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Wed May 22, 2013, 04:55 PM

People Getting Dumber? Human Intelligence Has Declined Since Victorian Era, Research Suggests

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Rhiannon12866 (a host of the Latest Breaking News forum).

Source: Huffington Post

Our technology may be getting smarter, but a provocative new study suggests human intelligence is on the decline. In fact, it indicates that Westerners have lost 14 I.Q. points on average since the Victorian Era.

What exactly explains this decline? Study co-author Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis, professor of work and organizational psychology at the University of Amsterdam, points to the fact that women of high intelligence tend to have fewer children than do women of lower intelligence. This negative association between I.Q. and fertility has been demonstrated time and again in research over the last century.

But this isn't the first evidence of a possible decline in human intelligence.

"The reduction in human intelligence (if there is any reduction) would have begun at the time that genetic selection became more relaxed," Dr. Gerald Crabtree, professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, told The Huffington Post in an email. "I projected this occurred as our ancestors began to live in more supportive high density societies (cities) and had access to a steady supply of food. Both of these might have resulted from the invention of agriculture, which occurred about 5,000 to 12,000 years ago."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/people-getting-dumber-human-intelligence-victoria-era_n_3293846.html



I didn't need a study to know that...



62 replies, 7736 views

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Reply People Getting Dumber? Human Intelligence Has Declined Since Victorian Era, Research Suggests (Original post)
onehandle May 2013 OP
7962 May 2013 #1
Posteritatis May 2013 #11
bhikkhu May 2013 #48
SharonAnn May 2013 #13
lolly May 2013 #34
DallasNE May 2013 #58
Renew Deal May 2013 #2
antigone382 May 2013 #5
kysrsoze May 2013 #9
backscatter712 May 2013 #35
Manifestor_of_Light May 2013 #3
antigone382 May 2013 #4
maindawg May 2013 #37
pansypoo53219 May 2013 #6
pscot May 2013 #14
dixiegrrrrl May 2013 #21
pscot May 2013 #23
dixiegrrrrl May 2013 #26
pscot May 2013 #39
gvstn May 2013 #38
caseymoz May 2013 #40
maindawg May 2013 #41
jaysunb May 2013 #42
defacto7 May 2013 #47
brett_jv May 2013 #59
ErikJ May 2013 #7
cyberswede May 2013 #8
Brigid May 2013 #24
craigmatic May 2013 #53
CarrieLynne May 2013 #10
brett_jv May 2013 #60
BlueJazz May 2013 #12
dixiegrrrrl May 2013 #29
defacto7 May 2013 #50
The Second Stone May 2013 #15
WestCoastLib May 2013 #16
kestrel91316 May 2013 #17
Spider Jerusalem May 2013 #18
dipsydoodle May 2013 #19
olddad56 May 2013 #20
aggiesal May 2013 #22
Exultant Democracy May 2013 #25
fishwax May 2013 #27
Skittles May 2013 #28
Bonhomme Richard May 2013 #30
mucifer May 2013 #51
ErikJ May 2013 #31
onehandle May 2013 #32
mucifer May 2013 #52
YOHABLO May 2013 #33
FlynnArcher72 May 2013 #36
randome May 2013 #45
Jack Rabbit May 2013 #43
caseymoz May 2013 #44
happyslug May 2013 #46
brett_jv May 2013 #61
gopiscrap May 2013 #49
AverageJoe90 May 2013 #56
Harry Monroe May 2013 #54
AverageJoe90 May 2013 #55
ZRT2209 May 2013 #57
Rhiannon12866 May 2013 #62

Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:59 PM

1. So according to this, the problem is more dumb people having kids? NT

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Response to 7962 (Reply #1)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:30 PM

11. Yep, that same old tired nineteenth century dysgenics bullshit.

Of course people will be all over it, because everyone likes Proof That Everyone (Except Me) Is A Moron regardless of whether it's actually the case or not. Never mind that trusting Victorian-era social science isn't much wiser than trusting Victorian-era aerospace engineering.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #11)

Wed May 22, 2013, 10:41 PM

48. Also the eugenics argument that the Nazis (and others) used

to justify the slaughter of groups of people it considered inferior.

Apparently the argument is back, in spite of being debunked repeatedly.

