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Author Topic: Idiocracy
G2
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Have you seen "Idiocracy"?
quote:
Private Joe Bauers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.
Not exactly a great movie but it has it's moments. But why am I mentioning it? Because the Intercollegiate Studies Institute did a civic-literacy survey of 2,508 randomly selected people and it wasn't good. 71% of Americans failed, the average score was just 49 out of 100 and just 2.6 percent scored B's while only 0.8 percent earned A's.

Within the sample were 164 people that self-identified as elected officials. Their average: 44%. Greeaaaat.

Take the test yourself, see how you do. I tried it and scored 87.88%. I'm not trying to excuse my performance but that test is not a gimme. I missed Questions #7,8 11, 14. And to be totally honest, I guessed at #13: "Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas would concur that:". Still, I'm way better than average.

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scifibum
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I thought that movie was reasonably entertaining. I liked the multi-square mile Costco.

We already did a thread on that quiz, though.

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G2
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That's the 2007 survey from somebody else.

I think I'm gonna rent that movie this weekend ...

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Clark
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Question 8 more or less answers question 2 for you.

I got 28/33 correct, for 84.85%. One that I missed was from failure to read all the options completely. I see that the site reports the average on the test as 77.6%. How is this so drastically different than the 49% average you report? Do only smart people take internet quizzes?

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Everard
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You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

Knew the answer, clicked the wrong letter, on #7.

Fun test.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Clark:
How is this so drastically different than the 49% average you report? Do only smart people take internet quizzes?

Google

You can see the stats for those that were unable to cheat here.

* Less than half can name all three branches of the government.
* Only 21% know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
* Although Congress has voted twice in the last eight years to approve foreign wars, only 53% know that the power to declare war belongs to Congress. Almost 40% incorrectly believe it belongs to the president.
* Only 55% know that Congress shares authority over U.S. foreign policy with the president. Almost a quarter incorrectly believe Congress shares this power with the United Nations.
* Only 27% know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States.
* Less than one in five know that the phrase “a wall of separation” between church and state comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson. Almost half incorrectly believe it can be found in the Constitution.

Americans from all age groups, income brackets, and political ideologies fail the test of civic literacy.

* Americans age 25 to 34 score an average of 46% on the exam; Americans age 65 and over score 46%.
* Americans earning an annual income between $30,000 and $50,000 score an average of 46%; Americans earning over $100,000 score 55%.
* Liberals score an average of 49%; conservatives score 48%.
* Americans who go to church once a week score an average of 48%; Americans who never go to church score 50%.

[ November 21, 2008, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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0Megabyte
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Eh heh heh.

The electoral college question is awesome.

One of the answers is it's a college to train aspirants for high political office.

It'd be awesome if they made such a thing for real!

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swbarnes2
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What does knowing Socrates and Plato and Aquinus have to do with being a good US citizen?

The constitutional stuff I understand, but why so many economics questions?

I missed one. [Frown]

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G2
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The findings are extremely interesting
quote:
Twenty-four-hour cable news channels are not a boon to civic knowledge. Respondents lose 0.08% on their test score for each hour they spend each week watching TV news programs and documentaries.
The more news and documentaries you watch, the less you know about civics and economics. What does that say about the quality of these sources? TV news programs are likely the primary source of information about the economy and politics and watching them leads you to know less about those topics - the more you watch, the worse it gets.
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0Megabyte
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Anyway. I got 31 out of 33 correct. 93.94%!

Can somebody give me a whoot?

Anyway, I missed the one on the Puritans. Then I missed number 27, I think because I misunderstood the question.

Anyway, that was a fairly... easy test. I guess I'm part of the 0.8%... good for me! I feel better about myself as a person, as a voter, and as an American.

I wonder about the other Americans, though...

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scifibum
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Missed 4 - 7,11,15 and 29 (I didn't feel like any of the answers for #29 were any good, the rest I just didn't know.)

I suppose it's nice to remain above average yet unexceptional. [Smile]

[ November 21, 2008, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Lina Inverse
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You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %

I'm kind of surprised; I was guessing on most of the taxes questions. (Didn't even know that counted as part of civics; I don't know why the Puritan question was in there either.) The ones I got wrong were #7 and #12.

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KnightEnder
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I've seen it a couple of times. It kind of sucks you in when you are bored and I was suprised by how much I liked it. Not usually my kind of humor. My youngest Jake walks around now going; "I like money."

I'll take the test later. Nap first.

KE

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LetterRip
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I took the test and missed two, but one of them the answer key is wrong and has no right answer.

The questions are pretty irrelevant though to actual civics, the source of quotes isn't important, most of the history asked isn't important, and it has weak economics questions.

