Today I was lying in Menorca, reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, and I came accross a line that went like this “there are more humans alive today than have died in all of human history”.

Now one of my problems when I read books is that I frequently go into a random tangent when I am reading them and even though my eyes are still somehow running through the letters and some meaning is actually reaching my brain, but my own thoughts become more interesting than what the books says, and I end up navigating my own private Mediterranean of free association. Case in point. I read that there are more people alive than ever died and I navigate to the next thought, which is that then there are more genetic proposals now alive than there ever were, then I think of globalization and different genetic pools coming into contact and I think that there are more possible outcomes (children) than there ever were, and then I jump on to something seemingly unrelated and that is that all this is happening at a time in which there is C Sections available to most human at birth (especially to big headed kids).

So there I stop and think about the following. What makes us human is our ability to think creatively. From an anatomical point of view what makes us unique is brain size, but historically there has been a tremendous limitation to birth size and that is narrow birth canals. So I go to the internet and start googling birth canal evolution and I found out that humans have found one way around this problem, until now that is, cause now on top of that solution, we have C Sections so big headed babies can make it thorough. And then I think that since scientific developments depend on our ability to come up with new solutions and those are at least partly dependent on brain development

I get excited thinking that in the next 100 years, with more babies, more combinations, and extremely low infant mortality a lot of which was related to brain size now the SMART babies will make it through birth and science will advance more than ever as a result.

Ok, I blogged this. I go back to my book now.

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Killy_the_frog on August 23, 2006  · 

It is one point of view…
Some people think that because we save nearly every children with modern medecin, the natural selection of the strongest baby do not really work now, so that their will be more and more people coming to life with genetic problems… so that we are now in a process of degeneration.

But what to do ?
Let the baby die ? not really nice… and I will be the first one to oppose that.

So we use more and more medecin to support us, and we check the foetus DNA before birth to do abortion if the foetus have a very big genetic problem.

See you !

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lutful on August 24, 2006  · 

It will be quite interesting to track the admission ratios in IQ-based clubs like Mensa once they update their forms.

Two of my sisters are OB-GYN specialists in a country with tremendous birth rate and have done research on C-section babies. They seem to lag natural birth babies in intelligence indicators. However, C-section is done only in serious medical emergencies over there unlike developing countries.

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Antoin O Lachtnain on August 24, 2006  · 

What we call intelligence is not related to brain size. There are many animals with bigger brains than humans, and there is no compelling evidence that people with big brains are smarter than people with small brains (although an undernourished brain will underperform, naturally).

The point about human brain development is that a lot of it happens after birth, so most of the development happens in an interactive, stimulating environment (whereas other animals’ brains develop in the isolation of the womb). This is speculative on my part, but it could be argued, for example, that this late development is what facilitates the development of language, which is thought to be fundamental to the distinction between humans and other animals.

If this is the case, then c-section babies tend to be more developed than average at birth. This means that less development will happen in the environment and there will be less opportunity for the environment to form the baby’s neural circuits. This is likely to lead to lower intelligence rather than anything else. But I think the effect will be marginal.

Unlike most animals, our main conflict is not with the environment, but with one another. The biggest issue for our race at the moment appears to be our failure to find ways to get along with one another and to avoid wasteful and destructive conflict. I don’t know if creativity or even intelligence can be considered to be a major barrier for human development anymore. This is why social technologies are so important.

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