The easiest way to understand why it is wrong is to consider - every baby is born with many times more neurons than any functioning adult mind uses. The growing-up process takes this bounty and prunes it down to what is necessary and useful in the environment that mind resides in. However much we might like to think that idiots necessarily breed idiots, it simply isn't so. Genetically, at least.

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Response to 7962 (Reply #1)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:57 PM

13. Perhaps they only tested educated people in the Victorian era?

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Response to 7962 (Reply #1)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:31 PM

34. Based on a test of reaction times

I read the article on huffpost, and buried inside was a tiny explanation: the conclusion was apparently based on a test of reaction time to stimuli, which supposedly "some people consider" a measure of intelligence.

I don't think there was anything about the testing conditions, methodology, etc. of those original Victorian tests.

So, pretty much a whole lot of nothing.

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Response to 7962 (Reply #1)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:44 AM

58. So The Solution Is The Sterilization Of Dumb People

Just like we used to do. According to the Harvard dissertation it would start with Hispanic immigrants, and I presume, branch out to African-Americans. I can see it now. What are we waiting for?

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:59 PM

2. The future

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #2)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:13 PM

5. Especially if absolutely shitty science writing like that linked to above becomes the norm. n/t

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #2)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:28 PM

9. Hilarious! I thought exactly of this movie when I saw the post. Sadly, it's coming true.

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #2)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:40 PM

35. "You talk like a fag and your shit's all retarded!"

We're already starting to live the movie Idiocracy!

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:03 PM

3. Don't they know about regression towards the mean?

Regression to average, not below average.

Yes I am a lawyer, but I did not get my degree at Costco.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:12 PM

4. Fucking A science writing is stupid.

I am not going to pretend to be totally up to date on the correlation between genes and intelligence, but suffice it to say that genetics are not the whole story. It is well known that the cluster of traits and behaviors which our culture calls "intelligence" (I'll save the debate for whether or not intelligence actually exists for another day) is profoundly influenced by social/environmental factors as well. We all know this; kids that get better nutrition, kids that are read to as children, kids that live in situations which allow and encourage learning, kids who see their parents model the behaviors that contribute to intelligence...those kids in general are going to be more intelligent than kids who are deprived such things. Of course the article chooses to define only "inherited" intelligence as true intelligence, as if there's some totally reliable and clear cut way to separate it from environmental factors which influence intelligence, but whatever, it's par for the course.

Moreover, what possible evidence is there of a decline in intelligence following the invention of agriculture? How would you even measure it? The article cites not a shred of evidence that such a decline occurred, only that a scientist somewhere said in an e-mail that he thinks it may have occurred for maybe this or that reason. This is pure speculation and should be presented as such.

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #4)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:52 PM

37. 100 %

That is how I raised my daughter. And even though I am of dubious intelligence and my Ex wife inability to understand me is evidence of her own lack of comprehension , she , my daughter earned a full academic scholarship. She completed that scholarship and is a Teacher now. Because I spent my time with her and books and games.
We are not morphing into Idiocracy. But there will be changes. There will always be changes.
We are what we are.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:15 PM

6. i read old books. my 1891 encyclopedia britannica's language is full of colons + semi-colons.

infamous 4 syllable words. also assumes i know french, greek, and latin. no shit we have rapidly gone downhill w/ radio + teevee. shit. i have a children's set of book-"the book of knowledge'. reprinted in 1912 orig 1870's i believe. i found those books SO INFORMATIVE and SUPERIOR to what an average 12 year old now, it depressed me.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:00 PM

14. Where do you find old books to read

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Response to pscot (Reply #14)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:28 PM

21. I can answer that if you do not mind.

archive.org has free downloadable books.
I happen to very keen on the 1800's, and so I read prolific authors of that time.
not storybook authors as much as people who kept diaries and who wrote monographs on an incredible range of subjects.
check out William Cobbett, for example. He wrote what today we would call monographs on various aspects of farming, horticulture, animal husbandry, and money, on politics and travel.
Writing was a highly developed form of communication back then.

People who could afford an education were taught Greek and Latin, French, and history.
They could write and think in several languages, as a matter of course.
They read a great deal, which is a pretty impressive accomplishment considering many had only candlelight.

Of course the opposite is true, that there was little education for those who had little money and/or those who could not afford to take the time to read a lot.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #21)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:39 PM

23. That is slightly overwhelming

The text link seems vast. Any tips for using it?

