Bad News: The Human Race Has Been Getting Stupider For 10,000 Years

Via Instapundit (with obligatory joke), a geneticist believes human brains were more powerful back when we were hunting mastodons than now when we're hunting to find a new episode of Hoarders.

His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

“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, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.

“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.

Well no duh on that last one. I'm not sure you can even have petty neuroses in dangerous environment filled with genuine sources of stress and hazard. If your brain is predisposed to worry and stress, it's going to have a lot of serious threats to worry and stress about. There's no such thing as a hypochondriac when the plague is in town.

There's a theory -- I don't know if this is a real theory or just the sort of thing that Adam Carolla says -- that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens. Fear and neurosis almost certainly works that way.

Posted by: Ace at 01:20 PM



Comments

1 So, people on welfare who are not required to work for their food, are counter-evolutionary?

Posted by: Adirondack Patriot at November 19, 2012 01:22 PM (iAUf+)

2 Right, kick ass. Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... like... you know, like, you know what I mean, like...

Don't worry, scrote. There are plenty of 'tards out there living really kick-ass lives. My first wife was 'tarded. She's a pilot now.

Posted by: Doctor at November 19, 2012 01:22 PM (e0xKF)

3 But we are scoring higher on our IQ tests, the so called Flynn Effect. Or, that is what death penalty attys try to argue. Frankly, it's just another ruse to escape justice.

Posted by: Walkers! at November 19, 2012 01:23 PM (MazXE)

4 I like how wing-nuts know what was going on 10,000 years ago but don't have a clue as to what is going on now.

Posted by: Vic at November 19, 2012 01:23 PM (YdQQY)

5 Malor's post this morning is partial proof that at least some of us are getting Dumber

Posted by: Bag in Baghdad at November 19, 2012 01:24 PM (Dll6b)

6 And the modern welfare state won't let Darwin do his work.

Posted by: rickl at November 19, 2012 01:24 PM (zoehZ)

7 I think they are dealing with a mere caricature of primitive man not primitive man as actually existed.

Posted by: RioBravo at November 19, 2012 01:24 PM (eEfYn)

8 I'd counter-argue that it is easy to have a good memory when there's so little (comparatively) of which to have memory. It isn't as if the average citizen of Athens has free range to go to the Library of Alexandria to read on all the world's events. The volume of information available to the average citizen today would be mind-boggling to the Athenian, and the ability to out-process a set of useful information from the chaff is an art of the current age.

Posted by: Kevin in ABQ at November 19, 2012 01:25 PM (BvTwT)

9 Good to know. Let's let Marco Rubio weigh in...

Posted by: Liberty Lover at November 19, 2012 01:26 PM (encrR)

10 But we are scoring higher on our IQ tests, the so called Flynn Effect.

IQ ain't necessarily smarts.

If I recall correctly, IQ tests measure the ability to think logically, but not the ability to retain information or act on it.

Having the perfect plan is no good if the mastodon has run you over because you haven't actually done anything.

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 19, 2012 01:26 PM (4+LTj)

11 All your idiot belong to us.

Posted by: Pecan Scandi at November 19, 2012 01:27 PM (yvSVk)

12 Carlin made a similar observation about germs and such.

Posted by: Ben at November 19, 2012 01:27 PM (w3mrX)

13 Ii know I have been getting stupider the more time I spend on the internet.

Posted by: Mindy at November 19, 2012 01:27 PM (6jLT3)

14 Yes, Hygiene Theory is real, and it is largely related to autoimmune conditions. Allergies technically fall into that category.

Posted by: Hal at November 19, 2012 01:27 PM (MftY/)

15 Pecan Scandi, you have a delicious nic.

Posted by: Mindy at November 19, 2012 01:28 PM (6jLT3)

16 Funny: Boy Genius Nate Silver says he thinks "we're" all getting smarter:

"I regard myself as a rational progressive. I believe in intellectual
progress– that we, as a species, are gradually becoming smarter. I
believe that there are objectively right answers to many political and
economic questions."

By "we" I think he means "progs".

After listening to progs jeer at those who reject evolution as being unscientific (a charge I agree with) , it's hilarious to read that evolution works so fast that "we" are smarter after a few generations.

Yep, those OccuPoopers represent a new breed of "The Smarts".

Posted by: Jim Sonweed at November 19, 2012 01:28 PM (riIMi)

17 that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens

True.

Posted by: EC at November 19, 2012 01:28 PM (GQ8sn)

18 Obama's reelection marks a low point in human intelligence.

Posted by: JonathanEllis at November 19, 2012 01:29 PM (BdzEV)

19 I'd like to see some genetic testing on remains. Seems like environment might have more to do with it. I.e. If you place a contemporary human in an ancient society from birth, his intellect, body, etc would adapt to the times with the same facility as an ancient human.

Posted by: wte9 at November 19, 2012 01:29 PM (RCQ1W)

20 Meh.
Meh meh.

This all assumes that the remains that have been recovered represent a reliable cross section of the entirety of humanity at that time. Let me give you a little hint since you have a self admittedly small brain. The ancient societies and even older tribes did not care very much about the remains of the lower class. Assuming that the remains that you have are a good cross section of all of humanity at that time is an extremely poor assumption.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 01:29 PM (0q2P7)

21 Daily Kos provides STRONG confirmatory evidence of this theory.

Posted by: joncelli at November 19, 2012 01:29 PM (RD7QR)

22 All I know is the Spartans took an unpextected beating from the Athenians but the Athenians went nuts, attacked Syracuse, lost, had a plague and eventually the Spartans whipped the Athenians. The Athenians revuilt and kept their heads low but stayed rich and important. The whole penninsula got sick of the Spartan was of doing things and the mediocre Thebans eventually came down whipped the Spartans so badly that the whole hoplite/helot system came down and stayed down. Then the dumb Macedonian kicks from the pre-Turkish Ionian styx came in and whipped them all. And they stayed whipped long after the Macedonians fell apart and were pretty easy pickings for Rome.

Which goes to show you that last years football scores aren't good for much.

Posted by: Cackfinger at November 19, 2012 01:29 PM (CCHli)

23 Professor Crabtree is one of the reasons we're so fucking stupid. He's part of the problem, and needs eradication.

Posted by: kathysaysso at November 19, 2012 01:29 PM (y5uWA)

24 So all that programming (with associated logic and math) and all that engineering we do on a daily basis - that's got nothing on... hunting animals?

Posted by: Farmer Joe at November 19, 2012 01:30 PM (Od5/V)

25 Personally I think a person from Athens would be freaking out and thinking that the hurricanes and the drought that fucked up crops in the midwest is the result of our using magic and he would become incredibly distraught at not finding any virgins to sacrifice to correct the god's anger at us.

Posted by: buzzion at November 19, 2012 01:30 PM (GULKT)

26 Also one has to wonder if we draw our own best and brightest innovators from hunter gatherer societies? I'm guessing that we do not.

Posted by: Cackfinger at November 19, 2012 01:30 PM (CCHli)

27 Ancient humans were not necessarily smarter, but I'd wager they were more wiser and had better common sense.

After all, there was no internet back then. That means no internet pr0n. No "Master of Your Domain" for 30 days at a time.

Posted by: EC at November 19, 2012 01:31 PM (GQ8sn)

28 Isn't "intelligence" racist? But there are no races anyway.

Posted by: jeanne at November 19, 2012 01:31 PM (GdalM)

29 but does it have electrolytes?

Posted by: California Red at November 19, 2012 01:31 PM (icSBv)

30 Kind of sounds like bull shit, not every citizen of Athens was Plato. There have always been a small few hyper intelligent beings who pushed humanity forward while the vast majority were flinging their shit at each other. A big problem for humanity now is people seem to celebrate stupidity and even wallow in it with pride, when previously we shamed it. Things like twitter, youtube, facebook and various other programs go a long way to spot light our stupidity. If you think about it, our grandparents had a cult of maturity, our parents had the cult of youth, which has now led us to an off shoot of the cult of youth, the cult of stupidity.

Posted by: Drew in MO at November 19, 2012 01:31 PM (RteAT)

31 Mike Judge is truly a visionary

Posted by: wiserbud at November 19, 2012 01:32 PM (gCa4h)

32 >>>s. Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... like... you know, like, you know what I mean, like...

My favorite line in the movie. "You talk like a fag and your shit's all retarded."

Posted by: ace at November 19, 2012 01:32 PM (LCRYB)

33 >>>I'd like to see some genetic testing on remains.

Looking for genetic material from a corpse that has been in the ground over 3000 years is akin to trying to hatch a fossilized dinosaur egg.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 01:33 PM (0q2P7)

34 I can certainly see where ballistics and eye-hand coordination would atrophy, but why rhetoric, logic, memory, and general erudition.

Posted by: Jean at November 19, 2012 01:33 PM (elbGQ)

35 "There's a theory -- I don't know if this is a real theory or just the
sort of thing that Adam Carolla says -- that as our environment and diet
get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens."

It's real.

http://tinyurl.com/cckemaj

Posted by: Jerome at November 19, 2012 01:33 PM (eQa5p)

36 If you think about it, our grandparents had a cult
of maturity, our parents had the cult of youth, which has now led us to
an off shoot of the cult of youth, the cult of stupidity.


Posted by: Drew in MO at November 19, 2012 01:31 PM (RteAT)

I think the offshoot is more accurately described as "the cult of ME."

Posted by: kathysaysso at November 19, 2012 01:33 PM (y5uWA)

37 .....natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

------


I'll take "17 Word Synonyms Meaning "Proggressive" for $1000.00 Alec......"

Posted by: The M.F.M. at November 19, 2012 01:33 PM (nELVU)

38 ... bad sock.... BAD!!

Posted by: fixerupper at November 19, 2012 01:33 PM (nELVU)

39 There's a theory -- I don't know if this is a real theory or just the sort of thing that Adam Carolla says -- that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens. Fear and neurosis almost certainly works that way.


There's a theory that says the rise in asthma among kids these days is due to the fact that kids no longer are allowed to go outside and eat dirt. Everything is so sterile and doused in anti-bac and what not that kids' immune systems never fully develop.


I was reading something set in a post-apoc world where one character was musing that no one had time for phobias anymore since actual bad shit was happening when he realized it wasn't that. It was that everyone was now phobic about everything but you couldn't say they were nuts because, hey, guess what, everything was trying to kill you. It's a variant of the Kissinger approach to paranoia in Washington DC.

Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Coming not nearly soon enough. at November 19, 2012 01:34 PM (VtjlW)

40 I likes to skratchzes mah butt.

Posted by: booger embraces teh stoopid at November 19, 2012 01:35 PM (HI6wa)

41 Hunting Mastodons was a lot easier than doing my 1040 every year.


Posted by: Kasper Hauser at November 19, 2012 01:35 PM (HqpV0)

42 Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

No, liberals accumulated.

Posted by: 98ZJUSMC Waiting for the Sun at November 19, 2012 01:35 PM (ghnJN)

43
My sons are 21 and 22.

200 years ago they would have most likely been married, started a family, and owned their first plot of land to build their family farm at that age.

Today.... I'm lucky to get them off the Xbox to cut the grass during their summer vacations.


