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The researchers said that if you could bring an ancient Greek from that time to ours he or she would adjust much more quickly than taking someone from now and bringing them back to that time.
Sounds dubious, as we have much knowledge of antiquity whereas the ancients have no knowledge of the modern world. Unless you mean adjust to the other level of comfort of living.
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Just think of the old Greek philosophers, whose scientific principles we still follow today (Aristotle, Archimedes, Plato, Socrates, etc.)
Actually, we don't follow their scientific principles, but we do acknowledge their contributions to what are today's principles.
Where do you have that idea from?
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I hated the Romans with a passion because of their conquering ways (which the rest of western civilization has inherited from them)
Well, war was normal back then. If fact, war was a quite legitimate political tool until about WWI. You must judge from a contemporary viewpoint. The concept of citizenship for conquered lands was an innovation, and the Romans were able to keep a relative
pax Romana for over two centuries from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius, which is remarkable.
Stole? Romans greatly respected (much of) Greek culture.
The Romans had a conquering philosophy which inherently detest and they treated other people viciously- Pax Romana was achieved by conquering and destroying other cultures first (which is something the British and French followed when they went to Asia and Africa.)
The Romans (from Caesar to Aurelius) were absolutely responsible for the destruction of the library at Alexandria, problem is that Western culture still has that warlike philosophy (just look at the US interventionist philosophy of the past few decades.) Look at Carthage and how they bared the Carthaginians of their clothing and destroyed all their villages. Hannibal in contrast was far more civilized when he conquered the Romans and the locals hated the Romans so much that they sided with him against them. The Romans, like the cowards they were, holed themselves up behind a wall, to avoid having to face Hannibal.
The Library at Alexandria was burned down several times, but the Romans did it first and most frequently.http://www.bede.org.uk/library.htm
All the Romans did was change the names of the Greek gods and goddesses and okay you can say they borrowed, but like Taleb said, the Greeks were far superior to the Romans because the Greeks were the creators, not the Romans.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1797536
Can someone explain "A Greek among Romans" from Taleb's homepage?
Benoit Mandelbrot, 1924-2010 A Greek among Romans
harscoat 2539 days ago [-]
It seems that Taleb wants to separate Mandelbrot, a sophisticated, educated, refined, and übersmart person, from the rest of the crowd.
As far as intelligence is concerned, I just don't believe we have the ingenuity to do what the ancients did with what they had available to them- like the antikythera device. We are far too dependent on technology which does our thinking for us. Nor could we have built the pyramids or any of those other great archaeological marvels like Stonehenge. And remember that the Greeks created the scientific method, modern geometry and astronomy (created the magnitude system and the Pythagorean theorem and the Archimedes principle).https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanismhttps://www.livescience.com/37095-human ... umber.htmlhttps://www.livescience.com/24713-human ... gence.html
In November 2012, Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Gerald Crabtree published two papers in the journal Trends in Genetics suggesting that humanity's intelligence peaked between 2,000 and 6,000 years ago.
Crabtree based this assertion on genetics. About 2,000 to 5,000 genes control human intelligence, he estimated. At the rate at which genetic mutations accumulate, Crabtree calculated that within the last 3,000 years, all of humanity has sustained at least two mutations harmful to these intellect-determining genes (and will sustain a couple more in another 3,000 years). Not every mutation will cause harm — genes come in pairs, and some weaknesses caused by mutation can be covered for by the healthy half of the pair, Crabtree wrote; but the calculation suggests that intelligence is more fragile than it seems.
Furthermore, he argued, intelligence isn't as evolutionarily important to humans today as it was when the species was hunter-gatherers. Thousands of years ago, failing to grasp the aerodynamics of throwing a spear when a lion was coming at you meant you were toast — no more passing along your genes to offspring. Modern man rarely faces such life-or-death tests of wits, Crabtree wrote. [10 Things That Make Humans Special]
Another theory holds that humanity's genetic capacity for intelligence is in decline because of a phenomenon called dysgenic mating. Since the mid-1800s, IQ and reproduction have been negatively correlated, studies have found. To put it bluntly, people who are more intelligent have fewer babies. Because intelligence is part genetic, some researchers argue that, if anything, IQs should be dropping.
