Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Contrary to rumor, things are not getting worse’

Return to article »

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Casa Grande, AZ

Very true. I don't know if professor Davis has a book out but I've read some of Steven Pinker's works and it's amazing that our pessimistic assumptions are so natural yet they are completely wrong.

We are safer than humans have ever been, be happy about it. Now there's a subject, happiness has remained flat for all our progress and lack of running from lions. We could learn a lot about that subject and start measuring gross national happiness like Bhutan does. Isn't that the goal?

Dietrich, ID

In both conservative and liberal op eds you hear how worse it is. Walter Williams and in some instances Cal Thomas celebrate things like that. Thing is I think much of it is selective memory. People have been talking about how much worse there children and grandchildrens morals are for centuries. If that is true then we would be real bad now.

Thing is since Cain killed Abel there always has been evil in the world. But also good. I think most people go to school and work unharmed. We just hear about the harm. There are bad people but I don't think it has gotten worse as a whole. More and more young people serve, aren't embarresed to hug each other after a competition and are great kids. I hear whats on tv 20 years ago would not be on today. Any proof or does that sound good. Discovery, Nasa, Learning and history channels on. With few stations soaps and sleazy talk shows were on frequently.

As it is getting worse that sounds good to say but is not based on bias. When I teach High priests we will be nobler compared to our grandchildren.

Hayden, ID

Professor Davis must have left out Detroit, Washington DC, New York and Chicago in his study. Not pessimism, just honesty.

omni scent
taylorsville, UT

Mountainman: thank you for that example of "Some anecdote offered as evidence" to prove Prof. Davis point.
Or, if you really were trying to make an argument, perhaps you can provde some supporting arguments or evidence, as Prof Davis requests. Do you have the figures for Detroit, DC, NYC, and Chicago?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Great letter!

I don't suppose it has anything to do with what radio or cable TV shows one views to for their opinons...

Thosee that report the news of reailty,
The one's that skew, mis-report, sensationalize, and entertain -- for the sake of the highest ratings and the most $$$.

one old man
Ogden, UT

We're probably not much worse off than we ever have been. But if the GOP is allowed to have their way, we WILL be.

Hayden, ID

@ Omni Scent. Google "cities in America that have the highest murder rates". Things may be getting better in some places, but not everywhere. That was my only point.

Centerville, UT

Thank you, Professor Davis.

I think that focusing in the negative displays a lack of gratitude to God.

And Mountanman, according to New York's police commissioner, homicides in New York are at a low not seen since the Kennedy Administration.

Wanda B. Rich
Provo, UT

What does Professor Davis know? I happen to have it from very reliable sources that EVERYTHING is getting worse. I saw it on Fox News and read it in Krauthammer's columns. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way." --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


Statistics can be made to say the darnedest things; examine them carefully, including those in this article. See what they say and don't say, how conclusions were reached, from whence the figures and what the just conclusions.

I must say that I heartily endorse the statement of Thomas S Monson regarding the great disparity between church standards and the world's standards, a disparity that previously did not exist. I also noted the reference made by Melvin Ballard that today's women, nationally, aged thirty and under, had babies when unmarried. These certainly are great changes.

Lafayette, IN

We are 16 trillion dollars in debt with 87 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities. I believe this is not good.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

“We have every reason to be optimistic in this world,” President Gordon B. Hinckley has said. “Tragedy is around, yes. Problems everywhere, yes. You can’t, you don’t, build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen” ~ President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995.

“Things will work out’ may well be President Hinckley’s most repeated assurance to family, friends, and associates,” noted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “‘Keep trying,’ he will say. ‘Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out’” (Ensign, June 1995, 4).


Fine - whatever:

You follow your Prophets of Gloom and Doom on the AM radio.

I will listen and follow the true and Living Prophets in the Ensign.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

What an outstanding letter! I'm so grateful for the good sense and wisdom Professor Davis has chosen to bless us with.

Salt Lake City, UT

"cities in America that have the highest murder rates".