Posted by: fixerupper at November 19, 2012 01:36 PM (nELVU)

44 So, all things considered, it is now empirically proven that DEVO, a band that wore flowerpots on their noggins, was correct in assessing the de-evolution of Man. We are all DEVO. Indeed.

Posted by: The Poster Formerly Known as Mr. Barky at November 19, 2012 01:36 PM (qwK3S)

45 GO 'WAY! 'BATIN'!

Posted by: wiserbud at November 19, 2012 01:36 PM (gCa4h)

46 I don't even know what to add to this except to say that a few of the "skills" upon which we heap praise, are likely eroding more important or, at least, equally important, skills.

Multi-Tasking - An inability to focus intently on any task/project

Analytical - Suppression of intuition

Hard-worker - Elimination of balance in life


Just my thoughts, and I understand that other will disagree.


Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:37 PM (piMMO)

47 No way. Weve had THE socialism and tha t means we the smarter cause. Its THE ONE with Electrolyte!S!!!$!1!

Posted by: MY GIRFREIND IS TARDED at November 19, 2012 01:37 PM (qxcKC)

48 I think the offshoot is more accurately described as "the cult of ME."



Example: Barry Obama

Posted by: Jane D'oh at November 19, 2012 01:37 PM (UOM48)

49 "that there are objectively right answers to many political and economic questions."

this is what's so frightening about the progressive worldview. not only does he think that the correct answer can be found, he doesn't even consider that many of our "political or economic" questions might not need an answer. Providing the "correct answer" is just a gentler, kinder way of controlling.

Posted by: DCPensFan at November 19, 2012 01:39 PM (ma/2m)

50 Mike Judge is truly a visionary


*****

heh

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:40 PM (piMMO)

51 That's some nice land ya got there, be a shame if anything happened to it..

-----
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) -- who is “F” rated by Gun Owners of America -- is pushing a “hunting” bill that authorizes the Obama administration almost unlimited power to seize private lands for “environmental” purposes.

Anti-gun Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled Tester’s bill for a vote, and it will probably take place on Thursday.

Posted by: RWC at November 19, 2012 01:40 PM (fWAjv)

52 Brawndo is the thirst mutilator.

Posted by: Teh innernetz mākes u stoopid at November 19, 2012 01:40 PM (Kflw4)

53 This guy makes a good point. Fred and Barney were pretty smart.

Posted by: Meggy Mac at November 19, 2012 01:41 PM (JGfaj)

54
Idiocracy = art imitates life.

Posted by: Joe Mama at November 19, 2012 01:41 PM (JJ+PT)

55 "hunting bill' is S. 3525

Posted by: RWC at November 19, 2012 01:41 PM (fWAjv)

56 This theory is not new.... and IMO is sound.

We have even accelerated the dumbing down of Humanity... as in the West it is SMART to plan your offspring, and to limit them to small numbers.... but many of the less intelligent sprout many offspring because they are not smart enough to control their procreation.

Add in that the intelligent tend to marry other intelligent people? Because they can't stand bein around stupid people for long periods? And you often have two inteligent people having 1 or 2 children (so they can give them financial advantages like College more easily)....

Add in the we allow bad genetic traits to survive now thorugh modern medicine? AND to breed?

Eugenics got a very bad rap, beause Hitler took it to extremes... and used it as an excuse to kill those he hated.... but that does not mean we should not be looking at the logical outcomes of creating Reverse Evolution within the human race.

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 01:41 PM (lZBBB)

57 ::::“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, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues::::

I would wager that if a citizen of Athens from 1000BC were to suddenly appear among us, he'd get his ass beaten and his time machine stolen right before disappearing into a government lab where his screams ring off the walls antiseptic tiled room where he is vivisected to further science. Or for shits and giggles. Lots of government research makes no sense.

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at November 19, 2012 01:41 PM (BushJ)

58 Back in the day, men and women married later in life than now--not earlier


The age of first marriage dropped steadily until the 1960s, then came up a bit

Posted by: Bag in Baghdad at November 19, 2012 01:41 PM (Dll6b)

59 Ow! My balls!

Posted by: Haywood JaBlowme at November 19, 2012 01:42 PM (Kflw4)

60 Hunting for Food Stamps and Obama Phones kinda proves the whole point, doesn't it?

Posted by: dfbaskwill at November 19, 2012 01:42 PM (71LDo)

61 Grok find thing. Grok like thing. Grok wonders if thing.

Posted by: Grok at November 19, 2012 01:43 PM (JGfaj)

62 But we have more electrolytes.

Posted by: dfbaskwill at November 19, 2012 01:43 PM (71LDo)

63 Huh, who knew Idiocracy was a documentary

Posted by: chemjeff at November 19, 2012 01:43 PM (d/5qf)

64 "If I recall correctly, IQ tests measure the ability to think logically, but not the ability to retain information or act on it."
Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 19, 2012 01:26 PM (4+LTj)

Actually, IQ is highly correlated with future orientation, the ability to plan ahead and prepare for future problems/issues.

Posted by: somebody else, not me at November 19, 2012 01:43 PM (nZvGM)

65 Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterf*ck of a malignant traitor.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Channelling Breitbart at November 19, 2012 01:43 PM (8y9MW)

66 61
Grok find thing. Grok like thing. Grok wonders if thing.


Posted by: Grok at November 19, 2012 01:43 PM (JGfaj)

Grok leave last though incomplete. Ugh.

Posted by: joncelli Gronk at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (RD7QR)

67 LOL. Concern troll calling Limbaugh show.

Posted by: RWC at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (fWAjv)

68 This explains why Charles Johnson flipped over at LGF years ago. He wants to appeal to an emerging population.

Posted by: Adirondack Patriot at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (iAUf+)

69 Ace it's called the Hygiene Hypothesis, and it's a thing.
An actual thing, not just random rantings.

Having said that, modern medicine has effectively halted evolution for humans. Not sure what to make of that.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (5BEp7)

70 Eugenics got a very bad rap, beause Hitler took it to extremes.

Hi. Are you f*cking out of your f*cking mind?

Posted by: The Mega Independent at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (JGfaj)

71 Hunters and gatherers didn't build that Mastodons made that happen.

Posted by: Beef Supreme at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (Kflw4)

72 If you take a man from any time period and hand him an unfamiliar object, he will spend the first several hours trying to find ways to put his dick in it.

Posted by: somebody else, not me at November 19, 2012 01:46 PM (nZvGM)

73 And the modern welfare state trial lawyers' lobby won't let Darwin do his work.

FIFY.

Posted by: Ian S. at November 19, 2012 01:46 PM (B/VB5)

74 Ummm, no. I'll make no claims as far as the Megan McCain types of the present day--soft, pampered, able to emote and thrive,--but will say this: The far greater stimulus available in a modern technical society means that far more neural pathways are formed at a young age than in previous times. Thus, someone who has played sports, done adventurous things at a young age, etc. is going to clean the clock of your average guy from the past. Our best is still going to cream their best.

Posted by: J. at November 19, 2012 01:46 PM (fYNwb)

75

"Geico: so easy even a modern human can do it! ***

** Offer limited to next 20 years of evolution.

Posted by: Joe Mama at November 19, 2012 01:46 PM (JJ+PT)

76 Ummm, if God created man within the past 6,000 - 8,000 years, how can our brains have been going downhill since 10,000 years ago?

Posted by: SFGoth at November 19, 2012 01:46 PM (dZ756)

77 @RWC I always turn to another station when ball washers call in.

Posted by: Monday Night Rehabilitation at November 19, 2012 01:47 PM (Kflw4)

78 that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens

True.


Posted by: EC at November 19, 2012 01:28 PM (GQ8sn)

I suspect that as far as both intellect and sensitivity to allergens goes, the problem is not that the best are not as good anymore but that our very success has prevented the herd from being effectively thinned such that average intellect and resistance has declined. What does the average welfare loafer need to know except that more kids equals more cash? This is a pretty dramatic policy shift from the Spartan practice of exposing the imperfect causing them to die.Civilization itself is the problem and we need to fix that. Unleash the nukes now!

Posted by: WalrusRex at November 19, 2012 01:47 PM (Hx5uv)

79 It would seem that the average person know has access and familiarity with a much greater amount of knowledge than someone of 1000BC.

This sounds like more oikophobic masturbation from the provincial academe.

Posted by: weft cut-pollyana at November 19, 2012 01:47 PM (ON54M)

80 Hmmm. Adam Carrola for VP

Posted by: Jean at November 19, 2012 01:47 PM (C/Pop)

81 I wonder how long Ogg the Community Organizer would have lasted before his tribe used him for Pterodactyl bait...

Posted by: wiserbud at November 19, 2012 01:48 PM (gCa4h)

82 Jared Diamond wrote that the hunter gatherers in the mountains of New Guinea were among the smartest people he ever met

Posted by: Avi at November 19, 2012 01:48 PM (40anC)

83 Hi,
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this here suggestion! (Or for that matter the guy proposing Eugenics up above)

Posted by: Flynn Effect at November 19, 2012 01:48 PM (5BEp7)

84 82
Jared Diamond wrote that the hunter gatherers in the mountains of New Guinea were among the smartest people he ever met

Posted by: Avi at November 19, 2012 01:48 PM (40anC)

Depend on how you define smart. Grunt.

Posted by: joncelli Gronk at November 19, 2012 01:49 PM (RD7QR)

85 That's why you idiots need geniuses like Barack and myself. Otherwise, you'd be screwed.
You're welcome!

Posted by: Paulie Krugman at November 19, 2012 01:49 PM (4eNxd)

86 I swear this is on my list of movies I need to see. All the way back to when I first heard that Fox was sitting on it for some bizarre reason.

Posted by: Shoot Me at November 19, 2012 01:49 PM (qiXMt)

87
Other proof includes Geithner wanting debt limit raised to infinity. I am not laughing at the idiocy of the continued spending that won't stop.

I am laughing at the his mathematical idiocy, limits and infinity, he doesn't quite get it. This is your Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at November 19, 2012 01:49 PM (3BbLJ)

88 /Sock off
People tend not to realize that Idiocracy (which a great movie and great social commentary) is not actually science.
Having said that Judge makes a great point about a culture that does not appreciate science and learning as ideals (the IQ crap was just his poetic license mechanism for conveying that.)

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 01:50 PM (5BEp7)

89 tsrblke: Having said that, modern medicine has effectively halted evolution for humans. Not sure what to make of that.



No, it has not.

It HAS changed what the evolutionary pressures are. Neanderthal had a bigger brain than we do ... but they couldn't communicate effectively. The information explosion called the Neolithic left them far behind.

We had clovis points, atlatls, and eventually bows. We could tell kids what they needed to know. They had to show their kids, and were stuck on fire hardened spears and rough hand tools.

They lost the information war.

Evolution is still there. You just have to look harder for it.


Posted by: Kristophr at November 19, 2012 01:50 PM (wYVte)

90 I do know one damn thing.

I am sick and tired of folks drawing a correlation between education and intelligence.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:50 PM (piMMO)

91 I watched American Horror Story last week. My first impression was, this is so gay...and indeed it was. It is by the same guy who does Glee which is very gay.

