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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Study: humans evolving into dumber species Reply with quote

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In the last century, humans have landed a man on the moon, sequenced the genome, and created the Internet —but, surprisingly, we may be slowly evolving to be less intelligent than our ancestors.

That's because a series of mutations affecting the estimated 5,000 genes controlling human intellect have crept into our DNA, says Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford University, whose findings were published in the journal Trends in Genetics.

"I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to suddenly appear among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companies, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues," he writes.

[RELATED: Use of Neuroscience as a Defense Skyrockets]

Because human beings have evolved to live in a society, as opposed to fending for themselves, deficiencies in intellect haven't made it impossible for reproduction, he says. Humans no longer (or rarely) die because they were unable to outwit a predator. Humans were much more likely to die due to "lack of judgment" thousands of years ago, he says.


http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/11/13/dumb-and-dumber-study-says-humans-are-slowly-losing-their-smarts
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read the article and I indeed feel a little bit dumber.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe Rogan nailed it earlier :)
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck teaching relativity and quantum mechanics to an ancient Athenian.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
Good luck teaching relativity and quantum mechanics to an ancient Athenian.


Don't know - what are the comparative gaps in knowledge ? Were there bigger
jumps for maths, social structure etc compared to what had gone before than now ?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
Good luck teaching relativity and quantum mechanics to an ancient Athenian.


Arguably easier to pull ancient Athenian through mathemathics and physics than your average iphone-doodling Justin Bieber fan.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
Good luck teaching relativity and quantum mechanics to an ancient Athenian.


I think that the appropriate ancient athenian to kidnap into the future would be a baby. This article is speaking specifically about genetics. So for an apt comparison you'd need to start from a fresh slate.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the other hand breast and penis size are at it's peak on humanity's history.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John-Boy wrote:
Don't know - what are the comparative gaps in knowledge ? Were there bigger
jumps for maths, social structure etc compared to what had gone before than now ?

Put it this way, the ancient Greeks believed the planets were Gods, wandering across the heavens, and that the milky way was the breast milk of the queen of the Gods, Hera, she nursed Heracles and the demigod lovechild hero Zeus' infidelity produced, and suckled so hard that he caused her pain, when she pulled him off, her divine milk squirted across the heavens. People ridiculously over romanticise the ancient civilisations and forget they were in fact barbaric ignorant savages, only a bronze spearhead away from stone chucking cavemen.

The leap forward since just Newton are literally cosmic, the man, by himself, invented the lions share of calculus just to figure out a curiosity about orbital mechanics. Hell the leap from the Edwardian era alone have been colossal and have *dramatically* corrected the models of our understanding of the nature of reality. Before the renaissance there may as well have been no prior knowledge of nature at all, because it amounted to a drop in the ocean of knowledge we have now, and most of that drop was complete nonsense.

The modern day idiocracy is a social problem, not a physiological one. Just as ancient Greeks simply lacked the knowledge necessary to educate and build their society upon beyond a pathetic level. From what this article conveys, this guy is apparently just guessing that because 'dumb people' reproduce lots then 'dumb genes' are 'winning', but we never really needed grand intelligence to beat out other species, hell we simply out-bred the Neanderthal and struck abject fear in the very DNA of predators as we kept growing and spreading out across the face of the planet. If it presented a threat, we exterminated it with prejudice, even the big cats naturally know perfectly well humans are best avoided at all costs, not because we're extremely clever and inventive, at best in the early days we had crude stone tools, but simply because we are, and always have been, far too numerous, able to coordinate our efforts in large numbers very effectively, and were ruthlessly vicious against threats, and any species without extreme caution or non-aggression against humans, were simply wiped out. And yet ever more intelligent people keep show up demonstrating even more amazing mental capabilities. I don't see our key intelligence base (socialisation, tool use, etc.) being any less of a reproductive factor by any stretch of the imagination, so it isn't being allowed to become any weaker than our early natural selection days (arguably the opposite is true), anti-social/solitary misfits are still ostracised from society, and largely shunned by the opposite sex, with ever greater rejection success.
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you experience political reality dilation when travelling at american political speeds. it's in einstein's formulas. it's not their fault.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Study: humans evolving into dumber species Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
"I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to suddenly appear among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companies, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues,"

I would bet that this Athenian would immediately post something BK would find inappropriate and report. He'd then get permbanned and would almost immediately deduce that having a broad range of ideas does nothing but put you into trouble. Because he is supposed intelligent, he would then reduce the range to the average range of the average OTWer.
Great fun !
Pure thought experiments are worth nothing ! (As any sentence starting by if)

OK so now... let's be serious ! Forward aCOSwt 3000 years in the future ! Do you really think aCOSwt will automagically become the one with the broadest range of ideas ?
Oh wait... Would my capabilities of being understood be upgraded as well ?
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, you're quoting me, but I didn't write that, the author did.

