View Poll Results: Do large civilizations cause brain size and intelligence to downsize on average?

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  • This theory makes perfect sense

    2 3.77%
  • This is a possibility

    8 15.09%
  • I disagree with the theory

    10 18.87%
  • People are actually getting smarter

    16 30.19%
  • Brain size has nothing to do with intelligence

    17 32.08%
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Thread: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

  1. #61
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    I think humans are becoming dumber. More and more, most humans live off of the accomplishments of those on the far end of the Bell Curve. Basically, there are still many intellectuals left scientists, engineers, etc. and human society and the majority of humans feed off of the accomplishments of those elite. But I do think our species is getting dumber.
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I think humans are becoming dumber. More and more, most humans live off of the accomplishments of those on the far end of the Bell Curve. Basically, there are still many intellectuals left scientists, engineers, etc. and human society and the majority of humans feed off of the accomplishments of those elite. But I do think our species is getting dumber.
    yet the basic standards of education is increasing in a good part of the world, so the average person is better educated than in the past, and technology has increased greatly in the past couple of centuries, and whilst there is a better educated elite, that elite is swelling in numbers as more people recieve higher education.

    but i wouldnt say the intelligence capability is changing, i'd say that the access to info is greater

  3. #63
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus Zeebra View Post
    Its also valuable to add in this debate that most people from today would be considered severely handicapped and stupid 200 years ago, 100 years ago, 500 years ago, 1000 years ago.

    With a few exception, for example people with knowledge that is "timeless", example engineers, doctors, philosophers, astronomers and so fourth. Even though they would face severe handicaps back in the days, they would manage to adapt and adapt the people around them, unlike almost everyone else who would simply die, be killed or be considered retarded, helpless, invaluable, weak and so fourth.

    A person from 200, 2000 years ago would adapt much better to current times, and have a much more diverse intelligence basis to build on than people who live now, with special knowledge which is often dependent on certain type of equipment.
    I fail to see how one could even begin to demonstrate this. People adapt to their own eras, and unless one has an extensive awareness or experience in modernity or the past, it would be immensely difficult for anyone to adjust from one time period to another. Lastly, having "timeless" skills does not mean that somehow they would escape being labeled "retarded" even in their own field. In their own fields, ideas have changed from century to century, and with that comes a sense of what is legitimacy and what is considered bogus.

    Again, I remain skeptical of the notion that humans are becoming either smarter or dumber. With history, there is a tendency for many to subscribe to one of two polar opposite interpretations of human history:
    1) History as progress: Slowly but surely, we are perfecting our nature.
    2) History as decay: Slowly but surely, we are worsening our condition in comparison to an earlier time.

    With the first, an overwhelming optimism in the idea that humanity can be perfected, and possibly the further back one travels, the dumber humanity is. This implies we cannot learn anything from these men and women, as they themselves would have nothing valuable to contribute. With the second, an overwhelming sense of defeat in the condition of humanity in which we shall bow before our predecessors for perhaps never again will we experience such genius. In this, we can only stand in awe of the past, but have not much hope in the present's capabilities.

    I disagree with both perspectives, and as such, most of this thread has bothered me or amused me.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 12-09-09 at 12:24 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    yet the basic standards of education is increasing in a good part of the world, so the average person is better educated than in the past, and technology has increased greatly in the past couple of centuries, and whilst there is a better educated elite, that elite is swelling in numbers as more people recieve higher education.

    but i wouldnt say the intelligence capability is changing, i'd say that the access to info is greater
    Yes, but being in academia as long as I have, I've seen a lot of stupid people. Humans in general should have some ability to comprehend basics of math, science, languages, arts, etc. I'm not saying someone has to be advanced in all of it, but some amount of proficiency should be common. Take math for instance, there is no reason a human would not be able to understand through Calculus. Maybe not partial differential equations or non-Euclidean geometry. But any human should be able to understand at least calculus. Basics of Physics as well. But we have Physics 121/122 in our university which is basically physics for humans with only half a brain and the inability to use that half. It surprises me sometimes that these individual are actually still alive, it depresses me to think that most will probably reproduce and have stupid children themselves.

    While the amount of knowledge has certainly ballooned in modern times, it's not unachievable. And in history, people knew a lot more than people know now especially if we consider it as a percentage of the human knowledge base. I do think that people are becoming stupid. And more and more, the vast majority of people feed off the achievements of just a few. Humanity never progressed through stagnation. It has always moved forward through innovation and invention. You'd think with so many more humans, we'd be progressing a lot faster than what we are. But we aren't because most people have disengaged from innovation and invention; in practice turning their backs on the base nature of humans.

    But maybe I'm just bitter because I've talked to one too many business majors.
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Yes, but being in academia as long as I have, I've seen a lot of stupid people. Humans in general should have some ability to comprehend basics of math, science, languages, arts, etc. I'm not saying someone has to be advanced in all of it, but some amount of proficiency should be common. Take math for instance, there is no reason a human would not be able to understand through Calculus. Maybe not partial differential equations or non-Euclidean geometry. But any human should be able to understand at least calculus. Basics of Physics as well. But we have Physics 121/122 in our university which is basically physics for humans with only half a brain and the inability to use that half. It surprises me sometimes that these individual are actually still alive, it depresses me to think that most will probably reproduce and have stupid children themselves.

