Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
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10-03-2013, 07:30 AM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
Children are learning things in grade two and three concepts I was never taught until grade 6 and 7. Curriculum thinks this is so great but I think otherwise. I don't think these wee ones are ready cognitively to handle certain basic concepts and before they have the basics down curriculum has moved on.

Having said that, 7 X 2 really isn't a big deal- you either really did find a slow one there, Zat, or like smidgen said, you were starring into the depths of her soul and she panicked. Smile
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10-03-2013, 08:25 AM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
(10-03-2013 06:49 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(09-03-2013 11:40 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Not to nit-pick, but actually the Bell curve doesn't "shift". Two standard deviations are still just that. The value of the mean might be lower, but the curve and it's shape are the same. The values which comprise two standard deviation *might* be different, but a few anecdotal instances prove nothing. The question is, what difference does it make that most people now use devices for computation. How do you know that all the additional memory available at our finger tips hasn't actually shifted the mean in the other direction ?

Of course it shifts. It's centered on the mean and the mean can change.

That's what I said.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein It is objectively immoral to kill innocent babies. Please stick to the guilty babies.
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10-03-2013, 10:26 AM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
(09-03-2013 09:23 PM)Zat Wrote:  The thread title says it all.

I have noticed it in my long life: we are getting dumber and dumber.

You can see it everywhere: attention span, ability to follow logic, imagination, vocabulary, creativity, simple arithmetic, ... the list is a long one.

One example: simple arithmetic.

I think I'm with you, except for arithmetic and attention span. That's sort of unfair to people with brains that work differently, isn't it?

I guess it could go into memorization, which I would like to be done simply through practice as opposed to forced study. I don't think we should force feed kids memorization, we should teach them more, how to think, and that, for me, would lead other things to be more important.

If you use a calculator, a lot, simply only do problems conceptually or have a brain that, to whatever extent, doesn't suppress other activities and/or focus in on certain tasks, being good at arithmetic, especially in you head, would naturally be more difficult. That might just be from my own personal bias, to say that isn't as important, since I don't like memorizing things, specifically with intention, and when I try to do math problems in my head, I have a hard time not letting my mind wonder off on a tangent.

My focus would be more toward teaching things fundamentally, and teaching more how to think, with the other things getting picked up naturally just through practice and exposure. I guess the same would apply to vocabulary.

To me, the ability to reason takes it over knowledge--

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Quote:So, what do you think: is the Bell curve being pushed, relentlessly, to the left?

And, if you think it is: why? how? and how far?

Regardless of whether or not people are getting dumber, even though I would have to say relatively, people are a hell of a lot dumber, I'll just answer the latter part.

It simply would have to do with the exposure/practice and the focus, or lack of focus, on reasoning. For both, that would be in daily life and in education.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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12-03-2013, 07:42 AM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
No, IQs are increasing - not decreasing:

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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12-03-2013, 08:33 AM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
I'm a math major who often used a calculator (when allowed) in college. I probably have some sort of math dyslexia and using a calculator helps to reduce dumb mistakes (an example: I might take 3^2 and write 6, obviously I know the answer is 9, but I might make this hasty mistake and screw up each additional calculation, I make far fewer clumsy mistakes with a calculator). Now that I'm out in the real world, I work as a programmer and machines still do the arithmetic for me, I only have to worry about getting the formulas rights.

Sure if I really wanted to I could calculate 99X99 in my head (81 + 810 = 891 + 8910 = 9801), but why waste the time and effort when a calculator is less error prone and far faster.

As for the shifting intelligence, after I spend 20 minutes on facebook, I become more convinced it is.
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12-03-2013, 11:17 AM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
IQ Tests – are you kidding me? I used to prepare for Job applications by doing IQ tests. That
way I was preparing myself for the tests during the application process. Guess
what: After I had done multiple IQ Tests and examined my results, my IQ had
surged by a 2-digit figure within one hour! Boy was I feeling smart J Why? Because your IQ score doesn’t show how
intelligent you are, it shows how adept and how experienced you are at filling
out the test. It’s a JOKE! It should be called CQ – the Conformity Quotient.

