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Author Topic: The Dumbing of America
Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 07:53      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"'The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself.' Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/15/AR2008021502901.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Excellent article -- particularly in light of the "Dumb and Dumber" politics of conservatism in the USA today.

Maybe now we can find out how The Wizard of Oz defeated the Nazis at the Alamo.

CP

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 08:01      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
People who say that the people of the US are becoming dumber are full of it.

Americans have always been stupid.

[Wink]

--------------------
"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 08:24      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
__________________________ CP I am sure that you remember when US Companies were offered foreign investment tax credits, in fact if they invested enouh abroad they would get money from the IRS instead of paying in. Well I believe that it has come full circle, American industry is now in the trashcan because they did not invest enough in the US and now they can not compete with the outside firms.

Those fences better go up soon to keep us from leaving to greener pastures

--------------------
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 08:45      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
_______________________ Ashitaka I would like to debate your statement but I can see both sides now. Every body here has seen or gotten a Nigerian Scam at some point, how ever I belive that they are not working as well as the senders had hoped. As Evidence I present the latest Scam:

Dear Friend,

Your e-mail address was found among the list of foreigners that have been scammed by Nigerian and African fraudsters.

it might interest you to know that the Nigerian government in collaboration with the united states government signed an agreement with the united nation, during our last general assembly meeting last month, in attendance was the Nigerian president alhaji umaru musa yar'adua and the fbi to fight against this and to return all contract funds that has been stolen and people who has been scammed too.

a total sum of (180,000,000.00) one hundred and eight million has been mapped out for compensation of the victims and for settlement of those that has genuine claim from Nigerian government.

Endeavor to provide the listed information bellow directly to the chairman of the due process commission dr William Derek through his email address and contact telephone:
Name: dr r William Derek private e-mail address:[email protected]
All you need to forward to him is your payment data and your contact information bellow:

Your full name.......................................
Your home address....................................
Telephone number.....................................
Your occupation......................................
Country..............................................
Payment data.........................................
Amount expected......................................
Any form of identification of you...............
How much money spent so far..........................?

we demand an urgent response prior to this matter and to work with us to enable us track those miscreants and send their information to the fbi and security agencies to carry out actions in the us immediately because those miscreants have some agent all over the country and we are now working with the internet operators such as yahoo mail, hotmail, aol, the Nigeria police and also the economic financial crime commission (efcc) so that the scam can be eradicated in this part of the world.


Note that you are to take care of the Courier Shipment Fee and Customs Stamp Duty Fee
CONTACT PERSON:

Your prompt compliance to this directive will enable this agency conclude the release of your funds.

Yours sincerely,
Dr.William Derek
Due process commission
Abuja -Nigeria

It seems as if they want me to believe that if I give them this info I would get my money back. (what money I never sent any) but that is beside the point. People are greedy and looking for something for nothing,

Along this same thread how much more than a US Dollar has the Canadian Dollar risen?

--------------------
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 08:56      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
_______________________
Along this same thread how much more than a US Dollar has the Canadian Dollar risen?

It is not as low as it was.

1.00 CAD

=

0.998403 USD

(from xe.com)

--------------------
"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 10:58      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
People who say that the people of the US are becoming dumber are full of it.

Americans have always been stupid.

[Wink]

Uh huh...so what does that make you?

Nyah-nyah. [Razz]

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ASM65816
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Icon 4 posted February 17, 2008 11:15      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm so disappointed the "Liberals" haven't complained about this article.
quote:
  • Intolerance Is Wrong -- That means intolerance of STUPIDITY is wrong. Stupidity must be accepted as special but equal.
     
  • It's Self-Esteem That's Really Important -- A test that shows someone does not know basic math RUINS SELF-ESTEEM. To ruin a person's self-esteem is wrong. Therefore testing in the education system has been modified through the years to "preserve self-esteem" (good grades even for the very stupid). Using a test to find out what a person doesn't know and then focusing on that subject matter -- that is Sooooo Insensitive.
     
