Although we are now surrounded by the technological and medical benefits of a scientific revolution, these have masked an underlying decline in brain power which is set to continue into the future leading to the ultimate dumbing-down of the human species, Professor Crabtree said.
His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical "intelligence" genes.
"I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC 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," Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.
"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 2,000 to 6,000 years ago," Professor Crabtree says.
But you don't need to read the New York Times columnist to find evidence of growing imbecility. Even a casual reading of the newspapers brings more examples.
And here is Anatole Kaletsky. There are dumb deficit deniers. And there are smart deficit deniers. Kaletsky is one of the smart ones. But even the smart ones make us wonder.
Do deficits really matter? Dick Cheney said they didn't. Apparently, Ronald Reagan didn't think they mattered. Today's big federal debt got its first big growth spurt during Reagan's first term.
And here comes Kaletsky with a prediction. When the Republicans realize that the only way they can cut the deficit is by raising taxes, they won't think deficits matter either.
Kaletsky says that today's deficits are really nothing to worry about. They're not that big. And with interest rates so low, they are easily handled.
Today, the social and security spending goes on and on...and gets bigger. There's no end in sight. And public officials - urged by people like Kaletsky - have no intention of paying down the debt. Instead, they intend to add to it...and are ready to print money to keep the lights on.
But now the tables are turned. After the November 6 U.S. election deficit phobia no longer implies drastic cutbacks in public spending. Instead, it is becoming the main argument for higher taxes - especially on the rich.
Once this becomes obvious, I expect to welcome many Tea Partiers and tax lobbyist to the ranks of deficit deniers
But that doesn't mean deficits don't exist...or that they won't cause a lot of hardship in the future. Kaletsky cleverly notes that governments could reduce their debt substantially just by canceling what they owe to their own central banks. Good thinking!
The central banks print up money. They use it to buy bonds from the government. Thus does the government 'borrow' money that didn't theretofore exist.
If something seems fishy about that transaction to you, you are already on your way to suspecting that the human race is indeed getting stupider. One hundred years ago, central bankers wouldn't have stood for it. Neither would the governments and publics they served.
But now we take for granted what we used to take for absurd, stupid and criminal. Central banks print money and pass it off as the real thing. Central governments run deficits of 10% or more of their nation's GDP and cover it with printing press money. And the man chosen to defend the Bill of Rights tells the New York Times how he personally directs a program of pre-meditated murder!
How smart is that?
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.