Anti-Intellectualism and the "Dumbing Down" of America

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  • Go BeaversGo Beavers Posts: 5,556
    They have to recalibrate the IQ test every so often, because what is average now would be above average in the past. 

    Walk around in 1968 and ask people where Vietnam is. 
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 5,854
    They have to recalibrate the IQ test every so often, because what is average now would be above average in the past. 

    Walk around in 1968 and ask people where Vietnam is. 
    That isn't an example of raw intellectual ability, though. That's an example of fund of knowledge, which is very dependent on educational achievement and other social factors like parental support for education and reading.
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • PJfanwillneverleave1PJfanwillneverleave1 Posts: 12,538
    edited June 16
    If you would've stayed in school you'd know that wouldn't be a vald sample!

    It's pretty funny when someone lectures about staying in school with a spelling error!
    Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both ideas are overwhelming. AE
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 5,854
    edited June 16
    If you would've stayed in school you'd know that wouldn't be a vald sample!

    It's pretty funny when someone lectures about staying in school with a spelling error!
    Yeah, well, "vald" is Old Norse for "power", so Go Beavers is talking about having a powerful sample. As he should. 

    So there :)
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • Go BeaversGo Beavers Posts: 5,556
    They have to recalibrate the IQ test every so often, because what is average now would be above average in the past. 

    Walk around in 1968 and ask people where Vietnam is. 
    That isn't an example of raw intellectual ability, though. That's an example of fund of knowledge, which is very dependent on educational achievement and other social factors like parental support for education and reading.
    The topic is dumbing down. If we get into the debate about defining what's smart and what's dumb, it will sidetrack the thread. It is an interesting topic, though. I just gave two examples to support my position that we're not getting dumber. 
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 5,854
    They have to recalibrate the IQ test every so often, because what is average now would be above average in the past. 

    Walk around in 1968 and ask people where Vietnam is. 
    That isn't an example of raw intellectual ability, though. That's an example of fund of knowledge, which is very dependent on educational achievement and other social factors like parental support for education and reading.
    The topic is dumbing down. If we get into the debate about defining what's smart and what's dumb, it will sidetrack the thread. It is an interesting topic, though. I just gave two examples to support my position that we're not getting dumber. 
    I assumed you meant your example to relate to your statement about IQ scores. Maybe I was wrong, but was just pointing out that fund of knowledge and IQ are two very different things. 
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • Go BeaversGo Beavers Posts: 5,556
    Do people think the general fund of knowledge is less?
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 5,854
    Do people think the general fund of knowledge is less?
    By "people" did you mean me? :). I'm not arguing the case that society has been dumbed down; I just value precision in how we discuss it. 

    It's a good question, though. People certainly know different information than they did 40 or even 20 years ago. Do they know more information, though? And, more to the point, so they know more information of substance or more information about trivial matters? I don't know. 
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • Go BeaversGo Beavers Posts: 5,556
    I meant people as in whomever wants to chime in. 

    Take school curriculums for example. When I was in high school in the 80's, the advanced kids took algebra in the 8th grade. Now the regular kids take it in the 8th grade. 
  • ponytdponytd NashvillePosts: 483
    ponytd said:
    Before this goes into the 'get off my lawn' ditch, does anyone have data showing that we're getting dumber over time? 
    I think jeffbr's post about where people believe chocolate milk comes from is a good start for some data
    That's a single question. We need longitudinal data to support the hypothesis. Otherwise, looking at the answers to single questions and then drawing a conclusion that we're in a downward trend would be 'dumb'.    
    Oh I know. but geez, that is really disheartening to realize that people actually believe that.
  • ponytdponytd NashvillePosts: 483
    Do people think the general fund of knowledge is less?
    That a good question. I feel like people are getting dumber overall. But I don't have any proof.  Like someone else said by just talking to people on the street, I feel like people are dumber.  it's more of a common sense type of thing though, not really a lack of education. And that could be  just a matter of getting older, you feel that people are getting dumber. I know my parents when they were the age that I am now, felt that people were getting dumber. Is it just our perception that comes with age and we become more cynical?

    I do feel like, with the advancement of social media and how everything is right at our fingertips in this digital age, that people tend to be lazier. Most of the younger people (and by younger, I mean < 30) that I know, they seem to be pretty smart, but don't know as much about things that happened before they were alive. And this is just my observation, but I feel like it's not because they don't know, it's just more of a "if it hasn't happened in the last 24 hours, who cares". I feel like as a society now, we move on from things now and just forget them. Maybe it hasn't. Maybe I'm just turning into a crazy old man lol

  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin LouisPosts: 15,913
    did you guys know chocolate milk comes from brown cows???
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  • BentleyspopBentleyspop Craft Beer Brewery, ColoradoPosts: 3,731
    If you would've stayed in school you'd know that wouldn't be a vald sample!

    It's pretty funny when someone lectures about staying in school with a spelling error!
    Yeah, well, "vald" is Old Norse for "power", so Go Beavers is talking about having a powerful sample. As he should. 