  • Anything Can Be Done with Enough Programs -- It is sooooo wrong to assume that a person of Non-Functioning Brain Tissue can't win a Nobel Prize or be the best chess-player in the world. That's why it's so important to spend millions and millions and millions of dollars "educating" people who lack the intelligence to properly feed or dress themselves.
     
    Note: This is the "Make a Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear philosophy."

 
..... just some observations.   [ohwell]

As for the Opportunity to Learn in the US -- the Chinese still send a lot of their people to American universities to learn.

--------------------
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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 11:59      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
People who say that the people of the US are becoming dumber are full of it.

Americans have always been stupid.

[Wink]

Uh huh...so what does that make you?

Nyah-nyah. [Razz]

Just anouther stupid monkey.

<insert quote about wisdom being realizing how much you don't know>

--------------------
"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 12:56      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
I'm so disappointed the "Liberals" haven't complained about this article.

Yes ASM, you often complain when our actual views don't conform to your bizarre parody of what we think.

Now, go buy a ute.

--------------------
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 13:26      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
People who say that the people of the US are becoming dumber are full of it.

Americans have always been stupid.

[Wink]

Uh huh...so what does that make you?

Nyah-nyah. [Razz]

Just anouther stupid monkey.

<insert quote about wisdom being realizing how much you don't know>

Poor Ashitaka, took a job at a science lab near Geneva, and thought he'd be going here

No-one warned him Illinois was so hilly, and so full of dang furriners. [Wink]

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 13:28      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
___________________TFD truthfully Ashitaka really nailed with his

<insert quote about wisdom being realizing how much you don't know>

--------------------
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 14:02      Profile for Beast Girl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like the article, especially the following quote:
"That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge."
In my opinion, this is where the key is. ignorance in itself, if the person is above mental retardation, can always be fixed. but when the said person is convinced they do not need to know anything more than they already do, there is no way they'll stop being ignorant. it's something like babysitting a spoiled rotten 5 year old, except this 5 year old gets to make an impact on the politics of one of the,if not the most, powerful country in the world.
this attitude is also closely connected to having a completely closed off mind, which I can connect with a lot of fear and hate going around these days. worst of all is that with this arrogant attitude people leave themselves vulnerable to any batshit crazy ideology. like say what happened in the dark ages in europe, with mass hypnosis over witches.

now, I'm not an american, and have never lived in usa, so I can say that this syndrome isn't specific only for america. it's spreading all over the world like a cursed lethal virus. I think that so far it is most pronounced in usa, but the way things are going so far.. I'm not too optimistic about the rest of the world either.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 17:17      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
I'm so disappointed the "Liberals" haven't complained about this article.
quote:
  • Intolerance Is Wrong -- That means intolerance of STUPIDITY is wrong. Stupidity must be accepted as special but equal.
     
  • It's Self-Esteem That's Really Important -- A test that shows someone does not know basic math RUINS SELF-ESTEEM. To ruin a person's self-esteem is wrong. Therefore testing in the education system has been modified through the years to "preserve self-esteem" (good grades even for the very stupid). Using a test to find out what a person doesn't know and then focusing on that subject matter -- that is Sooooo Insensitive.
     
  • Anything Can Be Done with Enough Programs -- It is sooooo wrong to assume that a person of Non-Functioning Brain Tissue can't win a Nobel Prize or be the best chess-player in the world. That's why it's so important to spend millions and millions and millions of dollars "educating" people who lack the intelligence to properly feed or dress themselves.
     
    Note: This is the "Make a Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear philosophy."

 
..... just some observations.   [ohwell]

As for the Opportunity to Learn in the US -- the Chinese still send a lot of their people to American universities to learn.

You appear to be arguing that we should be less tolerant of stupid arrogant ignorant people.

Be careful what you wish for! [Big Grin]

--------------------
"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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LoneWolf
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2008 22:00      Profile for LoneWolf     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"...consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth..."

I am speechless.

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2008 02:37      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LoneWolf:
"...consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth..."

I am speechless.

Along the same line of thought, look around you at all the people who think they are the center of the universe.

