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Op-Ed: Humans evolving into bigger idiots? Stanford professor thinks so
Digital Journal ^ | November 21, 2012 | Paul Wallis

Posted on 11/24/2012 5:54:09 AM PST by SoFloFreeper

Yep, evolution is a two way street. With a bit of effort you can evolve to get dumber in every generation. Prof. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist seems pretty convinced that Homo Sap is long gone in that direction.

(Excerpt) Read more at m.digitaljournal.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: religion; science
Seems to me the degenerative idea fits the intelligent design model better. Isn't there a "thermodynamics" law that says things that are left alone tend to deteriorate? Something like that.

The notion that evolution "is a two way street" appears to be an attempt to make all evidence fit the theory instead of allowing the evidence build the theory...the "certainty" of evolutionary is decided, and so regardless of ensuing events, that theory must be preserved.

In short, evolutionists seem to practice what they accuse intelligent design adherents of doing.

I have noticed this "devotion at all costs" attitude also present in Global Warming (aka Climate Change) believers and among hard core liberals like Obama...no matter the result of their policies, they stay committed to their philosophy.

I think as a whole humankind is becoming "less wise" even as our data accumulation grows.

1 posted on 11/24/2012 5:54:18 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper

Is their no end to articles about Obama’s victory?


2 posted on 11/24/2012 5:55:47 AM PST by Happy Rain ("11/6/2012=Suffrage for the selfish and shiftless has damned America to socialist perdition.")
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To: Happy Rain

HAHAHAHAHA!!! Nice one! And also true.


3 posted on 11/24/2012 6:09:17 AM PST by cdcdawg
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To: SoFloFreeper
Humans evolving into bigger idiots?
It may sound racist, but one only needs to look at the demise ...
... of "black america" over the last 50 years to see "evolution" in action.

4 posted on 11/24/2012 6:09:46 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: SoFloFreeper
What a moronic idea. If anything the current glut of information and sensory stimulus will force us to become more intelligent as we cope with the fire hose of data. Social media will evolve and change human interaction in ways we can't foresee.

In general we are moving to a more complex and dynamic environment, that will reward intelligence. We are already seeing this in the job market where education, cognitive skills, and highly tuned social abilities lad to success. If we assume that over the long-term less intelligent people have less money and are unable to support as many children, then we should become as a species, more intelligent. I know the last point is totally opposite of today's reality, which is skewed by social programs that reward he least intelligent members of society, but once TSHITF this will revert to trend (We are talking evolution over 100’s of generations).

5 posted on 11/24/2012 6:12:33 AM PST by oncebitten (Obama: could not get a clue if he were covered in clue musk and standing in a field of horny clues.)
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To: cdcdawg

6 posted on 11/24/2012 6:17:00 AM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: oh8eleven

100% correct... The fall of America started with the rise of urban blackness. OMG! I must be a racist!


7 posted on 11/24/2012 6:19:40 AM PST by baddog 219
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To: oh8eleven

I think race has less to do with it than a subversion of the natural abilities and talents of individuals.

Some of the subversion is designed, some is well-meant but degrading. And it happens in all racial groups.


8 posted on 11/24/2012 6:20:45 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper

“Idiocracy”, where life mimics art (if you can call it art)!


9 posted on 11/24/2012 6:29:53 AM PST by sonofagun (Some think my cynicism grows with age. I like to think of it as wisdom!)
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To: Happy Rain

Based on this election I would say a resounding yes


10 posted on 11/24/2012 6:32:12 AM PST by ronnie raygun (bb)
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To: SoFloFreeper

This author, Paul Wallis, has jokingly stated something I’ve suspected for some time now: Western Civilization is on the cusp of another “Malthusian” cycle.


11 posted on 11/24/2012 6:34:13 AM PST by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war, and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
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To: SoFloFreeper

Conclusion of the Study:

Certainly the race is getting dumber...except of course, the really ^intelligent^ types like Crabtree and his peers who intend to rule over us and decide our very lives like good Dhimmicrat overlords.


