“The report said people are getting dumber — at least I think that's what it said, but the big words kept throwing me off.”
“Ah, yes, you speak of a recent study by Stanford University researcher and geneticist Dr. Gerald Crabtree. He believes human beings are undergoing intellectual decline.”
“Writing about the study in the Natural Society Newsletter, Mike Barrett says that, according to Crabtree, our cognitive abilities are the result of ‘the combined effort of thousands of genes.' If a mutation were to happen to anyone, it could damage intelligence — and Crabtree thinks such mutations have occurred.”
“Which reminds me: Honey Boo Boo is on tonight.”
“Says Crabtree: ‘I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues.'”
“Perhaps, but I'm confident I'd beat the Greek at beer pong.”
“Crabtree says part of the reason people are dumber now is that Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest — the strong survive and the weak are weeded out — is no longer as relevant.”
“Well, Darwin didn't survive, either, so what does he know?”
“Look, Crabtree is just arguing that the stronger and smarter are no longer necessarily able to dominate society, whereas the weaker and dumber are better able to survive and thrive than ever before.”
“Well, somebody has to run Congress.”
“Barrett, the fellow who wrote about Crabtree's study, suggests there are additional reasons for people getting dumber. For starters, he says our water and food systems are contributing to lower intelligence. We pump fluoride into our water to prevent tooth decay, but some studies find it has an adverse effect on neurodevelopment in children.”
“If it's not one thing, it's another.”
“Barrett cites other studies that show pesticides, which end up in our food supply, are ‘creating lasting changes in overall brain structure ... that have been linked to lower intelligence levels and decreased cognitive function.'”
“Maybe so, but who wants to eat an apple with a bunch of wormholes?”
“Barrett also cites studies that show a correlation between consuming processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup and IQ decline in children. Fructose may sabotage learning and memory.”
“I don't know about IQ decline, but processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup make me cuckoo — cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”
“There is plenty of debate on whether or not pesticides and processed foods are doing as much damage as some researchers claim, but I think we can agree there are other things that are making humans dumber.”
“You're not going to take away my video games again, are you?”
“Television is the biggest culprit. Every week, American adults spend 34 hours sitting in front of the tube, which trains their minds to be inactive and lazy — whereas reading a book or solving a puzzle helps develop critical thinking.”
“Who needs to think anymore? I rely on the major media to tell me what to think.”
“Regrettably, there is a frightening amount of truth in what you say. There is less critical thinking today. The less critical thinking there is, the easier it is for people to be easily persuaded by television and social media — and the less likely they are to make sound, intelligent decisions about the houses they buy or the politicians they vote for.”
“But back in 2008, everyone was buying houses they couldn't afford and making a bundle! It wasn't my fault I bought a mansion just before the bubble burst — or voted for ‘hope and change' that has never come.”
“My point exactly.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates acquire Soria from Tigers
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin says Latrobe session won’t differ from normal practice
- Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
- Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed dangerous homicide suspect
- Police search for missing 7-year-old
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- Obama nominates 3 judges for federal bench in Pittsburgh
- Arraignment scheduled for Penn Hills woman accused of transporting $1M worth of heroin along turnpike
- China says U.S. trying to militarize South China Sea
- Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
- Fire reported Downtown at intersection of Third Avenue and Stanwix Street