A conversation in passing:
“I heard that climate change isn’t as bad as client scientists make out.”
“Yeah I heard that too. Climate change is exaggerated.”
“So, do you work in the field of climate change?”
“No. Do you work in the field of climate change?”
Neither of them worked in the field of climate change.
If you feel humans are getting dumber, then you’re not alone. Researchers have studied and have the answer.
And yes, the human race is getting stupider.
Human intelligence has been monitored since the IQ test was invented over 100 years ago. While not perfect, the vast consensus is that IQ scores are accurate indicators of mental performance.
A consistent increase of average IQ scores was noted in the early 20th century and became known as the Flynn effect. Scientists found a rise in intelligence of about three IQ points per decade. This lasted for decades.
Recent research, including a 2019 study conducted at Norway’s Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research, shows the Flynn effect is reversing with IQ is plummeting, and not just by a few points.
The scientists studied around 730,000 IQ tests given to Norwegian men entering the military from the year 1970 to 2009. They found average IQ scores are declining by 7 points every generation.
A study published by the University of Amsterdam shows Westerners have lost 14 IQ points on average since the Victorian age. Similarly, people’s reactions are slower than in Victorian times according to research by Michael Woodley, of the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and he has linked it to a decline in human genetic potential. The implication is, generally, you are less smart than your father and mother, and your children will be less smart than you.
Humanity is officially getting dumber, as if the popularity of QAnon, political correctness, Proud Boys, Antifa, and K-Pop weren’t proof enough.
While no detailed study has been carried out to ascertain the reason(s) for this decline in average IQ scores, there are plenty of obvious theories. And humans won’t want to discuss some. This is, dare I say it, stupid.
Either you are simply beautiful, Or I am simply dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
—Dumb, The Beautiful South
What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death. They don't honor their own lives; they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton.
What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Is knowing what’s aesthetically pleasing declining with IQ? Or is bad art, music, architecture and media accidentally or on purpose, making people more stupid?
This is a bowerbird. It can easily spot differences in artist quality.
This is a human. It cannot.
This used to be architecture.
Today this is architecture.
This was art.
Now this is art.
Are we simply witnessing entropy—the natural decay of structure in a system? Essentially, over time, everything tending towards disorder or chaos.
In a study by ticket agency SeatSmart, 225 songs from the past decade, were scrutinized by feeding their lyrics through readability scales like Flesch-Kincaid. The conclusion was that the reading level of pop lyrics is on a deep downward curve—from an average grade level of 3.25 in 2005 to 2.75 in 2014.
Many current song lyrics have a reading level suitable for a six-year-old.
This is art (1980).
"Procession moves on, the shouting is over
Praise to the glory of loved ones now gone
Talking aloud as they sit round their tables
Scattering flowers washed down by the rain"
This is not art (2012).
"And I'm like (oww!)
Never thought it'd hurt so bad
Getting over you-ohh
You're giving me a heart attack
Looking like you do-oh"
It’s not solely lyrics.
A research team from the Spanish National Research Council, led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serrà, examined nearly half a million pop songs from 1955 to 2010, and looked at their tonal, melodic and lyrical content. They concluded that music has become melodically less complex, with fewer chord changes, while recordings are mastered to sound consistently louder (and therefore less dynamic).
Serrà said: "We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse. In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations—roughly speaking chords plus melodies—has consistently diminished in the last 50 years."
Many may argue that whether music is good or bad is subjective. It’s not. Mathematical algorithms can measure the complexity, quality, beauty or ugliness of anything. It’s not a matter of opinion. Composition today is bland, and less skillfully crafted, with consumers listening because they are told to by corporate marketing campaigns—at the expense of real musicians, and their own intelligence.
Hollywood long since sold their creative soul in favor of a quick buck. Some blame the death of director-driven, character-based films in the seventies, such as Easy Rider or the Godfather, on Spielberg and the shark. The argument goes once Jaws was a hit, executives realized they don’t need these precious artists and their complicated narratives, since a B-grade story with a bunch of special effects will sell. And that has been the formula for the past 40 years.
But it’s got worse.
Today, Hollywood actively makes English movies to appeal to audiences around the world that don’t speak English as their primary language or understand Western touch-points. That means they’re selling out to shift movies in China.
