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(Telegraph)   They may have been tea drinking, wig wearing, sexually repressed prudes but new research suggests that people from the Victorian era were smarter than people in our modern society. The literal Aristocrats   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 131
    More: Interesting, Victorians, Victorian, modern society, reaction times, Blue Bloods  
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3634 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 May 2013 at 7:12 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-18 05:00:45 PM  
I'll buy THAT for a quarter!

img.getglue.com
 
2013-05-18 05:14:47 PM  
The slowing of our reflexes points to a decrease in general intelligence equivalent

Citation requested.   Flynn effect: Test score increases have been continuous and approximately linear from the earliest years of testing to the present.
 
2013-05-18 05:45:50 PM  
Maybe subby should rethink that whole wig-wearing thing in a headline about intelligence as wig wearing died out before Victorian times.

/William Pitt introduced the hair powder tax in 1795, bye bye wigs.
 
2013-05-18 06:29:42 PM  
I've always had sort of a theory that better nutrition, medical, and environmental technology is causing a drift in human genetic quality over time. In the "bad old days" more of the dumb or weak people just simply didn't survive long enough to procreate, or perhaps they couldn't adequately care for their children, who then perished.
 
2013-05-18 06:30:29 PM  
They DID build nicer looking houses back then.
 
2013-05-18 06:57:13 PM  

jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.


Labor and materials were less expensive then.
 
2013-05-18 06:58:13 PM  
FTFAOur declining intelligence is most likely down to a "reverse" in the process of natural selection, he explained. The most intelligent people now have fewer children on average than in previous decades, while there are higher survival rates among people with less favourable genes.

There has not been enough time for that to have happened. However, I could believe that environmental pollution and stress have caused a general decrease in IQ. We know that leaded gasoline caused a significant decrease in IQ for people born and raised in cities until it was banned.
 
2013-05-18 07:05:39 PM  

Arthur Jumbles: There has not been enough time for that to have happened. However, I could believe that environmental pollution and stress have caused a general decrease in IQ. We know that leaded gasoline caused a significant decrease in IQ for people born and raised in cities until it was banned.


I would think you're more likely to be correct.
 
2013-05-18 07:18:02 PM  

2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.


And I tend to bang my head or shoulders on what they thought were proper height doorways.
 
2013-05-18 07:23:13 PM  

jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.


Riiiight
 
2013-05-18 07:23:58 PM  

2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.


I think the more accurate answer is the nicer looking houses have survived, mostly like because richer people lived in them.  Nobody complains when the ratty tenements, shanty huts and shacks are torn down.  Well, nobody that has any political power complains.

We build plenty of nice houses and buildings today.  They are simply not the ones that your average person lives in.
 
2013-05-18 07:33:51 PM  

Arthur Jumbles: FTFA:  Our declining intelligence is most likely down to a "reverse" in the process of natural selection, he explained. The most intelligent people now have fewer children on average than in previous decades, while there are higher survival rates among people with less favourable genes.

There has not been enough time for that to have happened. However, I could believe that environmental pollution and stress have caused a general decrease in IQ. We know that leaded gasoline caused a significant decrease in IQ for people born and raised in cities until it was banned.




We do live in a much safer environment than those who lived 130 years ago. There's much less violent crime, and a reduced chance of dying in war, according to Steven Pinker. Plus there's less famine, food is for the most part safe to eat, water is safe to drink and hygiene has dramatically improved. Universal education only started in the mid 19th century. I'm sure many of these social factors influenced intelligence.
 
2013-05-18 07:35:44 PM  
dearjesus.files.wordpress.com

It's happening
 
2013-05-18 07:36:37 PM  
Taking up the white man's burden requires a keen intellect.
 
2013-05-18 07:37:03 PM  
Well they certainly dressed nicer. Top Hats are very elegant. I only get to wear mine while Foxhunting (another Victorian invention)...
 
Boe [TotalFark]
2013-05-18 07:46:42 PM  

clab: [dearjesus.files.wordpress.com image 670x376]

It's happening


Came for the Idiocracy reference, leaving satisfied.
 
2013-05-18 07:48:07 PM  
Bill Cower - Time Warner cable commercial is all the proof I require
 
2013-05-18 07:49:27 PM  
I'll agree that a certain percentage of the Victorian population had 'more' education than we do, relative to the eras in question.

On the flip side, I'd also say that we have a much larger number of better educated people in comparison to the majority of the Victorian era population.
 
2013-05-18 07:52:30 PM  

wingnut396: 2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.

I think the more accurate answer is the nicer looking houses have survived, mostly like because richer people lived in them.  Nobody complains when the ratty tenements, shanty huts and shacks are torn down.  Well, nobody that has any political power complains.

