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Wolfie00
My dog is an elitist
Premium
join:2005-03-12
kudos:8
reply to ekster

Re: This explains a lot: people are getting dumber

said by ekster:

It is precisely because we are able to punch a few numbers on the calculator and get an answer to the most complex problem that will help us evolve, as now the people who excel in math and science can stop wasting time on doing long hand divisions or calculating thousands of equations as they can just make anyone do it for them and be able focus themselves on more important things that will improve science instead.

You're confusing two different things. What we're capable of accomplishing with improved technology is a completely different question from intrinsic intelligence. It's obvious that advances in technology, education, and our collective knowledge are positive factors that enhance our intellectual capabilities. That's why science has been advancing so fast in the past hundred years or so as these resources have achieved critical mass. But it has nothing to do with evolution -- technology doesn't "help us evolve" in the biological sense.

In fact the evidence seems to be that it's producing the opposite effect. Which makes sense -- the less that innate intelligence is a factor in survival, the less it's favoured as a genetic trait in evolution. So we can actually end up with factors like random mutation and genetic drift becoming dominant, and the intelligence in our neurobiological makeup regressing instead of evolving.

--
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

PX Eliezer7
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Hutt River
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Reviews:
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said by Wolfie00:

In fact the evidence seems to be that it's producing the opposite effect. Which makes sense -- the less that innate intelligence is a factor in survival, the less it's favoured as a genetic trait in evolution. So we can actually end up with factors like random mutation and genetic drift becoming dominant, and the intelligence in our neurobiological makeup regressing instead of evolving.

*

In the new narrative, the Time Traveller tests his device with a journey that takes him to 802,701 A.D., where he meets the Eloi, a society of small, elegant, childlike adults. They live in small communities within large and futuristic yet slowly deteriorating buildings, doing no work and having a frugivorous diet. His efforts to communicate with them are hampered by their lack of curiosity or discipline, and he speculates that they are a peaceful communist society, the result of humanity conquering nature with technology, and subsequently evolving to adapt to an environment in which strength and intellect are no longer advantageous to survival.

Returning to the site where he arrived, the Time Traveller is shocked to find his time machine missing, and eventually works out that it has been dragged by some unknown party into a nearby structure with heavy doors, locked from the inside, which resembles a Sphinx. Later in the dark, he is approached menacingly by the Morlocks, ape-like troglodytes who live in darkness underground and surface only at night. Within their dwellings he discovers the machinery and industry that makes the above-ground paradise possible. He alters his theory, speculating that the human race has evolved into two species: the leisured classes have become the ineffectual Eloi, and the downtrodden working classes have become the brutish light-fearing Morlocks. Deducing that the Morlocks have taken his time machine, he explores the Morlock tunnels, learning that they feed on the Eloi. His revised analysis is that their relationship is not one of lords and servants but of livestock and ranchers. The Time Traveller theorizes that intelligence is the result of and response to danger; with no real challenges facing either species, they have both lost the spirit, intelligence, and physical fitness of Man at its peak.

Wikipedia summary of [The Time Machine] by H.G. Wells (1895)

Another view:

[Alas, All Thinking], the 1935 short story by Harry Bates, has an equally depressing view of man's evolutionary fate. Harlan T. Frick travels three million years into the future and finds that man is a species on the verge of extinction. Civilisation has collapsed and only a few remnants of the human race live in a collection of huts. What's happened? Man's brains got bigger and bigger until it reached the point that when people reached adulthood they became macrocephalic scarecrows that must have their heads propped up in frames so that they can literally contemplate their navels while their skulls collect dust.

»davidszondy.com/future/Dystopias···king.htm


Wolfie00
My dog is an elitist
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join:2005-03-12
kudos:8

Funny thing is, though I'm not much of a SF reader, I'm familiar with both of the stories you mentioned recently -- "Marching Morons" and "Flowers for Algernon" -- and in fact recall them very distinctly.

Further along the SF theme, Arthur C. Clarke once postulated a potential upper limit for the lifespan of any civilization. His particular focus was that once nuclear energy is discovered, the civilization's days are numbered. I think that one could generalize that a good deal more, along the lines we've been discussing - i.e.- if the power we can harness with technology keeps growing, and our innate intelligence keeps decreasing, it's a disaster in the making. One has only to look at what we're doing to our planet. There's toxic pollution in the air, water, and land, explosion of CO2 levels, crap in our food, residual traces of radiation from the atmospheric nuclear testing of the 50's and 60's, not to mention Chernobyl and Fukushima, and more things than I can think of. These are not just the results of simple population growth -- a lot of it is from the spread of irresponsible idiocracy. Years ago the worst you could do was have your horse poop on the street, or drive a Model T. Today you can drive a Hummer, or if you're very rich like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, own your own Airbus A380 (because the 747 was too small).
--
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
Daniel Patrick Moynihan



vue666
Small block Chevys never die
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join:2007-12-07
Halifax, NS
kudos:1
reply to PX Eliezer7

And HG Wells believed in eugenics...

quote:
Eugenics

Wells believed in the theory of eugenics. In 1904 he discussed a survey paper by Francis Galton, co-founder of eugenics, saying "I believe ... It is in the sterilisation of failure, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies". Some contemporary supporters even suggested connections between the "degenerate" man-creatures portrayed in The Time Machine and Wells's eugenic beliefs. For example, the economist Irving Fisher said in a 1912 address to the Eugenics Research Association: "The Nordic race will ... vanish or lose its dominance if, in fact, the whole human race does not sink so low as to become the prey, as H. G. Wells images, of some less degenerate animal!"[43]

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells#Eugenics



PX Eliezer7
Premium
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Hutt River
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Many people feel that Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger believed in eugenics....


booj

join:2011-02-07
Richmond, ON
reply to vue666

said by vue666:

And HG Wells believed in eugenics...

Lots of otherwise respectable men believed in racial superiority a century ago. I wouldn't really hold it against them as it was the norm. Nowadays not so much.

For a more modern and sinister example of eugenics, check out Nobel Physics prize laureate William Shockley. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for inventing the transistor. Sadly he spent the last half of his life lobbying the US government to implement a eugenics program.

»www.pbs.org/transistor/album1/sh···ey3.html