The thinking is that the Chinese won’t buy a dialogue-heavy, character-based film but will buy watered down plots and recycled characters, high (dumb) concepts, and lots of (rather fake looking) animation.
To maximize profit in China, Western audiences are being fed stories aimed well below the lowest English-speaking denominator, with reading levels well below that of a six-year-old child.
Rather than using technology to make our life better and easier, tech is being used by companies for the sole purpose of making money by vomiting out endless useless stuff which makes us think less.
Every app on your phone wants to send notifications, which are basically technology's drug—distracting you from important issues and real life—with the trivial.
Back in the nineties, the Internet promised a wealth of freely available information. A library of facts for all. Today the Internet is more akin to your superstitious grandmother full of spurious trivia, conspiracy theories, false information, propaganda and downright lies. It's making us less social and less informed, and that can be seen by the interaction of humans on social media, which brings out the very worst in human nature, with every Tweet, every post being met by negativity and rudeness, and very little in the way of thought and intelligent discourse. And no, not just political content. Post a harmless pic of a band you like and someone is sure to tell you they suck. Well, thanks Internet. That was informative.
Here's the thing. If you don't use a muscle, after a while you'll lose it. Sure, brain tissue’s not technically a muscle, but if you stop using it because you’re face-planted in a phone, you’re going to get more stupid. We are not connecting with technology, we are disconnecting from our own intellect and each other.
Who is benefiting? Well, to tech companies, consumers are nothing but profit making entities.
Where we could have a technology rich society which uses inventions to make life better, to eliminate pointless tasks, to make people happier with more free time to live their lives, to make people freer—it is instead being used to enslave us.
Certain groups breed more and certain groups breed less. Crudely, dumb people have more babies.
Like most aspects of human behavior and cognition, intelligence is complex. Really, really complex, influenced by both genetics and environment. Researchers have conducted studies to look for genes that influence intelligence. Many of these have focused on similarities and differences in IQ within families, particularly looking at adopted children and twins. These studies have found the heritability of IQ is high—between 57% and 73%. If your parents are smart, you’re more likely to be smart, and unfortunately the opposite of true.
Intelligence is also strongly influenced by the environment. Factors related to a child’s home environment and parenting, education and availability of learning resources, and nutrition, among others, all contribute to intelligence.
There's evidence that, on a population level, intelligence is negatively correlated with fertility rate and positively correlated with survival rate of offspring. Translation: more children of less intelligent people are born, but more children of more intelligent people survive.
While the combined net effect of these two conflicting forces on ultimate population intelligence is not well studied, it's theorized that if an inverse correlation of IQ with fertility rate were stronger than the correlation of IQ with survival rate, it could lead to a decrease in population IQ scores over time.
What is known is that:
There’s problem in the structure of a society which undervalues education and essentially writes off large chunks of the population. Unfortunately, this is an inherent part of capitalism.
Coming from a small town in a small country, I saw great social deprivation caused by the neo-liberalist economic policies of the 1980s. It was much the same throughout the world as economic fanatics took a hatchet to previously more egalitarian societies.
Access to education was made more difficult for the poor due to rising tertiary education fees and the introduction of student loans, shackling young people to endless debt. Huge sections of society, black and white, were thrown into a cycle of poverty and unemployment. Capitalism created and continues to function due to the need for an underclass. Thanks, Roger Douglas and Milton Friedman.
Kids without a brain cell become parents totally unprepared and unfit for the task at hand. These unintelligent parents create less intelligent children, who sadly have a blinkered outlook on the possibilities in life, and generations fall through the education chasms caused by an inherently unequal system.
And so it goes.
Ashley Vanderbilt, a South Carolina mom was stunned by Biden's inauguration, as she was a QAnon follower who saw Donald Trump as an almost messianic figure for her who could do no wrong.
Vanderbilt credits her Christian faith in God for helping her out of QAnon. While she was deep in the conspiracy theory, she said that she recalls once asking herself, "Am I putting even Trump above God?"
Because if you can believe in one nonsensical cult without proof, it’s not so hard to buy into another.
