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(Humans Invent)   If you score the people a century ago against modern norms, they would have an average IQ of 70. If you score us against their norms, we would have an average IQ of 130...so what's making us more intelligent?   (humansinvent.com) divider line 126
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3255 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Oct 2013 at 8:54 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



126 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-10-11 08:50:56 AM  
What's making us more intelligent?

Reality TV shows.
 
2013-10-11 08:56:55 AM  
Certainly not humansinvent.com's web design.

Skip the bullsh*t, here's the source.
=Smidge=
 
2013-10-11 08:59:04 AM  
Fark. Our collective IQ is raising the bar to an unprecedented extent.
 
2013-10-11 09:01:28 AM  
Fox News
 
2013-10-11 09:03:14 AM  
I am calling BS. I have seen on the internet schoolhouse exams for 6th graders from the golden age of America individualism that show people were much smarter back then. This was of course due to the non-liberal education that has transformed America in to a bunch of commies or something.

How many bushels are 3 hogsheads again?
 
2013-10-11 09:04:42 AM  
Our brain process a lot more information, just from a single source. 

A certain color, a certain tune,  and/or a certain font can evoke a specific brand...

Compare the first trailer of Die Hard with Die Hard 5...

The original Die Hard needed a narrator to walk us through, giving us bullet points of what the movie is about. 

The latest Die Hard trailer only needs to have Ode to Joy playing while a door opens to quickly evoke the scene with Hans Gruber as they finally open the safe in the original movie, instantly telling us "THIS IS A DIE HARD MOVIE"
 
2013-10-11 09:05:35 AM  
Technology questions on the test.
 
2013-10-11 09:06:42 AM  
Maths.

Use a two- or three-digit number to quantify the ability of the human mind.
How clever.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-10-11 09:09:51 AM  
Because we've gotten better at designing IQ tests?
 
2013-10-11 09:10:51 AM  
Meat.
 
2013-10-11 09:11:12 AM  
computers
 
2013-10-11 09:12:21 AM  
No Child Left Behind?
 
2013-10-11 09:12:29 AM  
But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.
 
2013-10-11 09:12:30 AM  
www.dailysquib.co.uk
 
2013-10-11 09:12:41 AM  

AdamK: computers


Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers.. SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES
 
2013-10-11 09:13:15 AM  
Could it be that health and nutrition, especially early in life, are hugely important?
 
2013-10-11 09:14:03 AM  
twerking?

Billy Mays?

a twerking Billy Mays?
 
2013-10-11 09:14:55 AM  
Multiple choice tests.
 
2013-10-11 09:16:58 AM  
I'm curious how much of the effect is due to better nutrition, improved public health measures, prenatal care, and better medical technology.

For example, the authors of this paper (  http://www.nber.org/papers/w19233 ) posit that iodization of salt accounts for a big chunk of the IQ increase.  The effects are large enough to account for one decade of the Flynn effect.

Article with less science-y prose here:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2013/07/23/how-adding-iodine-t o -salt-boosted-americans-iq/#.Ulf4Nfarkqgs
 
2013-10-11 09:17:02 AM  
crappy standardized tests?
Lower expectations?
 
2013-10-11 09:17:55 AM  

LasersHurt: Could it be that health and nutrition, especially early in life, are hugely important?


Not as much as you'd think.

More likely IQ tests are just a fairly bad measure of real intelligence. That's why there's strong cultural biases.
 
2013-10-11 09:18:46 AM  
The same reason for the decline in violent crime, PORN.

/porn
 
2013-10-11 09:20:43 AM  
I'm more interested in where they got the time machine to perform this experiment.
 
2013-10-11 09:20:47 AM  
It's been a hundred years - all those dumb people have died, that's why we're smarter. Duh.
 
2013-10-11 09:25:06 AM  
This is especially remarkable considering IQ tests (or at least not the simon binet) weren't even available 100 years ago.

We're so smart, not only do we know how to perfectly measure intelligence (IQ tests -- obviously), but we know how to infer the intelligence of others without even giving them this test!

Bulletproof.
 
2013-10-11 09:25:32 AM  
Prolonged exposure to internet porn has rapidly advanced the evolution of the brain. In forty years the average farker will be Dr Xaiver
 
2013-10-11 09:26:51 AM  
Really we're getting dumber. They're just revising the curve so 80 is the new 100. Now everybody who can spell and define "antidisestablishmentarianism" is a SUPER-DOOPER genius.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-10-11 09:31:42 AM  
Page doesn't load for me, so I'll guess good diet and lack of hookworm.
 
2013-10-11 09:31:53 AM  

van1ty: This is especially remarkable considering IQ tests (or at least not the simon binet) weren't even available 100 years ago.

We're so smart, not only do we know how to perfectly measure intelligence (IQ tests -- obviously), but we know how to infer the intelligence of others without even giving them this test!

Bulletproof.


The original observation came from looking at IQ tests since they did become available in the 1930's. Usually every few years when they design anew test they have a bunch of people take it and calibrate it by setting the average raw score of the tests to 100 and curve it with a standard deviation of 10-15 points. You can also take people from that same age group and give them the old test and see how they did. They noticed a steady trend of increases.

Of course there is also now evidence that the effect has levelled off in developed countries. I think I read something about it levelling in the mid 90's in the US. Of course apparently scores for numerical reasoning sub-tests have started decreasing.
 
2013-10-11 09:32:05 AM  
Race mixing. As humans become "mongrelized", we will get smarter and healthier, just like dogs do - diversity is the key to genetic success.
 
2013-10-11 09:35:56 AM  
Our IQ's have gone up over time due to a variety of reasons, some of which have been mentioned.

Better nutrition, less exposure to heavy metals (lead from leaded gasoline lead to generations of people with higher than average rates of mental disorders, especially violent ones, and lower IQ), early childhood education that focuses rather heavily on problem solving abilities which are the foundation of human intellect, and also unfortunately 'teaching to the test'.

Overall, a modern child of the same age as someone from 100 years ago would on average be MUCH better at abstract problem solving thanks to these causes, though im guesstimating that a good 60% of that is due to mere early childhood education.

seriously, intelligence is only loosely linked to genetics. the major determining factor of a persons later life intelligence is the level of early childhood education, which just so happens to be much higher in middle and upper class families than the very poor...
 
2013-10-11 09:42:05 AM  
Google.

All you need is a little Google Fu to be considered intelligent.
 
2013-10-11 09:42:52 AM  
The Cake Farting.
 
2013-10-11 09:44:30 AM  

entropic_existence: van1ty: This is especially remarkable considering IQ tests (or at least not the simon binet) weren't even available 100 years ago.