LetterRip

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Mariner
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quote:
What does knowing Socrates and Plato and Aquinus have to do with being a good US citizen?
Presumably because it provides the philosophical background for the Declaration. The answer being (hey! no fair reading this before taking the quiz!) that absolute truths regarding morality can be arrived at through reason is necessary before you can declare one type of government moral or immoral. "We hold these truths to be self evident" and all that jazz [Smile]

Anywho, 30/33, one of which was me being stupid when I shouldn't have been. Oh well. I still got an A.

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Rallan
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30/33 here, and I've never even set foot in America. Although there's two others I guessed and got lucky on, so 28/33 might be a more honest result.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and there's a reason not many people have seen Idiocracy. Twentieth Century Fox were worried that its premise (a dystopia ruled and populated entirely by morons because the world has spent the last five hundred years celebrating and embracing white trash values) would offend the bejesus out of Joe Sixpack, so they buried it. They were contractually obliged to do a theatrical release, but they limited it to 125 cinemas in 7 US and Canadian cities, with no trailers, advertising, press kits, or preview screenings. They did everything they could to make sure it's theater run would go unnoticed, effectively making it a straight-to-video release. And to cap it all off, their decision to bury it means they grossed less than five hundred thousand dollars for a thirty million dollar movie.

[ November 21, 2008, 08:38 PM: Message edited by: Rallan ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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30/33 here. I clicked one wrong.
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Haggis
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32/33 96.97%

I missed #29, too. I had it right and then changed it. Drat.

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scifibum
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quote:
Oh yeah, and there's a reason not many people have seen Idiocracy. Twentieth Century Fox were worried that its premise (a dystopia ruled and populated entirely by morons because the world has spent the last five hundred years celebrating and embracing white trash values) would offend the bejesus out of Joe Sixpack, so they buried it. They were contractually obliged to do a theatrical release, but they limited it to 125 cinemas in 7 US and Canadian cities, with no trailers, advertising, press kits, or preview screenings. They did everything they could to make sure it's theater run would go unnoticed, effectively making it a straight-to-video release. And to cap it all off, their decision to bury it means they grossed less than five hundred thousand dollars for a thirty million dollar movie.
You know, I thought I detected a budget in this movie I never heard of until I happened across it on cable. The special effects and props are actually pretty good. It makes sense now.
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KnightEnder
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29 out of 33 87.88. Eh.

KE

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Funean
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Same here, KE, but I clicked wrong on #30 (how does a government respond to a recession, which I bloody well do know that answer to; I just can't aim a mouse, apparently).
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scifibum
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Welcome to the 29 club.
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jimskater
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30/33

Can't believe I missed #7

Also missed 29 & 33

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Oh yeah, and there's a reason not many people have seen Idiocracy. Twentieth Century Fox were worried that its premise (a dystopia ruled and populated entirely by morons because the world has spent the last five hundred years celebrating and embracing white trash values) would offend the bejesus out of Joe Sixpack, so they buried it. They were contractually obliged to do a theatrical release, but they limited it to 125 cinemas in 7 US and Canadian cities, with no trailers, advertising, press kits, or preview screenings. They did everything they could to make sure it's theater run would go unnoticed, effectively making it a straight-to-video release. And to cap it all off, their decision to bury it means they grossed less than five hundred thousand dollars for a thirty million dollar movie.
You know, I thought I detected a budget in this movie I never heard of until I happened across it on cable. The special effects and props are actually pretty good. It makes sense now.
Yeah they're probably regretting their decision to bury it. It didn't get many reviews at all when it was first released because they made no effort to make critics aware of it, but the few it got were mostly positive. And now that it's on DVD it's apparently becoming a cult classic.
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RickyB
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31/33. Missed two badly worded ones [Smile]
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RickyB
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31/33. Missed two badly worded ones. The levee one and one other, I don't recall. [Smile]

[ November 22, 2008, 05:55 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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hobsen
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You answered 33 out of 33 correctly — 100.00 % [Smile]

Thanks to brushing up my knowledge of such trivia on Ornery. [Smile] And thanks to being warned the questions could be tricky, so I often looked at all the answers and first weeded out the false ones. That generally leads to a higher score on any multiple choice test, as it is hard for test makers to find plausible wrong answers. Students take notice. [Smile]

But the connection between many of these answers and good citizenship seems dubious. Knowing what Lincoln and Douglas debated tests knowledge of American history, not anything of use today.

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RickyB
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So what's the cutoff date? How far back does one have to know to have a decent picture of what's up and how we got here?
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cb
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
You answered 33 out of 33 correctly — 100.00 % [Smile]

But the connection between many of these answers and good citizenship seems dubious. Knowing what Lincoln and Douglas debated tests knowledge of American history, not anything of use today.

