"Are humans becoming less intelligent?" That's how the Monday headline from LiveScience.com read, and I said what everyone is thinking, "Well, duh."
This was an election campaign year, what more evidence do you want? We all felt our brains getting sucker punched every day, what other result could come of it?
We're mutant freaks, he says.
The study reports that humans have 2,000 to 5,000 genes determining brain power, which seems like a lot and that they would have strength in numbers — though it also seems like its a vaguely widespread count, which possibly proves Crabtree's point that we ain't so smart if a scientist can't get more accurate than that. Even political polls are accurate to within plus or minus a 4 percent margin of error, not a 60 percent vast desert of error.
Anyhow, it seems that in the last 3,000 years humans have been passing along two mutant stupid genes.
He blames farmers.
Crabtree says that prehistoric hunter-gatherer humans had to figure out, quickly, efficiently and accurately, how to get food and create shelter or they would die, thus eliminating their stupidity from the gene pool. It's the old survival of the fittest brain, or the luckiest one, theory.
I would like to interject here that I have this image of a prehistoric, pre-language-speaking grunter sensing a storm coming, flexing his muscles, killing and field dressing a woolly mammoth and using a large branch to prop its chest open, thus fashioning an emergency shelter for his prehistoric family within the mammoth's ribcage. He was the Bill Gates or Steve Jobs of his time.
I imagine that his wife, full up on barbecued rib meat, settled in for the night against his shoulder and grunted: "You magnificent nerd."
Meanwhile back in modern times where we're blaming farmers for everything, the new twist on this survival of the best of the luckiest, he says, is that this genetic culling of the lame-brains occurred until advances in farming allowed humans to come together to live their cushier "townie" lives of about 900 B.C. Apparently, once people settled into communal living and had their food delivered to them, it allowed too many stupid people to survive.
And at some point since then a few mutants peed in the gene pool, and those two mutant genes are making us less intelligent each generation.
This means that all parents are right about the next generation being losers. They are — by comparison — and yes, one day in the future a whole generation of humans will jump of a cliff just because a friend did.
(What were we talking about at firstname.lastname@example.org?)