Something troubling me

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Something troubling me

Postby Banedon » Sep 15 2013, 12:09

Mods feel free to close if it's too controversial.

The problem argument develops thus:

1) Fact: intelligence is hereditary. Evidence for this is quite strong.
2) Statement: intelligent people are more likely to graduate from university. An assumption, but it seems obvious enough to be uncontroversial.
3) Fact: highly educated women have fewer children. Well-established.
4) Therefore women will get less and less intelligent over time (since the intelligent ones are more likely to graduate from university, therefore becoming highly educated, whereby they have fewer children and so are selected against).

Some of the things to note:

* If men prefer intelligent women then that would select for intelligence. However it seems to me that now and historically men prefer pretty women more than intelligent women (which is why women have the innate desire to look pretty, and why cosmetics is such a large industry).
* Since newborn children are (almost) equally likely to be boys or girls, one might assume that therefore both boys and girls would get less intelligent - i.e. it is not sex specific. However even if intelligence's not currently sex-specific I don't see why it cannot become sex specific. There are already traits that are sex specific, such as the desire to look pretty.
* Intelligence should (of course) have a beneficial effect on the person's survival, so a tradeoff is involved. Nonetheless in the modern age people don't have to be very intelligent to survive, especially if they have someone (the husband in this case) to rely on for support.
* As far as I'm aware, highly educated men aren't less likely to have children. The key variable appears to be the education level of the woman.
* There are of course a lot and a lot and a lot of other variables involved in survival, such as income and the health of genes (e.g. with respect to hereditary diseases). However the arguments here are very general. As long as there's a nonzero effect, natural selection will eventually have its way.

The upshot is that it seems women will get less and less intelligent. On the other hand, since intelligence should have a beneficial effect on the organism's survival, men will get more and more intelligent. I dislike the conclusion, but I can't see any way to escape from it. Of the people I asked, one said human evolution history is too short to draw conclusions (but evolutionary history goes back 3.2 billion years, so no reason it shouldn't be a guide), another argued that intelligent people aren't more likely to graduate from university (!?) while a third actually said we're already seeing women get less and less intelligent in some places of the world. I don't know. Thoughts?
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Postby GreatEmerald » Sep 15 2013, 12:40

On your first point, while it's true, I think the environment (food, social spheres, motivation, etc.) has more of an effect here. On the third point, yes, but what's the survival rate? I'd say that even though educated women have fewer children, they are more capable of caring for those that they do have, than uneducated women. And as for the fourth point, I don't think such tendencies are relevant. Even if that was true, it would take way too long for the effect to show; plus natural selection doesn't really apply to humans due to the medical advances. If anything, country birth policies have more effect on gene development than anything you noted here.

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Re: Something troubling me

Postby TheUndeadKing » Sep 15 2013, 16:58

Banedon wrote:* If men prefer intelligent women then that would select for intelligence. However it seems to me that now and historically men prefer pretty women more than intelligent women (which is why women have the innate desire to look pretty, and why cosmetics is such a large industry).

Sadly this is too general too, as some women can be both intelligent AND beautiful/attractive, and some of these intelligent women know how to act "stupid" even to play with and/or fool men.

Banedon wrote:* Intelligence should (of course) have a beneficial effect on the person's survival, so a tradeoff is involved. Nonetheless in the modern age people don't have to be very intelligent to survive, especially if they have someone (the husband in this case) to rely on for support.

That's right, you don't HAVE TO be very smart, at all, just some intelligence and financial power (i.e. "Money") is all you need, and this also applies to men, though possibly to a lesser extent when compared to women.
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Postby jeff » Sep 15 2013, 19:01

An interesting hypothesis was mentioned in a recent program on one of the Discovery channels, I think it was Through the Wormhole, but not sure. The scientist said it was possible if an alien race arrived on earth, while their technology would dwarf us; it would be possible the people themselves would be less mentally capable than we are. He was extrapolating from what he sees in the human race. As we let tech do more, less of us understand what it is doing. An example would be calculators, while most people can use them, fewer everyday understand the process the calculator is preforming. It is also happening with word processors and people’s spelling and grammar skills. Interesting thought, OMG terminator could happen. 8|
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Postby TheUndeadKing » Sep 15 2013, 22:09

jeff wrote:The scientist said it was possible if an alien race arrived on earth, while their technology would dwarf us; it would be possible the people themselves would be less mentally capable than we are.|

Unless technology somehow suddenly removed the need for maintenance and/or further improvement, they would still need a group of people/aliens mentally capable enough to work on it. Yeah, they would probably sacrifice some of their mental capabilities in the process, but that's only a real issue if said capabilities are vital for their beings. What's vital and not, however, is more of an ethical question (and a good one at that).
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Postby jeff » Sep 15 2013, 22:59

TheUndeadKing wrote: Unless technology somehow suddenly removed the need for maintenance and/or further improvement, they would still need a group of people/aliens mentally capable enough to work on it.