We're so smart, not only do we know how to perfectly measure intelligence (IQ tests -- obviously), but we know how to infer the intelligence of others without even giving them this test!

Bulletproof.

The original observation came from looking at IQ tests since they did become available in the 1930's. Usually every few years when they design anew test they have a bunch of people take it and calibrate it by setting the average raw score of the tests to 100 and curve it with a standard deviation of 10-15 points. You can also take people from that same age group and give them the old test and see how they did. They noticed a steady trend of increases.

Of course there is also now evidence that the effect has levelled off in developed countries. I think I read something about it levelling in the mid 90's in the US. Of course apparently scores for numerical reasoning sub-tests have started decreasing.


Do you have a link? The decreasing trend in math scores doesn't match what I've been able to find.

Using NAEP scores (figure 2 of link), there has been a general upward trend in math, while reading ability has either increased or remained relatively constant in the US since 1971. It's difficult to interpret the trend, since I'm not familiar with the units used in NAEP scores (is a 5-point difference a lot?), but it's certainly evidence that there hasn't been an overall decline.

Oh, and my guess for "why have IQ scores been increasing" is nutrition/willingness to educate the poor/more resources available (books, computers, etc.) across the economic spectrum*/the concept that education isn't just "stand up in front of the room and recite a memorized poem/fact/whatever"/immigration policies that bias towards highly-qualified people entering the country/etc.etc.etc.


*My mother-in-law once commented that our kids had more books in our house than she'd ever seen growing up.
 
2013-10-11 09:46:01 AM  
If I had to guess, I'd pick the selective effects of civilization.

Nature doesn't provide strong mental challenges the same way that other people do.
Despite the "stupid breeds more" theory, its the children who evolve better skills (memory, language skills, technical ability, overall intelligence) that grow up to earn more. High earners avoid more diseases, have more options in partners, and have children who survive more often.

Intelligence is sexy inside of our social and economic structure.
 
2013-10-11 09:46:08 AM  

BunkoSquad: AdamK: computers

Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers.. SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES


www.maniacworld.com
 
2013-10-11 09:47:06 AM  
My team finished third in our bar trivia game last night. I'm not sure how many people from 100 years ago could've done as well as we did!
 
2013-10-11 09:47:18 AM  
It's not mentioned, so I'm going to assume if you score us against modern norms, we would have an average IQ of 65.
 
2013-10-11 09:48:09 AM  
This is caused by the increased prevalence of single parent households. Kids get confused when mommy and daddy give mixed signals and this retards early learning. Such as when my boy threw a ball in the house and broke mommy's favorite vase. Addda boy nice throw, vs Why you little.

If you care about your kids you should get a divorce.
 
2013-10-11 09:49:31 AM  
Wouldn't this be an apples-and-oranges thing, thus making the question sort of meaningless? I wasn't alive back then and I'm neither a historian nor a psychometrician, but it seems pretty obvious that being a success in 1913 and 2013 require vastly different skill sets, knowledge bases, credentials, etc.
 
2013-10-11 09:49:42 AM  
Well, so far, this thread isn't proven that whatsoever...

But to answer the question, I'd go with access to schooling, more stimulus since birth, educational shows, toys that aren't sticks, better nutrition, and parents that gave a damn (at least some did) instead of being out there trying to survive, etc.

But as the next generation can't do crap without a computer/phone/tablet and their idiot parents letting them sit on their arses and do nothing than play the shiny App on their devices so to shut them up, this should slowly return to lower scores.

But the thing about IQs, it's technically hard to really judge... I mean if most in here are about 100 (average rate, and not the genius most think they are) but one hits 180, it does mess with the curve.
 
2013-10-11 09:51:21 AM  

Saiga410: This is caused by the increased prevalence of single parent households. Kids get confused when mommy and daddy give mixed signals and this retards early learning. Such as when my boy threw a ball in the house and broke mommy's favorite vase. Addda boy nice throw, vs Why you little.

If you care about your kids you should get a divorce.


Or use birth control like your parents should have(?).
 
2013-10-11 09:51:40 AM  
And life is much more complex now.

Would you hire someone who didnt know how to use a phone, drive a car, or operate a computer?

These are basic skills that we expect everyone in America to have.

/ still trying to figure out the three shells...
 
2013-10-11 09:53:10 AM  

vpb: Because we've gotten better at designing taking IQ tests?


FTFY

//134 IQ last time I took one
 
2013-10-11 09:55:23 AM  
FTA:  In 1900, three percent of Americans practiced professions that were cognitively demanding

This seems like a flawed statement.  Instead of digging ditches, we operate machines that dig ditches.
 
2013-10-11 09:57:24 AM  

Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.


They are, I would bet people taking the old IQ tests would not score that high, people have gotten good at hiding how dumb they are.
 
2013-10-11 10:00:26 AM  

draypresct: Do you have a link? The decreasing trend in math scores doesn't match what I've been able to find.

Using NAEP scores (figure 2 of link), there has been a general upward trend in math, while reading ability has either increased or remained relatively constant in the US since 1971. It's difficult to interpret the trend, since I'm not familiar with the units used in NAEP scores (is a 5-point difference a lot?), but it's certainly evidence that there hasn't been an overall decline.

Oh, and my guess for "why have IQ scores been increasing" is nutrition/willingness to educate the poor/more resources available (books, computers, etc.) across the economic spectrum*/the concept that education isn't just "stand up in front of the room and recite a memorized poem/fact/whatever"/immigration policies that bias towards highly-qualified people entering the country/etc.etc.etc.


It was based solely on the Numerical Reasoning portion of the IQ tests, so it would likely overlap but not be identical to NAEP scores I would assume. And my bad, the study that showed a decrease in numerical reasoning was in Norwegians not the United states. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289604000522  )

If you look at even the wiki entry for the Flynn effect a lot of your ideas are all considered part of it. People go to school for much longer on average now than ever before, we eat better, and more adults are in cognitively demanding jobs (cognitively demanding compared to stock manual labour that is).
 
2013-10-11 10:02:11 AM  

steamingpile: Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.

They are, I would bet people taking the old IQ tests would not score that high, people have gotten good at hiding how dumb they are.


Except that isn't true, as evidenced by you know, actual research and not just pulling something out of your ass. There are still a lot of dumb people, but then again what many of us would consider "dumb" doesn't necessarily translate in to a low IQ. There's a difference between stupidity and ignorance after all.
 
2013-10-11 10:05:10 AM  
Schools being rated by how smart their students are...
 
2013-10-11 10:06:04 AM  
Having recently read The Republic, I think that the most intelligent people of that era and the most intelligent people of this era would be in the same peer group.
 
