I've had a "reverse evolution" theory for some years now. It's not very politically correct, and I haven't really had any strong objections or arguments against it when presenting it to various people. So, I thought I would run it by this group and see what you think.

First off, I believe that "natural selection/survival of the fittest" stopped being a factor in the human ability to reproduce a long time ago. In our advanced society, there is no longer anadvantage to be of a certain intellegence or to be in any kind of physical condition to find a mate and have your offspring survive. There may be an advantage as far as the quality of mate you may attract, but not in the ability to have offspring. We will assume this as a fact. If you disagree, please let me know why.

Now is where it gets politically incorrect. I believe that we are currently witnessing an era in human history in which (in general) the most intellegent humans are purposefully limiting the amount of offspring that they produce for various reasons, including: career demands, environmental concerns, choice of "quality over quantity", they are more "responsible" in general so are less likely to have an accidental pregnancy etc.

Then you have the less intellegent/responsible members of our species. Let's start out with the real zinger-they are more likely to hold fundamental religious beliefs which are influencing them to have more offspring. They are going to be less responsible and more likely to have accidental pregnancies (may also be less likely to get an abortion due to their religious beliefs). I feel that there is a tendancy for the less intellegent to percieve less "meaning" in their life and are trying to fill this void with children. Some (not all) may be taking advantage of our welfare system. I could list more, but I'm already feeling "dirty" for this last paragraph, so I won't go on.
Please realize that I realize that I am making many broad generalizations in these assumptions/claims. I know there are many exceptions.
However, I will not back down from my claim that there is a generalized trend for the less intellegently fit/mentally unstable members of our society to reproduce at a faster rate than the more "fit" members. After a few generations, if this trend continues-it could theoretically snowball with unpredictable and unhealthy consequences.
So there it is in a nutshell. Am I ignorant, nuts, classist, racist, right on, stating the obivious(and thinking that I'm coming up with an original thought when I'm not)?
What do you think?
I'm not easily offended, so let me hear it.

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Replies to This Discussion

Do you think that religious "brainwashing" can actually retard someone's natural curiosity, or do you think that some people are just less curious and are more susceptible to believing religious teachings that are otherwise unbelievable if they were able to step back and look at their beliefs objectively?

I have a hard time believing that any religion doesn't damage curiosity. Why look for an answer, when there is one marvelous perfect supposedly divine source at hand for all the answers you will ever need.

However I can not speak to any veracity on this subject, I was raised without religion and was told quite often too look it up myself. My curiosity was constantly encouraged and was rabidly fed. I find curiosity to be something that is such a part of my self identity that to not be curious would to not be me. My curiosity as it even stands today knows no bounds, and the internet* has become my one stop shop as it were.

I would be more interest to see what those who have escaped the grasp of religion have to say on this subject, as they are the ones who have the most insight into how religious ideas can directly affect your ability to reason. Where they (people raised in religious environments) ever encouraged to seek out the answers for themselves, or was it all basically handed to them, on a trust me because I say it is so platter.

*Believe it or not the internet is actually full of facts. It is when used critically, the biggest library of ideas that you will ever have access to.
My father was always a curious person, then after his youngest "passed" he fell into the realm of religion.

I am curious, was he very religious before this tragedy or after. I often read that turning to religion is sometimes an emotional response to something.

I also wonder if there is a difference or something extra to just being curious. Is being curious in things enough to lead to critical thinking or is that a separate skill one has to learn? Was he curious and critical about the stuff he learned, or just curious?
I'm not easily offended

OK, then...

Er, I thought Atheist Nexus was an international community, with people from all around the world.

So, might I respectfully suggest you avoid using expressions like 'Are we currently experiencing "reverse evolution" in our country?' in non-localized discussion groups? There's a common gripe towards US citizens, who are said to not be aware there's a world beyond their borders, and titles like this one can only strenghten this gripe.

Besides, I can't even see in which way your post is exclusively relevant to the USA. It feels like you're not very interested in knowing if it's relevant to other countries as well.

Thank you.
Yes, it was narrow minded of me to use these terms in this discussion. I would like to hear opinions from around the world on this topic. I guess I tend to think of the U.S. as having the biggest problem with religious fundamentalism/backwards thinking, but I know this is not exclusive to us.
I agree that survival of the fittest as you mention Scott is no longer relevant in finding a mate and reproducing. What i have wondered about is the effect that medical interventions are having on the genetic fittness of people in developed countries. Is it relevant? Is it great? I dont know but often wonder.
For example people with genetically inhereted medical conditions which would have prevented them from reaching reproductive age or being fit enough to reproduce, are now living long enough to reproduce and therefor passing on those faulty genes, which would have previously been removed by natural selection.
Same goes for guys with weak or faulty sperm, they would have never fathered a child before assisted reproductive techniques became available. Could there sons have weak sperm too and so pass on this problem??
Any thoughts on this one?
By the way we have a very good health system in Australia where even the poor and unemployed recieve whatever health care they require at no cost.