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Response to pscot (Reply #23)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:57 PM

26. You need to have an author in mind or a topic

than I type in the author's name and in the search drop down I choose "text"
a nice long list comes up, which contains many interesting titles, and sometimes I wander around mentally marking them...but eventually I pick on a title I want and click on it, a window opens and on the left side you see options for downloading it in various formats.
I avoid Google books options when I can, I prefer Gutenberg.
So click on the format, a page opens and lets you download it.
Then I can use Calibre to put it into whatever format I really wanted.
for instance, I download in pdf, if that is all that is avalable, and convert to epub so I can read it on the Nook.
a lot of good authors are there, for the asking...Trollope, dickens, Poe, etc.

I also get cookbooks from the 1800's...back then, they were not only about cooking but also about everything to do with running a house, with lots of interesting cleaning tips...
like to how clean a beaver hat
or remove light spots from gowns by spreading them on bushes overnight in warm weather...
Thus old cookbooks are really great sources of social history.

check out farm machinery or gardening as a topic, if you like...you will be amazed what comes up.


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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #26)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:58 PM

39. Thanks

I try to avoid Google and Amazon, and I've been looking for a source other than Gutenberg.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:54 PM

38. +1

I.Q. test are slightly weighted to those with better vocabularies.

Also listen to some teeny bopper rock star from UK and they know their geography without even trying, not because they care about it but just because of a more thorough (well rounded) education in general.

And my personal shame is when someone posting on the internet apologizes because English is not their native tongue but they have better grammar than me! It happens far too often. I think it is just a matter of my absorbing the various language shortcuts people take on the internet and truly forgetting how to write properly. I should know better but I doubt this generation coming up will even realize they should be ashamed.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:00 PM

40. That means education has come down.


But it was also administered by the authoritarian method.

Why use all those colons and semicolons? Is the lack of them really one of the signs we've gone rapidly downhill in education? That's more of matter of punctuation style than anything. Punctuation has gone to an open style, where the emphasis is on flow. It might be dumber not to use colons and semi-colons, or it might be more efficient. More efficient might look less intelligent-- on paper, excuse the pun.

Greek and Latin are practical for communicating with the past. If there's one thing the media have done, it's put people solidly in the present. However, I think the focus also has to do with the population. With six billion people on earth, and news traveling instantly from one continent to the other. Also, with six billion living, there's always one of them who knows the classics, and he or she likely speaks your language. Somebody else is bound to be as wise as Aristotle.

I'm thinking also that as upper class people spent their time learning languages, servants (or wives) had the thankless duties of supporting them, that is, fed, clothed and kept the study tidied up. The lower class who did the support duties seldom shared in the education.

Therefore, I think a lot of the grand education was tied to the class system, and perhaps to boredom.
And as for the classics, I'm afraid they've been surpassed. People refined the art of storytelling a lot in a couple thousand years.

No, I don't think people are getting dumber.

Hey, that you for referring us to archive.org. I think I'll be spending time there.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:00 PM

41. Did you try to write like a 6 year old ?

Your point is spot on. You should have learned something from your antique books. I also have a few text books from 1912 or so. They are amazing texts. Very intricate and extremely well written. I have a book on animals, a history text and a German text book. I took German in college.That was a long time ago but, I cannot even get past page 4.
The handwriting in all of these books is immaculate. I think that in 1900 education was a privilege. We now take it for granted so we dont respect the process. It occurs that we do indeed mock our educations. Well we should. Apparently.

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Response to maindawg (Reply #41)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:16 PM

42. McGuffy Readers were popular in Cleveland public

schools in the 50's. I still have mine

GO BROWNS !

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2013, 10:41 PM

47. I have spent a great deal of time

reading 17th, 18th and 19th century letters written by average people. It is amazing. The verbal knowledge is so advanced, even simple letters. The handwriting is pure art. What is more interesting is the level of communication and word usage to express nuances of ideas. Look at the length of my own sentences.. short, blunt... Some of the texts I've read from these periods very commonly held a single thread of an idea spread over several lines in what we would call run-on today. But these have articulate information well defined and well thought out and impressively managed to give a broad perspective. No spell check, no cut and paste... handwritten and sometimes perfectly executed.

