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The Case for Professors of Stupidity
#1
For purposes of discussion.


On this past International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I reread a bit of Bertrand Russell. In 1933, dismayed at the Nazification of Germany, the philosopher wrote “The Triumph of Stupidity,” attributing the rise of Adolf Hitler to the organized fervor of stupid and brutal people—two qualities, he noted, that “usually go together.” He went on to make one of his most famous observations, that the “fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
Russell’s quip prefigured the scientific discovery of a cognitive bias—the Dunning–Kruger effect—that has been so resonant that it has penetrated popular culture, inspiring, for example, an opera song (from Harvard’s annual Ig Nobel Award Ceremony): “Some people’s own incompetence somehow gives them a stupid sense that anything they do is first rate. They think it’s great.” No surprise, then, that psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger prefaced a 2008 paper she wrote with David Dunning and Justin Kruger, among others, with Russell’s comment—the one he later made in his 1951 book, New Hopes for a Changing World: “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” “By now,” Ehrlinger noted in that paper, “this phenomenon has been demonstrated even for everyday tasks, about which individuals have likely received substantial feedback regarding their level of knowledge and skill.” Humans have shown a tendency, in other words, to be a bit thick about even the most mundane things, like how well they drive.

Quote:Stupidity is not simply the opposite of intelligence.

Russell, who died in 1970 at 97 years of age, probably would not be surprised to hear news of this new study, published in Nature Human Behaviour: “Extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least but think they know the most.” The researchers, led by Philip Fernbach, cognitive scientist and co-author of The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, analyzed survey responses from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. They obtained similar results, they write, “in a parallel study with representative samples from the United States, France and Germany, and in a study testing attitudes about a medical application of genetic engineering technology (gene therapy).”

Fernbach called their result “perverse.” It was nevertheless consistent with prior work exploring the Dunning–Kruger effect and the psychology of extremism, he said. “Extreme views often stem from people feeling they understand complex topics better than they do.” Now as ever, societies need to know how to combat this.

But what exactly is stupidity? David Krakauer, the President of the Santa Fe Institute, told interviewer Steve Paulson, for Nautilus, stupidity is not simply the opposite of intelligence. “Stupidity is using a rule where adding more data doesn’t improve your chances of getting [a problem] right,” Krakauer said. “In fact, it makes it more likely you’ll get it wrong.” Intelligence, on the other hand, is using a rule that allows you to solve complex problems with simple, elegant solutions. “Stupidity is a very interesting class of phenomena in human history, and it has to do with rule systems that have made it harder for us to arrive at the truth,” he said. “It’s an interesting fact that, whilst there are numerous individuals who study intelligence—there are whole departments that are interested in it—if you were to ask yourself what’s the greatest problem facing the world today, I would say it would be stupidity. So we should have professors of stupidity—it would just be embarrassing to be called the stupid professor.”

http://nautil.us/blog/the-case-for-profe...-stupidity
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#2
There are many different standards of intelligence. I have always felt that an open mind certainly can help and knowing that there is always something to learn. To question everything.
1984 Apollonian Civic
ISFP - The Artist.






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#3
(01-31-2019, 05:30 PM)taramarie Wrote: There are many different standards of intelligence. I have always felt that an open mind certainly can help and knowing that there is always something to learn. To question everything.

In 1979, I took the Langdon Adult Intelligence Test just for fun.  The test was written by Kevin Langdon, whose IQ was in the 180 range. "Passing" allowed you to join the 4 Sigma Society, with a rough lower IQ cutoff of 164.  Included with the results was this commentary by Kevin Langdon:
Quote:What Is Intelligence?
Kevin Langdon
Included with the Langdon Adult Intelligence Test Statistical Report, Norming #2, July 1979