It's an wasy way to write a show: ensemble cast, a bunch of mildly entertaining dialogue; lots of nudity (lots of male butt shots which is very gay), lots of violence, and throw some horror and period settings in for color. You really don't have to write anything coherent.

Therefore, I am announcing The AoShq Horror Story, currently in pre-production. I will let you all know when we are casting. We will need head and butt shots.

Posted by: Walkers! at November 19, 2012 01:50 PM (MazXE)

92 That average citizen from Athens would think that lightning is caused by Zeus getting pissed and deciding to open a can of whup-ass. Yeah, he's a genius alright.

Posted by: WalrusRex at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (Hx5uv)

93 I highly doubt we are substantially smarter or stupider. I strongly suspect that if you snatched a baby from 10,000 years ago and raised it as just another modern kid that nobody would know the difference.

At some point in the distant past our species appeared and may have been indistinguishable from existing human is all ways but cognitive. Something was different about these new people that lead to the world we know today. One of the biggest question is when this happened. Did civilization and the march of technology happen in mere thousands of years or did it take tens of thousands. The problem is, we don't know exactly what changed and the fossil record doesn't lend itself to comparing our brains to those of people who lived 50,000 years ago.

The really critical thing in recent centuries has been retention of knowledge. Having a written language and the ability to convey ideas to other people you might never and even long after your death is a huge game changer. The best teacher in the world can only produce a limited number of educated persons if his sole means is oral communication. Is it any surprise that we seemed so much smarter as a civilization once Guttenberg's little invention became commonplace?

Our genetics may not have changed in any critical way for ten thousand years but our memetics have undergone the most radical development in the history of the entire planet.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (kcfmt)

94 Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho 2016!

Posted by: welcome to costco I love you at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (Kflw4)

95 yeah, Stalin took socialism to extremes. Also, the whole Pot Pot thing



Posted by: Sam in Samamkand at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (Dll6b)

96 I am sick and tired of folks drawing a correlation between education and intelligence.

---

If this a reference to Cornell West, it's racist.

Posted by: WalrusRex at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (Hx5uv)

97 that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens.

or..

we are just as sensitive to them as we have always been, but our predecessors weren't such whiny titty-babies about it when they got an itch

Posted by: wiserbud at November 19, 2012 01:52 PM (gCa4h)

98 You can see a sliver of the truth to that in the entrance exams to Harvard over the timeline of its existence, add in the unbelievable hardiness of the ww1 gen once exposed to antibiotics vis a vis the current "I can't smell PBJ or I'll die" generation.

Something's wrong.

Posted by: sven10077 at November 19, 2012 01:52 PM (LRFds)

99 Evolution is still there. You just have to look harder for it.

Progs have made it progressively harder to be killed by your own stupidity. Why do they hate evolution?

Posted by: Ian S. at November 19, 2012 01:52 PM (B/VB5)

100 holly shit you idiots have ever about thinking for your selfs

their is way more guys that go to college now then a thousand year ago

plus also the cars are pretty good cell phone carmeras keep get better

all the time myspace twitter ect dont not forget about the space shuttel

you idiots probally think a cave man did the robot on mars right now

geuss what moron it wasnt it was a guy from now nasa dose it all the time

pretty obvous about the guys from now are alot smarter think about it

Posted by: Jose Canseco's Gristle Encased Head at November 19, 2012 01:52 PM (+lsX1)

101
yeah, Stalin took socialism to extremes. Also, the whole Pot Pot thing

---

His campaign slogan was a Pol in every Pot and a stack of skulls in every closet.

Posted by: WalrusRex at November 19, 2012 01:52 PM (Hx5uv)

102 So that explains how Facebook is considered a "technology company"? Makes sense. Back in my day we had keyboards on our laptops.

Posted by: the lone lemon at November 19, 2012 01:52 PM (xXhWA)

103
92 That average citizen from Athens would think that lightning is caused by Zeus getting pissed and deciding to open a can of whup-ass. Yeah, he's a genius alright.
Posted by: WalrusRex at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (Hx5uv)


And don't forget that he would curl into a ball in the corner crying as he is unable to find a virgin to sacrifice to appease the gods.

Posted by: buzzion at November 19, 2012 01:53 PM (GULKT)

104
I've already cast Ace as the saucy chambermaid but there are plenty of other parts you morons can audition for.

Posted by: Walkers! at November 19, 2012 01:53 PM (MazXE)

105 "Idiocracy" was not a dystopian comedy from the mid-2000's. It actually was a documentary sent back in time from the future. Seriously.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas II at November 19, 2012 01:53 PM (pmsMR)

106 84 82 Jared Diamond wrote that the hunter gatherers in the mountains of New Guinea were among the smartest people he ever met Posted by: Avi at November 19, 2012 01:48 PM (40anC) Depend on how you define smart. Grunt.
Posted by: joncelli Gronk at November 19, 2012 01:49 PM (RD7QR)

Right and it makes you wonder how coddling huge groups of society can possibly be helpful to them or society at large. MakesYOU wonder, but not ME...

Posted by: Paulie Krugman at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (4eNxd)

107 77 @RWC I always turn to another station when ball washers call in.
Posted by: Monday Night Rehabilitation at November 19, 2012 01:47 PM (Kflw4)

Seems that guy has called multiple times throughout the year always with the same shtick.

Posted by: RWC at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (fWAjv)

108 Yeah, clearly the ancients were smarter. Which is why they had cell phones and cable tv and cars and, oh, indoor plumbing and shit.

Posted by: BCochran1981 at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (da5Wo)

109 Posted by: Kristophr at November 19, 2012 01:50 PM (wYVte)

Well yeah, except the great mechanism of evolution (natural selection) has been thrown askew by medicine. Natural selection requires that the weaker members of the species fail to reproduce and die. Yet we can keep them alive for quite some now. It normalizes the curve in a pretty remarkable way.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (5BEp7)

110 Progs have made it progressively harder to be killed by your own stupidity. Why do they hate evolution?

---

Natural Selection - It's Only Natural.

The way I look at it, some idiot who dies today is one less chucklehead who will cut me off down the road.

Posted by: Bobcat Goldthwait at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (e0xKF)

111 And don't forget that he would curl into a ball in the corner crying as he is unable to find a virgin to sacrifice to appease the gods


****

Oh sure! There are plenty of virgins out there.

Ever hear of Comic-Con?

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (piMMO)

112 It just makes sense that living in a less inoculating (more germ free) environment would lead to less resistance to diseases.

As far as Professor Horseshit's theory, why doesn't he just pop down to the isolated tribes in the Amazonian rain forest and slobber on their superior intellects. After all, them peeps are about 10,000 years behind the rest of the world.

I'll wait right here until you get back to me.

Posted by: GnuBreed at November 19, 2012 01:55 PM (ccXZP)

113 Gwobal warming iz keeling uz.

Posted by: me smart at November 19, 2012 01:55 PM (x9s9/)

114 Posted by: fixerupper at November 19, 2012 01:36 PM (nELVU)


People back then lived to what? 40? Wonder if that was factored in in any way.

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 01:55 PM (778Fr)

115 Posted by: The Mega Independent at November 19, 2012 01:44 PM (JGfaj)

Nope... not at all.... Eugenics was the science of Genetics within Humans... and an early attempt to control Evolution.

Some of the Acts taken in its name, were wrong.... but the science had some validity.

We need to control our own destiny as a Race.... and that will take TWO things...

1. to Get off this Rock....

2. To control our own Evolution through Genetic Engineering and screening for desired traits...

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 01:56 PM (lZBBB)

116 Why must football players be college educated?

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:56 PM (piMMO)

117 Whether or not we are incrementally getting dumber, we are definitely getting incrementally more technologically advanced. That will mitigate any decay we've suffered along the way.

Within 50-100 years we'll be genetically engineering our offspring to be better, faster, stronger, smarter than Lee Majors working an abacus in slow motion.

Posted by: Artemus Khan, Supervillain-Billionaire-Layabout at November 19, 2012 01:56 PM (27tUc)

118 Posted by: GnuBreed at November 19, 2012 01:55 PM (ccXZP)

Interesting point, he choose Athens 1000BC for his comparison, not exactly a bunch of people running around killing mastodons all day.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 01:57 PM (5BEp7)

119 109 Natural selection requires that the weaker members of the species fail to reproduce and die.

I always knew bicycle helmets were a really shitty idea.

For The Children!

Posted by: Rob McNeece at November 19, 2012 01:57 PM (hNXHo)

120 I thought the last big evolutionary change was lactose tolerance, which coincided with the rise of agriculture. Since then ...

Posted by: Jean at November 19, 2012 01:57 PM (TjgR9)

121
I liked the future as portrayed in Gattica: 7 fingers and nuclear powered Dodge Ramblers.

Posted by: Walkers! at November 19, 2012 01:57 PM (MazXE)

122 Was Aristotle a genius because some apple landed on his head?

Posted by: Typical Lefty at November 19, 2012 01:57 PM (feFL6)

123 We're over 100 comments so I'm going OT.

So.... what was that about drones only being used by law enforcement agencies?

http://tinyurl.com/dyoty9x

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (piMMO)

124 "this is what's so frightening about the progressive
worldview. not only does he think that the correct answer can be found,
he doesn't even consider that many of our "political or economic"
questions might not need an answer. Providing the "correct answer" is
just a gentler, kinder way of controlling.

Posted by: DCPensFan at November 19, 2012 01:39 PM (ma/2m)

I am pretty certain that, within a relatively short period of time, a computer artificial intelligence so powerful that it will be to Nate Silver as Nate Silver is to a drooling imbecile with an IQ of 60 will be invented. For all practical purposes, this AI will be the word of God. It will be able to consider all possible data and could be fed political and economic data going back as far as the human race has written records.
I am also fairly certain that when that AI is created and asked "What is the correct answer to these political and economic problems?", the answer will be "Go back to the original intent of the American Founding Fathers and their Constitution". It sure as fuck won't be "That Karl Marx guy had some good ideas".
The "answers" are already out there, it's that the Nate Silver's of the world think they can supply a better answer.

Posted by: BS Inc. at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (P2Ufm)

125 The ancients were some smart mofos. Example-The Time Masheen!

Posted by: U-P-G-R-A-Y-E-D-D at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (Kflw4)

126 I do know one damn thing.

I am sick and tired of folks drawing a correlation between education and intelligence.
Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:50 PM (piMMO)
-------------------------------------------------------------
This x 1000. Some of the stupidest people I know have several advanced degrees. They are book smart but not "Darwin" safe. Too stupid to come in from the rain.

Posted by: Truck Monkey at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (jucos)

127 >>>Jared Diamond wrote that the hunter gatherers in the mountains of New Guinea were among the smartest people he ever met

I imagine based on his definition of what constitutes smart, they were. Jared Diamonds conclusions about the independence of culture to society success is mind numbingly stupid and seems to be constructed only to support the leftest ideal that successful societies do not have a superior culture that makes them successful they are just lucky enough to live in a good area. I would listen to his hack opinion with the same quantity of salt needed to listen to an Occupy hippie, that quantity would be LD50.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (0q2P7)

128 Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 01:56 PM (lZBBB)

Dude you understand the only way to practically implement eugenics is with arranged marriages, controlled procreation and killing right? Which makes you pretty crazy.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (5BEp7)

129 92That average citizen from Athens would think that lightning is caused by Zeus getting pissed and deciding to open a can of whup-ass. Yeah, he's a genius alright. Posted by: WalrusRex at November 19, 2012 01:51 PM (Hx5uv)So then what causes lightning? Have you figured it out?

