Are we getting dumber? Will we not be able to use the tools we invented?

Discussion in 'Science' started by Powermaniac73, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Powermaniac73

    Powermaniac73 Member

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    Hi all,

    Newbie here, but I heard about this article on the Ten Late News so I had to go read it as it sounded like non-sense to me. Although the expert knows far more then I do regarding the brain. So what do you think: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-intelligence-peaked-thousands-of-years-ago-and-weve-been-on-an-intellectual-and-emotional-decline-ever-since-8307101.html
    I'm not sure what the reputation of the Independent is but it is just an article on a scientific journal so atleast it is a repost of a trustworthy source in a sense.

    For the click impaired:

    Anyway thoughts?
     
  2. zacm

    zacm (Taking a Break)

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    You have the whole nature vs nurture debate with this as well. Is it society that is our problem or our evolution? Example if you had baby from 1000 years ago raised and schooled in modern society what would happen?

    Another interesting article I read a while back that is related to this aswell:

    http://isedb.com/20110720-15764.php

     
  3. garetz

    garetz Member

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    Modern humanity is clearly in decline, we peaked in the renaissance and it has been going downhill since.
     
  4. ThE_BiG_O

    ThE_BiG_O Member

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    In summary:



    :lol:
     
  5. led_blind

    led_blind Member

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    Idiocracy is golden :)

    First, find me a clearly defined widely accepted definition of intelligence. For the life of me Ive never found one.
     
  6. whatdoesthisdo

    whatdoesthisdo Member

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    We are definitely getting smarted, look at little jimmy he can use a iphone and he is only 2
     
  7. ddk

    ddk (Banned or Deleted)

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    This is nothing but unsubstantiated and opinionated rubbish. It's not even a scientific hypothesis because there's no means to test it. Someone in the news simply latched onto this and it became popular because it's controversial.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.
     
  8. bcann

    bcann Member

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    Were not getting dumber, its just that science isn't as valued as it once was, and advancing an already advanced technology takes more time and skill. Think of the technology involved in throwing a rock, now extrapolate that to a throwing knife (not just the knife itself, but the time involved to extract the metal to make the knife and shape it) Having said that i believe were spending to much time/money/effort on to many other things that provide slim to no real benefit to society as a whole.

    What we need is a good war, as that always advanced technology OR to stop pissing away time/money/skills that benefit only a few and think forward and longer term, but that will never happen.
     
  9. Cadbury

    Cadbury Member

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    Agreed we're not getting dumber. But we are getting lazier or softer. Our kids are wrapped in cotton wool. People sue for the smallest thing such that governments ban things they fear will get them sued. People take short cuts all the time on important stuff because worthless life-clutter is taking precedence.

    People try to "black box" so many things in life. Yet few people know in detail how the stuff in the black box works. If there comes a time when noone knows how a particular system works, then that system is replaced - often with something less efficient or more expensive. If that happens too often then the subject of this thread may come to pass.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Powermaniac73

    Powermaniac73 Member

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    Interesting responses so far.

    I've seen that Idiocracy video before, rather funny and true in a sense.

    led_blind good point there is no one agreed upon definition or explanation as to what intelligence is.

    ddk I never said it was accurate or truly scientific it was just interesting and so I shared it, it was mainly to see what the response would be and whether people agreed or disagreed as well as will they back it up with there own evidence (links to other articles, scientific journals/papers, etc).

    We still have war bcann it has just changed its appearance and thus isn't as technologically stimulating.

    Ignorance, laziness and certain technology I agree is making us dumber. Look at Apple simplifying user interfaces to the point that people will no longer understand how it works just that it does. It will become electronic magic. There's a quote I could use here but I've forgotten it something along the lines of technology that is so advanced becomes magic, said some famous person.
     
  11. ddk

    ddk (Banned or Deleted)

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    So because I use a Mac, I'm dumb? That's a logical fallacy. One does not beget the other. Just because I don't know, or care, how something like my computer works, does not mean I'm losing intellectual capacity. What it means is that I'm free to use that capacity to focus on other things.

    The entire concept that we're getting dumber as a species because we no longer suffer from natural selection is idiotic in the extreme. It's eugenics in disguise. It's the kind of thinking that would have Stephen Hawking euthanised at birth.

    When we don't focus on the necessities of survival, we turn our attentions elsewhere and grow intellectually as a result. This has proven scientific fact to back it up, rather than the wildly elitist fantasies of a crack-pot professor.

    As a thought experiment this theory has only limited value. Outside of that, it needs to be ridiculed as the idiocy that it is.
     
  12. [SweN]

    [SweN] Member

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    considering our education system has gone from "your a drop out dead shit!" to "you showed up, here is your college participation doctorate!" I agree we are in decline.
     
  13. .Radiant

    .Radiant Member

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    Wait what, who is designing the things we use then?

    Things we use are becoming complex to the point we need to make them easy to use, not everyone has the time or motivation to learn how everything they touch works. It'd be something if people had lost the capacity to learn how things work but we haven't. If we want to learn, the information is there, we aren't becoming hardwired to not be able to learn them.

    One thing I do agree with the initial article is that people are becoming more emotionally unstable, but only because people now have the time to think about emotions.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Powermaniac73

    Powermaniac73 Member

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    I only used Apple as an example, other companies are now doing similar things. The premise still stands that advanced technology becomes 'magic' as the lay person doesn't understand it but the engineers tht created it do. That is where we are lucky though we can go and learn how most things work thanks to the internet.

    I'm also biased as I see people falling for phishing scams and getting hacked easier and easier because of the premise that the eletronic doohickey is supposed to just work. That there is no risk, that leaving your personal information all over the internet isn''t problematic...

    I also agree with you on the natural selection points and on the point about us turning our attention elsewhere.
     
  15. Alpha2k6

    Alpha2k6 Member

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    There was some article wich stated that flouride makes your iq drop, thought i dont have a link but should be easy to find. Not sure if true or not, but would be bad if it is. Since virtually every brand of toothpaste contains the stuff.

    Please debunk or confirm if you have any facts :)
     
  16. pentel88

    pentel88 Member

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    If we have really stopped evolving, then it would have happened in the last 100 years, life in the renaissance was not relaxed and lazy unless you we one of the few born into wealth. There isn't any real natural selection happening in 1-2 generations.

    If you compare IQ of different people, most of the difference can be explained by where they were born, not their race. I would argue that everything explained in the OP is a cultural decline not an intelligence decline.

    I think we should be considering what we are doing to the human race by treating everyone under the age of 21 as an imbecile and requiring decades of 'schooling'. Young people are emotionally immature - due to the way we are brought up today. Our 'smartest' years of our lives arent spent doing anything productive anymore.
     
  17. whfbee

    whfbee Member

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    Brawndo, its got what plants crave
     
  18. Phido

    Phido Member

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    We really don't value things like education and science. 200 years ago, a teacher was of a similar status or higher than a doctor. A scientist was extremely highly regarded.

    I teach university physics and engineering. However, I could make more money at home printing t-shirts, or being a security guard or labourer or recruiter or plumbing sales (I have done each of these). I have a friend who is a medical doctor. He makes more money selling Iphone apps he writes than he does from being a doctor and working 12 hr shifts.

    I used to teach high school science. Well most of the junior and senior courses are stuck in the past. Junior science really is pre 1900 science. I got in trouble for teaching the gifted y7 class about more than 3 states of matter (s,l,g) and included plasma (you know like the sun and your TV and fluro lights), Bose-Einstein condensates and super fluids. Now while these students didn't know every thing about it, they knew they existed, where there may be applications of, how they exist.

    We only really teach what is very old. Back in the 1900's they were teaching thing that were only recently discovered. Things like Neutrons. We are now very inflexible about what we teach. Its historical stuff, not stuff for the future.

    Its happening much faster than genetics dictates. Its a social thing.

    Using and Ipad is nothing like using a C64. Little jimmy in 2010 is playing with his ipad, playing angry birds and surfing the web for gossip on high 5. Jimmy 1980's would probably end up trying to program a little on that c64. In 1980, programming was the cool future. in 2010 programming is something we out source to India in a sandbox market.

    I look at the dwindling numbers of people doing physics and chemistry, 3u 4u math and look at the increasing numbers doing home economics style classes. New schools being built in sydney have 4-6 kitchens and only 2 science labs for over 1000 students, with all 7-10 doing science.

    We are creating a generation of Baristas, and waitresses with no depth to their education. They don't understand the environment, the universe or technology or how an ipad or car works. They just exist. Eventually these people will run the planet, but we have only taught them how to bake cookies and serve coffees.

    When I went to school (which isn't that long ago) I learnt French, german and Latin. Now Im terrible at all 3, but they have enriched my life by knowing them. I regret not learning classical greek.

    Its not just about IQ, its what I call depth. Having a deep and proper understanding of the awesome machinery of nature (as per Carl Sagan). Even really good students, most don't actually understand or try to understand the things they generally just memorise. They don't want to add to human knowledge just use what we already know, get a good paying job and have low expectations for humanity.

    We used to touch other worlds beyond earth itself. That will now become a fable to children who won't believe it and it will sound like Santa Claus or the easter bunny.
     
  19. ddk

    ddk (Banned or Deleted)

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    Every single thing you list has nothing to do with intellectual capacity or growth. Artists can be geniuses too and yet judging by your words, you think only the sciences matter when determining intelligence.

    I don't have to know how the universe works in order to be intelligent. Nor does being intelligent and growing my intellect require this knowledge. As long as the mind is challenged and thought is required, to do anything, whether it be science, art, or even sport, we will be growing our intellect as a species.
     
  20. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    I suspect that creativity and intelligence may be linked, they might even be the same thing expressed in a different way.

    Yes indeed , intelligence is about problem solving not knowledge.

    Previous comments that we cannot use the scientific method to test this theory would tend to add proof to the theory.

    I think no better example exists of the use of intelligence than repairing something. Over my lifetime I find a decreasing willingness of people to have a go at repairing things, today there's even an increasing amount of law to ensure they don't. Using your intelligence does carry a risk, you don't know for certain what the outcome of the connections you've made will be, if you did then it doesn't entail intelligence.
     

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