Controversial study suggests human intelligence peaked several thousand years ago and we've been on

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posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 10:52 PM
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Controversial study suggests human intelligence peaked several thousand years ago and we've been on an intellectual and emotional decline ever since


www.independent.co.uk

Professor Gerald Crabtree, who heads a genetics laboratory at Stanford University in California, has put forward the iconoclastic idea that rather than getting cleverer, human intelligence peaked several thousand years ago and from then on there has been a slow decline in our intellectual and emotional abilities.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 10:52 PM
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While it's obvious this has no real documented research, and so I understand the skepticism of some scientists and people, I still think this article holds merit.

Perhaps through my own observation of society, I believe humans really are in a mental decline. As the article stated, we have the luxury of learning from our mistakes instead of having the less-sharp get thinned from the heard. In addition, we also have the luxury of not needing to be as clever due to technological advances.

"Learn to do math on paper. You may not always have a calculator." the teacher says. "But I have my iPad." says the student. Why would his brain need to do something when a machine can do it for him?

That's a crude argument but I do feel that computers have played a direct role in the mental lethargy of many people.

Thoughts?

www.independent.co.uk
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 10:55 PM
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reply to post by ErroneousDylan
 


Maybe so. There's also the possibility of differentiation, rather than decline.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 10:56 PM
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reply to post by ProperlyErrant
 


Well, a decline is a different state, after all.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 10:59 PM
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There's the possibility that the next evolution isn't in the brain but in our technology and in our understanding of biology and genetics. The body may be at its limits, you know.

Arthur C. Clarke thought the next evolution would be robotics or computer AI. He thought that biology was limited and that he was proud to be a stepping stone for whatever came after.

My point is that there're a lot of things in our body that have to adjust to the world around us, not just our intelligence. So many things have changed in the past several thousand years.

Just look at the modern society. So much obesity and cancer and other problems and I'm sure a lot of it can be attributed to the lacking nature of evolution to keep pace with these changes. I don't think there's a rule that says intelligence has to always go up for evolution to take place either.

Basically, if you're going to take this research and go with it and revert yourself to pre-industrial living or hunter-gatherer living or a call back to 8000 BC then... I feel sorry for you. You know the human species hasn't changed a lot in 7000 years, but look at our technology and knowledge.......

Look at the difference between an individual and the society. Without our society, we're animals with no clue. It's because of libraries and teachers and parents and language and...
edit on 12-11-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:01 PM
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How would you explain the Industrial revolution and all the new breakthroughs with science today? I know there are dumb people out there but if you actually put your mind to it "pun intended" we can be so much more...... We are one evolutionary spark or scientific breakthrough away from upgrading our intelligence so to speak.....



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:02 PM
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reply to post by ErroneousDylan
 


Decline indicates something bad. Differentiation isn't such a loaded term and would merely indicate a different kind of intelligence rather than something bad.

It's an interesting theory, I don't really buy it as thousands of years ago humans openly and wantonly committed acts that would make our civilization pale such as rape, murder and theft.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:03 PM
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Originally posted by jonnywhite
There's the possibility that the next evolution isn't in the brain but in our technology and in our understanding of biology and genetics. The body may be at its limits, you know.

Arthur C. Clarke thought the next evolution would be robotics or computer AI. He thought that biology was limited and that he was proud to be a stepping stone for whatever came after.

My point is that there're a lot of things in our body that have to adjust to the world around us, not just our intelligence. So many things have changed in the past several thousand years.

Just look at the modern society. So much obesity and cancer and other problems and I'm sure a lot of it can be attributed to the lacking nature of evolution to keep pace with these changes.
edit on 12-11-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)


Well, if the article is correct, then we are NOT at our limits since we have declined. If the article is correct, we will possibly be at our limits if/when we return to the mental point at which humans existed several thousand years ago.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:05 PM
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I can quite believe that, I vaguely remember smart people with oodles of intelligence growing up, but NEVER have I been exposed to so many stupid people in my neighborhood in the last few years.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:08 PM
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Originally posted by jheated5
How would you explain the Industrial revolution and all the new breakthroughs with science today? I know there are dumb people out there but if you actually put your mind to it "pun intended" we can be so much more...... We are one evolutionary spark or scientific breakthrough away from upgrading our intelligence so to speak.....


They are decent... accomplishments but if you've read anything from ancient texts then you might realize how far behind we could actually be, that is if you believe them.

Edward Leedskalnin comes to mind (the individual that built the Coral Castle out of giant blocks of stone solely by himself) with his statement: "I understand the laws of weight and leverage and I know the secrets of the people who built the pyramids (being those at the site at Giza in Egypt)." He also claimed that we are using electricity inefficiently compared to the ancient way of using it.

Of course, none of that holds any modern scientific ground but again.. if the article is correct, then I'm not concerned with modern science.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:10 PM
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Watched "Idiocracy" the other night, just because I wanted to discuss with my family this possibility that we just might be devolving to stupidity.
I think it is possible........



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:18 PM
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Originally posted by antonia
reply to post by ErroneousDylan
 


Decline indicates something bad. Differentiation isn't such a loaded term and would merely indicate a different kind of intelligence rather than something bad.

It's an interesting theory, I don't really buy it as thousands of years ago humans openly and wantonly committed acts that would make our civilization pale such as rape, murder and theft.


