Sep 26, 2008 General Nonsense |
One of my favorite words is "doomed." It always makes me laugh. I like the way it sounds. And I reflexively find humor in situations that are so bad there is no hope. I'm not proud of this quality. I'm just saying that if scientists discover a giant asteroid heading toward Earth, I would probably laugh myself to death before the impact.

With that in mind, today I saw two articles about human intelligence, as it relates to voting. I suggest you read both, and pause after each paragraph to contemplate the word "doomed." It might make the experience funnier.

Here's the first. This one made me laugh my "ars" off.


This one is almost as funny.


Now go out there and vote. Especially if you are sure you are right!


Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +5
  • Print
  • Share


Sort By:
Sep 26, 2008
Yeah, I know. I saw those articles too.

I long ago figured out that everyone is so convinced of their rightness, ESPECIALLY about things that can't be proven (religion, politics, which toothpaste is the best), that I gave up trying to change anyone's opinion.

And I know that I'm no better. My very identity is wrapped up in all those things that I believe to be true. Challenge those truths, and you challenge my existence.

So these days, when I express an opinion, I'm not interested in changing anyones's opinion., I know that's impossible. In 3000 years, not one single important question has ever been resolved in Philosophy.

But I do still have an ego-need to show the world just how clever I am, so that they will tell me just how clever I am (there's that reinforcement thing again). But the world isn't interested in validated my cleverness - they want me to validate theirs.

It's so easy, so tempting to say that we are doomed. But this trait is nothing new in humans. We've been "doomed" for millenia. Oh sure, maybe the current fiscal crisis will cause the US to go by the way of Rome. But people still live there, making love and raising babies and dying of old age. Even if their government still sucks.

doom and gloom, doom and gloom.
Sep 26, 2008
We are all governed by a set of core principals. Whether these might be, "I think conservative policies best achieve optimal results", "I think liberal policies best achieve optimal results", "I think '3rd philosophy' policies best achieve optimal results", or "I think I'm so smart that I'm above core beliefs and will instead tell anyone who will listen that I'm independent, while coincidentially chuckling at NPR news articles that slam conservatives." It's nice to know where one stands.
Sep 26, 2008
The funniest part is your unquestioning adoption of news sources that hinge on the unflappable journalist integrity of NPR and PBS. Even funnier are the stories (like this) with a built in defense mechanism. Every time I see stories with a specious scientific study about rebublicans (our models tell us conservatives are retarded and skeptical of good new stories), it makes commenting almost beside the point. Oops, did I state an opinion that puts me in the idiot column? I guess you were right then. Stupid, stupid, me.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 26, 2008
the doom song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqcn_TPu4qQ
Sep 26, 2008
Oh dear, I had to deal with incompetent people for years, who were absolutely convinced of in their competence - in MY job, and everything else. They were union people, who seem to be the worst. People seem assume that if someone has absolute belief in themselves, they must be right, and vote for them. The fact that the most incompetent are convinced that they are competent, is really scary in an election year.
I like your idea of tests for politicians. In fact the whole way politicians are elected is pretty dodgy, and should be replaced with a set of test, one of which removes those most desperate to be one.
I was considering suggesting using the TV programme "Wipeout" as the final decider, but that is just too silly, if more logical than the way we elect people now.!
Sep 26, 2008
I know these are low priority issues by comparison to the financial meltdown & Iraq but this is equally applicable to the vaccines cause autism, powerlines cause leukemia & cellphones cause brain cancer crowds. I noticed a story earlier about more "cell phones cause brain cancer" hearings on the hill where a woman with no apparent medical or scientific qualifications (have to assume they'd have reported if she did) testified that her husband's brain cancer was caused by his cellphone as if it were fact - why do they let people like that testify? I mean I know WHY but it serves no constructive purpose to have someone with ZERO qualifications testify before congress and make an assertion of fact that is not provable at best and >99% not true...
Sep 26, 2008
While it is probably true to some extent, it is not universally true.

I voted for Clinton, twice. I wouldn't vote for him again.

So, there is hope! I hold out hope that the rest of the people voting for liberals would be enlightened and see the problems inherent in most of their policies/platform. If only the Republician side was much better (it is truly a case of voting for the lesser of two evils).

Sep 26, 2008
Interesting articles. And completely unbiased, I might add. The first article calls anyone who has not bought into the anthropogenic global warming theory (and yes, it's an unproven theory, folks), as "skeptics" on the level of people who challenge the theory (yes, folks, theory) of evolution. This shows how unbiased the author is. The second article begins with a seemingly contradictory statement by president Bush, with no commensurate statement by, say, Barack Obama ("I plan on campaigning in all 57 states."). And note, that the articles seem to be pointed at Republicans, with "further study" needed on independents and Democrats. Gee, whiz.

Glad to see you're looking at unbiased sources, Scott. But that meets your world view, so in your case, they might be right. But you don't vote, so the point is moot.

What these authors characterize as an unwillingness to leave ideology in the face of 'facts' could also be interpreted as people with strong core values letting those values guide their overall opinions of any particular issue or candidate. Take the war in Iraq; WMDs were one of the reasons for going in, but only one. At the same time, there was a murderous tyrant who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people, some by using chemical weapons, who had recently invaded one of his neighbors, and refused to allow meaningful UN inspections. There were seventeen UN resolutions passed against him, which included the use of force, and a 40-plus coalition of countries who invaded and overthrew him.

