To Create an Idiocracy

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In Wednesday's discussion of Reproductive Technologies the idea of a declining global IQ was brought up. Many people stated that global IQ was declining but without proof I was a bit skeptical, so I looked around online when I got home. What I found was this website, which shows the changing average IQ as recorded from 1950 until now, as well as the predicted change through 2050. And sure enough, the average IQ is decreasing! This reminded me of a movie I saw a long, long, time ago. The movie is called Idiocracy, and is the story of the most average man of our century being sent 500 years into the future---where everyone has become amazingly idiotic. In class we talked about how many people have feared that the rather high birth rate of the lower-class, wondering if these "less intelligent" people will cause a trend of increasing stupidity in the future. Sure enough, that is what this movie's premise is. This video explains it far better than I could:

As us science majors have probably all heard about a hundred times, evolution favors those who reproduce the most. In the natural world, those who reproduce the most are the most fit to survive. In the human world... not so much.

So my question to you is, do you think the downward trend of global IQ seen in the last fifty years is a serious concern? Are we slowly devolving into a far less intelligent version of the human species as seen in Idiocracy? What should we do about it if we are? What can reproductive technologies (potentially) do for us in this scenario?

Here's the trailer for the movie, for those interested:

3 Comments

One night my mom and I rented this movie on pay-per-view based on the small description in the 'info box.' All I remember from the movie is a man blasting ahead in time to this horrible place. Trash filled the streets and chaos was everywhere. I remember there was a scene where the man from the past was trying to order food of some sort from a machine because human service was a thing of the past. The machine of course had its glitches and didn't work properly. Whenever I am in department stores and I see vending machines selling iPods and accessories, I always make a comment that I think one day this is how all shopping will be. WIth technology advancing all the time, we will soon expect machines to do all the work for us. With machines doing everything, we will eventually forget how to do things for ourselves - dumbing down society. An example of this is calculators. Although I frequently use them and agree that today's society requires them, I feel as though simple math has been put on the back burner in the education system since our generation has always had calculators to do the work for us. Don't get me wrong I obviously don't want us not to be able to use calculators but they most likely aid to society's decreasing IQ. What other factors do you think could be the cause of a decreasing IQ?

In one of my classes we were told the radiation and the build up of toxins in bodies (ie the mother) from all the technology (like laptops, cellphones and chemicals) affects the brain of a developing baby and results in a lower IQ than it would have had were it not exposed to these toxins in the womb. Obviously this is still a very new study since laptops were not really around 15 years ago and the IQ drop is only 2 or 3 points--very minimal. But still. It is troubling.

Idiocracy does raise a legitimate concern about the general intelligence of the population; however, I think that trying to turn this trend around may be close to impossible. Those who do have higher IQ’s tend to have better paying jobs and a more regimented lifestyle. They have access to many reproductive technologies so that they can control when they have children and how many children they have. On the other hand, those with lower IQ’s do tend to reproduce more children and these children are more likely to also reproduce at a greater rate. I know that these are general assumptions, but I think for the most part, it speaks to how our society functions today.

I think that reproductive technologies played a huge part in getting us to where we are today in terms of IQ. Those who are on the higher end of the IQ range see it as part of their duty to only reproduce a few children so that they can meet the standards that society has made for them. If they do wish to reproduce, they can choose what method they want to use for reproduction, whether it is surrogacy, invitro fertilization, or conception by natural methods. However, those on the lower end of the IQ scale also have access to certain reproductive technologies which have allowed them to continue to reproduce even after they undergo a trauma that should leave them sterile.

Solving the IQ “problem” would not be an easy task and I would say it is almost impossible. You cannot regulate the number of children that people have. If they have access to reproductive technologies, then they have the choice to have as many children as they want. I would argue that anyone who wants to have access to contraceptives or birth control can have it. I have friends who get birth control for free and condoms are also not expensive. We cannot stop people with lower IQ’s from having children if they want to keep having children. This can only be regulated if the government were to put a limit on the number of children that each family can have, but I do not think that this will happen until overpopulation becomes so great that the world leaders must issue this sort of limit worldwide.

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This page contains a single entry by Kelli published on November 18, 2010 3:37 PM.

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