If you interpret it as bad (which I'm sure most would). However, the article takes into account emotional stability. Any "different" intelligence that didn't also come with the proposed mental resilience that the article claims the Ancient Greeks had would be considered a declination.

Perhaps it's due to my declining mental state, but I can not think of a situation and/or society where mental instability would be beneficial to individuals and to a community as a whole.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by ErroneousDylan
 


Well, there is a problem with what you are saying. While someone might have been able to build that pyramid, the vast majority of people were illiterate and uneducated. The very fact you can read makes you more intelligent than most of those people. The other problem is in the last paragraph of the article the man admits he doesn't have one stitch of evidence. That's laughable science right there.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:23 PM
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reply to post by ErroneousDylan
 


I applaud Professor Crabtree's personal disclosure, even if it's under the guise of a global projection. The fact that Crabtree isn't a neuropsychologist specializing in intelligence assessment speaks volumes to supporting that his 'hypothesis' is personal disclosure--intentional or otherwise!

Case in point:


The Flynn effect is the substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day. When intelligence quotient (IQ) tests are initially standardized using a sample of test-takers, by convention the average of the test results is set to 100 and their standard deviation is set to 15 or 16 IQ points. When IQ tests are revised, they are again standardized using a new sample of test-takers, usually born more recently than the first. Again, the average result is set to 100. However, when the new test subjects take the older tests, in almost every case their average scores are significantly above 100.

Test score increases have been continuous and approximately linear from the earliest years of testing to the present. For the Raven's Progressive Matrices test, subjects born over a 100 year period were compared in Des Moines, Iowa, and separately in Dumfries, Scotland. Improvements were remarkably consistent across the whole period, in both countries.[1] This effect of an apparent increase in IQ has also been observed in various other parts of the world, though the rates of increase vary.[2]


It stands to reason that if intellect has steadily increased in the previously measured ~100-yrs., overall, we may be a little more intelligent than our ancestors a few millenia ago.
edit on 12-11-2012 by OlafMiacov because: repair



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:27 PM
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news.bbc.co.uk - Chimps beat humans in memory test...

Chimps showed better short-term memory.

But it's long-term memory that allows us to learn all the things we learn. It allowed us to expand our society much further - which we're immensely dependent on.

What this also highlights is that not everything gets better.

There's so much going on underneath with this that I have to wonder if it has any merit.

Any research/study/etc that says we need to go back 10,000 years and throw away everything we've gained in the process makes me skeptical. It's relying on too many assumptions. For example, all of these perceived negatives may in fact be positives, but who knows? Where's the evidence?

Good video; it explores chimpanzee and human child learning:
edit on 12-11-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:28 PM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
Watched "Idiocracy" the other night, just because I wanted to discuss with my family this possibility that we just might be devolving to stupidity.
I think it is possible........


Great movie..... More of a Documentary really.....



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:36 PM
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Originally posted by antonia


It's an interesting theory, I don't really buy it as thousands of years ago humans openly and wantonly committed acts that would make our civilization pale such as rape, murder and theft.


Yes, because acts like that are sooo rare these days



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:36 PM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
Watched "Idiocracy" the other night, just because I wanted to discuss with my family this possibility that we just might be devolving to stupidity.
I think it is possible........


I was looking a clip up from that movie when you made your post, LOL! Here you go!




I am a person who has always balanced my checkbook just by adding and subtracting right in the register. I am never off. My husband always has to use a calculator even if say, an even amount of $20.00 is being deducted. Even when the calculator is used, he still makes mistakes. I have to hide the checkbook from him!
edit on 12-11-2012 by Sissel because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:36 PM
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My opinion is a split one. While I do believe that many people are much less intelligent in a civilized, industrial society, an argument could be made that there are a lot more people who have access to educational systems than did in the past. At one point in history only the elite and wealthy had a access to education. So while the people who would have been intelligent in the past are now somewhat less intelligent, the people who normally where vastly uneducated previously are now at a point where they can progress their average intelligence.

What I am trying to say is that the average person living in a civilized society is less intelligent, the average person in a more undeveloped country is more intelligent, and as more countries reach a point where they are at a higher level of development, their intelligence is increasing. Literacy is a good example, it has steadily increased on average over the years.

Here are a couple of countries that are becoming more developed, and it shows in the literacy rate.



Another thing I have noticed is that I believe that average intelligence is increasing, but I feel that the top 5% or so are less intelligent than they were in the past. We must also take in to account that while computer access is making people more lazy because they can just google anything they want to know, it also provides a unique opportunity for educating people. That is more a topic of knowledge than intelligence though. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing it doesn't go in a fruit salad (think I saw that here on ATS)

One thing is for certain, the news is sure as heck a lot dumber.




edit on 12-11-2012 by Renegade2283 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 11:37 PM
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Its actually quite easy to check this claim for accuracy.

He says...

“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 also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,”


Now given that he also states the reason behind the decline is "agriculture and cities", then all we have to do to TEST his idea is find some people from modern day societies who currently do the hunter-gather lifestyle (since their genetics is not therefore tainted) and see how their children fare if raised in a modern city environment.

So... if he is right, the children of such people as the natives of Papua New Guinea, Australian Aboriginals, or the Bushmen of the Kalihari desert are seen to be the smartest people in modern society.

Since this is not proven to be so, the claim is not proven.

A slightly weaker test is also the fate of African Americans, since their genetics would be less tainted than the Europeans. If his idea is right, African Americans are "the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions". Again, I'm not seeing this proven to be true.



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