0603: "Idiocracy"

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chrth
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby chrth » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:16 pm UTC

squig wrote:It is my opinion that, on the whole, people are idiots. You could make the world a better place not by increasing the number of intelligent or nice people, but by reducing the number of people overall.


EDIT: Nah, that wasn't polite.
Last edited by chrth on Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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andrewclunn
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:17 pm UTC

Rufaellie wrote:
andrewclunn wrote:a bunch of things
which in the end are generalizations and arguments asserting your intellectual superiority over the other writers in the forum. Which is what you are on the whole decrying in your arguments and accusing the characters in the strip of doing. Which you might even accuse me of doing for writing this reply. Lighten up, if only a small amount, and take the comic for the ironic and satirical nature inherent in it, and you'll probably find it as funny as I find your statements. :wink:


Actually my goal was to build up to 5 posts so that I could post links and one-up your self-referencing irony by linking to my own post in that post!
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Caswin » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

By the look of it, my motivation of registering to express disappointment with this comic wasn't quite as original as I thought.

That said, since my thoughts don't seem to be translating very well into words at the moment... I'm going to go with the crowd this time. andrewclunn has put it much better than I could have.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby vg674 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:18 pm UTC

One of the problems I think we are running into here is that (and correct me if I'm wrong of course) we are looking at intelligence only as the ability to think, to create ideas, solve problems, et cetera, whereas perhaps we should be looking at if it used, wisdom if you will. Using a few ideas from The Dumbest Generation, mentioned a few pages ago, we may be very intelligent, yes, but many of my generation, the millenials, doesn't necessarily use it. As I am a part of this generation, I have little to no first hand experience with the last generation, nothing to truly compare it with, but from what I can see it seems that much of this intelligence is wasted on various forms of media. The intelligence is there, it's just not being utilized by the majority of the people I see.

This same concept goes deep into the internet, where the resources are there, but few people actively utilize them, (keeping in mind again that this is merely the people I see in my personal daily experience) instead heading towards the networking, gaming sites, and the like. People seem incapable of doing many tasks because they are menial or dull, but that is again only because of the way media has been acting on this generation. People have shorter attentions spans, but they can also multitask like generations before haven't been able to do. The prior system set since the 1920s generally worked for the situation, but that has changed if only very slightly, but enough to cause problems for this generation in terms of meeting the expectations of teachers, employers, and those who will generally be above them on the business ladder. I very well understand that there is little to change that and the only real way to do so is to change the systems of education to use this "disadvantage" positively. I can not suggest a way how, sadly, but I can see there is a problem that could very well have a solution.

To the comic though, I really can not agree with either no hat or white hat. I can very well see how both are correct, but here it is all about perspective and I don't see how any true perspective on this subject can be met. People observe the same situation differently merely based on where they stand. They both put emphasis entirely on IQ, which is sometimes a good indicator of ability, but perhaps not the best. As has been stated earlier, education is also not so attached to IQ. Sure, there may be trends here and there, but it is hardly a good indicator. A good tool for those who seek it, but not good as data itself.

Anywho, many thanks Randall for such a clearly thought provoking comic.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Goplat » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:44 pm UTC

No-hat guy just got served! Served a big steaming platter of bullshit, that is.

Education negatively influences number of children (as shown by every study ever done on this subject). Genetic factors influence educability (even if you send a cow to Harvard, it's not going to learn calculus). Without action taken against these conditions, the proportion of the human species who are ineducable morons will inevitably increase.

But go ahead everyone, pretend the problem doesn't exist just because the only possible solution goes against your right-wing anti-regulation ideology. You'll get to feel all smugly morally superior right up until civilization collapses because nobody knows how to do anything except steal and get teenagers pregnant any more.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Asator » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:50 pm UTC

I would have a lot to say, but I think I'll keep it simple.
<rant>
First of all, I see the whole Idea of measuring "intellegence" as being somewhat ethnocentric. Who decides what "intellegence" is? it's probably the "civilized" europeans and other cultures who have been "civilized" by europeans. What's so great about being "civilized," and "intellegent?" According to Anthropological research (including both archaeological research, and older research of hunter gatherers back when there were more hunter-gatherers left, such as the !kung people of Africa, who are nowadays not really that much of hunter-gatherers anymore) hunter-gatherer cultures tend to be more healthy, more egalitarian and have more leisure time than industrial and agricultural cultures. I mean, I'll admit globalized industrialism is more efficient than foraging, but why does that matter? we don't need so much stuff anyways. We'd be just as happy if we didn't have all of this technology and comfort and stuff. I mean when you have to spend more than half your life working someplace you don't enjoy and stressing over all of the complexities of economics it won't really matter how comfortable you are or how much high-tech crap is sitting around your house!
</rant>

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:54 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:No-hat guy just got served! Served a big steaming platter of bullshit, that is.

