"These Idiots..."

in discussion •  8 months ago

idiot.jpg

On Facebook recently I saw someone comment "these idiots" on some random post, and it got me thinking.

If you have a strong opinion about a hotly debated topic, and you're convinced those with an opposing view are "idiots," it's likely you don't understand their perspective well or you don't understand them as individuals with experiences which have led them to their currently held view.

Make an argument.

Defend it with reason, logic, and evidence.

We learned as kids name-calling is childish so let's be adults now. Those who have changed their minds because of good arguments understand how this works. Yes, having changed your mind, you may feel silly for a little while, but you're also humbled by how many other strong views you have which may not have been very well supported.

You begin to value epistemology more.

You're a little slower to claim you're "absolutely sure."

You're more open to correction.

Essentially, you work a little harder to avoid someone thinking you are the "idiot" next time.

I posted about this idea in great detail a year ago, and I'm thinking about it again with all the polarized discussions I'm seeing online. This post seems more relevant than ever:

We Disagree. Are You Ignorant, Immoral, or Stupid?

If you have the time, check it out and let me know what you think.


Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Visit UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com

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This reminded me of a quote (don’t remember from where):
"I have my opinions, Don’t confuse me with Facts and Logic !!”
Hehehe... people just think that their opinions are truth and others are wrong/idiots : -)

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Hahah... that's a great quote. Sure feels like that sometimes in discussions today. Often I want to be like, "Do you even reason, logic, and evidence, bro?"

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Jumping to conclusion (opinion) is a System-1 activity which requires less energy than System-2 activity ! These terms are from Dan Kahnemann’s Book : Thinking fast and slow :-)

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One of my favorite books of all time. I use that same explanation often.

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Mine too !! After reading that book, it really felt that it should be taught in Under Graduate School... so much of useless crap was there... hahaha... they should at least teach something useful like this :-)

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I felt like it was a manual for how the human brain works. So good.

If we all agreed all the time, the world would still be flat. Some really thought provoking conversation is really trying to understand someones opposite opinion.

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Some would argue, that's the only way we actually gain information: engage with those who think differently than ourselves. :)

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& some would argue just for the sake of arguing! Love the forward thinking and quality conversations going on here!

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Couldn't agree more with this.

Right on. I avoid these terms like the plague until someone jumps the shark first. If that's what the conversation is going to devolve to, I'll just make my peace with it and leave.

Well, most of the time. Sometimes I do troll people, but only if they have it coming to them :D

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I see trolling as a wasteful activity. There are far more productive forms of entertainment out there, IMO. We all have it coming to us on some level or another.

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To each their own. Like I said, I reserve trolling for the the trolls. It may not be productive, but it's fun to poke fun at them sometimes.

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But they like it! That's what makes them trolls!

Don't feed the trolls!

Heheh.

Polarization.

I remember having a discussion-- very civilized-- about 12 years ago with a group of people from very different backgrounds, with very different viewpoints. One of the conclusions we came to is that we seem to live in a world that's increasingly dominated by the "shrill voices of the extremes," while most of more moderate perceptions are overlooked or thought "not important" because their approach lack the power to galvanize people into action. As I said, that was 12 years ago.

So here we sit now, and polarization of more of an issue than ever... and it seems to be more and more like the worm Ourobouros, biting its own tail. Discussion and debate more frequently reduced to name calling and mud slinging. And I find myself worried that I am "guilty" as well, because I increasingly wear out from trying to maintain some kind of... "civic stamina" to intervene in these forceful name calling contests. And so, I watch the extremes grow louder.

Idiots! Immoral! Ignorant! Stupid!

There's something "more" there... this subtext that it's no longer enough to simply "have an opinion," but more and more people are on the slippery slope to "Me, having my opinion precludes you having the right to yours-- IF it is different from mine!"

Sometimes it's really hard work NOT being "the idiot."

Great post... and good questions for our times.

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Thanks for chiming in. I always appreciate your comments. I agree, there is quite a bit of polarization going on. I wonder if people are overly sensitive to their opinions being attacked because it's so much harder to be "sure" about anything these days. There's so much information available online and most people don't have the time to do all that much research so it's very threatening to be told, "No, actually, you're wrong."

It's easier just to shout someone down than it is to read scientific papers, history books, and listen to lectures to have a well-supported argument.

It's extremely rude as well as ignorant to revert to name-calling merely because you do not agree with someone else! An old saying still stands today that when you're pointing a finger at someone, do not forget that there's three fingers pointing back at you!

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That's a classic. I wish there was some way we could update it for the modern, digital world.

"For every key you type calling someone a name...

                           an Internet kitten dies somewhere"?

I don't know. I've got nothing. heheh.

Labels are easy. Discussion is harder.

Unfortunately, the climate in this country right now makes it all too common for people to label each other idiots rather than talk through differences. I don't see that changing any time soon.

