At our wits end?

Yeah, I know that I used this .gif picture before. It’s too precious and apropos to resist using it again.

I have been reading At Our Wits End: Why we are becoming less intelligent, by Edward Dutton and Michael Woolley. The introductory sentence is ‘They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.’ Psalm 107:27. At the end of the first chapter, they write “Why is it that we used to be able to fly from the USA to London in less than 4 hours but now we can’t? Why is it that we used to be able to put people on the Moon but now, it seems, we can’t? The answer is surprisingly simple. We are no longer intelligent enough to be able to do these things (that were accomplished by 1969). We have become too stupid to keep Concorde in flight; let alone go back to the Moon.

How dare they! How dare they? “Science looks for the theory that explains the most with the fewest assumptions. Named Occam’s Razor, after the English friar William of Occam (c. 1287–1347), the axiom that the simplest theory is the best is accepted by all scientists. If we can plausibly explain two separate events with one theory, then that is superior to having a different theory for each event. We will show in this book that the simplest explanation, with the fewest assumptions, for our failure to get back to the Moon or to get Concorde back in the sky is that we are becoming less intelligent. Other explanations might account for one of the two events, or aspects of these, but they will not explain everything without leaving questions unanswered or assumptions hanging in the air. Our explanation does not suffer from these problems.”

Most of the book then discusses what intelligence is, and evidence to back up their thesis. While I agree with their conclusion, the problem with being as smart as they are is having to write an entire book to demonstrate what just a few paragraphs can say equally well. I simply present 8 items, the first four of which came from only a few pages of Flipboard news today. Even among the most radical groups in 1969 you would be hard put to find more than a handful of idiots who would accept these eight:

  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden declared Saturday that the Equality Act would be his top legislative priority, an effort to enshrine LGBTQ protections into the nation’s labor and civil rights laws. 
  • John Hickenlooper, yet another of the endless Dem candidates for President, said, “socialism is not the answer.” Activists in the crowd erupted with loud boos, disrupting Hickenlooper for several seconds. They booed again when he argued against eliminating private health insurance and against trying “to tackle climate change by guaranteeing every American a government job.”
  • Speaking of socialism, the people’s “republic” of California, after years of catering and pandering to, mentally ill, illegal or drug addicted elements of society: There has been a typhus outbreak in Los Angeles as a result of the city’s failure to keep its streets and sidewalks clean. Los Angeles County officials said the outbreak was linked to overcrowding downtown of homeless people and generally unsanitary conditions. At least one employee at a city police station has contracted the disease. In fact, city police stations are infested with vermin, including rats and fleas. According to a Los Angeles Times report, the LAPD’s downtown station is so unsanitary that the California Department of Industrial Relations has issued six violations against the police department. Lest you think these conditions are unique to Los Angeles, San Francisco continues to struggle with its own problem of human feces on the streets. The number of reports of unwelcome deposits of human waste has grown from about 5,000 in 2011 to more than 25,000 last year. And in San Diego, a recent Hepatitis A outbreak linked to unsanitary living conditions among its homeless population infected over 600 people, resulting in 20 deaths.
  • Ocasio-Cortez–an extreme-left radical who bills herself as the friend of working men and women–said her opposition to “corporate greed” and “worker exploitation” led her to help kill Amazon’s plan to create between 25,000 and 40,000 jobs paying salaries averaging more than $150,000 in her district. Apparently, being unemployed and collecting government benefits is better than being an exploited worker earning a mere $150,000 salary in the congresswoman’s view. Workers of the world unite – and stop being workers, I guess.
  • Sex reassignment surgery. Really? Snip the offending naughty bits (homage to Monty Python), or attach some new ones, suddenly a woman becomes a male, or vice versa? Associated idea: Object to same and lose your job, or be harassed.
  • Homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia…..Disagreement = irrational, paralyzing fear. I demur.
  • Achievement and merit are “white ideas” designed to oppress people of color. (If we concede this, we have to concede the presupposition that people of color are less capable than white people, for the statement make sense.)
  • The world will end in 12 years if we don’t address global warming climate change.”

If you don’t agree that humanity is dumber now than we were prior to 1970, have I got a dinner for you! (Next post). I have not addressed why we dumber, just that we are. I will get to the why soon.