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Tooth 9 5.8k 227 Ireland
13 Nov 2012 12:56PM
Evolution is about survival of the fittest, or by implication non-passing on of the genes of the least fit. As society evolves it becomes more compassionate and the least fit are nurtured and protected. so there's more chance of their genes being passd on, which waters down the concept, so matybe there is a slowdown in evolutionary advance. Just a thought, not like I can prove it Wink

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thewilliam 6 4.8k
13 Nov 2012 1:27PM
Would any sensible horse breeder allow his/her stock to breed at random?

There have been programs where human breeding has been planned, but inevitably under the least pleasant political systems.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
13 Nov 2012 1:35PM
Just take a look at the Jeremy Kyle Show if you want to see the results of random breeding! Wink
digicammad 11 22.0k 37 United Kingdom
13 Nov 2012 1:44PM
[Devils-advocate]
The protection afforded by modern society to those less able, either physically or mentally, allows them to reach a stage in life where they can procreate. Therefore survival of the fittest no longer applies to the same extent and the human gene pool is being progressively weakened in those societies where this condition applies.

A person with a particular gift, such as super intelligence or mastery of carpentry, may do well enough to provide them and their family with a good life but the constraints of society (eg monogamy) prevent them from spreading their seed far and wide (well for the most part anyway) so they will not be able to increase their representation in the gene pool.
[/Devils-advocate]
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
13 Nov 2012 2:06PM
Re-reading the quote in the OP, it would become easy to be side-tracked about his contention in that he talks about 'intellectually active' rather than 'intelligent'. The reference to '...broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues' is more about critical analysis than intelligence (or intelligence potential?) as such. This may be suseptible to genetic mutations (2,000 to 5,000 mentioned in the article) but the next question would be how many of those are critical - the brain is amazingly plastic in that it can adjust to circumstances and damage to an amazing degree. So in theory it would be compromised but the capacity of the brain would mean it is less critical. I suspect the person-person variation is far greater than ancient vs modern.




Quote:Just take a look at the Jeremy Kyle Show if you want to see the results of random breeding

Imagine having Plato on that show...?
Or Patroclus and Achilles... heh! heh! heh!
Tooth 9 5.8k 227 Ireland
14 Nov 2012 12:00AM
I'm sure they'd step up to the mark Smile
scrimmy e2
6 379 5 Scotland
14 Nov 2012 1:01AM
is there not a school of thought that suggests that since we are now able, in a large part, to control our environment there is no need to evolve.
Tooth 9 5.8k 227 Ireland
14 Nov 2012 1:32AM
there never was a need for anything to evolve..it just happens. Ask the question..who or what needs it?
thewilliam 6 4.8k
14 Nov 2012 10:19AM

Quote:Is there not a school of thought that suggests that since we are now able, in a large part, to control our environment there is no need to evolve.


Ever read "War of the Worlds"?
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 11:58AM

Quote:there never was a need for anything to evolve..it just happens. Ask the question..who or what needs it?
Agreed. There is no purpose to our lives - we just have to make things as comfortable as possible while we are here.
In my opinion it's impossible for a professor or anybody else to truly establish if we are any less clever now than we were - however, I'm open to any future arguments that might convince me otherwise.
I suspect that many of us are indeed not as sharp and alert as we were when we were hunter-gatherers and had to have our wits about us to survive; but others, maybe a minority are probably just as clever, sharp and alert as their forefathers (and foremothers - let's keep this politically correct! Wink)
We need a different kind of intelligence nowadays. I think it is the case that there are very many more distractions nowadays and so we tend to lose our ability to absorb the mass of information amid the constant background noise and demands of modern living.
If people were so clever centuries ago, why were they so superstitious and why did they allow themselves to be controlled by religious tyrants.
I don't think men and women have changed much fundamentally - we're still greedy and aggressive...
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 12:08PM
Survival of the "fittest" is often misinterpreted. It is not always survival of the "strongest" or the "most physically able", but the one that best adapts to surroundings and changes of conditions.

In the past, that meant perhaps the best camouflage to hide from a predator, rather than being physically stronger, or the ability to make cutting tools/weapons to kill for food, or the knowledge of how to preserve food to guard against harsh winters. Whatever gives you the advantage over someone or something else.

Consider the future; we may not perceive a "need" to evolve from where we are, but if a killer epidemic were to break out, and kill everyone except those with a particular gene, strength or knowledge might be useless and only those with the gene would survive to procreate down the line.

Nick
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 12:16PM
And we don't need to be as resourceful as before, in everyday life. We have shops to buy food, we don't need to search for it. We don't need to defeat it then butcher it, we just buy it ready done.
It's not that we are less intelligent, I think the gist is that we are less enquiring and we don't need to use our brains and our abilities as much simply in order to survive. We might be good at our jobs or hobbies, but unless you're a survivalist, how many of us wod be able to survive in the wild with no conveniences? Find your own food, start your own fire for warmth, build your own shelter? I suspect many could last for a couple of days, but for the rest of your life? I doubt it. In that case, physical fitness would help, but you would need to discover other skills very quickly. And you might have to fight to protect your resources or move away somewhere else.

Nick
Newdevonian 2 452 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 1:33PM
The most intelligent person I ever met, with a highly analytical mind and extremely eloquent, held the position of department head and was a Professor of some kind of Physics at Cambridge University years ago, but he had absolutely no hand eye co-ordination when it came to DIY. His wife did it all. He was simply incapable.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
14 Nov 2012 1:47PM

Quote:The most intelligent person I ever met, with a highly analytical mind and extremely eloquent, held the position of department head and was a Professor of some kind of Physics at Cambridge University years ago, but he had absolutely no hand eye co-ordination when it came to DIY. His wife did it all. He was simply incapable.


The absent-minded professor has been a well-known phenomenon for centuries! Smile
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 4:12PM

Quote:The most intelligent person I ever met, with a highly analytical mind and extremely eloquent, held the position of department head and was a Professor of some kind of Physics at Cambridge University years ago, but he had absolutely no hand eye co-ordination when it came to DIY. His wife did it all. He was simply incapable.
Which just shows how important it is to recognize that we all (or nearly all) have talents and that the future for the human race depends on cooperation and mutual respect - with a bit less absorption with our egos.

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