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Debate Info

39
44
Yes, the masses are better No, individuals are better
Debate Score:83
Arguments:38
Total Votes:106
Ended:05/18/08
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 Yes, the masses are better (19)
 
 No, individuals are better (19)

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Do large bodies of people have better collective judgement then individuals?

Surowiecki vs Canetti!

Yes, the masses are better

Side Score: 39
VS.

No, individuals are better

Side Score: 44
Winning Side!
3 points

With appropriate standards, requirements and restrictions in place, a group can collectively express the numerous and varied points of views to direct a more logical goal than any single individual.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
instinctive(6) Disputed
0 points

YEAH..

BUT YOU CANT RESTRICT THEIR INDIVIDUAL BIASES AND CONTENTIONS...

IT WOULD ALL BOIL DOWN TO THEIR IDEA THAT SHOULD BE FOLLOWED OR THEIR SUGGESTION THAT SHOULD BE UPHELD...

MORE TIME WOULD BE SPENT IN DELIBERATION AND ARGUMENT THAN THE ACTUAL PROGRESSIVE PROCESS OF LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER OR SOLUTION...

Side: No, individuals are better
aceslick911(11) Disputed
1 point

Individual biases should not affect a properly structured group of individuals. Obviously if there is no structure and the decisions are purely relied on a democratic-voting-like system then biases will dominate the decision making process however this is irrelevant for a structured mass as their ability to provide diverse and unique arguments assist the logical process more effectively than a single individual's wisdom which once again falls to pray of bias.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
2 points

Individuals typically act in their own self interests. Any societal benefit just comes from them trying to look good because that benefits them later on.

When enough individuals are making decisions together, their individual self interests average out and make decisions that are better for society. The problems the US is having aren't because society has voted for war or certain economic plans, it's that small groups of greedy people are making the decision.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
Loudacris(912) Disputed
5 points

Not always true though. For example, look at the stock market. There is a greed-is-good mentality (i.e. people act in their own self interests) but it doesn't always turn out to be a good thing. There are bubbles, there are crashes, there are scandals, there are worthless sub-prime loans rolled up in CDOs!

Side: Yes, the masses are better
bjcefola(38) Disputed
1 point

What would the internet be if there had not been an internet bubble?

Side: Yes, the masses are better
2 points

I think as a whole the decisions made by the masses are better than those made as an individual. When you have a diverse group of people you get opinions that tend to differ from your own. While you may think you're always right, the fact is that there are many smart people out there whose opinions could help you make a better decision.

That's the beauty of this site. I get to hear everyone else's opinions on some very important and controversial topics and then formulate my own perspective.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
2 points

He is right, the problem with most issues today is that not enough questions are being asked. With a diverse population, greed and corruption does not go unpunished.

Side: No, individuals are better
instinctive(6) Disputed
1 point

EVERYONE DOES THINK THAT THEY ARE RIGHT..

AND WHEN YOU PUT THEM IN A GROUP, THEY TEND TO INSIST THEIR VIEW..

AND WITH THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU CAME UP WITH?...

IT'S BETTER TO CARRY IT SINGLEHANDEDLY THEN REVISE IF NEEDED BY CHECKING OTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SAME SORT...

Side: Yes, the masses are better
bjcefola(38) Disputed
1 point

The method of "aggregation" matters. You are implying an aggregation based on consensus- everyone goes into a room and talks it through until they reach something everyone can agree to. That is not the only possibility however.

Voting, particularly anonymous voting distances the decision from the sway of group dynamics and permits individuality while still creating a group decision. Stock markets work the same way.

Side: Yes, the masses are better

This is a close one, on the one hand, the super organism is much more 'cognitive' than individuals, however mob mentality is also dangerous. At the end of the day, i think the super organism must win out, because ultimately while individuals may fail, the society will continue and if the society has made a bad decision, it is to the detriment of the whole society, and thus it tends to to make small mistakes as many individuals 'correct' the direction. However, that said, sometimes society can be seriously misguided and vote for stupid, narrow minded morons. (Yes. Him.)

But trust in the ants.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
3 points

When the alternatives are pathological liars it's really no surprise (in reference to the second to last sentence).

Side: No, individuals are better

mmm, yes, well, then prehaps representative democracy isnt the best option. Always a few flaws in every system.

