How stupid are you compared to your great gramps?

Aaron

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Are We Dumber Now?

The Internet has revolutionized the world. We have unprecedented access to nearly unlimited amounts of information. While this is indisputable, are we really dumber than ever? The answer isn't that simple.

IQ test scores have increased an average of 3 points per decade during the 20th century.

If measured on an unadjusted scale, the current generation would have IQs more than 20 points above those of their grandparents.

However, IQ doesn't tell the full story. Stanford geneticist Gerald Crabtree argues that people now are dumber than ever. Crabtree controversially argues that human intelligence peaked before the rise of the hunter-gatherer:

"A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his or her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate"

So while there isn't a consensus on if we're dumber today, we want to present this debate in a relatable way - Let's take a look at standard American curricula for the past century. Think you can pass your grandma's test?
http://www.valorebooks.com/100-years...we-dumber-quiz

Click the "Test yourself" button at the top right. And no cheating/Googling or using a calculator!

I got 4/10, two of them being educated guesses.
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chaos

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That shit was mad easy, yo. If that's all my grandpa had in him, then he can fuck right off.
 

Haast

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I got every math/science question right (no calculator) and every grammar/history question wrong. Guess it's good I'm an engineer.
 

Tuco

I got Tuco'd!
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That shit was mad easy, yo. If that's all my grandpa had in him, then he can fuck right off.
Yep.

Also history/grammar tests aren't very good estimations of IQ.

As for the underlying purpose of the thread, I've read a lot that would suggest that modern man adapted more to specific diseases than intelligence and we may, in fact, be dumber and less perceptive than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. But I doubt that would correspond to them somehow being more able to adapt to our current scenario. Otherwise you'd probably hear stories of current native tribes leaking out super-humans into our society.
 

ZyyzYzzy

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8/10. Got two history questions wrong, which are useless. Memorizing facts is so much less important than understanding and applying critical thinking skills.
 

hodj

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http://graphics8.nytimes.com/package...arvardexam.pdf

The Harvard entrance exam from the late 1800s.

Good luck!

The New York Times recently unearthed a Harvard entrance exam from 1899, and man, is it ugly. The text spans three major disciplines-classical languages, history and math-and requires its victims to jump through flaming hoops in topics like Greek Composition, Random-Ass Geography, and Hard Numbers. Take, for instance:

[in Logarithms and Trigonometry] 9. Find by logarithms, using arithmetical complements, the value of the following:
[(0.02183)2 x (7)2/5]/[?(0.0046) x 23.309]

Remember, folks, there were no calculators in 1899. Nor, apparently, was there mercy.
[In History and Geography] VI. Leonidas, Pausanias, Lysander.

Evidently this is a question, not just a list of people you've never heard of. Oh, wait, we've heard of Leonidas-but that's only because we've seen 300, which someone living in the 1800s would most likely not have seen. Wonder if you'd get partial credit for identifying Lysander as "that dude in A Midsummer Night's Dream."

[In Greek Composition] [Insert ancient cryptic mumbo-jumbo here]
Hey, it's all ???????? to us. Can you imagine if this were on the SAT?

Speaking of the SAT, it's hard to tell whether the replacement of questions like "bound the basin of the Po" with ones like "find the noun in this sentence" has been a good or bad thing. A good thing for us, certainly, because if we'd been forced to draw the route of the Ten Thousand on a map in order to get into college, we'd have been working at the 1899 equivalent of a Chick-Fil-A faster than you can say "Gay Nineties." But perhaps not such a good thing for the overall intelligence quotient of our nation's youth, which would unquestionably have been strengthened by the knowledge of "Pharsalia, Philippi and Actium." All of which, by the way, sound like sleep medications.

In an interesting final coup, Columbia Spectrum columnist Thomas Rhiel has noted that the 1899 Harvard entrance exam pales in comparison to that of Columbia, which apparently required knowledge of French, German, and the following works:
Milton's Paradise Lost, Books I and II; Pope's Iliad, Books I and XXII; the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers in The Spectator; Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield, Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, Southey's Life of Nelson, Carlyle's Essay on Burns, Lowell's Vision of Sir Launfal, Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables, [...] Shakespeare's Macbeth, Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America, De Quincey's The Flight of a Tartar Tribe, [and] Tennyson's The Princess.