Education negatively influences number of children (as shown by every study ever done on this subject). Genetic factors influence educability (even if you send a cow to Harvard, it's not going to learn calculus). Without action taken against these conditions, the proportion of the human species who are ineducable morons will inevitably increase.

But go ahead everyone, pretend the problem doesn't exist just because the only possible solution goes against your right-wing anti-regulation ideology. You'll get to feel all smugly morally superior right up until civilization collapses because nobody knows how to do anything except steal and get teenagers pregnant any more.


Actually the EXTREMELY right wing position provides no support for families based on children or safety nets, so society would let kids starve if their parents couldn't provide for them. Or as Batman would say, "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you."
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TiPerihelion
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby TiPerihelion » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:01 pm UTC

The only thing that disappoints me about this comic is how many ignorant, racist, classist assholes it inspired to create accounts and post about how disappointed they are with this comic.

andrewclunn wrote:Perhaps a 6 panel comic with a morally condescending message against intellectual condescention isn't a good format for this discussion then. I'm not stating that this comic is horrible or that it could be done better, I'm stating an opinion that this comic lacks both the humor and the insightful intellectual statement that I've come to expect from xkcd.


Yeah, an informed, intelligent person laying the smackdown on some pseudo-intellectual tripe is totally the last thing I'd expect from xkcd. :roll:

Interestingly, statistics show that intelligence is positively correlated with how many posts one has made to xkcd prior to this thread.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby halplm » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:15 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:The only thing that disappoints me about this comic is how many ignorant, racist, classist assholes it inspired to create accounts and post about how disappointed they are with this comic.

andrewclunn wrote:Perhaps a 6 panel comic with a morally condescending message against intellectual condescention isn't a good format for this discussion then. I'm not stating that this comic is horrible or that it could be done better, I'm stating an opinion that this comic lacks both the humor and the insightful intellectual statement that I've come to expect from xkcd.


Yeah, an informed, intelligent person laying the smackdown on some pseudo-intellectual tripe is totally the last thing I'd expect from xkcd. :roll:

Interestingly, statistics show that intelligence is positively correlated with how many posts one has made to xkcd prior to this thread.


wow, and statistics show that people who know how to read other people's posts can actually talk intelligently about them.

The fact you call others ignorant, racist, and classist assholes without actually presenting any idea of why you think such a thing is an ad hominem attack of the worst (and most common) form. Neither player in this comic is either informed or intelligent which is the point most everyone who I've read disliking the comic has made. Although, his "laying the smackdown" as you put it was a typical useless internet-type argument trying to sound superior without actually thinking for oneself.

Excuse me for expecting more from xkcd.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby chrth » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:16 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:No-hat guy just got served! Served a big steaming platter of bullshit, that is.

Education negatively influences number of children (as shown by every study ever done on this subject). Genetic factors influence educability (even if you send a cow to Harvard, it's not going to learn calculus). Without action taken against these conditions, the proportion of the human species who are ineducable morons will inevitably increase.

But go ahead everyone, pretend the problem doesn't exist just because the only possible solution goes against your right-wing anti-regulation ideology. You'll get to feel all smugly morally superior right up until civilization collapses because nobody knows how to do anything except steal and get teenagers pregnant any more.


By your argument, "Idiocracy" should have already occurred. I celebrate your willingness to be example 1.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Aeetlrcreejl » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:24 pm UTC

I thought that was an awesome comic. I can definitely imagine doing that to people.

Goplat
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Goplat » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:42 pm UTC

chrth wrote:By your argument, "Idiocracy" should have already occurred.
Only if evolution happens instantaneously. Which it doesn't.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby raulcleary » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:44 pm UTC

Wow, Randall sounds like Rush Limbaugh talking about environmentalism: he is technically correct on some points and he correctly characterizes some personalities in the opposition, but he misses the bigger point. Rush says the environment is too big and has always been changing, so it is arrogant to assume we caused the changes or can do anything about them--conclusion: don't try. Randall says people don't change and so society might decay, but it's arrogant to try to understand or do anything about it--conclusion: don't try.

Even though "Idiocracy" is wrong about evolution and history and is wrongly adduced by people who are at least as wrong, even though some past attempts at scientific socialism have been evil disasters, even though we might not be able to do anything about it, we should do everything we can to understand and improve this system.

How can Randall be opposed to Systems?

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby TiPerihelion » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:48 pm UTC

halplm wrote:wow, and statistics show that people who know how to read other people's posts can actually talk intelligently about them.

