Homer J. Simpson for President - Homo Sapiens Getting Dumber?

It seems to me like Homo sapiens' natural biological evolution is over. There is no higher force to take the blame for it. No radical climate change resulting in a new ice age, no dangerous virus causing a global plague, no doom’s day asteroid sending us back to the Stone Age. It was self inflicted. We did it ourselves by inventing artificial ways to help people that would not have survived otherwise. We allowed the weak to exist and pass on his weaknesses to the next generations. A few decades ago, we fired the pool guy, gave him his last paycheck and sent him hitchhiking back home.

So the pool guy is gone, but what’s the status of that gene pool of ours? Is it static or is it getting messier? At least from one aspect, intelligence, I claim the gene pool is getting worse. I believe the most significant factor of a person’s IQ is what he’s got from his parents through inheritance, and only a small portion can be related to learning (this is also my opinion on most of the other subjects on the classic nature-versus-nurture debate). Since the use of technology allows even less intelligent people to survive and have kids, is seems they now enjoy an equal chance to pass on their genes. But when I look at intelligent people I see patterns that may lead to imbalance and a population becoming less and less intelligent. In order to supply a better lifestyle for all their children, intelligent people form smaller families than less intelligent ones. Many times smarter people prefer pursuing academic degrees over becoming parents at an early age, only having kids when they are in their 30s and 40s, raising the risk for several diseases in their kids like Down syndrome. Often, intelligent people will be drawn to highly inhabitant cities in order to be closer to education facilities and high-tech industries rather than the open country, exposing their children to higher risks like car accidents and air pollution.

It seems like our new man made unnatural evolution favors the less intelligent. Modern technology almost eliminates completely the historical advantage for being smart. It will help less intelligent people survive and pass on their "dumb genes" to the next generations. And since they will do so more successfully, they will eventually become the majority, driving humanity down the gene pool's drain - straight to dumb city.

p.s. The plant your aunt gave you for your birthday will achieve self awareness in 5,342,679 years.


yair.h said...

Hi Uri,

I have two comments:
1. Intelligence (IQ) is defined by tests made by people who think the tests they create reflect a certain ability. For example, knowing English is intelligent but knowing to swim well is not. Therefore, the term itself is not well defined and changes over time and place.

2. If intelligence is spreading your genes, then those people who want small families, are not intelligent...

Uri Kalish said...

1. Although IQ is a problematic term and tests only a specific part of the human intelligence, many nature-versus-nurture tests have been done with IQ, so I think it’s ok to use it. That said, you can mentally replace the word 'IQ' with the word 'Intelligence' in my post and still get my point. Biological evolution made us smarter, but the cultural evolution is driving us the other way.

2. :-)


Thomas said...

What good have our intelligence brought the earth?

Robot said...

You should definitely watch Idiocracy if you haven't already checked it out. Its one of my all time favorite films.

Sword said...

Hi Uri,
I think there is no real evolution, in fact evolution is just an illusion, human morality is getting worse, not better, contemporary philosofic trends are not positive but tend to promote a strange kind of relativistic egolatry, and the impressive technological advancement is polluting and may destroy life on earth sooner than we think, so where´s evolution? only in the lives who really grow by faith in the Truth.


Read fiction. Please. There is something about stories which make people happy. You do not The intelligence quotient initiation rituals of past monkeys to prove to each other how much we want to interact, regardless of race, gender, or creed(or reason).

Anonymous said...

This post is interesting...

I was once told that romans did this to their newborns: they would go to the nearest river, and sink the baby's head for some time, and retreat it, then sink it again... and do the same for several times... if the baby survived, he/she/it was a strong baby. (I add "it" beacuse a baby doesn't have a sexual identity, I and would doubt that a baby has cognition for any matter)

As for IQ... It could be comparable with polygraphs... It doesn't measure intelligence, they measure skills given a situation, and even more, only some aspects of intelligence...
I would better use the term "mental - cognitive performance"

Tricky topic, really...

And also intelligence can be upgraded trough sheer excercising.
Even better, in case of a damaged brain structure, other structure can take the task...

Even with down syndrome, they can better their abilities, surpassing the limitations of their condition, in some cases achieving a different functioning for thinking.

Forgive me if I sound bias. It's just my personal speculation, and shouldn't be taken differently. Here:



(In this last one, it is implied that a brain structure that wouldn't exactly function as a human one does exhibit or at least seems to exhibit similar operations)

But I don't know... as a comic relief, let me tell you that even not so intelligent families can sprout really smart specimens that actually are appealed to think, and so to knowledge and culture...
I'm a living example ;)
(At least I try to think and to live according to that)

By the way I'm the same guy who posted on the architectural drawing...


This blog of yours... Is really great, very eclectic. I really don't remember how I ended here, I began by searching info about whale chants...

please check my account at DA

I try to make my stuff based in logic and objetivity, not just an expression of human subjectivities, thus, I try to tend to realism and knowledge in it... just like in the renaissance.

I have a doubt with evolution process, and I haven't been able to get information, maybe you could help me, I would really appreciate it:

Are some changes in evolution an actual adaptation in response of the enviroment, or more like a random mutation among some others, mutation wich became useful for survival, so it was passed to the next generations? maybe both?, something else?

Anonymous said...

"intelligent people will be drawn to highly inhabitant cities in order to be closer to education facilities and high-tech industries rather than the open country, exposing their children to higher risks like car accidents ..."
No, cities are safer than rural areas when it comes to car accidents:
"The results of the analysis show that the risk of fatal accidents is already 40% higher for the population of the populous surrounding districts than for city inhabitants. For inhabitants of the countryside the risk to die in traffic is even twice up to three times as high..."