Are people, generally speaking, smart or stupid?

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Did this thread last year

Outcome was that ilx gets v funny about calling stupidity a thing in a specific thread like this despite being fairly onside with the essential concept and using the term and related terms and concepts in every other thread

Found it a little....forced...meself tbh

Ledges post about values is interesting.

flagpost fucking (darraghmac), Monday, 3 May 2021 15:23 (one month ago) link

Like it's cool to believe in witchcraft until you start burning people in the town square.

Don't be so sectarian. Murderous pyromaniacs might be remarkably intelligent in other, subtle ways you're not accounting for.

pomenitul, Monday, 3 May 2021 15:25 (one month ago) link

religion might be true on a more or less literal level, who knows

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 15:40 (one month ago) link

i've been reaing a borges collection called "on mysticism" that includes an interesting introduction written by borges' widow. she says that the agnostic is in some ways closer to god than either the believer or the atheist. ambivalence on the big question isn't disinterest -- or doesn't have to be -- it's really openness to the sublime, with its terrors and wonders, and no narrative to fix it in place and make it comprehensible. this seems relevant here, as we struggle to draw a line between "rational" and "irrational" people.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 15:42 (one month ago) link

people are generally dumb regardless of where they land in terms of IQ or whatever other scale of intelligence one might use

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Monday, 3 May 2021 15:47 (one month ago) link

people are extremely limited in what they can learn on their own. really, when we talk about intelligence as it relates to covid, etc, the "smart" people are just the ones who trust the same sources that we, ilxors, trust.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 15:48 (one month ago) link

otm

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 15:52 (one month ago) link

+1

Joe Bombin (milo z), Monday, 3 May 2021 15:54 (one month ago) link

One of the posts above raised a question for me - are there hyper-rationalists who consider any kind of aesthetic engagement a literal delusion? People who would consider listening to a record or reading a novel not just a waste of time, but a failure of intelligence comparable to belief in religion or superstition?

― Halfway there but for you, Monday, 3 May 2021 15:04 (nine minutes ago) link

Some pragmatists need to validate their superiority constantly, and probably only get to an extreme like that in goalpost-moving arms races with other pragmatists to be crowned #1 most pragmatic. They see themselves as sober minded and above therefore unburdened by any time wasting vices. Icy badasses don't have time for bullshit like "leisure activities", of course.

Evan, Monday, 3 May 2021 15:59 (one month ago) link

really, when we talk about intelligence as it relates to covid, etc, the "smart" people are just the ones who trust the same sources that we, ilxors, trust.

The ability to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources isn't a form of intelligence?

pomenitul, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:01 (one month ago) link

Was just gonna say same thing, pom. Tho I would said aspect of intelligence rather than form of it. Whichever.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:05 (one month ago) link

Like if you can't see that someone like Trump is not a "trustworthy source", you're fucking dumb

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:06 (one month ago) link

I think there is a lack of trust in institutions that has myriad causes—some rational, some idiotic—that is showing up as covid skepticism. It’s not, at bottom, intelligence that leads someone to believe the vaccine safety studies or not.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 16:06 (one month ago) link

There isn't necessarily consensus among "trustworthy" sources on a lot of COVID points though. It's still a novel virus and a novel situation, and there's a lot we don't really know in terms of what factors have made the most difference in cases, deaths, etc, why COVID peaks at certain times in certain places. I think there's probably consensus that vaccines work and are slowing death, hospitalization, infection and transmission wherever they are being implemented on a wide scale. Beyond that I think things are much murkier, and the tendency to assert scientific certainty in its absence, based on which epidemiologist we follow on twitter or w/e, is itself irrational.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:06 (one month ago) link

Most people aren’t qualified to independently review the trials for instance. That isn’t what i did. I trusted that everything was on the up and up. But what lie behind that wasn’t rational necessarily. I desperately wanted an end to the pandemic. I want to be a person who believes in science and institutions, even though I know pharmaceutical companies have acted in a corrupt way in the past. Idk. My taking the vaccine was an expression of faith in the system, not a rational decision necessarily.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 16:10 (one month ago) link

