Bring Back Smoking

Are we getting stupider?

This is hard to know as we don’t have IQ exams from further back than last century. We have some ways to approximate IQ going back into the mists of time, but those will always get bogged down by debates over methods.Then you have the flat earth types who argue that IQ is not a real thing or that there are multiple forms of intelligence. Just sticking with the good data we have for the last 100 years or so, it does appear that the West is getting dumber. By how much and and how fast is the debate.

Why this could be happening is not much of a debate. There are three reasons related to biology. One is the Idiocracy example. The stupid are breeding like bunnies while the smart are reproducing at less than replacement levels. The high achieving man marries late and marries a high achieving women with a head full of feminist nonsense. They put off childbearing until she can only produce one child. Meanwhile, the guys that cut their grass are knocking up their girlfriends in high school and producing five kids.

Another reason is that stupid people are migrating into Western countries. This is an easy one as we just have to look at the news. The migrants flowing in from south of the equator into Western countries are bringing a mean IQ in the 80’s and sometimes, in the case of Somalis, the 70’s. They also breed like rabbits. A country full of 95-IQ white people that becomes 90% white and 10% Somali will lose almost ten IQ points. This is just an accelerated version of the above answer. It turns out that Magic Dirt is not real.

Finally, the hardest one to grasp is that something has happened to change the evolutionary pressure on the population that is now changing the rewards and punishments. Traits that in the past were punished, thus resulting in fewer children by those with those traits, are now neutral or maybe even slightly favored. We know smart people tend to live longer, so reducing the risk of death by misadventure or even death from common maladies could be lowering the over all IQ of Western populations.

If you want to read a bunch of smart people debating this, this post by Greg Cochran has a lively comment section. What you’ll note is that people focused on genetics tend not to consider environmental factors. In fact, they often veer into a form of genetic determinism that sounds a lot like astrology. The fault dear mortal is not in our stars, but in our genes, that we are just moist robots. People who tend to this sort of thinking are usually unfamiliar with 4GL programming languages or write JavaScript for a living.

That’s not to say free will is a real thing. Humans are not free to rewrite their personalities anymore than they can make themselves taller. We are the result of our wiring, plus some environmental factors like the community in which we were born, climate and serendipity. Someone born to the Amish will be raised to develop pro-Amish traits and ignore traits that are no useful to the Amish way. Environmental factors may play a small role over all, but they do play some role in what we are as people.

In specific cases, it could have an enormous role. Greg Cochran’s Gay Germ idea is a great example. Homosexuality is most certainly not genetic. Nature works against low-fitness. Males with a trait that sharply reduces their ability (or willingness) to mate will have far fewer offspring and therefore pass on this trait in low numbers. In just a few generations, the trait would die out. In the case of homosexuality, we know there were gay Roman emperors and Elton John is still with us, so this trait cannot be genetic.

Alternatively, homosexuality is either taught or the result of psychological damage done at a young by something like molestation. This is a popular idea on the Right, but it does not explain most cases. Lots of homosexuals grew up fairly normal lives and were simply attracted to the same sex once they hit sexual maturity. That’s where Cochran’s gay germ comes in. Instead of a trauma, it is a virus or parasite that triggers changes in brain chemistry, resulting homosexual behavior. That would provide an answer that fits the data.

Bringing this back to IQ, what if something like this is at work with Western IQ? Maybe not a germ, but environmental factors that are having a cascading effect on mean IQ. For example, such an idea has been posited to explain the spike in black crime. Many on the Left think the Tragic Dirt is contaminated with lead, leading to low-IQ and increased violence for the people living on the Tragic Dirt. It’s not a crazy idea, but like the Gay Germ, it is not proven idea. It’s more of a thought experiment at this stage.

Here’s soemthing else. Smoking rates began to decline in the middle of the last century, with the Baby Boomer interest in health. Nicotine is known to increase focus and increase your cognitive abilities. It’s why writers and computer programmers were all smokers. In fact, STEM fields in the 20th century were dominated by men who chain smoked at their desks. Anyone who has had to sit for hours working a math problem knows how exhausting it can be. Even a small boost in focus has enormous results.

What if the apparent uptick in Western IQ was accelerated by smoking? Tobacco was introduced to the West in the 16th century and its use increased steadily. By the 18th century, the use of tobacco was common. By the 19th century, smoking cigarettes was ubiquitous. Everyone smoked. It also corresponds with the Industrial Revolution. Once tobacco use became universal, Western technological progress took off like a rocket, culminating in a rocket literally taking off and putting men on the moon.

Once the anti-smoking crusades got a purchase in the 60’s and smoking rates declined, it does appear that the West began to decline. Perhaps that small boost to our cognitive ability had a huge impact on our intellectual achievements. Now that the crutch is gone, we’re doing idiotic things like putting minorities in charge and inviting in low-IQ barbarians from the fringes of civilization. Perhaps the lunacy that has gripped the West is simply the withdraw symptoms of kicking the habit.

Maybe we need to start smoking again.

100 thoughts on “Bring Back Smoking

  1. My belief is that people are not necessarily dumber, but that, in the egalitarian spirit of the times, the dumbness of the dumb (who have always been in the majority) is now taken seriously and incorporated into public policy and cultural development.
    Football has always been dumb; it is only since the 1970s that it has become corrupt and awful as well as dumb, with the aggressive recruitment of culturally damaged but physically powerful underclass players. For example.

  2. “A country full of 95-IQ white people that becomes 90% white and 10% Somali will lose almost ten IQ points. ”

    By my computation, a population that is:
    90% IQ of 95 and
    10% IQ of 75

    Has an average IQ of 93, not 85.

  3. Reminded me of one theory of how the Enlightenment accelerated in England with the advent of coffeehouses. Though Lister’s theories on germ transmission were a couple centuries off, people did see the correlation between what you drank and disease. “Small” (low alcohol) beer was a common daily beverage since fermentation killed harmful bacteria. Coffee then became hugely popular (with the same low bacteria feature from boiling) and the upper and nascent middle classes in Britain went from being slightly “in the bag” all day to “wired” to innovate.