Conservative religiosity such as Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, and Islam, directly encourage large families and forbid most means of family planning, birth control and abortion. Religions oppose science-grounded education in favor of indoctrinating children with superstition. If you expose your child to Moses, Mohamed or Jesus, studies show they are at a disadvantage, less able to distinguish fantasy from reality. Many families have but one book. Less educated people are more likely to hold conservative religious beliefs than more educated people. This is a cycle of dooming people to living as slaves stuck in the stone age. Believing Mohamed flew to the moon on a winged horse, or Moses parted the Red Sea is stupid. Is it really too much to ask for human beings to live with a reality-based worldview and be able to distinguish between what is real and what is plainly impossible?
Governments are rolling out blasphemy laws to protect religion. Why are we respecting or protecting ideas which make humans more stupid? If you follow religion, you cannot expect respect for your stupidity, and must expect to be offended, because believing bullshit is offensive to the intellect, and in and of itself.
The question: is there a conspiracy to deliberately make people more stupid (and therefore passive) so they will consume more dumb products without questioning the emptiness of a consumer society? Or is the banal a natural end-result of capitalism? Is it simply entropy? That if you run a capitalist society driven by meaningless imperatives such as money, wealth, commodities, looks, long enough, this would simply be the natural outcome?
Maybe. Maybe not, but if I was a cabal of super-rich, I would do exactly what’s being done to keep the population stupid, and stop them realizing they’re being cheated. Just in case they actually wake up one day and realize that 1% control 50% of the world’s resources while 99% survive on the rest—and revolt.
Let’s recap. We live in a world where right-wing QAnon followers believe (among other nonsense) Donald Trump is out to break up an international pedophile ring, while followers of the regressive left believe (among other nonsense) that biological men can have periods.
There is no evidence, empirical, scientific, or otherwise, for either of these conclusions. In fact, evidence to the contrary abounds.
Fact check: Biological males don't have periods because they don't have a uterus. A woman, as Simone de Beauvoir writes: "makes and unmakes a crib in her every month; every month a child is prepared to be born and is aborted in the flow of the crimson tide." I am all for equality for trans people. I am all against denial of science.
Fact check: No evidence exists to support any of QAnon’s claims of pedophilia, mass arrests, military takeover, illegitimacy of Biden’s presidency, or Trump’s return to power.
No research, lack of reading and zero evidence, is trumping Socratic evidence-based thought, and it’s the same if you consider yourself left-wing, right-wing, conservative or liberal. People everywhere have stopped thinking and questioning what they’re told, instead blindly follow increasingly wacky dogma.
The Socratic method is a method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It is named after the Greek philosopher Socrates. It is useful for eliminating wacky dogma.
I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.
Socratic thought asks people to question their assumptions and has these steps:
While some people spend decades studying an issue to come to a conclusion, others pull it out their ass, or other people’s asses to be precise.
Here is a scientist doing vaccine research.
Here is you doing vaccine research.
All opinions are not equal.
I once directed a photo shoot. The client was present to okay creative. He says nothing. Shots are taken. Shots are selected. Next day I get a call.
“Looked at these pictures, they’re good, but can you just move the camera a meter to the left.”
“A meter to the left—then the photo would be better.”
“Uh, the photos have been taken. You were there. If you wanted them a meter to the left, you should have said so at the shoot, you know, so we could have moved the camera to the left.”
“I don’t want excuses. I know you can do all kinds of things with photos digitally now. Just move the camera to the left. Make it happen!’
Which, aside from making him stupid, also makes him an asshole. And that’s another unfortunate consequent of lower IQ is dumb humans are much more unpleasant to deal with than one’s which you don’t have to explain basic points of fact, logic or physics.
While at one time a big idea in science, eugenics fell out of favor after the second world war when this guy, as Norm MacDonald says, attacked the world.
He not only killed the fashion statement of the tiny moustache, showed us the very worst in humanity, he also ended discussion of selective human breeding.
Eugenics or selective breeding is still carried out today. With animals. In order to have the best livestock, racehorses or show cats, humans carry out eugenic programs, breeding from the fastest, smartest, best animals in order to improve the overall species.
