Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yay for college.

I'm enjoying my classes, for the most part. Of course my English classes--Creative Writing and American Literature--are a blast. My Government professor is a riot, and as always I love German.

The one class which I do not totally enjoy is Music Appreciation. This is because it is full of morons.

We use i>Clicker remotes to answer multiple choice questions that the professor places before us with a projector. These questions always concern themselves with the class material which we have JUST gone over, no more than ten minutes ago. No one should be able to get them wrong.

But oh, how they do. There is always at least one person who gets it wrong, oftentimes two or more.

I simply do not understand. Our class consists of one hundred and twenty-six college students, presumably all high school graduates, who should be able to write things down and remember them five minutes later.

So why can't they? What is so hard about this?

Nothing. It is exceedingly simple. There is no reason concerning the class material that says these people should not be able to answer simple questions correctly.

Ergo, the only problem which I can see lies with the student. This brings me to a question:

Why don't people care if they are stupid?

I doubt I'll ever have an answer. But I would love to hear my readers' take on this issue. (Yes, all five of you.)


  1. Ignore the stupid people. I love you and that is all matters. :D


  2. Well, maybe some people aren't that smart. But at least they are at college trying to learn. Music appreciation or remembering stuff short term may not be some people's strongest point. Like math or history might not be someone's strongest point. Don't diss people so much just because they are not as smart as you are. You are lucky to have the intelligence and knowledge that you have. Other people don't. I know plenty of people who would be just as bad in college classes, but they are sweet, wonderful people. So until you have been where that person has been, please refrain from bashing them and looking down on them for their lack of intelligence.

  3. I love you too, sweetheart, but you know that I can't ignore them. That would make me ignor-ant. (Hehehe.)


    You make an excellent point, mystery person. However, why should I respect someone who does not even put forth an effort to do well? You maintain that they do, but you are not in my class (at least to my knowledge), so I believe I have more of an insight into this mess than you.

    This class doesn't involve any critical thinking, and hardly any memorization. All one has to do is write down what the professor says--and hardly that, because all the notes for the class are online.

    These people may not have the greatest short-term memory, but they can sure take notes as well as I can, and look at them during the question sessions.

    I am very thankful for my mental gifts. They enable me to do so much, and that includes understanding the mindset of a modern college student. I am an acute observer of the human animal, and I will attest that most of these people are not individuals, and thus that it doesn't matter where they have been. They have only been where everyone else like them has--nowhere new or exciting.

    Yes, each person has their own individual tragedies and triumphs, but they all kind of blur together in those large groups of culture-clones.

    And besides, I'm not bashing them. Much. I merely wonder why they are apathetic about their own lack of intelligence. I have heard quite a few people own that they are not intelligent, and simply don't care.

    I don't understand it. That's what this blog is about. I think we got a little off-topic, but that's perfectly fine. I look forward to your reply.

  4. You yourself do not know whether or not the people in that class are trying to do well. Granted, you may have heard some of them testify to the fact that they are stupid and do not care, but I am not talking only about the people in your class. I was more generalizing in your apparent arrogance of your own intelligence and disdain for those who are less intelligent than you. That disdain seeps through your writing. And maybe some of these people want to see how well they remember the material without looking at their notes instead of using their notes to simply relay back the information. The latter is a rather mindless drone activity and relates nothing about the intelligence of a person. Congratulations. You can write something down and look at it again. Also, not everyone has the drive to do well in music appreciation, a class that probably few care about to begin with.

    I, too, have been in classes where we use PRS Transmitters (clickers) to answer questions before or after class, and many times people get questions wrong that I think are simple. However, that gives me no right nor reason to pass judgement upon them. Many subjects, such as math, come rather easily to me, while not so easily to others. Should I pass judgement on those who fail a rather elementary math course? Should I pass judgement on the fact that I know some of those same people either don't know that they are rather unintelligent or don't care? By your standards, clearly I should.