Intelligence is a very big idea, and to be interested in intelligence means far more than merely to make a mathematical study of psychometric tests.
In the broadest sense, any systematically adaptive behavior can be designated as intelligence. Thus we speak of an intelligence of the body, the intelligence of insects, "intelligent terminals," etc.
[Note: The term "intelligent terminal" is ancient computerese. This was written in 1979.]
In the scientific study of human evolution, the rise of man (to the extent that scientists will permit themselves such a value judgement) is seen as the progressive development of the sensitivity to fine distinctions and complexity of response made possible by his developing brain. Man's unique mental capacities appear to be associated with the appearance of the large parietal and  frontal lobes of the cortex, with the function of synthesizing models of the world.
The evolutionary development of life on our planet shows clearly on a grand scale that the emergence of intelligence has been a matter of risk and experimentation and at the same time of avoidance of the dead end of overspecialization. It also illustrates that "survival" in the bioadaptive sense has nothing to do with proliferation of numbers, but concerns the ability of the individual to succeed in finding a niche within which he can control scarce resources in a crunch for the benefit of himself, his progeny, and his community.
The first of these principles is mirrored in the development in the individual of a well-exercised but flexible mind. The second principle, in man, is partly a matter of specifically adapted endowment and vitality, in common with all other creatures, and partly of mental resourcefulness and technological productivity (which is partly the result of resourcefulness and partially a measure of man's ability to cooperate with his fellows).
Thus man has come to possess a sensitive and many-sided responsive capacity which is scarcely taxed by the environment he now lives in, but which represents the adaptive advantages which saw his ancestors through the most extreme mental demands of situations calling for a very wide variety of aspects of intelligence.
It is relevant to distinguish at least four major aspects of intelligence:
  1. abstract intelligence, consisting of numerical, spatial, and verbal abilities, deductive and inductive reasoning, mental agility, and attention span (this is the type of intelligence which is measured by IQ tests);

  2. sophistication, abstract and practical, familiarity with environmental features and processes (including operating methods and the responses of other people);

  3. common sense or judgement, the ability to sense the importance and applicability to situations and processes (including operating methods and the responses of other people);

  4. creativity, the ability to perceive problems and situations from new perspectives and to translate one's vision into original symbolism.
In practical intercourse with others we recognize these abilities in varying degrees and base our judgement of people on them, but it is not usual to apply the term "intelligence" so broadly, due primarily to the reductionistic tendencies in "scientific" psychology.
[Note: Since this was written, reductionism has become less influential but there are more fanciful notions in psychology.]
Intelligence testing has tended to concentrate on abstract intelligence for the very good reason that it is much easier to measure using a relatively objective instrument than the ohter aspects.
Recently a number of tests have been constructed which attempt to measure creativity and intellectual sophistication, but while these attempts are interesting they partake to a great extent of their authors' mental idiosyncrasies. It is clear that, even in principle, creativity cannot be measured by a test with fixed answers.
At this point, attempts at exact measurement of these qualities are probably premature. What appears to be called for is further philosophical investigation of these and other ideas concerning the nature of intelligence.

I've always used his 4 standards as a good way to maintain common sense in an arrogant world.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#4
(01-31-2019, 05:30 PM)taramarie Wrote: There are many different standards of intelligence. I have always felt that an open mind certainly can help and knowing that there is always something to learn. To question everything.

There still is core reality, and people deny certain realities only to show themselves as fools, fanatics, or liars. I am anything but open to the concepts of a flat or hollow earth. We all learn a body of truths against which we judge new, and often unattractive ideas. That is one way to defend oneself against extremism, bigotry, superstition, pseudoscience, and often self-harm.

I am not going to question that an atom with forty protons in its nucleus is zirconium, that Abraham Lincoln was born on April 12, 1809, that  Macbeth is doomed in Shakespeare's dramatic play of the such name, or that the large body of water to the east and northeast of Chicago is Lake Michigan. I am not going to deny the scientific evidence that the use of tobacco does unmitigated harm, at least statistically, to those who use cancerweed products.

We have education so that we do not have to relearn what people from antiquity  first learned the hard way by finding out that such is so the same hard way.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#5
(02-01-2019, 03:08 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-31-2019, 05:30 PM)taramarie Wrote: There are many different standards of intelligence. I have always felt that an open mind certainly can help and knowing that there is always something to learn. To question everything.

There still is core reality, and people deny certain realities only to show themselves as fools, fanatics, or liars. I am anything but open to the concepts of a flat or hollow earth. We all learn a body of truths against which we judge new, and often unattractive ideas. That is one way to defend oneself against extremism, bigotry, superstition, pseudoscience, and often self-harm.

I am not going to question that an atom with forty protons in its nucleus is zirconium, that Abraham Lincoln was born on April 12, 1809, that  Macbeth is doomed in Shakespeare's dramatic play of the such name, or that the large body of water to the east and northeast of Chicago is Lake Michigan. I am not going to deny the scientific evidence that the use of tobacco does unmitigated harm, at least statistically, to those who use cancerweed products.

