Study Shows Humans Are Getting Dumber
It looks like Steve Parry has known what he was talking about all along. Creation Date Tuesday, 20 November 2012. Hits 2538
After the recent election, some of my friends on Facebook who supported President Obama bristled at my commentary on what we had observed. I even had one tell me that I was a "sore loser" when a discussion of Government phones saw these devices labeled as "Obama Berry" and I replied that such a device obviously wasn't a "smart phone." Now obviously, some of my comments were in jest. Others, such as the collective IQ of those who supported the President's reelection were not. Think about it. In the first election, then Senator Obama ran against a Government that failed because of the President. In round 2, President Obama ran against a Government that failed because of the Congress. You follow?
If you bought the notion that President Bush had screwed things up despite the best efforts of members of the U.S. Congress such as Senator Obama, and you thought that if you made that man President he would do a better job than so be it. But after 4 years, doesn't that leave you in a bit of a conundrum? If the reason why things aren't better now was, as the President has stated, that Republicans in Congress have blocked his agenda, than why didn't he and the Democrats in Congress block the Bush agenda and keep us out of the mess in the first place? Furthermore, if President Bush was able to screw up the Country over the objections of the Democrats, than why wasn't President Obama able to fix the Country over the objections of the Republicans? There are only two possible explanations. One is that President Obama is wrong in what he is saying. The second is that he is right, but he is an ineffective leader and therefore the wrong man for the job. I am forced to question the intellect of a populous that cannot figure such a simple scenario out.
Many of my recent comments on intelligence, however, go far above and beyond insulting one small group of the inhabitants of this planet. For some time I have been pushing a theory that we are collectively getting dumber, and much of the blame in my theory lands on warning labels. As recently as the 23rd of October, I stated the following.
My fellow Americans, we are stupid. And we have gotten about as much mileage out of warning labels as we possibly can. There is a certain denominator that is so low that a warning label can no longer save that, and I fear that the number representing that low water mark has recently surpassed our national IQ.
Meanwhile, the date on this press release is November 12th of 2012.
"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.
Interesting, isn't it? This comes from a Stanford University project, and it would be the natural precursor to what I have been saying. In a world where it takes smarts to survive, only the smart will survive. Now let's think this one through, and leave emotion out of the equation for a minute. Don't worry, we will come back to that and feel the pain of the people we are insulting before I wrap this up.
Early man was on a level playing field with nature. He didn't have a house and a gun. So when he looked up and saw a lion or a bear approaching, he had to assess the situation and find the solution. Was there a way to outrun the animal? Was there an object laying around that he could use as a weapon to defend himself? Could he make himself appear to be a threat to the animal and intimidate them into a retreat? If he solved the puzzle, than his demise was averted and he lived to fight another day. A less intelligent man, however, would not solve the puzzle and would promptly be removed from the gene pool. Neither man had a "How To" manual nor the benefit of having watched "Man vs. Nature." They had to rely simply on their personal observation and reasoning skills. Thus, with each passing lion or bear the gene pool would be slightly enhanced. The smarter, more observant man would survive and the less intelligent would be voted off of the island.
Eventually, humans began to notice that there were other humans who were really smart and thus they were thriving. Someone had to figure out things that we now take for granted. I've often mocked the first man to drink the milk from a cow as some type of pervert, but for the child whose mother had died in giving birth this was life saving ingenuity on the part of the father. It was a pretty smart guy who figured out that he didn't have to wander around until he found corn, he could plant his own and have an annual supply of this staple. Today thanks in large part to Buggs Bunny, we associate the word Nimrod with morons, but that is because we are too stupid today to get the joke. Nimrod was actually legendary for his hunting smarts, thus the "Nimrod" reference was the prey mocking the predator, not intended to imply that Elmer Fudd was stupid. And it should be no surprise that Nimrod, who was exceptionally talented at providing food became a king. People noticed that he was intellectually equipped to survive, so they looked to him as a hero and a leader.
