Or how our brains are shrinking.
The notion that humans are growing increasingly dumb has been around for millennia. Socrates, in his Unapologia, noted how his fellow Athenians didn’t know their “arse from an urn.” And Desiderius Erasmus was equally appalled by the ignorance of his Dutch neighbors. Not only were they all going to hell, he said, but they would probably get lost along the way.
I’ve been saying the same thing to my lovely wife for years, but she has always dismissed my thoughts as more examples of my celebrated misanthropy. Now I can wave a new study in her face and say, “Ha!”
That is, I can once I figure out how to download the pdf. And, apparently, you have to be some kind of Einstein to print the damn thing.
The news might seem like a no-brainer, but some folks are skeptical. “How do researchers really know we’re getting dumber?” they stupidly ask. According to this article in Discover, over the past 20,000 years human males have lost a chunk of brain roughly the size of a tennis ball. (I would have thought a golf ball, since that’s the sort of thing we tend to lose most often, but I digress.) This will not be news to women, who have been saying the same thing for roughly 40,000 years. But before you gals get all smug, the same research says women have lost about the same size chunk o’ brain. And with each passing millennium, that tennis ball is starting to look more and more like a tennis racket.
It makes sense. Anecdotal evidence of our incredible shrinking brains is all around us.
SIGNS THAT WE ARE GETTING DUMBER:
• The Dallas man who recently tried to cash a forged check for 360 BILLION DOLLARS.
• Last year’s public school test scores.
• This year’s public school test scores.
• Warning labels on containers of rat poison: “Harmful if swallowed.”
• The fact that we are even talking about Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.
• The fact that we allow Oprah to choose the books we read.
• Computer scientists create breakthrough technology and we use it to keep tabs on the Kardashians.
WE USED TO THINK evolution was making us smarter. Mother Nature was supposed to thin the herd of dummies, or, more accurately, the dummies would take care of themselves, usually while engaged in some dubious activity that involved a bungee cord. You remember all those 1960s sci-fi films where the people of the future had these ginormous brains that made their heads look like environmentally unfriendly incandescent light bulbs? (Speaking of dumb, didn’t the filmmakers realize that you’d need thicker, weightlifter necks to support those massive brains?) Anyway, the idea was that we’d evolve bigger brains, much like we’ve evolved bigger butts and thighs. Instead, our brains have been shrinking since the Stone Age. But just because we’ll all be pinheads in a couple thousand years, doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Or maybe it does.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?