Abaco

Why does it seem like people are getting dumber?

41 posts in this topic

I would say some causes for people coming off as unintelligent would be mental lethargy from a lack of interest, bad thinking methods, or just plain dumbness. I think the first two would most explain a rise in unintelligent people. A lack of interest can relate to the overall valueless culture we have. As for bad thinking methods, rarely throughout schooling was material presented in a clearly logical, conceptual way and I have almost never, outside of Objectivism, been exposed to explicit methods for dealing with concepts - I'm sure this is very surprising <_<

But where I work, in software development, I'm generally around people who seem smarter then me so I can't relate. But what sticks out as a mark of intelligence when working with them, relating to what you said Abaco, is an ability to deal with concepts - they can easily learn and use the new concepts presented with little explanation. Everything they learn and know seems very organized and clear.

I don't' know what to draw from the 16,000K is equal to 16M instance though. If one cannot grasp, after being explained what 'K' and 'M' mean, that they are equivalent, then that seems like a sign of a lack of intelligence. However, just knowing or not knowing this notation isn't necessarily a sign of being dumb. Especially if the person doesn't need the knowledge or see any value in knowing it.

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So, let us look at what is meant by a fundamental understanding of the nature of things and let us start with the two amino acids I mentioned earlier that make up aspartame. Aspartic in a non-essential amino acid which means it can be syntehsized from central metabolic pathway intermediates in humans. Aspartic is found in many food sources such as animals, vegeatables, fruits (to include sugar cane), salts, and dietary supplements such as magnesium aspartate. Aspartic (aspartate) is also a metabolite in the urea cycle and participates in gluconeogensis which is the conversion of fat and or protein into sugar to fuel the body. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is found in breast milk of mammals. It is also used in the manufacturing of food and drink products along with being sold as a supplement. It also has other biological roles such as being converted mulitple times before it turns into dopamine, norepinephrine and or epinipherine. So, when someone tries to claim that aspartame is a toxin and creates harmful effects I know they are lying or just do not understand the fundmental nature of those items and or that which is under discussion. One can read all the studies they want and still not know how to determine whether the researcher's claims are correct or not without first having a fundamental understanding of that which is under discussion.

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I would say some causes for people coming off as unintelligent would be mental lethargy from a lack of interest, bad thinking methods, or just plain dumbness. I think the first two would most explain a rise in unintelligent people. A lack of interest can relate to the overall valueless culture we have. As for bad thinking methods, rarely throughout schooling was material presented in a clearly logical, conceptual way and I have almost never, outside of Objectivism, been exposed to explicit methods for dealing with concepts - I'm sure this is very surprising <_<

But where I work, in software development, I'm generally around people who seem smarter then me so I can't relate. But what sticks out as a mark of intelligence when working with them, relating to what you said Abaco, is an ability to deal with concepts - they can easily learn and use the new concepts presented with little explanation. Everything they learn and know seems very organized and clear.

I don't' know what to draw from the 16,000K is equal to 16M instance though. If one cannot grasp, after being explained what 'K' and 'M' mean, that they are equivalent, then that seems like a sign of a lack of intelligence. However, just knowing or not knowing this notation isn't necessarily a sign of being dumb. Especially if the person doesn't need the knowledge or see any value in knowing it.

Thanks for your input. Your reference to "a lack of interest" is interesting. I can see that in many people I know. I realized years ago that I've seen many people fail to make important decisions. I've had friends who's family vacations were affected because they failed to maintain their cars. I'd think, "Who would plan for months to drive their kids to Disneyland and never change their oil?" This type of thing leaves me scratching my head. And, lack of interest may be the answer. The fact that the cruise ship was adrift with sewage filling the carpet may have been because the engineers who designed the system had a lack of interest in redundancy. Financial gain is a motivator and threat of lawsuits is also effective. In my design work I'm motivated by both, for sure.

Now that you mention it, Bert, I realize that I'm constantly trying to get my kids to take interest in what's important. Just realize what's important and act on it accordingly. Interesting.