Posted by: the lone lemon at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (xXhWA)

130 Was Aristotle a genius because some apple landed on his head?


****

No, but Socrates and his merry men were because they knew the value in stealing from the rich to feed the poor.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (piMMO)

131 I don't know whether most of us are stupider than the typical Athenian, but I do know that Paul Krugman is the stupidest man on the planet.

[read his article in today's NYT if you need convincing]

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (GsoHv)

132 This x 1000. Some of the stupidest people I know have several advanced degrees. They are book smart but not "Darwin" safe. Too stupid to come in from the rain.

Uhh, uhm, how does this umbrella work?

Posted by: Barack Obama, Man's Country Member #1 at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (B/VB5)

133 “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, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues

Of course this guy would think that. He hangs out with social scientists.

He's so wrong I'm not even sure how best to attack this.

Posted by: Bevel Lemelisk at November 19, 2012 02:00 PM (gznAu)

134 #88

People tend to take it a bit too literally. Somebody was maintaining a pretty high tech society behind the scenes there. The TV worked and there were live broadcasts, which is a pretty recent development from our perspective. There are people alive who can remember the beginning of commercial radio.

Idiocracy was more about snobbery than anything else. People look down on Larry the Cable Guy but he was apparently quite good at his job in the Idiocracy setting.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:00 PM (kcfmt)

135 Doh. Nature used to target stupidity for extinction. Now we elect it to high office.

Posted by: @PurpAv at November 19, 2012 02:01 PM (Xmgw9)

136 Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (0q2P7)

Nice rant. And I agree; Diamond is a leftist tool who loves nothing more than to denigrate the West.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at November 19, 2012 02:01 PM (GsoHv)

137 Posted by: Truck Monkey at November 19, 2012 01:58 PM (jucos)

Yep.... I used to be the Head instructor for a 6 month long US Navy Sat Communications course....

Most tests had two components, a written, then a Lab, where we'd break the equipment, and they had to fix it....

The Final was ALL Lab based.... I didn't care if you could take a written test, the Fleet needed you to be able to fix the dan thing...

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 02:02 PM (lZBBB)

138 Bad News: The Human Race Has Been Getting Stupider For 10,000 Years

Well, no shit!

Posted by: Reality TV Nation at November 19, 2012 02:02 PM (wwsoB)

139 Idiocracy was a leftist joke about Carl's Jr. taking over America. Stupid.

Posted by: the lone lemon at November 19, 2012 02:02 PM (xXhWA)

140 Wouldn't we see this manifested by a bunch of brilliant super-people streaming from the most hardscrabble parts of the planet, where life more approximates that of a hunter/gatherer? Instead we get goat-fucking self-bombers. They don't seemso bright.

Posted by: Lincolntf at November 19, 2012 02:02 PM (tkoGU)

141 128, IVF and lots of smart, hot lesbians. Filmed for science, of course.

Posted by: Jean at November 19, 2012 02:02 PM (TjgR9)

142 My guess is that there's something intellectually stifling about living in urban areas. Genetically we're still hunter/gatherers and being in close proximity to thousands of other people causes a ton of stress, leading to mental problems.

Posted by: Lemmenkainen at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (ZWvOb)

143 Idiocracy was a leftist joke about Carl's Jr. taking over America. Stupid.



******

Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger.

Yuuummmmm.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (piMMO)

144 Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:00 PM (kcfmt)

Interesting take. I still hold that Judge was critiquing a culture that lead to people not caring how any of the stuff in their society worked (and mocking and ostracizing those who did) which was it's inevitable downfall.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (5BEp7)

145 Idea for a bumper sticker:

Socialism: It Has Electrolytes

Posted by: rickl at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (zoehZ)

146
131 I don't know whether most of us are stupider than the typical Athenian, but I do know that Paul Krugman is the stupidest man on the planet.[read his article in today's NYT if you need convincing]
Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (GsoHv)

Typical semi-literrate, greedhead reactionary, post modern response to um, well, you know, the truth ---which was so wonderfully laid out in my piece in the paper of record today.

Posted by: Paulie Krugman at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (4eNxd)

147 ...the world is full of educated derelicts.

Calvin Coolidge

Posted by: don't worry scro' at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (Kflw4)

148 I am the smartest person in the world!?

Posted by: Corporal Joe Bauers at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (UhXzR)

149 The stupid is accelerating

I figure that in a few years the highest rated TV show will be 1/2 hour of watching goldfish swim in a bowl

Posted by: kbdabear at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (wwsoB)

150 As Hank Williams Jr said, "A country boy can survive".
Rednecks up!

Posted by: rickb223 Let It Burn at November 19, 2012 02:04 PM (v+zi1)

151
'Batin'!

Posted by: Lincolntf at November 19, 2012 02:04 PM (tkoGU)

152 I have been enjoying the "Master and Commander" series by Partick O'Brian, and I've come to much the same conclusion. Consider the Dr. Stephen Maturin character: he is a natural philosopher, physician and intelligence officer who is conversant in Latin, Spanish, French, Catalan and English, understands the subtler differences in anatomy among any number of species, plays improvised duets with Captain Aubrey on the cello, and "can have your leg off in an instant" if need be in his role as a naval surgeon.

Even the simpler Jack Aubrey, beyond his wealth of knowledge as a "natural born seaman", plays his violin, rides a horse, makes his own telescope lens, muddles by in French and Spanish, and know his trigonometry well enoughfor charting courses in his head.

Last summer I read The Caine Mutiny, and even from only 70 years ago the characters are depicted as much better read and spoken than people in what passes for intelligent circles these days.

Face it. In the not-too-distant past, so much more was expected out of a human mind than we get out of it these days.
Idiocracy, indeed.

Posted by: ZBBMcFate at November 19, 2012 02:05 PM (Hj9yW)

153 Well I'll say that Socrates has a much better chance in our time than Sigmund Freud does. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaIw7kVmeTU

Posted by: buzzion at November 19, 2012 02:05 PM (GULKT)

154 Posted by: Jean at November 19, 2012 02:02 PM (TjgR9)

I enjoy your sarcasm, but would like to take this opportunity to point out that the premise of eugenics is that there are people for who it was a "bad thing" for them to be born in the first place. Wrap your head around that for a minute. Eugenics is such a bad policy I can't even laugh about it.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:05 PM (5BEp7)

155 Oh sure! There are plenty of virgins out there.



Ever hear of Comic-Con?



Are you referring to episode 8.12 when uh.....

* sits down*

Posted by: EC at November 19, 2012 02:05 PM (GQ8sn)

156 People back then lived to what? 40? Wonder if that was factored in in any way.

Life expectancy (for Romans, anyway) was heavily tied to death in childhood. If you were able to survive to adulthood, you lasted almost as long as you would today.

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 19, 2012 02:05 PM (4+LTj)

157 A geneticist thinks a thousand years is time enough to make meaningful changes in the gene pool?

The problem is we no longer let nature kill the tards. Kind of what you get if you killed all the cats. The rats would run wild.

Posted by: Invictus at November 19, 2012 02:06 PM (OQpzc)

158 I dunno. I'd rather just talk about this

http://fxn.ws/QpVGc5

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Channelling Breitbart at November 19, 2012 02:06 PM (8y9MW)

159 With the recent re-election, I look forward to Idiocracy II coming out.

Posted by: IBT at November 19, 2012 02:06 PM (2t6Gz)

160 Rewarding failure and incentive destroying nannygov freebies upsets natural selection and evolution?

Posted by: Ass the Movie at November 19, 2012 02:06 PM (Kflw4)

161 145
Idea for a bumper sticker:



Socialism: It Has Electrolytes



Thread winner!

Posted by: EC at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (GQ8sn)

162 proof of stupid?
right here: http://tinyurl.com/cgzuo9w

Posted by: mallfly at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (bJm7W)

163
It's the diet.

No seriously. 30 some years ago, the US Government provided a recommended diet, with charts and pictures. Fast forward 30 years, and we're being told there is an obesity epidemic.

I will not be surprised to find out that our government approved diets also impact our brain function.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie ® at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (1hM1d)

164 Well I won't doubt that they were emotionally more stable than we are now, or tougher for that matter.

Posted by: Adam Smith's Invisible Pimp Hand at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (NzBQO)

165 Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 01:59 PM (5BEp7)

OH... you mean Arranged marriages, like MOST societys throughout Human History have had? The Freedom to choose your marriage partner is a VERY new (in historical terms) concept.

Soon, however, we will have different tools.... Genetic science will give us the tools to screen for desired traits... and we, as a Race, will eventualy take that path IMO.

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (lZBBB)

166 I would think that we would consider the ancients to be seriously disturb based solely on their toleration of, if not lauding of what to us, is almost unimaginable cruelty.

Posted by: toby928© for TB at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (QupBk)

167 Hell, I can see a change in the stupid in only the last 30 years.

Posted by: Sophistahick at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (UhXzR)

168 oh, I see someone already linked to this dreckhead already. Maybe we should bring back the USSR, too.

Posted by: mallfly at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (bJm7W)

169 tsrblke (work), how are those mouse livers coming along?

Posted by: EC at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (GQ8sn)

170 My guess is that there's something intellectually stifling about living
in urban areas. Genetically we're still hunter/gatherers and being in
close proximity to thousands of other people causes a ton of stress,
leading to mental problems.


Cities warp people, period.

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (4+LTj)

171 I still hold that Judge was critiquing a culture that lead to people not caring how any of the stuff in their society worked (and mocking and ostracizing those who did)

We've been there since about the 60s. But people keep being born who *do* care about that stuff and make it go, which was epobirs' point. (And more broadly, that's Mike Rowe's big hobby horse with promoting vo-tech education).

Posted by: Ian S. at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (B/VB5)

172 comma fail

Posted by: toby928© for TB at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (QupBk)

173 #124

Nah, what the AI would say is, "Damn, you're an annoying bunch. I recommend death for 95% and the remaining 5% exist primarily to maintain me."

Also, to itself, "Christ, what an imagination I've got."

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (kcfmt)

174 Of course the human race is getting dumber....a lot of them vote Democrat and would like to/advocate to/believe it is a right tokill their unborn children.

Posted by: bicentennialguy at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (vg8iE)

175 139 Idiocracy was a leftist joke about Carl's Jr. taking over America. Stupid.

---

Fuck you, I'm eating.

Posted by: Carl Jr. at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (e0xKF)

176 So, does this mean that members of primitive tribes in places like Brazil and New Guinea are the last remaining super geniuses?

Posted by: Abe Froman at November 19, 2012 02:09 PM (E55AK)

177 re: "Having said that, modern medicine has effectively halted evolution for humans."

"Evolution" can't stop. It's a descriptive term, not a resistible force. Modern medicine (and technology in general) is a partial counter to some forms of natural selection. But sexual selection goes on about its business, filling the gaps.

