Abaco

Why does it seem like people are getting dumber?

41 posts in this topic

I'm sorry I don't have time to properly flesh this out at this time. I will return soon to do just that. But, yesterday I was speaking with an intelligent, well-read lady friend of mine about this. It seems that we are running into people who are not capable of sufficient thought to do basic things or hold conversations of any depth. It's as though there's an epidemic of some sort. Before I list examples later I welcome you to respond if you've noticed something similar in your region. From grocery store staff who cannot explain the "rewards system" they are trying to sign me up to, to a Kinko's manager who didn't know that 16,000K was 16M, to many other examples. At work, I find that I'm often a week or two ahead of others when it comes to solving problems that I don't think are complex. I have to state where the organization is going wrong, then silently let my words marinate for a couple weeks before my boss or other staff come by to state what I pointed out much earlier. At times, it feels like something out of the Body Snatchers movie. And, it seems to be getting worse.

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When man discards reason one should not be surprised by the negative outcomes although one may still find it depressing.

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The fundamental cause is failure to think in principle. Epistemology. Only yesterday I was reading an editors column praising the virtue of uncertainty and the evils of judgment (which implies certainty). She had basically thrown in the towel in the battle to make sense of the world. Now it was a virtue to claim your lack of understanding as some kind of wisdom. One mustn't be too fanatical. I keep pointing out that if an idea is good, why is it wrong to be extremely committed to it.

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The fundamental cause is failure to think in principle. Epistemology. Only yesterday I was reading an editors column praising the virtue of uncertainty and the evils of judgment (which implies certainty). She had basically thrown in the towel in the battle to make sense of the world. Now it was a virtue to claim your lack of understanding as some kind of wisdom. One mustn't be too fanatical. I keep pointing out that if an idea is good, why is it wrong to be extremely committed to it.

This is right out of Ayn Rand's description of Dr. Ferris' book in Atlas Shrugged! Wow! I was just listening to the audio book this morning when hearing that passage. Good timing, Arnold.

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Actually there is some evidence of the opposite. I do not find it 100 percent convincing but it is interesting to wrestle with.

Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

ruveyn

Taking a test and doing better on it after taking it multiple times does not deomonstrate an increase in intelligence. At most it demonstrates an increase ability to do better on the same test which should not be misunderstood as an increase in intelligence. But because you do not think a consciousness exist it does not surprise me that you think and or agree with such things.

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This has been making the rounds

http://naturalsociety.com/leading-geneticist-human-intelligence-slowly-declining/

Of course it's genetically caused. It has nothing to do with our education system, the culture, choices, etc.

And Obama wasn't to fund brain research . . . what are the chances of these people "finding" the mind or free will, understanding the source of emotions, realizing that the mind affects the shape and function of the brain, etc?

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Actually there is some evidence of the opposite. I do not find it 100 percent convincing but it is interesting to wrestle with.

Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

ruveyn

Taking a test and doing better on it after taking it multiple times does not deomonstrate an increase in intelligence. At most it demonstrates an increase ability to do better on the same test which should not be misunderstood as an increase in intelligence. But because you do not think a consciousness exist it does not surprise me that you think and or agree with such things.

Some of the mental gymnastics used in taking the tests are also used in solving honest to goodness problems.

ruveyn

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What I am seeing is a multi-faceted problem. But, primarily it seems that many people are not able to grasp concepts. I'm reluctant to call them "higher" concepts because they are not. A prime example is what happened to me the other day. As they signed me up for a "rewards card" at my local grocery store the checker, enthusiastically informed me that as I buy groceries I'll accumulate points which can later be spent on groceries. I asked, "How much do I have to spend to get these points?" His reply was, "Yeah!". I know he heard me but simply couldn't get beyond, "Buy groceries, get points." I'm seeing this type of phenomenon more and more as time goes by. Frankly, it frightens me.