The fact you call others ignorant, racist, and classist assholes without actually presenting any idea of why you think such a thing is an ad hominem attack of the worst (and most common) form.


Wow! And incidentally, reading people's posts is exactly what gave me that impression! Take a look:

Ignorant:
halplm wrote:Then to flat out state that we've screwed up the climate is beyond absurd in its idiocy.

Esn wrote:I registered just to reply to this... it seems that the comic, at least as it relates to Britain, is actually wrong, as British IQ levels have been declining for 30 years: (link to BNP -- apparently the British version of the U.S. Republican Party)


Racist:
Titanium Dragon wrote:That there is a difference in the average IQ of whites and blacks in the United States is completely, totally, and utterly uncontroversial. Many people claim this is due to racism in the IQ tests. These people are wrong. This is because the IQ tests are meant to act as predictors, and as it turns out, the IQ test results of blacks predicts their success as well as it does for whites, indicating it is actually working properly.


Classist (and delusional):
Titanium Dragon wrote:Indeed, the more intelligent you are, the fewer crimes you commit, and the #1 way to make people "better people" is to educate them, which increases their intelligence (and wealth).

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby chrth » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:Only if evolution happens instantaneously. Which it doesn't.


I'm not following you. Survival instincts don't have much to do with the current definitions of intelligence. Thoreau is considered intelligent, and he considered Walden Pond wilderness when all he had to do was go another 100 miles north or west and he would've been in real wilderness (and lasted a week, tops). Meanwhile, the people that forged a living on the frontier lacked what today's metrics would designate as intelligent.

I think you may be confusing "spamming" with surviving. The reason that species that procreate frequently have a higher survival rate in evolutionary theory isn't the fact that there's more population, but the higher degree of probability that a subset of the group has the necessary adaptation to survive. If the adaptation doesn't exist -- no matter how large the population is -- the species does not survive.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby halplm » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:03 am UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:
halplm wrote:wow, and statistics show that people who know how to read other people's posts can actually talk intelligently about them.

The fact you call others ignorant, racist, and classist assholes without actually presenting any idea of why you think such a thing is an ad hominem attack of the worst (and most common) form.


Wow! And incidentally, reading people's posts is exactly what gave me that impression! Take a look:

Ignorant:
halplm wrote:Then to flat out state that we've screwed up the climate is beyond absurd in its idiocy.


If you think that's ignorant, then you're unfortunately showing how little you can think for yourself. Only people that blindly accept "climate scientists" because of their own personal ideology would think we have "screwed up the climate."

The very fact that it was thrown into this comic in such an offhand way is a symptom of the problem that is pervasive in the "science" of the field. It has reached a point where to claim the science is incomplete or misinterpreted is somehow impossible unless you are "ignorant."

Claiming opposing views are "ignorant" without actually debating their ideas is the antithesis of science.

Esn wrote:I registered just to reply to this... it seems that the comic, at least as it relates to Britain, is actually wrong, as British IQ levels have been declining for 30 years: (link to BNP -- apparently the British version of the U.S. Republican Party)


Well, it's clear where your politics lie. Again, claiming views you disagree with are "ignorant" without actually presenting any counterarguments is a stupid way to make your case.


Racist:
Titanium Dragon wrote:That there is a difference in the average IQ of whites and blacks in the United States is completely, totally, and utterly uncontroversial. Many people claim this is due to racism in the IQ tests. These people are wrong. This is because the IQ tests are meant to act as predictors, and as it turns out, the IQ test results of blacks predicts their success as well as it does for whites, indicating it is actually working properly.


You merely show your own inability to understand what people say. There is nothing racist about such a statement. What would be racist is to say that the relevant predictors for blacks or whites are that they are black or white. This is merely stating that IQ tests not only may say something about intelligence (which I don't believe they do), they can also be used to show how society fails to treat different races equally. To claim that pointing that out is racist, is to ignore the inherant racism in society.


Classist (and delusional):
Titanium Dragon wrote:Indeed, the more intelligent you are, the fewer crimes you commit, and the #1 way to make people "better people" is to educate them, which increases their intelligence (and wealth).


The statement may be wrong (I don't know), but it is neither classist or delusional. Simply stating it is is not an argument. It would only be "classist" if it was saying intelligence and wealth were necessarilly correlated, which this was not.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby FoolishOwl » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:07 am UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:The only thing that disappoints me about this comic is how many ignorant, racist, classist assholes it inspired to create accounts and post about how disappointed they are with this comic.

Does it help that I created an account to praise the author for this comic? Though the proportion of posters who accept the eugenics idiocy is disheartening.

