View Poll Results: Are Americans more ignorant than everybody else?

Voters
82. This poll is closed
  • I'm American and I agree we are more ignorant

    8 9.76%
  • I'm American and I think we're more informed

    6 7.32%
  • I'm American and I think we're the same

    15 18.29%
  • I'm not American and I think they Americans are more ignorant

    25 30.49%
  • I'm not American and I think Americans are more informed

    0 0%
  • I'm not American and I think they're roughly the same

    18 21.95%
  • Gah! Ichi, Gah!

    10 12.20%
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Thread: Are we really all that dumb

  1. #1
    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Are we really all that dumb

    In a recent thread, I said that there's a lot of innuendo and implication from Europeans that they're smarter than Americans on average. CBR chided me for that, saying if anybody holds that opinion, it's a small minority. I disagree, so I'm going to do a little informal research. Please note, responses are confidential (as opposed to most of my polls) so feel free to be honest.
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
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  2. #2
    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    By the way, I was not proving the point... that was a typo.
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
    Don Vito Corleone: The Godfather, Part 1.

    "Then wait for them and swear to God in heaven that if they spew that bull to you or your family again you will cave there heads in with a sledgehammer"
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  3. #3
    Member Member sharrukin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    In a recent thread, I said that there's a lot of innuendo and implication from Europeans that they're smarter than Americans on average. CBR chided me for that, saying if anybody holds that opinion, it's a small minority. I disagree, so I'm going to do a little informal research. Please note, responses are confidential (as opposed to most of my polls) so feel free to be honest.
    Americans are NOT stupid but they are like Russia and China and often don't bother to find out much about other nations. Larger nations have that luxury. For smaller nations, or regions like europe where they live very close to one another, that simply isn't an option. That lack sometimes shows up in discussions. Canadians for example know a lot more about the United States than most American do about Canada.

    I would vote for;
    "I'm not American and I think they Americans are more ignorant" As long as it is understood that this means a lack of knowledge of other countries and not IQ.
    Last edited by sharrukin; 08-02-2005 at 13:02.
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  4. #4
    Member Member Spetulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Sharrukin nailed it pretty well. Many Americans don't feel the need to know about unimportant stuff abroad because their own country is so vast. I wouldn't be worried as long as they can accept new ideas when such are met.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Senior Member Ser Clegane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    I think we are roughly the same.

    You will always find anecdotal evidence (polls, personal experience etc.) that seem to provide evidence for "ignorant Americans" - but then you could easily do the same for Europe.

    From my personal experience at a US High School (5 months) I got the impression that the level in the classes I attended was below what I was used to in Germany, but realistically there were some good explainations for that:

    1) The High School waqs a comprehensive school (as opposed to a three-tier school system in Germany were students attend different schools depending on their skill level)
    2) I did not really get to choose the classes I took - in some areas (maths, chemistry, literature) there were harder courses that I might have attended if I had the option.

    In High School I got the impression that it pretty much depends on the individual's initiative what you take out of it - you can have an easy life by taking some easy classes and doing nothing in the afternoon, but you could also take up some really challenging classes and also join e.g., debating or chess clubs in the afternoon.

    IIRC, the results for US students in the 2003 PISA survey of the OECD were rather mediocre (so were Germany's results) but I think they were comparbel to the average of EU countries.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    I tend to agree with sharrukin about this.

    it's not a question of intellience. Of course it isn't. There may be a prevailing tide of anti-intellectualism, but that is by no means unique to america.

    it's a question of isolation from much of the rest of the world. a lot of 'average' americans feel no need to engage with people outside america, because everything they need is right there. America is so big and so varied that this is a big enough world. You just need to look at the percentage of people who don't own passports.

    But, conversely, most of the rest of the world is bombarded with Americana of various sorts... America is clearly the dominant world cultural power. So, though this image we recieve may not be entirely true, at least we have an image of america.

    from personal experience, a few anecdotes...
    In the US, i had college graduates asking me the following questions

    1. in the UK, what language do you speak?
    2. do you have electricity in england?
    3. when you went to Zimbabwe, weren't you worried about cannibals?

