[extropy-chat] an(other) Aussie visits Texas

kevin.osborne kevin.osborne at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 07:59:40 UTC 2007

this is a -wee- bit of a wakeup call in regards to refutation of the
whole 'most people are stupid!' meme.

it's actually a meme I'm kind of fond of refuting myself. Wherefore
art these stupid masses of people, I say? Is it me? you? met anyone
really stupid lately? Many seem to rant and moan about the ignorance
of the masses without actually providing tail+pin+donkey, and pretty
much everyone I've ever met seems relatively clever and sharp-witted
and altogether non-bovine. Where's Wally?

Blink. The thing is, there -are- stupid people out there, and we're
them, in one way or another.

- some of us don't pay their bills on time, budget or save money.
ever. (me. yes, it's stupid)
- some of us don't comment appreciatively on a colleague/peer's new
shoes/hair/outfit. (stupid, in a you-never-get-laid kind of way)
- some of us are gullible, and susceptible to parroting
unsubstantiated-yet-oh-so-juicy gossip (quote Madeleine Albright: 'I'm
not a person who thinks the world would be entirely different if it
was run by women. If you think that, you've forgotten what high school
was like.')
- some of us don't know our history that well, or at least know it
patchily (gameshow kind-of-stupid)
- most of us couldn't survive 14 days in the woods in Texas (the
dumbasses in the video probably could though, with any Star Wars fans
among them probably less likely)
- none of us polymaths (OK, a few of -you- guys are, but you're so
many standard deviations from the mean you don't even -count-,
statistically speaking).

all the g-factor data points are no doubt well-researched; however it
could just be that if you take well-educated, healthily raised and
positive-role-model rich children, find out all the things they're
smart at, and assign data points accordingly, you may find the tests
for these data points reflect badly on ill-educated, unhealthy and
socially disadvantaged kids. i.e. the kids of 'stupid' people, and
hence stupid people themselves. I'm pretty sure I could devise a test
that measures fashion sense, social communication and sexual technique
and end up finding that people who do well on the test also live
longer, earn more and achieve well. how well would this test correlate
with IQ? poorly I would suspect :-)

argh. I'm back to refuting stupid people, and I'm doing it by
attacking IQ no less; disregard, with the the proviso that Steven Rose
doesn't seem to think too much of this particular hangover from
Skinner's behavioural psychology - mayhap the baby should have
preceded the bathwater? In any regard neuroscientists are my root
authority when it comes to brain certificates, and his distrust of IQ
seems also to play along to his deconstruction of the
twins-raised-separately foundations that Pinker seems to rely on
rather heavily.

final word: we're all a bit stupid in one way or another, and some are
definitely more stupid than others. does it mean most people are
stupid? subjectively yes, objectively no. is there a universal test
for stupid? no. should we take singular questions directed away from
people's area of expertise and background as a test of their
intelligence? no, we've all got at least one question as-yet-unasked
(if we're lucky) that would make us look like a dumbass. some just
have more unasked questions than others :-)

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