Wow Hobsen, impressive. I agree that some questions are more about history than civics. Sputnik? If I was going to teach my kids about civics that would be among the last things I would teach them.


I scored 29 (back atcha scifibum) missing 4, 13, 14 and 26 (had the right answer there but then changed it…think I’d know better).

Jim, a lot of people got stuck on seven. The only reason I knew it is my family has made it part of our 4th of July celebration to read first The Declaration of Independence (the first two to three paragraphs are all my kids could take without willful rebellion), The Gettysburg Address (which we all have pretty much memorized), The Emancipation Proclamation and we sing the Preamble to the Constitution (you know, SchoolHouse Rock style). My husband and I decided we had to do something since our schools don’t even teach civic till HS. My kids regularly correct their teachers (it would be interesting to see where they score on this quiz) on civic matters.

Fun test.

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Greg Davidson
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I was awarded 96.97%, but there may have been an element of randomness as the official "answers" for some of these questions are fairly arbitrary (and certainly arguable).

Even where the questions have factual answers (ie, the quote from the Gettysburg Address) it is questionable how much the answer matters. For purposes of determining civic literacy, much more relevant questions would be specifics about how you vote, jury service, taxpaying, responsibilities for reporting criminal activities. In comparison, most of these questions were esoteric civic trivia unrelated to the understandings needed to fulfill one's civic duties.

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DonaldD
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32/33 - I've definitely been hanging out with you U.S.ers too much.
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hobsen
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The cutoff is not a date, RickyB, but whether the question asks something still shaping decisions today. Manmade earth satellites matter, but I agree with Cb that the fact the first was called Sputnik does not. Jefferson could much better have included the "wall of separation" between church and state in the Declaration of Independence, if he had thought of it, since how high that wall should be has been debated for the last two centuries. And an issue from the time of Lincoln and Douglas could still matter today even if the two men had not found time to debate it on that particular occasion.

OSC would score very high on this test, I think, and Asimov and Heinlein perhaps even higher. Many good writers have been fabulously informed. Steinbeck and his hero Sinclair Lewis come to mind, and it was always a very poor choice to bet on William F. Buckley, Jr. not knowing something.

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DonaldD
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Since a Canadian just scored 32/33 and missed only one of the historical-political-US-specific-factual questions, there's not a lot of room for Asimov to get higher than OSC, methinks.
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hobsen
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OSC would do very well on this type of test, I think, and Asimov and Heinlein perhaps even better.

You are right. I was thinking of their general knowledge, not this specific score. They would have had a hard time doing better than I did on this particular test also.

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Redskullvw
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You answered 30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %

I have no idea why I missed #7, because I knew the answer. But questions 27 & 33 are very poorly worded.

No wonder Ornery isn't as popular as most places. You have most of us getting 90% or better, meaning we are part of that .8% of the sample that can answer intelligently.

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DonaldD
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as far as the bad wording - I didn't find any of the wording bad enough to mislead. Essentially, it is possible to exclude the wrong answers in each of the 33 questions, leaving only one possible good one.

It's important to note that the questionnaire is testing the ability to answer multiple choice exams at least as much as it is the actual 'civics' knowledge in question.

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LetterRip
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DonaldD,

quote:
as far as the bad wording - I didn't find any of the wording bad enough to mislead. Essentially, it is possible to exclude the wrong answers in each of the 33 questions, leaving only one possible good one.
You have to know some fairly specific US history to get the correct answer for quite a few of the questions.

Also it is not so for the economics question, the author could have been wrong in one of two ways - confusing debt with deficit with one possible answer, or excluding the word average from the 'correct' answer.

LetterRip

[ November 23, 2008, 01:49 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Pyrtolin
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30/33
Missed 4,7,27 - I don't think 27 was well worded for anyone that's not explicitly studied economics, though.

Also I only figured out which of the two right answers for 9 was what the test considered right by noting the spin on some of the other economic questions.

( 9- Under Our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
A. Make treaties
B. Levy income taxes

Both are correct, whatever tax protesters may try to claim. Income taxes have been solidly established by the courts to be a type of excise tax (taxes on services performed), which congress is explicitly empowered to levy.)

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DonaldD
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LetterRip: re the economics question: assuming that the question and set of answers was not wrong, then 'debt' was the correct word to use (as I think you see) otherwise there would have been two correct answers.

I agree that "D. tax per person equals government spending per person" is a huge oversimplification and would have been clearer had it been reworded (not by using 'average', mind you) but this wording is correct since the government does not go back and associate expenditures to specific tax receipts.

Pyrtolin: I agree with that one - I dind't even read past the 'A' answer...

[ November 23, 2008, 08:29 AM: Message edited by: DonaldD ]

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RickyB
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Pyrtolin - true, but that (income tax) is a late addition by amendment. Treaties were there from the get-go.
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