Two things:
1. Having the highest murder rates now doesn't necessarily mean those cities aren't improving compared to where they were 20-30 years ago.
2. Chicago's homicide rate spiked 40% after the Supreme Court swiped at gun bans. Thanks a lot gun wingnuts.

Deep Space 9, Ut

I think Professor Davis cherry picked his data points.

For example, Unemployment rates look great at 7.8%, however, when you consider that over the past 4 years we have had a steady decline in the Labor Participation rate. That has dropped about 3% during the same time.

How about those marriage statistics? Marriages are measured in marriages per 1000 people. If the number of marriages decreases, the number of divorces will decrease also. Plus, the statistic he quotes is bad because if you look at the past 70 years, the number of divorces is increasing.

Teen sexual activity has increased, when compared with 1970's rates when it was at 40%.

The professor is instigating lies or half truths at best. Either way he is not being honest even with his own examples.

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "LDS Liberal" i have a few questions for you since you "will listen and follow the true and Living Prophets in the Ensign." Why don't you?

The prophets have stated that Socialism and Communism are of the Devil, yet you support those.

You also believe in Moral Relativism, another thing that the prophets have declared as a false teaching.

You believe that drug use should be legalized, eventhough the Prophet has stated that we should fight for legislation to curb drug use.

Maybe you should say that you follow the prophet when you agree with him.

In 1998, President Hinkley let us know that rough times were ahead and that we needed to be prepared for future conditions to worsen. If things are better now than they were before, why do we need to be better prepared for things to get worse?

Also, that quote you use does not say that things will get better or were better than they appeared to be, only that we should look at the prophecies being fulfilled and look forward to the Great Day of the Lord.


OK, let's look at this:

1. Teen pregnancy rates lower than in the 40's? Is it pregnancy that is bad? We all know that birth control has increased exponentially and married teens, are, generally, having smaller, or no, families. How many of the teens were married that were pregnant? That statistic is more pregnant with meaning. That wasn't mentioned in the article of course.

2. "The percentage of teenage girls who have had sex has declined from 51 % to 42%". How do / would you know that? you have given no attribution even of your source.

3. "The abortion rate among teens has been falling dramatically in recent years". Don't people use the "morning after" pill these days. Who wouldn't avail themselves of a pill rather than endure an abortion?

What else have you got professor? Bring it on!

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . things are not getting worse"

Here's betting the stats are from 2008 or 2009. It normally takes that long for statistics to become available.

Since then, though, we can all attest to the fact that incomes have remained flat. The local housing market is up only a little. The local unemployment rate -- not as bad as the national average, but not good, either -- has not fallen substantially.

But --

National debt? Nearly doubled.
Taxes? Going up substantially, even if there's a GOP surrender regarding the "cliff."
National bond rating? Down.
Children born out of wedlock? 40.8%
Medical care, student loans, home loans, the auto industry? Expropriated, in whole or in part, by a bloated, unaccountable government.
Real protections of real people regarding government debt limits, religious freedom, military readiness, defense of marriage, environmental extremism, illegal immigration and our traditional freedoms? All under attack.

It may be comforting to fixate on that rose-colored rear-view mirror, Doc, but, for most of us, it's not the past we worry about.

It's the ever-more uncertain future.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

"Criticism, faultfinding, evil speaking—these are of the spirit of the day. To hear tell, there is nowhere a man of integrity holding public office. Criticism is ...the cultivator of rebellion...

I come to you tonight with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we try to "accentuate the positive."

...that you turn from the negativism that so permeates our modern society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom you associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my wise father would say: "Cynics do not contribute. Skeptics do not create. Doubters do not achieve." ~ President Gordon B. Hinckley



Everything being broadcast by Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Levin, KRNS ect. and sometimes even MSNBC -
[...I've integrity to admit it happens on both sides.]

[There's a reason it's called hate-radio. I remember some said the LDS church had apostisized when KSL dropped airing them.]

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments