Americans, in general, are idiots
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Greeting and/or Opening
First of all the positing that an alarmingly and - relative to other developed countries - big segment of Americans are morons is, sadly, quite easy to demonstrate. Poll after poll shows that Americans are dumb and uneducated, to the point of where one seriously starts to ponder how America got to be "number one" in the first place. The general knowledge among Americans, in general, are stunningly low, and don"t let me get into geography.
I must stress that my thesis is a stereotypical generalisation, that unfortunately has much truth to it, and that far from all Americans are morons. Yes, there are many intelligent Americans, indeed. However, I am arguing that because such a big segment of the population demonstrates such a low general knowledge and outright lunacy, i.e., 1 in 25 Americans believe that lizard people control our government, it is justified to say that Americans, in general, are morons. I think many Americans would agree with me. I think it is also quite ironical that they believe that they are so superior to other countries - not to say the least the caricature that they have made out of the"socialist" Scandinavian countries who, - while in fact Denmark, where I am from, has a higher standard of living and outperform United States on a key number of areas. However, the same idiotic narrative is still disseminated on evangelical church congregations and on FOX news. I am not kidding, once an American woman in her 40"s wanted to know if she needed any vaccine when she was travelling to Sweden. That idiot thought that Sweden was a developing country of some sort! You see my point?
I"ll provide you with more examples to bolster my point later on during the debate. Here are two examples of the dumbness that plagues America.
The debate format sounds fine.
My position is that Americans aren't "idiots" in general, by mere form and function. People from other countries seem to presume that it's inordinately easy to live in the United States. They tend to assume that Americans are babied by the select few that keep this country free, functional, and on the cutting edge.
They couldn't be more wrong.
The United States is absurdly competitive, ensuring that everyone performs in some capacity. Ignorance and a lack of education are weakness in the United States.
I have traveled, and I don't consider the general education and/or knowledge levels I've encountered in people from Europe and Asia significantly different than the average American. There is a different knowledge base, but they're proportionate.
Moreover, the examples you present are insignificant to the point of being silly for you to be making such a sweeping generalization. For example, you claim that 4% of Americans believe something preposterous, as though that's supposed to support your argument, and present no proof that this claim is even true. Well, according to Reuters (http://www.reuters.com...), an alarming 40% of Europeans have mental illnesses.
In my experience, Europeans also tend to be more posh and self-entitled, while Asians tend to consider themselves more athletically and intellectually superior than those from other countries. They're rather belittling at times, and while Americans can often be rude, they're not often belittling.
I mean, if you wanted to draw sweeping generalizations from limited experiences with a small number of Americans and second-hand information, I can just as well say that, at the very least, most Americans can count to three, whereas you cannot, since you claimed that you were going to provide two examples of "dumbness in America," and instead, provided three.
Apparently, those from Denmark are even stupider, no?
I don"t contest that there are tens of million of bright Americans with high degrees that are doing a fantastic job in maintaining United States competitiveness through science and research and so forth. Though that is true, that does not erase the fact that there are tens of millions that are morons.
To give you an examples of a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, PPP, they covered a whole range of conspiracy theories and beliefs that Americans were asked about, including the results on how many Americans that believe in lizard people that I mentioned in the previous round. My point is that these statistics on some of these absolutely absurd and ludicrous notions indicate that they are, if not stupid, outright insane. Those who believe this outrageous nonsense do, I claim, have a tendency towards being less bright or more of an idiot.
"5% of respondents believe that Paul McCartney died and was secretly replaced in the
Beatles in 1966, and just 4% believe shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by
taking on human form and gaining power. 7% of voters think the moon landing was fake."
These are some other examples of the questions that they were asked.
"Do you believe in Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or not?" 14% do; 7 Do you believe that the exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons, or not? 5% do; Do you believe the government adds fluoride to our water supply, not for dental health reasons, but for other, more sinister reasons, or not? 9% do; Do you believe President Barack Obama is the anti-Christ, or not? 13% do; etc. http://www.publicpolicypolling.com...
Ok, so these were the more crazy piece of evidence for making my case. Do I have any more polls that support my thesis. Yes, indeed I have. They are both hilarious but at the same time a worrisome. Pew forum conducted one study in which they were asking Americans of different religious affiliations (including atheists and agnostics) basic questions about the major religions. The answers were stunning, to say the least, especially due to the the fact that United States is the most religious country in the industrialised world.
Only about half Protestants (53%) were aware of that Martin Luther was the person who initiated the protestant reformation movement which eventually made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. 45% of all Catholics are not aware the catholic church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion actually become the body and blood of Christ rather than symbolizing the receiving of Christ. 47% of Americans don"t know that Dalai Lama s a Buddhist. only 38% correctly associated Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism. Only 27% correctly answered that the largest religion in Indonesia - the country with the largest Muslim population - are Muslims. Only 52% know that Ramadan is the Islamic holy month and only 54% correctly identified the Koran as the holy Muslim book. Concerning the Quaran burning incidences and the dead diplomats at the American Embassy in Benghazi, US has spent a large time talking about the burning of the Quaran, but what we know from this study is that about half of Americans is sort of scratching their heads and are wondering "what is the Quaran? Is that a novel or something written by some dude in the Middle East"? It is hard to have a national conversation about Islam when there is such a knowledge gap when it comes to the Muslim traditions. This lack of knowledge permeates all levels of society and ultimately affect the whole discourse that America is going to have about the war on terror, terrorists and Islam.
In fact, what this illustrates is that there are major elements in the respondents personal faiths that they are not aware of, and particularly elements of other religions. Despite this unbelievable poll results an overwhelming majority of Americans are religious. About 83% of all Americans are Christians, out of which 78,4% are Christians. In light of the fact that the majority of Americans identify themselves as belonging to any Christian denomination, it seems appropriate to mention just one more funny statistic concerning Americans general knowledge (or lack thereof) about religion, and in particular of their own religion. Did you know that only 53% know that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That"s right. When they read the gospels and look at the old and the testament they can"t figure out which one came first.
Ok, so now we know that America is overly religious despite the fact that Americans don"t really know much about religion in the first place. The thing they dedicate such a huge proportion of their lives to is something they don"t really know much about. To me that suggests either two things. Either they are too intellectually lazy to really dig into scientific and religious subjects at hand in order to challenge and subject their own belief system to rigorous testing - which would suggests a certain dullness - or that the society in which they live perpetually spreads religious dogmas around to such a high degree that one might not be encouraged to enforce a critically mindset for the sake of group of belonging and fear of exclusion. I think the latter is mostly true. I don"t think - and I don"t think anyone can construe it that way - that Americans are inherently dull. We are all shaped by our surrounding environment, and if a major segment of the community where one live are religious dupes, one grows up thinking that way. We all now it can take time until one starts to challenge held beliefs and notions. Hence, the stupidity that dwells in the minds of so many Americans, and that so glaringly obvious infects the political and intellectual discourse in America is, is ultimately a product of a culture that breeds ignorance. I seem to have devoted a big chunk of this round on addressing religious aspects in America, and I do that because I do believe that much of the religiosity in America stifles dissent and critical thinking, especially among the evangelical denominations of whom mostly are on the rise.
The degree to which religion has infested itself in American society is easily demonstrated by looking at the creationist movement that is gaining credibility and influence in American schools and in politics in general. The numbers are absolutely stunning. According to a Gallup poll that has researched on Americans view of human origin, 46% of all Americans believe in the creationist idea that God created mankind at one time within the last 10, 000 years. This is a stunningly high number of idiots! This is what is literally dumbing down America. This is why other countries are beating you! You can"t maintain your competitiveness for long if 46% believe that the earth is 6000 years old and if 25% of Americans are unaware that the f*cking earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around! With this in mind, you can"t be serious when you claim that a huge percentage of Americans are not idiots. I would think that all this combined information suffices to establish that my thesis is correct - and I do have more information
All that said, these are real issues that actually affect the world at large -- not some perception of a European halfway across the world developing opinions about a country that clearly know little about based on polls that used a sample population of a little over a thousand people to reflect a the perspectives of a country that contains over 400 million people. In other words, your assertions about the American zeitgeist are based on a poll that was conducted on .001 percent of the population.
It's easy to claim that a country is being "dumbed down" when it's so critical of itself. The United States is constantly criticizing its own education system, more often than not to incite incentive for improvement. Although there are general problems, which include low graduation rates (77 percent), Americans have a very high literacy rate (99 percent) and both mathematical and scientific literacy higher than adults in Japan and Europe. That doesn't sound idiotic to me -- it, instead, sounds like an education system that needs improvement. It also doesn't reflect your ridiculous claims that Americans don't realize that the Earth revolves around the sun, or that it's older than 10,000 years. Ultimately, though, a person's religiosity has no real casual connection to his or her education or intelligence, whereas a person's mental health does.
So, granted, the United States is religious, and more religious than many (but not all) European countries. That notwithstanding, a minority of those Americans that claim a religion are actually religious. Americans do not "dedicate a large proportion of their lives" to religion. They dedicate a much larger proportion of their lives to education and the attainment of money, which is more than what can be said of much of Europe.
I'm not saying that there should be any qualms with Europeans, or that those from Europe are at all idiotic -- or even more idiotic than Americans. But, this is to say that your perspectives about Americans are misguided and more insulting than convincing. There is no evidence that other countries are "beating" the United States (and, in what? We're still the world leaders in economic leverage, military power, and social influence), and its silly to believe that the same country that brought the world AC electricity, radios, televisions, computers, the internet, and iPhones, are "dumbing down."
If I read more books and, thus, have amassed more knowledge than some random American school kid at the same age, then clearly the American school kid would be less knowledgeable - and hence "dumber" if I may use the term - even if I were to suffer from anxiety and depression and he or she were not. The mental state is, thus, not at stake here and is not the determining factor that decides whether or not someone has a predisposition to be an idiot, even though it might exert a varying degree of influence.
Thus, what we are actually discussing are facts about the general knowledge among Americans that are based on facts. I am not, as my opponent put it, suggesting anything about a "perceived stupidity and ignorance of Americans". I have based my entire argument on facts that I have gotten from the most respected and reliable polling organisations in order to strengthen my assertion. What I have demonstrated is, that there are many Americans who have such a wide knowledge gap about science and about the world in general that it is justified to make the argument that Americans, in general, are idiots. We are not debating whether or not certain mental illnesses might make you "behave in ways that can be construed as "idiotic." We are discussing actual facts about what Americans actually know and don"t know and based on which we can deduce whether or not Americans are idiots.
Furthermore, if my opponent is going to make such an extraordinary suggestion, that the economic affliction affecting the southern Mediterranean countries and Europe in general is greater than that experienced in the US due to the discrepancies between in terms of mental illnesses is a purely hypothetical argument about a supposed causality that is completely irrelevant to this debate if my opponent is not able to substantiate that claim further than he has done so far. Even if we were to accept this premise, that since a higher percentage of Europeans suffer from a wide range of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and so forth - which would render them less functional than their US counterpart - that says nothing about whether or not that person is less knowledgeable in general than their American counterpart.
However, If we are to delve into other economic reason as to why Europe is worse off in the wake of the United States and give it an alternate explanatory model than "its because they are mentally ill" ca be attributed to a number of causes that, and so far nothing of the sort has been presented by my opponent to promote that idea, is unrelated to the issue of mental illnesses. For instance, the euro is one such example. While US has been able to adopt a uniform monetary policy set by the FED, which includes three quantitative easing programs amounting to a total of two trillion dollars injected into the economy as well as the lowering of the home montage interest rate which has helped to boost a recovery in the housing market. Euro countries, on the other other hand, cannot pursue a money policy that injects money to boost demand in the national economy since the the euro is controlled by several nations with varying interests.
Actually, I would argue that US has more structural problems than the euro zone do. Sure, Europe has a few bad states but so does US. If you look at Illinois, which is bigger than Greece, California and New York, these are big states with with fairly serious economic problems. If you compare the euro zone as a whole with US, the entity as a whole fares better than US in regards to debt-level and trade balance.
Next you criticized the polls I brought up for having a too small sample size in order to adequately reflect the opinion of "over 400 million people" (however, the government Census Bureau estimated the population size of the US to be around 318 million) in order to produce a trustworthy result. However, as with all studies done, a study that has been done offers an estimation on whatever you are studying. Studies can never be 100% accurate of course. No study alone can be sufficient to determine a certain thing about the thing you are studying. Thus, in statistical analysis, cross-reference with other studies studying the same issue or something similar must be done in order to ascertain an accurate result. The studies that I have presented are a few of many studies that have corroborated the same findings about a wide general knowledge gap among Americans.
It is true that in a qualitative study the bigger the sample the smaller the margin of error that would differ from the average of the population. If we look at the formula for calculating the confidence interval in statistical analysis it is given by 1/W30;N, where N is the number of participants. If we included 10,000 people in our study, that would mean that we would have a margin of error of +-1. The Pew forum study that I cited, that measured the general knowledge among 35,000 random Americans, would have a margin of error of about 0,5%. In qualitative studies, 35,000 is quite a high number! The conspiracy study, however, surveyed 1,247 American voters, thus having a margin of error of +/-2.8%. When it comes to the notion that the sun revolves around the earth, 2200 respondents were asked that question, thus having a margin of error of about 2%.
For all of these examples the sample sizes are quite normal and the margin of error is within the range of what is seen as "statistically sound".
You say that Americans have a higher mathematics and scientific literacy than those of Japan and Europe. Ok, so where are your sources to substantiate that claim? I have my sources right here and my sources point to the exact opposite of what you are saying: that US adults lag behind most countries in science and math skills. An OECD study that used a sample of 5000 respondents between the age of 16 and 65 from 21 countries, including the US, showed that Americans scored behind the average and lag behind in numeracy, problem-solving skills and literacy.
When it comes to numeracy, US trailed 18 countries and beat only two - Italy and Spain. When it comes to problem-solving skills, America trailed behind 14 of their counterparts. When it comes to literacy, USA trailed 12 countries and outperformed only 5. The top five countries were - no surprise - European countries, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands and Finland, and Japan. Even among those Americans with graduate and professional degrees, they scored higher than average in literacy but lower in math and problem-solving skills.
What this suggests to me is that there is a general knowledge gap among, even to the point where I myself , quite frankly, feel quite insulting to actually bring it up. Again, US is a big country and there are many, many bright Americans that, as you pointed out, have contributed with much of the innovation that we take for granted today and that contribute a lot to science and education. However, in contrast to that there are, unfortunately many Americans who do not fare well in this respect and I do think that this serves as a serious wake-up call for Americans
Such forfeited this round.
What I have set about to demonstrate is that a large segment of the US population display such a low general education in different regards such as science and education. I have also showed that a large percentage of he population hold beliefs about matters that are so absurd that it indicates a certain dullness among quite many Americans, such as that Barack Obama is the Antichrist, that it is Chemtrails that come out of Airplane exhaust., etc. I base this assertion on several polls that have been conducted by some of the most respected polling organisations.
My opponent has so far made some loose and unsubstantiated claims in order to refute my claims. For instance, he claimed, without any evidence, that US perform better than Europe and Japan in terms of scientific and mathematical literacy whereas I rebutted that claim with a study that indicated the exact opposite, that several countries outperform US in these regards. He also tried to argue that my proposition is wrong due to the fact that more Europeans suffer from mental illnesses. He then posited that as a possible explanation as to why some European countries are in a
deeper economic recession than US.
However, as I demonstrated, it is a flawed way of looking at my proposition and try to answer it from the perspective of what kind of influence the certain mental illnesses would have to cause what I defined as idiocy. Because most of these ailments that were measured in the study give no indication whatsoever as to what I am interested in looking at, namely how knowledgeable those who were surveyed are, they are consequently indicators that are irrelevant to this debate.
Just because you suffer from insomnia or depression doesn't necessarily correlate with being an idiot, and if it were so then it is incumbent upon my opponent to demonstrate such a correlation. Since he hasn't done that, this whole argument is irrelevant to this debate.
In terms of the economic situation in Europe versus that in the US, I stated that there are numerous explanations that can be accounted for, such as the fact that the Euro has prevented the economically unstable countries to govern their own interest rate and exchange rate in order to suit their domestic needs. That would have substantially alleviated the economic hardship that they are currently going through and improve their economic activity. Thus, since there are several factors that can be taken into account for to give a satisfactory picture of the economic situation in these countries, it is absolutely ludicrous to posit that which my opponent offered as a possible explanation without giving any evidence to support that idea and without putting it in relation to actual documented economic causes that led to the economic recessions. As I illustrated, if you were to compare EU to US, then US actually has more structural debt problems than the EU combined. However, this is a separate topic and there are various factors to include in order to delineate a satisfactory explanation for the current economic situation. It would be a bogus speculation to say -without evidence - that it is because Americans, in general, have a low general education about science and - probably - economy in the same way as you posited your claim.
It is but an evasive tactic that my opponent is using in order to evade the topic that we are discussing as I have tried to frame it. Mental ailments have nothing to do with this debate unless my opponent can prove otherwise, and I deem that he has failed to fulfill his burden of proof in this regard.
I admit that I did I could have contrasted the dumbness of Americans in terms of their general education with that of the rest of the world. I focused a lot of effort on demonstrating the dumbness on Americans but failed to include any conducted surveys that have surveyed the general knowledge of any other countries, whether industrialized or developing countries due to lack of text space. Since this is a conclusion, no new arguments are to be presented so I will constrict my conclusive arguments on the arguments that I have already presented. I realize that since I haven't presented any real comparisons or a benchmark to set a defined standard for what constitutes idiocy in terms of knowledge and general education, I can honestly say that I can only relate to my own subjective belief about what constitutes idiocy. I do believe that I did present some illustrative and compelling examples of what that would be. Since my opponent hasn't addressed or tried to rebut any of those examples that I gave, I believe that I have fulfilled my burden of proof insofar as this debate concerns. After all, those examples that I illustrated were, in my opinion, rather shocking and indicative of the proposition that I am making.
I don't know how many times I have stressed this point, but there are many bright Americans that contribute a whole lot to science and the economy at large. If I were one of you, I would certainly agree with my proposition. After all, a country in which Sarah Palin can get president is not indicative of a smart country. I mean, if you are a homosexual secular atheist in US, then you probably know what I am talking about.
There are so many wonderful aspects of US and I am therefore doing this debate in order to raise awareness about these aspects that I, frankly speaking, believe are quite damaging to the US. How is US going to compete with emerging economies if virtually millions of Americans believe in the notion that the sun revolves around the earth? How is US going to compete with brilliant engineers and innovators when millions of Americans are zealous creationists? This is quite frightening to me because I want US to be the dominant power and the dominant economy in the world. Thus, see this as a warning, that if we don't acknowledge this as a serious problem that poses a threat to the competitiveness of the US until it's too late, then America might lose its dominant role that it currently has.
I say that at the time being millions of Americans are morons and, in general, Americans are morons. Let us do something about it! Why don't we improve the economic system and try to diminish the influence that religious zealots have over the schools and state? Why don't we try to combat the scientific illiteracy among Americans by waging an intellectual war against churches and religious organisations that wields such a big influence in America and have thus brainwashed millions of Americans to believe what they believe? Why don't we give more money to research and scientific studies in United States?
These measures must be undertaken in order to improve the welfare of US and Americans. These are all viable measures that we can take, but first we must come to terms with the problem that we are facing: millions of Americans that are morons. This is the problem that America is facing and that we can do something about.
Such forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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