You can reasonably decide to put your trust in medical institutions because, on balance, they've done more good than harm.

pomenitul, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:13 (one month ago) link

otm again - there is absolutely an emotional component to being willing to rush to take the vaccine just like there is to being hesitant to take the vaccine -- as you say, I desperately wanted the pandemic to end, and I was almost euphoric that there seemed to be an "easy way out" relatively. And having "faith in the system" is, in itself, comforting. That doesn't mean I'm 100% confident it's 100% safe or 100% as good as it's made out to be. There was calculated risk taking in there too, but the emotional component is there. Don't know if I can say it was a "rational decision" *or* an "emotional decision," - I don't think I believe in that binary.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:14 (one month ago) link

(xp to treesh)

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:14 (one month ago) link

The ability to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources isn't a form of intelligence?

― pomenitul, Monday, May 3, 2021 11:01 AM (twelve minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I'd chalk that up more to the heavy erosion of critical thinking skills among the populace. Like that's a thing that can ostensibly be taught but by and large isn't being taught so most people are just dropped into an insanely complex world without the tools to reckon with any of it sensibly. So now it's all about how you feel about a thing and how long you're willing to defensively yammer about your feeling.

You Can't Have the Woogie Without a Little Boogie (Old Lunch), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:18 (one month ago) link

Maybe people should wear name tags that list the types of intelligence they possess.

"Joe Bob Wilson - good at math"
"Francesca Nkruma - writes well-reviewed poetry"

etc., etc.

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:20 (one month ago) link

when was this golden age of critical thinking?

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:22 (one month ago) link

Evan - strong thighs

Evan, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:23 (one month ago) link

when was this golden age of critical thinking?

― Left, Monday, May 3, 2021 11:22 AM (eleven minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I dunno, maybe you tell us since yours is the first evocation of such a notion itt.

You Can't Have the Woogie Without a Little Boogie (Old Lunch), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:35 (one month ago) link

you used the words "erosion" and "now"

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:37 (one month ago) link

pretty evocative imo

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:37 (one month ago) link

I'd chalk that up more to the heavy erosion of critical thinking skills among the populace.

Idk. I think some people have rational reasons to distrust the healthcare system and other systems. Restoring social trust by building stronger, more transparent, and less corrupt institutions will have more of an effect in promoting pro-social behavior with regard to things like vaccines than any kind of critical thinking education.

https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/covid-vaccine-black-distrust

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 16:37 (one month ago) link

I always thought it was possible that my relative who liked healing crystals understood on some level that it was an emotional-aesthetic thing that was not "rational" but she never let on.

I know a bunch of people who have gotten into tarot & assorted trendy witchy astrology stuff over the years, which generally seems extremely silly to me and embarrassing at face value. and while i've never pressed them about it critically bc that would seem to be in bad taste, ive heard a number of them assert that its 'rational' in the sense of "i dont believe the cards/stars/crystals have literal supernatural magic powers, but using them as a metaphorical framework for thinking deeply about the world and your life can lead you to powerful personal insights or self discovery". which on the one hand is the same reasonable argument anyone would make for engage with art & literature, but on the other hand often seems to me like the confirmation bias of concocting a rational explanations for a belief system that they already decided to adopt for aesthetic-emotional reasons, and/or just having a handy non-foolish-sounding retort in their pocket for when someone says "you know thats all fake right?" idk if its dumb or what though.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:38 (one month ago) link

We always turn the onus on the individual in America. While I agree that vaccine hesitancy is infuriating, I can’t help but be angrier at government authorities than individuals.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 16:39 (one month ago) link

Tarot is made up of archetypes, one eye open. So it’s true in the same way great literature and myths are, which is to say it speaks to fundamental human truths.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 16:43 (one month ago) link