Second (@AidanJT), what's the logic in measuring what the average person of a society can be taught. The accumulated knowledge of mankind is not a measure of any given generation. With nothing to build upon at all, the Ancient Greeks came up with the same basic atomic theory we rely upon today (that matter is comprised of basic elements and extraordinarily tiny particles, which can be subdivided to a point, and upon reaching some point, the most basic particles are indivisible).

It's one thing for you to eat your microwaved breakfast, ride to your socialist public school in a bus, be taught this by a teacher and then given an a B for managing to regurgitate most of it. It's another thing entirely for a sandal-wearing man in a tiny culture that hasn't even invented money yet to create such a theory himself.

Third, I don't anyone with an average understanding of ancient Athenian culture is equipped to make such a judgment. Read something like Thucydides and it becomes quite apparent that the average ancient Athenian was socially superior to the average member of our societies. Granted, it was merely a city-state, but they merged the concepts of private and public life, with every citizen actively participating in the public debate. If one did not, they were referred to by a new, purpose-invented word: idiotes (a selfish person only interested in their private life), and they were often literally ostracized (voted out of town for a few years) as a result. Some member of modern Western culture not aware of such details of the nature of ancient Athenian culture cannot possibly pass judgment on some other educated person's comparison of the two.

Fourth, I'd take it farther and say it's been all downhill since H. neanderthalensis and that H. sapiens sapiens is the inferior species. Okay, I'm only half serious about that, but half-serious I am.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If one needs proof that people are stupid, look no further than both Bush and Obama each getting elected..... twice.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For proof, I offer Honey Boo Boo. Of course, that also helps explain the reelections. But people have been reelecting stupid congressman for decades.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old School wrote:
If one needs proof that people are stupid, look no further than both Bush and Obama each getting elected..... twice.
That can also prove that people are malicious.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole idea of "devolution" is kind of dumb but first we have to refresh our memories on the second law of thermodynamics. All forms of life require an energy source - and misc other resources - in order to maintain their entropy-defying existence. There's always a balance sheet to consider in the remorseless logic of survival: what benefits does a given cellular structure confer and what does it cost to maintain?

If we genuinely don't need bits of our brain, it is evolutionarily advantageous to get rid of them. They'd just be a cost without a compensatory benefit - and natural selection will always pick the organisms which can survive in the most efficient way in terms of energy inputs and resource usage. Dumber or smarter is neither here nor there: these are the ones which are best adapted to their environment. That's the only game in town.

Just like libertardianism, evolution is perfectly value-free and completely amoral.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aidanjt wrote:
John-Boy wrote:
Don't know - what are the comparative gaps in knowledge ? Were there bigger
jumps for maths, social structure etc compared to what had gone before than now ?

Put it this way, the ancient Greeks believed the planets were Gods, wandering across the heavens, ...


The article argues that it if you take an athenian baby it would outperform modern day baby. Not that we have iphones, and athenians didn't. It argues that there is genetic difference, not simply quantitative gap.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<accidentally quoted myself when I was trying to make an edit>
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tl;dr

Why're we even arguing this? One sentence answers please.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

notageek wrote:
Why're we even arguing this? One sentence answers please.

To display the current state of our degeneration process.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr.Willy wrote:
notageek wrote:
Why're we even arguing this? One sentence answers please.

To display the current state of our degeneration process.

This is not a complete sentence. :P
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff wrote:
The whole idea of "devolution" is kind of dumb but first we have to refresh our memories on the second law of thermodynamics. All forms of life require an energy source - and misc other resources - in order to maintain their entropy-defying existence. There's always a balance sheet to consider in the remorseless logic of survival: what benefits does a given cellular structure confer and what does it cost to maintain?

If we genuinely don't need bits of our brain, it is evolutionarily advantageous to get rid of them. They'd just be a cost without a compensatory benefit - and natural selection will always pick the organisms which can survive in the most efficient way in terms of energy inputs and resource usage. Dumber or smarter is neither here nor there: these are the ones which are best adapted to their environment. That's the only game in town.

Going with your logic, if it helped our species survive longer, it would be best for us to evolve into mindless cockroaches or bacteria.

You are arbitrarily selecting evolution as the totality of your value framework, presuming that which is selected by evolution to be "best". You are, in effect, saying "continuation of the genetic line in some form is everything; nothing else is of any importance". Are you sure that's what you believe, cockroach-man?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clad in Sky wrote:
Dr.Willy wrote:
notageek wrote:
Why're we even arguing this? One sentence answers please.

To display the current state of our degeneration process.

This is not a complete sentence. :P

He didn't deserve a complete sentence. He should have been able to figure that out for himself.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff wrote:
If we genuinely don't need bits of our brain, it is evolutionarily advantageous to get rid of them. They'd just be a cost without a compensatory benefit.

Exactly. That's why humans don't have toes.

If I go back to bio class, I'm pretty sure that's not how evolution works. If a trait is negligible as a factor on reproduction over numerous reproduction cycles, it's unlikely that the trait will flourish or subside in the species.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

You're welcome. :wink:
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