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

Re: This explains a lot: people are getting dumber

said by digitalfutur:

Plausible but false = specious.

This is one of the reasons why scientists (not science) continue to lose credibility by coming up with ridiculous theories like this one; for no other reason than to rise above the 140 character noise or get page hits. In that regard, such "scientists" continue to devolve into the infotainment realm: the medium is the message.

You should do a bit more research on who this "specious" scientist is before making those kinds of flippant accusations. Rather than an indictment of science, this story is more evidence of just how poorly science is represented in the popular media.

Gerald Crabtree is a professor of developmental biology and pathology at the Stanford School of Medicine with interests in cancer research, developmental biology, immunology, and related areas, and is also director of the Stanford Crabtree Lab which does research in stem cells, molecular biology, and developmental genetics. The particular papers (there were two of them) that appeared in "Trends in Genetics" were somewhat tangential to his main areas of research, but were also grossly oversimplified in the popular media, as often happens. While necessarily somewhat speculative, the papers are a lot more down-to-earth than the media has implied, and investigate the following two hypotheses (from the abstracts) -- obviously #2 is what got the media all in a tizzy:

1. New developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology predict that a very large number of genes underlie our intellectual and emotional abilities, making these abilities genetically surprisingly fragile.

2. Analysis of human mutation rates and the number of genes required for human intellectual and emotional fitness indicates that we are almost certainly losing these abilities. If so, how did we get them in the first place, and when did things begin to change?

I see no problem in asking those questions and making honest attempts to provide substantiated answers.
--
"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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The rise and fall of intelligence in a single person is poignantly displayed in one of the most famous SF stories of all time, [Flowers for Algernon] written in 1958 by Daniel Keyes.

The story and subsequent novel inspired the 1968 film [Charly].



digitalfutur
Sees More Than Shown
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join:2000-07-15
BurlingtonON
kudos:2
reply to Wolfie00

I don't fall for the appeal to authority logical error, which what dropping credentials as singular proof of being right is. We had enough of that with the long census form.

There's nothing wrong with asking the question, the problem is not being able answer it summarily without spending gobs of money to do so; which is no doubt part of Crabtree's reasoning - he has to make a living too.

Not every theory is worth funding.

Today's Globe editorial sums is nicely:

quote:
The most striking thing about the study is that is reminds us that we are now smart enough to theorize that we are not as smart as we used to be. We have gathered evidence and used science to advance our understanding of ourselves to a level way beyond that of any person who lived 3,000 years ago, or even 300 years ago. We have all the same frailties as our ancestors – we are still violent, greedy and, sometimes, willfully blind to fact – but we are also more aware of the world around us than ever, we work harder to end wars than we do to start them, we believe in fundamental human rights and improving the lot of people less well off than us, we can decode DNA and search for the “God” particle, and we have developed and adapted to technologies that are continually making our lives richer.

No, we’re smarter than we used to be. A little more cynical too, but that’s not the end of the world.
»www.theglobeandmail.com/commenta···5364261/
--
Logic requires one to deal with decisions that one's ego will not permit.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke.


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

said by digitalfutur:

I don't fall for the appeal to authority logical error, which what dropping credentials as singular proof of being right is.

No "appeal to authority" logical error here. You're accusing him of being a useless "infotainment" scientist. I'm pointing out that he's an accomplished medical researcher. I'm also pointing out that these particular papers are quite different from the media's interpretation of them.

said by digitalfutur:

Today's Globe editorial sums is nicely:

The only thing the Globe editorial nicely sums up is the Globe editor's inability to understand the research in question. See my post above.
--
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
Daniel Patrick Moynihan