That was exactly what the scientist was theorizing. Tech was maintaining and improving itself. In many ways we are close to that in some areas right now.
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Postby Banedon » Sep 20 2013, 18:59

GreatEmerald wrote:On your first point, while it's true, I think the environment (food, social spheres, motivation, etc.) has more of an effect here. On the third point, yes, but what's the survival rate? I'd say that even though educated women have fewer children, they are more capable of caring for those that they do have, than uneducated women. And as for the fourth point, I don't think such tendencies are relevant. Even if that was true, it would take way too long for the effect to show; plus natural selection doesn't really apply to humans due to the medical advances. If anything, country birth policies have more effect on gene development than anything you noted here.


About survival, because of how modern society works, uneducated women should be able to care for their children as well as educated women. Because of the government, social programmes, medical advances, etc., unless a baby has some serious defect he will survive ... and the crucial question becomes how many children a mother has.

As for the other factors - food, environment, government policies, etc - the point is there'll be selection pressure as long as intelligence has an effect. The other factors may matter, but as long as intelligence has a nonzero effect, it will be selected for / against ... and the speed of selection is quite fast. I remember reading that if on average a group of 100 highly intelligent individuals have only 99 children, within a hundred generations they'll go from 99% of the gene pool to 1% (exact numbers may be off). For women not to get less and less intelligent, intelligence needs to have no effect - something I find hard to believe.

TheUndeadKing wrote:Sadly this is too general too, as some women can be both intelligent AND beautiful/attractive, and some of these intelligent women know how to act "stupid" even to play with and/or fool men.


I realize but the argument in the original post is still intact. If men prefer beautiful women, then the result should be that women get more and more beautiful over time. That's not mutually exclusive with women also getting less and less intelligent. The intelligent + beautiful women are less selected against than the intelligent + not beautiful women, but they are still selected against. It's just a troubling thought.

@jeff, I remember reading as well that somewhere around 2050, computers are projected to become more powerful than human brains. Perhaps then it'll get to the point where we just enjoy life while computers do everything. If it happens, life will certainly change a lot, and in my lifetime too! Again it's a troubling thought, but it's something for another thread.
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Postby GreatEmerald » Sep 21 2013, 6:51

Banedon wrote:About survival, because of how modern society works, uneducated women should be able to care for their children as well as educated women. Because of the government, social programmes, medical advances, etc., unless a baby has some serious defect he will survive ... and the crucial question becomes how many children a mother has.


Because of how modern society works, there should be no uneducated women. Because of the government, social programmes, education advances, etc.

Banedon wrote:As for the other factors - food, environment, government policies, etc - the point is there'll be selection pressure as long as intelligence has an effect. The other factors may matter, but as long as intelligence has a nonzero effect, it will be selected for / against ... and the speed of selection is quite fast. I remember reading that if on average a group of 100 highly intelligent individuals have only 99 children, within a hundred generations they'll go from 99% of the gene pool to 1% (exact numbers may be off). For women not to get less and less intelligent, intelligence needs to have no effect - something I find hard to believe.


100 generations is a lot. It's so much that it's what separates us from the people who lived in the Roman Empire. And it's so much that we can't even be certain humans will survive that long to the future.

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Postby TheUndeadKing » Sep 21 2013, 14:08

Banedon wrote:
TheUndeadKing wrote:Sadly this is too general too, as some women can be both intelligent AND beautiful/attractive, and some of these intelligent women know how to act "stupid" even to play with and/or fool men.


I realize but the argument in the original post is still intact. If men prefer beautiful women, then the result should be that women get more and more beautiful over time. That's not mutually exclusive with women also getting less and less intelligent. The intelligent + beautiful women are less selected against than the intelligent + not beautiful women, but they are still selected against. It's just a troubling thought.

It's only troubling if you think intelligence is everything. Now that I think of it, I think it is possible to say that women are more intelligent than men, since they usually don't care how men look most of the time, so long as the man is "strong/rich" enough to carry their relationship. After all, a handsome guy has nothing to offer to them as far as survivability is concerned, and I think that is very intelligent.

Banedon wrote:There are already traits that are sex specific, such as the desire to look pretty.

