I've had a "reverse evolution" theory for some years now. It's not very politically correct, and I haven't really had any strong objections or arguments against it when presenting it to various people. So, I thought I would run it by this group and see what you think.

First off, I believe that "natural selection/survival of the fittest" stopped being a factor in the human ability to reproduce a long time ago. In our advanced society, there is no longer anadvantage to be of a certain intellegence or to be in any kind of physical condition to find a mate and have your offspring survive. There may be an advantage as far as the quality of mate you may attract, but not in the ability to have offspring. We will assume this as a fact. If you disagree, please let me know why.

Now is where it gets politically incorrect. I believe that we are currently witnessing an era in human history in which (in general) the most intellegent humans are purposefully limiting the amount of offspring that they produce for various reasons, including: career demands, environmental concerns, choice of "quality over quantity", they are more "responsible" in general so are less likely to have an accidental pregnancy etc.

Then you have the less intellegent/responsible members of our species. Let's start out with the real zinger-they are more likely to hold fundamental religious beliefs which are influencing them to have more offspring. They are going to be less responsible and more likely to have accidental pregnancies (may also be less likely to get an abortion due to their religious beliefs). I feel that there is a tendancy for the less intellegent to percieve less "meaning" in their life and are trying to fill this void with children. Some (not all) may be taking advantage of our welfare system. I could list more, but I'm already feeling "dirty" for this last paragraph, so I won't go on.
Please realize that I realize that I am making many broad generalizations in these assumptions/claims. I know there are many exceptions.
However, I will not back down from my claim that there is a generalized trend for the less intellegently fit/mentally unstable members of our society to reproduce at a faster rate than the more "fit" members. After a few generations, if this trend continues-it could theoretically snowball with unpredictable and unhealthy consequences.
So there it is in a nutshell. Am I ignorant, nuts, classist, racist, right on, stating the obivious(and thinking that I'm coming up with an original thought when I'm not)?
What do you think?
I'm not easily offended, so let me hear it.

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Replies to This Discussion

In my humble opinion, you are NOT wrong, I have felt for several years that the more intelligent couples are having less offspring than their welfare drawing, church going neighbors. However being religious can't be blamed for all of it, some nonchurch goers are producing offspring as rapidly as the gestation cycle will allow!
I know for a fact that religious Jews will have as many kids as they can regardless of how intelligent they may or may not be but it often makes me doubt their overall intelligence at the same time. Religion tells them it is what God wants and each child is a blessing! Religion therefore overrides/overshadows/brainwashes any potential for an intelligent, freethinking mind IMO.
I have thought about this too - agree with your assertion about the masses reproducing at faster rate (hence "masses" :-)). But how is what you describe not naturally selective (hence "reverse" evolution)? The human species seems to be surviving and succeeding quite well from an evolutionary standpoint.

I believe everything in the physical universe is reduceable, and as humans, we should not be egotistical to think we are somehow superior and exempt. Our "intelligence" and "morality" are just fancy forms of pattern-matching, well-suited to our evolved brains. And as a species, I would argue that as time progresses, we are not on average becoming more intelligent (or more moral, for that matter).
The evolutionary consequences of the modern lifestyle are a fascinating question. I think it is far too simplistic to talk merely about the more or less intelligent. Think of health care, huge numbers of people who would once not have made it to reproductive age now do so. People who would once have had many offspring now choose not to, women with a strong sex drive but little maternal drive no longer need have children where previously they would have had many.

I also feel I should point out that people have been agonizing about the lower classes' undesirably rapid rate of increase for a long time now without any obvious outcome. In fact the percentage of the population in the working classes has been steadily declining for over 200 years.

One thing is for sure however, it is NOT reverse evolution, there is no such thing. It is just evolution. Evolution comes with no guarantee of progress or improvement as these are generally understood, all that happens is that organisms become better adapted to their environment, in this case the 21st Century West. If being stupid is an advantage then it will be selected for and spread.