12 posted on 11/24/2012 6:38:30 AM PST by Cletus.D.Yokel (Bread and Circuses; Everyone to the Coliseum!)
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To: SoFloFreeper

This is another case of avoiding discussing the “Bell Curve”. In our information-loaded society, those who choose to be smarter are getting much more intelligent. But, in that same society, where a person can live off the dole from cradle to grave, those who choose to go through life fat, stupid, and lazy can do so and they are dumber than their parents. Chances are that their offspring will be dumber than they are.


13 posted on 11/24/2012 6:41:53 AM PST by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: baddog 219

>>100% correct... The fall of America started with the rise of urban blackness. OMG! I must be a racist!

I learned how to be a racist by listening to black people talk about white people.


14 posted on 11/24/2012 6:44:14 AM PST by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: SoFloFreeper

Wouldn’t Evolution mean people should be getting smarter, more perfect?

Sound’s more like we’re De-evolving not evolving then doesn’t it?

(note for the record: I do not believe in evolution, I believe in a Creator who has a divine plan for mankind and in our everyday life whatever happens to us is due to choices or cause and effect)


15 posted on 11/24/2012 6:45:02 AM PST by Babashane
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To: SoFloFreeper

But everything regresses to the mean. Trees don’t grow to the sky. We don’t have a population of geniuses


16 posted on 11/24/2012 6:57:06 AM PST by KosmicKitty (WARNING: Hormonally crazed woman ahead!!)
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To: SoFloFreeper

If you subscribe to the whole Survial of the Fittest thingy, you have to note that in the past century, technology has made it possible the less fit to survive and reproduce and dive once more into the genetic pool.


17 posted on 11/24/2012 7:00:36 AM PST by Tanniker Smith (Rome didn't fall in a day, either.)
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To: Babashane

Natural selection used to be about the survival of the fittest.

Now being fitter or better isn’t a prerequisite for passing your seed onto the next generation.

If anything the opposite is true. The welfare state encourages the laziest and most dependant segment of society to breed like rabbits.


18 posted on 11/24/2012 7:01:00 AM PST by kokoda
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To: SoFloFreeper

No. Not at all. Not evolving into idiots.
However, idiocy, dependence, indolence, unnatural habits, parasitism, stupidity and cheating are encouraged in our society, meaning that there will be more.

Hard working, thriftiness, independence, clean natural habits, honesty, studying, are all $hit upon in our current modern 2012 society under the democrats, meaning that there will be less.


19 posted on 11/24/2012 7:20:00 AM PST by I want the USA back
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To: SoFloFreeper
Are we not men, we are DEVO!

CC

20 posted on 11/24/2012 7:29:52 AM PST by Celtic Conservative
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To: SoFloFreeper

Did you read the article? It’s not really about evolution at all, just the writer’s take on how our culture is devolving into triviality and stupidity.


21 posted on 11/24/2012 7:39:47 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Great nations are born stoic and die epicurean. -Will Durant)
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To: Tanniker Smith

“the less fit to survive and reproduce and dive once more into the genetic pool.”

Again and again and again. . .


22 posted on 11/24/2012 8:03:03 AM PST by Hulka
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To: oncebitten
skewed by social programs that reward he least intelligent members of society

The rewards go beyond financial. Social programs that are in place also have genetic rewards for those unable to even tend to their own needs. They are free to reproduce in greater numbers, in fact, rewarded to do so while the best and brightest are reproducing less and less to the point of not even replacing their numbers. How often do you see the most intelligent people with more than two kids? How often do you see welfare "families" with less than two kids? Minds atrophy just like muscles when not used. Those traits are passed along to the progeny. So we are replenishing our society with the offspring of the fat, dumb and lazy. Further, I am convinced that reality TV destroys brain cells. ;-)

23 posted on 11/24/2012 8:18:17 AM PST by Colorado Doug (Now I know how the Indians felt to be sold out for a few beads and trinkets)
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To: SoFloFreeper
'Seems to me the degenerative idea fits the intelligent design model better. Isn't there a "thermodynamics" law that says things that are left alone tend to deteriorate? Something like that.