While I agree that this is true for women, men also desire to look pretty (in fact, that's the reason most of the time why they hit the gym and try (but usually fail) to get defined muscles, six-packs, etc). Men just don't care as much as women because of the reason above.
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Postby Banedon » Sep 23 2013, 7:42

@GreatEmerald - the countries I've lived in typically ensure education up to secondary school level. University education is still the choice of the individual. 100 generations is also a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. If women are getting less and less intelligent, it won't be in my lifetime but it'll be within the next few thousand years. Humans should still be around in a few thousand years, unless we blow ourselves to kingdom come with nuclear weapons or something.

TheUndeadKing wrote:It's only troubling if you think intelligence is everything. Now that I think of it, I think it is possible to say that women are more intelligent than men, since they usually don't care how men look most of the time, so long as the man is "strong/rich" enough to carry their relationship. After all, a handsome guy has nothing to offer to them as far as survivability is concerned, and I think that is very intelligent.


On the other hand, physical beauty is correlated to fertility and health @_@
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Postby GreatEmerald » Sep 23 2013, 17:17

Banedon wrote:@GreatEmerald - the countries I've lived in typically ensure education up to secondary school level. University education is still the choice of the individual. 100 generations is also a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. If women are getting less and less intelligent, it won't be in my lifetime but it'll be within the next few thousand years. Humans should still be around in a few thousand years, unless we blow ourselves to kingdom come with nuclear weapons or something.


Hence the countries you lived in ensure that all women are educated.

You don't need nuclear weapons for that. Exhaust all resources, pollute the planet, cut down all forests, have a star crash into the solar system etc.

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Postby Banedon » Sep 24 2013, 6:51

Well birth rates decline when comparing women with a high school certificate and women with an undergraduate degree (they decline even more if you keep going up to postgraduate degrees and PhDs etc).

I'm quite confident that humans will be around in 100 generations' time. Exhausting resources and pollution may kill a lot of humans, but it won't make the race go extinct. As for catastrophic astronomical event, we would have fair warning of those thanks to modern telescopes. Nothing too serious has happened for millions of years as well. The odds of them happening in the next 2000 years should be minimal. If intelligence is having an effect, we should expect to see it "soon".

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Re: Something troubling me

Postby BoardGuest808888 » Sep 28 2013, 9:11

Bwahahahah u must be joking :-D :-D

Is this even serious ? Let me tell where u didn't get it right in the first place then :

1. U try to quantify what is inherently unquantifiable. U said intelligence is hereditary ? What the hell is intelligence after all ? Is it a mere ability to solve a series of math problems ? Nope.

It is a reflection of today's value. Nothing more. What was considered intelligent in the past 20 years, or even 50 years, was completely different than it is today. Let alone in the past 500 or 1,000 years. Consequently, u also can't say what u consider to be intelligent today would still relevant in the 50 or 100 years from now.

2. There be no real connection either, between intelligence and university graduation. When u go to university, u go for social structure. Everything goes there. Money, grants, politics.

Actually, university grade only relevant to quantify the portion of population which conform to the current social structure. Nothing more. Even university exams differs from time to time.

The most genius, oddballs, or the poorest found it difficult to graduate, or apply to any kind of education. And this is not to mention those already under long-term social upheavals like wars, epidemics or natural disaster.

3. Thus, even the highly educated women might not same with the smartest or most intelligent women. Let alone the most successful ones at having and raising kids. This is also well-established.

4. The smartest or most intelligent women know what they want. And this might not be what is "suspected from a man-view as what she wants". Let's say, a smart woman who really want to have as many children as she want, will get it anyway. For otherwise, she's not that smart, right ?

5. Unless u live in a society where women were denied freedom for choosing their own spouse, both men and women are basically free to choose who goes with who. Since women are eventually the ones who would bear the pregnancy, it is more logical if women have more to say on this matter anyway. There is no saying that one or both gender would be selected simply by a certain set of hereditary traits.

A man can choose what and what as long as he wishes, if no women wants him, he sucks after all.

6. U make another mistake in confusing "men" and "humanity as society". Human lives as society. Civilization. Not a mere choosing of what is thought to be best by one gender at any given time.

When talking about society's benefit like social support, family structure, living space, workspace, etc, both men and women have the same contribution, not only for themselves and their family, but also for the viability of the society as a whole.

A society, most specially human society, doesn't have to be uniformly intelligent or non-intelligent to survive. Thing is, every member has his/her own contribution, regardless of where he/she belongs to in the structure.

If everyone is as rich as say, Warren Buffet, does that make Buffet still the richest guy in the world ? Obviously no. Regardless, even Buffet needs those not as rich or smart or intelligent as him, for otherwise society won't work. He is not some sort of bacteria who can self-replicate and photosynthesize his own food anyway.