Is the idea of eugenics dangerous? Yes, but consider the peril of where the status quo may lead. As we’ve witnessed the past few years, democracy becomes no longer tenable when people with low IQ can be easily manipulated to vote (against their own, and humanity as a whole’s interests) for non-leaders like Trump or gang-lords like Putin. Putting humanity’s collective future in the hands of the lowest common denominator is exceedingly risky.
Without selective breeding, or natural selection acting upon humans, is it enviable that we decline as a species? I don’t know. No one knows. And that not knowing could be a fatal choice if human life is to prevail. No one is asking the questions anymore.
Why? Well, because humans are, well, special of course? Deserving of reverence over all species. How dare you even ask?
This argument that human beings are somehow divine compared to animals is slim and getting slimmer. Doubt it? Then look out the window as masked people walk by, hospitals overflow, and roughly 3 million lie in early graves due to COVID-19. The pandemic was caused by zoonotic spillover. A virus passing from animals to humans. We were warned that environmental destruction of habitat and abuse of animals, especially slaughtering wild animals and keeping them in horrific conditions, leads to zoonotic spillover with SARS, AIDS and MERS. We didn’t learn. We kept doing the same thing. Treating animals and our world with hatred.
Special? Well, yeah, but hardly in a good way.
Now we are looking forward to getting back to doing more of the same when the pandemic is over, even though scientists warn a disease as deadly as MERS (mortality rate 35%) and as contagious as COVID-19, is not only possible—it’s inevitable if we keep doing what we’re doing.
And so it goes.
Although on paper, if genetic inheritance is such a huge component of intelligence, selective breeding of the smartest humans would seem a way out of the dangerously stupid society we’re creating, but stop and think. Intelligence isn’t everything. Other traits may be useful to select for. If a propensity for kindness and gentleness were also genetic, and there’s some indication the opposite is true (violence may be genetic), then there’s an argument to be made to prioritize breeding from less violent people. Also who defines intelligence? Studies have used IQ, which is a good starting point, but there are plenty of high IQ people who believe in some pretty wacky dogma. If you take someone considered to be a genius like Einstein, he may not have done well on an IQ test, because he thought outside the box. Often so-called-intelligent people lack common sense. Intelligence can be difficult to truly define and is relative.
More importantly—even if it weren’t for the legacy of the Nazis, the truth is, humans cannot be trusted to behave with eugenics. The most obvious outcome is certain cultures, due to belief in patricidal religion, would select male children over female ones. In fact, this happens already with infanticide being a common fate for female babies in China, India and Pakistan. Or just like the Nazis, selecting all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons; the Star-Bellied Sneetches would decide they are the best on the beaches.
Breeding from the smartest is a nice idea, but maybe in the next world.
If you can't change the world. Change yourself.
And if you can't change yourself....change the world.
—The The, Lonely Planet
Environmental. Yes, probably. Changing our world, in order to change ourselves, is likely our only way out of the dead end of stupidity. An end to capitalist ideals, because propagating money-making before intellectual progress is inevitably impacting the quality of the information and aesthetics we’re exposed to, and ultimately decreasing human IQ.
Offensive, intelligent, challenging, non-commercialized art, music and film. Free education for all. Free press with fact-based reporting. Socratic logic. Individualism. A Sex Pistols rampage against conformity. Death to the commodity society where everyone is told to look, dress, like the same, and think the same.
A transformation in society so it’s cool to be smart. A better world. A kinder world. A world where it’s not cool to choose dumb.
To be a moron.
To be moronical.
Exactly, to be a moron.
Like the dumbest mother fucker that ever lived.
Vying for the position of dumbest mother fuckers that ever lived, humans don’t learn from history, and are getting more stupid. That’s a dangerous combination. The answer isn’t continuing to live a lie with our head planted firmly in the sand (or phone).
People are living in a dumb world constructed on stupid systems like religion which encourages non-thinking, and capitalism, unthinkingly driven by money-making and is surrounding us with the trivial and stupid. The net result is human intelligence is declining.
The latest I hear is Taylor Swift thinks a joke about her is hate speech, they’re banning Dr. Seuss, people think aliens created COVID, Tucker Carlson claims QAnon isn't real because he couldn't find their website (so must therefore be made up by the left—obviously!), and Marvel superhero movies are still a thing…
This is the end game of stupidity.