    You attest that you are an "acute observer of the human animal" but therein lies another faulty assumption. First of all, now you are equating your own self to a mindless beast who roams the earth living only to eat, sleep, and breed. Well by that definition, we are all clearly rather stupid. Secondly, you are doing more than observing. If you were only observing, you would simply relate the facts. That there are questions in class, and some people miss them. Qualifying the questions as easy or hard and then the people as smart or stupid are more than observations. In addition, what makes you such a great observer or analyzer? Do you have some prior education into the human mind that I do not know about? Maybe you do. Somehow... I doubt it.

    Moreover, it was mostly your disdain for those who are less intelligent than you and your arrogance that you are so much better than them that bothered me. No one will ever understand the human mind or why some people care while others do not, but that does not give you reason to pass judgement upon them. While you may or may not have meant to, this is what it seems like you have done.

  5. What it seems like you have done, mystery person, is called 'ad hominem.' Ad hominem means that instead of refuting the opponent's argument, you merely attack the opponent's character. You even admit to generalizing--both of these are severe logical fallacies.

    If, however, writing something down and then looking at it is a "drone activity," shouldn't anyone be able to do it? Truly, though, taking notes shows intelligence. One may know oneself not to have a wonderful short term memory--thus, one takes notes to avoid failure.

    Yes, I do have a certain disdain for people with moronic tendencies, but this comes from many years of psychological abuse at the hands of idiots.

    As for your judgments, they are yours to dole out when and on whom you will. I wouldn't presume to tell you how to live your life. (Also, I'm terrible at math.)

    No, I do not have any kind of formal education into the human mind. However, I have made my own observations and gathered information over a long period of time. Instead of education, I have experience, although I will own that much of the time, one without the other is fairly useless.

    As for being a mindless beast, so what? The only biological purpose of life is to make more life. Humans are a member of the Ape family--we are animals. We are animals with a heightened sense of consciousness, but we are still animals. No more, no less. We do roam the earth, some more than others. We do eat. We do sleep. And goodness do we breed. We have invented everything else--things like speech and culture.

    I'm not passing any kind of moral judgement on these people. I do not think they should be exterminated or otherwise affected, by any means. I simply wish that they would attempt to better their intellectual situation. The only judgement I am passing is that stupid people are stupid, and I don't understand why.

  6. If you had been paying attention to your own argument, you would already have an answer, O Acute Observer of Man. Anyone who has studied the behavior of any animal should know that short-term pay-off wins over most everything else. These people, "morons" as I believe you would label them, have simply prioritized their biological imperatives above academic pursuits. Did you not say, "We do eat. We do sleep. And goodness do we breed,”? You know this to be true. They feel no need to "better their intellectual situation" because they feel that it would bring them no happiness.

    This is where your lack of understanding is rooted. You find happiness in pursuing obscure knowledge and specialized skills, and you can't see how anyone wouldn't want the same. You don't understand how anyone would fail to enjoy that feeling of superiority. This is because not everyone is a compassionless elitist like you are.

    And sadly, I anticipate that you will embrace this label unabashedly. The way that you condescend to explain logical fallacies after assuming that they are foreign to your audience makes this perfectly clear.

    BTW, pointing out your shortcomings is only a fallacy if it fails to logically support the argument, which it does not. Secondly, making a generalization would only constitute a fallacy if it was not admitted. Also, succumbing to a "distain" for persons who display a set of attitudes and behaviors because of poor treatment from other persons who display similar attitudes and behaviors shows that it is you who are guilty of gross generalization.

  7. I love how these mystery people keep popping up with no indication of who they are. (Huh. I wonder if you two know one another at all.) Regardless!

    Where is the short term payoff in not paying attention in class? If you care enough to attend, why not bother to participate? It's graded, after all, although a very small grade. If they were skipping class to copulate, and I had written a blog about that, your argument there would make sense, but right now I don't see exactly how it is relevant.

    But after that! You make a marvelous point! They don't think it will make them happy. Astounding.

    You're right again that I thoroughly enjoy gaining knowledge and skills, although not always obscure kinds. I don't do it for the superiority, however, and I am not compassionless. Compassion is vital, and you wouldn't catch me without it. Again, I don't think that stupid people should be exterminated or otherwise differently treated as a group. And now I understand--it's about happiness.

