603: Idiocracy

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
(Explanation)
(Explanation: The comic is written in American English with American spelling, so this page should follow.)
Line 14: Line 14:
 
It is the revealed however, that White Hat does not at all assent to the dysgenic thesis. Instead, he denies any basis for such assumptions. He then accuses Cueball of a quasi religious conceitedness. He states that, through all times, self-professed moralists condemning societal decay were in fact more harmful to society than decay itself.
 
It is the revealed however, that White Hat does not at all assent to the dysgenic thesis. Instead, he denies any basis for such assumptions. He then accuses Cueball of a quasi religious conceitedness. He states that, through all times, self-professed moralists condemning societal decay were in fact more harmful to society than decay itself.
  
Cueball tries to reason that a {{w|birth control programme}} would be the solution, but he is cut short by White Hat, who leaves with the remark that reproducing with a stupid person is absolutely preferable to reproducing with a stupid and conceited person like Cueball.
+
Cueball tries to reason that a {{w|birth control program}} would be the solution, but he is cut short by White Hat, who leaves with the remark that reproducing with a stupid person is absolutely preferable to reproducing with a stupid and conceited person like Cueball.
  
 
Cueballs suggestion of birth control might perhaps indeed indicate that he is considering himself superior to others, while not seeing his own deficiencies. The comic therefore links the phenomenon of radical moralism to the {{w|Dunning-Kruger effect}}.
 
Cueballs suggestion of birth control might perhaps indeed indicate that he is considering himself superior to others, while not seeing his own deficiencies. The comic therefore links the phenomenon of radical moralism to the {{w|Dunning-Kruger effect}}.

Revision as of 19:33, 28 July 2013

Idiocracy
People aren't going to change, for better or for worse. Technology's going to be so cool. All in all, the future will be okay! Except climate; we fucked that one up.
Title text: People aren't going to change, for better or for worse. Technology's going to be so cool. All in all, the future will be okay! Except climate; we fucked that one up.

Explanation

The title of this comic is a reference to the dystopian comedy Idiocracy. The film postulates that over about 500 years, society will suffer from a massive decrease in intellectual potential. This development is attributed to the fact that people with a lower IQ are believed to be more fertile and thus better able to pass on their genes. The scientifical approach towards a negative correlation between intelligence and fertility is called intelligence dysgenics.

In the comic, Cueball professes his approval for the theories represented in the film. White Hat agrees with him at first, lamenting the menacing decay in intelligence and education.

It is the revealed however, that White Hat does not at all assent to the dysgenic thesis. Instead, he denies any basis for such assumptions. He then accuses Cueball of a quasi religious conceitedness. He states that, through all times, self-professed moralists condemning societal decay were in fact more harmful to society than decay itself.

Cueball tries to reason that a birth control program would be the solution, but he is cut short by White Hat, who leaves with the remark that reproducing with a stupid person is absolutely preferable to reproducing with a stupid and conceited person like Cueball.

Cueballs suggestion of birth control might perhaps indeed indicate that he is considering himself superior to others, while not seeing his own deficiencies. The comic therefore links the phenomenon of radical moralism to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The thesis that there is in fact no such thing as societal decline can also be found in the title text. It is suggested there that both human capabilities and defects will remain the same, while technology progresses. However, a rather gloomy outlook is given with regard to climate change.

Transcript

[Cueball looking at a DVD cover. Guy with a white hat standing next to him.]
Cueball: Idiocracy is so true.
White Hat: I know, right? It used to be that the intelligent, upper classes had more children.
White Hat: Sadly, the recent reversal of this trend has dragged IQ scores and average education steadily downward.
Cueball: Depressing, huh?
White Hat: Yeah, except everything I just said was wrong.
Cueball: Huh?
White Hat: Wrong. False. The opposite of true.
White Hat: Your'e like the religious zealots who are burdened by their superiority with the sad duty of decrying the obvious moral decay of each new generation.
White Hat: And you're just as wrong.
Cueball: But look at how popular--
White Hat: More harm has been done by people panicked over societal decline than societal decline ever did.
Cueball: Look -- all we need is a program that limits breeding to--
[White Hat is walking off panel.]
White Hat: New theory: Stupid people reproduce more because the alternative is sleeping with you.


