ARE WE GETTING DUMB AND DUMBER?
I. What is 'being smart'?
II. The Flynn effect and its reversal...
III. How is intelligence under attack?
IV. What can we do about it before it’s too late?
What is Intelligence?
“Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”
It is a measure of potential success in life.
Intelligence is measured with the Intelligence Quotient test (IQ test)
IQ scores follow a normal distribution called a bell curve
~ 68% of the population have an IQ between 85-115
~ 95% of the pop have an IQ between 70-130
IQ tests measure:
Verbal Comprehension (level of vocabulary sophistication)
Visual Spatial (understanding visual cues in space and being able to manoeuvre them)
Fluid Reasoning (ability to think logically and solve problems)
Working Memory (ability to retain information in attention in order to perform a task)
Processing Speed (time needed to understand information and perform a task with it)
Howard Gardner proposed The Theory of Multiple Intelligences:
According to this article, @jordanbpeterson "calls the nine types of intelligence theory “rubbish”"
He believes that these 'intelligences' are just different talents. That makes sense. As valuable as dance is, we can't call it an intelligence in an attempt to be IQ-inclusive.
So what is happening with intelligence?
We were getting smarter...
The Flynn effect= ↗️ in average IQ (3-point rise in IQ scores every decade) from the 1930s till the 1990s
Several factors allowed humans to reach their full genetic intellectual potential
↗️ healthcare (particularly antenatal care & ↘️childhood infectious diseases)
↗️ economic conditions-GDP
↗️ more complex world-> more stimulation
But now we are getting dumber...
THE NEGATIVE FLYNN EFECT: a reversal of the Flynn effect - ↘️ in IQ scores in the last 2 decades.
Possible factors contributing to our dumbing down:
Schooling system that is failing to teach critical thinking
Healthcare system that is over-reliant on pharmaceuticals-with hidden side effects
Poor nutrition (processed & high carb food)
↘️ mental health
Should we be so stuck on IQ?
The heterogeneity in abilities/talents found in humans is essential for a flourishing society.
A doctor or a theoretical physicist are NOT more important to society than a dancer or a social worker.
There are NO NON-ESSENTIAL humans.
Maybe the Flynn effect is not a thing to worry about...
Perhaps it's the system trying to regulate itself...
"when a dynamical system tries to reach a certain level, ... It first overshoots, then undershoots, then may overshoot again, etc…In each such cycle, the deviation between the current and desired values decreases – and eventually, the system stabilizes at this new level."
Perhaps, the effect is due to variation between different editions of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale.
Perhaps the IQ test is not a good measure of intelligence to start with...
What about street smarts? (the ability to manoeuvre successfully in real life)
What about emotional intelligence? (the awareness of your emotions and the emotions of others and being able to relate positively to others).
Regardless of wether the IQ score is a good measure of intelligence or not, one thing is certain, our human intelligence is under attack. We are being dumbed down.
Our kids are stuck on their devices watching stupid content ...20 sec videos suitable for the attention span of goldfish... sexual content is thrown at them from all sides... they are targeted with dopamine-inducing mind-numbing video games (keeping them away from reading a book or watching a documentary)... They puff up their lips for selfies looking like idiots ...their vanity is being rewarded with 👍instead of their intellect... even when they get together... they stay glued to their phones instead of talk to each other to learn how to communicate with other human beings.
Propaganda is getting better & better at brainwashing us with very advanced behavioural insights tools at hand... this will only get worse.
Advertising is haunting us to focus on the next gadget instead of nourishing our souls and intellect with meaningful human interaction.
Perhaps the most dangerous of all is the ideology of relativism - there is no longer an objective reality... reality is what any person makes of it....
Facts, morality, identity are all fluid ... How can our young not be disillusioned by that?
Is there anything more stupid than a person identifying as a chair and the rest of us being forced to affirm his delusion and treat him as a chair?
The next generation needs hope. They need to be anchored in things that are real. They need faith. They need to find their higher purpose. They need to come out of their devices and seek to learn, to improve themselves, to work hard, to improve their relationships, to improve their world ....
They need to get smart...before it is too late.
It is our duty to show them the way.
Thanks for reading Abir Ballan Uncensored! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
About the author
Abir Ballan is the co-founder of THiNKTWICE.GLOBAL — Rethink. Reconnect. Reimagine. She has a Masters in Public Health, a graduate degree in special needs education and a BA in psychology. She is a children’s author with 27 published books.