The notion that evolution "is a two way street" appears to be an attempt to make all evidence fit the theory instead of allowing the evidence build the theory...the "certainty" of evolutionary is decided, and so regardless of ensuing events, that theory must be preserved.

In short, evolutionists seem to practice what they accuse intelligent design adherents of doing.'

Disclaimer: I find it hard to ignore the vast bulk of scientific evidence supporting evolution. DNA analysis has only made the case stronger.

The thermodynamics law you're referring to is most simply stated as "Entropy tends towards a maximum." That refers to thermal entropy. Taking our solar system as a whole, the Sun provides for a whole lot of entropy transfer, driving processes on Earth. Outside of evolution there are many examples of less organized entities becoming more organized. For instance, grass grows in soil (not structured, and not even necessarily organic). Then, cows eat the grass (still not very interesting or structured) and produce baby cows (more structured, and tasty as well!). That increasing level of organization for simple materials over time comes at the basic cost of lots of energy from the Sun.

I had heard decades ago of the idea that evolution no longer applies to humans. This makes some sense to me, as the central point of evolution is that species' characteristics gradually evolve to adapt to environmental changes. Humans, on the other hand, adapt their environment to suit them. Clothing, shelter, medicine, agriculture, commerce, as well as heating and cooling systems are all examples.

That doesn't quite cover everything though. Evolution-like forces are still in play based on human selection criteria (appearance, personality, wealth etc.). There is also the factor of reproductive success, i.e. how many offspring a given person (half) produces.

So, we have at least three major factors that are counter-productive:

In short, while it was a terrible movie, "Idiocracy" had a grain of truth to it. It might be good if we have a worldwide breakdown of society, THAT would certainly weed out a lot of the bad seed. That said, I certainly hope that somehow the better, smarter and faster elements of society can find a way forward that'll not only preserve the human race, but improve it.

It may take new frontiers. Robert A. Heinlein was a visionary in that regard, he recognized that we now have no frontiers, and without them the human race will tend to stagnate. We are now at the point where, with a little more work, advanced technology could easily open up the inner solar system to human colonization. Perhaps that's what it will take to stop the slow decline and set free the human spirit once again - as well as presenting challenges that will truly reward the best and brightest.

Sorry for the long post, I hope it's interesting. I've given a fair amount of thought to this over the years. I'd personally guess it's about a 50-50 whether or not we'll have an overall beneficial "reset" of many of three factors I mentioned here in the US over the next few years, along the lines of Civil War II.

24 posted on 11/24/2012 9:16:57 AM PST by PreciousLiberty (Pray for America!!!)
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To: oh8eleven; oncebitten

For Darwinian selection to work, the unfit must either be culled, or kept from reproducing. If they are not, then they will reproduce faster than the fit, using an r-slected rperoductive strategy, and gradually devolve the population. All of America is trending r, probably due to us providing free resources through taking on national debt. As time goes on, this will come to an end, K-selection will return, and a lot of people will be unhappy.

On the bright side, Liberalism will become a bad memory.

My whole site is devoted to this, read my profile on r/K Selection Theory and political ideology.


25 posted on 11/24/2012 9:26:43 AM PST by AnonymousConservative (Why did Liberals evolve within our species? www.anonymousconservative.com)
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To: oncebitten
If anything the current glut of information and sensory stimulus will force us to become more intelligent as we cope with the fire hose of data.

Some people are resisting your putative "force" quite well. And some people are "coping" with the glut of input by ignoring it.

In general we are moving to a more complex and dynamic environment, that will reward intelligence.