Side: No, individuals are better
1 point

A large group of informed people will have better judgment than an equally informed individual. That said, the masses tend not to be very well informed (although the internet is helping to change that).

Side: Yes, the masses are better
1 point

mmm, no, not necessarily. Refer to swarm intelligence (again)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarm_intelligence

The masses dont really need to be that intelligent to do intelligent things, although things do tend to be more intelligent the more intelligent the mass, the correspondence is not neccessarily linear.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
Szechuan(101) Disputed
2 points

From your wiki link:

"The inherent intelligence of swarms has inspired many social and political philosophers, in that the collective movements of an aggregate often derive from independent decision making on the part of a single individual. A common example is how the unaided decision of a person in a crowd to start clapping will often encourage others to follow suit, culminating in widespread applause. Such knowledge, an individualist advocate might argue, should encourage individual decision making (however mundane) as an effective tool in bringing about widespread social change.:

Why did that one person start clapping? If it was for a good reason, then the whole swarm is smart. If it was for a dumb reason, then the whole swarm is really, really pathetic. Your link presents a stronger argument in favor of individual judgment, methinks.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
instinctive(6) Disputed
1 point

"A large group of informed people will have better judgment than an equally informed individual"

FAULTY ARGUMENT!

INTELLIGENCE IS NOT DEPENDENT ON NUMBERS

A GROUP OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE WILL HAVE THE TENDENCY TO OVERRIDE OR UNDERMINE OTHER'S CONTRIBUTION FOR SELF-ADVANCEMENT...

IT'S A DIFFERENT STUFF TO BE KNOWLEDGEABLE AND TO BE WISE...

THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE 1 PRESIDENT, 1 PRIME MINISTER, 1 DRIVER, 1 CEO....

YOU GET ADVICES, OK! BUT A BETTER JUDGMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE WITH INSTINCT..

AND THAT SELDOM HAPPENS IN A GROUP WHERE COMPETITION AND SURVIVAL IS COMMON HIDDEN AGENDA..

Side: Yes, the masses are better

Yes, just look at the politicians the majority elects. Oh, wait....

-j

Side: Yes, the masses are better
11 points

Diversity of opinion and independence are two of the 4 characteristics of a "wise crowd."

So, yes, under perfect conditions, a large body of Individuals probably can make a decision much better than one individual. The problem is that groups inevitably bring with them a psychological dynamic that tends to discourage individual views and independent thinking.

Knowledge is the key. Groups are unavoidable and can be beneficial, as long as everyone understands the importance of protecting alternative viewpoints.

Supporting Evidence: The distinction between a (en.wikipedia.org)
Side: No, individuals are better
2 points

Good theory. Do you think that the groupthink psychological dynamic be contained or mitigated at least?

Side: No, individuals are better
2 points

I think simply understanding it goes a long way toward mitigating its effects.

Side: No, individuals are better
1 point

I don't think it is absolutely neccessary for all units of a while no know everything in order for that group to function optimally, mostly because swarm intelligence shows us that, individuals following a very simple set of instructions, without knowing anything of the whole, contribute to making the whole work much more efficiently.

Side: Yes, the masses are better
Szechuan(101) Disputed
0 points

The question was regarding the capacity for judgment of groups vs individuals - which I read as the ability to make smart, humane choices. Not to simply perform work of some kind.

That reminds me of another debate elsewhere, in which offshore outsourcing was praised for it's salutary effect on an abstract entity known as, "the economy." My question, then as now, is: what about the human cost? The Nazis were infamous for their "efficiency."

Side: No, individuals are better
4 points

Group Thinking is always determined by going with the majority. whoever can can make the majority tow his/ her line in a group and make collective thinking look far inferior to decisions individuals can take. Sometimes the silent minority might be right. Lets take some examples. India-Pakistan partition; The 2 World Wars. My point is simple. Collective thinking has to have some converging point of view and this view would come from ONE influential individual in most cases.

Side: No, individuals are better
2 points

"Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance." Groupthink = Bad.

Side: No, individuals are better
1 point

Men in Black:

A person is wise. People are fools.

Side: No, individuals are better
0 points

An individual capable of rising to the position of power within a group will generally direct the group towards more positive goals

Side: No, individuals are better

People with large bodies are not better than little individuals.

Side: No, individuals are better