CP

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ASM65816
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Icon 2 posted February 18, 2008 18:16      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
February 17, 2008 17:17

You appear to be arguing that we should be less tolerant of stupid arrogant ignorant people.

Be careful what you wish for!

Conventional wisdom has been on "my side" for about 3000 years.

As an example (which has been used several times), suppose a man kills (or attempts to kill) someone because the "deceased" did not agree that god gave man the right to beat women.

  • Fact: People of the same religion often disagree on what scriptures mean; therefore, it's likely people of the same religion would end up killing one another.

Conventional wisdom for thousands of years has been: Willingness to kill another human being over a "difference of opinion" is unacceptable, and generally considered "evil."

  • Fact: Murder has been a crime for a very long time.
  • Fact: Societies where polytheism existed accepted others with different opinions on god.

My arguments have generally been:
 
  • The Ideology behind Islamic Terrorism is Clearly Evil.
     
  • The time where Islamic terrorism could be "tolerated" has passed, and now it's time to eliminate it.
 
You can contradict me and say "the ideology of Islamic terrorism isn't necessarily evil" or "people should be more tolerant of Islamic terrorism," but that would indicate you're totally clueless (stupid), or you're a sociopath.

FYI: The phrase "I didn't say they were good" is a very weak method of refusing to recognize evil.

--------------------
Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2008 19:09      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ASM, I'm sure I could get them to paint go-fast stripes on that ute for you.

And there's probably just enough room in the cargo area for some of those really big doof-doof speakers.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2008 20:27      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
LoneWolf wrote:
"...consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth..."

Hmm... took some digging, but it turns out that it wasn't the National Science Foundation that came up with that 'fact'... it was a Gallup Poll of 1016 people. Supposedly 16% in Germany and 19% in the UK answered incorrectly as well.

That said, I'd like to know if anybody knows even -one- person who believes the sun revolves around the earth. I'm pretty sure everyone will answer no.

Not that there aren't stupid people in the world, but I wonder if what if they really found is the percentage of people who are smartasses who intentionally give stupid answers when asked stupid questions.

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ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2008 20:52      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Part I: Religion as a Cause of the Problem?
quote:
from article:
Hofstadter saw American anti-intellectualism as a basically cyclical phenomenon that often manifested itself as the dark side of the country's democratic impulses in religion and education.

If Hofstadter (who died of leukemia in 1970 at age 54) had lived long enough to write a modern-day sequel, he would have found that our era of 24/7 infotainment has outstripped his most apocalyptic predictions about the future of American culture.

The proportion of 17-year-olds who read nothing (unless required to do so for school) more than doubled between 1984 and 2004. This time period, of course, encompasses the rise of personal computers, Web surfing and video games.

If religion is such a major part of the problem, why is it that two things that have no relation to religion ("24/7 infotainment" and "Web surfing and video games") are symptoms of the problem?
 

Part II: Learn (verb, transitive) - FYI: No One Can Do It for You
quote:
A good teacher learned me English.
The sentence above is grammatically correct -- however, it is quite wrong.

Even an excellent teacher will fail to teach pigs to sing.

A person can learn not to touch a hot stove -- however, as a teacher, the hot stove has no intelligence or skill.

FWIW: When it comes to failure -- good old-fashioned laziness will get you there almost every time.

--------------------
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2008 21:02      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
...and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Walt Disney beat the Chinese at the siege of Stalingrad.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2008 06:26      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Speaking of dumb and America:
http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=4934988

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Icon 12 posted February 19, 2008 08:15      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
About elitism being considered a bad word, especially for presidential candidates, there an easy way to turn it into a compliment. The candidate just has to say:

"I have been accused of being elitist. Well, I wish for this country to be the best in the world, and I will break through the limits of 'acceptable' to make it happen. If this is being elitist, then I am proud to be so!"

Immediate translation: "I will do all the hard work, you will reap the reward." Longer-term term effect: a strong leader who can inspire others to also go beyond "acceptable". (That is, if s/he also walks the walk, once elected.)

Of course, it takes someone who has ideals to start with, rather than the recent genus of politicus pollmanagerius: those who will support the most popular idea as identified by the day's survey, even if against their own beliefs.

