People Really Are This Stupid...


srobert

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zimv20 said:
how come everyone goes straight to australia w/ the pin?

btw, this is why we're doomed.
Those 2 people pinned Australia thinking it was Iran and France respectively. O_O

That dude thought Canada should be next on the list of countries to invade? O_O

Mounties assemble! *blows horn*
 

highres

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zimv20 said:
how come everyone goes straight to australia w/ the pin?

btw, this is why we're doomed.
Absolutely and utterly doomed...There is no way that humans will have a run like the dinosaurs who were around for 300 million years or so, we will be lucky to eke out another 100 years at this rate.
 

IJ Reilly

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Am I the only one who thinks this video is totally lame? I guarantee, you could take a camera crew to any city in the world and ask them a question like this and you'll get sufficient number of ignorant answers to fill a two minute video.
 

IJ Reilly

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highres said:
It may be a slightly narrow focus or slice of the population, but it is fairly representational of general stupidity...
Oh, come on. Just because it verifies your own cynicism, doesn't mean it's correct.
 

highres

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What is your point? That the opinions expressed on the video clip are skewed or not representational of a slice of the population who do makes themselves look stupid and ignorant?
 

zimv20

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IJ Reilly said:
Am I the only one who thinks this video is totally lame? I guarantee, you could take a camera crew to any city in the world and ask them a question like this and you'll get sufficient number of ignorant answers to fill a two minute video.
i'll grant you that there's nothing statistical about it. what gets me isn't the wrongness of the answers, but the absolute conviction people have when being so wrong.

and w/ some things i'm probably as guilty as the rest of them :)

btw, i'd pay money to see bush trying to identify countries on such a map.
 

dejo

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I can't be certain due to the graininess of that overly-compressed video, but it seems to be that in the case of the first "put a #1 on Iran" request, that Australia is misleadingly labelled as Iran. I've freeze-framed it and it appears there's a label on it and doesn't seem to have enough characters to be "Australia". Now, it's bad enough that these people can't tell Iran from Australia, but purposely leading them astray?
 

IJ Reilly

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highres said:
What is your point? That the opinions expressed on the video clip are skewed or not representational of a slice of the population who do makes themselves look stupid and ignorant?
I'm not sure I quite understand your question, but to reiterate my earlier point: this kind of thing is just too easy. It's a stunt you could pull anywhere -- hence, it is a meaningless exercise (except to the extent that it allows some of us to justify their cynicism).
 

IJ Reilly

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zimv20 said:
i'll grant you that there's nothing statistical about it. what gets me isn't the wrongness of the answers, but the absolute conviction people have when being so wrong.

and w/ some things i'm probably as guilty as the rest of them :)

btw, i'd pay money to see bush trying to identify countries on such a map.
Yup, there's nobody quite so convicted as a complete ignoramus. True story. But I didn't need this video to tell me that.
 

srobert

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Jan 7, 2002
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I don't think americans as a whole are more stupid than the rest of the world. It simply seems that foreign politics and geography aren't the American nation's strongest academic discipline. Maybe more time should be alloted to studying geography in schools. To be fair I don't think Canadians would score that much better. :eek:

Interesting article about a National Geographic Survey:

Don't Know Much 'Bout Geography...
Jun 28 '05

The Bottom Line Can we find the countries we bomb on a world map?

Are the children learning?

My recent reading of a brilliant, opinion-based rant deploring the state of American education [http://www.epinions.com/content_186200198788], coupled with my passion for statistics, induced me to look for facts and figures. As my initial topic, I chose geography.

If you have kids (and grandkids, if you are older), you will have noticed that the knowledge of facts goes down with each generation. Having been educated in another country, I cannot really make this comparison directly. I can only say young people in the US, and in Europe as well, appear utterly ignorant about the world, and I looked for statistics that put all this in a broader, quantitative perspective.


Some hard data

National Geographic ran a detailed survey among young people in the 18-24 age group in nine countries around the world: USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Sweden, Germany, France, UK and Italy. You can view a comprehensive report here:

http://geosurvey.nationalgeographic.com/geosurvey/index.html

If you so choose, you can take a sample test yourself. These are really basic questions. Geography was always one of my best subjects in school, and I had no trouble getting a 100% score, and I am sure most people on this site would score the same. The results, as you may guess, are unbelievably appalling, beyond my wildest fears, showing indeed that young people know very little about their place in the world.
Out of 56 questions on the test, Swedes were the best, answering an average of 40 correctly. Germany and Italy were second and third respectively. The US barely defeated Mexico for last place (23 vs. 21). In particular, 39% Americans would have gotten an F in this test (vs. 4% of Swedes) and only 9% Americans would have gotten an A (vs. 45% of the Swedes). Scoring also very low are the UK (28) and Canada (27). Do Anglo-Saxon countries find geography especially challenging?

Where the hell is the USA?

The results for some individual, multiple choice questions put all this in a tragic perspective. The questions were basically at the 5th grade level or lower! Asked to bracket the US population (correct bracket 150-350 Mill), only 25% of Americans knew that, the worst performance among the 9 countries. And that is OUR country! Asked to find countries on a map, only 89% of Americans could find the USA (but Germans, Italians and Brits scored even lower); only 62% of Americans could find Russia (worst performance of all); only 56% could find Italy (worst performance of all); only 42% could find Japan (worst performance of all), and only 17% could find Afghanistan, a country we have just invaded (but the Mexicans scored even lower than us - 12%). Within the Americas, Argentina was a challenge to locate among young Americans (27% found it, the worst performance).

