One in four Americans is an idiot

I hate saying it... but this is all a result of our laws. We make it WAY too easy for the chronically stupid to get along in life... seriously, if you are that dumb, there is this little thing called natural selection. Take the warning labels off of things and we'll quickly kill off the dumbest 20% or more...
Consider it evolution in action.
For me the question of whether or not I believe in ghosts is hard to answer in practice - it's one of those questions in which any short answer is almost certain to be misunderstood. On the one hand, nothing "supernatural" exists; one the other hand, so many scientific types so badly underestimate the natural world - including the human mind.

And if someone asked me whether the universe started with an explosion, yes or no, I might easily get it wrong - "Big Bang" the misnomer it was meant to be.

Quite true - since the BB wasn't an "explosion" in the common usage/understanding of the word.
There are a number of levels on the retardation scale, based on IQ

95–104 Average
85–94 Dull
75–84 Borderline
50–74 Morons
25–49 Imbeciles
0–24 Idiots

Does the study give the percentages for the other levels?

"Think about how stupid the average person is, then realize that 1/2 of em are stupider than that"
When I ran into the Dunning-Krueger Effect, years ago, it immediately seemed familiar - a formalization of something everyone who has worked with a variety of people in a variety of situations has run into, something I had shorthanded as "confidence does not correlate with competence" and "intelligence correlates poorly with knowledge". The evaluation of people as stupid always seems to be the evaluation of other people as stupid (Dunning and Krueger themselves commendable exceptions), which is cause for wariness.

Here, for example, is a quote from someone who might have been a data point in such a survey:
Edward Abbey said:
Generally speaking, it's a matter of only mild intellectual interest to me whether the earth goes around the sun or the sun goes around the earth. In fact, I don't care a rat's ass either way.
Now I don't really know how that guy would have answered the questions in that survey, but I'm pretty sure those answers would be unreliable indicators of stupidity.

Stupid people usually try to look clever, not the other way around.

Edward Abbey sounds interesting, and not stupid at all.
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I wonder if the distribution of IQs in America is the problem. Is there a particularly long left-skew or left bias?
One of four Americans , eh? Let's see... Edward Witten; Paul Krugman; Norman Finkelstein; Magical Realist. :eek:
I wonder if the distribution of IQs in America is the problem. Is there a particularly long left-skew or left bias?
The IQ test people adjust the scoring to eliminate that, along with the Flynn Effect and other hints of maybe some problems with certain interpretive presumptions common in the world.

America shows the influence of at least two environmental factors differentially damping its median level of mental agility - childhood lead poisoning from car fuel, and a diet comparatively (and increasingly) heavy in omega 6 compared with omega 3 dietary fats. It has also allowed the restoration of levels of income inequality known to suppress intellectual performance in the general population, for a variety of reasons.
What indiscriminate pro-immigration policies, and uncontrolled reproduction means is a process of Dysgenics.
In the first case, thousands of years of evolution, and near extinction, having selected certain traits, is lost by dilution.
In the second, thousands of years of monogamy, humanism, have permitted dysfunctional genes to propagate, lowering the quality of the whole.

"If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it." - Bernays, Edward

His daughter in the B.B.C. documentary Century of Self commented that her father’s favorite insult was “stupid”…and he knew stupid very well, because molding stupidity was his art.

Even the modern-day intelligentsia act and react in accordance with prescribed cultural standards and stupidity is offered a moniker of civility that enables it to flourish as an alternative to intelligence; they bury their heads in numbers and statistics while the world around them burns, and like Archimedes scream out
"Μη μου τους κυκλους μου ταρατε." as a Roman plunges a sword into them.

"Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment. " - Baudrillard, Jean

Specialization, as it appears in modern systems is a form of socialized autism.
It is also known by other terms denoting a social dysfunction: nerd, geek.

With massive information influx, focussed intelligence has become a necessity, given the complexity of different fields of study.
This focus comes at a price.
The mind can be exceptional within one context, one field of human interest, and be, simultaneously, completely inept, or wanting, in all other areas.
We might describe this socialized autism as a byproduct of modern life, producing idiot savants.

If we combine Dysgenics with Socialized Autism we might begin to understand how intelligence can be declining while most of us would consider it on the rise.
Declining IQ's, focused obsessively will appear as genius in the particular area of interest.
We can be surrounded by geniuses, idiot savants, who, at the same time, lack the Daemonion of the ancients.

If we explore the reasons for Dysgenics, beyond Lynn's analysis, such as sheltering, reproductive rights, a shaming of judging and discrimination, technologies compensating or substituting human efforts, and we combine it with the modern day need to achieve within demanding fields, we might begin to understand what is happening.

Not only do higher IQ women on average have fewer children that lower IQ ones, but when discrimination has become "immoral", monogamy forced due to cultural and socioeconomic conventions, then the "intelligent female" who might have chosen differently, is infected by a mimetic standard, a virus, an ideal, that warps her judgments, or forces her to make compromises, sometimes conflicting with her genetic predispositions - the adaptation of the feminine role to modern utilities.

The female's genetic filtering role can now be appropriated and adapted to serve as a mimetic filtering mechanism.
This is where the feminine "mystique" stems from: this contradiction between words, ideals, and actions - a conflict between gene and meme where the meme is nihilistic.
The conflict is dealt with by a form of self-hypnosis: compartmentalization, selective reasoning...a schism of the psyche (schizophrenia).

This is how Paternalism resulted in its own demise. Technologies/Techniques, ideas being techniques, used in male competition for dominance eventually result in this decadence, this utility as a compensation for a weakness.
A strength wanting to remain on-top seeds the circumstances of its own future atrophy.

Paternalism always represented the worse kind of authority for the female sex.
It took away the female's natural role as the filtering system of natural selection, and placed it in the hands of males.

And still, to this day, those females happy that this power has been returned to them, do not question why or how, when no power has ever been given up once it has been taken.
Not much blood shed, no big war fought...not much of anything but some hippie get-togethers and talk about love's high.
The mystery is partially solved when one explores the possibility that power was never returned to them or to anybody.
What changed, gradually, was the methods being used to enforce and apply this power.

Natural selection was the natural force, that immutable past, they could not alter, but only nudge along, ride, manipulate, as man has been doing with nature for centuries.

Sexual roles give way to gender roles, tribalism gives way to social classes, and nationalism, and natural selection gives way to social selection - genes to memes.

After all, man domesticated bovines not by altering their nature, but by exploiting and manipulation what nature was already present in the species...which is no more than the manifestation of an evolutionary history.
Nihilism, whatever name and form it takes in these most modern times, is this rejection of the past.

Why force a cow to produce milk, holding her captive behind fences, when you can exploit her natural antipathy for her own past, and her normal ambition to become more than its limiting determinators, when you can make her feel proud for being the best milk producing cow in the barn, free to come and go as she pleases, but more happy to remain within the farm's boundaries?

Evola, Julius wrote:
"America ... has created a 'civilization' that represents an exact contradiction of the ancient European tradition. It has introduced the religion of praxis and productivity; it has put the quest for profit, great industrial production, and mechanical, visible, and quantitative achievements over any other interest. It has generated a soulless greatness of a purely technological and collective nature, lacking any background of transcendence, inner light, and true spirituality. America has [built a society where] man becomes a mere instrument of production and material productivity within a conformist social conglomerate."

Evola, Julius wrote:
"The United States represents the reductio ad absurdum of the negative and the most senile aspects of Western civilization. What in Europe exist in diluted form are magnified and concentrated in the United States whereby they are revealed as the symptoms of disintegration and cultural and human regression. The American mentality can only be interpreted as an example of regression, which shows itself in the mental atrophy towards all higher interests and incomprehension of higher sensibility. The American mind has limited horizons, one conscribed to everything which is immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence that everything is made banal, basic and leveled down until it is deprived of all spiritual life. Life itself in American terms is entirely mechanistic. The sense of I in America belongs entirely to the physical level of existence. The typical American neither has spiritual dilemmas nor complications: he is a natural joiner and conformist."