People get a lot out of drawing analogies between their own specific struggles and archetypal stories and symbols, which are often pretty nuanced when examined up close. Nothing irrational about it in my opinion.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 16:45 (one month ago) link

I know a bunch of people who have gotten into tarot & assorted trendy witchy astrology stuff over the years, which generally seems extremely silly to me and embarrassing at face value. and while i've never pressed them about it critically bc that would seem to be in bad taste, ive heard a number of them assert that its 'rational' in the sense of "i dont believe the cards/stars/crystals have literal supernatural magic powers, but using them as a metaphorical framework for thinking deeply about the world and your life can lead you to powerful personal insights or self discovery". which on the one hand is the same reasonable argument anyone would make for engage with art & literature, but on the other hand often seems to me like the confirmation bias of concocting a rational explanations for a belief system that they already decided to adopt for aesthetic-emotional reasons, and/or just having a handy non-foolish-sounding retort in their pocket for when someone says "you know thats all fake right?" idk if its dumb or what though.

― nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Monday, May 3, 2021 11:38 AM (seven minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

It seems weird to imagine that a person would be cogent and rational enough to understand that that explanation makes sense and to assert it, and yet not actually believe that explanation. Like that a person would somehow be totally irrational and dumb about tarot cards yet at the same time smart and rational enough to concoct a convincing smart/rational explanation that they don't actually believe.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:48 (one month ago) link

FWIW, during the pandemic I got in the habit of saying a brief Jewish morning prayer every morning, which roughly translates to "Thank you God for returning my soul to my body." Obviously I don't believe that I have a soul that leaves my body at night in any literal sense, nor do I believe there is literally a god that is deciding every single night whether I should wake up again the next morning. And yet (1) I find that doing this makes me happier and more appreciative of my life and circumstances (2) I find it more meaningful to say this very old traditional prayer rather than just wake up and say "Yay, happy to be alive," (3) I really like and find poetic the idea of my soul leaving and returning to my body as a metaphor for sleep and (4) there's a layer to it beyond 1-3 that I can't really fully explain.

And I probably also have some lingering religious anxiety from when I was a young child and wondered whether all of these things were more literally true, and have found that it's easier in life to just ritually alleviate the anxiety rather than struggle to rationalize my way out of it.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:54 (one month ago) link

So, I guess to OEO's point, on some level that's true -- I am doing something because of how it feels and then backfilling the explanation. But I don't think that's because of a "failure of critical thinking" so much as a choice not to try to overpower a certain feeling with critical thinking.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:57 (one month ago) link

Ppl are losing faith in "institutions" because they're sometimes wrong. Very wrong! "Experts" aren't infallible. There's corruption. There's lying because "people can't handle the truth" or to save one's ass.
Smart people observe that and conclude they should be skeptical of "institutions" and make extra efforts to suss out the truth and facts. Dumb people just go "welp you can't trust ANYTHING anyone says ever". Aka throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Thus govt ALWAYS lies. EVERYTHING is a scam or a conspiracy or a scamspiracy. I don't vote cause they're all crooks and it's all rigged etc etc

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:57 (one month ago) link

right now, the line to get into the new White Castle that just opened here is about 6 times as long as any line to get a vaccine

Filibuster Poindexter (Neanderthal), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:59 (one month ago) link

There's lying because "people can't handle the truth" or to save one's ass.

this part really irritates me about dr. fauci, the "noble lies" thing.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 17:02 (one month ago) link

i get why he does it but i think it's infuriating. and over the long haul, it erodes his authority.

treeship., Monday, 3 May 2021 17:03 (one month ago) link

Agreed. It hasn't only been him.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:05 (one month ago) link

