The Germ Theory of Stupid

Greg Cochran first proposed that homosexuality is the result of an unknown pathogen. Here’s JayMan’s write up on it from earlier this year. The idea that pathogens could be the root cause of things like heart disease and insanity has been kicking around for a while, but I know of no serious science on it. Like a lot of speculative science, there’s no money in it until someone finds something concrete. There’s a lot of politics to science because scientists need money to do their work. There’s funding available for genetic research. There’s no money for locating the gay germ.

This may change things.

A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.

The algae virus, never before observed in healthy people, was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska stumbled upon the discovery when they were undertaking an unrelated study into throat microbes.

Surprisingly, the researchers found DNA in the throats of healthy individuals that matched the DNA of a virus known to infect green algae.

Dr Robert Yolken, a virologist who led the original study, said: “This is a striking example showing that the ‘innocuous’ microorganisms we carry can affect behaviour and cognition.

“Many physiological differences between person A and person B are encoded in the set of genes each inherits from parents, yet some of these differences are fuelled by the various microorganisms we harbour and the way they interact with our genes.”

Of the 90 participants in the study, 40 tested positive for the algae virus. Those who tested positive performed worse on tests designed to measure the speed and accuracy of visual processing. They also achieved lower scores in tasks designed to measure attention.

Humans’ bodies contain trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Most are harmless, but the findings of this research show that there some microbes can have a detrimental impact on cognitive functions, while leaving individuals healthy.

The study’s findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I like how 40 of 90 tested positive for stupidism. At first blush is seems like a blow to the IQ uber alles guys because we have a pretty solid example of environmental factors altering IQ. That would support the argument that improved environment (no stupid germs) will improve IQ. It also means that maybe the Flynn Effect is just the result of better hygiene, not better school. Just as better food supplied results in taller humans, better hygiene results in smarter humans. That would, of course, support many of the claims from the HBD crowd regarding IQ.

I would be curious about the race of the participants. If it turned out that the 40 were all from a certain place I think I would blow a funny fuse.

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6 years ago

This stuff is why I’ve been reading this blog, though I come from the wrong tribe and disagree with a good three quarters of what is in the posts, let alone the comments. But yes, once you account for the “trillions of bacteria, viruses. and fungi” there is little less. A huge portion if not most of human behavior can be accounted for the mix of these micro-organisms at any one time, and you can change anyones behaviour if you can knowingly alter the mix. This is probably true for all complex animals, but only humans claim to have consciousness… Read more »

6 years ago

I like how 40 of 90 tested positive for stupidism. At first blush is seems like a blow to the IQ uber alles guys because we have a pretty solid example of environmental factors altering IQ.

Not quite that solid. The presence of the virus hardly means it’s causing the infected subjects’ low IQs. Interesting first step, but without meaning, at this time.

6 years ago

So maybe liberalism/progressivism is a virus? Could explain why it is so easily transmitted in city environs and not so much in rural settings. Hmmmmm

bob sykes
bob sykes
6 years ago

Medical doctors are incapable of doing scientific research: bad designs, stunningly wrong stats, confusion of cause and effect and general all around stupidity.