We build plenty of nice houses and buildings today.  They are simply not the ones that your average person lives in.




I work in many expensive (say upper middle class, to upper class) homes, and most of them are quite pretty; but whenever you look where the homeowner will never see it, the workmanship is crap. In the depression era homes I've seen, maybe up through the late sixties, you see a quality of workmanship that indicates workers who took pride in their job, and even did it well where almost no one would see.
 
2013-05-18 07:54:58 PM  
 Not sure how this will work out.
 
2013-05-18 07:55:39 PM  

2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.


Back then, housing cost a much higher percentage of the average person's income than it does today. But, they didn't have TVs, iThingies, and Disney vacations back then. After paying for food and clothing, there wasn't much else to buy other than a house.
 
2013-05-18 07:57:39 PM  
Scientists of the Victorian Era were able to accurately measure milliseconds?

Serious question, I'd really like to know.
 
2013-05-18 07:57:55 PM  
I blame ...

1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-05-18 08:01:27 PM  
Stupid people breed faster and in greater quantity, its a scientific fact as well as an evolutionary safe guard. They need to breed more because they die younger and faster as well. Its the "throw enough shiat at the wall" evolutionary plan.

More intelligent people breed less but produce better offspring, who are better at surviving etc.

The inevitable result is a world full of poor, stupid people controlled by a few smart, rich and powerful ones.

....oh wait.

/Pro tip: human evolution is exponentially older and longer than any modern human bothers to think about. This is not some new development.
 
2013-05-18 08:12:19 PM  
"Reaction times - a reliable marker of general intelligence "

www.independent.co.uk
 
2013-05-18 08:15:10 PM  
Remember Aldous Huxley's conjecture in Brave New World, when it was explained to John Savage why the entire world wasn't composed of Alpha Double Plus individuals?

"I was wondering," said the Savage, "why you had them at all-seeing that you can get whatever you want out of those bottles. Why don't you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?"

Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas-that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!" he repeated.

The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully.

"It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work-go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized-but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed. Even after decanting, he's still inside a bottle-an invisible bottle of infantile and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course," the Controller meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing."

"What was that?" asked the Savage.

Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen."

The Savage sighed, profoundly.

"The optimum population," said Mustapha Mond, "is modelled on the iceberg-eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above."

"And they're happy below the water line?"

"Happier than above it. Happier than your friend here, for example." He pointed.
 
2013-05-18 08:18:47 PM  

Repo Man: wingnut396: 2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.

I think the more accurate answer is the nicer looking houses have survived, mostly like because richer people lived in them.  Nobody complains when the ratty tenements, shanty huts and shacks are torn down.  Well, nobody that has any political power complains.

We build plenty of nice houses and buildings today.  They are simply not the ones that your average person lives in.

I work in many expensive (say upper middle class, to upper class) homes, and most of them are quite pretty; but whenever you look where the homeowner will never see it, the workmanship is crap. In the depression era homes I've seen, maybe up through the late sixties, you see a quality of workmanship that indicates workers who took pride in their job, and even did it well where almost no one would see.


Yeah, much of the new construction includes styrofoam, which starts disintegrating after several years, or even less.
 
2013-05-18 08:27:12 PM  

make me some tea: I've always had sort of a theory that better nutrition, medical, and environmental technology is causing a drift in human genetic quality over time. In the "bad old days" more of the dumb or weak people just simply didn't survive long enough to procreate, or perhaps they couldn't adequately care for their children, who then perished.


Carlos the farking Second of Spain.

Also, "there are more dumb people breeding, so people are dumber" fails on its own merits.  All our genetic forebears were dumber than us.  Most Downs kids could soundly thrash h. erectus in any mental task you want to test.  If you only got smart kids from smart parents, we wouldn't have ever evolved to be as smart as we are.  And dumb parents give birth to smart kids all the time.  Better nutrition  medical care, etc ate probably contributing to an overall increase in intelligence, since nutrition and good health are known to positively impact mental development.

The more proximate cause for the "people are really dumb today" effect is probably simply more literacy and better record keeping.  Good records are dodgy even 100 years ago, much less in the distant past.  The stuff that survives is often the stuff that people care about, i.e. the writings of those who are considered smart.  Even if Cousin Dumbicles could write in ancient Greece, no one would have seen any reason to preserve it.  So we get this skewed view of history as being populated solely by intellectual geniuses - while finding Dumbicles' scratchings to day is trivially easily [see: Time Cube]  Likewise, we have a level of intercommunication in the last twenty years or so (and especially in the last ten) than we have ever had.  Compared to the number of complete farkwits I had a chance to become aware of in my teens, I can become aware of several magnitudes as many farkwits today.  The percentage of farkwits in the population isn't necessarily greater than twenty years ago, but my ability to become aware of them is greater.  It is like crime.  Crime has been dropping like a stone for the last twenty years - but because I have access to so much more information, my perception is that it rising almost exponentially.