2013-10-11 10:08:14 AM  
I am going to go with our collective "smugness" subby.
 
2013-10-11 10:16:36 AM  

Arkanaut: vpb: Because we've gotten better at designing taking IQ tests?

FTFY

//134 IQ last time I took one


I generally fall between 132 and 136. Though I haven't taken one in years, and I'm pretty sure I've gotten dumber lately.
 
2013-10-11 10:18:50 AM  

entropic_existence: draypresct: Do you have a link? The decreasing trend in math scores doesn't match what I've been able to find.

Using NAEP scores (figure 2 of link), there has been a general upward trend in math, while reading ability has either increased or remained relatively constant in the US since 1971. It's difficult to interpret the trend, since I'm not familiar with the units used in NAEP scores (is a 5-point difference a lot?), but it's certainly evidence that there hasn't been an overall decline.

Oh, and my guess for "why have IQ scores been increasing" is nutrition/willingness to educate the poor/more resources available (books, computers, etc.) across the economic spectrum*/the concept that education isn't just "stand up in front of the room and recite a memorized poem/fact/whatever"/immigration policies that bias towards highly-qualified people entering the country/etc.etc.etc.

It was based solely on the Numerical Reasoning portion of the IQ tests, so it would likely overlap but not be identical to NAEP scores I would assume. And my bad, the study that showed a decrease in numerical reasoning was in Norwegians not the United states. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289604000522  )

If you look at even the wiki entry for the Flynn effect a lot of your ideas are all considered part of it. People go to school for much longer on average now than ever before, we eat better, and more adults are in cognitively demanding jobs (cognitively demanding compared to stock manual labour that is).


Thanks for the link (although I'm wondering if they've introduced bias by limiting their analysis to conscripts - the pool of Norwegians entering the armed forces over the years isn't necessarily constant).

I agree that the other factors you named play a role as well - we're talking about  lots and lots of inter-related factors, not a single cause with a simple narrative explanation.
 
2013-10-11 10:20:13 AM  
Being able to find information on Google doesn't make us more intelligent.  Just easier to find that information.
 
2013-10-11 10:23:11 AM  

doglover: LasersHurt: Could it be that health and nutrition, especially early in life, are hugely important?

Not as much as you'd think.

More likely IQ tests are just a fairly bad measure of real intelligence. That's why there's strong cultural biases.


Unless you get a high IQ score, then IQ tests are made of God's own golden sciencey Truth, and only stupid people question them, because they're envious.
 
2013-10-11 10:24:42 AM  
I might have a higher IQ but I'd die if the supermarket closed.
 
2013-10-11 10:27:20 AM  
s15.postimg.org
 
2013-10-11 10:29:45 AM  
The answer is C.
 
2013-10-11 10:32:05 AM  

INeedAName: Arkanaut: vpb: Because we've gotten better at designing taking IQ tests?

FTFY

//134 IQ last time I took one

I generally fall between 132 and 136. Though I haven't taken one in years, and I'm pretty sure I've gotten dumber lately.


149-154 here. But I was 160-165 when I was a kid. Must be all the drugs.
 
2013-10-11 10:32:17 AM  
1) 3D printers
2) Private space colonies
3) Short lifespans
 
2013-10-11 10:34:22 AM  
Not Sure.
 
2013-10-11 10:34:52 AM  
The Sham-Wow I used on yo mama?
 
2013-10-11 10:40:12 AM  
Modern society stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.
 
2013-10-11 10:40:36 AM  
What's making us more intelligent?
Not TED talks
 
2013-10-11 10:44:40 AM  

draypresct: Thanks for the link (although I'm wondering if they've introduced bias by limiting their analysis to conscripts - the pool of Norwegians entering the armed forces over the years isn't necessarily constant).


Norway technically has a form of mandatory military service. While not everyone actually gets conscripted for service (making it in practice basically voluntary), all able-bodied men of conscription age have to meet before the draft board where they undergo psychological and intellectual examination. It makes Norway a pretty great source for the data because they are a developed nation and you get the majority of 18-20 year old men undergoing evaluation. It's introduces the least amount of sample bias possible.
 
2013-10-11 10:47:21 AM  
I think our children is learnin'
 
2013-10-11 10:49:11 AM  

CrazyCracka420: Being able to find information on Google doesn't make us more intelligent.  Just easier to find that information.


This is true, but having the information available gives you something else to think about. Being able to compare information from different sources gives you something else to think about. Reading critiques of information from different sources gives you even more to think about. This process can help you exercise something that looks remarkably like intelligence.

A hundred years ago, a typical school might have had a single shelf of books - maybe. A few (*ahem*) decades ago when I was a young'un, the typical source of information was the (note the singular)encyclopedia. There is a lot of information in an encyclopedia, but we're talking about something with all of two whole paragraphs on topics like "Taiwan" (OK "Formosa" back then) or "The Ottoman Empire" or "Aerodynamics". Even for those few children who might have the extra time and energy to look up confirmatory or conflicting sources, most topics only had a single source of information (if you were lucky!).

While there were a few heretics like Feynman or Heinlein (or my father) who corrected books when they were wrong, most people just went with what a book said. The effort required for information access led to a focus on memorization, not critical thinking.
 
2013-10-11 10:52:43 AM  
I recall reading a study last year that said nearly all of the increase is in the spatial/perceptual parts of the test, relatively little in the math parts, and almost none in the language. One hypothesis is that our widespread exposure to media and technology is much better practice for those parts of the test than previous generations received.
 
2013-10-11 10:53:35 AM  
www.americathebrewtiful.com
 
2013-10-11 11:00:04 AM  

entropic_existence: draypresct: Thanks for the link (although I'm wondering if they've introduced bias by limiting their analysis to conscripts - the pool of Norwegians entering the armed forces over the years isn't necessarily constant).

Norway technically has a form of mandatory military service. While not everyone actually gets conscripted for service (making it in practice basically voluntary), all able-bodied men of conscription age have to meet before the draft board where they undergo psychological and intellectual examination. It makes Norway a pretty great source for the data because they are a developed nation and you get the majority of 18-20 year old men undergoing evaluation. It's introduces the least amount of sample bias possible.


I hadn't known that about Norway's conscription process. Thanks!

That does reduce or eliminate* the bias.

/*My only quibble on "eliminate" is that I don't know offhand if the definition of "able-bodied men of conscription age" has remained the same and had the same effect over the years. This is probably not something that had any real effect over the past couple of decades, though, so the study's conclusions are probably accurate.
 
2013-10-11 11:01:08 AM  
Did they have drinks with electrolytes back then?... no.   This really aint that hard to connect the dots.
 
