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Stanford U Prof: Humanity is getting dumber


Spaceman Spiff

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I don't know if we're getting dumber or just lazy and less educated. Try taking the 8th grade exit exam from the 1940's or so. My dad didn't finish high school and is more educated than a lot of college educated kids I know. The math he knows amazes me still.

Maybe it is because your dad is smart, and is old enough to have spent a lifetime (compared to the young lives of college students anyway) learning new stuff.

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Familiarity breeds contempt.

i don't know if reliance on technology forces us to use less of our brains,, if it did technoplogy would stand still.. but it doesn't.. technology progresses exponentially.

Our minds are just gearing towards different realities.

We're in a shift period.. an awakening to a new reality.. the beginning of the technological age.

I always see these ridiculous memes on my facebook page about an 8th grader in 1890 who could write and spell etc etc etc... and of course she's held up to kids of today, who they claim don't write or spell well...and thus the old days kids were better.

And there's a total ignorance of the medium being used to promote this myth which has changed the world, brought people together communicating via the written word more than anything since probably the invention of the printing press... and it was invented by a kid in his dorm room.

The world is pretty amazing.

~Bang

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I think that there are simply less filters than ever before. This applies to both accessing and sharing knowledge. There was a time when advanced levels of any particular field were reached only by students that earned it. Now we simply pull up information on string theory, typically a video because we hate reading anything longer than a paragraph, and form opinions in the subject.

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FoxNews. Just sayin'.

---------- Post added January-21st-2013 at 01:51 PM ----------

I don't think people are getting dumber per se, I think we're just more and more reliant on technology which reduces our need to use our brains.

I know this to be true. My husband (then boyfriend) was complaining his internet was down, therefore, his daughter couldn't find reference materials for a paper she had to write.

I said the word "library", and you would've thought I was coming out in support of Hitler. Then I had to point out that I (at age 40-something) can still walk to a CARD CATALOG and find anything I want using the DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM. He's older than me, and still thought I was waaayyyy behind the times.

Truth to this day...I can still perform said task, while his daughter (with an Medical Assistant degree) CANNOT.

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they still have card catalogs?

I used to work in the library in the dinosaur era, I think they went out with computer punch cards

You want to have fun?.....give your daughter a rotary phone

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I think that there are simply less filters than ever before. This applies to both accessing and sharing knowledge. There was a time when advanced levels of any particular field were reached only by students that earned it. Now we simply pull up information on string theory, typically a video because we hate reading anything longer than a paragraph, and form opinions in the subject.

This is another area where the internet is as much a hindrance as an asset, often enough. You can be a competent and professionally credentialed surgeon, attorney, chemist, mechanic, historian, audio electronic engineer etc. and present information from a position of being actually highly qualified in the matter, and have a house painter with google and "opinions" argue about it on "equal" terms. :)

To forestall the painfully predictable, this is not saying that "experts" are all equally competent or are "always right", nor that laymen are not "as smart of people" or "should never question authorities." ;)

It's just stating what is stated (the discerning of which I notice is really challenging to some folks in threads--they seem to be better at not comprehending what you actually wrote, and making up their own versions out of residual or ongoing noises in their head). :evilg:

See, I know people. :pfft:

<elitist!!!>

P.S, the "house painter thingy is not a slam, either, of course. It comes from best friend of mine who while having many skills, and being of serious intelligence if questionable temperament, describes himself as "basically a house painter" and is fond of noting it when he comments on various topics---i.e. "well, as a house painter, I do not hold Keynesian economics as some unassailable model, especially at this point in time." :ols:

---------- Post added January-21st-2013 at 11:07 AM ----------

they still have card catalogs?

I used to work in the library in the dinosaur era, I think they went out with computer punch cards

You and I were Dewey Decimal people before the whole binary thing became cool. :cool:

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I think the brain power needed to come up with the theories we have today,( i.e. gravity, relativity, etc.) is pretty equal to what the brain powers today are coming up with( i.e. nano technology) To NOT stand on the shoulders of Giants is stupid. It's there - use it. If Einstein were alive today, what insane technological/scientific advance would he give us? Or would he simply derive the same conclusions of today? It's conjecture at best. Let him have his opinions, I know that Steven Hawkings would have been institutionalized and not given a chance if the time periods were reversed. I'll keep our time period - we aren't perfect by any means, but I won't die of scarlet fever and Hawkings can roam around a free man.

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Again, from an evolutionary stand point it is simple, is there any reason to believe that people that are smarter than others more likely to leave behind more offspring that are capable of reproducing?

Is there a positive relationship between intelligence and the number of off spring that reach adulthood?

If the answer to that question is no, then we're almost certainly getting dumber. Without positive selection the trait will be lost.

I think it is pretty clear at least in westernized countries the answer is no.

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