They fucked up right out the gate by flip flopping on whether ppl should wear masks or not. Because they were concerned ppl would buy up all the PPE leaving health-care workers without. But again, a smart person can see why they weren't telling the straight truth in that instance and not take it to mean they don't EVER tell the truth.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:08 (one month ago) link

xp to man alive, yeah i am basically in the same place w/r/t religious ritual or whatever you want to call it.

yeah i guess i meant my thought re:witchy ppl in my life is not so much that they are consciously engaging in a false smokescreen of rationality but more that they are doing something like fundamentally operating on your #4 while also believing in & acknowledging the truth & efficacy of #s 1-3, which are also useful socially acceptable discussion points to use when the topic comes up in mixed company. "i kind of secretly hope this is literally true, but if its not literally true that still fits into my values and worldview without contradiction." tbh ime this seems like the approach of most religious people i have ever met in my life.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:09 (one month ago) link

interesting/telling that IQ believers seemingly never have to explain themselves in this way

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 17:14 (one month ago) link

I'm sure a lot of QAnon people believe it for some combination of the reasons that it's rewarding to believe, it connects them to other people, it gives them a reason to hate people they already hate, they're just bored and it's fun and engrossing, etc. I don't think you need particularly high intelligence to think it doesn't make sense that Donald Trump is secretly the leader of the resistance against a celebrity child porn ring or whatever. I'm sure a plenty of not remarkably intelligent people would instantly pick that out as nonsense.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:17 (one month ago) link

So it's another thread about the US. Great.

Authoritarian Steaks (Tom D.), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:18 (one month ago) link

you used the words "erosion" and "now"

what many people fail to understand is that when critical thinking skills erode, they do not disappear. rather, the eroded particles of critical thinking are blown or washed away to other locations, where they collect in loose agglomerations, such as critical thinking skill dunes or the deltas of critical thinking skills deposited at the effluence of rivers.

sharpening the contraindications (Aimless), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:18 (one month ago) link

interesting/telling that IQ believers seemingly never have to explain themselves in this way

― Left, Monday, May 3, 2021 12:14 PM (three minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

OTM, and there are absolutely some very strong emotional/non-rational reasons for a person to cling to IQ tests (typically their own) as a measure of worthiness if not superiority.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:20 (one month ago) link

So it's another thread about the US. Great.

― Authoritarian Steaks (Tom D.), Monday, May 3, 2021 12:18 PM (one minute ago) bookmarkflaglink

Well, it is a thread about stupidity tbf.

You Can't Have the Woogie Without a Little Boogie (Old Lunch), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:20 (one month ago) link

when i was in 8th grade my friends and i found an IQ test program on an old classroom computer, and we all took it and were elated to discover that we rated off-the-charts supergenius scores, then one of us realized that it had been calibrated for 2nd graders, and then none of us had the guts to take it with the correct settings.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:22 (one month ago) link

Ledges post about values is interesting.

The quote (apologies for missing spaces) is hume's so it's hardly a new idea, though I almost never see it discussed and I don't know if that's because it obscure, it goes without saying, or it's generally dismissed.

Are liberals dumb for supporting welfare policies? No. Are conservatives dumb for not? No. Any evidence that they work is largely beside the point and wouldn't sway the most rational conservative. Ok that's a simplification but you get the point.

I took drugs recently and why doesn't the UK? (ledge), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:32 (one month ago) link

ILX has had many discussions of IQ tests in the past. The general attitude expressed toward them has ranged from skeptical to dismissive. There's evidence they do measure something, but identifying that something as "intelligence" draws a lot of scorn.

sharpening the contraindications (Aimless), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:58 (one month ago) link

We will never credit hume in this house

IQ is a strawman itt

flagpost fucking (darraghmac), Monday, 3 May 2021 18:00 (one month ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 10 June 2021 00:01 (two weeks ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 11 June 2021 00:01 (two weeks ago) link

67 vs 6 imo

Eschew things thirty two times before swallowing them (darraghmac), Friday, 11 June 2021 00:06 (two weeks ago) link


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