26 Nov 2020

Stop Being Ignorant and Stupid

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Ignorant and stupid is normal for many peopleDo you enjoy being ignorant and stupid? Or would you prefer to be intelligent and knowledgeable? Which condition is better for decision making and a long life?

About 10 years ago, I enrolled in Phoenix University, and one the first class on the schedule was about plagiarism and citations. The second class was all about rhetoric and logical fallacies, and the third class described critical thinking. As I was working my way through the check sheets, I realized these were the most valuable classes I had ever taken.

Do they teach these classes anymore? Because from what I can see from looking around at what many seem to believe and talk about, the general public doesn’t have a clue.

Ignorant and Stupid

Let’s take the following conversation.

“GMOs are terrible and Monsanto is evil.”

“Okay, why do you say that?”

“Isn’t it obvious? GMOs are man-made, and that’s evil.”

“Gotcha. Why do you believe that?”

“Are you stupid? They’re modifying genes for their corporate greed.”

“Oh, I see. What is the evidence?”

“Evidence? What are you, one of the 1%?”

“That’s irrelevant. What evidence do you have that GMOs are bad or have deleterious effects?”

At this point, they will either:

  1. Walk away muttering about how stupid I am,
  2. Point me to some website that turns out to be a political action site which also produces no evidence to support their claims, or
  3. They’ll tell me about some anecdotal evidence they heard from somewhere or other.

“My friend Terry got sick after eating GMO corn.”

“Oh, I see. How do you know it was the corn?”

“Of course it was the corn, stupid. She got sick right afterwards.”

You’ll get the exact same argument from anti-vaccine people.

“Vaccines need to be banned because they make people sick.”

“Really? What evidence do you have to support that claim?”

“I read it on a website,” they might respond. When I check the website, what I always find is anecdotal evidence, meaning “someone said or experienced.”

“Oh really? Well, that’s interesting. Why do you think vaccines make people sick.”

“I don’t think they make people sick,” they respond. “They DO make people sick. It’s a proven fact.”

They reference me to Jenny McCarthy, an actress and Playboy bunny, and a number of other “experts”. Why anyone would listen to any actress or actor about any technical subject (unless they have an educated background in that area) is beyond me. They are entertainers, not medical experts, and generally ignorant on the subject on which they profess to be experts.

By now, I just sigh and let the argument stop. Their arguments are just ignorant and stupid.

Base Your Opinions On Factual Evidence

The problem with these kinds of arguments is they are not based on facts, logic or reason. Instead, they are making conclusions based on emotions (usually fear) and little more than gossip.

This is not to say vaccines are good or bad or anything in between, or that GMOs are good for humanity or bad for people.

What I’m saying is that in order to be taken seriously by more than a fringe element of society, you need to base your statements on facts. What is a fact? Well, here’s a great little video, made for children, that explains it in simple terms.

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Facts are Objectively Provable

A fact is something provable. An opinion is not provable. Opinions are great and wonderful. We all have them But it’s generally ignorant and unwise to base decisions on opinions. It’s better to base them on facts.

So how do you find out the truth?

You use critical thinking.

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And you use credible sources.

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And finally, check for logical fallacies.

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So do you want to be more intelligent and knowledgeable? Great! Before accepting something you read on the internet, use the above tools to ensure you are not being down the garden path of being ignorant and stupid.

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sahil tbgt

nice blog post with some amazing videos

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