Some of us believe that, WMDs or not, it was the right thing to do. Others may argue, but this isn't a simple issue that can be explained by saying "those right-wing warmongers still refuse to say that he didn't have WMDs." That isn't true. What many on the right believe is that not many WMDs were found (there were some, as well as yellow-cake uranium and munitions outlawed under the UN sanctions and cease-fire agreement), but we still don't know what happened to the ones we know (through the fact that he used them) he had. That is hardly the same thing as having a blind belief that there are WMDs in Iraq today.

It's always easy for academics to poo-poo the great unwashed, and discount their beliefs through condescending attitudes and psychobabble. This is actually little more than an ad-hominem attack en masse from a bunch of elitists who believe people cannot be trusted to govern themselves. This attitude is more than dangerous; it leads to totalitarinism and slavery.

If you believe that a few elite academics are better positioned to rule us than we are to govern ourselves, then I once again say, thank God you don't vote.

Sep 26, 2008
Being doomed is funny? Now I understand why you decided as you did with respect to marriage.
Sep 26, 2008
Scott, I've been telling people for years that the problem is 'stupid people don't know they're stupid'. Thank you for the validation....incidently, I've spent my whole life feeling like I suck so maybe that makes me a genius!!!!

we are doomed!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 26, 2008
Wow, i have similar sense of humour with Scott . Surprisingly. I am currently looking for a job in a City. Desperately. Nothing amuses me more, than ever increasing crash of financial markets.
Sep 26, 2008
What about people who think they suck? Are they extra competent?
Sep 26, 2008
[i'm deleting this guy's comments as usual. He is slow to take a hint. -- Scott]
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 26, 2008
"Feelings of absolute certainty and utter conviction are not rational deliberate conclusions..."

Scenario: Incompetant individual (Inc) comes to a rational deliberate conclusion, and trys to convince another individual (Oth) (we don't know if they are competent or not as based on the underlying assumptions it is impossible to determine competence).

Inc: Of course my facts are correct they are based on my rational deliberate conclusions!

Oth: I don't know about that it doesn't feel right and you have been wrong before.

Inc: What do you mean? All of my conclusions have been based on rational deliberate conclusions.

Oth: Well maybe you're incompetent.

Inc: What?! Don't you think I would know if I were incompetent! Listen to me, your "feelings" and "intuition" are animal byproduct! All my decisions are based solely on rational deliberate conclusions so stick your I'm wrong up your intuition organ, you can't argue with the facts.

Oth: Sorry, you don't have to get so emotional about it, but aren't facts just things that can be proved or disproved, with no actual bearing on their truthiness?

Inc: I am not getting emotional about it! I'm clearly using rational deliberate arguments to illustrate why you suck. And of course my facts are correct they are based on my rational deliberate conclusions!

Oth: We are so doomed.
Sep 26, 2008
Count me as one who did, in fact, gain more enjoyment from the articles by contemplating the word "doomed" between paragraphs. What the f*** is wrong with our brains...
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 26, 2008
Sorry, but I find nothing more irritating than when a bunch of over-educated academics come out with a study about how the minds of "ordinary" people work.

I think these things are more cut-and-dry than you make them seem, Scott. People who value freedom over equality vote for one candidate (or, party) and people who value equality over freedom vote for the other.
Sep 26, 2008
The statistics in the first article are complete balogne. It follows reasonably close to the actual ratings of each news source. The data sets should at least be normalized to account for this.

However, I don't disagree with the point of the article. I believe a tremendous majority of people (of all political sides) do not understand what they are truly voting for.
Sep 26, 2008
The irony is that both articles seem to be written from a certain perspective of 'knowledge' (ie bias), while then claiming that perspectives are based on previous bias.

I've formed an opinion that most people decide what they want to believe, and then find all the evidence they want to support that and discard the rest. That's why we're doomed.

+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 26, 2008
I understand why the scientific minded need evidence of something in order to believe that it is true. But if both parties on opposite sides of the global warming issue need to believe in global warming to have a meaningful debate (as claimed in the link via the second article), then I think both parties on opposite sides of religion must believe in God in order to have a meaningful debate on His existence. So, I cannot accept any arguments for evolution as fact, because the opponents of creationism don’t believe in God.

Is it reasonable to claim that something is false or doesn't exist just because there is no proof of it? Not realy. Anyway, scientific fact has been proven wrong before, and it is unreasonable to think that it wont be proven wrong again. Based on that the evidence for evolution is no more sound than the lack of evidence for creationism. How the hell do you know a fossil is 10 million years old anyway. Because some dead guy said "this is how you tell how old a fossil is." Sounds a lot like religion to me.

I wouldn't argue with me about it if I were you. I have a emotionally baised view, and I will not accept any argument you present in opposition as valid. The only thing that might sway me is physical or even logical proof that God doesn't exist. And there has never been proof of that. You can tell me that the Earth is older than the Bible says, and I'll believe you. It's not a stretch to think that the men who wrote the Book may have gotten the timeline wrong, or left out some facts that they didn't think were important. That doesn't tell me that God doesn't exist.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 26, 2008
I bet the trait of "sticking to your guns" even in the face of conflicting evidence is actually advantageous from an evolutionary standpoint. In life-threatening situations, it is probably often better to make a choice (any choice) rather than waffling between two choices. Yes, that sounds right.

Pretty sure it's right.

Yep, it's definitely right! (Choice made.)
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog