Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Dumber and dumber
Today I read in The Guardian that Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford University thinks mankind could be getting dumber:
In two articles published in the journal Trends in Genetics, the scientist lays out what might be called a speculative theory of human intelligence. It is, he admits, an idea that needs testing, and one that he would happily see proved wrong.
At the heart of Crabtree's thinking is a simple idea. In the past, when our ancestors (and those who failed to become our ancestors) faced the harsh realities of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the punishment for stupidity was more often than not death. And so, Crabtree argues, enormous evolutionary pressure bore down on early humans, selecting out the dimwits, and raising the intellect of the survivors' descendants. But not so today.
To which I add, “No kidding!” The first example of this would be scientists, like the above, who only believe in empirical data—i.e. test results—when, if they’d just open their eyes, they’d see the evidence all around them. Now I’m not just talking about Donna, the North Dakota resident now infamous on Facebook, who called in to a radio station to suggest that deer-crossing signs be moved to less trafficked areas—although I’m willing to bet that Donna is employed and has an actual job somewhere, no doubt in customer service.
Instead, show me a test group bigger than the 58,899,127 million people who voted in the Presidential election for a candidate who demonstrated on national television that he didn’t know where Iraq was. Forget reproductive rights, economics, gun control, missing tax returns, and Paul Ryan’s suits—this is a man who could not geographically locate one of the most diplomatically important countries in the world. What were those voters thinking? Were they just going on trust that there would be someone on his staff who did know where Iraq was?
And now the big news following the election is that the head of the CIA has stepped down because an illicit affair has come to light—yes, folks, you heard it right—the head of the CIA could not keep his own affair secret! Is that not proof enough?
However, while it’s not fashionable to bash him at the moment, it’s obvious that all of our ills—the economy, two major wars, George Bush, everything—stems from Bill Clinton’s un-smart decision not to keep his pants zipped while an intern was in the room. You can bet that if, a couple thousand years ago, he was the chief of a tribe somewhere and saw a rhino coming at him, he’d have the sense to run away.