    While the amount of knowledge has certainly ballooned in modern times, it's not unachievable. And in history, people knew a lot more than people know now especially if we consider it as a percentage of the human knowledge base. I do think that people are becoming stupid. And more and more, the vast majority of people feed off the achievements of just a few. Humanity never progressed through stagnation. It has always moved forward through innovation and invention. You'd think with so many more humans, we'd be progressing a lot faster than what we are. But we aren't because most people have disengaged from innovation and invention; in practice turning their backs on the base nature of humans.

    But maybe I'm just bitter because I've talked to one too many business majors.
    Well, I'm certainly not going to understand calculus. I have had enough trouble in Algebra. Of course you could point to my learning disability as being a contributing factor, but I think you are placing too high of demands on many people.

    "And in history, people knew a lot more than people know now especially if we consider it as a percentage of the human knowledge base. I do think that people are becoming stupid. "

    People did not know nearly as much as we do currently, academically (which is most of your argument). Academics was, for the most part, something nearly incompatible with the lifestyle that was a reality for the masses. You would be laughed out of any conference of historians if you tried to pull that one off. I think it was Halie Selassie that once remarked about the relatively miserable condition of the masses and how one merely needed to placate them in order to achieve a favorable opinion.

    What you have to realize is that some of the most brilliant minds of the past that we read today (who were perhaps brilliant by virtue of their academic success), are in fact, some of the most brilliant academic minds of the past. They were not really representative of the population as a whole.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 12-09-09 at 03:24 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  6. #66
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    you'd think that if brain size had something ot do with intelligence we'd all be ruled by elephants or whales
    Per size of the body, the elephant brain is not that big, compared to humans. I dont have the number or anythng, but I can speculate the brainweight per tonne of bodyweight is less for an elephant than human.

    Also elephants are among the smarter and more developed of the big animals.
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    yet the basic standards of education is increasing in a good part of the world, so the average person is better educated than in the past, and technology has increased greatly in the past couple of centuries, and whilst there is a better educated elite, that elite is swelling in numbers as more people recieve higher education.

    but i wouldnt say the intelligence capability is changing, i'd say that the access to info is greater
    Also being well educated doesnt necessarily mean a person is smart, or being less educated doesnt necessarily mean the person is dumb.
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    I fail to see how one could even begin to demonstrate this. People adapt to their own eras, and unless one has an extensive awareness or experience in modernity or the past, it would be immensely difficult for anyone to adjust from one time period to another. Lastly, having "timeless" skills does not mean that somehow they would escape being labeled "retarded" even in their own field. In their own fields, ideas have changed from century to century, and with that comes a sense of what is legitimacy and what is considered bogus.

    Again, I remain skeptical of the notion that humans are becoming either smarter or dumber. With history, there is a tendency for many to subscribe to one of two polar opposite interpretations of human history:
    1) History as progress: Slowly but surely, we are perfecting our nature.
    2) History as decay: Slowly but surely, we are worsening our condition in comparison to an earlier time.

    With the first, an overwhelming optimism in the idea that humanity can be perfected, and possibly the further back one travels, the dumber humanity is. This implies we cannot learn anything from these men and women, as they themselves would have nothing valuable to contribute. With the second, an overwhelming sense of defeat in the condition of humanity in which we shall bow before our predecessors for perhaps never again will we experience such genius. In this, we can only stand in awe of the past, but have not much hope in the present's capabilities.

    I disagree with both perspectives, and as such, most of this thread has bothered me or amused me.
    What is intelligence anyways? Its difficult to define. In my opinion it is something one are or are not born with the talent for. And when people grow up that talent is released or not released in different degrees.

    Furthermore I believe that a diverse education will for certain make a person smarter than a specilized education. When a person have a broader understanding of a complete reality, rather than a narrow giant size understanding of one area of reality. I believe the former person, with the broad understanding of reality will much more easily learn new things and be able to master different skills far more easy than the person with narrow understanding and skills in the first place.

    Therefor in my view, it is also natural for me to believe that a society with less specialized skills and more generalized skills tend to be more intelligent than a society with more specialized skills and less general skills. The specialized society might reach higher peaks, but the generlized society will be more stable and in the end develop in a more stable and a better way than the specialized society.
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus Zeebra View Post
    Per size of the body, the elephant brain is not that big, compared to humans. I dont have the number or anythng, but I can speculate the brainweight per tonne of bodyweight is less for an elephant than human.

    Also elephants are among the smarter and more developed of the big animals.
    Go to page 6, my second post, one in response to MyOwnDrum's post, has some stuff on Brain size to Body size ratio.

  10. #70
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    While you're at it, you should ask "Is life for the average person funner now than it was 5000 years ago".
    <font size=5><b>Its been several weeks since the Vegas shooting.  Its it still "Too Early" or can we start having the conversation about finally doing something about these mass shootings???​</b></font>

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