  4. I have a line of thought as to why this may be so ie why people are getting dumber

    I think it has more to do with the changes made to the way kids are educated.

    Back in the day Kids were grouped based on aptitude with smarter kids put in the same class and less smart kids grouped together in other classes. The effect is that kids are taught based on their needs: smart kids had special teachers to amplify their aptitude while less smart kids also had special teachers to have them develop. Teachers then were trained to evaluate kids assess the abilities & place them in suitable classes of their “peers”. Note that kids tend to roll with other kids of similar aptitude from a young age. All sorts of tests were regularly done to evaluate kids with teachers handling different classes having to update/adjust their teaching methods to suit the classes they were assigned with the sole purpose of bring out the best in them, as well as moving kids around between classes depending on if they showed signs of elevated cognitive ability or if they needed to join other groups that need extra work or a different teaching approach.
    Kids that needed extra work usually stayed behind after school while the rest (smart ones) went home with assignments/homework.

    I remember this cuz as a kid, in secondary school (You Americans call it high school), teachers would go round pulling kids out and sending them to special classes or recommend they are sent to better Schools/Academics for “gifted kids” (Back then all the best schools were run by the govt).
    Note that this is a form of discrimination with the sole aim of getting the best out of kids, with the obvious effect that kids of certain ethnic groups or raised up in a particular area/environment/manner “made it ahead”. In fact during the colonial days and immediately after our independence, this was the method used to select kids who will go to University ie had a chance of succeeding there, as not everyone could/should go- at least that was the thinking then

    In countries like yours & other western countries this was reinforced with policies like segregation

    I believe the net effect of this was to raise the average IQ as smarter kids rolling with other similar kids got smarter, with every kid aspiring to make it into the “best class”, while kids who could not still got the best education possible from teachers who knew (via training) how to achieve exactly that for “different classes”

    When this was scrapped in favour of EQUALITY with kids of varying aptitudes just jammed together, I believe it had a negative effect as teachers now had ensure that they carried all kids along irrespective of aptitude. In essence they had to use the lowest common denominator to grade kids indirectly punishing smart kids who have to wait for the less smart ones in the same class to catch up. Of course the standards did not fall immediate as teachers who had been previously trained under the former method still remained and were able continue to bring out the best in the “varying” students mixed up in their classes.

    However as these category of teachers left the teaching pool, replaced with “Equality” hires the standards have continued to drop to such abysmal levels you have today where so called University Graduates are having problems with basic arithmetic, sentence construction, poor reading abilities etc. This problem is not a western one as it is much worse here in 3rd world countries after the destruction of the Education system (by the govt of course when they took it over, as back then schools were run by the missionaries & other private entities) with emphasis more on pushing more or less indoctrinated kids out into the next class or graduation from High School/University as against what an education is supposed to achieve teaching/training young people how to think.

    A sad turn of events which I expect to get much worse

  5. I hate the smell of smoke, but if bringing it back would cause 80% of American women to lose 30 lbs this year, I’d be for it.

  6. The Zman is not thinking this through here.

    It is the inhalation of combustion products, not nicotine itself, that is the cause of all of the medical problems associated with smoking. If nicotine itself is beneficial in small quantities, the solution is obvious – smokeless sources of nicotine.

  7. The Germans discovered flouride made the inmates in the camps dumb and passive. They gave it to them in large doses. Brush more often, get more dumb. Our environment is loaded with lots more than just lead. This cannot help our smarts. Cat ladies are infected with T. gondi. On and on. There was some guy on the internet I lost track of who did some amazing self-studies with nicotine overloads- he wrote brilliantly.

  8. Also smoking in night clubs made stage lighting look so much better.
    More seriously, many levels of addictive drugs are used to enhance human performance. Arts and specifically Rock music half of which can be attributed to drugs of some sort, society lauds these people and puts them in the hall of fame etc. To a degree Homosexuality is also
    all the rage, it’s fashionable and trendy much like the correct shoes or fashion item. What used to be in the closet is now center stage! Unlike being born black or Latino a suffering victim wanna-be can adopt the sexual minority status of the day thus allowing them to “suffer” despite their $200K income. Currently Americans do not smoke anywhere near the rate of the (hey, guess who?) Chinese who are taking over with a huge surge of growth. Could it be the cigarettes and the nicotine and caffeine contained in them, interesting thought?

  9. Since smoking rates have dropped, Western culture has started circling the bowl. Music, movies, the Church and politics have lost their relevancy. And boy haven’t people gotten fat in that time too?!

  10. In powerskirt news of the week:
    Melissa Mayer will receive $186 million for the stock, stock options and restricted stock units she holds if shareholders on June 8 vote to approve the $4.48 billion sale of Yahoo’s core search and email service to Verizon, according to a report.

    The eye-popping sum was revealed less than two months after Yahoo’s board decided not to award Mayer any 2016 bonus in the wake of Yahoo’s epic data breach.

    The whopper of a payday does not include her salary, bonuses and stock awarded over the past five years, or the stock she’s already sold.

  11. I’m way late to this party, but I didn’t see this get enough attention, so I’ll throw in my $0.02.

    Z, I agree with you 99.9% of the time, but a “gay germ” makes little sense to me. There are very few germ-related diseases that directly impact mental function, especially permanently (an ultra-high fever causing brain damage would be an indirect effect).

    The arguments against the heritability of homosexuality seem to rely on a simple punnet-squares style of genetics. “This gene is for blue eyes. This one is for brown eyes. One is dominant, the other recessive.” Far more likely for something like homosexuality is that it would be massively polygenetic. Links would be difficult to ascertain because you end up with combinatorial explosion if, e.g. there are 100 genes that contribute to the disease and you only need specific combinations within that 100 genes (say, 3 at a time). There would be little reason for nature to select against these genes, since only a vanishingly small portion of the combinations would result in homosexuality. Furthermore, some of the associated genes may even have positive selective pressures. Cancer is very much this way. It’s why you hear about these f***ing “links” all the time. Even the most predictive genes for cancer only carry ~75% risks, and that’s uncommon. I’d argue that homosexuality would be a far more complex phenomenon than having cell cycles go haywire.

    Two other things to note: 1) someone above touches on epigenetics, and I think this is really something to consider. 2) As others have pointed out, none of this presupposes an environmental role, further confounding any efforts to determine heritability.

  12. Maybe someone should also map out the increase in toxoplasmosis against the rise of crazy cat ladies in western society. See if there’s any overlap……

  13. The longstanding Darwinian form of evolution (based upon genetic propagation) now has competition from a new parallel evolutionary channel consisting of memetic-based indoctrination. Ever since we acquired complex language skill, our species has been reprogramming/rewiring the formative brains of our youth with the primary goal of passing wisdom from generation to generation. This natural mechanism has been hijacked in recent times by nefarious bad actors that now use it to create hive-minded worker bees that can be remote-controlled. Hence the snowflake sub-species.

  14. I’m more inclined to see teh ghey as an epigenetic phenomena that manifests itself due to environmental stress in utero or early childhood. It seems to correlated with complex, crowded, urban societies… precisely the sorts of environments where an upswing in homosexuality would contribute to overall survival of a species

  15. 2 points: *Cigarettes have all sorts of chemicals added that add to the damage the smoke does.
    *Growers use phosphate rock instead of artificial phosphates because it’s cheaper. But the ‘natural’ phosphate contains Polonium, which is carried into the lungs w/ the smoke. This is thousands of times more radioactive than Uranium.
    Repeating the tobacco / cancer experiments w/ natural, radiation free tobacco might give very different results.

  16. I had a problem with your linked article, with this line
    “Smarter people seem to live longer because they’re in better genetic shape”
    My assumption would be that they failed to take advantage of the major fuck-ups that end so many lives and take advantage of opportunities to ameliorate the minor ones.
    Action rather passive determinism.

  17. I think homosexuality could be genetic, since many men in the past were so deeply closeted that they had families, which could explain homosexuality being passed from generation to generation. Nowadays with gay marriage permitted, and surrogate mothers available for in vitro to carry the baby to term, it’s possible a lot of women will just be breeding mares for homosexuals, rather than wives for pale penis patriarchy people who love Putin.

    The science fiction writer Joe Haldeman, in “The Forever War” posited that a certain number of people would be “modified” to be homosexual in the future, in order to control overpopulation (it beats Soylent Green, I guess). The looming science reality is that gay people aren’t ceasing to procreate, but are going to have a bunch of (very screwed up) kids of their own. I guess it’s dysgenic, unnatural selection.

    • There is no scientific evidence in support of a genetic cause for homosexuality. There is a statistical correlation between Xq28 marker on the X chromosome, but it only applies to males and has only be observed in brothers. It’s not inconceivable that such a marker could have to exist in order for environmental conditions in the womb or a “gay germ” to cause homosexuality.

      Regardless, natural selection says that a trait that so strongly inhibits reproduction would face such strong selection pressure that it would die out unless it had some much more valuable benefit to fitness. The mutation that prevents malaria, but causes sickle cell is such an example.

      • There is a possible cause for homosexuality that strongly mimics a genetic cause. There are massive hormone washes which occur in the first two weeks of gestation. One triggers the sex of the child. The sex is already in the chromosome but gender does not present itself in the fetus until that time. There is so much to go wrong in the first weeks. In addition to nature going wrong we might add nurture directly affecting nature. There was a spike in homosexual males born in 1945-6, a period worse for many German women than even the last two years of the war.

        • Years ago I read Carl Zimmer’s “Parasite Rex” and was surprised to read that after fertilization the male’s seed starts building a sort of fortress around the embryo because the female’s body perceives the father’s DNA as a parasite or foreign body (which it kind of is). The female immune system actually tries to attack the fetus while the man’s genetic material staves off the attack until the threat has passed. I don’t think we know exactly what happens at this point, but if conservatives argue against the blank slate, and believe culture is downstream from biology, I don’t see why Z-Man is making an exception to his rule in this one case. Very intelligent people usually believe at least one crazy thing, no matter how practical they are in other realms. I’ve learned to see past Z-Man’s one or two quirks because he’s the best blogger aside from a couple of hangups re: homosexuality as a virus (it’s destructive behavior, but not literally a virus, I don’t think).

          • There are all kinds of defects that people have from dyslexia to cleft palates to schizophrenia. I don’t see why it’s so far-fetched that this isn’t just another defect in your body.

        • Anytime I see the word “gender” outside of a grammatical context, I know it’s time to stop reading the crap.

      • What if homosexuality is genetic in the PARENT of the homo? If the parents pump out two extra girls for each queer boy there is possibly a genetic cost/benefit to be calculated.

      • Natural Selection has been revised (and questioned in some parts) even by its adherents. The old argument that nature only selected good traits is undermined by the evidence all around us. Nature believes in surplus and waste and unless you’re a deist, it isn’t really so much an intentionally guided process or an implemented program. Homosexuality does occur in nature (which I know thanks to Engelbert Humperdinck’s song “Lesbian Seagull”). Homosexual mammals besides homo sapien aren’t probably the way they are because they were sexually molested or feminized by other crazy mammals (the stickleback fish, if it is thoroughly dominated by another male, begins to assume female traits, but it’s obviously not a mammal so not relevant).

        I think I’ve seen the studies you’re alluding to (some of these twin studies show that a surfeit of testosterone in the womb can lead to homosexuality, and a lot of gay men, who aren’t the fey, feminine “catchers” are sometimes not only tough, but sociopathic and violent). One of the fiercest boxers of all time, Emile Griffith, was gay, for instance, although he was sexually molested as a child, so there was definitely an environmental component.

        You know that because we can’t pin down everything in our genetic bases related to race that that doesn’t mean race isn’t real (as liberals say); we still can only partially read/map the info there. Conversely we haven’t found some gay “smoking gun” in the genes, but absence of proof is definitely not proof of absence, especially not when we’re groping in the dark.

    • I’m more than a little hesitant to weigh in here because talking about this is a lose-lose in the times in which we live, but I’m going to cross my fingers and hope I’m among friends. (And hope I don’t get fired if some power-skirt comes across this post and runs me down.)

      I’ve held a “theory” for several years about a genetic component to male homosexuality that arose from some dorm room bong sessions with a friend of mine in college. His girlfriend at the time – and now his wife – was a bit of a f*g hag in the parlance of the day and he ended up meeting a lot of her gay friends. He actually wondered whether gay men were in a certain sense hyper-masculine. The male of most species has always had a genetic urge that drives him towards promiscuity and as much as the culture of the day denies it, gay men on average tend to be very, very promiscuous.

      What if the genetic component works something like this? All males have an urge to “spread the seed” as widely as possible and so would be fairly promiscuous were it possible. It’s not possible to be all that promiscuous in heterosexual relationships, so heterosexual men are somewhat limited in the number of their liasons. What happens though if a particular male’s desire to be promiscuous is coupled with a certain lack of restraint in terms of how – euphemistically – release is achieved? If a group of men that place such a high value on the release itself (let’s call it a short rate of time preference) manage to get together, then it’s not hard to posit that male-on-male promiscuity just might occur. And as that alternative lifestyle became more and more a part of your daily life, it would probably be more and more difficult to back away from it.

      I wonder if such a story might in fact explain why a homosexual gene isn’t eliminated by natural selection. If the story I’m telling holds to some degree then there’s absolutely nothing anti-selective about a gene that causes an extreme attachment to promiscuity. That could easily translate into a lot of offspring in a lot – if not most – cases. If there’s another gene however that limits the desire to a certain set of partners and such a gene is lacking or unexpressed then the lack of such expression becomes anti–selective.

      • I think it could be more pleasure orientation than it is hyper-masculinity. This could just be pumping dopamine to the amygdala. This is also what leads to drug addiction. Ordinary life just doesn’t provide anywhere near the pleasure an opiate or alcohol can give (different genetic types prefer one or the other, usually). I know gays deny it, but I think you would find some sort of sexual abuse in both males and females that ride the cock carousel. Why? Sensation. Think of a young child being sexually assaulted. It would be an unforgettable experience. The sensations to the physical nerves and their neural pathways in the brain would be off the charts. Even as an adult, they would never experience such intense feelings. Women are already hooked on “feelings”, good or bad. The feeling could hurt, even be unpleasant, but it would overwhelm the amygdala. Just like heroin addiction, the addict is always trying to relive that first rush since the first is usually the best.

        I also think that homosexuality may also be the path of least resistance to those that pursue it. Gays either don’t find women exciting, don’t know how to play them, or they don’t want to go through the games necessary to play poke the whiskers. Men, on the other hand, if they are gay, are very easy to get into bed. They can have several partners a night if they want. If a woman has several partners a night, very few men will want to be next in line. If a gay does, it doesn’t always hurt his chances with other gays.

  18. Eric Thames, the major league baseball story of the year, was referred to as God by Korean baseball fans in his three years there. He said that Korea is smoking mad, and that in Korean baseball there is even a fifth inning smoking break so that umpires and players can go to their lairs and smoke. This obsession with living longer and dying in perfect health seems to be in proportion to a lack of having anything to live for. I quit smoking twenty five years ago but never recommended that path to a smoker. I figured if I made it to seventy I would start again (what’s it going to do, kill me?) and lord it over you hacking, wheezing lungers. One year to go.

  19. I don’t think it matters much what the average IQ is. For society and technology to be maintained at the current level what is important is that the intelligence of a fairly small core group of individuals is maintained. So for example for a population of 100 it may be necessary that 20 of those 100 have an IQ of above 120 (say). Whether the IQ of the remaining 80 is 70 or 100 is less important.

    We are approaching a grazing society, where the vast proportion of the world’s population float about not doing much, but can have decent lives thanks to the technology created and sustained by others.

    I don’t believe in most of the stuff on this comment thread (or blog post – sorry; usually a fan). For example there is quite strong evidence that homosexuality is due to the chemistry in the womb; not genes per se, but it is biological.

  20. Take it one more step and you’re there. Recall what swept over England at around the same time tobacco arrived… coffee. And the “Coffee Houses” where you could smoke your pipe. Tobacco+Coffee= the long, long novel plus other tomes/innovation that goes on and on for a century or so and then… take out tobacco and you’ve got a bunch of wide-awake idiots.

    • Add massive amounts of tetra ethyl lead to the environment beginning about 90 years ago as well.

  21. I’m just going to dump a little bit of data:

    IQ tests are created by gathering like 10,000 kids randomly from a population group (eg American children), giving them sample test questions, and then developing a final test that will tell you where the test taker ranks among the population. So IQ is not an absolute scale like degrees Kelvin or miles. It’s a relative measure, and a score of 100 simply means 50th percentile. 130 means 98.5 percentile.

    This is important when trying to discuss relative IQ between separate population groups. There is no existing IQ test that is normed for the entire world, or even for say North Americans. Country level is as broad as it gets. Many researchers attempt to divine a theoretical world-normed IQ scale and assign country level scores. Please be highly skeptical of that work.

    In terms of change over time in the United States, if you dust off a copy of the WISC-I or WISC-II (The WISC-V is the standard IQ test these days), and administer it to a lot of children, one will find that the average measured IQ per the old test is over 100, around 105 or something like that. This means that our current generation is actually smarter than the previous ones.

    That trend is called the Flynn effect (you get one guess at the name of the guy who discovered it). The specific change has to do with spacial/analytical thinking. An example test question: here’s this flat sheet of paper, what will it look like in 3D when you fold it up? There are countless hypothesis regarding why this change happened. Of note also is that recent measurements show the Flynn effect has stopped in the 20th century, and may be reversing. Immigration from low intelligence countries is a reasonable hypothetical explanation.

    • Interesting. I particularly hadn’t heard it was concentrated in spatial relations.

      • Yeah, when my mom was in grad school all the data started to come in. They all expected the rise to be due to increased general knowledge, with now widespread public schooling. But nope, all the increase was in the spacial visualization index.

        My pet theory: car accidents killed off a whole lot of people with really low spacial visualization ability. Sometimes entire families at a time.

    • “Immigration from low intelligence countries is a reasonable hypothetical explanation”

      You mean low intelligence countries as ranked by our relative intelligence scale. And that begs a lot of questions like who has the best scale and where would our children rank on an IQ test in these so-called “low intelligence” countries.

      I just don’t understand people having so much faith in these things. I mean, aren’t these the same people to told you to eat margarine and load up on carbs, and that the sea levels would be rising?

      • I applaud your skepticism. Without a properly normed IQ test we really are flying sort of blind. In retrospect I should have gone with plausible over reasonable.

  22. I am actually curious about what the “real” harmful qualities of nicotine are. Many of the cancerous compounds, deleterious. effects, and addictive elements were added in the mid-20th century to add flavor and increase the use of cigarettes. I don’t think there is much health data on tobacco before that time. The original use of tobacco was to chew or smoke non-treated plants. If not as addictive, was use as crippling as it became?

    I believe that smoking anything damages your lungs and, by extension, other organs in your body. You lungs are filters. If you clog a filter, eventually there will be substantial damage. I’m just not sure if the tobacco that the Elizabethans smoked was as harmful as the chemically enhanced form.

    • Nicotine is a potent drug and small amounts can kill, but it is not the reason smoking degrades cardiovascular health. It’s the particulate matter from the burning tobacco that does the most damage. The chemical cocktail they use to treat tobacco most likely has deleterious effects on the circulatory system. It’s why people who quit smoking often develop high blood pressure within a year of quitting.

      It’s why vaping should be promoted as a way to quit smoking. It is orders of magnitude less harmful than smoking. Curiously, vapers report it being much easier to quit once they move from cigarettes to vaping.

      • The scolds won’t allow this. The Puritans didn’t outlaw bear baiting because it was cruel to the bear. They outlawed it because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

  23. No one is forcing smart people to become workaholics and destroying any chance at them having a family or limiting themselves to one kid.

    Really if they were that smart they’d avoid that trap to begin with. Is working for some tech company with it’s 70 hour work weeks that attractive? For any sane person with a life outside of work it isn’t. The mistake the so-called smart people make is making work = life.

    Another factor is that white female college grads have the least amount of children. For some reason when a women gets that degree they buy into the nonsense of a meaningful corporate career where they sacrifice their youth and motherhood on the altar of money and spending their declining years alone with a bunch of cats.

    The so called smart people better wake up and notice they’re being used.

    • Or maybe the higher education social environment is so prejudicial against the traditional family and the role of the mother, that the “motherhood within a traditional family” option is simply crossed off the graduate’s list, no matter the career choice or ideal. Going away to college is a time when the student feels disconnected from his or her roots. The educational community then has the opportunity to instill a new set of values and preferences, in the guise of creating a new social community for the freshman college student to “plug into”. Traditional parental role models have not been held up in high esteem by the educational community for a long time now.

  24. Z-man, would your poor elders have scored highly on an intellegence exam? If you’re ADD and do things better interactively instead of passive reading and test-taking, does that make you stupid?

    These people come from backward cultures. In many cases, they don’t have academic/study disipline or aren’t used to having to form their thouhghts logically. That doesn’t mean that they can’t acquire those skills and ot doesn’t mean they don’t have enough gray-matter.

    I agree with you that there is such a thing as intelligence, I just don’t believe a test can always capture whether or not a person is intelligent.

    WRT to gays, since chemistry is involved in who you are attracted to, could it be a chemical defect where you got more girl stuff than you should have and not enough boy chemicals? And vice-versa for lesbos.

  25. Between two big wars and a depression between the two, life was cheap. Car accidents were much more likely to maim or kill you, and factory workers were lucky if all they lost over time were a few digits or the occasional limb. So drinking and smoking to excess were easy to understand. One probably wasn’t going to reach 70 anyway. Besides, if you did, what did you have to look forward to, other than hanging out at the VFW hall and–you got it–drinking and smoking?

  26. I have no idea why some folks turn out to be gays, but I recall that in grammar school ( late 1950s, early 1960s), when the word “gay” had only one meaning, there was always a boy or two that was never chosen to be on any sort of boys team to play catch, softball, tag, etc, because they either ran like a girl or threw a ball like a girl.
    Of course, in those days, the girls played hopscotch or jumped rope during recess.

    IMHO, kids in general want to belong ; they do not want to be “left out” or not part of the crowd. And I would not be surprised if those kids who ran/threw “like a girl,” turned out to be gay later on in life.

    It’s hard to believe that grammar school age kids – who already exhibit traits and/or preferences associated with the opposite sex – actually choose to be that way. They literally are just too young to even think about that sort of stuff (at least back then; today it is entirely different). Also, back then, it is inconceivable that they were somehow socialized (brainwashed ) to be a homo (the term commonly used back then).

    In times past, nobody publicly really “came out” because the social costs were too steep, though it was clear that some couples (i.e., room mates ) were obviously gay.

    So just based on the above, me thinks that something must happen in the womb during fetal development or perhaps very early on in life (e.g., before the age of , say 5 or 6) that sort of gums up the works.

    I realize I can be totally wrong on this and I sure cannot support with any evidence my opinion, but until science comes up with real proof, I will go with it.

  27. It took me two years to quit smoking because I got writer’s block (which I didn’t believe in until then.) Eventually I had so much work as writer that I simply powered through it and have been fine since. However, I have rarely written _poetry_ since quitting smoking, an activity I suppose might be centered in a different part of the brain (?)

  28. Humans are not free to rewrite their personalities anymore than they can make themselves taller.

    I don’t understand your point here, zman. People rewrite their personalities all the time. You can learn to control your temper. You can learn to speak better, be quick to listen, slow to speak, as the Bible says in the book of James. You can learn to set goals, give up being indifferent. No, you can’t make yourself taller, but you can certainly make yourself a different person.

  29. Traits that in the past were punished, thus resulting in fewer children by those with those traits, are now neutral or maybe even slightly favored. We know smart people tend to live longer, so reducing the risk of death by misadventure or even death from common maladies could be lowering the over all IQ of Western populations.

    I’m not sure I follow the logic here. What’s smart people living longer got to do with reducing the risk of dying from small pox? Doesn’t something like that hit the population randomly, without any benefit to the smart in terms of survival rates? Or do you mean that the greater safety of the modern world means that dangerous situations in the past that the smarter would have avoided but not the dumber now don’t cull the stupid? (I’m not entirely a math person, so maybe the fault here is mine.)

    People who tend to this sort of thinking are usually unfamiliar with 4GL programming languages or write JavaScript for a living.

    For the benefit of those of us who are unfamiliar with both, is this just a Big Bang Theory sort of joke for saying “out of date”?

    Maybe we need to start smoking again.

    You mean one of those “misadventures” that no longer kill the stupid? You know, I think I’m reasonably intelligent, but I’d be willing to leave off a few points at the next Mensa meeting in order not to die of throat cancer.

    I’m old enough to remember (dimly) commercials on television for cigarettes, but even as a lad in the ’70s, it struck me as self-evident that filling your lungs with smoke was a bad idea, and I’ve never had whiff of one (apart, of course, from all the smoke that would permeate pretty much any inclosed space back then).

    FWIW, my father smoked Kools and I don’t recall what my mother smoked, but whatever it was, there was a lot of it. I’m not all that keen on a lot of what works up the SWPL-types, but I gotta say that it’s nice to be able to go out in public without coming back home with clothing and hair that reek of other people’s bad habits.

    So, if there’s a movement afoot to bring Death Sticks back into fashion, you can count me out.

  30. I don’t buy the “Gay Germ” theory. I personally think that it’s something along the lines of: 1.) There is a massive amount of betas and omegas. 2.) Feminism now creates two problems where betas and omegas can’t find work in entry-level positions to provide for family, creating massive ego drains. 3.) Betas and omegas no longer have beta and omega females willing to marry since females get the entry level positions. 4.) Liberal teachings, liberal society, liberal MSM creates a massive “Homoglobullism is SuperKewl and EVERYBODY is/was gay!” campaign that’s been hammered into Western society for 50 years. 5.) Extremely susceptible children pick up on the nonsense and claim to be gay. 6.) Upon reaching adulthood, most drop the nonsense. 7.) Unfortunately, 3% of the betas and omegas with no time on their hands, no female prospects, and no egos keep up the “I’m SuperKewl!” nonsense because that’s the only way to get attention and an ego boost.

    • The problem you have is this. Let’s say there’s a Beta Gene that makes a man a Beta. This makes him somewhat less successful with the ladies than the Alpha, as you PUA guys define it. Over time, Alphas will reproduce at high rates simply based on the sheer math. More sexual encounters means more pregnancies. Beta males will decrease in frequency as their Beta Gene is passed onto fewer children with each successive generation.

      Unless the Beta was bringing something else to the table to elevate his status, his kind would have died out a long time ago. Alternatively, the relative status value of Beta and Alpha is so small that it is, in the long run, insignificant. In which case, there’s no value here.

      • This is where the concept of “Alpha fux, and Beta bux” popularized by Chateau Heartiste comes into the picture.

        Beta males bring stability and financial resources to a relationship. In our society, birth control and feminism have made it possible for women to be free to ride the c*ck carousel with Alpha males in their 20s, settle down and have kids with Beta male providers in their 30s, and divorce them in their 40s to get back on the carousel. Thus, the Beta males pass on their genes, perhaps even more successfully than the Alpha males.

        This situation requires both monogamy and birth control. In a polygamous society without birth control one would expect the Alpha males to sire far more children, as they did throughout history.

    • Compulsive homosexual behavior without same sex attraction among straight men is well documented and, in my opinion, argues strongly in favor of the gay germ theory, at least for a portion of the male homosexual population. Many of these straight men can’t explain why they seek out men with sex, but something compels them to do it. Germ theory explains this perfectly.

      • Environment explains in a different way. When betas are given ample opportunity to “fit in” and “be special” by a social environment that promotes gayness, why wouldn’t some of them sign up? Women are being told all the time to be “fierce”, so why not go butch?

        Once the male social pecking order was taken away from who was the toughest fighter out in the schoolyard after school, everything changed.

        • I don’t think we are talking about the same thing. My comment referred to homosexual behavior among men who deny they have same sex attraction or that they are gay. These men identify as straight, prefer women, claim to have no romantic or emotional attachment to men, and are almost all in the closet. They are not beta males trying to fit into our current societal fetish with homosexuality.

          When interviewed anonymously, many of these men describe their homosexual behavior as a compulsion which they can’t control. This is what makes germ theory convincing, at least for this population of males.

          To the best of my knowledge, women do not exhibit similar behavior.

          • Good for you to to have reiterated the distinction. Definitely two different populations. My mistake for making my point sound like “instead” rather than “another”.

          • No. Ready my comments. They don’t identify as bisexual. They identify as straight with no same sex attraction.

            For the third fucking time, there exists a significant population of otherwise straight men who engage in compulsive homosexual behavior. They aren’t bisexual, gay, flamers, etc. It’s a compulsive behavior they can’t control.

            Germ theory at work. Like ants infected with the liver fluke, they are not in control of their faculties.

            Cochran is on to something here.

    • There is some evidence that later siblings have a higher incidence of homosexuality, perhaps due to the hormonal environment in the womb. FWIW, my youngest brother, last of 4, was gay.

      • I’m the 3rd of six, 3 boys 3 girls, the first and last two were girls. Not one with any sort of homosexual history. One set of family cousins had 9. Same outcome. On other set of cousins had four. Oldest of three brothers is gay.
        So this does not ring true in my family era.

  31. 1 + 1 = Whatever the hell anybody wants it to equal. Downhill started 1914-1918, hit a peak in 1944-1945. By 1946 the skids were more than greased for the Boomer slide.

  32. While it was very funny, I also found that “Idiocracy” movie deeply disturbing. That hit a bit too close to home.

    • I’ve often wondered how many of us that were truly disturbed by that movie are out here. I also came away with this vague ennui & sadness. A sort of black comedy, really.

  33. Smart men in the US did the math and figured out that the risk/reward for getting married and having kids is way out of whack. I feel no obligation to contribute to the furtherance of a civilization where so many resources were devoted to using my own offspring as pawns to turn me and my life upside down and shake every last dime out of my pockets and reduce my
    involvment in the life of my kid to that of an account number with some
    priviliages that some man in a long black dress assigned to me.

    You guys want to play that f***ed up game of russian roulette, knock yourselves out. No one gave half a shit about the screwing I got. I’m happy to return the favor to people who should be smart enough to know better when it’s their turn in the sheep shearing assembly line.

    • Before antibiotics and birth control, smart men didn’t really have much of a choice.

      If you wanted to get laid, marriage was pretty much the only game in town, unless you wanted to play russian roulette with your dick.

  34. >The stupid are breeding like bunnies while the smart are reproducing at less than replacement levels.

    I’m more inclined to blame nurture than nature. We have a society that panders to the flesh, and the results are all too predictable.

  35. Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit smoking meth..
    I can’t think of anything wittier or more cogent to say.

    But if yer going to smoke nicotine for its cognitive benefits, why not go all the way, and smoke meth?
    But you must always weigh the short term benefits against whatever longterm deleterious effects it may have. That goes for nicotine, meth,crack, sugar, or any other substance.
    I’ve known many longterm drug users.. marijuana, crack, heroin, alcohol.. they all suffer in the end.

    • That’s the point,anything in excess can be harmful. Get’s back to the ancient Greek Golden Mean. Do what you want,but nothing in excess.

  36. This should be a most spirited discussion. Somewhat related,the news that Silicon Valley folk are microdosing on LSD,psylocybin,and mescaline (not all 3 at once) to improve mental focus and creativity. The big question,be it tobacco or any substance,is the personal ability to control excessive use.

    • Vaping is big too. I’m told that experiments with lacing the vaping liquid with small doses of a psychodelics like LSD are a thing too. Instead of tripping on a full dose, the user takes a 20th of a dose and adds it to their vaping liquid.

      • I have to take that with a grain of salt. LSD is extremely sensitive to heat, it’s usually stored by being frozen, and even then has a limited shelf life. Attempting to smoke it or vape it would cause it to break down immediately. Perhaps they’re vaping some other psychedelic, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t LSD

    • If you’ve ever smoked 100 tobacco products in your life, I can recommend nicotine gum, if you are sitting at your desk (or, in place of a cigarette, if you need to stay alert while driving long distances) since offices will not put up with smoking anymore. It works fine as a nicotine source, though admittedly lacks some of the aesthetic of smoking.

      • Not good for non-smokers. I’ve never used tobacco products. Tried nicotine gum once as a “scientific experiment.” Very unpleasant effects.

        • I’m a very marginal tobacco user, though given the 100 in a lifetime mark I qualify as smoker (or most of the time quitter). Even I find it makes me a bit jittery (so do tobacco products though due to my infrequency of use) and the side effects are as they describe on the package. Still it is an effective substitute if one is looking for one. The only thing it is not good for is smoking cessation.

  37. Most progs would counter with the Flynn effect.

    I concede I have no good answer to that.

    Apart from that- thought provoking stuff. The smoking hypothesis strikes me as oddly terrifying and dispiriting, if true.

    • 1) Flynn effect is reversing.
      2) It seems to measure a different component for IQ than what Bruce Charlton and others measure by proxy with reaction times (which have significantly declined).
      3) Isn’t it great that we are replacing tobacco with marijuana, which provably has significant negative cognitive effects on long-term users (8 IQ points)?

    • I’m very mildly skeptical of the Flynn Effect. Yes, better nutrition and medicine will increase IQ, just as it increased height. But, not beyond the biological boundary written in our genes. Blacks in American are fat and have excellent health care, but they have a mean IQ comparable to sub-Saharan Africans, maybe a point or two higher. In other words, I think the Flynn effect is a true observation within certain bounds.

      So, smoking gave a us a boost that allowed us to overcome nutrition and medial problems, such that the population iQ in the West moved up quickly and then artificially beyond some natural ceiling. We quit smoking and are now sliding back to our natural limit.

      • I appreciate these replies. I’m skeptical of the Flynn Effect too but am too poorly read on it to muster a plausible reply when some believer recites it like a mantra.

        It has somehow become one of those prog talismans that cannot be touched, like the [so far as I am aware still unproven beyond the meme level] lead-paint hypothesis. That too is plausible but boy just try and question it even if willing to consider its plausibility.

        • The Left starts hooting “Flynn Effect” as a conversation ender. It is the modern version of “Witch! Witch!”

        • Ask them to read a Victorian author or political speech (or Churchman like Newman, for an excellent example). It will clearly shows a higher, more complex level of thought than even mid-20th century speeches taken from a similar relative position in its category. I think the Flynn effect is real, but I think it has more to do with abstract, mathematical reasoning such as became more common in western education systems over the 20th century. It also masked the precipitous decline in the verbal, discursive (wit-like) reasoning that the reaction times measure by proxy. We have plenty of smart people, but they mass on the high end of the mathematical spectrum, not the verbal one.

          • Interesting.