The same where it goes with intelligent. Human society does not need that much intelligent people anyway. What was needed is a certain amount of intelligent people compared to the rest in order to maintain a healthy benefit of intelligence for the society itself.

Regardless of the definition or quality of this intelligence, the ratio between the highly intelligent and others in a society remained the same at any given time.

7. I'd hate to say this, but what I thought is that u'r approach is too simplistic, u'r arguments did not even relate to one another, thus u'r conclusion needs a drastic review.
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Postby BoardGuest808888 » Sep 28 2013, 9:26

jeff wrote:An interesting hypothesis was mentioned in a recent program on one of the Discovery channels, I think it was Through the Wormhole, but not sure. The scientist said it was possible if an alien race arrived on earth, while their technology would dwarf us; it would be possible the people themselves would be less mentally capable than we are. He was extrapolating from what he sees in the human race. |


Obviously without doubt.

The most important, powerful, and perhaps mentally capable member of a society stays closest to their home. In many case like ants or termites, they stay forever in their fortress. Thus if we ever meet alien race who traveled to earth, we can be sure they are perhaps the most expendable members of their society (if the alien has a society, of course).

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Postby Banedon » Sep 29 2013, 11:29

Yes this is serious.

#1: For my purposes the operational definition of Intelligence, which I'm taking off Wikipedia, is:

"A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do."

Intelligence isn't knowledge, which can become outdated. I can agree that what is considered beautiful changes over time (although some things don't change - symmetrical faces are universally acknowledged as more beautiful than asymmetrical ones), but not intelligence. Intelligence, like health, should always be helpful to survival.

#2: One of the key variables to enter university is academic results. Obviously the better the results, the more likely the student is to be granted admission. Unless you think that academic results have absolutely no influence on academic results, then I don't see why the argument fails.

It seems to me that by definition (ability to solve problems, comprehend complex ideas, etc) intelligent people get better academic results.

#3: I'm not saying that the most highly educated women are the smartest or most intelligent. They probably aren't. It only needs to be that highly educated women are in general smarter or more intelligent than less educated women.

#4: Perhaps some highly educated women want to have many children, but statistically, as a whole, highly educated women have fewer children than not-so-highly educated women. This is actually well known. So either highly educated women are somehow unable to have as many children as their less highly educated brethren, or they simply want to have fewer children as a whole.

#5: Hence as far as I know the man's education level has no bearing on number of children. The woman's education level does.

#6: The ratio of highly intelligent and others in a society may remain the same but how is that relevant ... ?
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Postby jeff » Sep 29 2013, 17:08

My point was not to hijack your thread, but to point out that if current trends continue; then it won't matter if the more intelligent women have less children or not. Mankind's abilities will continue to wane in any case. If your hypothesis is true then the degradation will just be accelerated.
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Re: Something troubling me

Postby ThunderTitan » Sep 29 2013, 17:27

Banedon wrote:4) Therefore women will get less and less intelligent over time


Yes, because as we all know we only gain DNA from the parents that's the same sex as us...


Also, the few have always dominated the many, so nothing will change, which is actually the truly sad thing...
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Postby BoardGuest808888 » Sep 30 2013, 12:35

1. You can be sure that those things changes. Really. There is no such thing as general conception of a thing that remained same forever. Even intelligence. Regardless if it is hereditary or not. Why ? because what make for the definition of intelligence change as well.

Let's see, reasons change, plans (change on shorter time too), problems change, even the way people see things, it change too. How can the concept of intelligence, which depends on all these does not ?

Ex : Learning capacity change : 50 years ago, u won't be able to learn as much as u're now simply by googling the net. 500 years ago, u won't be able to learn at all, if u're not physically fit to do so as well.

The way people think also change : u'll get a vastly different response when u're on the airport and saying "I'm a terrorist" today than say, 30 years ago.

Problems change as well : err...people getting dumber wasn't really a problem, at least much of it, until u learn about heredity..;)

Thus intelligence itself change : 900 years ago, everyone agreed that Genghis Khan was the most intelligent guy in the world. No one would say otherwise, unless he/she can live after decapitation :D

But today ? What, are u gonna ask his univ degree ? Oh, perhaps he did get a PhD for City-Pillaging ?

Conversely, today most everyone agreed Gregor Mendell was a giant of a genius. How about at the time he lives ? Did anyone recognized him at all ? Did he even passed his own gene pool ?

2. The most important thing when determining who get admitted to University, and earn any kind of degree, is the Faculty. Academic achievements have very little influence here. Technically, if they want to admit an orangutan or koala to the University, no one can deny it.

3. When it came to education, the educated ones are more capable to focus their attention and effort to one or two subject, yes. But that doesn't necessarily means they're smarter or more intelligent.

One's capacity to focus his/her attention is itself subject to the environment by which he/she exist. If the environment change, such ability might change as well.

Get Stephen Hawkings from his office, put him in one of that war zone in Somalia. Do you think solving math permutation far-too-complex-for-ordinary- person-to-even-contemplate would still be his priority ?

4 . & 5. Even if women education level does determine the number of children (though this I still doubt), their intelligence doesn't. Just because someone wants to have fewer children doesn't mean that everyone else are dumb.

6. It is relevant that no one is getting any dumber. Neither sex does. U only get such impression because human population swells.

Say, u get to meet 100 persons, then u still get the chance of meeting like, 10 smart people out of that. Since the ratio between men and women more or less same, chance is u'll meet 5 smart women at any given time.

If u meet 1 000 persons, it will be 50. And so on. Of couse, since in this second case u'll also meet 900 not-so-smart people (instead of a mere 90), u'll get impression that people are getting dumber. But it actually is not.

And the world did change, like I said before. In this forum alone, u'll meet like, how many members? 10,000 ? 20,000? Even if the number of currently active member is only 10% of that, that still means u met more people than u'll probably have for u'r whole life if u live say, 200 years ago. Thus, it is easier today to feel that u're surrounded by uhm...intellectually compromised people. :D ;)

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Postby Banedon » Oct 1 2013, 20:14

1) I find it very improbable to imagine that the definition of "intelligence" will change by much over time. It's the same as the definition of "strong". Perhaps a hundred years ago a person who could lift 50kg would be 'strong', while today that someone needs to lift 100kg, but even so: the idea behind the word 'strong' is still the same.

Considering your examples, I don't see how learning capacity (the ability to learn?) has changed. The way information is delivered has changed, but not learning capacity. Neither has the definition of "terrorist". People's reactions to the word may have changed, but not the definition.

So if the thesis in the original post holds, women will get less and less intelligent while men get more and more intelligent. It may become socially acceptable for women to be much less intelligent than their husbands; it may be that it isn't a problem, but it doesn't change the fact that women are still much less intelligent than men.

Genghis Khan may not have been traditionally educated the way he would have been today, but that doesn't change how he is intelligent (see the definition), especially in the area of his genius: warfare. In the same way Mendel was intelligent, regardless of whether or not his genius was recognized at the time.

2) Perhaps but at the moment by far the most important factor for admission is academic results. I've seen it stated time and time again in "how to get admitted" books. Whoever is scrutinizing the applications is placing great weight on academic results, for obvious reasons - logically students with good high school academic results will do better in university.

3) Perhaps not but Stephen Hawking would still be intelligent. See the definition. By "the ability to reason, plan, solve problems ..." etc intelligent people are more able to cope with situations they've never seen before.

4 & 5) The relation is between education and number of children. I thought this was well established really. Here's an example: http://healthland.time.com/2011/07/05/e ... ay-around/

For the purposes of the OP it doesn't matter if fertility impedes education or education impedes fertility - it just matters that there's a correlation.

6) I don't mean women these days are dumb. I'm saying that if the OP holds they're getting dumber. Evolution takes time that's way longer than the human lifespan; the estimate earlier was 100 generations. This will be a thousand years in the future. If women get dumber, I won't live to see it, but that doesn't stop it from being troubling. It's the same with the ultimate fate of the universe. The universe is going to end really sadly with no light, no stars, etc. That's troubling, even though it's trillions of years in the future and I won't live to see it.

I don't see how what you're saying is relevant at all. If women get dumber but men get more intelligent then in a pool of a thousand people, the less intelligent will be dominated by women while the more intelligent are dominated by men, which is natural and to be expected. How is that relevant however?

@jeff, well if the OP holds then only women should be affected. Men should still get more and more intelligent, since intelligence improves survival chances (more likely to recognize deadly diseases early, earn more money, etc). Hopefully humans don't all become dumb, half the human race becoming dumber is troubling enough already.
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Postby Pol » Oct 2 2013, 7:55

Banedon wrote:So if the thesis in the original post holds, women will get less and less intelligent while men get more and more intelligent. It may become socially acceptable for women to be much less intelligent than their husbands; it may be that it isn't a problem, but it doesn't change the fact that women are still much less intelligent than men.


You know, on the beginning you say thesis, on the end you say fact. You're self creating support arguments, at best.

Luckily it's only your thesis and it's faulty. Overall intelligence is remaining less or more the same over time and it's always having the same pattern for all living being.

The fact that women intelligence doesn't suit your or you don't recognize it, doesn't change it.

However the fact that you overestimate sexes, is, on the other hand, evident.
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