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Old 3rd March 2018, 09:45 AM   #1
Bob001
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Americans are dumb.

Americans are too dumb to tell the difference between truth and lies:
Quote:
The real problem is that the United States is one of the least intelligent nations in the developed world. We aren’t good at processing and analyzing information, and that makes us suckers for bots, trolls and all other sorts of disinformation tactics.

We measure intelligence in lots of ways, but at the top of the list is literacy and numeracy. A study published in September 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education found that U.S. adults performed the lowest of all developed nations in numeracy. They also found that our literacy was on the low end of developed nations. Most interesting was the finding that young adults in their 20s from Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan who did not finish high school had the same literacy levels of U.S. high school graduates.
https://www.salon.com/2018/03/03/why...olls-and-bots/
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Old 3rd March 2018, 09:49 AM   #2
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And this is surprising, why?
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:03 AM   #3
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Yay! Another "we hate USA people" thread. Get new material.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:11 AM   #4
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Don't get too uppity lest we send a little Freedom your way.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TheGoldcountry View Post
Yay! Another "we hate USA people" thread. Get new material.
Americans more than anyone else should be worried about declining educational standards and achievement in the U.S.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:14 AM   #6
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This is in USA politics for what reason now?
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
This is in USA politics for what reason now?

From the article:
Quote:
Suddenly the breaking news story is that bots and trolls and other agents of disinformation are not only trying to influence our elections, they are trying to cause conflict among U.S. citizens.
The author contends that American illiteracy and innumeracy make the U.S. political and electoral processes especially vulnerable to false influence.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TheGoldcountry View Post
Yay! Another "we hate USA people" thread. Get new material.
Pointing out a problem is not indicative of hating the people with the problem. You might disagree with the assessment, but the key question is if it is true or not and what one might do about it.

BTW: I am a USA citizen and I neither loath myself nor hate the overwhelming majority of the other people in the USA.

Last edited by Giordano; 3rd March 2018 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The author contends that American illiteracy and innumeracy make the U.S. political and electoral processes especially vulnerable to false influence.
But what if the stupid and vulnerable American people elect a really great president?

The whole premise is based on the country getting a lemon because we are all stupid. Would bots and trolls only be able to cause a bad candidate to be elected?
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Old 3rd March 2018, 10:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
From the article:


The author contends that American illiteracy and innumeracy make the U.S. political and electoral processes especially vulnerable to false influence.
Tangentially, sure. But the focus seems to be educational, or more of a social issue.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:07 PM   #11
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Trump may have come up with a solution to the problem: getting more immigrants from "places like (!) Norway."
Quote:
Most interesting was the finding that young adults in their 20s from Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan who did not finish high school had the same literacy levels of U.S. high school graduates.
Too bad that they don't seem to very keen to go.

Of course, proper education and safe and secure living conditions for everybody are the obvious solutions to the problem, and Trump and the Republicans seem to be diametrically opposed to those ...
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:13 PM   #12
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The reason we need a course in critical thinking in public schools as a requirement to graduate. The most valuable class they'll ever take, imo.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:13 PM   #13
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Maybe Americans could learn more in High School if they didn't have to worry about a maniac bursting in with a gun and shooting them all.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:26 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Strawberry View Post
Maybe Americans could learn more in High School if they didn't have to worry about a maniac bursting in with a gun and shooting them all.
Worse still, learning that this is becoming more frequent and the perpetrator is a law-abiding gun owner until they turned terrorist and their government is hell-bent on not stopping it.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:32 PM   #15
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Jay Leno used to get mileage out of interviewing his fellow citizens on the street. Sure, the real doozies would have been selected. But still, the sheer idiocy and ignorance there revealed was breathtaking. And not just concerning the rest of the world outside the US; knowledge of even basic facts about their own country was sorely absent. Those ignorami could prattle on about celebrity culture like nobody's business, but couldn't name, say, their current vice President. And like as not they'd believe in astrology and other woo.