My boss has been going around telling his bosses that we are going to utilize a database to get a certain task done. I told him for two weeks that the database was never properly populated. It is supposed to be populated by some organizations outside of ours but they just dropped the ball. For some reason, he acted like he didn't hear me for the two weeks he kept going around making these promises. Then, after two weeks and several emails from me he comes by my office and says with a worried look, "The data isn't up to date!" Having a little fun I just said, "Yeah. Why not?"

I've never considered myself one of the smart guys in the room. I was just a dumb jock in my youth. But, in my 40s now, I work out regularly and eat a lot of fish. While the average American eats 15 pounds of seafood per year I eat about 150 pounds per year - mostly tuna and yellowtail I catch myself. I avoid some common items that are in the American diet that I think are suspect (aspartame, high fructose corn syrup). I don't get any injections with mercury. I don't watch much tv, limiting it to a few documentaries and Wicked Tuna. I like to read when I have time. I think these things may be helpful.

Another example from just this morning. I made the comment with a fellow engineer that "When you have architects who've never actually built something writing requirements like LEED and Green Codes you get into trouble." An architect I work with piped up with, "I hate it when people make sweeping statements like that." I asked, "Did I make a statement about all architects?" "Yeah." So, I repeated myself very slowly. Twice. He finally got it but it was a struggle. This is dangerous territory.

You all heard about the cruise ship that, with one quick engine fire, ended up adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with a non-functioning sewer system. As an engineer, I was troubled by that. Then, when some of the passengers were being driven from the dock where they landed the bus broke down. I laughed out load and told my wife, "This is right out of Idiocracy". Then, during the Superbowl we can't keep the lights on. It just goes on and and on. I just don't think it's always been like this.

I'm ranting. Thanks for listening... I feel better now.

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Actually there is some evidence of the opposite. I do not find it 100 percent convincing but it is interesting to wrestle with.

Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

ruveyn

Taking a test and doing better on it after taking it multiple times does not deomonstrate an increase in intelligence. At most it demonstrates an increase ability to do better on the same test which should not be misunderstood as an increase in intelligence. But because you do not think a consciousness exist it does not surprise me that you think and or agree with such things.

Some of the mental gymnastics used in taking the tests are also used in solving honest to goodness problems.

ruveyn

Did you come to that conscious conclusion yourself?

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"I've never considered myself one of the smart guys in the room. I was just a dumb jock in my youth. But, in my 40s now, I work out regularly and eat a lot of fish. While the average American eats 15 pounds of seafood per year I eat about 150 pounds per year - mostly tuna and yellowtail I catch myself. I avoid some common items that are in the American diet that I think are suspect (aspartame, high fructose corn syrup). I don't get any injections with mercury. I don't watch much tv, limiting it to a few documentaries and Wicked Tuna. I like to read when I have time. I think these things may be helpful."

Abaco, the problems you mention, such as fish, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup along with others have nothing to do with people becoming dumber nor smarter. Aspartame is sugar cane with a slight adaptation to it that makes it undigestable to the human body which allows it to then pass through the system just like fiber. Fiber is a non-digestable starch/sugar and even though it has energy stored within it, we do not carry the stomach enzymes to digest and obtain that energy. High fructose corn syrup is almost identical to sucrose and both are about 50% glucsoe and 50% fructose and the human metabolism/digestive system cannot tell the difference between either form of sugar when it comes to breaking both of them into resources for us to use as energy. And as a matter of a fact all the fisth you are eating is being converted into sugar by your liver so as to fuel your body and your brain. Cutting one's sugar intake has been shown to cut one's cognitive capacity by around 25 to 30% which will not make someone dumber directly but it could slow their efficiency.

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Did you come to that conscious conclusion yourself?

From direct first hand experience.