To begin with, I haven't watched "Idiocracy." I saw commercials for it on Comedy Central, and was disgusted by it immediately. I'm surprised that anyone would take 90 minutes of fart jokes this seriously. I read Wikipedia's plot summary after I saw this comic -- I hadn't realized that it had an overt pro-eugenic argument. I feel some responsibility to counter that argument, since I remember accepting it, based on some science fiction short story that I read in my early teens. Not long after that, I saw a reproduction of a Nazi propaganda poster, in which it made the explicit argument that there was an impending crisis because working class people had larger families than professionals. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find that poster since, and I'd really like to be able to use it when these arguments come up.

I think it's worth pointing out explicitly the class nature of this argument. You can trace it back to Malthus, at least, with his silly argument that poverty is inevitable because population expands "geometrically" but food supply expands only "arithmetically," so improving conditions for the poor would just make things worse. (Malthus was just pulling this out of his ass. People produce more than they consume, so food supply expands more rapidly than population -- and that's before considering improvements in agricultural technology.)

The Nazis won support from the conventional right and the German bourgeoisie, because Germany had the largest and best-organized labor movement in the world at the time, and the Nazis intended to destroy it. This classist argument for eugenics was explicitly in opposition to socialist arguments for the dignity of the working class and for democratic values. Prior to the rise of the Nazis, eugenics theories were most associated with the US and UK, where the folks in power had a strong interest in pseudoscientific arguments for racism and against democracy.

The pseudoscientific nature of eugenics theory needs emphasis. It's generally based on a fallacious analogy with animal husbandry. The goal in selective breeding is to eliminate variation, leaving only the desired traits. A lapse in a selective breeding program leads to "decay," but only in terms of a static standard. Sexual reproduction, genetics, and the pressures of natural selection tend to introduce variation, not eliminate it. Variation is not a bad thing. Given that intelligence is complex, that different people have different aptitudes, I would guess that decreasing human genetic variation would risk decreasing human intelligence.

And on the class issue: workers are not less intelligent than other social classes, in general. Most labor, even "unskilled" labor, requires extensive training and complex decision making. In most of the working class jobs I've had, it was a perpetual problem that managers simply had no idea how their workplaces operate, and would refuse to listen to workers who tried to explain that their workplace procedures were more complicated than the managers knew.

It's also worth bearing in mind *why* poorer people tend to have more children. There are cultural reasons, but they have material roots. Infant mortality is higher for poorer people, and in a poorer society, the best source of economic support for the elderly is their adult children. With a stable social support system, based on higher productivity, there's less practical need for large families, and so wealthier societies tend to have declining family sizes in general.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby chrth » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:17 am UTC

FoolishOwl wrote:Some very well said points


I want to highlight this:

And on the class issue: workers are not less intelligent than other social classes, in general. Most labor, even "unskilled" labor, requires extensive training and complex decision making. In most of the working class jobs I've had, it was a perpetual problem that managers simply had no idea how their workplaces operate, and would refuse to listen to workers who tried to explain that their workplace procedures were more complicated than the managers knew.


This is a very important point. It's a shame how many people don't see this, mostly through willful ignorance or stereotype perpetuance (no idea if that's a real word). A capitalist economy runs on many, many, many skilled workers. It is arguable after the most recent shenanigans that the so-called "smart" people are a bigger threat to a strong economy due to the games they play with it. Since it has been determined that parental economic security is the strongest indicator of future success, one could even suggest that the way to ensure Idiocracy doesn't happen is to eliminate the "smart" people in society. (I apologize to FoolishOwl if my analysis detracts or distracts from his post)

EDIT: And on that note, I take from my leave from this thread. Anyone and everyone is welcome to get the last word on something I said. Have a good night.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Goplat » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:21 am UTC

FoolishOwl wrote:I think it's worth pointing out explicitly the class nature of this argument. You can trace it back to Malthus, at least, with his silly argument that poverty is inevitable because population expands "geometrically" but food supply expands only "arithmetically," so improving conditions for the poor would just make things worse. (Malthus was just pulling this out of his ass. People produce more than they consume, so food supply expands more rapidly than population -- and that's before considering improvements in agricultural technology.)
There's only a finite amount of energy the Earth receives from the Sun, which puts a finite limit on terrestrial food production. So to support a growing population, we need to expand to other planets. How fast can we do that? Under the most generous assumption possible - outward growth at the speed of light - available resources grow proportionally to t3. That's a polynomial function, or in other words, arithmetic growth. And, as Malthus understood but most people still apparently don't, that cannot ever outpace an exponential in the long run.

