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Are We Getting Dumber?


Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images

When you look around at all of the technological marvels we have in our world today: cell phones, computers, satellites, and more, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that we are somehow getting dumber as human beings.

But one man does.  He’s Gerald Crabtree, a professor at Stanford University’s medical school, and he has published a couple of articles saying that modern humanity is getting dumber and dumber due to the lack of competition in our safe, sanitized, civilized world.

Crabtree writes:

I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen of Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions.


We would be surprised by our time-visitor’s memory, broad range of ideas and clear-sighted view of important issues. I would also guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues.

The problem?  A lack of problem solving thanks to all of those modern marvels I pointed out earlier and a whole host of others. Why think for ourselves when we have machines to do it.  In ancient times, they had to figure everything out themselves.

Also lacking in today’s world? Serious consequences if we screw up, according to Crabtree:

Needless to say a hunter gatherer that did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died along with their progeny, while a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus.

Dumber or not, I know which world I’d rather live in.  How about you?


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