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Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

Do large civilizations cause brain size and intelligence to downsize on average?

  • This theory makes perfect sense

    Votes: 1 2.5%
  • This is a possibility

    Votes: 6 15.0%
  • I disagree with the theory

    Votes: 10 25.0%
  • People are actually getting smarter

    Votes: 12 30.0%
  • Brain size has nothing to do with intelligence

    Votes: 11 27.5%

  • Total voters
    40

MKULTRABOY

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None I wasn't arguing against that point.


...Well it requires intelligence and stamina if you're an illegal immigrant.:rofl
different sort of labor.
 

Sov

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Does anyone know any good books on the subject?

Going by the Holy Bible, the first humans were created on October 9, 4115 BC. Of course people have gotten stupider since then. Most don't even know that date.
 
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Maximus Zeebra

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Going by the Holy Bible, the first humans were created on October 9, 4115 BC. Of course people have gotten stupider since then. Most don't even know that date.

The people of the bible were many times extremely smart and insightful.
 

Maximus Zeebra

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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.
 

spud_meister

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you'd think that if brain size had something ot do with intelligence we'd all be ruled by elephants or whales
 

EpicDude86

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you'd think that if brain size had something ot do with intelligence we'd all be ruled by elephants or whales
epicdude86-albums-stuff-picture1279-3d-dinosaur.png

OR DINOSAURS!!!
 

MyOwnDrum

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I'm pretty sure that the brain size to body size ratio is a significant factor here. In the case of humans, body size has increased and brain size is decreasing. It may mean something.

Previously, as humans evolved from less intelligent primates, brain size increased as humans became more intelligent.
 

EpicDude86

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I'm pretty sure that the brain size to body size ratio is a significant factor here. In the case of humans, body size has increased and brain size is decreasing. It may mean something.

Previously, as humans evolved from less intelligent primates, brain size increased as humans became more intelligent.

Wikipedia said:
When comparing different species the ratio of brain weight to body weight does present a correlation with intelligence, though the actual brain weight has little or no effect. For example, the ratio of brain weight to body weight for fish is 1:5000; for reptiles it is about 1:1500; for birds, 1:220; for most mammals, 1:180, and for humans, 1:50.

Within human population, studies have been conducted to determine whether there is a relationship between brain size and a number of cognitive measures. Studies have reported correlations that range from 0 to 0.6.[2] Some scientists prefer to look at more qualitative variables such to relate the size of measurable regions of known function. For example relating the size of the primary visual cortex to its corresponding functions, that of visual performance.[3][4].

The brain is a metabolically expensive organ, and consumes about 25% of the body's metabolic energy in some species. Because of this fact, although larger brains are associated with higher intelligence, smaller brains might be advantageous from an evolutionary point of view if they are equal in intelligence to larger brains. Skull size correlates with brain size, but is not necessarily indicative.

Brain size is a rudimentary indicator of the intelligence of a brain, and many other factors affect the intelligence of a brain. Higher ratios of brain to body mass may increase the amount of brain mass available for more complex cognitive tasks. Brain size in vertebrates may relate to social rather than mechanical skill. Cortical size relates directly to a pairbonding life style and among primates cerebral cortex size varies directly with the demands of living in a large complex social network.[5]

Here is a list of some species, along with their rough average brain sizes:

* Homo erectus: 980 cm³
* Homo habilis: 750 cm³
* Homo floresiensis: 380 cm³
* Homo neanderthalensis: 1200-1750 cm³ skull capacity (10% greater than modern human average, when including juvenile cranial capacity)
* Homo sapiens: 1350-1400 cm³[citation needed]

Neuroscience and intelligence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

MyOwnDrum

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Interesting Dude.
 

Ikari

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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.
 

spud_meister

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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
 

Fiddytree

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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.
 
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Ikari

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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.
 

Fiddytree

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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.
 
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Maximus Zeebra

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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.
 

Maximus Zeebra

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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.
 

Maximus Zeebra

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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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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.
 

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While you're at it, you should ask "Is life for the average person funner now than it was 5000 years ago".
 

MyOwnDrum

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While you're at it, you should ask "Is life for the average person funner now than it was 5000 years ago?".

Or maybe you can ask "Is the average person smarter than 5000 years ago" ;) :2razz:
 

Maximus Zeebra

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While you're at it, you should ask "Is life for the average person funner now than it was 5000 years ago".

The answer would be probably not.

A follow up question could be. "Is life for the average person more predictable now than it was 5000 years ago?"
 

EpicDude86

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While you're at it, you should ask "Is life for the average person funner now than it was 5000 years ago".

It some instances I would say yes, and others no. We have Video Games and P.O.V. Porn, and yet we have thousands of horrible diseases, possible death around every corner, and morons running amok in every nook and cranny of society!!!
 

Manc Skipper

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This is my favorite part

"7,500 years ago in Europe enabled people there to take advantage of non-human milk, a highly nutritious food source one can sustainably procure instead of slaughtering animals."

mmmmmm I love drinking non-human milk from my slaughtered animals.


Those words "instead of" imply an either/or situation.
 

ronpaulvoter

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Not the last 5000 years, but certainly in the last 150. Look at some 100 to 150 year old 8th grade school textbooks if you want proof.
 
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