2013-10-11 11:01:10 AM  

czetie: I recall reading a study last year that said nearly all of the increase is in the spatial/perceptual parts of the test, relatively little in the math parts, and almost none in the language. One hypothesis is that our widespread exposure to media and technology is much better practice for those parts of the test than previous generations received.


Take a look at my link upthread on the NAEP scores. The math scores have been improving.
 
2013-10-11 11:08:40 AM  
Average IQ of 130?  REALLY?  RREEAALLYY??  Have these folks seen people on the freeway when it's time to merge?  Try 30, and that's optimistic.
 
2013-10-11 11:15:56 AM  
Better standards of living especially for the impoverished.  It's a hell of a lot easier to learn in a comfortable setting.
 
2013-10-11 11:23:09 AM  
Mostly diet.

Good nutrition is very important from conception to early childhood. Most of the brain's growth occurs very young. Humans have the largest brains at birth of many species, including our primate cousins.

Malnutrition has been shown to have epigenetic effects on your grandchildren. Women born during famines in Sweden had grandchildren with more health problems. Even men inherit health problems from their grandfathers as well as their mothers, although the Mother's contribution is vastly greater because it is the Mother who provides the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell and the only organelle that has its own DNA.

In the 1800s, women ate very badly. Men ate first in working households, and women were taught to pick at their food. Women did not eat enough meat and were more prone to diseases such as tuberculosis, even in rich households.

With better maternal care before birth and better child care after birth, children simply weren't as brain-damaged after health care reforms were introduced.

Safe milk, formulated baby foods, and general health produced most of the rise in IQs.

Many other factors play a big role, such as enriched environments, better education in childhood, reduction in poisons in the home (asbestos, mercury, lead paint, etc.).

One big factor is diseases which cause mental retardation. These are rampant in tropical and sub-tropical environments. The US South was (and remains) a whole lot stupider than the North simply because of disease and parasites as well as rotten public health care, welfare, and education. Even today, things like ringworm are more common among the poor and Southerners. They have not been eliminated the way that polio and smallpox have. In Africa, it can take eight weeks or more to teach servants to do simple jobs that a normally intelligent working person would only need to be shown or told how to do once. Sleeping sickness and other diseases cause some of this retardation, malnutrition causes much of it. Even a few pennies of vitamins given to pregnant women could increase the intelligence and productivity of the African poor by similar large percentages as have been observed in the rich world and among the rich and middle classes in the poor world.

But number one is what the Mothers and enfants eat and how much.

Prior to the development of scientific medicine and vast numbers of studies and experiments, many done on very large populations such as students or soldiers, they simply did not know what the body needed for optimal growth.

Racists ignore all of this evidence of the perfectibility of man. They attribute intelligence to "blood" when it is more likely to be produced by "milk", especially Mother's milk, which can produce a difference of almost five degrees--about the difference between American whites and blacks.

Then again, there are people who claim that we are dumber than our Victorian ancestors. They base this on studies of certain mental attributes that seemingly have declined. But they are probably mistaking changes in the constitution of high school classes for innate properties.

The drop out rate has declined as legislators have legislated school attendance and supplied the resources necessary for students to learn and even eat in some cases.

As the French say, Ventre affamé n'a point d'oreilles (A hungry stomach has no ears.) I love that saying. It just sounds great. It's also very true.

It is likely that we have not seen the end of rising intelligence. It is needed more than ever and our health, security and prosperity depends more and more on intelligence being applied by all people in all situations.

Doesn't matter if you're retarded if your work is manual and you can't afford guns, cars, university attendance, etc. But if you are retarded in a highly technical and intellectual environment, your stupidity is as contagious as Bart Simpson's naughtiness and will produce what Principal Skinner called a cone of ignorance around you.

One bad apple spoils not only the whole barrel, but possibly the whole crop.

But intelligence probably follows a logistic curve. These are s-shaped curves that resemble exponential curves but are slow to rise at the beginning and end of the curve.

Intelligence is largely a product of material circumstances (in the body and in the environment). Karl Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin all understood this as is pointed out by the great British physiologist and geneticist, J.B.S. Haldane, who was an idealistic and intelligent Communist despite being fooled by the Russian con for a long time. Conservatives often do not acknowledge the connections between the material world and the mental world and thus moralize when they should supply a comfortable living wage and social welfare benefits to all.

You can't be very smart on a bad diet, with an impoverished social and cultural environment, and while riddled with debilitating disease. Even the more intelligent Conservatives have realized that some support is required to prevent the poor from dragging us all down. You can't steal everything a man has or else you lose the worker who makes you so fecking superior and rich. Workers are a form of capital, like land, industrial plant, and technology. They can be upgraded to think as well as to work better.
 
2013-10-11 11:33:12 AM  

jso2897: Race mixing. As humans become "mongrelized", we will get smarter and healthier, just like dogs do - diversity is the key to genetic success.


My father confided to me in 1978 that I wasn't all white: he was part Native American and part Black, from his mother's side.

He said he didn't have documented proof and it wasn't easy to find, given that in that area in that time one's "race" was a social definition as much as blood-quantum thing: if your community agreed you were White that's how you were treated and recorded. E.g., someone like Homer Plessy could go from White to Colored or vice versa by moving a couple dozen miles where his family wasn't known; in many cases is still true, given blue-eyed people with African facial features and very curly "dirty blond" hair who call themselves Lumbee Indians when they could just as easily "qualify" as White or Black when away from home.

Then he set out to find proof of his racial ancestry anyway, which wasn't very productive, and later on I tried my hand at genealogy. It was cool to trace my paternal ancestry back to the Ulster Plantation and discover that I'm descended in part from Jonathan Swift's grandmother, though disquieting to find that 300 years ago a couple ancestors or their siblings owned slaves. On his mother's side I couldn't find much, except that at least one of her ancestors owned at least one slave too; they were all recorded as White. Despite even that I couldn't however find any proof that I'm partly descended from slaves or even Blacks, though I probably have Black 5th & 6th cousins.

Meanwhile I spat in a tube and got my DNA tested: according to 23andme I'm 99.99% White European (with
"0.1% Unassigned"), mostly British (partly Celtic) on my father's side and central German (Sassanach!) on my mother's just like the genealogical records show, and though somehow I got to be 2.6% Neanderthal they didn't find any markers for any "non-White blood."

It was a big blow finding out at age 49 that what my father told me about my race 25 years earlier was probably incorrect, that after a lifetime of regarding myself as "legally Negro" I have to get used to being "totally Caucasian." So my medium-high IQ didn't come from visibly traceable mongrelization: it might as well have been a Gypsy curse. ("137!") It's always worked out that way too: instead of being an improvement on something previous, or even a degeneration from an earlier genius strain, it's made me orthogonal -- a mutant, a farking freak. I even had to drop out of 8th grade, after a very rocky grade school history, because I was tired of being bullied & beaten for not trying harder to hide that I got good grades and enjoyed reading. (It would have been nice to have had the social intelligence to learn "protective coloration," dammit.)

Anyway. To must bring these comments back into line with the thread, IIRC the last Mensa pretest I took was far less "culturally White" than the ones they gave me in the '70s, which might account for the drop in IQ from 160+ to a mere 137: maybe it's not that I'm all that smart, just pretty bright for a White guy. (*rimshot*)

In any case it'd be an expensive struggle to get into Mensa now: first I'd have to prep my body/brain by getting enough sleep etc., then I'd probably have to download and take several sample/practice tests, and the proctored test would cost $40 I'd rather spend on whiskey. Even then there's no guarantee I wouldn't flop totally or just barely squeak in with such an embarrassingly low score that I'd be out-geniused by everybody else. At age 50 yet.
    
Being a senile honky sucks.

 
2013-10-11 11:38:03 AM  

grimeystubs: I am calling BS. I have seen on the internet schoolhouse exams for 6th graders from the golden age of America individualism that show people were much smarter back then. This was of course due to the non-liberal education that has transformed America in to a bunch of commies or something.

How many bushels are 3 hogsheads again?


Not true. During the Golden Age of Bootstrapy, only a small percentage of the wealthiest families sent their children to school even as far as the sixth grade. These people are still smarter than the average today, only not so much so because the average person is, despite a crooked system, smarter relatively and absolutely than they were. This is a filtered and distorting way to look at intelligence.

Furthermore, even those who went to school were forced to work harder than today because relatively speaking, time was more valuable. When life-expectancy was 40-45 years in the US, and children had lower life expectancies, they were forced to learn more of the basics, sooner. They were not distracted by school sports, TV, radio, computers, video games, or even a lot of light reading. It was noses to the grindstone.

If you truly believe that exams prove that our ancestors were smarter, you would have to acknowledge that they prove that third world students are smarter because they too have their noses to the grindstone and beat our Western students on math, science, and anything remotely practical, such as engineering, while being lousy at many luxury skills such as creative thinking and problem-solving rather than rote-learning.

The Chinese educational system is very 1800s in its concentration on making money or giant leaps forward. Their health care and environmental regulations are similarly typical of America during the Robber Baron Age.

Teachers have been getting lazier and students also, so they may teach less and learn less in a unit of time. But the average student lives to be dumped into college or the job market today. Back then, only the brightest and the luckiest made it through grade school, so they had to learn all they were going to learn in grade school or become auto-didacts and teach themselves as youths and adults.

And then consider how much less there was to know. If you only have to learn half as much, you can learn that half better. If you only focus on the skills and knowledge necessary to get rich or to build an economy up fast, you can focus better.

Conservatives are, well, conservative and they love anything old-timey, supposing that former days were better than these. But as the Bible says, it ain't necessarily so. Ask not why former days were better than these, for thou doest not inquire wisely after such things. That's word, Brother!

I have a great book entitled The Good Old Days, They Were Awful! which describes early industrial America in unromantic and very accurate terms. Very little of the milk that American infants and children drink today is Malk. Very little of it is chalk-coloured water. In China and elsewhere, because they don't have liberal and progressive government agencies such as the FDA, children die because the milk they are being fed by their loving parents is fake.

This is a tragedy, and also something that needs to be considered when you compare exams from 1890 to exams from 2013.
 
2013-10-11 11:39:21 AM  

Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.


Well, IQ doesn't always mean intelligence. Poor education could result in someone with a high IQ being really stupid.
 
2013-10-11 11:41:50 AM  

Oysterman: It's not mentioned, so I'm going to assume if you score us against modern norms, we would have an average IQ of 65.


No, the median is always 100. That's how the scoring is set up: half of the American testees score under 100 and half score over 100. It's like a standardized dollar. It is always 100 cents, although over time it may buy more or less.

In fact, intelligence measurements are very like economic measures of quantities that change over time. They are difficult but informative. You really have to think hard to understand what the numbers really mean.
 
2013-10-11 11:44:40 AM  

The One True TheDavid: Really we're getting dumber. They're just revising the curve so 80 is the new 100. Now everybody who can spell and define "antidisestablishmentarianism" is a SUPER-DOOPER genius.


Moran. It's spelled SUPER-DUPER...
thumbs3.ebaystatic.com
 
2013-10-11 11:47:30 AM  

Parthenogenetic: I'm curious how much of the effect is due to better nutrition, improved public health measures, prenatal care, and better medical technology.

chumster: Having recently read The Republic, I think that the most intelligent people of that era and the most intelligent people of this era would be in the same peer group.


I'm fairly certain this is a nature vs nurture thing. Poor nutrition for most people caused severe limitations on growth, both physical and mental. Wealthy, well-nourished people of the 1800s had already reached their genetic potential.
 
2013-10-11 11:55:01 AM  
As a child I lived in a small rural village. This has provided me with all kinds of knowledge and insight that even people smarter or more informed than myself do not have.

In a small village you see all the classes of society at once, and they are very well known to you. You are forced to associate with everybody whether you like them or not, want to have anything to do with them or not.

And that's why Brantgoose is such a genius at this comparative stuff. A deprived upper middle class childhood enriched with information and experiences that you'd have to live one hundred lives to acquire in normal circumstance.

I also like to say that I have had the good luck to live in three or four different centuries. In this same small village I was exposed to ideas, people, things and activities that pretty much cover everything from the 1700s to the 2000s.

Some of our quaint rural customs would not have been strange to our 13 times great grandparents.

And being of French and British and other stock, I have been exposed via my genealogy with a lot of history and culture, not to mention a lot of genes.

A recent study by a Quebec University has taken advantage of the almost unique high quality of genealogical records and modern DNA techniques and has discovered that there has been a very surprising amount of evolution going on in Quebec. Although the small original population has left a powerful legacy in the population as a whole, with Quebecois sharing most of the same genetic background as their French ancestors, there has been a surprising amount of mixing and sorting going on.

In short, we are an exceptionally fast-evolving population thanks to small pockets of inbreeding which causes genetic abnormalities, some of which are adaptive. If you understand evolution well, you can see how this might be very valuable.

I'm a lucky pappy in many ways. My material circumstances have made my intellectual circumstances rare if not unique.

I should probably have studied the humanities instead of literature and language, but hey, you spend more of your life "unemployed" than working. Between vacations, weekend, after-work hours, and retirement or unemployment, I thought it would pay better to follow my heart and read, read, read.

I haven't a lot of money (more than most, but not a lot) but I have had a lot of time to read, to think, to write enormously over-length Fark posts, and to argue with stupid and bright people alike.

You can learn a heck of a lot from arguing with a semi-retarded idiot.

But as Farkers, you know that instinctively, don't you?

Trust me. Intelligence is one of the things that intelligent people understand least. They are soaking in it up to the points on their giant heads. It's lovely and complicated though, and thus a lot of fun.
 
2013-10-11 11:58:14 AM  

Parthenogenetic: I'm curious how much of the effect is due to better nutrition, improved public health measures, prenatal care, and better medical technology.

For example, the authors of this paper (  http://www.nber.org/papers/w19233 ) posit that iodization of salt accounts for a big chunk of the IQ increase.  The effects are large enough to account for one decade of the Flynn effect.

Article with less science-y prose here:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2013/07/23/how-adding-iodine-t o -salt-boosted-americans-iq/#.Ulf4Nfarkqgs


That plus removing lead from gasoline (and other toxic chemicals from everyday use) you get your IQ boost. We would also have a malnutrition epidemic today if we didn't fortify grains with B vitamins and Milk with vitamin D.

We also force parents to send their kids to school and we do it for free. We also force the kids to stay in school until age 16 (depending on state), both of my Grandfathers dropped out of school in 6th grade.
 
2013-10-11 12:00:02 PM  
My IQ is potato.
 
2013-10-11 12:01:45 PM  
I know more calculus than Leibnitz or Newton, but that doesn't make me a math whiz.

/Failed calculus twice.
 
2013-10-11 12:09:04 PM  
I think our incredible ability assume things and skew them in our favor is the cause.
 
2013-10-11 12:09:36 PM  
Lack of oral sex from wives
 
2013-10-11 12:14:57 PM  

Parthenogenetic: For example, the authors of this paper ( http://www.nber.org/papers/w19233 ) posit that iodization of salt accounts for a big chunk of the IQ increase. The effects are large enough to account for one decade of the Flynn effect.


A simpleminded estimate: Let's assume that the authors correctly adjusted for all the other temporal trends occurring between WWI and WWII (their pre- and post-iodine comparison sample) and that iodine has accounted for one decade's worth of the Flynn effect since 1920.

The paper was written 9 decades after 1920, so we would conclude that iodine accounts for 1/9 of the improvement. Simple!

Good luck explaining the improvement in NAEP math scores since 1970 in terms of improved nutrition, though.

I expect that nutrition is just one factor out of many that has influenced the rise in intelligence in the US.
 
2013-10-11 12:25:57 PM  
As a number of people said, +nuitrition and -lead. That's all you need.
 
2013-10-11 01:11:28 PM  

The One True TheDavid: Being a senile honky sucks.


You're right there, Clint. Have a seat. No, not the talking seat.
 
2013-10-11 01:31:32 PM  
Finally, proof that literacy and IQ are inversely proportionate!
 
2013-10-11 01:33:19 PM  

Richard C Stanford: Poor education could result in someone with a high IQ being really stupid.


Ignorant more than stupid, but I agree it gets back to the point of the IQ test being a poor measure of actual intelligence.

Its possible that we haven't really gotten smarter biologically. Just that, with at least a public education being the norm now for all races and social classes, we've gotten better at taking tests.
 
2013-10-11 01:35:50 PM  
Wha??
 
2013-10-11 01:58:23 PM  

Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.


Idiocracy is excellent satire, but it's bad science. Population genetics don't work like that.
 
2013-10-11 02:03:06 PM  
Pop culture, mass media, technology, the internet, public education.  Common sense is now much more refined, detailed and widespread than ever before.

Doesn't mean we don't still do stupid shiat.  Generally thanks to our amazing IQ reducing elixirs.
 
2013-10-11 02:07:56 PM  
Meh. A couple of weeks ago we had a headline on here that said the average IQ has declined since 1900. I'm more willing to believe that.
 
2013-10-11 02:14:03 PM  

brantgoose: Mostly diet.

....One big factor is diseases which cause mental retardation. These are rampant in tropical and sub-tropical environments. The US South was (and remains) a whole lot stupider than the North simply because of disease and parasites as well as rotten public health care, welfare, and education. Even today, things like ringworm are more common among the poor and Southerners...



And Lotrimin cream, apparently.
 
2013-10-11 02:17:10 PM  

Dinobot: Our brain process a lot more information, just from a single source. 

A certain color, a certain tune,  and/or a certain font can evoke a specific brand...

Compare the first trailer of Die Hard with Die Hard 5...

The original Die Hard needed a narrator to walk us through, giving us bullet points of what the movie is about. 

The latest Die Hard trailer only needs to have Ode to Joy playing while a door opens to quickly evoke the scene with Hans Gruber as they finally open the safe in the original movie, instantly telling us "THIS IS A DIE HARD MOVIE"


I see you listened to the cracked podcast on the Flynn effect for that precise analogy.
 
2013-10-11 02:25:57 PM  

endosymbiont: As a number of people said, +nuitrition and -lead. That's all you need.


That's right, the only two things the twentieth century did to improve IQs are +nutrition and -lead. And the increased schooling.

The only three things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, and reduced inbreeding.

Well, yes, reduced inbreeding, ok. So the only four things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, and -infectious diseases during development. Of course we've reduced serious infections; nobody needs to mention that!

I've got this: the only things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, -infection, and increased exposure to abstract concepts.

Right! So, aside from +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, -infection, and +exposure to abstract concepts, the twentieth century has done nothing for improving IQs. Agreed?
 
2013-10-11 02:27:05 PM  

Some 'Splainin' To Do: Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.

Idiocracy is excellent satire, but it's bad science. Population genetics don't work like that.


I know. I was being sarcastic regarding the people who seemingly regard Idiocracy as gospel truth.

People are always ready to intuitively believe that people are getting dumber, culture is getting more degraded, each generation is lazier, ruder, and more self-centered. These claims usually happen amidst pining for "the good old days." This fretting about society's decline has been going on for thousands of years.

But it's not supported by facts. The "good old days" sucked. And history is full of barbaric, violent, selfish, incultured, uneducated, illiterate, and downright dumb people.
 
2013-10-11 02:56:34 PM  

draypresct: endosymbiont: As a number of people said, +nuitrition and -lead. That's all you need.

That's right, the only two things the twentieth century did to improve IQs are +nutrition and -lead. And the increased schooling.

The only three things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, and reduced inbreeding.