What do we do about the people who are Absolutely Right. The ones who are never wrong, unless there's a but attached to it. The people who never make mistakes. Im not sure how to interact with them. The most valuable lessons I learn are by making mistakes.

Until we all learn we aren't perfect, discussion and compromise become awfully hard to accomplish.

Of course the other solution is to dump Facebook. LOL

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I found this lecture helpful on that topic "Dealing with unchangeable minds":

Some won't like this at all though since it may go against their religious views. So... yeah. Hard to please everyone. And yes, sometimes it's better just to say, "This person isn't worth interacting with anymore" and find other interesting people who are.

sounds good.
BUT.
after doing what you said...to NO effect.
(flat earthers for example....moon hoax...yadda yadda)
to no avail?
Whatcha gonna do?
(I mute them...I don't have time for idiots)

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and everything is a false flag attack by the government..

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Everything! Even the breakfast I had this morning! It's all a conspiracy!!!

(I really need a sarcasm font)

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Well, I at least try to understand why they are so sure of themselves. It helps me understand humanity and myself more.

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once..twice...ten times..maybe...
there comes a point..
when I do NOT suffer fools gladly.
idiots.

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That is one of my favorite things I ever learned from the bible, "Suffer fools not gladly", in fact one of the only things I learned from there.

i ignore facebook like the disease

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I also choose not to use Facebook. It's difficult when everybody else does. I fear information of mine being used against me by shadowy criminals who are looking for targets. Maybe not now, but in a few years.

I agree, though I admit that I am guilty of this, getting all defensive and stuff when people argue with me.

You know what grinds my gears as a guy most?

Guys who bitch, rant and talk shit about girls who just rejected them. It is so immature, but they don't realize that their ego is only making them look childish.

Good post @lukestrokes

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I think we all do it on some level.

And yeah, guys like that... ugh. Hopefully they will learn through experience how childish that is. Hopefully their insecurities will become known so they can be worked out and mature.

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It's a learning process. Pretty tough to swallow rejection sometimes.

very nice post. follow me :)

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No, I will not. I will probably flag you instead. Don't paste the same comment over and over and expect anything valuable to come your way.

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I guess he's new and not well informed on how it works here. I signed up August but I've learned the surest way of getting people pissed is to ask for a follow.

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Sometimes calling someone an idiot, is entirely apt! (referring to the above comment of course)

You are spot on. We should all focus on listening to others and continuously learn new perspectives. Basically, we need to be mature. Thanks for sharing, keep steemin' and contributing great content to the community!

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Thank you!

Personally, ​I think as there are two sides of a Coin similarly there are two sides to a Topic.

You need to see from both sides then​ decide if something is right or wrong rather than going with the flow.

That's called Objective Judgement.

I saw a post of yours regarding this elsewhere, and I just knew you were going to expand more here. I decided to comment here instead since this has the potential for more discussion.

People who dismiss other people like that feel like they've been boxed into a corner without any other options. They don't have any bullets in their gun, so to speak, even though they still have plenty of fight left in them. Sometimes, it feels like they want to argue for the sake of arguing. Personally, I feel like those people are just projecting their insecurities on other people. They themselves are the idiots who can't state a logical defense of their views.

That, or they just derive some twisted satisfaction from calling other people names.

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I do think insecurities play a huge roll in the process. It's like a primitive fight or flight mode response. Their identities are wrapped up in them being right and if they happen to be wrong, it messes with something fundamental in their psyche.

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I sincerely believe that's the case, the kind of in-between response that leans on fight. It could very well trace its roots back to the responses that started great wars of old.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't wash my hands clean of this, though I don't specifically say "idiots." Sometimes, I do blurt out cusses like this, though I do follow it up with a string of reasons why I said it, and I'm very much open to being retaliated on. Whenever I do say that, it's purely out of frustration because of the situation like say, "this douchebag who dented my car and thinks he's still on the right side of things." I guess it's case-to-case, no?

Great Stuff, Luke!
I am practicing these things myself...

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I think we all have to practice them regularly because it's so very difficult to do consistently. It's so much easier to give the knee-jerk reaction and throw out a label.

In the end, isn't what you are convinced to be true, essentially your belief? :)

It seems the word "idiot" is not offensive enough anymore. I'm seeing the word "retard/retards" used more and more now for anyone that does not agree with their opinion.

These people who make quick opinions about different topics!

I also sometimes see these harsh conclusions.

These people need to read the greatest book of personal relations ever written.

How to Win Friends and Influence People-Dale Carnegie.

If you ave not read it yet,go check it out.

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I read it decades ago. Was pretty good advice at the time, but it's time to read it again as I am older and see things differently. Perhaps I don't have the same need to win friends, but I still like the influence bit.

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I have and I should probably read it again. I work with my computer all day, so I understand code more than people.

