, I can write XML, HTML, fix my motorcycle, clean my shotgun, install flooring, take care of children, set up and maintain aquariums, etc. etc. Not to mention the various different things I do at work...

Edited by Neognosis

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well I could have come up with this theory..heck.

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Sounds like you're read some Robert Heinlein (of Starship Trooper fame)

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

http://en.wikiquote....ert_A._Heinlein

I could do all of those except design a building, and I don't know what "conn" means. I am so dumb...

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