We found what may be the ultimate achievement of creation science. It’s posted at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.
Their new article, Are We Evolving Stupidity?, boldly examines the evidence and reaches the inevitable conclusion. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Social psychologists are tracking IQ scores and noticed a decline in the last decade after a steady rise since the 1950s. Some wonder if the recent downturn reflects genes that have been eroding all along. Are we evolving stupidity?
Disclaimer: Your Curmudgeon is utterly unqualified to discuss social psychology, so we won’t attempt our usual debunking. Instead, we’ll just give it to you straight from ICR. They’re getting most of their information from an article by Bob Holmes in New Scientist. You can see only part of it without a subscription: Brain drain: Are we evolving stupidity? ICR says:
Holmes reviewed IQ score trends from Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Denmark [yeah, they mentioned it twice], the UK, and Sweden. They show similarly rapid rises in postwar test results that peaked in the 1990s, and have steady declined since then.
Assuming the decline is real and not caused by changing test methods, we can’t help noticing that it coincides with the emergence of “creation science,” which is promoted by outfits like ICR, the Discovery Institute, and ol’ Hambo’s creationist ministry. But ICR ignores that. Instead they say:
Experts generally attribute the rise in IQ scores to the Flynn effect, named after University of Otago’s James Flynn. He thought that better nutrition and health, plus mental exercises that people in developed countries typically perform, would result in brighter brains and the higher IQ scores.
Wikipedia has an entry on the Flynn effect. But ICR is focused only on the downtrend that was recently spotted:
Holmes cited a 2010 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by Indiana University biologist Michael Lynch that explained how most mutations are slightly harmful and can occur anywhere in the genome. If they occur in genes that brain cells use, those mutations can reduce intelligence.
This is the abstract of the article by Lynch that they’re talking about: Rate, molecular spectrum, and consequences of human mutation We haven’t read it, and ICR probably didn’t either; but they’ve got all the answers anyway:
Decent nutrition and education may have done all the good they can for intelligence, but those factors can’t erase the accumulated mutations, let alone increase our genetic potential for greater intelligence. This preserves Lynch’s “rather stark picture” of a world population that will continue, according to Holmes, “evolving to be more stupid.”
Oh dear — all those mutations mean we’re destined to get dumber! We assume this is Adam & Eve’s fault, but ICR doesn’t mention that. They refer to Holmes again:
Is there any way to reverse this gloomy forecast? Holmes wrote, “The only way to stop that might be to tinker with our genomes. Given our ignorance about the genetic basis of intelligence, and the ethical complexities, that is a long way off.”
Aaaargh!! We’re doomed! But our title promised you creationism. Where does that fit into this situation? ICR saved it for the end. Here’s how they finish their little essay:
Declining IQ scores, and the harmful mutations that likely cause them, powerfully confirm Scripture that teaches “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Huh? Where did that come from? ICR has a footnote reference to Romans 8:21, but that passage doesn’t mention mutations and declining IQ scores.
We would like to explore this further, but we fear that spending too much time on ICR’s work will only contribute to our declining intelligence. If ICR says the downtrend in IQ scores confirms scripture, that’s good enough for us.
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