    No, I will not accept your label for a variety of reasons. One: you know me only through my writings here, which is obviously not well enough to cast judgment on my moral character. Two: I have more compassion that even I know, especially for those who cannot change their own situations. In other words, you are guilty not only of ad hominem, but also of a faulty assumption based on lack of information--which you can hardly be held accountable for, but nonetheless.

    As for ad hominem, it's ad hominem regardless of whether or not it supports the point, which it does not appear to me to do. Also, how is an implied generalization worse than an explicit one? They are both generalizations.

    How is that last a generalization? Even the way you put it, it sounds perfectly logical. Group A, who display attitude X, have been assholes to me for many years in the past. Group B also displays attitude X, as well as many other similarities. How, then, is it illogical to assume that I could very possibly be mistreated at the hands of group B? (Mind you, since I left high school, I can avoid group B, so it's not a problem. I still don't see your point though.)

    But wow! You have actually shown me that precious reason I was after in the first place! Thank you!

  8. Amusing how you assume that minion does not know you except through these writings. I also wonder if your first comment is sarcasm or not.

  9. Interesting conversation here and all have good elements. Ethan, you are being unabashedly elitist, and likely for the same reasons that I make similar types of comments. It's frustrating sitting in classes (or at the front of them as is my case quite often too) and seeing people in those classes who can't seem to do basic arithmetic - much less algebra - or who seem to lack basic skills in logic or study and yet somehow they received a high school diploma and earned entrance into a university. Not only that, but they also seem to have this expectation that they should be getting B's and A's and if they don't then it was the professor making the course too hard. I'm still stunned by these attitudes. Isn't algebra, much less arithmetic, a requirement for high school graduation? Isn't four years of writing and literature? How did these people graduate high school if they couldn't do these things?

    You can cry that it's not their fault and therefore the colleges need to correct for this lack, but that's faulty reasoning. The buck -MUST- stop somewhere and the student held accountable for their own education. Education is, after all, an active endeavor on the part of the student, not a passive one. It is a ridiculous expectation on the part of these people that the professor should explain to them everything that they need to know in class, and that they should have to merely sit there in class and receive their A or B. My thoughts are that such people shouldn't even receive a D.

    Again though, I'm an intellectual elitist and feel that college and university is for academia. If you're looking to get a certificate to get a "job" then that's what tech schools and apprenticeship programs are for. College and university level work should, for the most part, be about expanding your mind, your intellectual ability, and furthering human knowledge.

  10. Hmmm...I got cut off due to length, so here's the rest.

    Getting back to the point then, yes, Ethan, I feel your pain. If these people aren't in those seats to expand their minds and avidly, voraciously expand their base of knowledge and understanding, then why are they there? That's the whole point of a college degree unless colleges have become nothing more than glorified tech schools which is something I'm seriously beginning to wonder about. That said, if they are not there for that expansion of knowledge...then they shouldn't be there. They should stop wasting tax payer money and free up a seat for someone that is there for that.

    From here on though I have to agree with your "mystery" commenters. You are a bit compassionless, not that I have much room to talk. I've made similar comments. Again, it's hard not to when faced with someone that asks the same question every class period or can't be bothered to pay attention during the lecture and so must be hand-held through the lab to get it done and yet they don't take the lessons to heart and correct their own errors in behavior. Even so let's face it, they've been sold a bill of goods. They have been told that the best career they can hope to have if they don't have a college degree is behind the counter at McDonald's. Few of them go out before they graduate and make sure that such is the case and society certainly doesn't make it easy for them to find out anyway. You simply -MUST- have a college degree. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it's what they've been told and they believe it.

    Beyond even that we have a grade school system which has taught them for 12 to 14 years that all that matters is getting the "right" answer. The process doesn't matter. Hell, my daughter isn't even allowed to bring her textbooks home from high school. Homework, after all, somehow puts these poor kids under too much stress. Failing them also hurts their self-esteem. Never mind that the world isn't going to give a damn about their self-esteem, we have to protect it until they're slammed in the face. Never mind too that this leads to a majority thinking that all they ever have to do in class is fill the seat and they'll do fine. Never mind that this leads them to the mistaken conclusion that they're geniuses and if they're not making at least a B then it's the instructors fault. They also don't seem to have had it pointed out to them that a professor is not a "teacher" for a reason. Professors are hired by colleges and universities to do research first. Classroom instruction is their secondary job...hence why they typically only have to teach 9-hours worth of classes each semester.

