Dumber Than A Caveman?


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A recent theory was published by Gerald Crabtree stating that we are actually less intellectually gifted than our cavemen brothers. He claims that over the centuries small mutations in the genes that determine intellect. His idea is that over time the small mutations have been passed on from generation to generation and have compounded to point that we are much less intellectual. These small mutations may have gone unnoticed and therefore been passed on without much difficulty, and since everyone was getting them the next generation had another mutation was passed down to the next generation, and the next cycle started.

Many scientist have come out and argued this point heavily. They believe that this goes in direct contrast to the most important part of genetics, survival of the fittest. If these mutations effected a serious part of human life such as intellect those genes would not breed and therefore die out. What makes this important is showing how science works. This is a very radical paper that was published and the critics are forcing Crabtree to prove his statement. Without this the criticism the paper could easily go down as fact and essentially rewrite genetics because it would directly dispute the idea of natural selection.

I can see how this would happen because in earlier times people had to rely on innovation to survive longer, and those that were the best innovators would possibly be able to breed more offspring that carry on their genes, and innovators are not likely to have a mutation that hurts their intellect. The one doubt I have about this argument is that in today's society mating is based more off of physical appearance than intellect so a mutation could more easily be passed on. I feel that this theory will play out more in the coming years because we tend to rely on others to do the intellectual work for society instead of having many people do it. With less people doing intellectual work people focus on physical characteristics and will not breed with those to be less likely to have a mutation, so those mutations can easily slip through the and be breed into more children.

3 Comments

This is honestly a big surprise when considering some studies show that every child is smarter than their mother and father like we have heard in class. However, given how technology has improved so much in the past decade it has made our society not less intelligent, but I would say it has made us extremely lazy. Do you think that this is evolution working, or do you think that technology is crippling the human population from developing parts of the brain that used to be used for critical thinking?

While I agree this point is rather surprising, I wonder if this is more a question of innovative ability more than mental ability. I believe that it would be very hard to manage to find some IQ or other intelligence test test to how smart the cave men actually where, and how we can compair to that level of intelligence today. Have you considered that their create discoveries where prompted out of necessity? and with little left that we need today there is little incentive to fully extend and challenge a persons mind to solve life threatening such life threatening problems the cave men were faced with ( how to prevent hypothermia in the cold, how to feed and protect themselves) that no loner present an issue in modern society . Would it be possible that this is less a question of intellectual ability and more a question of intellectual application?

I think the major reason that we may be getting less intellectual because of technology not forcing us to innovate to survive. Now all everyone takes those innovations for granted and find other technologies as the most important things. Education has taken a back seat in our civilization compared to other generations. The Greeks had put a huge importance on education and had great intellectual thinkers, now we rely on technology to do all of that for us.

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