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The academic study of stupidity has turned up some interesting findings

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As Michael Egnor tells us, scientism is not a cure for stupidity. But never mind, quite a few science savants have rushed in fearlessly:

Evolutionary biologist David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute, told Nautilus, “Stupidity is using a rule where adding more data doesn’t improve your chances of getting [a problem] right. In fact, it makes it more likely you’ll get it wrong.” I won’t contradict an evolutionary biologist on the topic of stupidity. In any event, Italian economic historian Carlo M. Cipolla (1922–2000) argued that “A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses” (his Third Basic Law of Stupidity). Harming another, with no benefit to oneself, would be stupid. Where would we be without professors of economic history? It turns out that there is academic research on stupidity, including one team of researchers that sought a common definition based on having a group rate apparently stupid actions …

One cure for stupidity is said to be a scientific way of thinking, with Carl Sagan (1934–1996), a noted opponent of intelligent design, offered as a prime example. Dr. Egnor notes,

Sagan was so sure of this that, an opponent of intelligent design, he wrote Contact, a fine novel obliviously extolling… intelligent design. Possibly a classic in “Confident ignorance” rooting out prudence “like a garden weed.” More.

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Michael Egnor is a neurosurgeon, professor of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Neurological Surgery, Stonybrook School of Medicine

Also by Michael Egnor: > The Real Reason Why Only Human Beings Speak Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly.

and

How is human language different from animal signals?

2 Replies to “The academic study of stupidity has turned up some interesting findings

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    “One cure for stupidity is said to be a scientific way of thinking, with Carl Sagan (1934–1996), a noted opponent of intelligent design, offered as a prime example.”
    Well, NO. Stupid people, and I’ve met a LOT of them working as Civil Serpents, really CAN’T tell wheat from chaff and are CONFUSED when you point the difference out to them. Part of it is they can’t Generalize; they can ONLY evaluate individual specific cases. So, yeah, giving them more data just confuses them. I’d also point out that there are a WHOLE LOT of REALLY STUPID people out there with degrees in Engineering. A friend of mine, who was AMAZINGLY Smart, said that the difference between a Physicist (his BS was in Physics) and an Engineer was that when faced with a new problem a Physicist would naturally do a literature search to see what other Physicists had found to be the solution in the past. However, an Engineer would NATURALLY decide that ANY problem he’d never personally encountered before was a chance for a New CREATIVE solution. And his new creative solution had better than even chances of being a TOTAL COMPLETE DISASTER (see for example the Navy’s “electric railgun” whose AMMUNITION is TOO EXPENSIVE to SHOOT. Or the COMPLETE, IRRETRIEVABLE DISASTER of the “all electric” aircraft carriers whose electric catapults (rather than tried and proven for 100 YEARS steam catapults) are also a COMPLETE, IRRETRIEVABLE DISASTER that might take 20 YEARS to correct (by SCRAPPING as many as THREE [3] electric CVNs) and cost perhaps a TRILLION (with a T) USDs. All because some Engineer thought he was Creative, and a bunch of other Engineers said, “Hey, let’s try it and see if it works.” Also note that ALL of the guys, including the head honcho, who voted to LAUNCH Challenger were Engineers. I’m sure as they watched video of the explosion SHORTLY after launch at least of few of them said, “Well, DAMN. Maybe those number cruncher guys were RIGHT…”

  2. 2
    jstanley01 says:

    I think scientists should look into the question of why unintended self-irony is always so dang funny…

    Readers may recall Sagan as an astronomer and media proponent of scientism (science can tell us everything we need to know).

    Sagan was so sure of this that, an opponent of intelligent design, he wrote Contact, a fine novel obliviously extolling… intelligent design. Possibly a classic in “Confident ignorance” rooting out prudence “like a garden weed.”

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