It also heavily relies on mathematical logic. Don’t get me wrong I love mathematical logic
and like people who are gifted with it. However there are more forms of
intelligence than just this one. What about emotional or social intelligence? I
know a few guys that are just brilliant mathematical minds but who fail
miserably when it comes to understanding the workings of the minds of others or
simple social cause-and-effect patterns. How intelligent is a person that can
develop models to describe the workings of the universe yet that fails to
develop a model that describes the workings of a human being close to him/her. And
there are yet some more forms of
intelligence (e.g. bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence or linguistic intelligence).

Rather than asking ourselves: Are our societies getting more stupid, we should ask
ourselves: Are we allocating the right people to the right jobs ? Our education
system here In Germany for example will let you repeat a class if you fail in
one or two subjects. Say you’re a genius with music or painting the system won’t
let you through school if you don’t pass in math and physics. Or say you’re great
at math but you suck in sports and languages. The same applies to some curricula
at universities. Instead of training and promoting the main abilities of a
person and then handing him or her over to society with a note: “Excellent in math
/ music etc.” the education system will make you train the skills you’re worst at, skills you’ll most probably never again use in your life and mark you as “Tested - meets the standard
requirements.” In a society where everyone does everything, this might be ok, but in a highly specialised society, this is counterproductive!

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12-03-2013, 05:20 PM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
(12-03-2013 07:42 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  No, IQs are increasing - not decreasing:
IQs can be very arbirary.

In the 60s it has been claimed that Jensen and Eysenck devised I.Q.s testing specifically designed to put down non whites.
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12-03-2013, 05:22 PM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
The school system is just wrong. It doesn't operate by the laws of marketing. I don't mean profit. I mean demand and supply. First you need to have demand. If you don't have it, you must know how to create it. You can't sell something to someone without demand. You can only force kids to memorize. But that could be called intellectual violence. It's against free will.

What is free will? It's our internal motivation or capacity to act, to acquire and to use. Anything imposed from the outside by force will be rejected when the force ceases or it will turn people into Pavlov's dogs. Today the education of children is more like factory production, churning out identical robots for jobs. (just to be put out of job by actual robots)

Teaching something that we don't want and don't need is nonsense. Even if it's reading, writing and arithmetics. These are skills anyone can learn year or two sooner or later, no big deal.However, the school system is supposed to handle a rare and precious substance: geniality. Geniality is a special kind of intellectual motivation, a refined form of curiosity, oncentration and intuition. Curiosity is systematically destroyed by the factory production of workday drones. Concentration is systematically destroyed by television ads. Intuition is discouraged by one true solutions. Yet these are things that drive the civilization forward. Not economy, not business, but a few geniuses who concentrated on their work often against a great opposition.

For example I noticed, that I am both bored and intrigued by law. What's the difference? History. Before you teach such a boring, dry subject as law... Law is basically as interesting as reciting a computer code aloud and expecting people to memorize it. But before you read it, teach the history. Teach the history of every word in the law, and what would happen if it wasn't there. For example, if you leave out this word, it would in effect mean the Inquisition process. If you leave out that word, it would mean Hitler's 1938 laws of blood and honor. And that word, without it we'd have the 12 Angry Men process. Suddenly it's all exciting and terrifying. It works just like that for economy and other subjects. It's not supply and demand, it's demand and supply!

