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the stupid vs. the intelligent

paul wheaton
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    ∞

I just read this and thought I would share:


"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell


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marc weber
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CNN - Confident students do worse in math...


"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
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Dave Lenton
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A few more from Bertrand Russell:

"A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something that he can understand."

"Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education"

"To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level." (But some of them are on Javaranch )

"The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it."


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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  34

"Among the Inept, Researchers Discover, Ignorance Is Bliss" is another study similar to the one marc cited, but concentrating more on right-brain kinds of things (language, humor) rather than left-brain things like math. I think of all the things I've ever read on the Web, this is the link I've shared the most with other people.


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Frank Silbermann
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Posts: 1389
For another example, look at the early rounds on "American Idol."

I guess this weakness means that most people will make better judgements by listening to authority than by trying to think things through themselves.
[ October 24, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
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Damn good link Ernest!
Peter Rooke
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I guess this weakness means that most people will make better judgements by listening to authority than by trying to think things through themselves.

Kind of reminded me of the: Idols of the Theater

Have found out that sometimes best to be "Wise enough to play the fool!"


Regards Pete
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
For another example, look at the early rounds on "American Idol."

I guess this weakness means that most people will make better judgements by listening to authority than by trying to think things through themselves.

[ October 24, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]


That judegement seems suspect...


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Stan James
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I want to be as stupid - and happy about it - as Earl's brother, Randy.


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Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Stupidity and intelligence aren't mutually exclusive.
People can be quite intelligent but focus that intelligence into a very narrow field and be ignorant about everything outside it. But because of their intelligence they don't realise their ignorance and will refuse to admit it.

[edited out political comment]
[ October 26, 2006: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]

42
Frank Silbermann
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I guess this weakness means that most people will make better judgements by listening to authority than by trying to think things through themselves.

Originally posted by Max Habibi:
That judegement seems suspect...
It does go against the modern spirit and my own inclinations, but until a few decades ago it was the most common advice -- the practice (of deferring to authority) could never have become so well accepted if it offered no benefit.

Of course, it's self-serving for those who claim authority to recommend this. But they can accomplish the same by picking and choosing the information they present to the masses, before inviting them to "decide for yourselves." Now that we have the Internet, perhaps people really will have the opportunity to think for themselves, for both better and worse.
Ben Souther
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Joined: Dec 11, 2004
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
"Among the Inept, Researchers Discover, Ignorance Is Bliss" is another study similar to the one marc cited, but concentrating more on right-brain kinds of things (language, humor) rather than left-brain things like math. I think of all the things I've ever read on the Web, this is the link I've shared the most with other people.


I read that when it came out and loved it.
I really like that the authors, in the final paragraph, made a point of expressing some self doubt.

"This article may contain faulty logic, methodological errors or poor communication," they cautioned in their journal report. "Let us assure our readers that to the extent this article is imperfect, it is not a sin we have committed knowingly."


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Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
It does go against the modern spirit and my own inclinations, but until a few decades ago it was the most common advice -- the practice (of deferring to authority) could never have become so well accepted if it offered no benefit.


I think is does offer some benefit: I'm just not how much. I suspect it's a case-by-case thing, based on empirical evidence, correctness of judgement, etc, as exhibited by any given leader at any given time. Generally, I've found that most people, when frightened, differ to authority, and when happy, reject it.

I've always been somewhat the opposite, myself.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
Generally, I've found that most people, when frightened, differ to authority, and when happy, reject it.
I think humans still have a large amount of instinct left over from our more primitive past. Just about all primates tend to stick together as a group and follow the alpha-male when there is trouble around, and humans probably aren't any different in that respect.
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I think humans still have a large amount of instinct left over from our more primitive past. Just about all primates tend to stick together as a group and follow the alpha-male when there is trouble around, and humans probably aren't any different in that respect.
That makes sense. I've read about tactics as applied to both police/SWAT and military, and one thing they agree on is that when you're being attacked the worst thing you can do is to sit there doing nothing while debating the best response. Even the wrong response, if done vigorously and decisively, might work. (In that vein, I've heard of fighter pilot aces say that what they feared most was combat against a complete novice. They had confidence in their ability to beat any average enemy, but a novice might do something so stupid that it takes the ace by complete surprise.)
[ October 27, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Max Habibi
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I can see it now:

"Bob, why did you piss on the keyboard again?"
"well, I pushed the 'submit' button, and nothing happened: some response was better then no response."
"uh huh. And why did you put on a dress, cut a zebra's head off, and dance the fandango?"
"it was an emergency! My car battery had died!"



It's a toss up when our instincts are right, and when they're misleading us: they are not designed for subtle distinctions, only generalized reactions. For example, while your instincts will get you to pull your hand of a fire[the correct reaction], they'll also tell you to cover up into a ball if you're being badly beaten[the incorrect reaction]. And this pack mentality we're talking about is really instinctive behavior. I think it's a case-by-case issue, and a matter of context. But then again, that's what my instincts tell me.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
(In that vein, I've heard of fighter pilot aces say that what they feared most was combat against a complete novice. They had confidence in their ability to beat any average enemy, but a novice might do something so stupid that it takes the ace by complete surprise.)
It's the same in poker! Complete novices are so unpredictable that they are sometimes hard to play against.
 
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