And the exploration of reality has ceased to be a venture to know, so as to challenge its authority
over existence, but has now turned into a practice of discovering so as to best surrender to what we wish to belong to, without causing too much of a fuss.

Bernays, Edward wrote:

"Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities and the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought.
Each man’s rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all received identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion.
The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine."
And Jung had it right, when he described the American psyche thus:

Jung, Carl wrote:

"The American presents a strange picture: a European with Negro behavior and an Indian soul.
He shares the fate of all usurpers of foreign soil.
Certain Australian primitives assert that one cannot conquer foreign soil, because in it there dwell strange ancestor-spirits who reincarnate themselves in the new-born. There is a great psychological truth in this. The foreign land assimilates its conqueror. But unlike the Latin conquerors of Central and South America, the North Americans preserved their European standards with the most rigid puritanism, though they could not prevent the souls of their Indian foes from becoming theirs. Everywhere the virgin earth causes at least the unconscious of the conqueror to sink to the level of its indigenous inhabitants.

Thus, in the American, there is a discrepancy between conscious and unconscious that is not found in the European, a tension between an extremely high conscious level of culture and an unconscious primitivity.
This tension forms a psychic potential which endows the American with an indomitable spirit of enterprise and an enviable enthusiasm which we in Europe do not know. The very fact that we still have our ancestral spirits, and that for us everything is steeped in history, keeps us in contact with our unconscious, but we are so caught in this contact and held so fast in the historical vice that the greatest catastrophes are needed in order to wrench us loose and to change our political behavior from what it was five hundred years ago.

Our contact with the unconscious chains us to the earth and makes it hard for us to move, and this is certainly no advantage when it comes to progressiveness...
[...] Plurimi pertransibunt- but he who is rooted in the soil endures. Alienation from the unconscious and from its historical conditions spells rootlessness. That is the danger that lies in wait for the conqueror of foreign lands, and for every individual who, through one-sided allegiance to any kind of -ism, loses touch with the dark, maternal, earthly ground of his being."
I must fall into the idiots area for every one thing I know, there are a million things I don't know.
1. The center of the Earth is very hot. True or false?

2. The continents have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move. True or false?

3. Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the Earth?

4. All radioactivity is man-made. True or false?

5. Electrons are smaller than atoms. True or false?

6. Lasers work by focusing sound waves. True or false?

7. The universe began with a huge explosion. True or false?

8. It's the father's gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or girl. True or false?

9. Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria. True or false?

10. Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. True or false?

Just wow...
I know correct answers to all of them, but I do not agree with No7. The question is still not resolved fully.

Anyway the test itself is DUMB designed by DUMBER people. There are other questions. A doctor may not know correct answer to No 2, but is not DUMB. So for most of the others.
Here are my answers.

1. The center of the Earth is very hot. True or false?

Hopefully, it's just warm, creamy milk chocolate.

2. The continents have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move. True or false?

Yes, frequent address changes keep them one step ahead of their creditors. Their up to their continental shelves in debts, you know.

3. Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the Earth?

Moot point. They both go around the galactic center Everything just goes around everything else. Who can keep track?

4. All radioactivity is man-made. True or false?

Not sure, but much is publicly funded through telethons.

5. Electrons are smaller than atoms. True or false? Nothing is smaller than an atom except , of course, for things that are. Size does not matter.

6. Lasers work by focusing sound waves. True or false?

True. Have you ever met a deaf laser technician?

7. The universe began with a huge explosion. True or false?

Define 'huge'. Define 'explosion'. Define 'universe'.

8. It's the father's gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or girl. True or false?

Whether the mother removed her jeans is actually the telling factor.

9. Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria. True or false? False. Antibiotics have an alibi. We were out having beers the night Bacteria was killed. Father O'Flanagan was with us.

10. Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. True or false?

I wouldn't say, 'developed'.
More like 'went to seed'.