In other writing, I have read many times about the ability of people from previous centuries having an uncanny ability for memory. Children reciting long lines of poetry, Shakespeare and even political documents and speeches all from memory. Many could remember speeches they heard in public and recite them verbatim.

I have said for a long time that people from past centuries probably were much more intelligent than we are now; that's old news to me. At the least we could say they were more capable of speech, memory and communication than the average person is now, whatever you wish to call it.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #47)

Thu May 23, 2013, 01:50 AM

59. Not inconceivable to me at all ...

The Natural Selection that was still taking place in the human race in earlier times has been neutralized (at least in many parts of the world), in very large part due to mankind's exploitation of an abundance of fossil fuels ... which makes it so that everyone in an advanced civilization, with even a few bucks, has the equivalent of dozens of 'energy slaves' working for them 24/7.

Back in the day, there was little spare energy, and only the smart and canny survived. Nowadays, we go way out of our way to try to make sure that everyone survives, regardless of their intelligence.

And ultimately we have that luxury almost entirely due to the fact that we've learned to exploit an absolutely massive reservoir of ancient energy, stored in the form of fossil fuels.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not 'supporting' the alternative, but I am proffering it as a *possible* explanation for the phenomenon of 'average IQ' going down over the past few centuries ... assuming that it's 'correct'. Which it may well not be

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:20 PM

7. If that was true what happened to the very independent Appalachian people?

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:26 PM

8. Ya know...

I watched "Good Night and Good Luck" the other day, and I was struck by how Murrow talked to his audience as if they were intelligent adults. The media today does NOT talk to people the same way. "Mainstream" discourse has become very dumbed down.

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Response to cyberswede (Reply #8)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:54 PM

24. I love that movie!

One of my favorite scenes is the one in which Murrow interviews Liberace, and can barely hide his frustration.

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Response to cyberswede (Reply #8)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:01 AM

53. That started in the 80's. No president has talked to us like adults since Carter.

Obama gives nice feel good speeches but you can tell he self-censors alot.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:29 PM

10. better get the Gatorade hooked up to my sprinkler...

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Response to CarrieLynne (Reply #10)

Thu May 23, 2013, 02:00 AM

60. Not Gatorade ... Brawndo!

It's got teh electrolytes that plants crave!

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:56 PM

12. Few years ago I took a 5 grade test from 1904. I was amazed at how much info that..

...the writers (of the test) expected students to know and remember.
I think that's the key though, It's not that we are less intelligent, it's the dumbing down of society and the low expectations regarding the average citizen.

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #12)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:03 PM

29. and tv, replacing reading.

"I'm bored" was something you rarely heard when I was coming up.
We were outside all day, or in school, or reading, or making things ( cooking for girls, mechanics for boys)

But, it was the majority of people watching tv in the late 50's who decided I Love Lucy was more fun to watch than
Edward R. Murrow or Playhouse 90.

Which is not to take away from your perspective of the dumbing down of society as a more conscious act.




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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #29)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:15 PM

50. ^^ this ^^ this ^^ this ^^

We have no TV. Video on weekends only if the kids can reach a reasonable decision between themselves of what they want to watch together and their homework was reasonably accomplished the week before. They all play the piano and violin, one dances ballet. They are not smarter or more talented anyone else, we just have a lot to do and it doesn't include TV or video games. It does include a lot of bicycles, time to be crazy kids, and they read more than I ever did. It can be done.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:08 PM

15. The authors of the study could find no moderns as

smart as Sherlock Holmes (much less his smarter brother Mycroft) and began jumping to conclusions. When the impossible has been eliminated, the improbable must be true: the authors of the study are morons. Sorry, morans.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:11 PM

16. Mostly bull$hit

Less knowledge is required for living. More options for how to spend free time on an exponentially greater scale.

It's not the same thing as "intelligence".



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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:13 PM

17. Doesn't surprise me in the least.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:16 PM

18. The problem would probably be advances in medical science...

that result in a sharp reduction in infant mortality and more people living longer. (The average life expectancy at birth in 1850 was 38 for a man and 40 for a woman.)

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:23 PM

19. I bet they didn't know

what the plural of Lego is.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:24 PM

20. These dumb people are also known as repubilcans.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:28 PM

22. You mean my IQ could be as high 153?

Or maybe this could have put former pResident George W. McIdiot's IQ in the triple digits!