Tangentially related, is also he fact that evolution is not a preordained path.  Getting smarter is not the right path, nor is dumber the wrong path.  The right path is "survive", the wrong path is "not survive" - and what will constitute "survive" isn't something you can predict.  If survival pressures become powerful enough to make some genetic change worthwhile, it will out - even if that trait started with a complete imbecile.  Until such a time as we do reach such a evolutionary junction, it is better for having maximal genetic diversity, not to pine for having a more homogeneous population for some trait, since wandering too far into specialization will screw you [see every extinct species ever]
 
2013-05-18 08:37:49 PM  

Whatthefark: Scientists of the Victorian Era were able to accurately measure milliseconds?

Serious question, I'd really like to know.


I don't see why not. They didn't have digital electronics but they could build high-precision mechanical equipment that was just beautiful.
 
2013-05-18 08:46:05 PM  

make me some tea: Repo Man: wingnut396: 2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.

I think the more accurate answer is the nicer looking houses have survived, mostly like because richer people lived in them.  Nobody complains when the ratty tenements, shanty huts and shacks are torn down.  Well, nobody that has any political power complains.

We build plenty of nice houses and buildings today.  They are simply not the ones that your average person lives in.

I work in many expensive (say upper middle class, to upper class) homes, and most of them are quite pretty; but whenever you look where the homeowner will never see it, the workmanship is crap. In the depression era homes I've seen, maybe up through the late sixties, you see a quality of workmanship that indicates workers who took pride in their job, and even did it well where almost no one would see.

Yeah, much of the new construction includes styrofoam, which starts disintegrating after several years, or even less.


While most of what you say is true (i.e. evolution not having a right or wrong endgame), IQ and intelligence have been shown to be correlated directly to genetics and the intelligence of your parents.
 
2013-05-18 08:48:14 PM  
You know, I really liked Idiocracy, but it annoys me how many people seem to think it was a serious examination of genetics and demographics instead of just a high-concept comedy.
 
2013-05-18 08:48:29 PM  
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-05-18 08:54:18 PM  
They may have had more opportunities to learn, but I wouldnt say smarter.

Modern society is so complex that it takes the average human until the age of 26 to learn enough to begin to contribute. Fortunately we have a longer life span so it works out.

Unfortunately a lot of what we call "Education" is training and not learning how to learn.
 
2013-05-18 08:54:37 PM  

wildcardjack: 2wolves: jehovahs witness protection: They DID build nicer looking houses back then.

Labor and materials were less expensive then.

And I tend to bang my head or shoulders on what they thought were proper height doorways.


That was earlier than the Victorian era. My last house was Victorian (build in 1888) and had much higher ceilings and doorways than a modern house.
 
2013-05-18 08:59:17 PM  

optional: You know, I really liked Idiocracy, but it annoys me how many people seem to think it was a serious examination of genetics and demographics instead of just a high-concept comedy.


I mean when it comes down to it natural selection is simply a numbers game. You cannot deny that less intelligent people on average have more children. While this may have been the case in the past as well, the more intelligent people could compete to a certain extent. But now with the increasing amount of school that most intelligent people pursue they have fewer children at older ages. It is simple math, and the balance has been shifted to favor the less intelligent (not that less schooling makes one less intelligent necessarily, but on the whole one can make this assumption). This of course, doesn't necessitate some sort of eugenics program. More of just an observation of the way things are leaning. Satires, whether "serious examinations" or not tend to address their subject matters in a way that overblows a real concern. This doesn't negate the point of the subject matter.

And this research seems to indicate more of a "life imitating art" type scenario. So maybe it is more spot on than you are giving it credit for.
 
2013-05-18 08:59:28 PM  

LowbrowDeluxe: [imgs.xkcd.com image 729x520]


came for it...leave happy
 
2013-05-18 09:14:20 PM  
I love the assumption that intelligence is the apex for selection. Since Pinker was already referenced, I'll use his...if elephants were writing this it might be about trunks as the apex.

We value intelligence, it doesn't mean that it's going to help our species survive. Quite the contrary may be true.
 
2013-05-18 09:14:58 PM  
www.loriferber.com
 
2013-05-18 09:19:12 PM  
Since the study was based on measuring reaction time, I wonder if part of the results could be attributed to better measuring techniques today than over one hundred years ago.

