Debate and Discussion

The dumbing down of America: Conspiracy or not?
timelike01 at 11:31AM, April 5, 2008
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Would you say the dumbing down of America is a deliberate conspiracy, or is it just an unfortunate accident of history? I say it's a deliberate conspiracy. Yet at the same time, I do admit that conclusion might wrong – especially since I've been proven wrong about other things in the past.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
Frostflowers at 12:40PM, April 5, 2008
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…. Are you kyupol's sockpuppet or something? ‘Cause last time we had a discussion like this (though then it was whether dumb TV was a conspiracy to dumb down the world’s population was a conspiracy or not) kyupol was the OP.

To answer your question - no, I don't think it's a conspiracy.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Vagabond at 1:14PM, April 5, 2008
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Is there some kind of study that you can cite that shows that Americans are getting stupider or something? Because if all you've got as an example is MTV, then I'm not sure I can believe you. Even if MTV is awful…
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 1:42PM, April 5, 2008
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It's not a conspiracy. In fact, it doesn't exist.
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:07AM
Custard Trout at 5:46PM, April 5, 2008
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timelike is kyupols alt.

Seriously, no one is getting any dumber. Americans just seem stupider in general because there's a lot of them, and therefore more stupid ones in comparison with other countries.

That was bullshit, and it still makes more sense than your conspiracy theory.

Ooooh wait, maybe you're getting smarter? Nah.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:00PM
Product Placement at 7:12PM, April 5, 2008
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It's poor managment of education mostly. Not enough funds are going into recruiting teachers and developing good education programs. Also I have a destinct feeling that “no child left behind” movement is making matters worse. While it might be true that american schools today are showing improvements in reading, writing and math, many of those schools are abandoning extra curricular activities in order to focus more on those three fields. That of course results in a generation worth people that are ignorant in geography, history, science, If a school is having a hard time keeping the averages up it gets punished by having the fundings cut. It seems to me that if a school is having troubles keeping the grades up, one of the worst things to do is to cut it's fundings, especially if it's proplems were financial related to begin with.

Most people nowadays end up saying that the only way to ensure good education in the states is through private school.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:49PM
crazyninny at 7:37PM, April 5, 2008
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I don't belive we are getting stupider. Just that the media chooses to show more stupid people then smart people.
Why show some one finding a cure for cancer, when you can watch Paris Hilton try to tie her shoes while driving down the wrong lane?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:49AM
kyupol at 9:43PM, April 5, 2008
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timelike01
Would you say the dumbing down of America is a deliberate conspiracy, or is it just an unfortunate accident of history? I say it's a deliberate conspiracy. Yet at the same time, I do admit that conclusion might wrong – especially since I've been proven wrong about other things in the past.

Yes. There is a conspiracy. Um… NO!!!

But wait a minute. Dont believe what I say and do research for yourself.

Some keywords to help you research and things to look at:

- fluoridation of water
- GMO foods
- aspartame
- vaccines
- Monsanto
- education system
- mass media


Then YOU make an educated judgement based on your research.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
kyupol at 9:52PM, April 5, 2008
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Haha. This man is pretending to be a doctor. Look at him!

And take a look at his books. He must be a good con artist to make up those things.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
cartoonprofessor at 11:44PM, April 5, 2008
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kyupol
Yes. There is a conspiracy. Um… NO!!!

But wait a minute. Dont believe what I say and do research for yourself.

Some keywords to help you research and things to look at:

- fluoridation of water
- GMO foods
- aspartame
- vaccines
- Monsanto
- education system
- mass media


Then YOU make an educated judgement based on your research.


Done that, in fact, been following this sort of stuff for years, having worked in the ‘news industry’ I knew to use alternative sources to gain my information…

There have always been people in positions of power (financially or otherwise) that will do whatever it takes to maintain the status quo.

I have taught children for over 15 years and even in that time I have noticed attention spans shortening even further, a reduction in thinking ability or even desire to think and reason, and a massive growth in drug-induced mental/brain issues because of so-called Attention Deficit Disorders…

The amount of parents who make their kids take drugs which change their kid's personality and have known serious side-effects, usually simply because the kid is expressing themselves as a kid, or simply eating too much sugar or artificial foods, surely is a powerful sign of how dumb people are getting.

Marketing has made us dumb. We've learnt to believe everything we're told or that we see, without question, especially from people of ‘authority’.
“He has letters after his name, he must have my best interests at heart!”

