If I Only Had A Brain

It has been clear for quite some time that things started going Wrong for the humans when they left off the hunter-gathering and settled down to start growing turnips.

This led inexorably to nonsense like cities, money, countries, Microsoft, McDonalds, meshugas, and the nitwit pictured there to the left, who could only be produced by a species that sits on its ass to cultivate rutabagas.

Now some Science Men down at Stanford have confirmed that this disastrous detour has resulted in Deep Dumbness, the human brain atrophying because people persist in raising beets, while meanwhile inventing television, so they can blur out on The Price Is Right and Let’s Make A Deal.

They have thereby mutated themselves, these humans, and not in a good way: “the average person harbors two intelligence-stunting genetic changes that evolved over the last 3,000 years.”

Hear, now, The Truth:

Humans may be gradually losing intelligence, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the journal Trends in Genetics, argues that humans lost the evolutionary pressure to be smart once we started living in dense agricultural settlements several thousand years ago.

“The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples [living] before our ancestors emerged from Africa,” said study author Gerald Crabtree, a researcher at Stanford University, in a statement.

Since then it’s all been downhill, Crabtree contends.

Alas, poor humans. They were doing so well. But then they strayed from the onwards and upwards. For parsnips.

Early humans lived or died by their spatial abilities, such as quickly making a shelter or spearing a saber-toothed tiger. Nowadays, though almost everyone has the spatial ability to do ostensibly simple tasks like washing dishes or mowing the lawn, such tasks actually require a lot of brainpower, the researchers note . . . .

But after the spread of agriculture, when our ancestors began to live in dense farming communities, the intense need to keep those genes in peak condition gradually waned.

And it’s unlikely that the evolutionary advantage of intelligence is greater than it was during our hunter-gatherer past, the paper argues.

“A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his/her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate. Clearly, extreme selection is a thing of the past,” the researchers write.

That the average IQ throughout the world has been thought to increase over the past 100 years is an illusion, contend the Science Men. This seeming increase is due to factors like better pre-natal care, improved nutrition, and getting the lead out. But, in Reality, the Dumbness continues, as the very genes of humans are engaged in de-evolution:

Anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 genes determine human intelligence, and these genes are particularly susceptible to harmful changes, or mutations, the researchers write. Based on knowledge of the rate of mutations, the team concludes that the average person harbors two intelligence-stunting genetic changes that evolved over the last 3,000 years.

So, as Lenin famously asked, What Is To Be Done?

Funkadelic nearly Saw it, but they got it backward, because they are of a species with eroding brainpans. Having abandoned all, for the sake of yams. Which inevitably culminates in Xbox onanism.

In 1970, Funkadelic released an album entitled Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow.

In truth, getting there is accomplished thusly: Free Your Ass And Your Mind Will Follow.


10 Responses to “If I Only Had A Brain”

  1. 1 Miep O'Brien November 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

    So you’re saying that being able to successfully compete in the process of creating popular memes isn’t a survival trait?

    I remember reading that aboriginal humans in I think New Guinea can identify something like fifty thousand species of plants, and find uses for many. But who needs that when you’ve got coal to burn?

    • 2 bluenred November 14, 2012 at 9:39 am

      If I’m reading these Science Men correctly, they are contending that humans are smarter when they can identify the 50,000 species of plants found hither and yon, rather than when they burn coal to expire the night on 4chan.

      • 3 nancy November 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

        ah, The Mighty Foragers..

        Anthropologists have documented that they may spend a mere 15 hours a week in ‘”economic” activity..

        Smarter than us in so many ways..

        • 4 bluenred November 15, 2012 at 12:18 am

          Yeah, and therein lies my problem with all the incessant nonsense about “jobs.” Why should anyone want a “job”? Work like a damn drudge 40-50 hours of week, for paper, that then requires more hours to transform into food, shelter, and clothing? When, back in the day, the Smart People took care of all that in but 15 hours a week?


  2. 5 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) November 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    So…the shift to an agricultural society eventually resulted in the creation of science, which has now been used to inform us that we were really smarter before we shifted to an agricultural society? Wow. Irony.

    Kind of like how, when humans began to eat meat, our brains began to grow and become more complex. So it is only because we humans have eaten meat for so long, that we have the ability to question the morality of eating meat.

    I think there is still hope that we can become smarter. As you said, better pre-natal care, etc. Also, more people getting access to education. And all in all, society is very slowly becoming wiser, I argue, because we are slowly shedding our prejudices.

    I like how that scientist took a stab at Wall Street. An interesting observation.

  3. 8 Comrade Red November 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Often natural selection and sexual selection are conflated. Sexual selection works faster…ask anybody with a sheepdog why they didn’t get a pitbull for their herd. So, since agriculture, maybe it’s advantageous to her children for a woman to marry an obedient idiot rather than a disobedient smart-guy who stands up for his natural rights and gets knocked off for his trouble…eh? But what about the elite? Who do they marry? Yup, smart marry smart, mostly – hey it’s all statistical. Note: do not conflate “elite” with “politician” – whatever they may imagine, they’re just shills, stupid is desirable in pols. So, does this mean that man is diverging into several species (again)? Yes, “again”, ’cause the boffins say that “we” are made of something like five different primate species. “We”? Well, not everybody. Africans, they say, are mostly “pure”, ie not much mixed with neanderthal & etc. I know it’s not polite to ask, but can the European Conquest in diaspora be, in part, attributed to something like “mongrel vigour”, or is it the result of disease, as some say? Of course, it’s all moot – everything’s in transition, including the critter we call “man”. One is minded of HG Wells’ differentiated future species of man…

    • 9 bluenred November 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      I am chary of discussing humans in terms of different “species”: such a thing was all the rage in the age of eugenics, a form of tulip madness that culminated in concentration camps.

      Elites may think they marry smart, but what they often end up with are droolers. They encounter the same problems as breeders of thoroughbreds. Hunter S. Thompson, who grew up around the “elite” of Kentucky, wrote very colorfully about this. Meanwhile, the elites of monarchial Europe, history shows, basically bred themselves out of existence. Not smart.

      • 10 Comrade Red November 15, 2012 at 8:01 am

        I too am a bit uncomfortable with the idea. Reading Darwin’s notebooks (there are many) it’s clear that he was an “elite” the smartest guy I’ve ever read – ‘way smarter than Marx. I’m afraid the concept of “European elite” is hopelessly conflated with politicians – read “nobility”. These people are simple shills, not a genuine elite. And yes, they drool. But this proves the idea, doesn’t it? Sexual selection for droolers… Works in man, obviously, though the implications are difficult. Actually racial differences, or species differences in the past, are not ordinarily a big deal, I think, even though they’re real as can be. The small incipient differences are exploited by pols to control the multitudes. That’s where we get into trouble. But the differences, even to-day, can be significant. I once knew a man who was born at 22,000 feet. European women couldn’t have done that, and European babies couldn’t survive such a birth (this was in 1945 in primitive conditions). The racial difference was very important to my friend, it allowed him to live. Modern scientific analysis of our DNA shows, according to the current literature, at least 5 primate species present in many, but not all, humans. These genetic differences are mostly latent and unimportant, but they may become so if we are selecting for stupid, which, it seems, we are. It would be nice if all this were not so, but alas, it is.

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When I Worked

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