In this article published by Natural Society, journalist Mike Barrett calls out a leading geneticist on his claims that humans are getting gradually dumber due to genetic mutations. This argument reminds me of the neo-Darwinian idea of random natural selection and the flagrantly flawed, vestigial man.
What about the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink? Do pollutants, chemicals and radioactive particles that humans inhale and ingest figure into the human intelligence equation? How about fluoride, mercury, aluminum, aspartame and pesticides, all known to be detrimental to human brain function, does the consumption of such not play a role in declining human IQ?
I think that geneticist Gerald Crabtree is missing the elephant in the room. But, Mike Barrett is willing to call a spade a spade. He writes:
Would you be surprised to hear that the human race is slowly becoming dumber, and dumber? Despite our advancements over the last tens or even hundreds of years, some ‘experts’ believe that humans are losing cognitive capabilities and becoming more emotionally unstable. One Stanford University researcher and geneticist, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, believes that our intellectual decline as a race has much to do with adverse genetic mutations. But there is more to it than that.
According to Crabtree, our cognitive and emotional capabilities are fueled and determined by the combined effort of thousands of genes. If a mutation occurred in any of of these genes, which is quite likely, then intelligence or emotional stability can be negatively impacted.
Barrett quotes Crabtree from an article he had published in the scientific journal Trends in Genetics:
“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. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues.”
But, does Crabtree’s genetic “wager” stand up to empirical scrutiny? Barrett continues with this headline:
While this hypothesis does have some merit: are genes really the primary reason for the overall cognitive decline of the human race? If humans really are lacking in intelligence more than before, it’s important to recognize other possible causes. Let’s take a look at how our food system plays a role in all of this.
It’s sad, but true; our food system today is contributing to lower intelligence across the board.
The Water Supply, Fluoride is Lowering Your IQ
Researchers from Harvard have found that a substance rampant in the nation’s water supply, fluoride, is lowering IQ and dumbing down the population. The researchers, who had their findings published in the prominent journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a federal government medical journal stemming from the U.S National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, concluded that ”our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment”.
But, there are other likely culprits in this perceived decline in human intelligence. Barrett links pesticides with “diminishing human intelligence”.
One study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that pesticides, which are rampant among the food supply, are creating lasting changes in overall brain structure — changes that have been linked to lower intelligence levels and decreased cognitive function. Specifically, the researchers found that a pesticide known as chlorpyrifos (CPF) has been linked to ”significant abnormalities”. Further, the negative impact was found to occur even at low levels of exposure.
Lastly, Barrett implicates industrial food, with the headline, “Processed foods, high-fructose corn syrup making people ‘stupid’.”
Following 14,000 children, British researchers uncovered the connection between processed foods and reduced IQ. After recording the children’s’ diets and analyzing questionnaires submitting by the parents, the researchers found that if children were consuming a processed diet at age 3, IQ decline could begin over the next five years. The study found that by age 8, the children had suffered the IQ decline. On the contrary, children who ate a nutrient-rich diet including fruit and vegetables were found to increase their IQ over the 3 year period. The foods considered nutrient-rich by the researchers were most likely conventional fruits and vegetables.