Well, yes, reduced inbreeding, ok. So the only four things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, and -infectious diseases during development. Of course we've reduced serious infections; nobody needs to mention that!

I've got this: the only things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, -infection, and increased exposure to abstract concepts.

Right! So, aside from +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, -infection, and +exposure to abstract concepts, the twentieth century has done nothing for improving IQs. Agreed?


No, many things have likely increased IQ. However, increased nutrition and decreased childhood exposure to lead were--in and of themselves--sufficient to increase IQs. Certainly, decreased inbreeding and improved health, as well as exposure to other accumulated knowledge including certain abstract concepts, also contributed. But I maintain that nutrition and less lead are "all you need" to explain it.
 
2013-10-11 03:32:35 PM  
It's largely impossible to design an "intelligence" test that really doesn't just boil down to a "knowledge" test.

People getting more education = higher "IQ" even though they might no smarter.
 
2013-10-11 03:58:33 PM  

cefm: People getting more education = higher "IQ" even though they might no smarter.


But then again, they might smarter.  They might a whole lot smarter indeed.
 
2013-10-11 04:16:03 PM  

cefm: It's largely impossible to design an "intelligence" test that really doesn't just boil down to a "knowledge" test.

People getting more education = higher "IQ" even though they might no smarter.


You know how I know that you have no idea what an IQ test is and that you've never taken a real one?
 
2013-10-11 04:18:08 PM  

vpb: Because we've gotten better at designing IQ tests?


psst.. IQ test are constantly being adapted to mirror changes in society and other factors.
 
2013-10-11 04:18:31 PM  
Cymbal:   149-154 here. But I was 160-165 when I was a kid. Must be all the drugs.

160 IQ would mean your IQ was higher than 99,997 out of 100,000 people.   That's pretty impressive.

Even a 145 IQ puts you higher than 99,865 out of 100,000 people.

/and yet you're on Fark?  Where you getting your dope?
 
2013-10-11 04:21:30 PM  

Richard C Stanford: Well, IQ doesn't always mean intelligence. Poor education could result in someone with a high IQ being really stupid.


IQ is a measure of though process, problem solving, and such.

No education = uneducated, not stupid.
 
2013-10-11 04:31:55 PM  

The One True TheDavid: Really we're getting dumber. They're just revising the curve so 80 is the new 100. Now everybody who can spell and define "antidisestablishmentarianism" is a SUPER-DOOPER genius.


that 100 mark is the median, so even if people get dumber, the "average intelligence" will still be 100.

Part of the article is trying to explain that the median from the past compared to today's median has changed.

So a today's score of 100 would be worth 130 in the older days.  Think of it as money, what 1$ was worth then (and what you could buy) to a dollar today and what you can buy with it... you need to adjust the value.


And that's the biggest error in Idiocracy.  If the population gets more stupid, their 100 mark would be the same as maybe 70 on today's scale, but it would still be 100 that would be the average for them.

Basically the same as this article but flip the timeline for the future instead of the past.

Does that mean people got smarter? Not really, the average stays the same, but the difference could be explained with the fact that higher scoring children were exposed to more stimulus, causing more development, hence better abilities.

Take a scenario with twins, one left in a savage environment, raised by wolves or something, while the other one is exposed to an highly stimulating environment.  I'd feel fairly certain that the stimulated one would score radically higher than the other child, even though their brains are fairly identical and both having the same capacity and potential.
 
2013-10-11 04:35:30 PM  

gu1tarjohn: Average IQ of 130?  REALLY?  RREEAALLYY??  Have these folks seen people on the freeway when it's time to merge?  Try 30, and that's optimistic.


As explained in other posts... you cannot have an average of 130, the average is 100, that is the median. so half the population is under 100 , the other over it.
 
2013-10-11 04:45:47 PM  

simkatu: Cymbal:   149-154 here. But I was 160-165 when I was a kid. Must be all the drugs.

160 IQ would mean your IQ was higher than 99,997 out of 100,000 people.   That's pretty impressive.

Even a 145 IQ puts you higher than 99,865 out of 100,000 people.

/and yet you're on Fark?  Where you getting your dope?


I don't do drugs anymore. Well, alcohol in moderation. But the damage is done.
 
2013-10-11 04:46:34 PM  

Cymbal: INeedAName: Arkanaut: vpb: Because we've gotten better at designing taking IQ tests?

FTFY

//134 IQ last time I took one

I generally fall between 132 and 136. Though I haven't taken one in years, and I'm pretty sure I've gotten dumber lately.

149-154 here. But I was 160-165 when I was a kid. Must be all the drugs.


I find it funny that so many farkers mention their "high" scores but yet, we have no flying cars, no cure for the common cold, cancer, a clean energy source, etc.

Personally, I can state that a high IQ isn't enough to evaluate full intelligence, as memory abilities, environment, society, upbringing, financial situation, etc. could prevent the next Einstein from ever getting his talent used to their full potential.

I'll shot myself in the foot by stating that for as intelligent I may be, as high as my IQ is, I've done quite more than the "average" and survived a very difficult life.  Had I had the opportunities and knowledge that I now have about life, I look back and know that I could have been a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. and possibly could have done a LOT more for human kind.  I can't complain really, behind the scenes I've done a lot of good for my country and my name won't go in history, but at least I know that I'll leave a mark, something that 99% of the population don't come close to doing.

But then again, we're on a grain of sand in the middle of emptiness, so the universe doesn't really notice.
/lowest mark I've had was 164
/being smarter only means that there's more stupidity to deal with, so it doesn't feel like a gift at times
 
2013-10-11 05:11:57 PM  

endosymbiont: draypresct: endosymbiont: As a number of people said, +nuitrition and -lead. That's all you need.

That's right, the only two things the twentieth century did to improve IQs are +nutrition and -lead. And the increased schooling.

The only three things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, and reduced inbreeding.

Well, yes, reduced inbreeding, ok. So the only four things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, and -infectious diseases during development. Of course we've reduced serious infections; nobody needs to mention that!

I've got this: the only things were +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, -infection, and increased exposure to abstract concepts.

Right! So, aside from +nutrition, -lead, +schooling, -inbreeding, -infection, and +exposure to abstract concepts, the twentieth century has done nothing for improving IQs. Agreed?

No, many things have likely increased IQ. However, increased nutrition and decreased childhood exposure to lead were--in and of themselves--sufficient to increase IQs. Certainly, decreased inbreeding and improved health, as well as exposure to other accumulated knowledge including certain abstract concepts, also contributed. But I maintain that nutrition and less lead are "all you need" to explain it.


OK. I personally think it's the accumulation of improvements in a large number of areas instead, but I have to admit I haven't seen anything research-wise to support that other than vague discussion in Wikipedia's Flynn effect article. I haven't checked out the original research.