Instead, scores are going up, creating a paradox for the dysgenic mating theory, Woodley said.
Understanding an intelligence paradox
Now, Woodley and his colleagues think they may have solved that paradox, and the news is not good.
To look back at historical intelligence, the researchers turned not to IQ tests, but to reaction time. Simple reaction time (the amount of time it takes to respond to a stimulus) is correlated with IQ, Woodley said, and not nearly as sensitive to cultural influences as IQ tests.
"The idea is that reaction times represent your ability to engage in very basic and elementary cognitive processing," he said. [The 10 Best Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp]
In the 1880s, English scientist Sir Francis Galton measured reaction times in 2,522 young men and 888 young women from a wide variety of socioeconomic statuses. He found that men's average reaction time to a stimulus was 183 milliseconds, and women's was 187 ms. (Galton's reaction time studies were part of his work as the founder of the field of eugenics, the idea that only the "best" should reproduce. Eugenics was embraced by a variety of high-profile people in the early 1900s, most notably Adolf Hitler, who wanted to establish a "master race" of Aryans.)
Twelve similar studies to Galton's conducted after 1941, on the other hand, found an average reaction time for men of 250 ms and for women of 277 ms — markedly slower. A review study detailing those findings was published in The American Journal of Psychology in 2010.
Woodley and his colleagues expanded on the 2010 work, including additional data and matching the old and new studies to be sure they were measuring the same things. Despite the fact that timers have improved quite a bit since the 1880s, Woodley is confident that Galton's measurements are accurate. Galton used a pendulum-based machine to time reactions, and such machines are generally accurate within 10 ms, Woodley said.
Galton's data also behaves as you might expect it to behave if it were correct, Woodley said. For example, groups with more inbreeding performed worse on the reaction time test.
The new analysis was "crystal clear," Woodley said.
"We found a very, very robust trend with time, toward slowing speeds of reaction," he said, "which is consistent with the idea that the more stable, the more culturally neutral, the more genetically influenced components of intelligence have been declining rather than increasing."
What that suggests is that even as IQ scores rise with education and health, humanity's capacity to get smarter is shrinking. In essence, the Flynn effect might be hiding an underlying decline, a "psychometric dark matter" not visible on pen-and-paper intelligence tests, Woodley said.
"An analogy to use would be lower-quality seeds, but higher-quality fertilizers," he said, referring to this idea that a high-quality environment may be masking the decline in "smart" genes.
If true, the reasons are unknown. Possibilities range from exposure to neurotoxins in modern society to natural selection.
Smarter or dumber?
Not everyone sees the new reaction time findings as the final word, however.
"To sum up 100 years of research, there is a reliable correlation between measures of reaction time and measures of IQ, but the order of such correlations is far short of what would be required to use the former to explain the latter," said Theodore Nettelbeck, a psychologist at the University of Adelaide who researches intelligence.
In other words, Nettelbeck told LiveScience, using reaction time as a proxy for IQ leaves something to be desired. At best, he said, reaction times to complex stimuli might explain about 20 percent to 25 percent of the variation in IQs, and simple reaction times explain a lot less.
Nettelbeck also raised concerns about the various experiments analyzed in the new study and how comparable they might be.
"Not only would there be differences in the technologies for timing responses, which may or not influence the outcome measures; there would also be procedural differences in the numbers of trials from which means [averages] have been derived, instructions to participants, extent of prior practice, the nature of stimuli, the form of response keys, all of which can influence the length of response," he said.
Reaction time can also be tricky to interpret, said James Flynn, for whom the Flynn effect is named.
"A dull person has just as quick a peak reaction time as a brilliant person," Flynn told LiveScience. The difference is that someone with a low IQ typically can't stay focused and so their reaction times won't be consistent throughout an experiment; their scores vary more widely than those of high-IQ people.
"Is this really neural speed, or for a dull person, [or] is it much more difficult for them to be attentive to the task?" Flynn said.
Other factors play a role as well, he added. In studies of schoolchildren, kids in Hong Kong are quicker off the mark in reaction time tests than British kids. You could read those results to mean Chinese kids are smarter than Britons, Flynn said. Or perhaps Chinese kids are just more willing to take risks.