How Many Can be Saved from the Coming Idiocracy?

The global Idiocracy is growing and expanding rapidly. First, within the same nation, women with high intelligence are not breeding as fast as women with lower intelligence. Further, people in nations with low average intelligence are breeding much more quickly than people in countries with high average intelligence. On another front, national populations with high average intelligence are being inundated by immigrants with both lower average intelligence, and higher fertility. More

At the same time that the Idiocracy is expanding, the human brain seems to be shrinking, over time:

over the recent 10,000 yrs, our brains have lost a volume about the size of a tennis ball. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” [John Hawks @ U. Wisc.] says.

“This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look. If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago.”

Image Source: Fourmilab

The recent arrival of universal automation may be adding to this process of brain shrinkage:

As software has become capable of analysis and decision-making, automation has leapt out of the factory and into the white-collar world. Computers are taking over the kinds of knowledge work long considered the preserve of well-educated, well-trained professionals: Pilots rely on computers to fly planes; doctors consult them in diagnosing ailments; architects use them to design buildings. Automation’s new wave is hitting just about everyone.

… computers are changing the way the work gets done. And the evidence is mounting that the same de-skilling effect that ate into the talents of factory workers last century is starting to gnaw away at professional skills, even highly specialized ones. Yesterday’s machine operators are today’s computer operators.

… “Flying skills decay quite rapidly towards the fringes of ‘tolerable’ performance without relatively frequent practice,” Mr. Ebbatson concluded. But computers now handle most flight operations between takeoff and touchdown—so “frequent practice” is exactly what pilots are not getting.

… Harvard Medical School professor Beth Lown, in a 2012 journal article written with her student Dayron Rodriquez, warned that when doctors become “screen-driven,” following a computer’s prompts rather than “the patient’s narrative thread,” their thinking can become constricted. In the worst cases, they may miss important diagnostic signals.

… “These highly constrained tools,” the researchers write, “are optimized for data capture but at the expense of sacrificing their utility for appropriate triage and diagnosis, leading users to miss the forest for the trees.” Medical software, they write, is no “replacement for basic history-taking, examination skills, and critical thinking.”

Even creative trades are increasingly suffering from automation’s de-skilling effects. Computer-aided design has helped architects to construct buildings with unusual shapes and materials, but when computers are brought into the design process too early, they can deaden the aesthetic sensitivity and conceptual insight that come from sketching and model-building.

If we let our own skills fade by relying too much on automation, we are going to render ourselves less capable, less resilient and more subservient to our machines. We will create a world more fit for robots than for us.

__Nicholas Carr in:

Parenthetically, this “dumbing-down by reliance on computers” may be partially responsible for the ongoing climate apocalypse debacle. Climate “scientists” have come to rely too much on faulty computer models — to the point that the models have become more real and important to the “scientists” than actual conditions in the real world.

But human brains were shrinking long before computers came along. Civilisation itself has tamed the wild human beast, much as wolves were tamed and shaped into specialised dog breeds. Human specialisation and division of labour within civilisations can make broader human problem-solving skills seem unnecessary. Humans have learned to fit themselves into narrow occupational “slots”, much like breeds of dogs are bred for specific, narrow purposes.

Even for the brightest, the human occupational focus is narrowing to a “point and click” motif. Similarly, the ways that humans spend their spare time is also becoming “dumbed down.” Mass culture is geared to lower and lower levels of comprehension. Mind altering chemicals become more and more important both as ways of “killing time,” and to help workers “tolerate” being on the job.

The human brain was already shrinking, but it is getting a lot of help in that regard from modern humans themselves.

Book review of Nicholas Carr’s “The Glass Cage: Automation and Us”

Nicholas Carr’s blog

What can we do to fight this tide of Idiocracy? First, it is clear that most humans truly want to live in The Matrix. A life of ease, free from care, is what the masses of humans are pushing for. There is virtually nothing that you or I can do to mitigate that current of mass human desire.

But thinking humans can still make choices, even in the most oppressive societies. If their children are raised within sufficiently enriched and varied environments, some human populations can be “re-skilled” and made more competent to solve wide ranges of problems, both concrete and abstract.

This is what the Dangerous Child movement in conjunction with Resilient & Dangerous Communities (R&D Communities) is about. Limited in scope, but in deadly earnest.

Dangerous Children are raised in an environment that is broadly enriched in order to empower early development of the rational and creative mind, a large repertoire of body skills, the ongoing balancing of emotions, and sufficient social skills to allow lifelong sharing and cooperation.

Young minds are highly adaptive and resilient. To a point, they are like sponges that are eager to soak up large amounts of knowledge, of practical, didactic, and theoretical /experimental nature.

Parents, coaches, and educational guides can access a large amount of helpful material from the internet. Some of this material must be searched for, and some of it has been brought together and made freely available. For example, the classical and intellectual part of a young person’s education can be enriched by materials such as these:

The Harvard Classics, and Harold Bloom’s Western Canon collection.

Many other types of useful information are likewise freely available online. In fact, massive amounts of information of practical, theoretical, and experimental nature can be downloaded onto portable media, such as flash drives, multi-terabyte portable hard drives, optical disc archives, and many other types.

Rich, priceless information can be freely downloaded as e-books, videos, audio-files, image files, tutorials, etc. Once the child reaches the stage of seeking out increasingly challenging material on his own, only minimal guidance and progress checks will be necessary, for the most part, for each area of learning and training.

Dangerous Children must also “do chores,” for skill development, self-discipline, and to reach a better understanding of the types of things that must be done so that other, more important things can be learned and accomplished.

Parents, grandparents, and potential parents and coaches should prepare themselves as well as possible to teach practical skills to children, beginning as early as possible. Intellectual training is not enough. Dangerous Children are expected to master at least three different ways of earning their own way by their 18th birthday.

It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. Nor too early.

A few broad online information sources:

On the Idiocracy:

A ranking of cognitively demanding jobs from a study by Edinburgh psychologists

This entry was posted in Childhood Development, Dangerous Child, Demographics, Dysgenics, Idiocracy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to How Many Can be Saved from the Coming Idiocracy?

  1. jabowery says:

    An invaluable short video presentation on the human brain is neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel’s TED talk on “What is so special about the human brain?”. In it she presents two basic insights: 1) Fire’s primary contribution to the evolution of human cognition was caloric due to the brain’s high energy consumption (not social as E. O. Wilson supposes in “The Social Conquest of Earth”), and 2) The increased volumetric density of number of neurons is as much a contributor to the unique intensity of human cognition as is cranial volume. Now, having said that, one of the biggest conundrums of human neurophisiology is why, given the calorie-limited nature of cognition, has the greater availability of calories from agriculture not resulted in an explosion of cognitive ability? It’s insane that obesity’s fat deposits are being formed in an environment that, presumably, would place a high premium on higher cognitive function such as technological civilization. What’s even more insane is that scientists can’t put their thinking caps on and realize how important it is to study this misallocation of calories in the metabolism of civilized man.

    • Brad says:

      Isn’t it because the greater calories from agriculture is in the form of carbohydrates? Whereas the increase in calories from fire was in the form of fat and protein?

      • jabowery says:

        Yes, and there is, indeed, human biodiversity in the metabolism of carbohydrates that tends to support the idea that genotypes coevolved with civilization are less prone to pathological metabolism of grains. This correlation may explain why scientific funding is not being allocated to study this pathological metabolism — since the funding sources will tend to be controlled by genotypes for whom this is not as much of a problem and may enjoy evolutionary success in competition against the less civilized genotypes by delaying scientific progress in this area.

  2. bob sykes says:

    Cochrane over at West Hunter points out that human domestication began with the advent of farming and settled communities. The first big selective pressure was for obedience and submission. Brain reduction began then.

    If the data on reaction times is reliable, the process may have accelerated in the last 100 years. The recorded increase in reaction times implies a reduction of IQ native Brits of about 15 points. That would explain the disappearance of Shakespeare, Newton, Maxwell …

    • jabowery says:

      If Cochrane’s hypothesis is true and if it is the explanation for the 15 point IQ drop among native Brits in the last 100 years, then would it not make sense that the American frontier, offering land to the disobedient, might have impeded the rate of dysgenic evolution? The “disobedient” pioneers were having very large families during the 1800s and presumably the tendency would have persisted somewhat into the 1900s given the relatively lower price of arable land.

      On the other hand, my explanation for the disappearance of, at least, Newton and Maxwell is the disappearance of what might be called the yeoman farmer. Both Newton and Maxwell did their scientific revolutionary work while on retreat from academia to their respective family farms where they were beholden to no one for their food and shelter but their own families. This kind of independence of biological necessity lends itself to greater independence of thought. One might then ask what of the American yeoman farmer? My answer would be that by distancing the academic centers fro the yeoman farmer, the independent thinkers simply did not have “the shoulders of giants” upon which to stand.

      One must keep in mind that the first computer was, according to court decree, invented at an agricultural college, the inventor of the planar integrated circuit and founder of Intel was from a small agricultural town, the inventor of the supercomputer was as well as were 2 of the 3 inventors of the transistor.

  3. Abelard Lindsey says:

    The solution for me, personally, with regards to the computer/automation thing is to be the guy who does the automation systems to begin with. I’m an automation/control system engineer. My brain remains fully intact.

  4. Abelard Lindsey says:

    The idiocracy may be longer in coming than many of you think:

    BTW, Jayman’s is one of the better HBD blogs on the ‘net.

    • alfin2101 says:

      The actual data in the Jayman article do not tell us what we need to know to gauge the progress of the ongoing Idiocracy — dysgenic trends within the more rapidly breeding non-European, non-East Asian populations. Instead, the article focuses on US whites, a shrinking group that will contribute less and less to the overall cognition averages over time. In other words, it is a bit of a “bait and switch” operation.

      Looking at global trends and at particular high fertility sub-populations within advanced nations (both immigration trends and fertility trends), we are left where we started. Dysgenics is operating in full swing in most populations, and the Idiocracy is expanding its global grip.

      It is good to look at as much reliable data as possible, but as the climatology community is discovering, it is not so good to distort data for short term demagoguery.

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