Personally, I think it's evidence of the dumbing down of our society.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:55 PM

25. The Flynn effect is very well documented and it says the opposite is true

IQ scores have only gone up for as long as we have had the data to track it. While the bearing that IQ test have on actual intelligence is debatable what is not debatable is that they have gone up for every generation.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:58 PM

27. so "Westerners" IQ = "human intelligence"?



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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:02 PM

28. such diversity in that picture!



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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:06 PM

30. That explains the resurgence of the republican party. n/t

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Response to Bonhomme Richard (Reply #30)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:26 PM

51. In the 1800s the Republicans were the good guys and the dems were the bad guys.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:15 PM

31. Smarter in the days of slavery, torture, leeches and witch-burning?

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #31)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:44 PM

32. Intelligence doesn't mean compassion or common sense. Also, hindered by lack of information.

Smarter people than us thought the Earth was flat.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #31)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:27 PM

52. We outsource our slavery and torture.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:48 PM

33. Is it just me, or did anyone else notice the pop up ad for ''Lumosity'' on this thread?

Very strange this here internet .. how convenient and apropos. I live outside of Atlanta and from my experience, the depth of ignorance is worse than one may think. ''Lumosity'' ain't gonna help.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:48 PM

36. On a humorous note... but seriously

If you need evidence of the decline in human intelligence, all one needs to do is look at any random Facebook posting or Youtube comment.

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Response to FlynnArcher72 (Reply #36)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:30 PM

45. Or listen to 5 minutes of Glen Beck.



Stop looking for heroes. BE one.


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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:17 PM

43. Well, people in Victorian times read Dickens and Dostoyevsky

Today, they watch Friends and "reality" TV.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:26 PM

44. Dumb at its concept.


First, visual reaction time could only be correlated with intelligence in infants and toddlers. By adulthood, a lot of factors can effect it, most of which have nothing to do with intelligence. How well do you think Stephen Hawking would score on this test?

Second, the people getting tested would have been the ones the testers would have found easier access to: educated people. This automatically biases the tests.

Third, the testers themselves, especially Sir Francis Galton, had their own pet theories and were biased. Galton was the first eugenicist, in fact he coined the term.

Fourth, and this one was mentioned, the equipment was far cruder.

This is not to say people aren't getting dumber, just to say this test is the equivalent of consulting tea leaves about it.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:57 PM

46. WHERE DID THIS RESEARCH OCCUR, IQs were invented during WWI NOT Victorian times

1. IQ test only date from 1916, and the main one used only from 1939.

And the most popular test today, was NOT developed till 1939:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, First developed in 1916, was used by the US Army to evaluate soldiers in WWI, and from that use spread to schools in the 1920s. It has been changed to compete with the later (1939) Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford-Binet_Intelligence_Scales

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wechsler_Adult_Intelligence_Scale

The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale was used along with the earlier Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, till the 1960s, when the Wechsler became the dominate IQ test.

Thus, just based on the changes in the tests, we can NOT go back prior to 1939 with any HOPE of accuracy (and 1916 for any REAL comparison).

2. Most students did NOT take IQ tests till after WWI, if NOT WWI

One of the huge social changes between WWI and WWII is how many men finished High School. This can be seen in the educational level of Recruits of 1918 with those of 1942-1945. The Majority of Recruits in 1918 were NOT High School Graduates, while the Majority of Recruits in 1942-1945 Army were High School Graduates.

Accurate IQ tests require some maturity, generally High School or Middle School. My father dropped out of school at the end of Eighth Grade and joined the work force, which was typical of his background (Rural Maryland, landless farm workers whose family has dissolved due to the Great Depression). Thus a lot of people who did NOT go to High School missed taking an IQ tests in the 1920s and 1930s when IQ test first became popular to be used in Schools. Those people who had the hardest time in School were the most likely to drop out and this less likely to take an IQ tests (and thus missed in the IQ test of the time period, most of this would be an upward movement of IQ tests).

A similar result has been seen in SAT tests results, the Average SAT test results have declined (even as more and more students do 100% on them). Why? A lot of Students who if they were born 40-100 years ago are now taking the SAT tests, but 40-100 years ago would NOT have. Thus bringing the AVERAGE test scores down.