    So there :)

    My urologist told me I have a powerful sample
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,297
    Do people think the general fund of knowledge is less?
    It's constantly getting bigger and bigger.  But are we talking about society having massive amounts of data and knowledge or the general ability of people to use their brains?  Just about anyone can access the data but how well are they able to extrapolate concrete reasonable action from abstract notions or, for that matter, count back change without a machine?
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  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 5,854
    If you would've stayed in school you'd know that wouldn't be a vald sample!

    It's pretty funny when someone lectures about staying in school with a spelling error!
    Yeah, well, "vald" is Old Norse for "power", so Go Beavers is talking about having a powerful sample. As he should. 

    So there :)

    My urologist told me I have a powerful sample
    Sorry to hear that. Antibiotics should clear that right up. 

    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • eddieceddiec Posts: 2,435
    I think the huge advances in technology, which has paved the way for the explosion of social media, has allowed us for the first time to see how dumb and backwards a lot of Americans actually are. I think levels of intellect have remained constant over the years. The only difference is twenty years ago you would have to personally visit segments of the country which have fallen behind in education, jobs and social mobility. Now those same people are sitting on a picnic bench outside their trailer posting to social media sites and it can be shocking to read how backwards and behind the times they are. 
  • unsungunsung Posts: 7,725



    *I did not source check.*
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,297
    unsung said:



    *I did not source check.*
    Brown cows are larger than white cows and more violent (see dent on lower right brown cow milk).  The question is, to which political party do the most of the violent brown cows belong?
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
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  • dignindignin Posts: 5,028
    brianlux said:
    unsung said:



    *I did not source check.*
    Brown cows are larger than white cows and more violent (see dent on lower right brown cow milk).  The question is, to which political party do the most of the violent brown cows belong?
    That's mooist.
  • Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 8,232
    dignin said:
    brianlux said:
    unsung said:



    *I did not source check.*
    Brown cows are larger than white cows and more violent (see dent on lower right brown cow milk).  The question is, to which political party do the most of the violent brown cows belong?
    That's mooist.
    And there you go adding to the toxic discourse. Everyone knows that when you purposely use the word "moo" and add "ist" to it that you're subtly referring to the well established and respected moony religion and their adherents the moonies and using it in a derogatory nature. You're responsible for all bad things that happen. Shame on you!
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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,297
    dignin said:
    brianlux said:
    unsung said:



    *I did not source check.*
    Brown cows are larger than white cows and more violent (see dent on lower right brown cow milk).  The question is, to which political party do the most of the violent brown cows belong?
    That's mooist.
    And there you go adding to the toxic discourse. Everyone knows that when you purposely use the word "moo" and add "ist" to it that you're subtly referring to the well established and respected moony religion and their adherents the moonies and using it in a derogatory nature. You're responsible for all bad things that happen. Shame on you!
    I could use some moony.  Brother, can you spare a dime?
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,993
    This sister can spare a dimebag.  Ha!

    The milk thing - what actually is the source for this?  I (somewhat) understand how statistics work but how many people were asked this?  Demographics, age, education?

    I guess I just don't want to believe that so many people are so clueless.  It doesn't make sense to me.
  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 8,613
    If you would've stayed in school you'd know that wouldn't be a vald sample!
    "Valid" ;)
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  • Guessing more than a few people were just having a bit a fun with another "dumb" survey...?
  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 36,209
    brianlux said:
    I hate to say it (because it wish it weren't true) but Cincy's suggestion too"Just walk around and talk to people" is what convinces me the U.S. as a nation is dumbing down.  True, I don't have facts to support it but empirical evidence convinces me that we're not getting any smarter. 

    Convince me I'm wrong, please!
    Sometimes things are just glaringly obvious, eh?
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  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 36,209
    edited June 20
    They have to recalibrate the IQ test every so often, because what is average now would be above average in the past. 

    Walk around in 1968 and ask people where Vietnam is. 
    That isn't an example of raw intellectual ability, though. That's an example of fund of knowledge, which is very dependent on educational achievement and other social factors like parental support for education and reading.
    The topic is dumbing down. If we get into the debate about defining what's smart and what's dumb, it will sidetrack the thread. It is an interesting topic, though. I just gave two examples to support my position that we're not getting dumber. 
    I'm not sure what your first example was, but the Vietnam one doesn't hold water. People know that Vietnam exists because the war made it a part of US pop culture - i.e. Vietnam war movies, common cultural references, etc. I bet no more people would be able to point it out on an unmarked map, and many couldn't even explain to you in basic terms what the war was about back then, let alone tell you the most basic things about Vietnam as it is now. Back in '68 people had no reason to know much about Vietnam, but now that Americans were provided with a very good reason to know a lot about it, the majority doesn't know shit, besides what they learned from Platoon or Forrest Gump.
    Post edited by PJ_Soul on
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
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