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
lothar at 6:52AM, April 6, 2008
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Hawk at 9:44AM, April 6, 2008
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crazyninny
I don't belive we are getting stupider. Just that the media chooses to show more stupid people then smart people.
Why show some one finding a cure for cancer, when you can watch Paris Hilton try to tie her shoes while driving down the wrong lane?

I think that's it right there. It turns out stupid people are funnier than scientists, and people are watching TV to entertain themselves.

You know, I think a higher percentage of people go on to secondary education after high school than there used to be. I don't have any numbers and studies to back that up, but it's something I've heard and it makes sense because a college education is becoming more and more mandatory. I'm definitely in the camp that says America is getting smarter.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 10:39AM, April 6, 2008
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Product Placement
Most people nowadays end up saying that the only way to ensure good education in the states is through private school.

Not true at all. People who go there tend to act like they're getting better education because of how much they're paying so they can learn to PRAISE JESUS LORDY LORDY!
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:07AM
Vagabond at 1:07PM, April 6, 2008
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Generalizations: the only way to combat… other generalizations.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 1:23PM, April 6, 2008
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LISTEN TO THIS PICTURE YOU GUYS.
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:07AM
Kohdok at 12:14AM, April 7, 2008
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Oh please. I haven't seen an improvement.

One of the reasons I feel people are getting a shorter attention span is the internet. People expect instant gratification and that, in effect, affects their level of knowledge.

An actual conversation I've had within the past week:

“I can't finish my project without the cliff notes for (Book X).”

Me: “Well, have you read (Book X)?”

“No…”

Me: “Well then, why don't you just read (Book X)?”

“I dunno…”

People aren't interested in taking time to learn something as much because they want it now. I wouldn't be surprised if that person I talked to went home and wikipediad the book rather than read it. I think it's because people want information quickly that they'll accept whatever slop people will toss them with little resistance.

I admit I'm a bit of a gullible sap but some of the people I've met make my wit look as sharp as a tack.

Then again, maybe I've met only idiots recently…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
Frostflowers at 1:08AM, April 7, 2008
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I think you've got it right there, Kohdok - with information being so freely and instantly available on the Internet, people expect the rest of the world to be like that too. They think that it's better to do a half-assed job quickly than it is to do a solid piece of work which takes a little longer to get done, because for them, that's how the world works.

Attention spans are getting shorter, people are getting more impatient, and don't take the time to really learn anything - they simply regurgitate what someone else has said, because that's easier. That doesn't mean they're inherently stupid, though.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
ozoneocean at 1:40AM, April 7, 2008
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Frostflowers
they simply regurgitate what someone else has said, because that's easier. That doesn't mean they're inherently stupid, though.
I agree with this part. But more broadly. People of all ages are tending to this. Once there was a huge focus on learning “the classics”. People had to learn things like French Latin, and Greek. You had to know a lot about those cultures too. -No matter what your discipline.

These days people act as if the world was invented in the 20th century. The time before that didn't exist. They only know about history and classical culture before then through the mediations of pop-culture. It's embarrassing.
——
I didn't learn the classics in school either… But I was a smart kid and sought things out. ^^
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Frostflowers at 1:55AM, April 7, 2008
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ozoneocean
I didn't learn the classics in school either… But I was a smart kid and sought things out. ^^
I didn't learn 'em at school either - but I was one of those "But, why?" kids and put my sticky fingers on anything I could find. :) That's why I've got Bram Stoker's Dracula, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest right nest to Tolkien and Terry Pratchett in my bookshelf. :P


I noticed while still in school that there were far too many people who only bothered to learn the bare minimum - cramming before tests and then forgetting everything the moment they walked out of the classroom. It's not that they were stupid, but rather that they didn't want to concentrate for as long as it took to actually learn something, because they were so busy doing something else.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Calbeck at 2:28AM, April 7, 2008
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Nope. People aren't any more or less ‘stupid’. What we're seeing is a combination of lessened ideals of personal responsibility plus reams of petty lawsuits coming to fruition.

Sex became something you did for fun, prophylactics became hindrances to having that fun. Kids, the natural product of all that fun, became unwanted burdens. Unprepared fathers found it much easier to skip town than work the extra hours necessary to pay for all the extra bills. Overstressed mothers with no support were left saddled with noisy, expensive burdens and often just as few job skills as ‘daddy’ had to start with.