It's that kind of underveloped intelligence which must make one more susceptible to disinformation programs.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
The reason we need a course in critical thinking in public schools as a requirement to graduate. The most valuable class they'll ever take, imo.
Which is why it will never happen. Those in power now didn't get there by people having critical thinking skills, it's in their best interests to stamp that sort of thing out. Why do you think they defund education, push religion, and denigrate intellectualism? Critical thinking is a threat to the status quo.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 01:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
Jay Leno used to get mileage out of interviewing his fellow citizens on the street. Sure, the real doozies would have been selected. But still, the sheer idiocy and ignorance there revealed was breathtaking. And not just concerning the rest of the world outside the US; knowledge of even basic facts about their own country was sorely absent. Those ignorami could prattle on about celebrity culture like nobody's business, but couldn't name, say, their current vice President. And like as not they'd believe in astrology and other woo.

It's that kind of underveloped intelligence which must make one more susceptible to disinformation programs.
Americans are just stupid people and the ISF is a rare place where it can be talked about. Skeptics are the kind of people who know the score and aren't afraid to say it.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 02:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which is why it will never happen. Those in power now didn't get there by people having critical thinking skills, it's in their best interests to stamp that sort of thing out. Why do you think they defund education, push religion, and denigrate intellectualism? Critical thinking is a threat to the status quo.
This all sounds like the mythical "Them" that are in power. That said, I know there are fundamentalist opponents to teaching critical thinking (see for example,Texas Republicans Oppose Teaching Kids Critical Thinking in School Because It ‘Undermines Parental Authority’). I'd appreciate more references to back up your opinion. Or just doom and gloom away, your choice.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 02:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bob001
Americans are too dumb to tell the difference between truth and lies:
Like evaluating the quality of the articles they read?

Originally Posted by Bob001
Quote:
The real problem is that the United States is one of the least intelligent nations in the developed world. We aren’t good at processing and analyzing information, and that makes us suckers for bots, trolls and all other sorts of disinformation tactics.
If the author mixes up education with intelligence, she has no idea what she's talking about

Originally Posted by Bob001
Quote:
We measure intelligence in lots of ways, but at the top of the list is literacy and numeracy.
Which better translates into "I don't have the faintest idea how they measure intelligence, but the totally unrelated values I'm going to use are the best!"

Originally Posted by Bob001
Quote:
A study published in September 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education found that U.S. adults performed the lowest of all developed nations in numeracy. They also found that our literacy was on the low end of developed nations.
Literacy was only worse in the Slovak Republic. But the USA, Canada and France shared similarly poor values.

That, enough to relative comparisons. In absolute terms, the difference in education doesn't support the hypothesis of the author unless the tests are exclusively oriented to critical thinking, what they're not.

Originally Posted by Bob001
Quote:
Most interesting was the finding that young adults in their 20s from Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan who did not finish high school had the same literacy levels of U.S. high school graduates.
That is an indirect and some way forced conclusion. Which is true is that the gap between high school graduates and those who aren't (up to age 65) is larger for the USA than any other country. That may mean both the elementary school to be very bad in the States, or the high school in the 70s.

Every country lives a period where they pass from a low number of high school graduates with wonderful quality, to a massive level of high school graduates with awful level. Most of Europe lived that during the 20s to 50s and I think the USA lived it from 50s to 70s: there you have the "rotten apples" who bring the average down.

Anyway, a worthy topic for education and not for politics.

Besides, if you call "Americans" stupid you should either a) point what they did massively, repeatedly and systematically wrong, and when, or b) offer a well explained solution that exceeds the level of a platitude.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 02:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which is why it will never happen. Those in power now didn't get there by people having critical thinking skills, it's in their best interests to stamp that sort of thing out. Why do you think they defund education, push religion, and denigrate intellectualism? Critical thinking is a threat to the status quo.
Originally Posted by LSSBB View Post
This all sounds like the mythical "Them" that are in power. That said, I know there are fundamentalist opponents to teaching critical thinking (see for example,Texas Republicans Oppose Teaching Kids Critical Thinking in School Because It ‘Undermines Parental Authority’). I'd appreciate more references to back up your opinion. Or just doom and gloom away, your choice.
I do think TragicMonkey's view is too cynical. I follow Jon Stewart's line of reasoning: all sides essentially want society to succeed, they want everyone to go by their rules, the path to get there is what we are fighting over.