Times sure have changed, haven't they? Back then you actually had to read all these books in order to get anywhere in life. Now all you have to do is Google the ending and lie. Yeah, sorry we're not sorry.

http://www.ivygateblog.com/2011/04/y...rvard-in-1899/
 

Selix

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The history questions kicked my ass mostly because the history I learned was cultural and self-taught. I can recognize the questions easily enough to know where to find accurate answers but I never bothered to memorize them permanently. Public school teachers did shit all to inspire kids to learn "white" history as it was called and most of the time it was memorize facts for a test and then forget it all the next day. Fucking American public schools.


That said I have a college degree and can balance an account book. Pretty sure I beat gramps just by avoiding jail and three baby mamas.
 

Comrade Araysar

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"Bound the basin of the Po" - sounds like they are referring to the city of Rome.

Did I get in?
 

Flank_sl

shitlord
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I got the the history and literature wrong. Embarrassingly, I also got the two human biology questions wrong.

I am waiting for the above Harvard math question to be answered here, as I suspect that if you use a modern calculator you will get it wrong anyway (see previous debate in FSR thread about multiplication by juxtaposition).

Gah, 10 year old me would of been all over the above division, but 30 year old me has grown to be fucking stupid. My effort using only Notepad, but it's really inaccurate. I just cannot divide anymore
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[(0.02183)2 x (7)2/5]/[?(0.0046) x 23.309]

0.04366 * 2.8 = 0.112248

0.068 * 23.309 = 15.6421012

0.112248 / 15.6421012 = 0.007

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wonderguy101

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I am probably the biggest retard when it comes to history, literature, and sports. If its not medicine, science or pop culture then I'm useless. Or fucking. I know that too.
 

Himeo

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Math and language parts were easy. The history parts I went .500 on. I get the point the author was trying to make but it really wasn't that hard.

Not speaking for people in general, but I've outsourced my knowledge of trivia to the internet. If I need to know something I only care about understanding how it works. Except for math (I think everyone should pass entry level calculus if they want to be educated). When I want the details, I search google and have them in 10 seconds. Suck on that Grandpa.
 

Falstaff

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my great gramps went to the school of hard knocks. he would call me a pussy for taking a test like this to try to prove anything.
 

Gravel

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In an interesting final coup, Columbia Spectrum columnist Thomas Rhiel has noted that the 1899 Harvard entrance exam pales in comparison to that of Columbia, which apparently required knowledge of French, German, and the following works:
Milton's Paradise Lost, Books I and II; Pope's Iliad, Books I and XXII; the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers in The Spectator; Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield, Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, Southey's Life of Nelson, Carlyle's Essay on Burns, Lowell's Vision of Sir Launfal, Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables, [...] Shakespeare's Macbeth, Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America, De Quincey's The Flight of a Tartar Tribe, [and] Tennyson's The Princess.

Times sure have changed, haven't they? Back then you actually had to read all these books in order to get anywhere in life. Now all you have to do is Google the ending and lie. Yeah, sorry we're not sorry.

http://www.ivygateblog.com/2011/04/y...rvard-in-1899/
I thought this was a pretty stupid point, made even worse when the author throws in shit about movies. He's absolutely right that no one had TV or movies back then. And you know what the upper class (the target of Ivy admissions) had? Books! And all the fucking time in the world to read them. You're essentially talking about a group of people who have nothing better to do but get tutored in these subjects for their entire adolescent lives in preparation for college. It's not a fair comparison to make.
 

cosmic_cs_sl

shitlord
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I got 7/10, but some of the questions are bad. All I remember is what is "skin," but there are many layers of skin, each with different functions, anyway whatever.
 

Skanda

I'm Amod too!
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I fail to see how using my brain to adapt and find solutions on the internet is not a sign of intelligence.
Because you can't hunt food for yourself. Therefore you must be stupid when compared to our ancesters. So stupid, in fact, that you, and all of society, are probably incapable of relearning such skills should the need ever arise because they are clearly well beyond your capabilities.

Don't fight it. Just revel in your newfound insight into just how stupid we really have become.