Suddenly Ayn Rand makes much more sense

I’m having a thought and it goes a little something like this:

Good vision was once a genetically selectable trait. In other words, if you had bad vision, you died or had a greater chance of dying.
People that had good vision thus had a greater chance of living and humanity was culled.
Then some myopic jerk decided to invent glasses.
And suddenly vision wasn’t so important. Perhaps it mattered to the person who had the vision, but it didn’t decide his or her life expectancy.
So instead of each generation getting better and better vision, the general vision of the populace stayed the same.

A similar line of reasoning could go for body hair and clothing.
The conclusion, which should follow from these logical inferrences, is that inventions create a crutch for which humanity doesn’t bother leaving. In other words, once you invent something that does something we hadn’t done before but wanted to do, all of a sudden that trait isn’t selected for and humanity gradually evolves away from it.

Some people would conclude from this that we would start selecting for intelligence and for inventive minds.
That’s very optimistic, but wrong.
With all of modern technology and convenience, people that would have been too weak or stupid to fend for themselves in the wilderness are now able to eat, drink, live, and be educated for relatively no effort on their part. In other words, by making education easier and the learning curve more gradual and less deadly, the human race will steadily grow stupider and stupider.

(as to how we developed intelligence in the first place, that’s a matter for anthropologists. My hypothesis is that the intelligence curve was so steep for early man– what with not having any other natural defenses– that we became much more intelligent than we knew what to do with. Basically, for the weakest one of us to be smart enough to kill mastodons, he had to have an ungodly amount of intelligence at his disposal… seeing as there was no education to help them at the task)


  1. It’s called social Darwinism. And my beef with that is if we have the ability to do something (like make glasses or vaccinations), why not use it?

  2. Aye, but Social Darwinism was misused by the rich to maintain their strangle-hold on the poor.

    Actually, I’d call this Regular Darwinism. My only comment was how this is going in such a way as to make the actual fittest (i.e. the brutest survivor) less likely to survive. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing..

    Indeed, I’m not sure how I feel about this topic. I know I dislike humanity enough as it is, but to think that it might actually be getting stupider is just depressing.
    Yet, what other alternative is there? Selective breeding? No thanks.
    *sigh* Sucks to evolution.

  3. I see your point Mr. Pixel. It is definitely something to ponder. I always thought of it in terms of time travel, though. I know it’s not possible (yet), but if you were thrown back in time to let’s say the Middle Ages you wouldn’t be better than most people because of our advanced technology. We have used a refrigerator in our time, but our use does not imply knowledge as you have pointed out. For the common person it would be next to impossible to explain the mechanics of the fridge…much less create one (plus devise a way to power it).

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