Rise and Fall of Human Intelligence



Our world is so technologically advanced, with smart phones, supercomputers, and spacecraft, that we often think we are much more intelligent than our ancestors of hundreds or thousands of years ago. In fact, most people tend to think humans of past civilizations were somewhat primitive.

Contrary to this myth, a recent study published in the online journal Intelligence in May indicates that human intelligence may actually be declining. Researchers Michael A. Woodley, Jan te Nijenhuis, and Raegan Murphy analyzed the results of 14 studies of visual reaction time conducted between 1889 and 2004. According to the researchers, visual reaction time correlates strongly with general intelligence. They concluded that human IQ has declined at a rate of 1.16 points per decade, or 13.35 points since the first studies were done in Victorian times.

Most people (including some unwitting Christians) have adopted an evolutionary view of humankind’s growing intelligence. But even a glance at archaeology reveals that the ancients were highly intelligent, as evidenced by amazing engineering feats like the pyramids and Stonehenge.

The Bible, the true history of the world, reveals that humans were highly intelligent from the beginning. We see this in Adam’s naming of the animals in a single day, the invention of musical instruments and metallurgy (Genesis 4:19–22), and the engineering of Noah’s Ark. It makes sense that Adam, whom God created perfect, would have had as capable a brain as any modern human, and possibly somewhat more capable. But when sin entered the world, the “very good” creation was corrupted. Today, we see remarkable inventions, but they have more to do with the accumulation of knowledge than an increase in intelligence.

God gave humans intelligence from the beginning to commune with Him and care for His creation. Whatever mental abilities we possess are for serving Him and proclaiming His greatness and love to others.


Answers Magazine

October – December 2013

With an updated interior design, the fall issue has it all, from breaking down the big bang to building a better understanding of dinosaurs, from public schools to pinnipeds, and from archaeological discoveries at Çatalhöyük to the astronomical delight of a Christmas comet.

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