Shortly said, the people have no motivation. No need to do arithmetics in head. We have calculators, so we can use our precious neurons for something else. We are for example way better at playing video games and keeping track of global events and popculture. Or sifting through the internets. That shit requires hell a lot of brainpower, don't you think? What do you ever need IQ tests for, that particular kind of intelligence? Our schools use it sometimes. Otherwise it's pretty useless.
In fact, I'd say we're more intelligent than humanity ever was. When I bought my e-reader, I did an equivalent of good college course to jailbreak the hell out of it and then turn it back to original shape. I can't imagine any previous generation that could do this. I'd say they were intelligent, but it was an external, practical intelligence, to hack down a tree, build a house, win a fight... Keeping track of the technology, that's what we're good at right now. We're good at it, because it's fun, because we're motivated. "Motivationally challenged" is not just a fancy word for laziness, it's a fact.
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12-03-2013, 05:55 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2013 09:24 AM by Zat.)
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
(12-03-2013 05:22 PM)Luminon Wrote:  In fact, I'd say we're more intelligent than humanity ever was.

Against my better judgement:

Just look at any thread that discusses important philosophical, political, psychological issues.

It's not just the forums. They are everywhere. In business, in private life, in education, in police, in military, on shopping malls, during elections, on pulpits, in front of TV sets lapping up reality shows.

I am old and I am a keen observer. I can not help but be aware of the huge shift over the last 50 years.

It may not be the actual IQ level (which is determined by physiology) but the dumbing down process can not be denied.

It is actively practiced by big business and their servant: the media.

When I was growing up, no price was ever $199.99 -- now it is almost compulsory: yesterday I saw a price at Canadian Tire that was $2999.99 -- how stupid do they think we are? And yes, they are right: we are that stupid because it works!

Once I bought a washing machine with the price of $599.99 -- I told the sale person: "Thanks god it wasn't $600 -- I couldn't have afforded it!". She stared at me, not understanding the irony!

So why does $2999.99 work with the majority of the population?

Business wouldn't do it if it didn't -- they have an army of psychologists and test groups to make sure of that.

It doesn't get much dumber than that!

Back to simple arithmetic: don't underestimate its importance. You may whip out your calculator when you want to figure out how much change you are due, but without a feel for numbers you won't have a red flag going up in your mind when you are being screwed by your government, by business, by banks, by credit card companies, because you don't feel that the numbers don't work out because you don't know how to do a quick ball-park estimate. You just say: it was done by computers, it must be right and keep on trucking. No wonder most of us, most of the time, consistently vote against our own self interest.

Take 99 times 99 for example. You should immediately know that the result should be just under 10,000.

For precise answer you need some basic intelligence to realize that you can do it by (100 x 99) - 100 + 1 = 9801.

Part of our survival skills (in any culture from cavemen to today) is pattern recognition and numerical estimates. The cheetah needs it when chasing an antelope. So does the caveman. So do you when you look at your tax return.

Our culture discourages it (even treats it with contempt) because they (the numerical BS artists) want to eat you alive. When politicians start throwing billions around in their speeches, they don't expect the audience to contradict them because they know: people's minds freeze when they hear big numbers and the media very rarely takes them to task.

John Stewart and Steven Colbert make fun of them all the time and we have a good laugh because we think it is a joke. Well, the joke is on us.

When I was growing up, most of our high school class knew how to do estimates on 99x99-type problems.

And, after we grew up, many of us still know how to use computers, design simple websites, do simple database programming or use an iPhone. And we still know that the square of any 2-digit number ending with five can be obtained by multiplying the first digit by one higher and ending it with 25.

Can any of you prove it algebraically?

I know, you don't need to.

But it is fun!

From where I am sitting: we are dumber than we ever were. The result proves it: just look at the state of the world, sliding toward extinction in an accelerating way.
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12-03-2013, 05:58 PM
RE: Is the Bell-Curve shifting to the left?
Hard data people, or you're all just old and crotchety.

There are undoubtedly skills that have waned in importance in our society, replaced by new skills. However I'm not aware of evidence that intelligence or any overall measure of skill in society has shifted. Every generation has made these claims about the generation that followed, but I don't see the end of civilisation out my front door.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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