The ability to grasp concepts is surely key. You are right. I've gotten very good at describing scientific concepts with very simple anecdotes, using basic terms that everybody knows. I've had great success doing that. And, it's really rewarding to see somebody deep in thought, grinding over what you just said.

I think the "K vs. M" issue is likely a sign of poor education. I wasn't angry with the young man. I was angry that it wasted time. The sadness I felt once I got back in my truck was deep. It makes me laugh now, at least.

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A culture is representative of the profound underlying philosophy that guides it. So as I stated in my first post, one should not be surprised that a culture is growing "dumber" when they constantly discard the two items that allow them to gain intelligence; reason and logic.

To be interested in something one must first have an ethical system that would guide their choices in what to be interest in. Today's profound ethical system is altruism. So, one should not be surprised when one cannot seem to be interested in something when that would be considered selfish which by today's philosophy is considered evil. In other words, a lack of interest is an effect of a bad philosophy and not the fundamental reason why it may seem people are getting dumber.

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Not sure if people are getting dumber, but they can sure be pretty stupid sometimes. I encounter it several times daily at work:

Me: "Hello, this is Red. What can I help you with?"

Caller: "I just got this letter from you..."
Me: "Yes...?"

Caller: "Well, why have you sent this to me!?"

Me: "I don't know. What does it say?"

Caller: "I haven't opened it yet!"

--

"Hi Red, i'm trying to fill out this form - order to pay. Can you help me?"

"Sure, what do you need help with?"

"It says here 'applicant(creditor)', what do I put there?"

"So, you're the one sending the application/order?"

"Yes..."

"Then you should put your name and details there..."

"Oh...

A while later...

"What's capital amount and interest?"

A long while later...

"Oh, bottom of the page now. It asks for name and signature. Do I put my name there?"

---

Last week a solicitor called to ask how the court could have issued a default decision on a case we sent over to them only a few days ago. Even more confusing was how the default decision had a completely different plaintiff. It took over 10 minutes to explain that it was two completely different cases.

Sometimes I don't know wether to laugh or cry. Simple stupidity I can deal with though. The worst thing is the refusal to think in other than basic concretes. For example when some co-workers come to me with complex questions, I start to explain it until there's a blank stare followed by a; "can't you just tell me yes or no?".

Perhaps it's the schools fault. For some people thinking seems to have become a terrible burden. It's like they have never experienced the joy of learning, understanding and solving difficult problems. Instead they regard it as useless and cumbersome, and make every effort to supress their conciousness.

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Perhaps it's the schools fault. For some people thinking seems to have become a terrible burden. It's like they have never experienced the joy of learning, understanding and solving difficult problems. Instead they regard it as useless and cumbersome, and make every effort to supress their conciousness.

If I could change one thing, it would be to increase the quality of education. (Like you say RayK, a lack of interest begins with reason and logic. Without an ability to validate and defend chosen values through reasoning, one is hopeless in today's culture.) I try to imagine the brilliant, constant stream of innovation seen in some industries such as tech applied to the seemingly stagnating area of education and wonder about the possibilities. (Has Montissori really been the latest major innovator in education?) Both the teachers and what they teach could use an upgrade to say the least. I recently watched a documentary that claimed 1/3 of teachers need second jobs to get by. The teachers interviewed had an exhausted, defeated demeanor - hardly a motivating, inspiring role model to guide kids. Combine this with the poor teaching philosophies and the mentioned trend seems logical.

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Perhaps it's the schools fault. For some people thinking seems to have become a terrible burden. It's like they have never experienced the joy of learning, understanding and solving difficult problems. Instead they regard it as useless and cumbersome, and make every effort to supress their conciousness.

Perhaps???? It is a secular miracle that as many people survive the secondary school system in the United States as do survive it.