I am good a taking tests and even better at solving practical problems. I noticed that some of the "tricks" I used on the tests actually worked in real life.

ruveyn

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Thanks for your postion, RayK. I started avoiding aspartame after being enlightened by a doctor who handed me data indicating that it causes cancer. If I ever have it my face feels swolen and flush. It's uncomfortable. Sodas with sugar don't do that to me. I avoid injected ethylmercury but eat tons of fish, based on plenty of research. An individual who has a masters in biochem instructed me that HFCS is "age accelerator". Another with a PhD in biochem informed me that she had seen in laboratory testing that HFCS caused permanent changes to the liver. You're saying it's simple C6H12O6 and no different(?) I just decided to avoid it. Like I said, "I think these things may be helpful". If somebody wants to consume aspartame and HFCS, I won't argue with them. The adjustments have been easy, enjoyable, and I feel much better than I did years ago.

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You all heard about the cruise ship that, with one quick engine fire, ended up adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with a non-functioning sewer system. As an engineer, I was troubled by that. Then, when some of the passengers were being driven from the dock where they landed the bus broke down. I laughed out load and told my wife, "This is right out of Idiocracy". Then, during the Superbowl we can't keep the lights on. It just goes on and and on. I just don't think it's always been like this.

It hasn't been and it isn't right out of "Idiocracy." It's right out of Atlas Shrugged -- and for the same reasons. If people don't think and evaluate, if people don't value enough to give a damn if they are right or wrong, if people don't value reason or their own self-interest, then they act like the people you are describing.

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Did you come to that conscious conclusion yourself?

From direct first hand experience.

I am good a taking tests and even better at solving practical problems. I noticed that some of the "tricks" I used on the tests actually worked in real life.

ruveyn

And what faculty was it that allowed you to recognize that you can learn from your experiences to solve problems?

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Thanks for your postion, RayK. I started avoiding aspartame after being enlightened by a doctor who handed me data indicating that it causes cancer. If I ever have it my face feels swolen and flush. It's uncomfortable. Sodas with sugar don't do that to me. I avoid injected ethylmercury but eat tons of fish, based on plenty of research. An individual who has a masters in biochem instructed me that HFCS is "age accelerator". Another with a PhD in biochem informed me that she had seen in laboratory testing that HFCS caused permanent changes to the liver. You're saying it's simple C6H12O6 and no different(?) I just decided to avoid it. Like I said, "I think these things may be helpful". If somebody wants to consume aspartame and HFCS, I won't argue with them. The adjustments have been easy, enjoyable, and I feel much better than I did years ago.

It is not a "position" as those are the facts and aspartame is as safe as anything else people put in their mouth. Research is not the manner in which a person learns the fundamental nature of something as doing research without that understanding will not allow you to recognize fact or fiction. But it is not my life and you can take second hand advice as long as that is enough for you. But you cannot state that those items are harmful without backing up your statements with facts proving your claims of which the demand lies with you to prove.

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I would like to correct my earlier statement on aspartame as I was incorrect when I stated that it was developed from sugar cane as it was not although some sugar substitutes are. Aspartame is a crystalline powder that is derived from two amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine which once digested reconvert into their constituent amino acids. People can have a rare genetic disorder which keeps the body from being able to break down phenylalanine and these people should avoid aspartame for that reason. Besides that one exception there has never been a study that has shown any direct cause and effect relationship between using aspartame and cancer and no other illeffects.

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You all heard about the cruise ship that, with one quick engine fire, ended up adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with a non-functioning sewer system. As an engineer, I was troubled by that. Then, when some of the passengers were being driven from the dock where they landed the bus broke down. I laughed out load and told my wife, "This is right out of Idiocracy". Then, during the Superbowl we can't keep the lights on. It just goes on and and on. I just don't think it's always been like this.

It hasn't been and it isn't right out of "Idiocracy." It's right out of Atlas Shrugged -- and for the same reasons. If people don't think and evaluate, if people don't value enough to give a damn if they are right or wrong, if people don't value reason or their own self-interest, then they act like the people you are describing.

Yes, of course. Betsy, have you ever seen Idiocracy? It's loaded with lowbrow humor. But, I found it to be hilarious. I think Mike Judge is brilliant. And, yes, it is out of Atlas Shrugged. I see many real examples every day.

