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The Pill = evolutionary mistake?

 
 
Equus
 
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 07:12 pm
If 'smart' people use birth control, and 'dumb' people don't, doesn't that imply that evolution will tend to dumb-down the human race over coming generations?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,405 • Replies: 11
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 07:41 pm
Hmmmmm - depends on the actual heritability of intellectual potential - which is still highly moot. There is also a concept known as "deviation towards the mean" which holds that people either specially smart, or dumb, tend to have kids more normal (in sense of closer to the norm) than their parents.

I would be more concerned if, given your thesis that more intelligent folk have fewer kids (I assume you mean this rather than exclusively talking about the pill, as such?) is true, that, given that overall bright folk are more competent parents (there is evidence of this - and intelligence is highly co-related to optimal care-giving environments, and there is quite a high correlation between receiving good nurture and being able to give it, and avoiding, where possible, risk factors like poverty and such) then we are possibly selecting for a greater population of non-optimally raised kids, with consequent increases in a variety of social problems.

Whew.

If you get what I mean. But - who really knows? I swear I am seeing way more such kids and families - (and this is also reported by schools, and all other organizations dealing with troubled families and youth) but this is obviously anecdotal, and, even if valid, gives no evidence as to causation.
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 11:37 pm
Whenever I see a pill... any kind of pill... I pop it into my mouth as fast as I can. And I think it's starting to make me smarter.
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 06:20 pm
SCoates- Ha. You are a pill.

(Omigod- don't swallow yourself!)
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 08:25 pm
A Visiting Nurse in the back woods of West Virginia was very distressed to find that one of her clients--supposedly on the pill--was pregnant with her 11th child.

The Mama-To-Be-Explained that her husband had been taking the pills to cure his bad back. The placebo effect was great enough that he was able to rise to the occasion.

Unfortunately, this story is true.
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 09:27 pm
it just means that smart people don't have unwanted pregnancies. They still have babies, but at their chosing.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 09:29 pm
Good point.

And I've also known puh-lenty of smart people -- IQ, test scores, grades, whatever measure you want to use -- who did dumb dumb things when it comes to love and permutations thereof.
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 09:31 pm
also a good point......
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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 10:41 pm
Equus - and if we all DID become progressively 'dumber' over the generations, who the heck would know? Presumably we'd also breed out the intellectual capacity to understand 'dumb' or 'smart'.

In the 'Time Traveller' Well's 'beautiful people' are just our attractive, but dumb-as-a-box-of-anvils descendents.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 11:33 pm
That's right, Mr. Stillwater. An IQ of 100 still defines average intelligence. No matter how dumb we become in an absolute sense, our collective intelligence will still come out to 100.

Now, how can you worry about that.
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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 01:39 am
..it also depends on how attractive when find our first cousins. Though if the oceans are going to rise dramatically, a few extra toes that might become flippers over time might be useful.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 02:15 am
Equus wrote:
If 'smart' people use birth control, and 'dumb' people don't, doesn't that imply that evolution will tend to dumb-down the human race over coming generations?

It does. But why, from evolution's point of view, is that a mistake? Genes are facing a new environment, and they adapt to it over the generations. Losing intelligence in an environment of birth control is no more of a mistake than losing gills was when some fishes started breathing air instead of water. (We call those particular fishes "amphibia")
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