We have education so that we do not have to relearn what people from antiquity  first learned the hard way by finding out that such is so the same hard way.

You seem to have missed my point unfortunately.
1984 Apollonian Civic
ISFP - The Artist.






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#6
(02-01-2019, 04:14 PM)taramarie Wrote:
(02-01-2019, 03:08 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-31-2019, 05:30 PM)taramarie Wrote: There are many different standards of intelligence. I have always felt that an open mind certainly can help and knowing that there is always something to learn. To question everything.

There still is core reality, and people deny certain realities only to show themselves as fools, fanatics, or liars. I am anything but open to the concepts of a flat or hollow earth. We all learn a body of truths against which we judge new, and often unattractive ideas. That is one way to defend oneself against extremism, bigotry, superstition, pseudoscience, and often self-harm.

I am not going to question that an atom with forty protons in its nucleus is zirconium, that Abraham Lincoln was born on April 12, 1809, that  Macbeth is doomed in Shakespeare's dramatic play of the such name, or that the large body of water to the east and northeast of Chicago is Lake Michigan. I am not going to deny the scientific evidence that the use of tobacco does unmitigated harm, at least statistically, to those who use cancerweed products.

We have education so that we do not have to relearn what people from antiquity  first learned the hard way by finding out that such is so the same hard way.

You seem to have missed my point unfortunately.

I'm just showing the limitations to open-mindedness. People have more real intellectual freedom if they are not burdened by superstition, and bigotry.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#7
(02-01-2019, 05:14 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(02-01-2019, 04:14 PM)taramarie Wrote:
(02-01-2019, 03:08 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-31-2019, 05:30 PM)taramarie Wrote: There are many different standards of intelligence. I have always felt that an open mind certainly can help and knowing that there is always something to learn. To question everything.

There still is core reality, and people deny certain realities only to show themselves as fools, fanatics, or liars. I am anything but open to the concepts of a flat or hollow earth. We all learn a body of truths against which we judge new, and often unattractive ideas. That is one way to defend oneself against extremism, bigotry, superstition, pseudoscience, and often self-harm.

I am not going to question that an atom with forty protons in its nucleus is zirconium, that Abraham Lincoln was born on April 12, 1809, that  Macbeth is doomed in Shakespeare's dramatic play of the such name, or that the large body of water to the east and northeast of Chicago is Lake Michigan. I am not going to deny the scientific evidence that the use of tobacco does unmitigated harm, at least statistically, to those who use cancerweed products.

We have education so that we do not have to relearn what people from antiquity  first learned the hard way by finding out that such is so the same hard way.

You seem to have missed my point unfortunately.

I'm just showing the limitations to open-mindedness. People have more real intellectual freedom if they are not burdened by superstition, and bigotry.
What type of intellectual freedom are you thinking of though as intelligence is not just bound by very often Te function type intellect. There is intelligence to be found in all functions (speaking of MBTI functions of course). But naturally i agree with the rest of what you have mentioned.
1984 Apollonian Civic
ISFP - The Artist.






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#8
"Triumph of Stupidity"? Sounds very much like today. Same Turning, of course. And the stupidity exists in both camps, left and right. We'd better toss out the idiots.
Reply
#9
(01-31-2019, 05:09 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: For purposes of discussion.


On this past International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I reread a bit of Bertrand Russell. In 1933, dismayed at the Nazification of Germany, the philosopher wrote “The Triumph of Stupidity,” attributing the rise of Adolf Hitler to the organized fervor of stupid and brutal people—two qualities, he noted, that “usually go together.” He went on to make one of his most famous observations, that the “fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
Russell’s quip prefigured the scientific discovery of a cognitive bias—the Dunning–Kruger effect—that has been so resonant that it has penetrated popular culture, inspiring, for example, an opera song (from Harvard’s annual Ig Nobel Award Ceremony): “Some people’s own incompetence somehow gives them a stupid sense that anything they do is first rate. They think it’s great.” No surprise, then, that psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger prefaced a 2008 paper she wrote with David Dunning and Justin Kruger, among others, with Russell’s comment—the one he later made in his 1951 book, New Hopes for a Changing World: “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” “By now,” Ehrlinger noted in that paper, “this phenomenon has been demonstrated even for everyday tasks, about which individuals have likely received substantial feedback regarding their level of knowledge and skill.” Humans have shown a tendency, in other words, to be a bit thick about even the most mundane things, like how well they drive.