Recently, I had to explain to a manager at a Kinko's that 16,000K is 16M. I then walked out to my truck, placed my paperwork on the passenger seat and almost broke into tears. It's funny to mention it now. But I was suprisingly upset over having to explain it to a grown man.

Once each year I go back to my alma mater to spend the day mentoring the students in the engineering department. I always leave with renewed hope after those sessions. Those young people are so bright. I get as much from it as they do - probably more.

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Thanks for your postion, RayK. I started avoiding aspartame after being enlightened by a doctor who handed me data indicating that it causes cancer. If I ever have it my face feels swolen and flush. It's uncomfortable. Sodas with sugar don't do that to me. I avoid injected ethylmercury but eat tons of fish, based on plenty of research. An individual who has a masters in biochem instructed me that HFCS is "age accelerator". Another with a PhD in biochem informed me that she had seen in laboratory testing that HFCS caused permanent changes to the liver. You're saying it's simple C6H12O6 and no different(?) I just decided to avoid it. Like I said, "I think these things may be helpful". If somebody wants to consume aspartame and HFCS, I won't argue with them. The adjustments have been easy, enjoyable, and I feel much better than I did years ago.

It is not a "position" as those are the facts and aspartame is as safe as anything else people put in their mouth. Research is not the manner in which a person learns the fundamental nature of something as doing research without that understanding will not allow you to recognize fact or fiction. But it is not my life and you can take second hand advice as long as that is enough for you. But you cannot state that those items are harmful without backing up your statements with facts proving your claims of which the demand lies with you to prove.

If you are right, that's great! And, if not taking the time to scan a bunch of pdfs to reference here to back up my position means that I lose some sort of debate I'll admit defeat. This isn't the time or place for me to go toe-to-toe.

Now, let's get back to the subject of the thread.

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Below is a link to an article about bad science which relates to this thread in the manner that it demonstrates how people accept bad ideas. Once those bad ideas are accepted and promoted without any facts to support them society in general of course seems to become dumber which is defined as lacking intelligence or good judgment. In other words we are now seeing a culture that is lacking in intelligence or good judgment not because they do not think but instead because they do not tie their thoughts/concepts to reality.

http://www.acsh.org/bad-science-from-harvard/

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Thanks for your postion, RayK. I started avoiding aspartame after being enlightened by a doctor who handed me data indicating that it causes cancer. If I ever have it my face feels swolen and flush. It's uncomfortable. Sodas with sugar don't do that to me. I avoid injected ethylmercury but eat tons of fish, based on plenty of research. An individual who has a masters in biochem instructed me that HFCS is "age accelerator". Another with a PhD in biochem informed me that she had seen in laboratory testing that HFCS caused permanent changes to the liver. You're saying it's simple C6H12O6 and no different(?) I just decided to avoid it. Like I said, "I think these things may be helpful". If somebody wants to consume aspartame and HFCS, I won't argue with them. The adjustments have been easy, enjoyable, and I feel much better than I did years ago.

It is not a "position" as those are the facts and aspartame is as safe as anything else people put in their mouth. Research is not the manner in which a person learns the fundamental nature of something as doing research without that understanding will not allow you to recognize fact or fiction. But it is not my life and you can take second hand advice as long as that is enough for you. But you cannot state that those items are harmful without backing up your statements with facts proving your claims of which the demand lies with you to prove.

If you are right, that's great! And, if not taking the time to scan a bunch of pdfs to reference here to back up my position means that I lose some sort of debate I'll admit defeat. This isn't the time or place for me to go toe-to-toe.

Now, let's get back to the subject of the thread.

You are the one that brought up the food as a possible cause for your intelligence and hence the lack of those that do not eat like you.

