A Stanford University geneticist, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, believes that human beings are getting dumber and becoming less emotionally stable.

Even though our high-tech world is full of wonders, most of our modern “discoveries” seem to only build on what already exists. True breakthroughs are hard to come by, and some researchers, like Crabtree, have concluded that the human race is losing its cognitive ability.

According to Crabtree, who published his ideas in the scientific journal Trends in Genetics, genetic mutations are to blame for much of the problem. Because our intelligence depends on so many thousands of genes working together, an adverse change in any one of them can throw a genetic monkey wrench into the system.

Unlike the picture that is often painted in classrooms of a chain of evolutionary development perpetually producing improvements in life forms, the reality is that most genetic mutations are bad for an organism, resulting in deformities, disabilities and genetic illnesses.

Crabtree believes genetic mutations are also causing the human race to become emotionally unstable.

ìI would wager,” he wrote, “that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues.”

Genetics isn’t the only line of research that supports the idea of a human race that is leaking IQ points.

A “dirty secret” that paleontologists have known for decades is that modern humans’ brains are smaller than the brains of Cro-Magnon man, or even Neanderthals, and they’re getting smaller.

About 20,000 years ago, the average human male brain was around 1,500 cubic centimeters. Our modern males come in at about 1,350 cc. Women have also lost a proportional chunk of brain matter in the past 20 millenia.

That might help explain how ancient humans created megalithic structures we can’t do today even with our advanced machinery. At the opposite end of the brainpower scale, it might even help explain much of our modern politics.

But the reason for the shrinkage isn’t clear, at least to our modern shrunken-headed scientists.

There are several theories, ranging from Crabtree’s genetic mutation explanation to substances in our water and food.

One of the old favorites of conspiracy theorists, fluoride, is cited as a brain-damaging possibility in a number of studies, probably none of which is government funded.

Pesticides and industrial chemicals are also on the likely suspects list. They’ve done wonders for wild fish populations, after all.

One of the likelier suspects, in my diminished-capacity opinion, is high fructose corn syrup, which seems to be in absolutely every food product at the grocery stores these days. There are plenty of studies that have looked into the effects of putting so much of this stuff into our food. None of them are flattering, unless you count the ones funded by the corn industry.

Whatever the cause, all of this information goes to support the theory held by an acquaintance of mine, that the movie “Idiocracy” isn’t just entertainment, it’s prophecy.

My advice? Go read a book. Preferably one without a lot of pictures.