The environment of a typical modern American couch-potato requires less attention span, less long-term thinking, and less focus than the environment the one the pioneers had to come to grips with. Certainly, brute physical strength was more important 200 years ago, but in an unknown, in part inhospitable land, problem-solving abilities, navigational skills, observational skills, long-range planning skills, etc. were vital. Anyone who didn't have them, didn't get to reproduce.

Life has gotten physically and mentally easier, not harder.

Regards,

26 posted on 11/24/2012 9:36:07 AM PST by alexander_busek (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.)
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To: PreciousLiberty

Those are some interesting thoughts...and a quite different perspective from some others.

Curious that one would believe we have no new frontiers...weren’t some saying that at the beginning of the 20th century, too? :)

Along the lines of your DNA opinion, have you considered Stephen C Meyer’s book “Signature in the Cell”?


27 posted on 11/24/2012 10:01:05 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: oncebitten

But this analysis misses the critical point -
The ability to process complex information may help an individual or even a society achieve greater power and comfort, but greater power and comfort have become decoupled from the real mechanism of survival, that of breeding fertile progeny. The poorer people are in this society the more successful they are as breeders. The correlation of material success and successful breeding is negative.
Rich people with 0,1, or at most 2 children will have written themselves out of the future.


28 posted on 11/24/2012 11:07:43 AM PST by buwaya
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To: Babashane

No, evolution being a mere mechanism, there is no reason why it would tend to produce creatures that are smarter or more perfect, by our lights anyway. Evolution just tends to sort out those who manage to survive and reproduce most successfully. We appreciate some of evolutions effects more than others, but that’s just an aesthetic judgement from our point of view.

Consider this - many animals have evolved certain features that are helpful in enhancing mating success, such as the peacocks tail. Some have reached an evolutionary dead end due to over-development of such features, such that they work against reproduction and survival. Arguably the peacock has reached that point as they cannot survive in the wild now, they are a domesticated species. What if intelligence is just our species’ peacocks tail ? Maybe it has reached the limit of its value, and less intelligence is better for survival ?


29 posted on 11/24/2012 11:17:04 AM PST by buwaya
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To: SoFloFreeper
"Those are some interesting thoughts...and a quite different perspective from some others."

Thank you.

"Curious that one would believe we have no new frontiers...weren’t some saying that at the beginning of the 20th century, too? :)"

I mean territorial frontiers like the American West (or America in general). I believe that the selection pressures involved in succeeding in the colonization of America has a good bit to do with the success of the United States for the next century or so. That process also instilled the values of freedom, self-reliance and toughness that seem so lacking today.

I will say I enjoy the various Alaska shows, I think there's still some real selection pressure there! I wish I'd moved there 30 years ago at this point...what an awesome place! It'll almost certainly not happen now - but I do plan on visiting and hunting and fishing! Not enough people move to Alaska for it to matter much in the big scheme of things, though.

As to other types of frontiers, there is still plenty to learn about the universe, according to modern physics we don't understand the substances that comprise 80% or so of the mass well at all... ;-)

On a more practical note, some of the research involving LENR is looking very promising, and may completely eliminate the current energy issues as well as providing cheap, practical space travel. Not to mention flying cars... ;-)

'Along the lines of your DNA opinion, have you considered Stephen C Meyer’s book “Signature in the Cell”?'

I had not looked into it, but I found a fairly compelling critique with a little searching - Francisco Ayala on “Signature in the Cell”. Read it with an open mind...I find the arguments there to be quite compelling, as I have in my other readings on the subject.

My personal belief is that God "created the heavens and the Earth" as the Big Bang, around 14 billion years ago. "Let there be light", indeed! I view science as a true honest look at God's handiwork. He obviously went to a lot of trouble creating an absolute artistic masterpiece at every level. I don't believe He introduced anything into the Universe as an attempt to deceive us - instead it is all to be admired and understood.