/Upon re-reading my post, I'm a bit worried I came across as really sarcastic when I was trying for a badly-done Python routine.
//If I'm trying to avoid sarcasm, quoting Python is a really bad idea.
 
2013-10-11 08:14:00 PM  
The article is serious???
Having easier access to information has nothing to do with raw intelligence
 
2013-10-11 09:10:35 PM  
It wasn't unusual for kids to get one or more different life-threatening diseases every year they remained alive.  Scarlet fever, measles, German measles (rubella), mumps, smallpox, chickenpox, whooping cough, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, multiple strains of influenza ... all of these can either attack the brain directly, can result in antibodies that cross the blood-brain barrier to trigger an autoimmune inflammation of brain tissue, can damage the brain with prolonged fever, clots, or periods of reduced oxygen.

Thanks to modern living conditions and vaccines, I was spared those.  I still got a strep infection which resulted in very minor (but life-altering) brain damage.  If I had a dozen such insults to my brain, I'd be far less functional than I am today.
 
2013-10-11 10:04:58 PM  

Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.


They are.

Teabaggers, dude.
 
2013-10-11 10:36:15 PM  
steamingpile:  [P]eople have gotten good at hiding how dumb they are.

Don't look at me.

I SAID...
 
2013-10-11 10:40:27 PM  

Richard C Stanford: Doc Daneeka: But but....Idiocracy.  I've been assured by a million people on the internet that people are getting inexorably dumber over time.

Well, IQ doesn't always mean intelligence. Poor education could result in someone with a high IQ being really stupid.


I SAID 'DON'T LOOK AT ME!1!!'
 
2013-10-11 10:42:48 PM  

diaphoresis: Lack of oral sex from wives


You don't get any oral from your wife?

Oh. Poor guy. From what I heard she's almost as good as my mom, from what I heard.
 
2013-10-11 10:45:33 PM  

Doc Daneeka: The "good old days" sucked. And history is full of barbaric, violent, selfish, incultured, uneducated, illiterate, and downright dumb people.


But so is the present. And most likely the future will be thus also.

So what's your point?
 
2013-10-11 11:09:09 PM  

RecentGrad: Our IQ's have gone up over time due to a variety of reasons, some of which have been mentioned.

Better nutrition, less exposure to heavy metals (lead from leaded gasoline lead to generations of people with higher than average rates of mental disorders, especially violent ones, and lower IQ), early childhood education that focuses rather heavily on problem solving abilities which are the foundation of human intellect, and also unfortunately 'teaching to the test'.

Overall, a modern child of the same age as someone from 100 years ago would on average be MUCH better at abstract problem solving thanks to these causes, though im guesstimating that a good 60% of that is due to mere early childhood education.

seriously, intelligence is only loosely linked to genetics. the major determining factor of a persons later life intelligence is the level of early childhood education, which just so happens to be much higher in middle and upper class families than the very poor...


This, somewhat.  Education is better than it was, in most places at least.  It's better because we know more, we've been able to study more because of certain advances(we know more of what to teach and how to teach).  Some is healthcare, food processing, etc etc.  It all adds up to more free time to study the abstract problems, and much less trying to scrape by, to merely survive.

Old wives tales passed for real intelligence.  Today, it makes you sound like a nutjob, or a politics tab farktard.

And if you look at remote societies or even disadvantaged sub-cultures, they face much of the same problems the whole world did 100+ years ago.

It's all about quality of life, and why raising it for the less fortunate is an admirable goal, as well as just a smart ideal for everyone.

Someone mentioned a peak.  It has peaked, for the time being.  There are always problem area's, but there are also constant advances which have a cumulative effect.  No single thing makes for a great improvement, but a lot of tiny ones have a large effect.

Even most of the poor in the US have cell phones, internet, and air conditioning(as per the fark thread yesterday or so, you can refer to that thread for related arguments).  This is a good thing for society at large.  A healthier society not struggling to survive advances the fastest.  Sure, stress can be a positive force, but can easily become a crippling consumer of potential.

Sure, we have our share of dipshiats and douchenozzles, but it's not going to start a plague.  Even most of those people find a niche to fill.  That's the price of specializing, we need ditchdiggers and sewer workers as much as the doctors and lawyers and software designers.  No matter how cool your career is, odds are you're a dipshiat or douchenozzle when it comes to knowing something else.
 
2013-10-12 02:30:52 AM  
You're not more intelligent.

Intelligence is measured as efficiency of the brain. Truly intelligent people can solve problems and work logic at astounding speeds. At almost all eras of human recorded history has the amount of "intelligent people" remained more or less constant.

Modern people have access to more readily available knowledge via science, schooling, libraries, the internet, and connectivity.

The modern dumbass is still as dumb as the roman dumbass, he just has the benefit of more media to correct his dumbass on hand.

It's like the internet. In the '80s and early '90s, the internet was a vast and lonely place, largely untraveled except by the very intelligent and very un-user-friendly. Now, every dumbass in the world is on the internet. People didn't get smarter over time. The internet got dumber. Your average internet user these days couldn't travel the internet "back then" anymore than they can use MS-DOS, write batch files, program C++, or read perl.
 
2013-10-12 03:59:34 AM  
It's gotta be the fluoride!
 
2013-10-12 07:20:00 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: 1) 3D printers
2) Private space colonies
3) Short lifespans


Nope it`s because by the time they are twenty everybody has lived so much longer these days...
 
2013-10-12 08:20:24 AM  

draypresct: I hadn't known that about Norway's conscription process. Thanks!

That does reduce or eliminate* the bias.

/*My only quibble on "eliminate" is that I don't know offhand if the definition of "able-bodied men of conscription age" has remained the same and had the same effect over the years. This is probably not something that had any real effect over the past couple of decades, though, so the study's conclusions are probably accurate.


Yeah, I'm pretty sure it has stayed relatively constant over time. There is a sampling bias in that you aren't evaluating anyone with mental or physical handicaps, but it shouldn't matter much in terms of getting a good estimate of your population in general.
 
2013-10-12 10:03:30 AM  
Simple, leisure time has increased. When people have to spend less time out at the farm or at the bottom of a coal mine they have more time for bettering themselves intellectually. Even if it might not seem like it because theyre in general being more flippant with their time. That's why agriculture was such an important development for humanity. It freed us from the constant need to hunt for our next meal to be able to contemplate our further existence. Automation of processes frees us to contemplate. Thats why we're smarter now than we ever were before.
 
2013-10-12 10:57:50 AM  
the whole thing is bullshiat
there are no tests of intelligence
 
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