technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Peak of human race?

Humans have been constantly fighting against the Darwin’s theory of evolution ‘Survival of the fittest’. Initially we fought against the physical aspect of it by protecting the weak and wounded by keeping them secure while we let the fit and the strongest die trying to protect them during wars. As a result we can see that an average human being is weaker than before and less capable of surviving harsh living conditions like extreme heat, cold or without food for long.

Of course one might argue that this example would be taking the meaning of the word fittest too literary. A more fit usage of the word in terms of human civilization would be to link the word fit with the intelligence rather than with having anything to do with physical toughness. We have indeed reached a state where we do not need to use our muscles power to survive anymore except maybe in case of extreme harsh global level disasters. We have advanced to an age where we can change our surrounding to make it more suitable for us. Not only can we build huge fortifications to save us we also have an advanced defense system to protect from any predators that might want to hunt us down. We can control the atmosphere around us to suit our needs; we have made quite some advancement in medicine to fight almost all kinds of disease which are known. And we are working on developing new means to fight the ones we still can’t and possibly also the ones unknown.

Taking a look at how we are doing in the area ‘Survival of the fittest’ with the fittest corresponding to the intelligence level rather than the physical fitness it might seem to be pretty good at a broader look. After all we have advanced by huge measures in the past few decades and we continue to do so. The rate of advancement has climbed almost exponentially. Now if we want to look at what factors contribute to a person’s intelligence; there have been two factors which are associated with a person’s high I.Q. level – Genetic propagation and Environment.

In the “Bell Curve” The San Francisco Chronicle Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray did an extensive study on twins to separate the Environment and genetic factors and found that the major contribution factor is in fact genetic. They also go on to state that social intervention can do very little to raise IQ. This would mean that for retaining or improving the high I.Q. or fitness of our species we need to ensure that these genes are passed more often then the lesser fit genes.

Let’s look at some of the facts now – On average high I.Q. couples have 1.5 kids whereas the couples with low I.Q. have 5 kids on average. Also the chance of propagating a gene halves when only one of the parent is carrying the gene. Thus we can clearly see that continuing on the current path we will soon reach a point where the high I.Q carrying gene is lost just as the Darwin’s unfit Galápagos did. On the bright side at least we can take proud in the fact that we are here to observe the highest point of our race.

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One Response

  1. Ranjit says:

    Hans Rosling seems to have an opinion on population growth, if not intelligence and I think the straight forward relationship that has been established between IQ and number of kids is ridiculous. Number of kids have more to do with Child Survival Ratio than what the IQ of a couple is. People who are poor have to ensure that they have enough children to survive the vagaries of child death by the time they reach 5 years of ago. It is more of a necessity than how intelligent the couple is. I think having more children would probably be more intelligent in situations where you know that there is a 50% chance of your child dying by the time he reaches 5 years of age.

    The world’s population will grow to 9 billion over the next 50 years — and only by raising the living standards of the poorest can we check population growth. This is the paradoxical answer that Hans Rosling unveils at TED@Cannes using colorful new data display technology.


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