Quote:Stupidity is not simply the opposite of intelligence.

Russell, who died in 1970 at 97 years of age, probably would not be surprised to hear news of this new study, published in Nature Human Behaviour: “Extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least but think they know the most.” The researchers, led by Philip Fernbach, cognitive scientist and co-author of The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, analyzed survey responses from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. They obtained similar results, they write, “in a parallel study with representative samples from the United States, France and Germany, and in a study testing attitudes about a medical application of genetic engineering technology (gene therapy).”

Fernbach called their result “perverse.” It was nevertheless consistent with prior work exploring the Dunning–Kruger effect and the psychology of extremism, he said. “Extreme views often stem from people feeling they understand complex topics better than they do.” Now as ever, societies need to know how to combat this.

But what exactly is stupidity? David Krakauer, the President of the Santa Fe Institute, told interviewer Steve Paulson, for Nautilus, stupidity is not simply the opposite of intelligence. “Stupidity is using a rule where adding more data doesn’t improve your chances of getting [a problem] right,” Krakauer said. “In fact, it makes it more likely you’ll get it wrong.” Intelligence, on the other hand, is using a rule that allows you to solve complex problems with simple, elegant solutions. “Stupidity is a very interesting class of phenomena in human history, and it has to do with rule systems that have made it harder for us to arrive at the truth,” he said. “It’s an interesting fact that, whilst there are numerous individuals who study intelligence—there are whole departments that are interested in it—if you were to ask yourself what’s the greatest problem facing the world today, I would say it would be stupidity. So we should have professors of stupidity—it would just be embarrassing to be called the stupid professor.”

http://nautil.us/blog/the-case-for-profe...-stupidity

Sounds basically correct. There is a shortage of intelligence in America today. Part of the reason is lack of interest in nuance and complexity and the preference for simple answers. People don't want to bother looking at complex issues and just prefer to vent their frustration by latching on to the latest scheme, ideology or conspiracy and clinging to it for dear life.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#10
I've found this helpful to understand stupidity:

http://culturalcreatives.org/practical-wisdom-paradigm/:
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#11
(02-07-2019, 09:47 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've found this helpful to understand stupidity:

http://culturalcreatives.org/practical-wisdom-paradigm/:

Stupidity, contrary to many people's thoughts, is something that must be attained, just like wisdom.  We can be ignorant, but that's not stupid.  We can be less gifted intellectually, but that's not stupid either.  I think you hit on it.  Stupid is not just the lack of wisdom; it's its antithesis.  It takes real effort to achieve true stupidity.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#12
(02-07-2019, 09:47 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've found this helpful to understand stupidity:

http://culturalcreatives.org/practical-wisdom-paradigm/:

Table 1 is very instructive
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#13
(02-07-2019, 01:48 PM)David Horn Wrote:
(02-07-2019, 09:47 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: I've found this helpful to understand stupidity:

http://culturalcreatives.org/practical-wisdom-paradigm/:

Stupidity, contrary to many people's thoughts, is something that must be attained, just like wisdom.  We can be ignorant, but that's not stupid.  We can be less gifted intellectually, but that's not stupid either.  I think you hit on it.  Stupid is not just the lack of wisdom; it's its antithesis.  It takes real effort to achieve true stupidity.

And well financed and programmed by our market elites.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#14
(02-07-2019, 01:48 PM)David Horn Wrote: It takes real effort to achieve true stupidity.

IMO the definition of stupidity is: People who make a wrong decision once and spend the rest of their life to defend it, instead of admitting they were wrong.
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#15
(02-08-2019, 08:33 AM)Hintergrund Wrote:
(02-07-2019, 01:48 PM)David Horn Wrote: It takes real effort to achieve true stupidity.

IMO the definition of stupidity is: People who make a wrong decision once and spend the rest of their life to defend it, instead of admitting they were wrong.

That certainly qualifies.   Big Grin
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#16
In many cases people seem to assume a premise, do a little exposition on the premise, and after a little exercise think that they have proved their premise.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#17
They only believe what they want to believe, and if they are wrong, you wouldn't change their mind if you brought the ten smartest scientists of the world along. Fucking idiots.
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