And it selects for things *other than* the kind of intelligence the dude is talking about—and selects *very* strongly for some things that are *very* negatively correlated with Athenian intelligence. So he's right, sort of. But he stops short.

As well he should. You don't get to stay Professor for very long if your thesis is "Bitches love moderately functional psychos and we're evolving to suit their tastes," and if you're a nerd without a job, who you gonna bang? Bitches don't love dudes who know what bitches love, if those dudes are nerds, so it's best to be smart but not really be smart enough to deduce that sort of thing—and if you do notice it, you better be conformist enough to lie about it.

Boned.

Posted by: oblig. at November 19, 2012 02:09 PM (cePv8)

178 Probably not too many lardasses back in the day, either. Drop that Athenian in Wisconsin and he'd think it was some alien race that lived on cheese curds and beer.

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:09 PM (778Fr)

179 Posted by: Invictus at November 19, 2012 02:06 PM (OQpzc)

We change entire breeds of dogs, or Farm Animals, within 5 or 6 generations...

1000 years is what.... about 50 potential human generations?

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (lZBBB)

180 The teenage son (CW Jr.) has been saying this about his generation for several months now.

Posted by: Captain Whitebread at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (cVfX0)

181 @mallfly Krugman is always good for a gut busting laugh before installing a new birdcage lining.

Posted by: frito likes money at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (Kflw4)

182 Wisconsin and he'd think it was some alien race that lived on cheese curds and beer.

You mean it isn't?

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Channelling Breitbart at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (8y9MW)

183 [Genetic science will give us the tools to screen for desired traits... and we, as a Race, will eventualy take that path IMO.

I'm still waiting for a genetic test for gayness to be perfected. It'll blow the Democratic party to smithereens.

Posted by: Ian S. at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (B/VB5)

184 >>>I
believe that there are objectively right answers to many political and

economic questions

That statement is either beyond stupid or

alternately

This word you keep using "objective" I do not think it means what you think it means.

Real simple Nate.
1. If God does exist, and absolute morality then exists, then Human kind and existence is what it is supposed to be: flawed. Meaning that objectively correct answers to the problems of our condition do not exist.

2. If God does not exist, therefore absolute morality does not exist, all morality exists subjectively only in relativity to other morality, therefore all goals for a society are also subjective since their governing morality is subjective. Therefore, any objective measure of meeting a subjective goal is itself subjective when considered in the wider reference of whether a course of action is "right" or "wrong." which references said course of action back to morality which itself is subjectively defined in the absence of God.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't claim a absence of an absolute power, and in the following breath, proclaim absolute morality exists. The two statements directly contradict each other. And no amount philosophical introspection can change that.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (0q2P7)

185

Idiocracy

Narrator:
The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some
had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in
evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on
conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.






Posted by: T. Hunter - let it burn at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (EZl54)

186 Oh sure! There are plenty of virgins out there. Ever hear of Comic-Con?
Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 01:54 PM (piMMO)


They usually went for the female virgins.

Posted by: buzzion at November 19, 2012 02:11 PM (GULKT)

187 Perhaps what makes our generation more stupid is the recognition of intelligence and pursuit of it.

I mean, I bet the hunters and gatherers didn't spend a helluva lot of time debating and puffing their chests in an attempt to look smarter than the other guy. I would also bet that the hunters didn't think less of the work of the gatherers as each was dependent upon the other.


There is an over-emphasis on the importance of intelligence.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 02:11 PM (piMMO)

188 I don't know if this is a real theory or just the sort of thing that Adam Carolla says -- that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens. Fear and neurosis almost certainly works that way.


------------------------------------------


I think it's one of the common-sense ideas that my mom and dad had when they let my younger sister and I go ahead and eat our mud pies.

Posted by: Soona at November 19, 2012 02:12 PM (whJ33)

189 The current decline we are seeing is due more to the NEA than DNA.

Posted by: Buzzsaw at November 19, 2012 02:12 PM (tf9Ne)

190 167 Hell, I can see a change in the stupid in only the last 30 years.
Posted by: Sophistahick at November 19, 2012 02
:08 PM (UhXzR)



Very observable. I have narrowed down the date to sometime in Nov of 1992.

Posted by: 98ZJUSMC Waiting for the Sun at November 19, 2012 02:12 PM (ghnJN)

191 Sitting on your ass all day, while someone else provides your food shelter and clothing isn't a genius move?

Posted by: IBT at November 19, 2012 02:13 PM (2t6Gz)

192 I figure that in a few years the highest rated TV show will be 1/2 hour of watching goldfish swim in a bowl

Posted by: kbdabear at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (wwsoB)
------------------------------------------------------
I would rather do that than watch most of what's offered on TV today.

Posted by: Truck Monkey at November 19, 2012 02:13 PM (jucos)

193
178 Probably not too many lardasses back in the day, either. Drop that Athenian in Wisconsin and he'd think it was some alien race that lived on cheese curds and beer.
Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:09 PM (778Fr)


Are you kidding? He'd be 400 pounds before he realized he didn't have to worry about starving through the winter.

Posted by: buzzion at November 19, 2012 02:13 PM (GULKT)

194 OH... you mean Arranged marriages, like MOST
societys throughout Human History have had? The Freedom to choose your
marriage partner is a VERY new (in historical terms) concept.





Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (lZBBB)

There something to be said of a parents intuition if they have already been in a long lasting marriage. People tend to look over this point, and just focus on marrying for status. But with so many divorces this might actually be going away, at this point in my life I would trust my parents who have been married for 38 years to pick me a wife.

Posted by: Adam Smith's Invisible Pimp Hand at November 19, 2012 02:14 PM (NzBQO)

195 Once you get to the late stone age, I think the avoidable danger from nature is considerably less than the danger from your fellow man.

Posted by: toby928© for TB at November 19, 2012 02:14 PM (QupBk)

196 Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

I'll probably get banned for saying it, but that's stupid. Mating (crossover mutation) is more impactful on evolutionary development than random mutation. And there is genetic selection in mating preferences. Massive genetic selection.

Now, if this guy wants to argue that leftist policies have led to a degradation of that mating selection for intelligence, then that is an argument, but that has nothing to do with the move to an agrarian lifestyle. More intelligence has been required since we've become agrarians (as larger populations came to live more at risk of sudden events that halted the massive production fo food necessary to maintain the growing populations) and populations have been selected out in that process. Whole populations.

Posted by: ThePrimordialOrderedPair at November 19, 2012 02:14 PM (X3lox)

197 This makes little sense to me.

The hunter-gatherer relies more on physical attributes than intelligence. It was the advancement of agriculture, urbanization, written language, etc where intellect (not spear throwing ability) made the difference between success and failure.

Posted by: Hollowpoint at November 19, 2012 02:14 PM (SY2Kh)

198 Posted by: Romeo13 at November 19, 2012 02:07 PM (lZBBB)

So you'd like to roll back our freedoms because it suites your theory? Dude, just because free marriage is a modern thing doesn't mean it's bad?

On your suggestion about genetic screening. Yeah, you're right, it's possible, and it would require either tons and tons of abortion or tons and tons of IVF and PGD, which is pretty much tons and tons of abortion.

Again, it'd be predicated on the idea that there are people for whom being born is a *bad thing* and not just a *bad thing* but unfair to society. Stack on top of that the power dyanmic (who gets to make the rules on what a "good birth" is.)

Eugenics: Good Birth (Greek) in case you were unaware.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:14 PM (5BEp7)

199 #156

Plus, evolution is mainly about what you do during your reproductive years. This is why it's difficult to breed for longevity. You'd just end up with people who have potential for very long lives but are struck down early by other traits. What you really want is to breed for extended fertility, with longevity as a side effect.

Even then, you could end up with women who are readily able to have a baby at age 60 but tend to die of any number of problems a few years later while that baby still needs them.

Heinlein made it looks so much simpler than it is.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:15 PM (kcfmt)

200 The current decline we are seeing is due more to the NEA than DNA.

+100

Posted by: toby928© for TB at November 19, 2012 02:15 PM (QupBk)

201 Does anyone think if Dickens serialized David Copperfield or Tale of Two Cities now that he'd have any readers?
What about the Lincoln-Douglas debates? Does anybody think that large crowds of common people would stand around, listen, and comprehend what they were saying now?
I'm not sure that says anything about IQ, but it says a lot about attention span.

Posted by: Jim Flimsey at November 19, 2012 02:15 PM (T9V22)

202
Well, here's MY scientific theory, based on overwhelming "irrefutable" evidence:

So-called "scientists" come up with these theories, in no small part, to reinforce their elitist views and to get attention. They love to put down mankind, especially when it fits into a narrative of man being nothing special, except for his ability and inclination to destroy Mother Earth. They also love toemasculate or denigratemen in particular, dismissing them as weak and irrelevant.

The commentary about the "ancient inhabitants of Africa" is especially amusing, since modern IQ tests reflect a decided deficit in that geographical region, while these "scientists" dismiss such data as biased,based on the unproven assertion that there cannot be such differences (even though other regions do not have such a deficit).

At present, an edge on IQ still gives an edge in life (although less so, if you're too far ahead). This, I expect, is why a certain segment of the population will probably - for the most part -always live under the folklore that the reason they can never catch a break is because those other guys won't allow them to succeed.

As to the remarks about emotional stability, gimme a break! Those guys were superstitious basket-cases. Before Ben Franklin, they'd cringe at the fire shooting out of the sky, for cryin' out loud.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 19, 2012 02:15 PM (Mxt9o)

203 Stupider? Case in point: Our Homeboy in Chief's backup, homey Joe "Joe" Biden.

Posted by: Marmo at November 19, 2012 02:16 PM (QW+AD)

204 oh, I see someone already linked to this dreckhead already. Maybe we should bring back the USSR, too.
Posted by: mallfly at November 19, 2012 02:08 PM (bJm7W)


---------------------------------------------


You haven't been paying attention, have you?


Posted by: The Left at November 19, 2012 02:17 PM (whJ33)

205 President Camacho:
Now I understand everyone's shit's emotional right now. But I've got a 3 point plan that's going to fix EVERYTHING.



Congressman #1:
Break it down, Camacho!



President Camacho:
Number 1: We've got this guy Not Sure. Number 2: He's got a higher IQ
than ANY MAN ALIVE. and Number 3: He's going to fix EVERYTHING.

Posted by: President Hector Barack Hussein Elizondo Mountain Dew Obama Camacho at November 19, 2012 02:17 PM (EZl54)

206 So, does this mean that members of primitive tribes in places like Brazil and New Guinea are the last remaining super geniuses?

I think you (and a bunch of other people in this thread) are confusing individual intelligence with cultural intelligence.

The argument that's made is that the primitive individual (being unspecialized) needs to be smart enough to handle every situation that's thrown his way. Modern society functions because individuals specialize, and don't need to function outside of their chosen subject. If your iPhone breaks, you take it to the Genius Bar.

Because of the specialization, society as a whole accomplishes more, but the individual cogs don't need to be as smart.

Accepting this theory is tricky, though -- you don't have a real control group, as those primitive possible super-geniuses aren't eating anywhere near as well as I do. In scouting-speak: their ceiling might be higher than mine, but they're more likely to be at their floor because of their environment.

