With Human Intelligence Reportedly on the Decline, How Do We Reverse the Trend?

A leading scientist at Sanford University says man is no longer as bright as his ancestors, and it’s only going to get worse.

According to a recent article in USA News, we’re not as smart as we used to be — and the trend is headed in the wrong direction.

Dr. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Sanford, published a study that supports this finding. According to Crabtree, we peaked some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC 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," Crabtree is quoted as writing. "Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2000–6000 years ago."

Crabtree says we were smarter when “every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis.” In other words, when we had to think for ourselves in order to survive. It appears the smarter we get collectively, the dumber we become individually. Having someone else think for us has actually shrunk our ability to think for ourselves, according to this theory. Crabtree's study is based on genetics and our ability to adapt to our circumstances through mutations.

Do you think this study has merit, and if so, how would you suggest we go about reversing the trend?

Good Grief Y'all February 20, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Oh boy, another useless analysis. Well at least this situation can't be totally blamed on modern life.
HeyIdidn'tvoteforhim February 20, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Well, this explains how the hack in the white house got into office.
George Wilson February 20, 2013 at 02:26 PM
@HeyIdidn'tvoteforhim It for sure explains George Bush and Dick Cheney!
Jeremiah McCurry February 20, 2013 at 02:33 PM
I have assumed for years that we are devolving as a species. Have you been to a Wal-Mart lately?
Good Grief Y'all February 20, 2013 at 02:37 PM
@ George, I knew it would only take a few minutes for this to turn political. I'm with you.
Tim February 20, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Amy L February 20, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Smarter, more well educated people tend to have fewer children.
Amy L February 20, 2013 at 03:11 PM
As for how we reverse the trend, we won't begin to do that until we take control of our own evolution. We will do/are doing this through a combination of drugs, cybernetic/Nano enhancement, and eventually deliberate genetic manipulation.
Mr. B February 20, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I think I could agree that thinking collectively lessens our ability to think for ourselves. However, the synergy of collective thinking has sure developed some great advancements in materials, products, medical procedures, etc. If a person from 2000-6000 years ago were to suddenly appear among us, his head would explode. He may be able to think better for himself, however, he wouldn't know how to react to society today. They barely had domesticated animals to work for them; can you imagine the shock of Atlanta traffic?
JD STONE February 20, 2013 at 05:59 PM
How do we reverse the trend? Take off all reality TV beginning with anything that has a Kardashian in it!
Tammy Osier February 21, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Well, we could try teaching teenagers how to count change back in a drive through without looking at the screen, and get rid of mulyiple choice and go back to actually writing in the answer on a test for starters lol
Amy February 21, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Reading the comments on this site is a good indicator of the decline of human intelligence. We're doomed!
Tammy Osier February 21, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Only if we put more stock in American idol and the kardashians and don't teach our kids how to read, write and think :)
Tammy Osier February 21, 2013 at 03:27 AM
@ jeremiah - LOLOL
Good Grief Y'all February 21, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Ha! Amy, best answer so far!
Good Grief Y'all February 21, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Who has never shopped at a Wal-Mart, ever, for any item? Be honest.
Mr. B February 21, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Honest answer GGY...I have never been to a Wal-Mart. There isn't one close to me so just not convenient is the only reason. Did you know that Wal-Mart co-started a program many years ago called Buy American? From what I understand, it's almost impossible to find anything made in America in Wal-Mart today.
Good Grief Y'all February 21, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Congratulations, Mr. B, then you haven't had to suffer that humiliation ;) I'm not promoting Wal-Mart. It is not my first choice for shopping, especially for groceries. But for many, it's the only choice of a general merchandise store for lots of miles except for areas where there is a dollar store (no better, just smaller and quicker to get in and out). I don't make fun of people who shop there. It's not kind. It's almost impossible to find American made in the best of stores, too.
Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Very good points about counting and multiple-choice, Tammy!!
Mr. B February 21, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Only because there isn't one close. I'm sure I would have stopped in if it were convenient. You're right about no American products. We have driven American manufacturing out.
r patton February 21, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Look who is President. 'Nuff said.
George Wilson February 21, 2013 at 06:17 PM
@ r patton Look who was President...George Bush.The big improvement with Obama means that the theory may not be true and that is hope.
K DelBove February 21, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Is this another rewrite of history? Wasn't Athens Greece 1000BC called the Greek Dark Ages? I would hate to think that was a peak for humankind.
Johnny Morgan February 22, 2013 at 07:46 PM
The association between public water fluoridation & reduced IQ is predicted by, and entirely consistent with, a large body of evidence (fluoridealert org). Other human studies, for example, have found associations between fluoride and neuro-behavior in ways consistent with fluoride being a neuro-toxin. In addition, animal studies have repeatedly found that fluoride impairs the learning and memory capacity of rats under carefully controlled laboratory conditions. An even larger body of animal research has found that fluoride can directly damage the brain, a finding that has been confirmed in studies of aborted human fetuses from high-fluoride areas. Say NO to Fluoride in the Public Water supply (while you still have enough brain cells to say NO).
Tammy Osier February 23, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Think about it Elizabeth...multiple choice means that some of the test is a good guess and the other, you recognize an answer. Nothing wrong with using it as long as tests have a variety of ways to find an answer. When I was a kid, we had "fill in the blank" mostly. You had to know the answer beforehand and think it through. The thinking process has certainly tchanged the last 30 years. Might explain why people get their news from headlines rather than exploring all the possibilities beforehand and coming to a conclusion. We live in a society where we like to let someone else think for us. Just a societal change that has evolved since the advent of the television age. lol


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