People can't "produce more than they consume" when the laws of physics prohibit them from doing so, and "improvements in agricultural technology" do diddly squat to change this.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Waylah » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:38 am UTC

Hey, its kinda funny, the more you say something win-the-argument-ish, the more people can point to it and say "you think you're superior! hypocrite!"
Seems to be happening both ways. Sorta funny :)

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby TiPerihelion » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:46 am UTC

FoolishOwl wrote:Does it help that I created an account to praise the author for this comic?


What helps is that you actually posted something intelligent.

halplm wrote:Only people that blindly accept "climate scientists" because of their own personal ideology would think we have "screwed up the climate."


Or, you know, those of us who have noted the collapsing biospheres, the giant ozone hole over Antarctica, acid rain, soil depletion...little things like that.

halplm wrote:Well, it's clear where your politics lie.


Xenophobia, racism, classism = bad. Check.

halplm wrote:
Titanium Dragon wrote:That there is a difference in the average IQ of whites and blacks in the United States is completely, totally, and utterly uncontroversial. Many people claim this is due to racism in the IQ tests. These people are wrong. This is because the IQ tests are meant to act as predictors, and as it turns out, the IQ test results of blacks predicts their success as well as it does for whites, indicating it is actually working properly.

You merely show your own inability to understand what people say. There is nothing racist about such a statement.


I beg to differ. It is a well-known fact that the IQ test is culturally biased because it tests for abilities and skills that do not necessarily equate to intelligence, but are merely valued by Western, Anglo-Saxon culture. It is a frequent problem of standardized tests as well. This is such common knowledge that it is taught to undergrads in Psych 101. The argument that the test is merely a "predictor of future success" also tacitly assumes a definition of success that is culturally biased and fails to acknowledge its own role in instigating what is most likely a self-fulfilling prophecy. The above paragraph reads like any bigoted, apologist propaganda posing as a proof that this or that oppressed group really is "dumber" than the privileged minority (which is a great reason to continue oppressing them). It's racist bullshit.


halplm wrote:
Titanium Dragon wrote:Indeed, the more intelligent you are, the fewer crimes you commit, and the #1 way to make people "better people" is to educate them, which increases their intelligence (and wealth).

It would only be "classist" if it was saying intelligence and wealth were necessarilly correlated, which this was not.


You're right - this quote is not so much classist as it is...intellectualist? I highly doubt that intelligent people commit fewer crimes (and I'm not the first person to call him out on that). And I highly doubt that academic education has any correlation whatsoever to "moral fibre." And lastly, I see little correlation between education and wealth...which he did in fact say there was straight out. Try reading it again. Here is a better demonstration of the classism I had a problem with:

Titanium Dragon wrote:Thus selection is for the least intelligent - the underclass, who have more children per capita than the middle and upper classes. You can see this on a broader scale worldwide, as well as on a slightly lesser scale here in the United States.


"The least intelligent - the underclass." Nice one.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Esn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:08 am UTC

Esn wrote:I registered just to reply to this... it seems that the comic, at least as it relates to Britain, is actually wrong, as British IQ levels have been declining for 30 years:

No links before 5 posts. Especially if you link to filthy scum like the BNP.

NOT. WELCOME. HERE.

I'd like to apologize for that. I'm not even British, so I didn't know what the BNP was. I just remembered that I saw an article about it, typed some keywords into Google and posted the first article I found, which turned out to be from a far-right party.

Having said that, the research in that article was valid and has been reported on in the Telegraph and other newspapers as well. The name of the article in "The Telegraph" is "British teenagers have lower IQs than their counterparts did 30 years ago".

It reported that while the IQ of children has risen half a percent in that time, the IQ of teenagers has fallen by 2 percent, and in the higher classes it has fallen by 6 percent.

EDIT: Jeez... looking through some of the other replies, you'd think I quoted Hitler.
Last edited by Esn on Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby obituary » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:13 am UTC

Has anyone mentioned how the one in the hat is similar to the guy in "Dignified", only with a rounder hat?
hey. i like you. <3.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Caswin » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:20 am UTC

FoolishOwl wrote:Does it help that I created an account to praise the author for this comic? Though the proportion of posters who accept the eugenics idiocy is disheartening.
I just wanted to point out that if you're referring to the last panel, as many people as have spoken out against this comic, I doubt that they (or at least most of them) actually support a selective-breeding program. I certainly don't.

