Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dumber = longer life span

'Tis a Gift to Be Simple...

The Discovery Channel website has a feature on flies, specifically: Dumb flies live longer than clever ones. In the test, researches from the University of Laussane boosted the intelligence of successive generations of flies using Pavlovian methods. The downside of the experiment: the more intelligent flies' lifespans averaged 30% less than their dumber natural cousins.

I wonder if this applies to humans, too?

This story reminds me of Idiocracy. The movie suffered from poor marketing and distribution and so fell largely below the public radar. The middle and last portions of the movie also had bad editing, indicating that it was rushed, but the beginning was actually thought-provoking:

As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.