3 A reaction test reflects intelligence???

As for Dr. te Nijenhuis and colleagues, they analyzed the results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 to 2004, including one by Sir Francis Galton, an English anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin. Each study gauged participants' so-called visual reaction times -- how long it took them to press a button in response to seeing a stimulus. Reaction time reflects a person's mental processing speed, and so is considered an indication of general intelligence.

I hate to point this out, reaction time IS not Intelligence, the difference may be the pool of the people involved AND that today we deal with flashing lights more often then they did in the 1800s and thus more common and thus something less important to react to. I can NOT see how that shows intelligence. If quick reaction was the test, I would lose out to my dog when it came to things that fall off the dining room table.....

4. Bad study, no common base line

This is as bad as the Study that "showed" men were producing less sperm today then in the 1940s. That Study did a sperm count of Men world Wide, and then compared it to the only previous sperm count done in the 1940s in New York City. Yes, there was a clear drop in sperm count, but men in areas with a large number of other men produce much higher number of sperm then men in areas with a lot less men. i.e Men in New York City had high Sperm Counts, but men in rural areas would have had much lower sperm counts in the 1940s (as they did when the Later study on Sperm Count was made and included men from around the world, including men in rural areas). Study did show a difference in Sperm count, but any real comparison would have been urban males to urban males. I suspect the later study did have the data to compare urban males of today to urban males of the 1940s, but I suspect there was no real drop and thus not a headline item.

Lets try to keep studies "Honest", for studies like this one make all studies look silly, and thus a weapon by people who oppose the idea of Global Warming. The Global Warming studies tend to be peer reviewed and errors like I mentioned above addressed before they are released to the General Public. I use to like to read about silly studies like this one about a drop in intelligence (and the one about Men's Sperm Count Dropping), but these silly studies are being used to undermined all studies especially the studies showing Global Warming and its affect.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #46)

Thu May 23, 2013, 02:33 AM

61. Pretty sure most scientists are fairly familiar w/basic statistical concepts ...

Such as sampling bias. And most of 'em understand the importance of 'baselines' when it comes to studies of this nature

Might I suggest that, in fact, there's at least some possibility that the people who conducted this particular study ... actually might've taken into account these things you've listed above? 'Establishing baselines', and 'avoiding sampling bias' are, after all, fairly basic concepts when it comes to scientific study.

As an aside, no offense, but an element of your 'argument' here actually reminds me quite a bit of those I see coming from Climate Change deniers. They tend to go off on things like 'water vapor' and 'historical climate changes' in a way that suggests that only THEY know about these things, suggesting that 'the scientists' are totally in the dark w/regards to the most basic of principles of the field (that they are experts in), and therefore are totally misinterpreting the data.

I tend to dismiss them when I see the Deniers arguing along these lines. Especially given that it's these SAME scientists that told them about H20 vapor acting as an insulator, AND that told them about the climate changes that took place in the past ... yet somehow the deniers think they've 'outsmarted' the scientists who told 'em about these things in the first place.

The idea of using reaction times to assess intelligence, however ... I agree that one is pretty damn shady, and I'd certainly HOPE that this analysis is based on tests that are a BIT more, uh, concrete than that.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:10 PM

49. Not suprised the fucking republicans want to have a whole

class of less educated folks so that they can take financial advantage of people.

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #49)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:32 AM

56. What they want to do is take us back to the era.....

Where only the better-off kids had a quality education while everyone else was stuck with the crappy shit....which was about 100 years ago.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:06 AM

54. I would reply to this post, but I don't have the time right now...

I don't want to miss my favorite show "Ow, My Balls!!"

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:27 AM

55. This is complete fucking bullshit. I'm sorry.

If anything, our collective intelligence may have gone up as more people have gained access to regular education in more modern times, not to mention more tolerance & respect, less religious fanaticism, etc. Even in much of the Third World, more people are reaping the benefits.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:32 AM

57. two words. tea party.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 02:37 AM

62. Locking, sorry but this isn't breaking news, was announced last week

Interesting topic, please consider reposting in GD or Good Reads. Thanks!

OP from last Friday:
Researchers suggest Victorian-era people more intelligent (than) modern-day counterparts
http://sync.democraticunderground.com/122818576

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