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Canonball's avatar

Does Asia out preform Europe and the USA in coming up with new theories?

Asked by Canonball (17points) April 27th, 2010

The average IQ in south east/ east Asia is slightly higher than Europe and the USA, and it is stereotyped and true in what I’ve seen that they work harder in school and college, thus getting a better education.
But I’m struggling to think of many theories these Asian countries have come up with in the sciences.
Is it true these Asian countries excel in teaching their students applied knowledge but the students struggle in thinking outside the box and coming up with new theories compared to Europe and the USA?

I also seen a video on this but it looked slightly old, late 80’s.

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11 Answers

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

IQ doesn’t directly translate to new ideas. South east Asia modifies what’s been done and improves it, generally, which does involve new ideas and new ways of using old ones, which is a creativity all its own. I think this is part stereotype and part cultural. Theories aren’t necessarily the best gauge of knowledge or originality. I assume also you’re only referring to south east Asia and not Asia, south Asia, etc. The Russians, for example, probably out-pace the US in new theories.

wundayatta's avatar

The cultures in Asia have traditionally emphasized conformity and similarity, not individuality and difference. To create new ideas (such as not using the phrase “think outside the box”), you have to be allowed to experiment with differentness. This is harder to do in societies that encourage sameness.

Thus, in my opinion, that is a major reason why Asian cultures do not provide as much push towards scientific progress as other cultures. However, I do believe this is changing as more Asians are educated in the West and bring their new ways back home with them.

jfos's avatar

Judging by this, England is the flavor of the week. Pretty damn amazing.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Also, south east Asian architecture is pretty damn forward thinking.

Snarp's avatar

There are 1.1 billion people in India and 1.3 billion in China, not to mention the rest of south, southeast, and east Asia. That adds up to more than twice as many people as all of the U.S. and Europe. Eventually there will be more and better of everything coming from Asia on numbers alone.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

The video you watched was probably before the collapse of the Japanese economy. Before that, Japan was the power of Asia and many people were legitimately worried that they were going to take over the world (economically and industrially speaking, that is). Things have changed.

If you think about it in terms of recent developments and technology, Asia doesn’t seem to be outperforming the West. All of the major technologies we use today (cars, iPods, cell phones, computers and Internet, etc) were developed in the West – mostly in the USA.

I can’t say much for China since I’m not very knowledgable about that country, but what Japan in particular excels in is taking pre-existing ideas and improving on them. They have been doing this since the beginning of their civilization. They took from China their writing system, currency, and political system, and over time developed that to be something quite efficient and uniquely Japanese. They did the same thing in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, when they sent scholars to the West to learn about Western technology, industry, economics, politics, education systems, etc. and incorporated them into their culture with an alarming degree of success. The same thing happened during Japan’s “economic miracle” days, when they would purchase patents and other technological information from the United States and utilize them with extreme efficiency and quality.

However, another thing I have heard (but I’m not sure quite how true it is) is that the extremely demanding educational system in Japan wears out their students to such a degree that by their college years they spend most of their time in bars, bullshitting their way through college. In the 1990’s a family friend of mine went to some big convention of university doctorate projects from around the world, and most of the ones from Japan were just ridiculous (in a bad way).

Things have definitely changed since that video was made. With the increased modernization of China and India, Asia may well begin to lead the way in producing new ideas and technology. If you say that 1% of humans are complete geniuses (I’m making that statistic up, but it’s probably around there), that means there are 11,399,649 geniuses in India, 13,246,550 in China, and only 3,070,065 in the USA. Whether those geniuses have the education and opportunity to create major new ideas, however, is a matter all in its own.

Canonball's avatar

You have seem to confused new theories with new technology, of course some of this new technology can be based off new theories but can also be applied knowledge.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Canonball I don’t confuse them, but I was mainly using technology as an example of innovation, either theoretical or applied. Are you talking more about theories of physics or the other sciences? Or more philosophical theories?

There are certainly lots of theories being researched in Asia. Probably the reason you haven’t heard of lots of them is that scientific theories, especially those not of the West, don’t usually make the nightly news unless it’s something really major. Try looking up scientific publications and you’ll find a lot of stuff with Japanese authors on the front page.

mrentropy's avatar

I’m partial to Asia. America is okay, too. But not Europe; if I hear “Final Countdown” one more time I’ll gag.

Snarp's avatar

@mrentropy LOL. Asia sucks. Saw them live a few years back and they really needed to hang it up. They just don’t have it any more.

mattbrowne's avatar

Not yet. But this might change by 2020. Here are some hard facts

Asia isn’t there yet. But many young people are highly motivated and hard-working while young folks in the EU or US think math is uncool. Big mistake! We will pay dearly for this.

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