HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Humans Are Slowly but Sur...

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:48 PM

Humans Are Slowly but Surely Losing Intellectual and Emotional Abilities

ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2012) — Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain. A provocative hypothesis published in a recent set of Science and Society pieces published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in our modern society.

"The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples before our ancestors emerged from Africa," says the papers' author, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, of Stanford University. In this environment, intelligence was critical for survival, and there was likely to be immense selective pressure acting on the genes required for intellectual development, leading to a peak in human intelligence.

From that point, it's likely that we began to slowly lose ground. With the development of agriculture, came urbanization, which may have weakened the power of selection to weed out mutations leading to intellectual disabilities. Based on calculations of the frequency with which deleterious mutations appear in the human genome and the assumption that 2000 to 5000 genes are required for intellectual ability, Dr. Crabtree estimates that within 3000 years (about 120 generations) we have all sustained two or more mutations harmful to our intellectual or emotional stability. Moreover, recent findings from neuroscience suggest that genes involved in brain function are uniquely susceptible to mutations. Dr. Crabtree argues that the combination of less selective pressure and the large number of easily affected genes is eroding our intellectual and emotional capabilities.

But not to worry. The loss is quite slow, and judging by society's rapid pace of discovery and advancement, future technologies are bound to reveal solutions to the problem. "I think we will know each of the millions of human mutations that can compromise our intellectual function and how each of these mutations interact with each other and other processes as well as environmental influences," says Dr. Crabtree. "At that time, we may be able to magically correct any mutation that has occurred in all cells of any organism at any developmental stage. Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112135516.htm

Idiocracy- it's not a movie, it's a documentary.

20 replies, 2029 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply Humans Are Slowly but Surely Losing Intellectual and Emotional Abilities (Original post)
n2doc Nov 2012 OP
Live and Learn Nov 2012 #1
unblock Nov 2012 #2
trailmonkee Nov 2012 #3
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2012 #4
randome Nov 2012 #7
Heywood J Nov 2012 #16
GiaGiovanni Nov 2012 #17
4th law of robotics Nov 2012 #20
valerief Nov 2012 #5
xchrom Nov 2012 #6
kurt_cagle Nov 2012 #8
bemildred Nov 2012 #12
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #9
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #10
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #13
Heywood J Nov 2012 #18
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #19
Berlum Nov 2012 #11
BeHereNow Nov 2012 #14
AngryAmish Nov 2012 #15

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:53 PM

1. It was already posted but I love your comment. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:54 PM

2. me no like article! bad article! no understand! blarragggh!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:55 PM

3. I started out understanding this... but by the time I was finished... I was lost intellectually?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:57 PM

4. uhhh..if "the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary."

is that not saying there is a future in deliberate selective breeding?
Which is called eugenics.
The Reich Wing's wet dream come true.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:46 PM

7. Treatments to repair our bodies and our minds.

May not be the same thing as selective breeding. Especially if those treatments are made widely available.

Let's face it. Natural selection is a very cumbersome process.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:30 PM

16. By that logic,

it would be evil for someone to choose not to reproduce (e.g. get a vasectomy or tubes tied) or choose not to pass on a known condition to their potential children, since that's deliberate and selective. It sounds like you're saying that it would also be bad to screen for severe deformity or defects before birth, because that's also selective breeding.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:39 PM

17. Perhaps this is why this piece was published: Remember, it's just a "hypothesis" which in

 

evolutionary circles is just beyond reading tea leaves.

"A provocative hypothesis published in a recent set of Science and Society pieces published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in our modern society. "

But little fictions like these allow for shifts in moral thinking. Eugenics does indeed thrive on the idea that most humans are degenerating and only some need survive for the human race to "evolve."

This is an opinion piece with an agenda, not science.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:51 PM

20. There are different forms of eugenics

 

forcibly sterilizing or killing undesirables is eugenics.

Providing free birth control to the less fortunate and benefits for reproducing others is also eugenics.

The first is clearly wrong.

The second? I guess that depends.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:04 PM

5. Idiocracy. So true! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:36 PM

6. Du rec. Nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:48 PM

8. Seems simplistic

I'm not sure I fully concur here - I am more inclined to believe that a lot of what had been "firmware" before - essentially encoded directly into brain structures specifically and thus relatively slow to change - is now "software", where the brain is more flexible, like a general purpose computer. GP computers are not necessarily as optimized for certain tasks as specialized computers are, but they can do a far broader range of activities.

I also get worried when any article on biology talks about "magically correct any mutation" - future genomics has the very real possibility to completely screw up the human brain in the name of trying to improve it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kurt_cagle (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:43 AM

12. +1. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:25 AM

9. Evolution doesn't work very fast. In particular, it's still unclear whether there's been

enough time since the beginning of recorded history (about 5K years ago) for any substantial evolutionary effects at all. And almost all our cultural development has occurred since the end of the ice age, about 10K years ago. So it seems premature to be worrying about this much.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to struggle4progress (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:38 AM

10. Lactose tolerance in adults has only evolved in about the last 6,000 years or so

http://darwinstudents.blogspot.com/2009/02/evolution-of-lactose-tolerance.html

This used to be true of the human race in general, but in dairy consuming areas, a mutation in the gene regulating the ‘switching off’ of lactase production, situated on chromosome 2, has now become very common. Such a mutation is known to have arisen among an early cattle-raising people, the Funnel Beaker culture, who lived in north-central Europe around 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. This lactase-persistence allele is found in more than 90 per cent of Danes and Swedes, and 50 per cent of Spanish and French – illustrating that the mutation becomes progressively less common in Europeans who live at increasing distances from the ancient Funnel Beaker region.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fumesucker (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:00 AM

13. Of course, mutations occur constantly; and probably everyone alive has some novel mutation

and I don't doubt that in the last 10K years some subgroups have passed along some general mutations

It seems very likely to me, for example, that various resistances to certain infections have been selected: the population surviving the plague years in Europe (say) probably passed along some genetic tools

But to have general impact on humanity, selected mutations must become widespread and very common: I can't see a timeframe as short as a few thousand years for the suggested decline in human intelligence and social-emotional skills to become ubiquitous -- if it occurs at all

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to struggle4progress (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:39 PM

18. OMG LOL WTF DERP TL;DR WHEN R KARDASHIANS ON?????? :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

I can't see a timeframe as short as a few thousand years for the suggested decline in human intelligence and social-emotional skills to become ubiquitous -- if it occurs at all


I can't see a timeframe as long as a few decades for a suggested decline in human intelligence and social-emotional skills to become ubiquitous...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Heywood J (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:39 PM

19. There's always been mind-numbing shizz on teh boob tube:

teh overlords put that stuff on teh tube in order to make us stupid enuf to wanna go buy the craptastic plastic junk they wanna sell us



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:40 AM

11. Get the mutant GMO corporate crap (R) out of our food

For crying out loud.

Mutant freaking corporate facsimile food-like product.

How stupid and dangerous is that?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:04 AM

14. Bwahaha- I just watched Idiocracy last night!

And you are correct- not a "movie;" but rather a documentary.
Brauwndo! It has electrolytes!

BHN

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:21 AM

15. Are we not men?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread