A world populated entirely by idiots: fiction or future reality?

A study from Iceland indicates that the groups of genes translating our capacity to make long studies are in progressive decline. And if the next generations were only to decrease intellectually, what kind of world would we be entitled to in the future?

Do you remember the film Idiocracy released in theaters in 2006 and in which the future of our world would be nothing but an intellectual desert? This comedy-fiction is, however, heavy with meaning. It tells the story of an average American soldier sent to the future by the Pentagon through a hibernation program. 500 years later, the person concerned finds himself surrounded by people devoid of intelligence in a world where nothing grows in the fields, humanity having forgotten the nutritive powers of water and having replaced it with… Gatorade , the famous green energy drink.

Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May 2006, a study conducted by the company deCode Genetics, based in Reykjavík, states that the genetic potential of humanity is low. More precisely, it would be the number of genes defining our aptitude to make long studies which would be in free fall.

The researchers used a database containing information on the genetics of 100,000 Icelanders in order to affirm that these precious genes would have gradually decreased between 1910 and 1975. The culprits were then identified since they would be the carriers of these genes themselves which would tend to reproduce less and which therefore weaken the transmission potential. In addition, it has been shown that even carriers of these genes who stop their studies early enough will have below-average fertility.

“If you are genetically predisposed to do more studies, you are also predisposed to have fewer children”, explains Kari Stefansson, one of the Icelandic researchers for The Guardian.

However, it is still necessary to qualify this rarefaction, something that the study does not forget to mention. The average drop in intelligence quotient would be only 0.043 points per decade. It would therefore take several centuries during which this trend takes hold for a global effect to be felt. Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that eventually there will “dramatic effects on genetic predispositions (…) and unless something comes to counter it, it could have profound effects on the level of education of our society”, continues the researcher.

Other researchers have another approach and minimize the role of genetics in this specific case, such as Melinda Mills, professor of sociology at the University of Oxford:

“The education we receive, when and how many children we have, is largely determined by social and environmental factors. This outweighs the effects on genetics. »

The scientific community is therefore not unanimous, but the risk is not to be endorsed pending further research providing an acceptable consensus. Anyway, a world devoid of intellect would be a real disaster, but to what extent? This is another story.

Here is the trailer for the film Idiocracy released a little over ten years ago:

Sources: The Guardian – L’Express – The Earth of the Future

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