Survival of the fittest, natural selection. This mode of evolution explains how humans evolved from tiny single-celled organisms into the complex, intelligent creatures that we are today. But now we’ve advanced to a stage where natural selection no longer applies, and we’re evolving in the wrong direction.
The major roadblock to natural selection in humans is modern medicine. In developed countries, almost every baby born is guaranteed to live until reproductive age. This means that genetics play less of a role in survival and reproductive success, and natural selection occurs to a much lesser extent.
Without natural selection, survival of the fittest no longer applies. The main driver of human evolution is now reproductive success.
An interesting study has found a positive correlation between physical attractiveness and reproductive success, which suggests that on average, attractive people have more children than their uglier counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that attractive people are more likely to get married.
You might think the same to be true for intelligence; however there is actually a negative correlation between intelligence and reproductive success: on average, couples who are more intelligent tend to have less children.
The evidence for this is irrefutable. One study found that pregnant teenage girls were less likely to abort their babies if they were performing badly at school. Another study found that women with higher IQs were less likely to get pregnant, because they are more likely to correctly implement birth control methods.
These studies all hint towards a gradual decline in societal intelligence;and this premise was explored in the science fiction film Idiocracy, where the main character, an ‘average Joe’ is cryonically frozen and wakes up 500 years in the future, where he is surrounded by imbeciles and is the smartest man alive.
If we are not careful, this same fate could befall humanity. So what can we do to reverse this trend? It’s obvious that we have to get intelligent people to shag each other more often, but how do we go about this? Turn up to a TED conference and spike the punch with Viagra? Change the dress code at the Nobel prize ceremony to ‘smart and sexy’?
We need to figure out something; because on our current trajectory, the future of humanity doesn’t look very bright.