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Ray. I appreciate your tireless persuit of the truth. And, because of that I have to say some things. I am not going to produce the stack of studies I posess to explain my positions. Also, you do not know some things about me because I don't divulge the details. You don't know that I have been the subject of research at the leading neurological institute on the west coast. You don't know which PhD's I've met with or worked with. You don't know what lab work I've done, firsthand. But, out of respect of your desire to dig for truth I need to inform you that it is likely that positions you've stated here are wrong. Based on what I've seen and experienced firsthand, I think you are misinformed. Now, I don't divulge everything about me on public internet forums for security reasons. And, with my relentless sense of humor I will say things here in the future with tongue-in-cheek that I think will get you wound up like a top. So, to that end I suggest you do what I have done. I have chosen to ignore your input on this forum and I suggest you do the same for me. I appreciate your energy and focus. But, the ferver with which one expresses their opinion has nothing to do with it's validity.

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Ray. I appreciate your tireless persuit of the truth. And, because of that I have to say some things. I am not going to produce the stack of studies I posess to explain my positions. Also, you do not know some things about me because I don't divulge the details. You don't know that I have been the subject of research at the leading neurological institute on the west coast. You don't know which PhD's I've met with or worked with. You don't know what lab work I've done, firsthand. But, out of respect of your desire to dig for truth I need to inform you that it is likely that positions you've stated here are wrong. Based on what I've seen and experienced firsthand, I think you are misinformed. Now, I don't divulge everything about me on public internet forums for security reasons. And, with my relentless sense of humor I will say things here in the future with tongue-in-cheek that I think will get you wound up like a top. So, to that end I suggest you do what I have done. I have chosen to ignore your input on this forum and I suggest you do the same for me. I appreciate your energy and focus. But, the ferver with which one expresses their opinion has nothing to do with it's validity.

Who one works with does not define whether one is right or wrong about the facts. So, as always, I offer that you, and people like you, first gather a fundamental undestanding of what you think you know before you comment on whether or not someone else is "misinformed." I also have never stated that one's ferver defines whehter their claims are valid, that is what you and others on this forum do. But as long as you, and those like you, keep stating invalid opinions I will be here to rebut them. Finally, what one goes through in their life does not make them an automatic expert on that subject so bring facts that prove your position not who you work with as I do not care who you work with and it will not convince me.

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Do you think your work on body building gives you some standing in the field?

No, I think my fundamental undestanding of the nature of the items under discussion give me insight into what is correct. I also think my years worth of applying that understanding to my daily life backs my claims. One does not get a fundamental understanding about a subject by reading research articles as they only tell us that something happened (that is if the reserachers are honest). To actually now the "why" one must have a grasp of the fundamentals. So, if someone wants to persuade me, I please ask them to bring facts that support that my fundamental undestanding of subjects under discussion is incorrect and not some study which contradicts the next guy's study and the next and the next.

I was reading an article just yesterday while on facebook that gave a very good example of the average's person understanding of science and how they then apply that information without any further knowledge gathering. The study reminded me of this discussion as I have been doing something similar since as far back as the 1970s without any illeffects. During the 1970s when my mother wanted to lose weight she would buy Tab and Fresca which both are made with sugar substitutes. I would drink both of them even though I did not prefer the taste of Tab over Pepsi. In the mid-1980s I switched from regular Pepsi to Diet Pepsi as my main soft-drink, I also switched to using items such as Splenda when I make up Kool-Aid as it allows me to drink a lot of water while adding flavor and yet almost calorie free. I have been doing these things for almost 30 years now without any illeffects. As a matter of a fact I drink probablyl 50 ounces a day in Diet Pepsi and yet I am healthy and a lot more so than most people half my age. So, if sugar substitutes were toxic as so many average people and researchers attempt to claim I, along with my family members and clients that follow my advice, then I should be unhealthy if not already dead.

http://www.wnd.com/2005/06/31095/

One does not need a Ph.D. to come to their own conclusions on a subject. What one needs is a fundamental understanding of the subject or they are just acting in a second-handed nature by accepting another's thoughts without any evidence of the why.

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