However the average IQ in the western world has been rising pretty steadily over the last 50 years so it would seem from empirical evidence that the changes you fear are not happening just yet.
yes, I agree that it should not be technically called "reverse evolution". I use this more as a descriptor to help people understand the trend that I am proposing.
you made the point I was going to. The idea of "reverse evolution" is absolutely ridiculous, there is only evolution in an altered environment, and we happen to be altering our own environment. So there is something of a feedback loop.
In biological terms, there is no such thing as reverse evolution, evolution must go forward even if that forward is downhill. There is a huge example of downhill evolution (reverse evolution would be where the people who have less and weaker offspring have more of the gene pool which would make no sense) and it is especially obvious in poorer countries where families need more children to help feed the family. Here in Egypt it is not uncommon for a person to have 7-8 children while being unable to properly feed half of them. The problem is that people have no sense of scale, in rural areas (where the poorer people generally live) people are sparse, so there is no feeling of urgency about overpopulation. That is why families in rural areas have more children than people in cities where population is crammed and you can feel that the world has 6.5 billion people. In evolutionary terms, fitness is the proportion of the next generation that is contributed to the gene pool, so if the next generation has 1 billion members and you contribute 3, your fitness is .000000003 although there is also the issue of helping out family, one of the theories behind the evolution of homosexuality is that homosexuals would b more likely to stay home with their mother (before partnerships were socially acceptable and when moving out of the family house only happened after marriage) and help her raise their siblings so families with the potential for one homosexual every generation or two would have higher rates of childhood survival. But I digress...

Anyway, you may like to watch the movie "Idiocracy" it is a really interesting movie based on that and check out this xkcd comic

PS. please never use the term "reverse evolution", it makes me and others cringe.
yes, I agree that it should not be technically called "reverse evolution". I use this more as a descriptor to help people understand the trend that I am proposing.
Then you have the less intellegent/responsible members of our species.

How are you defining intelligence?

Under-educated is not the same as unintelligent, and I wonder about how one would measure what kind of intelligence is important.

When one speaks of intelligence it is usually in reference to I.Q. as the measure. It is not a fair representation, I feel it is skewed to an assumption of equal education that is available to all, and that all people learn the same way. Intelligence is a broad idea these days, there are many measures of it.

If there is a crisis of this kind it is more due to how education is delivered and run. There is probably not any real danger of breeding intelligence out of the system. Rationality isn't tied to any genetic reason of birth, as far as I can tell from the available information.

Properly delivered sex education, a decent welfare system and health care, go a long way to solving these problems as I see it (from my cloud in Canada anyhow). Rationality can probably be delivered through proper education, my education is certainly the foundation of my rationality. Rationality can then make understanding the responsibility of birth and beyond more accessible.

In my life I have meet very few unintelligent people, some under-educated ones but rarely stupid.

{Edit: Broke up a paragraph to clean it up and move a sentence or two}
Yes , I understand your point, but disagree with your claim of the lack of "unintellegent people".

In this example, I would define "intellegence" (I know this is my own definition) as the ability to analyze and act rationally and appropriately upon the information a person observes in their world. As with any physical/cognative characteristic of humans, this could be theoretically measured and you would end up with a bell curve representing the populations ability to process information and act in either a healthy or unhealthy way as a result of it (and yes as with all bell curves, a significant number will be on the "lower" end.). I think we all know families where siblings were raised in very similar envirnoments with very similar influences/teachings and ended up as polar opposites (one is a religious fundamentalist, the other an atheist, one is successful and the other a "loser"). This would seem to say that there are very striking differences in the ability to recognize "true" information from person to person(yes I realize that there are many other cognative variables from one person to the next that also influence this), but there is a core skill that I believe not everyone posesses to a desirable degree that allows people to make good decisions whether they are well educated or not, and this is what I think the "less intellegent" are lacking.
Have you ever spoken to a person that you soon realize you just can't go certain places in a conversation with? You know they have a limited "depth" to which they can go in a conversation before you will lose either their attention or their ability to follow you. I don't believe this is something that is taught. I think it's either something you were born with or you weren't.

Thanks for the reply.
Have you ever spoken to a person that you soon realize you just can't go certain places in a conversation with? You know they have a limited "depth" to which they can go in a conversation before you will lose either their attention or their ability to follow you. I don't believe this is something that is taught. I think it's either something you were born with or you weren't.

I wanted to take some time before I answered this because I wanted to think if I had ever met anyone truly stupid, the answer is I have. Yes I have met some truly stupid people but not many. Most of the time if someone cannot follow me, it is almost always because they just don't know, rather then they can not know. Rarely have I met someone who just couldn't know, I meet a lot of people who don't want to know or could care less.

I often wonder and this is a side tangent I realize, where is everyone else's curiosity? Why are people so satisfied and impressed with an easy answer, why wouldn't someone want to know more. Is curiosity something you can teach, or is it something you have.
Yes, very well put. I often wonder the same thing about everyone else's "curiousity". You may have actually said what I was trying to say with the "depth" comment better than I did. I think the depth of a person's thought processes and their curiousity level are linked somehow.
Do you think that religious "brainwashing" can actually retard someone's natural curiosity, or do you think that some people are just less curious and are more susceptible to believing religious teachings that are otherwise unbelievable if they were able to step back and look at their beliefs objectively?




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