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Declining Human Intelligence? (STA BREAKING NEWS and ARCHIVES)

by chazzz @, USA, Thursday, July 06, 2017, 14:01 @ Old_Ponter

There has been some concern in various orgainizations and individuals since the late 1800's that average human intelligence might be on the decline. It's like a wild heard of cattle verses domesticated cattle. In a wild herd in an untamed environment, natural selection and predators result in survival of the fittest - like when early Spanish cattle escaped onto the open spaces and quickly evolved into the famous Texas Long Horn cattle that were tough and could resist predators. It's not really that the genetic structure changed, but that hardship and predators caused the cattle bearing the genes required for survival in that environment to survive and the rest to die. At any time the population of any species contains many individuals having different inherited characteristics - When the environment was challenging, this resulted in reselecting for ancient genes of the pre-domesticated cattle to dominate.

Humans as a species, have a great deal of variation in our genetic heritage. When humans are relatively safe and adequately fed, the genes that get expressed the most are those that lead to more children. When humans are in a threatening environment, genes necessary for survival are emphasized - like intelligence and strength (physical and mental), and a healthy immune system. It was recognized by the late 1800's and early 1900's that living in a relatively safe environment, there was a tendency for the stupid to have more children as they followed their natural instincts to breed and reproduce. On the other hand, the cleverest people were tending in many cases to have fewer children because they they understood the personal cost in raising multiple children. These observations led to the Eugenics movement beginning mostly in the United States in the early 1900's.

The original objective of the Eugenics movement was to "correct" the trend towards stupid and weak people becoming too numerous by reducing the breeding of the stupid and encouraging the breeding of the mentally and physically "fit".
Eugenics - Wikipedia

Unfortunately the Nazis incorporated the worst ideas in the American Eugenics movement in the worst possible ways. And that discredited the American Eugenics movement. The moral problem is that taken to its extreme, judgements about a person's genetic makeup determines who can have children, who cannot, and sometimes who will be allowed to survive. The scientific problem with Eugenics is that we cannot always know what inherited traits will be most useful to human survival and progress in the future.

In the 1960's low cost and effective birth control for women became practical. Also in beginning the advancement toward equal rights and equal pay to women it empowered Women to have meaningful work careers outside the home instead of raising children. These two things taken together meant having children became a choice, not necessary an inevitable consequence of human sexual drive. Sadly, there have also been economic situations where women who are not well matched to the job market can achieve economic survival by having children with no in-house father or husband - collecting welfare. And, the more children in this case the bigger the welfare benefit which resulted in some cases of preferred breeding of those not well suited to positive economic and societal activity like having a job. It's unclear how prevalent this welfare mom thing actually is in America. If you listen to the Republicans it's a plague on our society. If you listen to the Democrats these are the exceptions in the system and not common.

No matter how many generations pass, unless strict Eugenics is practiced, there will always be a considerable variation of genetic traits among humans. And if the human population is ever put under a survival situation, the traits that best match the needs of the environment will be the ones that get selected by a harsh survival regimen. On the other hand, sometimes economics tends to dictate where the general populace is heading. The most optimum combination would seem to come more from people working to support themselves and their families and less from unearned entitlements. On the other hand mercy and compassion push us to help our fellow citizens.


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