    These weren't stupid people. not in the slightest. About America they had sound, well thought out, interesting theories. I doubt you would find equivalent college graduates in Europe asking those questions. They simply had never had that information given to them.

    so i think europeans think of americans as ignorant because we largely think we have a good feel for america, while americans know little or nothing about us.

    call it specific ignorance, rather than general, or intellectual.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    My understanding of the american education system, is that it focuses more on practical knowledge, instead of abstract theoretical knowledge. That both have it's benefits and disadvantages.

    For example, I'm going to study history of ideas for the next five years, which doesnt really have a career attached to it, opposed to fx. market economics etc.

    I can afford to study something like that, because I will receive $900 a month because I study. Of course the university is free.

    In the US I hear so much about "remember to save for your kids college". So if they ever get to college (assuming their parents are wealthy) the kid will probably study something that gives money in return, like a trade. An investment in money. In europe it's an investment as well, but not so much in money, also in knowledge just for knowledge sake.

    Naturally, we have many studying what I call practical subjects - something that allows you to go out and make money - the trend is turning here in Denmark to reflect the american trend.


    So I think both "poles" are equally enlightened, however, in different ways.

    I don't know if you get my point, but that is what I think.

    ps. I voted roughly the same.
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  8. #8
    PapaSmurf Senior Member Louis de la Ferte Ste Colombe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Ignorant, I don't know...

    But naive enough to ask about it, that's for sure

    Louis,

    PS: ok, Don, you're the one who gave me that stick
    [FF] Louis St Simurgh / The Simurgh



  9. #9

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Oh, concerning the isolation debate - look on languages for example. How many languages does the average american speak? I would guess 2, american (english) and spanish maybe.

    In a Danish normal scool (the first 9 years) you HAVE to study two foriegn languages. English and german or french (normally german). Then in highschool you can add a number of languages.
    For example, it is typical to have: english, german, french/spanish/italian/russian and latin in highschool.

    To learn a language in itself doesnt make you smarter (I think) but it makes good ground for _really_ understanding a culture, which I think we (europeans) do better/easier simply because of the geography.

    However, the bigger european countries Germany, France and England - doesnt have the same need to learn languages as the smaller countries of course.

    Often in france, you'll find persons who speak english but simply refusing speaking it, that's another matter ;)
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  10. #10
    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    I do not think that Americans in general are more dumb than Europeans. They are different. There are some areas they have no clue and others were they are better.

    America is a big country. So there are many who do not care about foreign countries and never had much contact. In Europe you find borders and different cultures everywhere. So you have to learn about other nations.
    Further more Americans speak English. So they do not really have to learn another language. In Europe most of the people (and I mean ordinary people) speak more than one language.

    Most of the Americans I know are very nationalistic and kind of conservative. That means they have some deadlocked ideas about things like their military, communism, socialsm, guns, UN, ... . They believe that America is God's own country (whatever that means). So they are not very open what is going on somewhere else. Kind of selffocused.

    Americans are more progressive, which means they can deal much better with changes. Europeans stick to their old ideas and habits.

    The Americans have some habbits that seem to be very very strange to Europeans.

    All together: Americans are nice but strange kind of people. And they are not dumb.

  11. #11
    Not affiliated with Red Dwarf. Member Ianofsmeg16's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    I'm not american, but i like America, i have plans to go on holiday there this year. Europeans and americans arent that different, In Britain we have our stupid people (more commonly reffered to as Chavs) and you Americans have your stupid people (more commonly reffered to as Presidents, joking, i liked clinton). I do have a funny peice of info that my careers advisor told me. If you want to go to university in America thats fine, but dont try and go for a job against a guy who has a european diploma, the american one doesnt count for much over here. is this true, cos i think thats stupid.
    EDIT: Ignore my post, Franconicus' point is better than mine
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Humans are dumb , it don't matter where they come from , all people are idiots , the only difference might be thats some people don't realise that they are idiots .
    Humans eh ...so reliable ?