As society progressed, smart people built on the backs of the smart people who came before them. One smart man occupied a cave because it offered protection from predators and the elements. Later, smart men would advance this concept into houses and fortresses. But these advancements are where the problem begins. The first guy to build a house is smart, and he receives the benefits of its shelter. But so does each individual who is not nearly as smart, but able to see the advantages and mimic the behavior. Soon, even raging idiots begin to build houses. Nature, never wanting to lose a battle on her own, is prepared for this dilemma. She has rain and snow that make slanted roofs optimal, and the dumbest of the dumb fall from these roofs while building them. Those slightly smarter try to duplicate the structure with inferior craftsmanship and the whole thing caves in on them. Again, the stupid genes are thinned from the pool.
At some point or another, emotion enters into the equation. We don't like seeing our fellow man killed in an unnecessary event. We begin to look for ways to prevent such a demise. If only there was a way to warn someone of a danger that they are not likely to perceive. Introducing the warning label. This liquid is flammable, that tool produces shavings that could get in your eye, and the other machine is harder to operate when you are drunk. From there it is all downhill. I would suggest that these labels are not in and of themselves bad, but they are the first unbalanced step on a slippery slope. They are the product of the good intentions that pave the road that our society is careening out of control on en-route to a hell of stupidity.
Now, if you don't recognize a given liquid as being flammable, and it is a liquid that you are not familiar with, does that make you stupid? No. Had it stopped there we would be fine. But if you have ever had the desire to make toast in the bathtub you are a stark raving mad lunatic. Why would we even want to save that person? The simple answer is emotion. Obviously, the jackass has a parent, and they love him despite his cross-eyed drooling. Print the label. Eventually, we reach the point where cigarette lighters, a tool with the sole purpose of creating fire, requires a flammable label to warn unsuspecting customers who had purchased it for what other reason? But even that label isn't enough. We have to add the line about making sure it is extinguished before it is returned to the pocket, thereby ruling out the otherwise likely occurrence that people who are too stupid to figure this out on their own will burn off their own reproductive organs and thus improve the gene pool.
By now, the phenomenon is completely out of control. A cup of coffee warns "Caution: Contents may be hot." Maybe? They damn well better be, or I will return to the counter and inquire about the low temperature level of the liquid that the cup contains. "But Steve, an 80 year old lady suffered immensely when she spilled her hot coffee in her lap." I get that. But it was the other labels that allowed her to reach the age of 80 without realizing that hot beverages require extra caution. A label on a microwave oven that I recently purchased warned me against attempting to dry a wet pet in the device. Now I will concede the fact that a cat or dog is innocent and deserves a better fate, but wouldn't the smell of burning dog alert the neighbors to the dangerous level of stupidity that resided next door thus allowing them to rescue and other pets or children that are likely one idiotic accident away from extinction? That is, of course, unless they had lost their legs in a cigarette lighting accident.
A few years back the company I drove for gave me a brand new Volvo truck to drive. Attached to the seat belt was a 13 step guide instructing me on how to use the device. If I need 13 separate instructions to properly operate a belt buckle, wouldn't society as a whole be better served if I died in the initial wreck? Why are we trying to keep that idiot alive? So he can continue to drive an 80,000 lb vehicle that bends in the middle and has been loaded full of flammable gas through the towns where our families live? "Don't worry, Steve. We put warning labels on the highway too."
Yes, it is kind and loving and compassionate to save idiots from their own stupidity. But it is counterproductive to society as a whole. Remember, the moron you save today might date your daughter tomorrow and drop your stupid grand kid on their head a few years from now. However, it is likely too late to do anything about it now anyway. Between the lowering average I.Q. and the rise in the number of stupid people, how long would we survive without the stickers? Perhaps at this point we are better off voting for the guy who offers us food stamps and 99 weeks of unemployment than we would be getting up and trying to provide these things on our own. After all, it's a dangerous world out there and you never know when some Conservative jerk like myself is going to peel off a warning label and wait to see who pulls a nub out from under the lawn mower.