I would like nothing more than the proof of various cryptids, alien civilizations, even alien visitors to be found. But that proof will come only through rigorous science and objective analysis, and by holding evidence to the highest standards of scrutiny. Born in south eastern Pennsylvania, i have found myself at one time or another living in Chicago, Cleveland, Raleigh-Durham, on the island of Kaua'i and finally landed on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. I have turned my hand to various professions from early work in 3d graphics to historic building restoration, carpentry and log home building to working in a bronze art foundry on the WWII Veterans Memorial. Currently I am a writer, script writer and working for a non profit organization called Empowerment Through Connection which is involved in equine assisted therapy for veterans, at risk teens and women.

“Kids today…”
“In my day…”
“Back when I went to school…”

I guess we have either heard a few sentences, paragraphs or lectures that start like this, or possibly, in my case, even started to use them. Raise your hand if either is true. Watch the light fixtures! They hang kind of low and I haven’t gotten around to replacing all the light bulbs yet.

Whew, that was a close one.

Anyway, Genetecist Gerald Crabtree has taken the idea that the last generation was somehow superior to the next to a whole new level.

“The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples before our ancestors emerged from Africa,” says the papers’ author, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, of Stanford University. In this environment, intelligence was critical for survival, and there was likely to be immense selective pressure acting on the genes required for intellectual development, leading to a peak in human intelligence.

From that point, it’s likely that we began to slowly lose ground. With the development of agriculture, came urbanization, which may have weakened the power of selection to weed out mutations leading to intellectual disabilities. Based on calculations of the frequency with which deleterious mutations appear in the human genome and the assumption that 2000 to 5000 genes are required for intellectual ability, Dr. Crabtree estimates that within 3000 years (about 120 generations) we have all sustained two or more mutations harmful to our intellectual or emotional stability. Moreover, recent findings from neuroscience suggest that genes involved in brain function are uniquely susceptible to mutations. Dr. Crabtree argues that the combination of less selective pressure and the large number of easily affected genes is eroding our intellectual and emotional capabilities.

But not to worry. The loss is quite slow, and judging by society’s rapid pace of discovery and advancement, future technologies are bound to reveal solutions to the problem. “I think we will know each of the millions of human mutations that can compromise our intellectual function and how each of these mutations interact with each other and other processes as well as environmental influences,” says Dr. Crabtree. “At that time, we may be able to magically correct any mutation that has occurred in all cells of any organism at any developmental stage. Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary.”

Gerald Crabtree

Others in the field say there are as yet no facts to support Crabtree’s statement, that this is just an idea with little capacity to be tested. but then…

From the “You’re Doing It Wrong” files.

And 26 American states have cut their education budgets this year.

Send your complaints about how stupid kids are to day to

[email protected]


  • Cleveland_Steamer aka Gonzo_13

    Haha, that BuzzFeed article was good.

    Henry, I definitely agree with the de-evolution idea, despite us not having a strong scientific grasp around the reasons as to exactly why it’s happening. It’s not needed though.

    Go out and mix it up with the general public. It won’t take long to see how far backwards we’ve gone. I go out and I often think of this George Carlin quote:

    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

    I wouldn’t blame it on education funding at all. During the Bush years we began spending more federal dollars on education, yet reading and math proficiency continued to go down (as it still does today). Throwing money at the issue won’t fix it.

    We’re watching the decline of a once great society. There are many factors that contribute to this.

  • I would suggest that the more money given to education during the Bush years was not applied to teachers, technology or students in any meaningful way. Putting the money where it is needed is more important than just putting money into a system that is broken.

    There were some guys in my area who made news by playing a game where they soak each other with, I am pretty sure it was alcohol but may have been gasoline, and throw matches at each other. I do live in a small town. But the point is that we have grown beyond the forces that shaped us in evolution, for all intents and purposes we have removed ourselves from the processes of evolution (excepting exhibits A above.) Technology removes us from all but the most severe forces of nature, medicine protects us an array of deaths that would normally be strengthening our bodies, knowledge now comes at the fingertips of anyone who can afford an internet connection. While there are certainly leaps in knowledge happening, they are on the shoulders of others who did more with less. If we have not been devolving, it would be no surprise if we start to soon.

  • Valkyrie13

    I keep wanting to comment on this article but not sure what to say. I have little hope for humanity but something seems off with this. Humans constantly change and adapt to whatever environment, it’s not that we are optimal for one sort of environment or society.

  • We no longer adapt to an environment, instead we adapt an environment to us. The process is reversed and so we have turned it back on the environment and now the environment, in the form of the climate, is what is changing.

  • Valkyrie13

    We still adapt to our environment, that hasn’t stopped. And as humans we have always adapted an environment to us, only now maybe to a greater degree. But it seems this guy Gerald Crabtree is putting far too much emphasis on genes as something that controls our intelligence.