Anyway: I'm not American, I can't vote (and don't specially wish to*) in american elections, and it seems we won't have an election here this spring either. So whatever I say, nobody will remember it when my voice will count.

*A recent survey showed that a 15% of Canadians would give up their right to vote in canadian elections to get to vote in american ones. After American electing Bush twice, I can see some reason behind it, but not to the point of giving up a voice in an something that concerns me (and my fellow canadian citizen) more directly. Especially knowing that Canada's population is only 10% of the US' one. Ah! but I am an elitist, so I guess my opinion doesn't count! [Wink]

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2008 15:22      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ASM sweetypops this little emoticon here [Big Grin] should have told you that I was making a cheeky joke.

To hold your world view and in particular your beliefs about the evil that lies at the heart of Islam, you have to take a very partial reading of history, fed to you by wacky right wing hate sites, and prefer that view to anything you might read in newspapers that actually have to check their sources, or that might come from academically respectable historians, or Departments of Comparative Religion. Indeed to justify this at all you have to believe these people are all engaged in some conspiracy (either unspoken or overt) to cover up the truth.

You claim that you are not a paranoid conspiracy nut, but that´s several steps too far for me. Even your views on the UN echo those of possibly the most famous right wing organisation for paranoid conspiracy nuts, the John Birch Society.

I hope you get well soon.

--------------------
"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2008 20:25      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Many of the posters in this thread need to understand that the result of the process of "The Dumbing of America" means that there are Americans on the receiving end.

Reading a few responses I get a sense that a prime example of the results of this "dumbing" is still unabashedly putting his dumbness on proud display. We should be honored to have such a fine specimen to examine so closely!

Also on topic, anybody see that Hillary Clinton has declared that "Words don't mean anything"? Sound's like Gee-Dubya is channeling Slick Willie's wife, doesn't it?

Time to burn the library?

CP

--------------------
Free! Free at last!

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ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2008 23:08      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Part I: Sources of Information
quote:
February 19, 2008 15:22
you have to take a very partial reading of history, fed to you by wacky right wing hate sites

When I said it was wrong for an Islamic court to sentence a man to death for disagreeing with their interpretation of the rights of women as defined by scripture:
  1. The source was not a "wacky right-wing hate site." -- TFD referenced an article ("Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights") from The Independent (UK news).
     
  2. As for my very low opinion (view) of the UN -- Essentially every news agency reported on massive corruption related to the Oil for Food program. (Once again, respected news sources, not "wacky right-wing hate sites.")
 
If you were capable of honest self-analysis, you would see that you have quite a case of denial.
 

Part II: "Get with the 20th Century"
quote:
To hold your world view and in particular your beliefs about the evil that lies at the heart of Islam
WAKE UP!!!! ... The Western world stopped burning witches long ago.

However, in a certain part of the Muslim world, people are sentenced to death for "crimes" which defy reason and justice just as much as the "crime" of "witchcraft" did in the 18th century and earlier.

Note: Before you say "ha ha, ASM doesn't know 2008 is the 21st century" -- no, I'm being generous. If they could follow concepts of justice and morality that had developed by 1901 CE, then their behavior would be far more acceptable.
 

Part III: No One Makes Someone Else Dumb (generally speaking)
quote:
February 19, 2008, 20:25
Many of the posters in this thread need to understand that the result of the process of "The Dumbing of America" means that there are Americans on the receiving end.

People are not "dumb" because they were shot with a "Dumbness-Ray."

People are not "dumb" because someone cast a spell on them from the "Moron-i-nomicon of Black Magic."

FACT: There are so many stories of poor or disadvantaged individuals that "beat the odds" and became immensely successful, that it's impractical to count them. Self-taught is a term frequently associated with many of these people.

If you really think that an education at the most prestigious schools makes someone smarter, then start your sentences like this:
quote:
Donald Rumsfeld is smarter than me because he went to Princeton ... but I think ______
[ohwell]   Somehow I have a feeling nobody will be starting their sentences that way........

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

Posts: 1035 | From: Third rock from sun. | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged


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