If I were a conspiracy theorist I would claim the U.S. secondary school system is deliberately designed to destroy the creative impulses and capabilities of youngsters.

ruveyn

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Perhaps it's the schools fault. For some people thinking seems to have become a terrible burden. It's like they have never experienced the joy of learning, understanding and solving difficult problems. Instead they regard it as useless and cumbersome, and make every effort to supress their conciousness.

Perhaps???? It is a secular miracle that as many people survive the secondary school system in the United States as do survive it.

If I were a conspiracy theorist I would claim the U.S. secondary school system is deliberately designed to destroy the creative impulses and capabilities of youngsters.

ruveyn

I remember reading the author of the "Rich Dad" series of books when he mentioned that his father had been the superintenent of schools in Hawaii. His father had told him that the public school system was initially set up to produce factory workers. Food for thought.

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I remember reading the author of the "Rich Dad" series of books when he mentioned that his father had been the superintenent of schools in Hawaii. His father had told him that the public school system was initially set up to produce factory workers. Food for thought.

That is correct in a way. Horace Mann was smitten with Prussia and Bismark. In Prussia they had a system of state funded schools and a program of social security (medical assistance and old age pensions). The idea was to co-opt German workers and make them very reluctant to latch on to socialist and revolutionary ideas. The idea was turn turn German children into productive and docile workers, assets to the State and no danger to the State. Horace Mann was keen on turning the children of immigrants (many of whom were Catholic) into well behaved Protestant look alike clones.

The public schools were engines of social normalization turning every kid into a round peg that would fit a round hold.

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If I could change one thing, it would be to increase the quality of education. (Like you say RayK, a lack of interest begins with reason and logic. Without an ability to validate and defend chosen values through reasoning, one is hopeless in today's culture.) I try to imagine the brilliant, constant stream of innovation seen in some industries such as tech applied to the seemingly stagnating area of education and wonder about the possibilities. (Has Montissori really been the latest major innovator in education?)

Check out the Winter 2012 issue of The Objective Standard. They have an article on "Interviews with Innovators in Private Education." You can read the beginning of the article here.

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If I could change one thing, it would be to increase the quality of education. (Like you say RayK, a lack of interest begins with reason and logic. Without an ability to validate and defend chosen values through reasoning, one is hopeless in today's culture.) I try to imagine the brilliant, constant stream of innovation seen in some industries such as tech applied to the seemingly stagnating area of education and wonder about the possibilities. (Has Montissori really been the latest major innovator in education?)

Check out the Winter 2012 issue of The Objective Standard. They have an article on "Interviews with Innovators in Private Education." You can read the beginning of the article here.

That was refreshing - especially the LePort School systems.

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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?

The teaching faculty? :-)

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I remember reading the author of the "Rich Dad" series of books when he mentioned that his father had been the superintenent of schools in Hawaii. His father had told him that the public school system was initially set up to produce factory workers. Food for thought.

That is correct in a way. Horace Mann was smitten with Prussia and Bismark. In Prussia they had a system of state funded schools and a program of social security (medical assistance and old age pensions). The idea was to co-opt German workers and make them very reluctant to latch on to socialist and revolutionary ideas. The idea was turn turn German children into productive and docile workers, assets to the State and no danger to the State. Horace Mann was keen on turning the children of immigrants (many of whom were Catholic) into well behaved Protestant look alike clones.

The public schools were engines of social normalization turning every kid into a round peg that would fit a round hold.

The infatuation with Prussian social control was operating before Horace Mann's influence in educational policy, but the earliest drive for government "public" education came from religion. In early 19th century America -- before Mann took it up -- it was the battle for control by New England Unitarians afraid of Catholic influence. That demand for control over education was subsequently imposed under influences of German philosophy, Prussian political organization of government, and English socialism, all beginning to infect this country. Well before that, going back to the 17th century in this country, it was for inculcation of Puritan dogma on the level of local towns or settlements.

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The smart ones start their sentences with capital letters.

No, no, no -- capital letters are for shouting. Leaving them off the beginning is no different than the other grammatically unintelligible portions dangling around the shouting, which is the important part.

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