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

This explanation seems to be incorrect. The key point was that White Hat actually was wrong! The average education has gone up, and the average IQ cannot sink! By allowing Cueball to agree with clearly false laments, he baits him into revealing his stupidity. --Quicksilver (talk) 19:58, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

The title text pretty much spells out that, in Randall's mind, White Hat is correct. 199.27.128.66 06:14, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

I propose that the hatted figure is not in fact White Hat, as neither the hat shape nor the personality are consistent with other appearances. (Category:Comics featuring White Hat‏‎) The real White Hat, when he speaks, is generally a bit of a wet blanket or well-meaning buffoon. This one, whom I'll dub White Derby, is speaking counter-buffoonery, what we may reasonably guess to be the actual thoughts of the author. Usually Cueball fills this role (eg 258:_Conspiracy_Theories), and in fact if the roles here were reversed I'd tend to ignore the misshapen hat. But two and two, together, well... --66.114.70.139 18:39, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Eh. He hasn't appeared in any other strips, and it's not too harmful to put him under the umbrella of the real White Hat. I see your point; White Hat is no longer a generic character like Hairy, but an actual recurring one.
Also, have Black Hat and White Hat ever appeared in the same comic? (Click and Drag doesn't count.) Alpha (talk) 09:08, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
White Hat is not this Safari Hat guy and this has been corrected recently. Also recently in 1708: Dehydration White and Black Hat appears together and Black Hat actually reacts in a discussion White Hat has begun. See more under the explanation for Characters with Hats. --Kynde (talk) 19:56, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

So, does this page qualify for Complete now? 199.27.128.66 05:36, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Sorry Randall. You're wrong here. IQ can change. Just because there is a mean for the IQ of the current population, doesn't mean that average can't shift over time. And if we used to be cavemen then either the IQ did shift, or we've always been this smart, which means we couldn't have evolved.

In this case, IQ is exactly the same as morality. Both shift ever so slightly over time, such that the mean is always the acceptable "norm". You can't feel this shift unless you study it. The difference is that morality exhibits locality, so morality shifts slower or faster depending on the subsection of society. Thus you have people who believe they are more right than others, but no one believes they are outright wrong (as a culture). Proof in the pudding is doing a poll on the population as to how smart they think they are. They always rate themselves such that the mean is shifted 1 or 2 deviations up. Same thing with morality. People all espouse a morality that they think is 1 or 2 deviations greater than the standard, whether they are a religious sect or secularists.

But the short of it, a population mean doesn't imply the mean never changes.Cflare (talk) 21:12, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

While IQ can change, the way you're explaining it is not the way the Cueball or "White Hat" is explaining it. In fact, "White Hat" never explicitly states that IQ doesn't evolve at all; just not to the depressing trend Cueball here thinks it does. Anonymous 23:04, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

In fact average IQ cannot change. The average IQ of humanity is always 100, because that is the definition of the IQ scale.108.162.216.129 01:15, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

"IQ" per se is simply what IQ tests measure. There's no law that says any specific test that purports to be the best measure of IQ is the gold standard. In the US and many (perhaps most) other English-speaking countries, the Wechsler and Stanford-Binet scales are the most popular. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is the IQ test most commonly used (for adults) by neuropsychologists. It's re-normed every few years (e.g., WAIS-III becomes WAIS-IV, then WAIS-V, etc.). In "re-norming" each question is studied and perhaps refined, some are dropped, and new questions--sometimes entirely new subtests--are added. The method of calculating the IQ is often tweaked as well. Re-norming involves administering versions of the test to thousands of people and using statistics to determine the one to keep. Obviously the same pool of test-takers is not used every time in a process that goes on decade after decade. It's not unusual for test questions to become more difficult and what's considered to be an average score to be a bit higher in the new edition than in the old. This has been interpreted to mean that people are getting more intelligent, but that's not the only possible explanation. (Also, the test is not normed on "humanity" but on a tiny subset of earth's humans.) Oh, and your IQ is not a number carved in stone, so to speak, but a best-guess that falls within the range of scores you'd be expected to earn if (theoretically) you took the same test multiple times.Npsych (talk) 10:20, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

If there is reason for climate change it is almost certainly due to the destruction of trees. Any ridiculous assertions about carbon dioxide can not be confirmed or denied and the political machinations about carbon dioxide stem from Margaret Thatcher's war on the coal miners in Britain.

It would be a simple matter to replant forests. All we would have to do is pay for that in higher latitudes and send in drones to deal with illegal loggers in lower latitudes. 20 years or so should sort out most of the problems.

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 17:03, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

I see what you did there... This is the bit where you go "Everything I just said was wrong" --Pudder (talk) 17:26, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Elitism is an eminently more desirable trait than stupidity to breed into one's offspring. An elitist might be hated, but he will be *competent*; he will *accomplish things*, while a stupid person will harm themselves and others through their stupidity, often remaining well-liked in spite of being cancerous and toxic to everything nearby. Elitism is the bitter taste of medicine which will make you better; stupidity is the delicious candy to which you will become hopelessly addicted at a formative age, leading to a miserable lifetime of diabetes and an early death by heart failure. I only wish I intended to reproduce, so that I could practice what I preach on this regard. 173.245.54.52 19:28, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Changed the text in the first paragraph because the movie never implied that people with lower IQ were more fertile, it clearly stated that they were more likely to reproduce due to lack of education, absence of planning, and general negligence with regards to the consequences of their actions. If you disagree with me on this, go watch the movie again. Or just the first few minutes which explains this in detail. -Pennpenn 108.162.250.162 05:08, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

So... what else does this explanation need to be considered complete? Edo (talk) 23:24, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?