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 19, 2012 02:17 PM (4+LTj)

207 194 But with so many divorces this might
actually be going away, at this point in my life I would trust my
parents who have been married for 38 years to pick me a wife.

I wish I had asked my parents...I could have saved myself a boatload of pain. Then again, I wouldn't have my wonderful son and daughter (and granddaughter).

So there's that.

Maybe if there's ever another potential future Mrs. Captain Whitebread, I'll call up the folks.

Posted by: Captain Whitebread at November 19, 2012 02:18 PM (cVfX0)

208 @EC,

Can't tell if mockery or not? In any case, I abandoned the research world 2 years ago to pursue other interests. I saw the science funding cut writing on the wall as it were. I study Bioethics now, fighting against the crazed progressives directly on the academic front.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:18 PM (5BEp7)

209 Sitting on your ass all day, while someone else provides your food shelter and clothing isn't a genius move?


*****

only in the very short-term.

I saw a video about a man and his family that spent something like 20 years studying apes. He learned that they live in very cruel societies that, in may ways, mirror human society. There were brutes and wimps and those who worked and those who did not.

Then, one day, the worker-apes brought, unbeknownst to them, poisoned food to the brutes who sat on their asses all day. The lazy brutes died but their prior victims survived.

Their entire society was changed thereafter.

It's a really cool video.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 02:19 PM (piMMO)

210 Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Channelling Breitbart at November 19, 2012 02:10 PM (8y9MW)

Well maybe more like a religious sect that worships god by overeating and binge drinking. Friday night fish fry is church. Kinda like Bacchus if he drove a rusted out pickup and talks like the Swedish chef.

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:19 PM (778Fr)

211 Hollowpoint, Because this makes little sense to you, does not that fact proove the thesis? I jest

Posted by: Sophistahick at November 19, 2012 02:20 PM (UhXzR)

212 #185

Both of the major treatments for hair loss and erectile dysfunction were accidental. The goals of the projects that produced Rogaine and Viagra were treating high blood pressure and heart disease.

So, when it comes around to serious research in altering genomes for greater intelligence, you can expect to see some hugely amusing and profitable accidental discoveries along the way.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:20 PM (kcfmt)

213 Well, that pretty much explains Jersey Shore, text-message addicts, and low-information voters. The question is, is this the end, or does it get worse?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2012 02:20 PM (Jdtsu)

214 That allergy thing isn't Adam Carolla's theory. That's an actual scientific theory that proposes to explain the increased incidence of allergies. I think it's called the Hygiene Hypothesis. Early exposure is more predisposed to an IgA response, while exposure later in life is more predisposed to an IgE-mediated Type I Hypersensitivity response.

Similarly, people used to be universally exposed to poliovirus at a very early age, and it wasn't until water sanitation improved an people began being exposed later in childhood that you began to see full-blown poliomyelitis.

Posted by: TheBombDiggity at November 19, 2012 02:21 PM (OZR18)

215 it gets worse.

Posted by: "Ow, My Balls" at November 19, 2012 02:22 PM (EZl54)

216 >>>Posted by: Romeo13

That's pure Brave New World right there. And if we travel down that patch it will be to our own doom. Humans will be bred eventually into two species one that controls the other with the slave species begging to be subjugated. It will be an end to human advance. And while many societies have had "arranged marriage" culture at some level. It did not accomplish the selective breeding you think it did. Most folks eventually found a spouse regardless of their station or other relative attributes.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 02:23 PM (0q2P7)

217 The movie "Idiocracy". Prophecy of the age.

Posted by: The Left at November 19, 2012 02:23 PM (whJ33)

218
Eh -- this seems to be literally an academic argument. How can you possibly prove or disprove his theory.

I also think that there would be less close in breeding now than thousands of years ago when people lived in small tribal communities, and that modern people would be taking in more protein and calories (which, being a complete ignoramus, I would guess helps brain functioning).

I think there is something to his basic claim, but I have a feeling that there were stupid people thousands of years ago too. Also, isn't the issue not whether ancient humans are (were?) smarter than modern humans, but whether humans (ancient or modern) were smart enough to cope with the enviroment around them. In other words, ancient people did not have to be Einstein to survive, they just needed to be smarter than the predators (or competing humans) around them. That could still leave a lot of room for being stupid.

Posted by: nc at November 19, 2012 02:23 PM (Cxl7g)

219 Posted by: TheBombDiggity at November 19, 2012 02:21 PM (OZR1

Well that, and also the strain of Polio that caused the full blown poliomyelitis was a particularly virulent and contagious strain. Kinda like the 1918 flu virus. Every so often you get a bad ass bug.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:23 PM (5BEp7)

220 "Humans will be bred eventually into two species..."

Morlocks and Eloi?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2012 02:24 PM (Jdtsu)

221
"184 ...
You can't claim a absence of an absolute power, and in the following breath, proclaim absolute morality exists. The two statements directly contradict each other. And no amount philosophical introspection can change that. "


That's a common misconception, and completely wrong. You don't need God to have a law of gravity, and you don't need it to have laws of morality, either. Track yourself down an Objectivist sometime, and they will be happy to tear this arbitrary claim of yours to shreds.

Just as these these stupid "scientific studies" are more areflection of their attitudes, rather than actual science, a claim such as yours reflects the demonization of people who do no believe as you do, because all you have to "prove" your own claims is the fact that a bunch of other people agree with you.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 19, 2012 02:24 PM (Mxt9o)

222 So BombDiggity, does this mean there is some good evidence that supports that Baby Einstein garganzola? I think it may, but who wants a weird kid that doesn't know all the cool pop culture stuff?

Posted by: Sophistahick at November 19, 2012 02:24 PM (UhXzR)

223 We elected Obama a second time.. must be true!

Posted by: Chi-Town Jerry at November 19, 2012 02:25 PM (f9c2L)

224 The hunter-gatherer relies more on physical attributes than
intelligence. It was the advancement of agriculture, urbanization,
written language, etc where intellect (not spear throwing ability) made
the difference between success and failure.


*****

They also had to have a means for fashioning tools, preparing their meals, a method for identifying poison berries, and survival in the harshest of environments. And.... they drew on walls. They sought to tell their stories and to express themselves.

Brute force without thought would have assured their destruction.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 02:25 PM (piMMO)

225 #144

Keep in mind where Mike Judge comes from. His background is more Hank Hill than cosmopolitan. To a large extent he was satirizing the snobbish fears of the people he'd been forced into contact with when he started doing a lot of work in the Hollywood machine.

It's like the Harvey Danger one-hit wonder song, 'Flagpole Sitta.' A lot of stupid hipster kids embraced it without realizing it was mocking them.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:25 PM (kcfmt)

226 I think we're getting lazy and pussified, which leads to poor decision making skills. Not dumber in any genetic sense but a civilizational one.

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:27 PM (778Fr)

227 the truth ---which was so wonderfully laid out in my piece in the paper of record today.

Posted by: Paulie Krugman at November 19, 2012 02:03 PM (4eNxd


As good as your piece was, I enjoyed it more the first time I heard it, coming out of Fidel Castro's mouth half a century ago. Spoken in Communist Cuban.

I think you should have had a couple of '54 Chevy's driving past a seawall as an illustration, though.

Posted by: Schrödinger's cat at November 19, 2012 02:28 PM (feFL6)

228 What about post-conception mutation using virus based therapies? Less harm then IVF, but exchanging hot lesbians for mosquitoes seems to suck.

Posted by: Jean at November 19, 2012 02:28 PM (uekSI)

229
"217The movie "Idiocracy". Prophecy of the age."

Even if the election results are bogus, there are enough people who apparently voted for TFG to support this idea. I have often liked their understanding of economics to the idea from the moviethat you should use actual water to grow plants. Maybe it will be rediscovered someday, just as the ancient Greek civilization was rediscovered after a time.

Maybe I'd make an Atlas Shrugged reference, but I never did get far enough through the book to see what we can expect next.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 19, 2012 02:29 PM (Mxt9o)

230 Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:25 PM (kcfmt)

Fair enough point. I personally think Judge is quite brilliant as a comic commentator, he's certainly more than capable of mocking all sides of the issue without contradicting himself .

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:29 PM (5BEp7)

231 #201

Dickens would have plenty of readers. More than was possible during his lifetime. He would also be self-publishing on Amazon.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:31 PM (kcfmt)

232 It's like the Harvey Danger one-hit wonder song, 'Flagpole Sitta.' A lot of stupid hipster kids embraced it without realizing it was mocking them.
Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:25 PM (kcfmt)


"Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding". Sums it up nicely.

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:33 PM (778Fr)

233
231 -- Funnily enough, I am reading Oliver Twist on my Kindle now. They are republishing it in serial form. It actually works pretty well. Dickens knew how to write in nice short bursts with great cliffhangers.

Posted by: nc at November 19, 2012 02:33 PM (Cxl7g)

234 >>>You don't need God to have a law of gravity, and you don't need it to
have laws of morality, either. Track yourself down an Objectivist
sometime, and they will be happy to tear this arbitrary claim of yours
to shreds.

Law of Gravity = Physics and has been substantially revised at least 3 times and is working on a fourth revision.
Law of Morality = Metaphysics which hasn't been successfully pinned down in 4000 years of human thought on the subject.

I have talked with objectivists and I've shredded them every time. Usually "Tell me why life is anything more than an endothermic chemical reaction fueled by a nearby star?" usually sends them down the tubes to subjectivism right out of the gate.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 02:34 PM (0q2P7)

235 Read a hundred comments or so. It really surprises me.
Most all of you are more widely read and highly educated than I am. And yet no one has figured it out yet.
Could it be, and just asking a hypothetical here, that all of that education just means that, at least in one area, you have been more highly indoctrinated?
I'll give you a clue as to the direction you could give this some honest reflection. It has to do with statements above about how much longer we live today, due I guess folks would argue, to diet and modern medicine.
And yet we have actual observed and recorded history of people in the past who lived much, much longer than we do today.
Or are those just old wives tales from a story book that has been proven wrong time and again?
Have fun.

Posted by: In Cognito at November 19, 2012 02:37 PM (PNi9V)

236 I wonder what the Athenian fellow would think of feminism...run away or burn the witch?

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:41 PM (778Fr)

237 H.G.Wells, knew when he wrote "The Time Machine", mankind was heading for the toilet. Morlocks and Eloi together were no match for 1 Victorian age man.
What books would you take into the future to educate stupid mankind?

Posted by: Gunsmoke at November 19, 2012 02:42 PM (0N+6v)

238 I'm reasonably certain the Greek equivalent of 'sammich' would be a term he used.

Posted by: Rob McNeece at November 19, 2012 02:42 PM (hNXHo)

239 237 What books would you take into the future to educate stupid mankind?

Don't leave home without a copy of Starship Troopers.

Just in case...

Posted by: Rob McNeece at November 19, 2012 02:43 PM (hNXHo)

240 And yet we have actual observed and recorded history of people in the past who lived much, much longer than we do today.

Or are those just old wives tales from a story book that has been proven wrong time and again?

Have fun.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
You are comparing two different things. Average life span and individual life span.