If He, himself, is beyond science and observation, there is nothing to say He can't influence the world without detection. Perhaps the quantum uncertainty principle is one of His manifestations. I believe the dividing line between science and religion is the knowable versus the unknowable. The dynamic tension between science and religion has arisen from science absolutely disproving things that were religious dogma at one point. That certainly has weakened religion's relevance in the minds of many.

I've struggled with faith, especially in my younger years. I do find the idea of a universe that "just happened" to be sterile and unsatisfying, as well as not explaining its order and beauty. I also recognize the very beneficial role religion has had for the human race.

I certainly don't know all the answers, but I humbly seek as many as I can. The rest I'll leave in God's hands.

(Well that was a lot more of a response than I'd intended...once again I hope it was at least interesting!)

30 posted on 11/24/2012 11:22:05 AM PST by PreciousLiberty (Pray for America!!!)
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To: kokoda

The argument in this paper isn’t limited to the welfare state.
Basic subsistence agriculture seems to have been the main culprit.
A hunter has to think. He who thinks best, survives best.
Historically, once agriculture came in, populations exploded and filled the land. And then population growth levelled off, limited by disease and other natural controls. These new natural controls applied to stupid and intelligent alike. That sort of agriculture is simple enough that sons can follow fathers, going through the same motions without much thought required. One could be just smart enough, and no more.


31 posted on 11/24/2012 11:26:03 AM PST by buwaya
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To: PreciousLiberty

Arguably modern war is a highly negative selection force.

In ancient times the best warriors were more likely to survive, and they had their pick of the losers women, as it was acceptable to breed from them. See the Iliad for a thorough introduction to this mindset.

The probability of death or incapacitating injury in modern war is nearly random, while the most dangerous military jobs are selected for among the most fit. So we expose our best to a random probability of death. And the survivors don’t get extra women.


32 posted on 11/24/2012 11:35:03 AM PST by buwaya
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To: A_perfect_lady
It’s not really about evolution at all, just the writer’s take on how our culture is devolving into triviality and stupidity.

Agreed. Who thinks anymore when you've got all of these great thinkers to think for you:

MSNBC, Daily Kos, CBS, The NY Times, ABC, The Huffington Post, USA Today, Media Matters, AP, Bloomberg, TMZ, LA Times, CNN, Politico, etc., etc.

This is the pinnacle of evolution - groupthink passed down from intellectuals.

Definition: 'intellectual' - A liberal who uses a title or degree as a license to play stupid in their particular specialty.

33 posted on 11/24/2012 12:27:12 PM PST by DeprogramLiberalism
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To: buwaya
"Arguably modern war is a highly negative selection force."

I touched on that, at the macro level. Within the war zone itself, it is providing selection in various ways. Whether good eyesight and reflexes (for instance) is more beneficial than an abundance of caution is a good question.

"In ancient times the best warriors were more likely to survive,"

That I'm not at all sure about in general. Certainly sepsis and other issues took many that would survive today. Just as in today's world, the matchup of forces made a huge difference. Americans in the Middle East are far less likely to die if hit than their counterparts on the other side, for instance.

"and they had their pick of the losers women, as it was acceptable to breed from them. See the Iliad for a thorough introduction to this mindset."

The Iliad would be worth a reread at this point, good idea.

"The probability of death or incapacitating injury in modern war is nearly random, while the most dangerous military jobs are selected for among the most fit."

Most "fit" in terms of physical condition - not necessarily so overall. The "fitness" metrics cover the entire gamut, not just the physical.

"So we expose our best to a random probability of death. And the survivors don’t get extra women."

I'd argue that the survivors have better access to a large segment of the female population. I'd be willing to bet that most of those who've been in combat are ready to raise a family, often a large one (demographics aside).

But, it certainly isn't the same as in ancient times. How many descendants does Ghengis Khan have again? lol

(For those who don't know, somewhere over 100 million.)

34 posted on 11/24/2012 1:06:16 PM PST by PreciousLiberty (Pray for America!!!)
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