And noisy, expensive burdens couldn't be silenced with the unlawful back of a hand, so they were silenced with the perfectly legal and ever-so-convenient little pill. Heck, in many cases the state even paid the cost for couples (or singles) who couldn't afford all that peace and quiet on their own dime.

Those burdens grow up. When they do, and no one has taught them otherwise, the default teacher is the Not-So-Golden Rule of “Do unto others, then split”. Skipping classes means more time to hang with friends. Learning is difficult, skipping is easy, ignoring the teacher is easy, flipping off the principal in his office is easy. What are THEY gonna do, SPANK ya?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
kyupol at 5:19AM, April 7, 2008
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the shortened attention span. I picked up on that.

Its probably because of the television. Notice how the picture keeps on changing? As compared to the old movies.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
cartoonprofessor at 6:20AM, April 7, 2008
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Frostflowers
I noticed while still in school that there were far too many people who only bothered to learn the bare minimum - cramming before tests and then forgetting everything the moment they walked out of the classroom. It's not that they were stupid, but rather that they didn't want to concentrate for as long as it took to actually learn something, because they were so busy doing something else.
I too gained my education with my own curious mind.
I was lucky to have ateacher for a mother who was well aware of the education system's faults.

One of the biggest problems with the education system is the ‘study and test’ philosophy, which teaches students to cram, take the test, and forget.

But that's another ‘conspiracy’, especially when you look at the history of the education system, particularly when the basis for our modern system seems to stem from Prussia getting its arse kicked by a ragtag, peasant French army….

The Generals instigated a compulsory education system in Prussia after that which would train 95% of the population to take orders mindlessly (The public schools) and train the other 5% to give the orders (the private schools).

Sure we've come a long way but that was the start of our modern education system.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
Kohdok at 8:38AM, April 7, 2008
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Yeah, teaching-to-the-test mentality. My mom is also a teacher, so I've heard all about it…

I heard another funny story.

A science teacher was told to teach how to do the state-wide standardized test rather than what they had planned (A test that I think doesn't ask science questions). he/she refused, and taught the kids what he/she had originally planned.

So all of the kids, including the ones taught by this rebellious teacher, are taken with their parents on a field trip to the science museum. Whenever a question was asked of them, only the one rebel teacher's students ever answered.

The parents noticed this and complained to the school. Soon, ALL of the children were crammed into this teacher's classroom so that they could LEARN something.

Now, “Art teacher” is my backup career plan for when “Comic book illustrator” falls through the floor and I think I know what my priorities are. Also, if parents complain to ME about their children getting low grades, I'll simply demonstrate their child's ignorance in front of them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
Vagabond at 9:04AM, April 7, 2008
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Someone
Sex became something you did for fun, prophylactics became hindrances to having that fun. Kids, the natural product of all that fun, became unwanted burdens. Unprepared fathers found it much easier to skip town than work the extra hours necessary to pay for all the extra bills. Overstressed mothers with no support were left saddled with noisy, expensive burdens and often just as few job skills as ‘daddy’ had to start with.

I don't know if this will come as a shock to you, but people have always been having sex for fun, and have always been looking for ways to do it without consequences. That's the same old story that's been happening for years. Unless of course, you get your history from old movies and television where married couples didn't even share a bed. Which brings me to my next point.

Someone
the shortened attention span. I picked up on that.

Its probably because of the television. Notice how the picture keeps on changing? As compared to the old movies.

If you think that ADHD, which has been effectively shown to be a result of genetics, is in fact actually caused by advances in film that allow for more effective editing, then… well, honestly I don't know what to say there. Besides the fact that while there are plenty of great old movies out there, there are a lot more bad ones, too. Which can also be said about new movies. So… I'm not sure if I could say that your point is remotely valid.

What I can say is that IMO, a shortened attention span (which would of course display ADHD symptoms) is the result of too much structure in children's lives. Kids need to have unstructured, unsupervised play. It allows them to explore the world around them and set up their own rules; they can test them out, and if they don't work, they can change them. In essence, by giving them an unstructured environment, you're giving the child a chance to structure it which in turn, helps them structure themselves. Plus, noncompetitive atmospheres are always a nice change of pace.

