Aldous Huxley predicted this in Brave New World Revisited in 1958. Advancements in healthcare, technology, and the ability to prevent disease have allowed the weakest members of the gene pool to survive, rather than die off. As they reproduce, the average intelligence of the world declines.
Look around you. Do you really think the average person is more intelligent today than they were 30 years ago?
And then remember what the patron saint of TBP had to say:
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
We are surrounded by stupid people and they are getting stupider by the minute.
Are we becoming more STUPID? IQ scores are decreasing – and some experts argue it’s because humans have reached their intellectual peak
- IQs have largely increased since the 1930s thanks to better living conditions and education – a trend known as the Flynn effect
- But IQ test results suggest people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have become less intelligent in the past decade
- Opinion is divided as to whether the downwards trend is long-term
- Some studies have shown the average IQ of Westerners has plunged 10 points or more since Victorian times and others claim it will keep decreasing
- But other experts argue that even if we are becoming more stupid, better healthcare and technology means the ‘problem’ will regulate itself
Technology may be getting smarter, but humans are getting dumber, scientists have warned.
Evidence suggests that the IQs of people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have declined in the last decade.
Opinion is divided as to whether the trend is long-term, but some researchers believe that humans have already reached intellectual peak.
An IQ test used to determine whether Danish men are fit to serve in the military has revealed scores have fallen by 1.5 points since 1998.
And standard tests issued in the UK and Australia echo the results, according to journalist Bob Holmes, writing in New Scientist.
The most pessimistic explanation as to why humans seem to be becoming less intelligent is that we have effectively reached our intellectual peak.
Between the 1930s and 1980s, the average IQ score in the US rose by three points and in post-war Japan and Denmark, test scores also increased significantly – a trend known as the ‘Flynn effect’.
This increase in intelligence was due to improved nutrition and living conditions – as well as better education – says James Flynn of the University of Otago, after whom the effect is named.
Westerns have lost 14 IQ points on average since the Victorian age, according to a study published by the University of Amsterdam last year.
Jan te Nijenhuis thinks this could be because intelligent women tend to have less children than women who are not as clever, The Huffington Post reported.
The perceived link between IQ and fertility is a very contentious one.
Dr Nijenhuis studied the results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 and 2004 to come to his conclusion.
Each study measured peoples’ reaction times – how long they took to press a button after being prompted.
It is claimed that reaction time mirrors mental processing speed – so it reflects intelligence.
They found that visual reaction times averaged 194 milliseconds in the late 19th Century, but in 2004, they had increased to 275 milliseconds.
This would suggest that people have become less intelligent, they said.
Now some experts believe we are starting to see the end of the Flynn effect in developed countries – and that IQ scores are not just leveling out, but declining.
Scientists including Dr Flynn think better education can reverse the trend and point out the perceived decline could just be a blip. However, other scientists are not so optimistic.
Some believe the Flynn effect has masked a decline in the genetic basis for intelligence, so that while more people have been reaching their full potential, that potential itself has been declining.
Some have even contentiously said this could be because educated people are deciding to have fewer children, so that subsequent generations are largely made up of less intelligent people.
Richard Lynn, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, calculated the decline in humans’ genetic potential.
He used data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to discover that our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point.
Dr Lynn predicts that if this trend continues, we could lose another 1.3 IQ points by 2050.
Michael Woodley, of the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, claims people’s reactions are slower than in Victorian times, and has linked it to a decline in our genetic potential.
It has previously been claimed that quick-witted people have fast reactions and Dr Woodley’s study showed people’s reaction times have slowed over the century – the equivalent to one IQ point per decade.
Jan te Nijenhuis, a psychology professor at the University of Amsterdam, says Westerners have lost an average of 14 IQ points since the Victoria Era.
He believes this is due to more intelligent women have fewer children than those who are less clever,The Huffington Post reported.
Dr Woodley and others think humans will gradually become less and less intelligent.
But Dr Flynn says if the decline in IQ scores is the end of the Flynn effect, scores should stabilise.
He thinks that even if humans do become more stupid, better healthcare and technology will mean that all people will have fewer children and the ‘problem’ will regulate itself.
ARE BRITISH TEENAGERS BECOMING LESS INTELLIGENT?
Tests carried out in 1980 and in 2008 showed that the average 14-year-old was two IQ points cleverer in 1980, according to a study published in 2009.
Scientists found that performance dropped the most dramatically in teenagers in the upper half of the intelligence scale, The Telegraph reported.
Brighter teens who took part in the study in 2008 were on average six IQ points less intelligent than their counterparts tested 28 years earlier.
Professor Fynn said the results could be the result of less intelligent youth culture.
He used data gathered in IQ tests on UK children and found that children aged between five and 10 saw their IQs increase by half a point per year over three decades.
‘Other studies have shown how pervasive teenage youth culture is, and what we see is parents’ influence on IQ slowly diminishing with age,’ he said.
‘…What we know is that youth culture is now more visually orientated around computer games than they are in terms of reading and holding conversations.’