    Okay, so I got long winded. The point, Ethan, is that your "mystery" commenters are correct: it's not their fault, at least not entirely. They're victims of a broken system, broken for reasons other than what most people think of, and so they've been socialized with certain expectations that are completely unrealistic. You and I should both, therefore, try and be a little more compassionate to them, and instead start laying down massive levels of fire at the people actually responsible: school boards, school administrations, and the supposed "educators" who think they know better than teachers what should be taught and how it should be taught.

  11. Rebecca: Wow, really? That's the best you can come up with? If minion were one of my friends, I would trust him or her to introduce him- or herself to me as my friend. Totally irrelevant.

    Icedragon! Wow! Someone who agrees with me, at least to a certain extent. Thank you for contributing.

    As for being victims, I never said they weren't. And the way you put it, they definitely are.

    However, I went through that same system. I graduated high school with honors even though I spent my senior year here, at UWG. I left high school because not only was it not a challenge, it was flat boring.

    The way I see it, there isn't a single thing stopping anyone from deciding to become more intelligent, and even less stopping them form actually doing so.

    The world is absolutely filthy with information anywhere you look. Also, books.

    Although I will agree with you one hundred and twenty-two percent that the education system is broken. Some perspective on the matter: 57% (the largest percentage of any one agency) of the federal government's 3 *trillion* dollar budget goes to the military. 4% goes to education, and not many things get much more than that. Not only should we call for reform at the level of individual schools, we should also petition the federal government to relegate more than 4% of the budget to education so that school can actually function.

    So yes, they are victims, but so are we all. And even then only to an extent.

  12. I can't disagree with you. It does take a certain amount of drive and "enlightened self interest" to rise out of the mediocrity that society seeks to impose on you. Even if you think you have beaten that, you can't ever be sure. That's something I try to remind myself of too. ;)

    Once upon a time I called the majority of people "sheep." You see, a sheep will happily follow anything that looks like a sheep. Many slaughter houses therefore keep a goat, a white goat, that when they're ready to process a holding pen of sheep, they run that goat through. It knows where to go as far as the conveyors and such are concerned, and so it happily goes through the proper path...with everyone of those sheep behind it. In the end, the goat reaches the end of the belts and gets a nice treat for his trouble. The sheep? They're getting a three-foot spike through the brain pan.

    A friend of mine finally convinced me that this was an insulting point of view and one that also absolved me of all responsibility. Instead I now call people "sleepers," because most are honestly just asleep. They've been handed a routine, a system, that they've never roused themselves enough to question. How many times have you heard the statement, "That's just the way it is,"?

    While this change in terms may still insult many, it does make some important changes. One, it says they're not blind, deaf, dumb, and mute animals with no choice, but that they are simply people who are in need of a good proverbial glass of cold water in their face. It means that I now have a choice of providing said glass of water, and it means that there's hope and something I can do about it.

    To that end I act all crazy in labs. I'm trying to get together a program to take science and hence critical thinking out to the grade schools. I ask tough questions of people in an attempt to make them question what they know and what they believe...all so that maybe, just maybe I'll get one of them to blink awake and yell out, "Grass! I'm eating grass!"

    Okay, so I've read too much Larson and the Far Side and still am not over my whole "sheep" metaphor yet either. ;) I keep waiting for the day that I've been told comes when I'm too old and cynical to be cynical anymore. ;)

    Oh yeah, let me know if you haven't figured out who I am.

  13. Oh, no, I got who you are as soon as I saw your latest picture of the moon (which was excellent, btw).

    Sleepers is much better and more optimistic than sheep. It's also etymologically quite close, which is nice.

    I suppose we just have to keep hoping and striving for that really, really huge glass of water.