While most of the time, kids have done this through playing outside with their friends or during recess, both of those have been under attack recently in an attempt to “better” their education. How much further is Every Child Left Behind standards (“Hey, if we got rid of recess, we'd have plenty of time to teach these kids how to take a test!”) and “fast-tracking” a child (by loading them with extracurriculars so they can look “well-rounded” to colleges years from now) going to have to degrade our future before we try something better?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
Hawk at 3:49PM, April 7, 2008
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Vagabond
If you think that ADHD, which has been effectively shown to be a result of genetics, is in fact actually caused by advances in film that allow for more effective editing, then… well, honestly I don't know what to say there. Besides the fact that while there are plenty of great old movies out there, there are a lot more bad ones, too. Which can also be said about new movies. So… I'm not sure if I could say that your point is remotely valid.

I don't think he's saying the faster edits are causing a disorder, just the general shorting of humanity's attention span.

And I'm not sure on that either. But one day one of my film teachers told the class that editing practices have changed dramatically over the years, and if you showed one of today's films to somebody in the 50's, they'd probably have trouble following the story. Apparently the quick edits would keep throwing them off or something. I don't know if he's right or where he heard it.

You know, it could be a chicken-and-the-egg deal, as some might think fast editing only reflects our shortening attention spans, while others might think it's causing it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
cartoonprofessor at 11:27PM, April 7, 2008
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We are all products of our environments.

Already we are mostly removed from ‘reality’ because most of us live in that most artificial envrionment of all, cities.

Add to the this, reduced time for children spent out-of-doors and instead stuck in front of tvs or computer screens… how can you expect us not to ‘dumb down’?

True intellect is not measured by the ingesting of vast amounts of mostly-read, information.

True intellect is surely measured by the individual ability of that most basic of behaviour… survival.

Having grown up in the Australian bush living with snakes, spiders and animals of all types everyday, it still shocks me when I see someone freak out because a beetle gets too close to them.

Humans today are so out of touch with the real world, if the electricity went out permanently, most of us would be dead within two-four weeks.

We willingly destroy our environment… surely this fact alone is a sign of a creature with extremely low intellectual ability?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
ozoneocean at 12:26AM, April 8, 2008
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I don't know cartoon P. Most bushies I've known were ok enough in the bush, but if you want anything more than that- political awareness for example, it depends solely on how much reading-learning they've done. So you're more likley to get that out of older bushies who came to the bush late. Younger ones are tree stumps when outside their environment.

Heh, it's a nice idea, but cities are just as real as anywhere else. You should ideally be able to do well and adapt to any environ (within reason), without having a panic attack, but humans are a social species who's civilisation depends on the communication of ideas, knowledge, history and on going cultural trends. Cities are still where that happens most, even though it's slowly decentralising with the net.
-So those things aren't essentially drags on ability (TV, cities, and internet).

But people are skipping over more and more of the background knowledge that is quite important to understanding things about our culture and current events. I'm sure a better awareness of the natural environment is a constituent part of that.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
cartoonprofessor at 5:52AM, April 8, 2008
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Most ‘Bushies’ I've known have had a very good grasp of politics. They tend to look at things from a ‘realistic’ point of view… with the common sense that seems so ‘uncommon’ in most cities. And I've never known a bushie to fail to quickly and easily adapt to any environment, far easier than most would from the cities.

Anyway, my argument was measuring intellect by survival abilities. Cities are real enough, but so far removed from the ‘real’ world that if you removed one or two basic elements (such as electricity), many would not survive.

Many city ‘intellectuals’ see the world in a very ‘naive’ way… their ideas often sound good but lack some fundamental ‘common sense’.

Don't get me wrong… I would prefer to converse with an intellectual any day to a ‘tv slave’ (someone that believes everything they see on the noos).

Back to the topic more specifically, I see more and more people appear to be happily giving up their ability to think, especially about important issues. They seem happy to let the ‘experts-on-tv’ do their thinking for them.

In this way marketers have been very effective in guiding and controlling the ‘social mind’… they have successfully trained this generic mind to buy and consume in an endless cycle of attempting to purchase material happiness.

So conspiracy? Well, yeah, in that individuals and coorporations have blatantly steered the public mind to achieve their own ends… but not in that it has been all planned and thought out by a select few.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
ozoneocean at 6:02AM, April 8, 2008
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You're talking about the commercial capitalist model there CP. It's the reality of the world in which we live these days, -without the meaningful, although fatally flawed alternative, of the Soviet Union.

Would you prefer an agrarian pre-industrialist world? (or Post in this case). Well there'd certainly be less pollution.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
timelike01 at 7:35AM, April 8, 2008
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What if I asked a more specific question that is related to the theme of this thread? That is, are critical thinking skills being de-emphasised in America?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM

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