  13. #13
    Pining for the glory days... Member lancelot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube
    That said, I don't think we should look towards Europe as a model. They're a bunch of anti-gun, anti-military, socialists. We need to find a way to enlighten ourselves without turning into wimps.
    We're not anti-military per se, its just that we have been doing it for a 1000 odd years more than the USA.

    We've had our share you might say..

    And for most of the previous big wars...we europeans tend to get stuck in straight away...rather than join in half way through.... wimps indeed!
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    The man who oppose guns, military, killings and massarcre is a whimp? I would say he is the enlightened one.
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  15. #15
    Tree Killer Senior Member Beirut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    One has only to watch Rick Mercer's Talking to Americans to get an attitude, if not an honest opinion, on the question.

    Americans are certainly not dumb. They build F-22s, Space Shuttles, remote control toys to drive around on Mars. No one else can do those things. America certainly holds the brightest minds. However, because of the nature of American history, their successes, and their overwhelming belief that their systems of government, economics and military are the greatest in the history of the world, indeed the very zenith of human capacity, (some)Americans do tend to look inwards a bit more then they look outwards. At least as far as other country's cultures and habits go.
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  16. #16
    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Are we really all that dumb

    i wouldn┤t say they are dumb.

    i would certainly say that there is a "cultural isolation".....people here have spoken of it...knowledge of things outside your state or country, speaking foreign languages...etc.

    one can have a sharp mind to rival with the best out there....if you don┤t botter go get some knowledge to go along with that...you come out looking kinda dumb i┤m afraid.
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  17. #17
    Lord of the House Flies Member Al Khalifah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    They're stupid, but they're no more stupid than everyone else.

    They re-elected Bush, we re-elected Blair, the French elected Chirac..
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  18. #18
    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    I actually have no idea but I'm guilty of spreading the stereotype.
    Don and me had a little brawl a few weeks back before the thread was closed.
    I thought it was funny to post the often reported (American to European) question "Did you come here by car?".
    This was told to me by several Germans who'd experienced it first hand.

    Well all I can say is that it's hardly representative and of course absurd to generalize it.
    We have a lot of ignorant and uneducated people in Germany as well and you can meet them almost
    anywhere. Doesn't matter if at University, at work or in your free time.
    I imagine it's the same in the US as well as other European countries.

    What most often draws my attention is the ignorance of other countries
    existing on our globe. It's my impression that most people only ever realize
    their existance when they appear in the news. This is sad no matter where it occurs.


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  19. #19

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    in my view, most people in general are stupid

    the average person = total idiot

    it does not really matter if you are American or European

  20. #20
    Speaker of Truth Senior Member Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by Sjakihata
    The man who oppose guns, military, killings and massarcre is a whimp? I would say he is the enlightened one.
    Amen to that brother.

    I think people are not smarter at some place in the world but when you speak about knowledge it's not alway the smartest one who know's the much.
    I think that Europeans Eduction System work somewhat better then Americas one. Ofcourse I could be wrong since I never went to an American scool.

    but I've seen on the news that there was a test (abouit a half year ago) where the questioned 14-15 year olds all over the world about different theme's like: maths, foreign languages, science,... don't know them anymore.
    Then they made a ranking list of all those theme's and an overal(sp?) ranking. the results: all the top ten's were dominated by European country's and perhaps a few Asian (I don't remember properly) but I do remember that America wasn't in the top ten. I can't say how reliable it was.

    yes America has the nasa and stuff. But someone told me that most of these research teams and building teams were often lead by foreigners or people who just became Amaricans.

    Also Americans aren't verry good in foreig languages, but hey, why would you learn them, evrybody speaks English. In Europe they know a lot more languages. In Belgium (flanders) you start learning you first foureign language when your 10-11 years old (french) then in college when you're 13/14 old you get English. when they're 14-15 They get at least one year german but junles you take a verry maths/scientific orientated(word?) class (like me) you'll have it till you graduate. If you're following a language orientated (word?) class you can also get spanish or Italian (16-18 years old).
    a lot of people also learn latin (13 years and on) and possibly (ancient) greek
    (13-...).
    When you go to University well you can leanr any language you want ofcourse ;).


    anyhow when looking at IQ it's about the same all over the world but Amarica isn't that much the number one when it comes to technologie. Japan for example.