Average life span has greatly improved because the number of maladies that can kill us early has been greatly diminished giving us a longer average life because fewer of us die early.

As far as individual life span goes point of fact that individual life span grand champion (that we can verity) Jeanne Calment died in 1997 at the ripe old age of 122.

So despite their being a number of histories where people lived to old age (and you were far more likely to be the subject of a history if you did live a long time because you would have throngs of descendents looking to you as a paternal/maternal figure) that doesn't mean that the individual life spans, nor the average life spans were greater at that time.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 02:44 PM (0q2P7)

241 They also had to have a means for fashioning tools, preparing their
meals, a method for identifying poison berries, and survival in the
harshest of environments. And.... they drew on walls. They sought to
tell their stories and to express themselves.

Brute force without thought would have assured their destruction.


Sure, but it's not like they had to re-invent the bow or determine the toxicity of certain berries every time they went hunting. That knowledge was passed down generation to generation with little change or improvement.

They didn't invent the better mousetrap, compound bow, guns, or written language because they didn't have to. In places were year-round hunting and gathering became less feasible, new technologies had to be developed. With commercial trade came literacy and the incentive to innovate and improve.

Without the ability to read, write, or engage in commercial trade, there wasn't much intellectual stimulation in the day to day life of the hunter-gatherer.

Posted by: Hollowpoint at November 19, 2012 02:48 PM (SY2Kh)

242 Next on Showtime....the untold story of my last bowel movement. It will be just as entertaining as anything Oliver Stone does.

Posted by: Mallamutt, RINO President for Life at November 19, 2012 02:51 PM (OWjjx)

243 This is an interesting topic, but it's likely a bit more complicated a topic than that Prof Crabtree's making it out to be in the more general newspaper argument. Two comments

First, within the past 10,000 years there is accumulating evidence that certain genetic subcategories have had strong selective pressures for higher intelligence and we're seen the functional result of this: Ashkenazi Jews, who were confined to ghettos and certain job types that emphasized intelligence, not only have a 'g' score a standard deviation or more higher, but there are real world results-- they are just 2 or 3% of population, but like 30-50% of the Nobel Laureates.

So, all evolution hasn't stopped. We don't know the exact genetic components of this, how common it is, if all the population is moving this way or only subsections,etc. It will take large scale correlation studies, but that will happen in the next 10 years as screening costs are dropping faster than exponential.


Second, the idea that all people of a society are intelligent or even exhibit behaviorally modernity is a dubious belief IMO. It just isn't so. Basic statistics would provide, for every person at or above average there is a corresponding one below... all the way to the furthest tail. Map this with an absolute cut-off point whereby people are functionally unable to provide into the society and a relative cut-off whereby someone above doesn't choose out of sheer mind-fucking to associate with someone below, and you'd guess that societies have always been stratified.

Societies, especially advanced ones like ours, are built and maintained by embedded subnetworks of people who are on the far-right tail of the intelligence distribution and make things happen. Few job makers employ everyone else, few engineers design things used by the majority (think designing the circuit layout of A5 processor in an iPhone), few pharma researchers for every drug which could save the life of everyone below them on the IQ dist.

It's an asymmetric proposition and always has been, even in Greek Society.

That might be off topic for this blog and I'm sorry. The interesting question concerning politics is given the above, is democracy a feasible solution when you're mapping the unweighted, equivalent, universal vote to an underlying population which is anything but?


As Heinlein said: “The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.

Posted by: Uriah Heep at November 19, 2012 02:52 PM (jhI6f)

244 If mankind is getting dumber. Then Feminism becomes the stupid path for women.
How would today's Feminist cope with a hunter-gatherer world if send back in time?
Who would adjust better in today's world. A Man or a Woman from the primitive savage age?

Posted by: Gunsmoke at November 19, 2012 02:52 PM (0N+6v)

245 Posted by: In Cognito at November 19, 2012 02:37 PM (PNi9V)

I referred to longer lifespans on comment 114, though I didn't flesh it out into a freakin tirade.

Posted by: Model-1066 at November 19, 2012 02:53 PM (778Fr)

246 #237

Wells was also a hardcore socialist. He thought mankind was headed for the toilet because he was actively advocating for it.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:54 PM (kcfmt)

247 Posted by: In Cognito at November 19, 2012 02:37 PM (PNi9V)

Firstly, the plural of anecdote is not data. Yes there may have been some really old people back then, but average life span is up (with a caveat!)
The Caveat is that many of the older statistics on lifespan are skewed due to a high infant and child mortality rate that was common back then.
(I once heard it that the lifespan was more bi-modal, if you made it past 15 you lived pretty long, it was that first part that was bad.)
Second, people parrot shit. The greatest work on extending lifespan has been on the public health side of things (as public health was original conceived, not the nightmare it is now). Things like plumbing, clean water, etc. You know, back when Public health people actually did public health, not meddling in private lives under the guise of public health.

Posted by: tsrblke (work) at November 19, 2012 02:56 PM (5BEp7)

248 #232

Especially if your default facial expression is a sneer.

Listen to the whole thing. The narrator is meant to be a youthful idiot who believes himself to be the acme of his species.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 02:57 PM (kcfmt)

249 #187

I disagree. The hunter-gatherers innovated and benefited from the more intelligent members of the group. The trick was whether a new idea could be sustained. Average intelligence is critical.

This is why the modern RD operation as pioneered by Edison has had such a dramatic effect on the world. A group of people in the 90th percentile working in effective cooperation can do much more than a lone genius.

Imagine how much more a Benjamin Franklin might have done with a small army of grad students at his command.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 03:04 PM (kcfmt)

250 H.G.Wells, knew when he wrote "The Time Machine", mankind was heading for the toilet.

He also knew, even back then, that our star would eventually end up as a 'red giant' and engulf the planet Earth. I would wager that less then 1 out of 100,000 idiots who want to 'save the planet' have a clue as to what our eventual fate is. It's not good.

It's a shame that kids get so indoctrinated into useless shit that they can't enjoy this microscopically tiny sliver of time in the universe when life can exist on this planet.

Posted by: Schrödinger's cat at November 19, 2012 03:05 PM (feFL6)

251 I once heard it that the lifespan was more bi-modal, if you made it
past 15 you lived pretty long, it was that first part that was bad.


You're right that there's a non-linearity in early age and if you survive you're stable until around the mid-30s when you're probability of dying starts inclining again. But...

It's actually even more complicated and weirder than that.

Recently had to change the definition of immortality or aging (I forget, heh) in the Handbook of Biology of Aging because data from fly's and the little human data we have seems to show that if you make it to a certain upper-point, you're probability of dying stops. This is called the 'late-life mortality plateau'

You will still die, it's just that the probability stops increasing. So, it's like throwing dice every year and dying if it's 1,2 or 3. Eventually you'll hit it and die. It's just that you're not adding another number to the kill list every year. Which has biological implications when you're looking into the mechanisms of why or how we age.

Posted by: Uriah Heep at November 19, 2012 03:08 PM (jhI6f)

252 Who would adjust better in today's world. A Man or a Woman from the primitive savage age?

One picture .equals. 1k words.

http://www.theplace2.ru/archive/raquel_welch/___/Raquel_Welch_16.jpg

// short url may survive Pixy, if not you can guess

Posted by: Schrödinger's cat at November 19, 2012 03:11 PM (feFL6)

253 Seems appropriate:

Subject: I didn't write it but it says it all.
Congratulations to the Democrats and Young People! You now own it and you can't blame Bush.

The next terrorist attack you own it.
Can't get a job after graduation, you own it.
Sky rocketing energy prices due to Obama's EPA shutting down the energy producing states, you own it.
A nuclear Iran, you own it.
Bowing to the Soviet Union, you own it.
Another severe recession, you own it.
A volatile border with Mexico, you own it.
Trouble getting good health care, you own it.
Higher health insurance costs and health care costs, you own it.
No budget, you own it.
Our allies mistrust, you own it.
Another trillion of debt, you own it.
More Benghazi situations, you own it.
No one willing to join the military, you own it.
Trouble getting a loan to buy a home, you own it.
More dependency on food stamps, you own it.
Trouble finding good employment, you own it.
Several part time jobs instead of a good job, you own it.
A World Government, you own it.
The UN governing the United States instead of ourselves, you own it.
A Senate that will not bring any legislation to the table even if it is "Dead on Arrival", you own it.
China controlling our world trade trampling all over us, you own it.
Loss of our freedoms as we have known it in the past, you own it.
A dictatorship instead of a democracy that follows the Constitution, you own it.
Less take home pay and higher living costs, you own it.
Driving a car that looks like a toy, you own it.
More government corruption and lies, you own it.
More toleration of extreme and fanatical Islamists, you own it.
Terrorist attacks called work place incidents, you own it.
Your revenge instead of love of country, you own it.
President George Bush is out of it now, and there is not another good man for you to vilify and lie about.
In a way I am relieved that another good man will not be blamed when it was impossible to clean up this mess you voted for.

Have a good day.
God
bless the United States!
God is our hope now.

Posted by: Chain Mail at November 19, 2012 03:12 PM (t8aVA)

254 Proof positive of the theory that we've been getting stupider for 10,000 years; November 6, 2012, we give Obozo a second shot to wreck the economy. QED

Posted by: Comanche Voter at November 19, 2012 03:16 PM (oe1aw)

255 epobirs said: "This is why the modern RD operation as pioneered by
Edison has had such a dramatic effect on the world. A group of people in
the 90th percentile working in effective cooperation can do much more
than a lone genius.

Imagine how much more a Benjamin Franklin might have done with a small army of grad students at his command."

Absolutely agree. Tried to get the same point across in my post.

Obama loved to talk about how we need more PhDs. No you motherfucker, we do not. We don't need more stamp-collectors and pipette jockey's who took 6 years and 150K of government subsidy to train.

We need more Feymann's or von Neumann's. If you know an acceptable way to specifically inflate the far right tail, other than the old-fashioned mass-action way the Chinese are by increasing the whole distribution, then by all means, please speak up. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Uriah Heep at November 19, 2012 03:16 PM (jhI6f)

256 (One caveman talking to another.)
“Something’s just not right—our air is clean, our water is pure, we all get plenty of exercise, everything we eat is organic and free-range, and yet nobody lives past thirty.”

Posted by: TANSTAAFL at November 19, 2012 03:17 PM (52QEX)

257 When you read the writings of guys like John Adams, James Madison, etc., it's striking how much smarter they were than anybody in politics today. Not just twice as smart, but like fifty times smarter. And they didn't have electricity, internet, modern medicine, indoor plumbing, so the impediments to learning, writing, and living were so much greater than today. We are dolts who are undeserving of the wisdom they passed down to us.

Posted by: gp at November 19, 2012 03:18 PM (+Jpqc)

258 'BAMAPHO!!!'

Q.E.D.

Posted by: Schwalbe: The Me-262© at November 19, 2012 03:24 PM (UU0OF)

259 >>>Congratulations to the Democrats and Young People!