On going through your post, and checking back at the comic itself, I may have misread part of today's strip. I still think it's subpar, far from some of his better work, but my issues with it are unrelated to classism or ham-fisted ideas about eugenics. That's just silly and occasionally unfortunate.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:24 am UTC

Bah, the 100 year outlook for climate isn't nearly as bad as Randall thinks. Life flourished thousands of years ago when the planet was five or so degrees hotter than it is today. I've seen environmentalists write absurd things such as "bird migration patterns changing are proof of warming" move to a different topic and then sometime later say "all the birds are going to die." I hope you can see the contradiction here.

Also these so called "smart people" are too stupid to realize that family is more important than wealth.

Finally I haven't read the previous posts and don't plan to, but I'd like to say that if anyone is making an argument for eugenics, they should look at the arguments people made for eugenics around the turn of the century or so, and make sure that they're making different arguments.
Last edited by scwizard on Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:25 am UTC

There are so many responses to posts by other users that are only indirectly related to the comic. If people want to debate eugenics and political philosophy, that's cool, but the focus of those of us who posted out of criticism was what we saw as the hypocrisy and "holier than thou" attitude of this comic that seemed made to in fact attack shun that very attitude. Personally I'm a far-right, Objectivist jerk who would never respond to guilt anyways (because I'm a heartless bastard) but I can understand that some people would want to make a case for why people shouldn't be uncaring, arrogant pricks like myself. I just think this comic does a fairly poor job of it, and is only 'funny' in the way that a lot of the political satire comedy shows on today are only 'funny' if you agree with the political view being presented.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:31 am UTC

andrewclunn wrote:criticism was what we saw as the hypocrisy and "holier than thou" attitude of this comic that seemed made to in fact attack shun that very attitude.

That's an interesting criticism. My response is that it's ok to act like your better than someone because you're right and they're wrong, but not ok to act like you're better than someone because you're smart and they're dumb.

EDIT:
That there is a difference in the average IQ of whites and blacks in the United States is completely, totally, and utterly uncontroversial.

He'd look like much less of an ass if he said among whom it was uncontroversial. It's certainly controversial among xkcd forum goers lol.

Damnit I'm reading the thread. I told myself I wouldn't do that >_>
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:34 am UTC

scwizard wrote:That's an interesting criticism. My response is that it's ok to act like your better than someone because you're right and they're wrong, but not ok to act like you're better than someone because you're smart and they're dumb.


Yes, I completely agree, but this comic doesn't make any kind of justified case for WHY one position is right and the other is wrong accept to say, "No. That's wrong."
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Azkyroth » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:35 am UTC

Titanium Dragon wrote:While all of this could probably be resolved with further research, research into the heridity of intelligence, racial and socioeconomic differences in intelligence, ect. is difficult to do, and the Basically Decent refuse to even CONTEMPLATE the notion that all men might well NOT be created equal, despite ample evidence existing to suggest that this is very much the case.


In my experience, the issue is not so much that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate the notion that all humans might not have equal inherent potential, but rather, have seen so many charlatans hawking poorly or fraudulently supported bullshittery to the effect that the charlatan's group (usually already socially dominant) has a tremendous and insurmountable advantage in terms of inherent potential, and as such have become rather cynical about such claims from future charlatans, no matter how loudly said charlatans insist that THIS TIME they've got a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, really, we SWEAR...

...and the accusation that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate some proposition about demographics-linked differences in cognitive or related abilities is one of the clumsier and more prevalent tactics used by charlatans to try to weasel out of having to provide a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, by putting the skeptics on the defensive and trying to shift the burden of proof.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:39 am UTC

andrewclunn wrote:
scwizard wrote:That's an interesting criticism. My response is that it's ok to act like your better than someone because you're right and they're wrong, but not ok to act like you're better than someone because you're smart and they're dumb.


Yes, I completely agree, but this comic doesn't make any kind of justified case for WHY one position is right and the other is wrong accept to say, "No. That's wrong."

Yes it does. It demonstrates that the position the guy is taking is wrong, because it's based on an incorrect premise.

The argument the guy was making was:
In the past intelligent people had more children->society flourished
This is no longer the case->society is doomed

He said that the first premise is untrue, and therefore he's wrong, then went on to insult him about it.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:45 am UTC

Azkyroth wrote:
Titanium Dragon wrote:While all of this could probably be resolved with further research, research into the heridity of intelligence, racial and socioeconomic differences in intelligence, ect. is difficult to do, and the Basically Decent refuse to even CONTEMPLATE the notion that all men might well NOT be created equal, despite ample evidence existing to suggest that this is very much the case.


In my experience, the issue is not so much that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate the notion that all humans might not have equal inherent potential, but rather, have seen so many charlatans hawking poorly or fraudulently supported bullshittery to the effect that the charlatan's group (usually already socially dominant) has a tremendous and insurmountable advantage in terms of inherent potential, and as such have become rather cynical about such claims from future charlatans, no matter how loudly said charlatans insist that THIS TIME they've got a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, really, we SWEAR...