            I’m tempted to do what one of my colleagues would likely do, which is point out that some of the arguments for the past are testing awareness of a particular knowledge-base [Shakespeare, the Napoleonic Wars, etc as I think someone cited on yesterday’s thread wrt 60s junk-tv being surprisingly culturally literate]; just testing awareness of particular loaded software, not processing speed or accuracy. I’m not entirely convinced that’s unreasonable, even if I would make separate arguments for the value of that content over other content.

            OTOH, verbal fluency/reaction times/complex idea formation are processing issues and it certainly appears as though these are on the decline.

            Certainly writing and speaking complexity is down overall. I actually consider Obama to have been a capable if not engaging speaker, certainly by comparison to Trump or W Bush. Or indeed HW Bush. But, even apart from the teleprompter issue, his style was conversational, lazy, and tonally dull and he had that weird habit of pausing at the wrong moment. That he is so widely considered a great orator strikes me as little short of insane. Reagan was better, and for all he was an excellent communicator I would not call him a great orator either.

            I’m not a fan of the long, painful orations of the 19th century [the guy who went on before or after Lincoln at Gettysburg famously banged on for hours, to the style and taste of his times, and got better reviews]. But whether long or short, there’s a sweet spot of style, weight and allusion. Both Lincoln and Churchill could hit it consistently and at varied lengths. JFK seemed able once or twice to deliver it, whether or not he wrote it. No one seems able to do that any more. At least not among English-speaking politicians.

            Your point about all the weight being on the math side now is interesting. It makes me wonder if there is any commonality between the Flynn effect and the [apparent] rise of autism.

          • That is so true. I read mostly works by old or dead white men, mostly non-fiction, and I have to read with a dictionary, frequently stop and think about the sentence I just read and they liberally thow in Latin and French quotes because everyone just KNOWS Latin and French right?

          • I majored in history and poli sci [class of 94 at York University in Toronto; so long ago now and at a time when it was leftist mainly in the sense of having a set of Orthodox Marxists running poli sci [but pointedly not the International Relations programs].

            One memory is of often pulling old mid-century works by British historians spotted with untranslated Latin, French, and occasionally German. Because, well, really, is one not educated?

            This did require going to the dictionaries as and when the quote seemed germane rather than merely decorative.

            Not exactly particle physics or engineering, of course.

      • I think the Flynn effect was caused by cars. You need to be able to predict where an object 40 yards away is going to be five seconds from now in order to survive crossing the road. No one had to do that 100 years ago, and the increase is all in the spacial reasoning subscores. But, you know, opinions are like ass holes.

        The average IQ of black Americans is usually estimated to be a standard deviation higher than that of sub-Saharan Africans. It’s important to remember that only a little under 400,000 slaves were brought to the United States, mostly in the 1600’s and early 1700’s. Blacks in America are for the most part their 35 million decedents. Also, Black Americans usually have something around 10% white ancestry. As an ethnic group, Blacks aren’t really Africans anymore, they’re more their own unique tribe of Native Americans at this point.

        To my knowledge, other than malnutrition in early childhood and physical brain trauma, there are not environmental impacts on IQ. You inherit a kind of most likely value from your parents, and then you end up with an IQ that is within some variance, high or low, of that value. The “cause” is usually called randomness, but as always there is no such thing as randomness, it’s really just irreducible model error. Lots of traits work that way, height is another example.

        I would of course note that the idea that environment does not meaningfully impact IQ is probably the least popular idea among academics outside of specifically the field of psychology. Or perhaps second only to the idea that parenting has no measurable effect on long term life outcomes of adults (reading books to kids doesn’t make them smart, reading to kids and having books read to them is something that smart kids and smart parents simply enjoy).

      • ZMan, do you think there is any pure science being performed on IQ now that it is obvious that races differ in inherent IQ? I myself wonder. The need to shape the narrative is what drives funding for scientific studies these days. Like “climate change”. Not only that, but what is reported usually cherry picks the data that supports the narrative.

      • I also wonder if the Flynn Effect could be accounted for by the ubiquity of standardized tests. Older education tests consisted of essays, problem solving, fill-in-the blanks, etc. The advent of computerized testing developed tests that force the taker to choose one out of a number of items. Anyone who has taken a standardized test knows that you can rule out some of the responses, so it may boil down to being only presented with 2 possible options, 50%, instead of 1 in 4, 25%. It may just be indicative of familiarity with testing techniques. I know that if tests were as difficult as they were prior to 1950, there would be very few actual A students.

      • You are correct , various studies of Sub Saharan African IQ put it at 70-80 .

        African Americans 85-90 which could be accounted for by White admixture

        I’m not as sure about smoking though it does provide excellent improvement in health for the everyday mental health issues people face

        That stress relief and regular breaks may account for some gains too

        Most I think is a better culture , easier advancement (low hanging innovation fruit) pedagogy and reward. The current system doesn’t reward everyday innovation and in fact is configured around a Harrison Bergamon , no one is allowed to excel ethos .

        We won’t pay people. grant them job stability and anything that changes anything is unwelcome

        This has even crept into software where as one person put “all the best mind of my generation are finding new ways to get people to click ads.”

      • Some years ago I had the opportunity to ask the Brand Manager for Marlboro a couple questions about the customer base during a visit to the Altria HQ. He said that the customer they were targeting was on the upper end of the income distribution for smokers.
        But the smokers income distribution was below the general population mean. In other words smoking was correlated with a lower income compared to the population as a whole.
        Lower earnings generally denote lower IQ.
        Perhaps the Flynn Effect was just measuring the smokers bump in the left side of the curve as the right side was giving up the advantage.

    • I can explain “The Flynn Effect” easily. Its called “norming”. A population studied has to be “normed”. The median is the norm of 100. An All-White population would be normed higher and a mixed bag would be lower as it was browner. This can lead to changes over time that lead to ridiculous conclusions like a speedy uptick in IQ. The trend backwards tells the falsehood clearly. This effect would make all the older generations dumber, but the education materials of the time are far more challenging than Today. The Ancient Greeks would all have to be retards if this bogus trend line goes back that far.

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