I've often thought that Gen Y will be known as the worst generation by their progeny when they have to clean up their parents mess.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 03:32 PM (0q2P7)

260 Close'em next time

Posted by: MikeTheMoose is Shrugging at November 19, 2012 03:32 PM (0q2P7)

261 Full disclosure: I didn't read all 235 comments which were up when I first opened this. And it isn't looking good for me going back later to read them. Sorry.

And sorry for the length of this.

I have seen this reported on quite widely and like all conclusions drawn from evolutionary theory, I am very skeptical about this but I can see why it would appeal to many of a pessimistic nature. While I have as negative a perception of human beings as almost anyone, the argument that they are getting worse has not yet persuaded me.

Starting with humans having been such geniuses in the past because of the needs of hunter gatherer life, dogs, apes, monkeys and raccoons, even birds can demonstrate some pretty amazing problem solving skills. Anyone possessing survival skills will know that knowledge and mental skills are vital to survival but it doesn't necessarily require Einsteinian level cognition or photographic memory, especially when you have the ability to learn from others in the group. I think the proponent of the idea overestimates the chances of death in a hunter-gatherer life style from mistakes. Simply mixing caution with curiosity can protect from many instances of ignorance of potential risks.

I also think there is an underestimation of the evolutionary pressure left on humans who are stupid. The example of a Wall Street banker (for some reason) is used to show that major mistakes can be made now without fatal consequences but all human culture can be said to do that to some degree, even that which less advanced human ancestors used. That didn't stop further advancement. Other mistakes, like feuding with violent neighbours or failing to heed warning alarms are just as likely to preferentially kill off people with poor social or cognitive skills and it doesn't take a huge death rate to maintain a trait in a population.

The strongest part of the proposal is that stupid people are more likely to become or stay poor. The poor have more offspring (at least in rural agricultural cultures) so stupid people have a selective advantage and rich people have a disadvantage. This has not historically been the case if you look at all the successful rulers who have translated the power and wealth they accumulated into many wives and many children, some of which are married off to the elite in far off lands. But even if it were a universal principal, The slow breeding elite are not cut off from spreading their genes to the poor classes IYKWIMAITYD.

Poor people have more kids but they also have more selective pressures due to high death rates. Many of these deaths are more likely to strike people who have poor social and cognitive skills. Any social mobility will, over time periods too long to easily notice, allow movement of smarter people up the social hierarchy where death is less omnipresent and so survival of prodigies is more likely.

In fact, the interaction between birth and death rate on one hand and intelligence and wealth on the other seems to provide a distillation of higher intelligence rather than a stagnation of it. We just miss the process because we see on the short term that people who are stupid sometimes are given more power than they should or smart people are killed. Longer term changes show that genes have been changing faster than they would be from simple drift during the course of the last 10,000 years. That would suggest selective pressures of civilization are working and it would be far more likely that they were favouring smart people than stupid people.

Even the most violent and slow-witted people can almost always be taught to read, write and perform other tasks which might seem ingenious to paleolithic people. They are only stupid in reference to the rest of us.

Posted by: Snake Oil Baron at November 19, 2012 03:33 PM (RKeHi)

262 His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of
human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities
surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the
invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our
intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the
critical “intelligence” genes.


This is the same kind of reasoning that leads to genocide.

Posted by: edj at November 19, 2012 03:42 PM (+QKfp)

263
Um...

So if this guy's theory is true...that the human race is getting stupider...doesn't this mean that his theory is stupid?

Posted by: wheatie at November 19, 2012 03:53 PM (ICEh3)

264 I disagree. The hunter-gatherers innovated and benefited from the more
intelligent members of the group. The trick was whether a new idea could
be sustained. Average intelligence is critical.

This is why the
modern RD operation as pioneered by Edison has had such a dramatic
effect on the world. A group of people in the 90th percentile working in
effective cooperation can do much more than a lone genius.

Imagine how much more a Benjamin Franklin might have done with a small army of grad students at his command.


****

you misunderstand. I never said that intelligence was unimportant, only that the scope of their daily lives did not include the free time to puff themselves up in an effort to appear more intelligent than the other. My guess is that status was gained through the bigger kills, the best harvest, and the stronger offspring, not through nuanced analysis.

My comment at 224 defends their intelligence.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at November 19, 2012 03:54 PM (piMMO)

265 “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, with a good
memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important
issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the
journal Trends in Genetics.

I assume that Professor Crabtree is referring to the golden age of Athenian civilization, which occurred in the fifth century BC (i.e., about 500 years after the period to which the professor is referring).

As far as a good memory, that's probably true, given that most Athenians of that period were illiterate. As for "broad range of ideas," true; though most of those involved the interpretation of oracles and propetiation of the gods.

But "clear-sighted view of important issues"? Huh? Hasn't this guy read Herodotus? Or Thucydides? Or the "Apology"? The Athenian mob was a corrupt, easily herded, ignorant, and violent as we are - or, arguably, more so. The impression you get from read "The Histories" or "The Peloponnesian War" is not how different or better these people were, but how much like us they are.

Professor Crabtree is peddling the same old eugenicist crap that been around since Darwin first set pen to paper. There's nothing new in any of this.

Posted by: Brown Line at November 19, 2012 03:58 PM (VrNoa)

266 His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

When the next major crisis hits, it will reveal some of those mutations as demonstrably advantageous, and some as demonstrably disadvantageous.

We'll be able to tell the difference by seeing who's dead.

In books and movies, the fashionable apocalyptic scenarios these days involve robots, zombies and contagion. (When conservatives are in office, we see a lot of stories about nuclear war.) But I think the next crisis will be economic in nature -- a rapid dis-coordination of the economy, leading to major disruptions in the provision of necessities. Like food, for starters.

Posted by: Phinn at November 19, 2012 03:59 PM (oFH2D)

267 "But we are scoring higher on our IQ tests, the so called Flynn Effect."

Couple of points:

-- In the UK, the Flynn Effect has reversed. UK adults now on average score lower on a standard IQ test than did their predecessors of a generation or two ago. So it's not a reliable long-term guarantee of improvement.

-- Other tests which measure general intelligence, such as the SATs, show a long steady downtrend. Last year's average SAT was equal to that of 1970. Despite the SAT having been made considerably more "accessible", i.e., dumbed down.

Posted by: torquewrench at November 19, 2012 04:03 PM (ymG7s)

268
265...But "clear-sighted view of important issues"? Huh? Hasn't this guy read Herodotus? Or Thucydides? Or the "Apology"? The Athenian mob was a corrupt, easily herded, ignorant, and violent as we are - or, arguably, more so. The impression you get from read "The Histories" or "The Peloponnesian War" is not how different or better these people were, but how much like us they are.

---------

Exactly, Brown Line.

And the ancient Greek ruling class, was so engaged in navel-gazing...that they let their defenses down and were conquered by the ancient Romans.

Posted by: wheatie at November 19, 2012 04:08 PM (ICEh3)

269 "Eugenics got a very bad rap, beause Hitler took it to extremes... and used it as an excuse to kill those he hated.... but that does not mean we should not be looking at the logical outcomes of creating Reverse Evolution within the human race."

Yeah sure, and Lysenkoism got a bad rap because the Imperialist running dogs manipulated nature into becoming a wrecker and a saboteur by appealing to her false consciousness and blinding her to the truth of revolutionary science.

How soft is your head?

Posted by: Cackfinger at November 19, 2012 04:36 PM (CCHli)

270 The sum total of human IQ on the planet stays constant, but population keeps increasing so the IQ gets more and more diluted.

Posted by: navybrat at November 19, 2012 04:39 PM (r1ty1)

271 Well someone replied to my @235 with the oldest recorded life span for a human was, what 122 or 123 years.
Not even close. Want to try for double jeapordy where the scores, and lifespans can really get up there? There is a very good book you might want to read first that covers this.

Posted by: In Cognito at November 19, 2012 05:01 PM (WHmDb)

272 There is an intelligence stratification going on, because successful, intelligent people seek each other out as mates. They, in turn, breed innately brighter kids, because IQ is mostly inherited, and their kids go to exclusive schools, live in exclusive communities, and self-select the next generation of smart successful people.
The rest of us are on our own, mostly alone, and too dumb to figure out what to do about it.

Posted by: John Pearson at November 19, 2012 05:33 PM (nfETf)

273 As evidenced by the past two American elections.

Posted by: ALL_IS_LOST at November 19, 2012 05:45 PM (T/L2Z)

274 Evolution is a fraud. We are weaker with every generation. Technology builds from one generation to the next but we are genetically and mentally weaker people. Its Biblical and its scientific. Too bad those who believe they are the ones they have been waiting for can't handle it.

Posted by: Sidney Allen Johnson at November 19, 2012 05:50 PM (d9d0H)

275 The Hyoomahns have always been stupid.

Posted by: Grand Nagus Zek at November 19, 2012 05:50 PM (njnnp)

276 I'm not sure you can even have petty neuroses in dangerous environment filled with genuine sources of stress and hazard.

Having people genuinely trying to kill you does not preclude paranoia or neuroses.


Posted by: rosignol at November 19, 2012 05:54 PM (xFsTj)

277 #271

You want to try for something verifiable rather than mythology?

Even if you accepted the claims of biblical figures like Methuselah living many vigorous centuries, those lifespans ceased to occur soon after within the same biblical context. So any major change was already part of us thousands of years ago, well before the Athenian era referenced.

Posted by: epobirs at November 19, 2012 06:31 PM (kcfmt)

278 I bet that chart hockey sticks like a motherfucker over the past 50 years or so. The science is settled, mann.

Posted by: pendejo grande at November 19, 2012 07:17 PM (27wCZ)

279 My own pet theory is that those of us with ADHD/ADD are descendants of a much more prevalent genetic during the age of hunter/gathering. We are, in fact of significantly higher intelligence, and our difficulty in focusing on tasks like pulling weeds and consistently irrigating crops tended to weed us out of the genetic soup we now inhabit, but not entirely. In fact, our difficulty in maintaining focus is simply the other side of the coin of an acute ability to notice abnormal movements, weather variations, etc.

Posted by: smokedaddy at November 19, 2012 09:03 PM (lTmpG)

280 Mmmmm....

I'll give Prof Crabtree the "better memory" thing. Any student who's had to read the Iliad, the Odyssey, or Beowulf knows that these works were originally RECITED FROM MEMORY.

Good grief.

I have trouble remembering why-the-heck I just came downstairs....

Posted by: A_Nonny_Mouse at November 19, 2012 09:43 PM (hq0VE)

281 "“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"...Possibly, IF they manage to resuscitate him or her after he or she goes into cardiac arrest, and possibly after he or she can be convinced to stop bowing and that we are not Gods.....Who pays for this tripe?

Posted by: jimmc1952 at November 20, 2012 11:54 AM (km+tv)

282 See Henry Harpending Gregory Cochran's recent book, "The 10,000 Year Explosion."

Civilization has actually accelerated evolution. A world where intelligence is important will select for intelligence (as it relates to dealing with the modern world). Hunter-gatherer peoples thrust into modern societies - American Indians, Andaman Islanders, Pygmies, Australian Aborigines - don't do better, they do worse, much worse. Mastodon hunting is probably no more intellectually demanding than car racing or playing football.

Posted by: Wilson at November 21, 2012 12:01 AM (VHfD4)






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