We are, supposedly, an average of fourteen IQ points less smart than our Victorian ancestors, according to a study published in the journal Intelligence and reported in the Daily Telegraph. Our reaction times, which the reporter notes is “a reliable marker of general intelligence,” are longer than theirs. Apparently the decline would be greater did not better nutrition and schooling increase our average IQ compared with what it would have been if we were all fed and taught as the Victorians were.
The difference in reaction times is genetic, and the scientist who led the study draws from that the conclusion that
Our declining intelligence is most likely down to a “reverse” in the process of natural selection, he explained. The most intelligent people now have fewer children on average than in previous decades, while there are higher survival rates among people with less favourable genes.
“The pressures of modern life, a nine-to-five modern lifestyle, have created all these pressures against very smart people having break-even numbers of children,” he said.
In other words: smart people should have more children. Which is a lesson I’d endorse, though with the concern that many people who would say so would also say that less smart people (people with “less favourable genes”) should have fewer children simply because they’re not as smart as other people.