Dumber and Dumber and Dumber

Disinformation reported on a Natural Society article about Stanford University geneticist Dr. Gerald Crabtree’s claims that humanity is getting dumber, for a variety of reasons, mostly due to our exposure to things like fluoride or pesticides.

But honestly, why shouldn’t mankind be getting dumber? It would seem to be the natural course of evolution for us, and I’ll tell you why.

Crabtree claimed, “I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC 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,” and in so doing hinted at what may be the real reason folks may have been more intelligent way back then.

And that reason was that they needed to be. It’s simple natural selection, in a sense: Earlier in humanity’s history, folks were much more pitted against the elements and even other tribes and certainly other animals than they are now. Therefore, having the intelligence to not only survive but to thrive under those conditions would provide far more opportunity to reproduce, resulting in any genes which had a role in that intelligence being passed along.

And we see that in the common jobs throughout history — builders, weapons makers, soldiers, farmers. These were jobs of survival as that was mankind’s foremost concern for most of its history.

But as time has progressed, we no longer focused as heavily on survival. Our ability to pass along knowledge resulted in that knowledge accumulating, resulting in higher forms of entertainment or other objects of pursuit that had simply nothing to do with survival. And the keen intelligence and instinct required to survive slowly became a non-issue for a great deal of mankind, with most people able to get by with a day job, the only piece of which having to do with their survival is the paycheck itself.

And so intelligence is no longer a vital trait in mating and reproduction. “Survival” still is, however, but now it doesn’t take finely tuned skills, instincts, and intelligence in order to survive.

So it doesn’t surprise me that the more “advanced” humanity gets (largely through the efforts of a tiny percentage of the population), the less intelligent the rest of the population will become, simply because intelligence won’t be necessary.

And we’ll see more of that through the years: automated cars, spell checkers on everything (including phones and, someday, smart paper), augmented reality, automated navigation tools, “smart” weapons, unending task-list & calendar applications, and so much more.

Human intelligence is deprecated; it’ll be phased out of the global system once the machines take over designing & producing everything which allows us to survive.

Our intelligence has cursed us, and like Ernest P. Worrell’s family, we’re doomed to become “dumber and dumber and dumber” (Ernest Scared Stupid).

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