    I' not saying Amercans are dumb, okay? I just wanted to point out that they're not extremly hi-tech aliens.
    But I voted more ingorant mostly because what sharrukin said, and I think other cultures are one of the most fascinating and interesting things.
    Last edited by Moros; 08-02-2005 at 14:34.

  21. #21
    Not affiliated with Red Dwarf. Member Ianofsmeg16's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Here you start learning French at 6 years old, German ant 11 and some schools are now teaching Spanish....blimey were gonna be smart....watch out guys! the manx are gonna take over!!!!
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    I dont give a !@#$ what language you speak. That does not make you smart.



    I would say that America must be doing something right because we dont need to learn all that and we will still be well off. While in Europe you people make it seem that you have to know more languages or you are in for a hard life.
    Formerly ceasar010

  23. #23
    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Americans who carry their arrogance and ignorance like a banner
    which they are proud of, make it difficult to argue into any other direction.

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  24. #24

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by ceasar010
    I dont give a !@#$ what language you speak. That does not make you smart.



    I would say that America must be doing something right because we dont need to learn all that and we will still be well off. While in Europe you people make it seem that you have to know more languages or you are in for a hard life.

    Posts like this make me wonder why I voted roughly the same....
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  25. #25
    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    And lets not have another wave of mud slinging plz.


    CBR

  26. #26

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by Sjakihata
    Posts like this make me wonder why I voted roughly the same....

    You people make it seem that you have to know 2 or 3 languages to do well in life.

    I know some people that can speak spanish they almost fail on all the other subjects. Being able to speak (insert language here) doesn't make you you know better math or science. I would rather know those then learn a language I will probably never need to use.
    Formerly ceasar010

  27. #27
    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    In a recent thread, I said that there's a lot of innuendo and implication from Europeans that they're smarter than Americans on average. CBR chided me for that, saying if anybody holds that opinion, it's a small minority. I disagree, so I'm going to do a little informal research. Please note, responses are confidential (as opposed to most of my polls) so feel free to be honest.
    I don't think I said it was a minority, just that I didn't have that opinion and therefore there was no need to go into defense mode

    Lately I have just grown tired of seeing thread after thread derailing, because of a few rotten apples, as it drags a lot of people down to the same level. I guess its a very understandable reaction for most people, but all I see is a vicious circle where it becomes more and more natural to attack another guy's nation based on politics or even WW2.

    People can have all kinds of misconceptions and that will never change if one doesn't use proper arguments in a discussion. This forum have people from lots of different nations and age groups as well as new members who doesn't know when to ignore some posts or at least how to respond to it while still keeping the discussion civil.


    CBR

  28. #28
    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by ceasar010
    You people make it seem that you have to know 2 or 3 languages to do well in life.

    I know some people that can speak spanish they almost fail on all the other subjects. Being able to speak (insert language here) doesn't make you you know better math or science. I would rather know those then learn a language I will probably never need to use.

    yes....too bad that tests comparing the US with other countries shows your students do worse in those things too....

    like someone said before....it┤s posts like this one that make it hard not to believe the stereotypes.
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  29. #29
    Chief Sniffer Senior Member ichi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    Actually I'm continually amazed at the depth of people's intelligence and wisdom, at the incredible ignorance, at the arrogance of all peoples.

    Remember that we differ from one another by a very small fraction of our DNA, and by our experiences. Today there are some outstanding students and athletes coming out of American schools, just as European kids can excel. There are also morons amongst us.

    Anyway, Gah!

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  30. #30

    Default Re: Are we really all that dumb

    We have a choice to take those other languages here. I turned them all down and took better math science etc..... To some one who wants to go to another country a new language may be important. But to me it is not.


    Just a question for you euros


    It seems alot (not all) of students here do bad(in school) almost on purpose because they dont want to look "nerdy" or anything like that. This is in grade school to high school. Do some students have that attitude in your countries or is that a mainly an american attitude.
    Formerly ceasar010

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