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Is humanity becoming dumb and dumber?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mankind, unlike all the other creatures that roam the earth, began to reason, to communicate, to formulate theories. Humanity's intellectual capacities are generally considered one of the building blocks to being human.  Now - a provocative new theory suggests that mankind is now becoming "dumb and dumber," as out intellect becomes less and less important to the species' survival.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to scientists, our intelligence and behavior requires optimal functioning of a large number of genes. Those genes are becoming ever more difficult to maintain.

A team from Stanford University now says humanity is losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes which endows us with our brain power is particularly vulnerable to mutations. This process is not being selected within our modern society because we seemingly no longer need intelligence to survive.

It's not a crisis situation, these researchers say. By the time it becomes a real problem, technology will have found a solution making natural selection obsolete.

"The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples before our ancestors emerged from Africa," Dr. Gerald Crabtree, lead author of the study.

Intelligence was initially critical for survival. There was the likely attendant immense selective pressure acting on human genes required for intellectual development, which led to a peak in human intelligence.
 
Alas, it's all downhill from here on out, say the researchers. It's likely that we began to slowly lose ground, the researchers claim.

In the history of mankind, with the development of agriculture, came urbanization, which may have weakened the power of selection to weed out mutations leading to intellectual disabilities.

Based on calculations of the frequency with which deleterious mutations appear in the human genome and the assumption that 2,000 to 5,000 genes are required for intellectual ability, Crabtree estimates that within 3,000 years, about 120 generations, we have all sustained two or more mutations harmful to our intellectual or emotional stability.

Crabtree says that the combination of less selective pressure and the large number of easily affected genes is corrupting our intellectual and emotional capabilities.

This being said, this process is quite slow, and judging by society's rapid pace of discovery and advancement, future technologies are bound to reveal solutions to the problem, Crabtree believes.

"I think we will know each of the millions of human mutations that can compromise our intellectual function and how each of these mutations interacts with each other and other processes as well as environmental influences.

"At that time, we may be able to magically correct any mutation that has occurred in all cells of any organism at any developmental stage.

"Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary," Crabtree concludes.

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