Asked which country was associated with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, only 58% of Americans answered Afghanistan (worst performance among all countries). When asked which organization sponsors the Euro as a currency, only 44% of Americans knew it is the European Union (worst performance). Only 71% young Americans could locate the Pacific Ocean on a map, but the Swedes did even worse on this one!

When asked which are the two countries with over 1 billion inhabitants each, an appalling 25% knew it is India and China. You get the drift. This is not exactly rocket science! But amazingly, when young Americans were asked how confident they were about their geography skills, 59% thought they knew more or same as all others. This confirms an immediate impression one gets on talking to young Americans: they tend to overestimate their skills and their knowledge - perhaps a great way to start in life. Others will put you down, so why do it to yourself?

Not for lack of trying!

Why this appalling ignorance of geography in a country with an international outlook, in a country that seeks to lead the world technologically, militarily, scientifically? It is certainly not correlated with $'s spent per pupil in secondary school. We spend much more than Sweden, Germany and Italy in absolute dollars. The proportion of 20-year old enrolled in college is also higher in the US (38% vs. 26% in Italy and 15% in Germany). It is not for lack of trying or not enough time spent in school!

The correlation is, unfortunately, better with our low performance in other subject areas. Thus, at least 50% of Americans display a "low literacy rate", like the Brits [see www.nationmaster.com], whereas only 42% of Germans and 25% of Swedes score this low. Our math skills (at 12th grade level) are also on the low end among developed countries (Sweden is 2nd with 552, Germany 12th with 495, the US 17th with 461).
Finally, among the countries where students are the most bored in school (as they themselves admit), the US is second only to Ireland, with 61% reporting being bored most of the time, twice as many as the French.

Are we stupid or something?

The bottom line of this survey is not hard to get to: young Americans are among the most ignorant in geography, but they think they know a lot. There is a big gap between reality and perception. This ignorance correlates poorly with money spent and level of schooling, but correlates well with our generally poor math and literacy skills. One may conclude that the schools are failing our kids, as Bloom had concluded by philosophizing.

I was living in Germany when the 2003 PISA study was released: this is a comprehensive study which assessed the level of proficiency of students in many countries of the world. The pitiful scores gathered by German students were the object of huge debates on TV, in the cafes and, of course, in the schools. The German superiority complex was badly shaken by the evidence that young Germans are outscored by most Asian countries, by Scandinavia, and by an assortment of other unmentionable countries in the math and science area.


Stupid is as stupid does

Amazingly, such data showing a low level of achievement among our young people do not create the same uproar as in Europe. We seem to be resigned to being a country that can attract the best, but cannot educate its citizens. The Germans may not succeed in raising their pitiful scores in spite of all their renewed efforts - if you believe that the decay of family life has a lot to do with this phenomenon. But in the USA, it seems to me that we are not even trying. How will the 50% of Americans (or Brits for that matter) who have trouble with basic reading and math skills fare in the global economy? More educated Indians or Fins or Swedes are bound to take our jobs, especially the high tech ones, unless our fearless administration comes up with a plan! Don't hold your breath....
zimv20 said:
btw, i'd pay money to see bush trying to identify countries on such a map.
Not exactly what you wanted but have a look at this:

http://www.dubyaspeak.com/geographer.phtml
 

highres

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IJ Reilly said:
I'm not sure I quite understand your question, but to reiterate my earlier point: this kind of thing is just too easy. It's a stunt you could pull anywhere -- hence, it is a meaningless exercise (except to the extent that it allows some of us to justify their cynicism).
Puleeeeze! Their opinions are their opinions, and they are narrowminded and ignorant. They could have chosen to give a much different answer but they didn't. By calling it a "stunt" it allows some of us to be argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative.
 

IJ Reilly

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highres said:
Puleeeeze! Their opinions are their opinions, and they are narrowminded and ignorant. They could have chosen to give a much different answer but they didn't. By calling it a "stunt" it allows some of us to be argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative.
You're missing my point entirely. Please reread what I've already written. Thanks.
 

broken_keyboard

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Apr 19, 2004
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Seems fake to me...

But if it isn't, it's not such a bad thing. People should be able to live their lives and not worry about the rest of the world, with all it's problems. This video shows that in America you can.
 

srobert

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Jan 7, 2002
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broken_keyboard said:
People should be able to live their lives and not worry about the rest of the world, with all it's problems. This video shows that in America you can.

:eek: … … … :confused: … … … :D Ah! You had me there for a second. Of course you're joking.
 

zimv20

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broken_keyboard said:
People should be able to live their lives and not worry about the rest of the world, with all it's problems. This video shows that in America you can.
but then they vote. and elect people with dodgy foreign policies. then we get 9/11. and the ignorant vote out of fear, electing people with dodgy foreign policies, who invade iraq, and when we get the next 9/11...
 

tristan

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Sad but true. But when I went to Asia, most people knew where Thailand and Indonesia and Malaysia were, had no idea where Mexico or Colombia or Honduras were, and I think a lot of them would have trouble finding Brazil on a map. You pay attention to the stuff around you and the stuff that's in the news. Not that I'm excusing ignorance though - you should make an effort to know as much as you can about the rest of world, especially as a voter in a democracy, as srobert says.
 

broken_keyboard

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zimv20 said:
but then they vote. and elect people with dodgy foreign policies. then we get 9/11. and the ignorant vote out of fear, electing people with dodgy foreign policies, who invade iraq, and when we get the next 9/11...
Terrorism is not America's fault.

These guys want an Islamic empire, that is why there is terrorism.