Society today is also less physically demanding, as many of the physical tasks of the past are now accomplished by machines.  Using all of our muscles and reflexes less may well have led to them being less honed while not having an effect on brainpower.
 
2013-05-18 09:22:22 PM  

Lady Indica: I love the assumption that intelligence is the apex for selection. Since Pinker was already referenced, I'll use his...if elephants were writing this it might be about trunks as the apex.

We value intelligence, it doesn't mean that it's going to help our species survive. Quite the contrary may be true.


Have you read "Galapagos" by Vonnegut? Really good book and basically puts forth this viewpoint. BUt at this point in time, I think a majority of people value their intelligence and want to think that this is the apex for selection, but like you said that remains to be seen. And with the increasing number of people valuing their ignorance will likely change in the future
 
2013-05-18 09:22:36 PM  
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC4QtwIwAA&url=ht tp%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6m-8l3V38Ps&ei=OymYUZOAPMi_0Q H8-4GoCw&usg=AFQjCNGp06cRTv8FxAPBRllPmRfhKixtCQ&sig2=YaZsco4UygIHsybrO 6c7Ig
 
2013-05-18 09:31:02 PM  
Umm, subby, by Victorian times, they stopped wearing wigs, and they were actually more into coffee than tea. But good try.
 
2013-05-18 09:32:01 PM  

Lady Indica: I love the assumption that intelligence is the apex for selection. Since Pinker was already referenced, I'll use his...if elephants were writing this it might be about trunks as the apex.

We value intelligence, it doesn't mean that it's going to help our species survive. Quite the contrary may be true.




But when I look at Republicans, and their ideas, I don't get the sense that ignorance, or a tendency for slavish devotion to dogma will be of much help either.
I think Huxley was on to something. We evolved in small groups, and it seems likely we had to have tight cohesion to survive. If we were all very intelligent, natural leaders, we would be so busy playing king of the hill that we could be easily wiped out by the nearest group to have a spectrum of personality types, including a few who were very intelligent by nature, a few who were natural leaders, etc.
 
2013-05-18 09:32:35 PM  

clab: And with the increasing number of people valuing their ignorance will likely change in the future


well fox news is number one...you might be on to something :-)
 
2013-05-18 09:33:08 PM  

ImpendingCynic: Umm, subby, by Victorian times, they stopped wearing wigs, and they were actually more into coffee than tea. But good try.


http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/blues/simmons.html

They weren't that sexually repressed either
 
2013-05-18 09:34:53 PM  

Repo Man: I think Huxley was on to something. We evolved in small groups, and it seems likely we had to have tight cohesion to survive. If we were all very intelligent, natural leaders, we would be so busy playing king of the hill that we could be easily wiped out by the nearest group to have a spectrum of personality types, including a few who were very intelligent by nature, a few who were natural leaders, etc.


true...but not those groups that have a high number and high value placed upon low intelligent people.
 
2013-05-18 09:34:57 PM  

mr lawson: clab: And with the increasing number of people valuing their ignorance will likely change in the future

well fox news is number one...you might be on to something :-)


Exactly, man. Exactly. You should take a tour of my hometown too. Basically ground zero for this study I think.
 
2013-05-18 09:35:03 PM  
Article - "Our declining intelligence is most likely down to a "reverse" in the process of natural selection, he explained. The most intelligent people now have fewer children on average than in previous decades, while there are higher survival rates among people with less favourable genes. "

""The pressures of modern life, a nine-to-five modern lifestyle, have created all these pressures against very smart people having break-even numbers of children," he said.  "

Now who is the dummy?  Those that live it up and have kids when they want or those that fall into the rat race and actually believe that crap about being a "productive" member of society?  The really rich are taking them for a ride.  The "stupid ones" don't play their game.
 
2013-05-18 09:40:20 PM  

mrlewish: Article - "Our declining intelligence is most likely down to a "reverse" in the process of natural selection, he explained. The most intelligent people now have fewer children on average than in previous decades, while there are higher survival rates among people with less favourable genes. "

""The pressures of modern life, a nine-to-five modern lifestyle, have created all these pressures against very smart people having break-even numbers of children," he said.  "

Now who is the dummy?  Those that live it up and have kids when they want or those that fall into the rat race and actually believe that crap about being a "productive" member of society?  The really rich are taking them for a ride.  The "stupid ones" don't play their game.


Well if there was any thought behind it more power to them. But I think most still strive to be the "really rich," and when they obviously can't hack it they just fark...which, hell, is probably the way to go. But let's not hold it up to a high standard of sticking it to the man.
 
2013-05-18 09:40:59 PM  
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aHze0SqB5Zg
Queen Victoria talking about Linden trees
 
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