When I was growing up, one of the things my mother
smacked me for corrected was intolerance for other people’s abilities. I was, happily, a bright child and a successful one early on. Things came easily and when they didn’t for other people, I was quick to criticize. Mom taught me humility, which was really valuable by the time I entered very competitive crowds in high school, college and law school. By that point, I had outgrown most of my natural advantages.
As it turns out, growing up to feel like a dummy only makes me human.
A professor at Stanford, Gerald Crabtree, has just released a paper that essentially says we are becoming less intelligent as a species. Feel free to read the paper to draw your own conclusions, but my understanding of his thesis is that our intelligence levels are actually deteriorating over time. At the same time, this doesn’t matter because we’ve also come to a point where our creativity has compensated for any weaknesses in the species.
In other words: Darwin is off. No longer applies. Technology and education keep Nature from selecting against the dumb ones.
Someone please move the nuclear button back from the edge of the table.
Even with history headed for the dunce cap, it’s fun to stop and revel in stupidity on occasion. I’m not really talking about your average mouth breather … it still feels bad to trash people who are doing their best and are generally behaved. Some folks aren’t firing on all cylinders and we’ll leave them be. But there are those who put themselves out there, and I think season is open on them. Example:
Or how about the kind of stupidity that translates to journalistic hazing, such that we have to put people in the middle of a hurricane, rather than letting a weather girl nicely fill out the torso of a cheesy raincoat in front of a green screen?
Not everyone believes we’re getting less intelligent, of course, as witnessed by this truly persuasive rebuttal of the concept on Yahoo! Answers.
Are the people today smarter then the ancient Egyptians and Romans?
“No there not smarter then the people today because people gets smarter as we age and learn new things, Things we come up with today they might not of come up with back then you get what i mean. I think that as we move on in time we get smarter and it shows. You know back in the era midevil Europe they are really superstitious people meaning that everytime something happen like they get sick or something they think that god punished them or something like that but then as people move on and evolve they start thinking about the more scientific ways thats when Einstein comes in …”
Please read that paragraph while imagining me sprinkling [sic] liberally over it. Thanks, HockeyFan, for that defense of the modern intellect. There are times when I’m not sure we haven’t progressed beyond “mid-evil,” but I like the optimism. Or something like that you get what I mean.
Do you know what’s happening to mankind’s brains? I don’t. And maybe no one does, so maybe we sit back and enjoy the fiddling as it all burns. Let’s close with one of my favorite comedians – the incomparable Joe Rogan – who has a theory.