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Opening Arguments

My fellow dummies

Well this is a cheery thought -- human intelligence "peaked thousands of years ago and we've been on an intellectual and emotional decline every since":

His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC 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,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.

In other words, we no longer have to fight to survive, so "survival of the fittest" no longer applies. I had a science teacher in high school who took that kind of argument about as far as it could go. Even those of us with only mild defects -- like eyeglass wearers -- were contributing to the decline of the race, in his opinion. After all, natural selection declared that nearsighted mopes would be killed by approaching wild animals they couldn't see, so perfect vision would become the norm. Or something like that.

Most of us have thought from time to time that historical figures seemed intellectually suprior to the current crop of deep thinkers. Can anyone image a group like those who met at the constitutiomnal convention could ever be assembled today? It's a little disheartening to think the reason might not be general cultural entropy as is usually argued but, rather, the natural result of us having developed as much as we can.


Harl Delos
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 1:11pm

I tip my hat to anyone whose intelligence peaked thousands of years ago and has been declining since.  My own intelligence peaked in the 1960s, and it's been declining at an ever-increasing speed since then.  Why, I've probably lost 20 points of IQ just this morning.

Crabtree isn't controversial or novel.  It's long been considered a truism among scientists that intelligent species don't evolve, because they protect the lesser among them. 

When I was in elementary and high school, they talked of the "Founding Fathers" as if the folks that put together the constitution were the same ones that fought the war a generation earlier, and any casual reading of articles online would make it appear that the Federalist Papers were produced by the christians who put together the constitution and fought the war.  Christians obey civil authority, as 1 Timothy 2 commands, and do not rebel against King George who was both secular leader and head of the Church of England.

The War Fathers were argumentative cusses who didn't agree with each other, but agreed that George and Parliament were unacceptable.  The Constitutional Fathers didn't agree with each other, and hardly anyone was there from start to finish, and they produced a document only through heavy drinking, whoring, and fisticuffs resulted in those with strong opinions either giving in through fatigue or giving up and going home. There was a significant drop in intelligence from 1776 to 1789, because the latter group had to agree on more than "Boy, this sucks!'

Of course, any married man can testify that the secret of a long marriage is a willingness to say, "Yes, dear! You're obviously right!" far more often than any man of principle should. 



Rebecca Mallory
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 2:24pm

Perhaps Professosr Crabtree's argument explains some of the candidates in the last election.....and voters.

Andrew Jarosh
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 5:01pm

Yes, Rebecca, and thank god the majority voices nixed the less than intelligent message peddled by the gop

tim zank
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 5:47pm

"Yes, Rebecca, and thank god the majority voices nixed the less than intelligent message peddled by the gop"


You find the message "don't spend more than you make" unintelligent.....


Gee, I'm shocked....

Andrew Jarosh
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 6:33pm

How about let's self-deport immigrants, let's force rape babies on women and college students with govt. backed loans are leeches who love stuff.

Harl Delos
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 6:53pm

"You find the message "don't spend more than you make" unintelligent....."

Perhaps because the national debt is money we've already spent, Tim.

But yes, the first law of holes is, when you find yourself in one, stop digging.

The big problem is the military entitlement - a wealth transfer program that takes money from middle class families and gives it to the wealthy who own and/or control defense contractors.  Not only have both parties voted to spend more money on our military than all other countries combined, but by the time you add together the DOD, the VA health care and disabilities, veteran benefits like mortgages and college, the AEC spending on nuclear weapons, NASA spending on military projects, the National Defense Highways, the Strategic Reserve, etc., it turns out that war is responsible for 2/3 of our deficit, and 2/3 of our national debt.

And this is one area where Barry could have been legitimately criticized, but the GOP declined to attack him.  In 2008, he said he wasn't anti-war, but he was against stupid wars.  But we had all heard in 2007 that there were fewer than 100 Al Queda left in Afghanistan to kill.  What, Mr. President, makes Afghanistan a NON-stupid war?

If we cut our military spending by 50% and restored the Eisenhower tax rates, we could be running a surplus and paying down a big part of the National debt while at the same time reinvesting in the infrastructure that manufacturers in the US need.

tim zank
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 7:48pm

Andrew: "How about let's self-deport immigrants, let's force rape babies on women and college students with govt. backed loans are leeches who love stuff."

So you would agree, and your brethren voted solely on emotion....as a backlash to perceived "insults" which were really nothing more than awkward answers to "gotcha" questions magnified and distorted by an Obama loving media...

Kind of like turning away the fire department while your house is on fire because you disagree with the Fire Chief's opinion on abortion...he has no control over abortion whatsoever (nor would have Mourdock) but you'd rather your house burn than let HIM put the fire out...

Liberals are just like teenagers, all emotion and not a lick of common sense.


Andrew Jarosh
Mon, 11/19/2012 - 8:15pm

No, my brethren a i did not vote on emotion. We voted because we were convinced by the GOP thats the kind of country we were looking at under their rule. Reminds me of germany in the 1930s when hitler talked about eradicating europe of the jewish bacteria in speeches and in Mein Kampf and apologists said it was only rhetoric. That rhetoric became reality once in power. Dont kid yourself tim. Election wasnt just about the deficit.

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:41am

Tim, it's a minor point, but Mourdock certainly would have had influence over abortion. Senators confirm Supreme Court appointees. Mourdock obviously would have voted against anyone who wasn't clearly pro-life. The only hope pro-lifers have to overturn Roe v. Wade is by replacing a liberal justice with another conservative.

Of course, Donnelly is likely to be as conservative as the average Republican, so I'm not sure you guys really lost anything in that race.

tim zank
Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:59pm

So AJ... You honestly believe the Republican Party platform of 2012 is reminiscient of the rise of Nazi Germany eh?

Can ya see where that might cause ya just a little credibility challenge in the "real" journalist" category for ya?

No, of course you can't...






Andrew J.
Wed, 11/21/2012 - 9:16am

If Nazi rhetoric, extreme and horrific as it was, could become reality once the party got power, it's not much of a leap to believe the GOP's right-wing message would become the way of the land as well.

Voters believed what the politicians on the right were saying on economic and social issues and said no thanks. Wrap your head around that.


tim zank
Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:45pm

They (obama voters) were blatantly bribed,  plain and simple..wrap your head around that...

The "radical" republican message you speak of (smaller government, lower taxation, less nanny state interference, more self reliance, everybody working for a living, less free stuff)  assuredly does not appeal to the recipient class you so adore. 

The only remotely "controversial" issue was abortion (as usual) which is now the biggest red herring out there. Roe is NEVER going to be overturned, dems just use that to whip up their cold blooded base that so loves to snap the necks of soon to be born infants...

Fake arguments and bribery, a democrat staple...and President FoodStamp proved himself a master at it....

Christopher Swing
Thu, 11/22/2012 - 4:01am

Wow, Tim. You're really not handling the reality of the situation well, are you? You still don't think it's time to maybe examine yourselves and see if maybe you have been wrong all this time?

As for people getting dumber... woo, Social Darwinism ho. Another old favorite comes back around.

Andrew Jarosh
Thu, 11/22/2012 - 11:42am

Maybe obama voters wanted less free stuff for rich fat cats. Talk about a class of people that gorges on govt. giveaways.