...and the accusation that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate some proposition about demographics-linked differences in cognitive or related abilities is one of the clumsier and more prevalent tactics used by charlatans to try to weasel out of having to provide a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, by putting the skeptics on the defensive and trying to shift the burden of proof.

I'm going to translate this.
What he's saying is that people are cynical of people making the argument, because such arguments have been based on bad evidence the past.
He then says, correctly, that the burden of proof is on the person going against consensus.

I'd also like to add, that extremely hard evidence is needed to make such an unpopular argument. I wouldn't bother trying until we have a scientifically rigorous definition of innate "intelligence", and a scientifically rigorous method of quantifying it.

I think such a thing is impossible though. I'm sure it's already been pointed out ITT that intelligence is not a single number, unlike Dungeons and Dragons would have you believe.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:47 am UTC

scwizard wrote:
andrewclunn wrote:
scwizard wrote:That's an interesting criticism. My response is that it's ok to act like your better than someone because you're right and they're wrong, but not ok to act like you're better than someone because you're smart and they're dumb.


Yes, I completely agree, but this comic doesn't make any kind of justified case for WHY one position is right and the other is wrong accept to say, "No. That's wrong."

Yes it does. It demonstrates that the position the guy is taking is wrong, because it's based on an incorrect premise.

The argument the guy was making was:
In the past intelligent people had more children->society flourished
This is no longer the case->society is doomed

He said that the first premise is untrue, and therefore he's wrong, then went on to insult him about it.


But you see, that's a straw-man argument. The stick figure does say that, but the premise of Idiocracy was never that intelligent had once had more kids, it's that the natural forces that used to "thin the heard" were gone so that now the uncontrolled reproduction of the uneducated would cause the decline of society. This comic purposefully mischaracterizes the argument so that it can be outright dismissed. This is a very low and backhanded tactic and I'm HOPING that it was done unintentionally.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:49 am UTC

Oh, I haven't seen the movie. You're right, it is a straw man.

EDIT: The hat guy isn't making the straw man, the other guy did make that argument, he said "depressing huh."

What your saying is that Randall is using the stick on the left as a straw man for the movie. You're only correct about this if the guy on the left mischaracterizes the argument of the movie.

If he does mischaracterize the argument of the movie, my question is of course, is "how so?"
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:53 am UTC

scwizard wrote:
Azkyroth wrote:
Titanium Dragon wrote:While all of this could probably be resolved with further research, research into the heridity of intelligence, racial and socioeconomic differences in intelligence, ect. is difficult to do, and the Basically Decent refuse to even CONTEMPLATE the notion that all men might well NOT be created equal, despite ample evidence existing to suggest that this is very much the case.


In my experience, the issue is not so much that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate the notion that all humans might not have equal inherent potential, but rather, have seen so many charlatans hawking poorly or fraudulently supported bullshittery to the effect that the charlatan's group (usually already socially dominant) has a tremendous and insurmountable advantage in terms of inherent potential, and as such have become rather cynical about such claims from future charlatans, no matter how loudly said charlatans insist that THIS TIME they've got a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, really, we SWEAR...

...and the accusation that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate some proposition about demographics-linked differences in cognitive or related abilities is one of the clumsier and more prevalent tactics used by charlatans to try to weasel out of having to provide a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, by putting the skeptics on the defensive and trying to shift the burden of proof.

I'm going to translate this.
What he's saying is that people are cynical of people making the argument, because such arguments have been based on bad evidence the past.
He then says, correctly, that the burden of proof is on the person going against consensus.

I'd also like to add, that extremely hard evidence is needed to make such an unpopular argument. I wouldn't bother trying until we have a scientifically rigorous definition of innate "intelligence", and a scientifically rigorous method of quantifying it.

I think such a thing is impossible though. I'm sure it's already been pointed out ITT that intelligence is not a single number, unlike Dungeons and Dragons would have you believe.


So much so that when James Watson says something people criticize him. I disagree and feel that public opinion has NO bearing on what position you should feel comfortable having. Taking a position without evidence is a bad idea of course, but if you let social pressure dictate what you're willing to question, then you're setting yourself up for susceptibility to propaganda.

EDIT - I'm not suggesting that Watson was right. I have no evidence to say that he was right or wrong.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:55 am UTC

Oh, I wasn't talking about which position you should take in real life, I was just thinking of it in terms of which position you should argue on forums.

If you argue a socially unacceptable position on forums, then you need double strong evidence because you'll be facing down more people. When I said "don't bother" I was talking about "don't bother arguing this here."
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:56 am UTC

scwizard wrote:Oh, I haven't seen the movie. You're right, it is a straw man.

EDIT: The hat guy isn't making the straw man, the other guy did make that argument, he said "depressing huh."

What your saying is that Randall is using the stick on the left as a straw man for the movie. You're only correct about this if the guy on the left mischaracterizes the argument of the movie.

If he does mischaracterize the argument of the movie, my question is of course, is "how so?"


Idiocracy never claimed that intelligent people had more kids. It claimed that it didn't matter that they had fewer kids, because the kids of stupid parents died more often, and that because of modern society, that is no longer the case.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:59 am UTC

I see. I find the comic distasteful to now. I wonder if Randall has actually seen the movie.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:02 am UTC

andrewclunn wrote:
scwizard wrote:Oh, I haven't seen the movie. You're right, it is a straw man.

EDIT: The hat guy isn't making the straw man, the other guy did make that argument, he said "depressing huh."

What your saying is that Randall is using the stick on the left as a straw man for the movie. You're only correct about this if the guy on the left mischaracterizes the argument of the movie.

If he does mischaracterize the argument of the movie, my question is of course, is "how so?"


Idiocracy never claimed that intelligent people had more kids. It claimed that it didn't matter that they had fewer kids, because the kids of stupid parents died more often, and that because of modern society, that is no longer the case.

Also that argument is flawed because average lifespan doesn't affect population size. Randall could have pointed that out, the comic would have been much better.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:11 am UTC

scwizard wrote:
andrewclunn wrote:
scwizard wrote:Oh, I haven't seen the movie. You're right, it is a straw man.

EDIT: The hat guy isn't making the straw man, the other guy did make that argument, he said "depressing huh."

What your saying is that Randall is using the stick on the left as a straw man for the movie. You're only correct about this if the guy on the left mischaracterizes the argument of the movie.

If he does mischaracterize the argument of the movie, my question is of course, is "how so?"


Idiocracy never claimed that intelligent people had more kids. It claimed that it didn't matter that they had fewer kids, because the kids of stupid parents died more often, and that because of modern society, that is no longer the case.

Also that argument is flawed because average lifespan doesn't affect population size. Randall could have pointed that out, the comic would have been much better.


The implication was that they often died before having the chance to reproduce themselves, so in that context it would matter. I suggest watching the movie. You could also watch Disney's Wall-e, as it actually has a similar point.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby noobius » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:12 am UTC

One thing that always annoys me about discussions concerning this type of issue is the way people link ethics with arguments over facts. Knowing that certain things are true or false has nothing to do with the morality of people's actions regarding that information. IE: even if it was scientifically proven that the average German was superior to every other race, that wouldn't morally require everyone to suddenly devote their efforts to propagating the glorious master race.

That's why things like eugenics should never come into any rational discussion about the truth of some fact, it does nothing to support or refute the truth of said fact; it's just a way to make emotional appeals. The implications of the fact if true are a completely different discussion than whether it is true. And the end result of the confusion is that actual thought is ignored for the mental path 'People evolving stupidity implies people aren't always equal. Nazis thought that not everyone was equal. Nazis did eugenics. Therefore, logically, if people are evolving stupidity eugenics must be ethically correct!'

I personally don't know enough to form any useful stance about humanity's current evolutionary trends (aside from saying it's pretty friggin obvious that intelligence is at least partially genetic), but I suspect that the universe isn't standing by ready to revise itself based on which state would increase utility, spread equality, line up the planets, or make Zeus happy.


In my experience, the issue is not so much that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate the notion that all humans might not have equal inherent potential, but rather, have seen so many charlatans hawking poorly or fraudulently supported bullshittery to the effect that the charlatan's group (usually already socially dominant) has a tremendous and insurmountable advantage in terms of inherent potential, and as such have become rather cynical about such claims from future charlatans, no matter how loudly said charlatans insist that THIS TIME they've got a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, really, we SWEAR...

...and the accusation that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate some proposition about demographics-linked differences in cognitive or related abilities is one of the clumsier and more prevalent tactics used by charlatans to try to weasel out of having to provide a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, by putting the skeptics on the defensive and trying to shift the burden of proof.


Maybe some people are just weary because of the stupid theories advanced in the past. However, this doesn't explain the people that actively combat ideas using the kind of tactics I was talking about. Off the top of my head, Edward Wilson was constantly attacked by people that didn't have any evidence, but didn't like what his theory might imply about human nature. People that make emotional appeals aren't placing the burden of proof, they're just flinging mud.
Last edited by noobius on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:16 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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