Republicans' worldview is impeding what is necessary for greater society, and they largely don't know it.

War of ideas, like the Cold War of the late 20th.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 03:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
b) offer a well explained solution that exceeds the level of a platitude.

Here you go.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 03:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
I do think TragicMonkey's view is too cynical. I follow Jon Stewart's line of reasoning: all sides essentially want society to succeed, they want everyone to go by their rules, the path to get there is what we are fighting over.

Republicans' worldview is impeding what is necessary for greater society, and they largely don't know it.

War of ideas, like the Cold War of the late 20th.
And don't care from everything I have observed.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 03:33 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
... If the author mixes up education with intelligence, she has no idea what she's talking about
To be fair, she was describing the nation's intelligence, not the intelligence of individuals within it. Using intelligent and educated in that context, they would be synonymous.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 04:20 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
To be fair, she was describing the nation's intelligence, not the intelligence of individuals within it. Using intelligent and educated in that context, they would be synonymous.
Then, why does she use individual test aggregates? The whole thing doesn't make any sense: intelligence is equal to education is equal to ...

The article is more a monument to non sequitur than a serious one. It's just her personal soap box with botched attempts to justify it using hard data. Independently, Usaians might be stupid and prone to be deceived with false promises like a maid servant, but there's no hard evidence of that in the article.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 04:24 PM   #25
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The average American is a drooling idiot. However, nearly all of the top universities of the world are in America.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 04:25 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Americans are too dumb to tell the difference between truth and lies:

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/03/why...olls-and-bots/
"A study published in September 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education found that U.S. adults performed the lowest of all developed nations in numeracy. They also found that our literacy was on the low end of developed nations."

A study?
I prefer my evidence from lots of studies, rather than just one.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 04:35 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The average American is a drooling idiot.
Descended from European immigrants. Then they mixed with each other. We are them on different soil and drinking different water.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 04:56 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Descended from European immigrants. Then they mixed with each other. We are them on different soil and drinking different water.
I always figured it was the fluoride.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 04:58 PM   #29
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I always wondered about our water. Being downstream from a nuclear fuel processing plant might explain some of the local mutations, at least.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 05:02 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Descended from European immigrants. Then they mixed with each other. We are them on different soil and drinking different water.
.....with a dash of Sasquatch, which would explain a lot.
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Old 3rd March 2018, 06:39 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
the U.S. Department of Education found that U.S. adults performed the lowest of all developed nations in numeracy. They also found that our literacy was on the low end of developed nations
This is good news! To compete against third world countries like China and Mexico we we need a cheap compliant workforce, and that won't happen while it's full of smart-alecs who think they are worth more.

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey
Those in power now didn't get there by people having critical thinking skills, it's in their best interests to stamp that sort of thing out. Why do you think they defund education, push religion, and denigrate intellectualism? Critical thinking is a threat to the status quo.
There's only one problem with that theory - it doesn't explain why the people in power so often also lack critical thinking skills.

The truth is, critical thinking is overrated. Skeptics try to identify problems and find rational solutions, but this is usually impossible because people are irrational. If everyone was a skeptic we would never get anything done. Better to simply cultivate naked self-interest (the purest of motives) and let the country succeed or fail by blind luck alone.

Originally Posted by fuelair
And don't care from everything I have observed.
And why should they? Few people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a 'greater' society, and those that do obviously have mental issues. In the end it's not what you can do for society that matters, but what society can do for you. Nobody should be expected to act against their own perceived self-interest.
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Old 4th March 2018, 07:48 AM   #32
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As system structure conditions systemic behaviour we may say that, if something is to be stupid in this scenario, it would be the "American" system, not the "Americans", who simply react to their environment.

And as the "Americans" seem to make good decisions regarding economy, it's not the "American" economy the one who is stupid -much probably on the contrary-. It seems it's the subsystem "American politics" what is there to make millions of people more deeply fool than what they'd become by their sole nature and calling.
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Old 4th March 2018, 10:31 AM   #33
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Here's another look at literacy scores throughout Europe, the US and Canada, and Japan and Korea. As you can see, the US slots in a hair below the median, but above Denmark and Germany, and significantly above France, Spain and Italy (among others).

And I suspect that the Salon writer is not really interested in applying the results of the study to group populations within the United States, to determine the susceptibility to bots, trolls and other deceptive tricks among different races/ethnic backgrounds within the country, based on the group illiteracy and innumeracy rates.
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Old 4th March 2018, 01:30 PM   #34
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But the USA apparently does well for scientific literacy
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0218134322.htm

Worringly, despite this:
Quote:
MSU's Jon Miller said that Americans, while slightly ahead of their European counterparts when it comes to scientific knowledge, still have a long way to go.

"A slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate than European or Japanese adults, but the truth is that no major industrial nation in the world today has a sufficient number of scientifically literate adults," he said. "We should take no pride in a finding that 70 percent of Americans cannot read and understand the science section of the New York Times."
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Old 5th March 2018, 02:32 PM   #35
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As an American, I don't find this surprising, and it is something I have been railing against a lot... But apparently MAGA means Make America Gignorant Again.
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Old 8th March 2018, 12:58 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
But the USA apparently does well for scientific literacy
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0218134322.htm

Worringly, despite this:
I should point out that the article was published more than 10 years ago. Though I doubt that much has changed since.
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Old 8th March 2018, 01:23 AM   #37
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Here is a list even older. A list of countries sorted by scientific literacy.
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-...tific-literacy. Americans are below average of the G7. I think they should be number 1.

Canada is number 5 on the list. Though they claim they are number 1 in 2014. Source http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/ca...ries-1.2749413. If you follow the links you can access the full report.

Some good graphs in that report.
Page 57 "Public Reservations Towards Science by Country, 2011–2013" (One of the few where the USA does well)
Page 58 "Public Support for Government Funding of Scientific Research by Country"
Page 60 "Percentage Identifying Climate Change as a Major Threat to Their Country1"
Page 71 "Public Attendance at Science and Technology Museums by Country"
Page 81 "Civic Science Literacy by Country"
Page 87 "Natural Science and Engineering Graduates as Percentage of Total Graduates by Country, 2011 and 2000" America is way down the list. Interesting the % for many countries has gone down.
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Old 8th March 2018, 05:44 PM   #38
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Today two coworkers confused the Parthenon with the Pantheon. That I could forgive. But in the ensuing conversation it came out that neither knew the Parthenon is in Athens, and one of them didn't know that Athens is in Greece. He did think Rome was in Greece. He's in his fifties and is a college graduate.
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Old 9th March 2018, 12:22 AM   #39
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The USA pioneered the trend of having tens of millions of graduates who know a little about their speciality and zilch about the rest of things. They're called "qualified incompetents".

I regret today that trend has spread to the whole world.
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Old 9th March 2018, 04:00 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Today two coworkers confused the Parthenon with the Pantheon. That I could forgive. But in the ensuing conversation it came out that neither knew the Parthenon is in Athens, and one of them didn't know that Athens is in Greece. He did think Rome was in Greece. He's in his fifties and is a college graduate.

Is this a dreadful thing? I don't know. I do know there are a million things I couldn't tell you about US history that your average 14 year old US schoolchild could reel off. Is it more important to know about ancient Greece? I don't know.

I have similar thoughts about Americans without passports - If I want to go somewhere snowy, I need to leave the country, if I want to go to a desert or somewhere tropical, I need to leave the country. If I want to go see really big mountains, I need to leave the country. A resident of the US doesn't need a passport to get to all that stuff, I do.
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