Also, from an Australian perspective, although we do not have the same problems with religous fundamentalists in Australia, it is certainly true, and studies have shown this, that the less educated and affluent you are the more children you will produce.
I believe this is leading to a "dumbing down" of our society in general, where educated forward thinking people can be seen as an elite minority who are not in touch with the "real world" and therefore whos ideas have no relevance to the average (under educated) person.
... Same goes for guys with weak or faulty sperm, they would have never fathered a child before assisted reproductive techniques became available. Could there sons have weak sperm too and so pass on this problem??
Any thoughts on this one?


I believe it's more than balanced by the fact that in many modern societies, people (especially women) now choose their reproductive partners. And this choice is more often than not influenced by pheromones, which are your best to find a partner with fitting DNA. While the main historical reason for arranged marriages was to keep inheritance within the family, group, or tribe (hence girls often have to marry a cousin or uncle in societies where arranged marriages are/were the norm - not a good way to ensure an healthy descendance in my book).

It's important, IMO, to let women choose their mates, because of their reproductive cycle: only one egg a month, a 9-month pregnancy, plus early menopause (a human-only trait), means they'll never get as many offspring as a man's 'theoretical limit' (it's said that Augustus II of Poland sired more than 360 chldren, and a Moroccan bey allegedly had about 900 sons and more than 1000 daughters). A woman has to be more discriminate with her partners.
This. The number of people on the planet and international travel and cros-cultural marriages are probably improving the genetic heritage we leave future generations TREMENDOUSLY.
'I believe this is leading to a "dumbing down" of our society in general, where educated forward thinking people can be seen as an elite minority who are not in touch with the "real world" and therefore whose ideas have no relevance to the average (under educated) person.' -
This is the status quo in South Africa where whites are the minority here. The majority here have more kids to get given/qualify for the government grant/handout which is a small amount of money, but if you have 3 or more kids it 'seems' worthwhile and is like having a job. They also are the ones going to church on mass believing as in most religions (Jewish, Christian, Islam) that god will look after them, it's always god's will for every circumstance they find themselves in and that god will save them from their hardships. As the government represents the majority, it just perpetuates the cycle and perception. We have a definite dumbing down here especially in the school and university education system where in government schools you need just scrape by in order to be helped up to University. They give you a pass on a silver platter to 'assist' the majority. Our country is therefore in a skills crisis and deficit as kids are not doing subjects like science and maths especially.
Hi Scott,

It sounds logical to me but it's my understanding that sperm banks have shown that intelligence is not inherited. If your logic is sound, then it's a good thing intelligence is not inherited.
Hmmm...ok. I think two different phenomena are being discussed here. First, are selection mechanisms driving the evolution of humans downhill in regards to intelligence? I think a lot of folks made good points on this and I think the issue is more complicated than you make it out to be. On the other hand, there is plain statistical evidence (at least in the US) that poorer people have more kids. Scott, I don't think you're idea is 'un-PC', racist, or nuts but I think you'd have a long, tough road to try and prove it. :)

Now, as to the actual evolution, let's not forget the selfish gene as one rather noted evolutionary biologist called it. It's the gene that has success or failure in copying itself, not the species. I am trying to wrap my pea-brain around what that fact means to the current discussion and I want to write more about it...but I have to go make my 9:04 tee time. Cheers. Keep this one going as I think it's pretty interesting.
... I believe that we are currently witnessing an era in human history in which (in general) the most intellegent humans are purposefully limiting the amount of offspring that they produce for various reasons, including: career demands, environmental concerns, choice of "quality over quantity", they are more "responsible" in general so are less likely to have an accidental pregnancy etc.

Then you have the less intellegent/responsible members of our species. Let's start out with the real zinger-they are more likely to hold fundamental religious beliefs which are influencing them to have more offspring. They are going to be less responsible and more likely to have accidental pregnancies (may also be less likely to get an abortion due to their religious beliefs). I feel that there is a tendancy for the less intellegent to percieve less "meaning" in their life and are trying to fill this void with children. Some (not all) may be taking advantage of our welfare system...


Mike Judge made a 2005 movie about this- Idiocracy.
Thanks.
I'd heard of it but never really checked into what it was about. I'm surprised it wasn't more controversial and I didn't hear about it when it came out. I'm going to check it out soon.

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