California professor says people are getting dumber....huh? | Healthquest | -- Your State. Your News.

Jul 02nd
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California professor says people are getting dumber....huh?

HOTtopic041212_optBY PAM LOBLEY

Human intelligence peaked several thousand years ago during our “hunter-gatherer” phase, says a theory by Professor Gerald Crabtree. Professor Crabtree is a geneticist at Stanford University in California.

Well, he lives in California. That’s why he thinks people are dumb.

As reported in The Independent, his idea comes from the fact that for 99 percent of our history, humans lived as hunter-gatherers, which required us to survive on our wits, and led to big-brained people. Since the beginning of agriculture and cities, he posits, natural selection of the intellect has slowed and genetically our genes mutated towards dumbness with each generation.

Oh … so, people in cities are dumb? Give me one good example!

In his paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics, Professor Crabtree says, “I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 B.C. 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.”

Uh huh. Those people kept slaves, believed women were inferior and participated in animal sacrifice to ensure good crops, a favorable outcome in battles, etc. Geniuses!

Data and facts to support his theory are scarce. His argument — to dumb it down — is that as humans evolve, genetic mutations occur based on environment. He feels that our environment is less intellectually challenging than that of the hunter-gatherer, so our genes will naturally mutate towards stupidity as our current lifestyle demands less and less of our brains.


The idea though, is just a theory, with no way to actually prove that people are dumber now than 10,000 years ago. Unless you count Professor Crabtree. He might be his own best example that proves this argument.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Check out her blog: Better Living Through Chaos! Follow her on twitter @plobley.


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