According to a recent article in USA News, we’re not as smart as we used to be — and the trend is headed in the wrong direction.
Dr. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Sanford, published a study that supports this finding. According to Crabtree, we peaked some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago.
“I would wager that if an average citizen from 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, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues," Crabtree is quoted as writing. "Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2000–6000 years ago."
Crabtree says we were smarter when “every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis.” In other words, when we had to think for ourselves in order to survive. It appears the smarter we get collectively, the dumber we become individually. Having someone else think for us has actually shrunk our ability to think for ourselves, according to this theory. Crabtree's study is based on genetics and our ability to adapt to our circumstances through mutations.
Do you think this study has merit, and if so, how would you suggest we go about reversing the trend?