We learned as kids name-calling is childish so let's be adults now.

Did we? :-)

You're more open to correction.

How often I argue with people that are totally closed to any arguments. And even when I can feel that they know that I am probably right at some point, they make up another desperate arguments, and another, and another. And finally frustration closes my mouth and they are proud and wining.

On the other hand, I wonder (this is probably good) how often I am so closed for other people arguments. Do I really open myself for correction for time to time? Damn.

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The "winning" comment is telling. If a discussion is about finding a winner and a loser, the it's not a debate to gain knowledge and figure out what is. It's a contest.

Ideally, discussions involve people who want to change if their current position is inaccurate. Many, unfortunately don't really want to change at all.

First the post part, the posts i've seen on Steemit are civil and respectful. The reputation system helps alleviate most trolls, and things fell like a community. Maybe as things grow it will change a bit, but i think it's a welcoming place currently. I think one of the main niches for Steemit is being an open minded community, especially regarding the differences in the world. Peace

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I agree. I'm not a big social media guy. I've done a little on G+, and a bit more on LinkedIn. Friends know that if my name ever showed up on fb, it is an attempt at identity theft.

This place has 2 big draws, civility being primary and then the value system being secondary. I suspect that will also draw other people of value.

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I agree! The rewards and flagging system here combined with reputation have a very interesting impact on how enjoyable the conversations are.

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I have gained this by philosophy … I do without being ordered what some are constrained to do by their fear of the law.

-- Attributed to Aristotle

I suspect the value of Steem is in the acknowledgement of our limited progress in this area. However it could be reworded "... fear of the Flag." LOL

Conversion

When we approach it by I'm right; you're wrong, it then follows that people's egos also get put on the line. As if being "wrong"is a sin.

Take our planetary view. The Western view went from geo-centric to solar centric circular to solar centric ellipse. Ultimately, the view changed because each model was better, not that any were "right" they changed when egos subsided enough to allow it.

I'm not here to convert you. I have a different view. I'd like to compare. Maybe I'll change, or maybe drop it and jump to yours. Don't expect either. If we are each honest and sincere we can usually find enough common ground to still be productive or at least nondestructive.

At college I said calculus made physics easy. Others said calculus was too had. Both ways are still taught.

My approximation of the universe works for me most of the time. Yours should do the same for you.

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I think the challenge comes when describing something within physical reality which can be shown to be false. For example, if there are times where someone's view of the universe is physically impossible given the laws of physics as we understand then today, then it's odd they would hold to their view if others don't have the same flaws.

This inflexibility or lack of logical understanding or dogmatic reliance on a flawed perspective is what leads many to the "idiot" labeling, I think.

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That could be. However, I do see a lot of polarity wrapped around assigning causality to one's preferred world view. Funny how Freakonomics chapter 1 teased a whole different view out of its dataset than what the two large-scale political views wanted to attribute it to.

While most would agree we cannot explain everything, it seems the things that aren't fully explainable nor physical (human "reasoning") are where it heats up. I might label Mystical or Magickal while others might call it God or the Unknown. However, most software geeks I know have been able to write very cool code while having a team of widely varying world/universe views.

I've noticed in the on-line world that we often put on personas of "expert" more firmly than in person. Until here (and I've only been on Steemit a bit over a month), I've only had one on-line and IRL friend who I could have deep philosophical conversations with on-line and still agree to disagree civilly. Most other on-line conversations seemed to devolve into the various forms.

Once upon a time, I was young. I still remember not believing the wisdom of those who were older and wiser. I thought maybe they had never tried my way, and I knew best.

Now I tell young people things I was told but they don't believe me. They think their way is better. They think I never tried it.

Reality: an idiot is born every minute. Out of politeness, I don't call them names, but it is also obvious that explaining with facts, logic and proof to them is a pointless exercise. They don't want to listen to the different opinion, even if 99.9% of internet articles explain the truth.

A good example of this would be a young mother who destroys her health by insisting her baby has to sleep in her bed, despite instructions from her own mother, all her friends, doctors, the internet and her husband that baby should sleep in his own bed in his own room. Yet despite all the evidence, she insists her baby "needs" her, and as a result is sleep deprived and irritable. Everyone but her is an idiot. Then she has a second child or a grandchild. Now she is wiser and knows.

Everyone seems to have to learn the hard way, and until they have learned, the others are idiots. The world isn't about to change. Old and young think "idiot", but only badly educated trolls say it out loud.

They must be talking about me! lol......shows a great deal of maturity doesn't it? Great post Luke, love how you shed light on ignorance time and time again.

I think people who are quick to resort to name-calling in a discussion or with a different opinion, no matter how drastic it is, had run out of logical reasons to backup their stance or point of view. So what I usually do at that point is to walk away. We have this saying you don't fight a mad man because passersby may not notice the difference.

Excellent points. I'm keenly aware of all of the mistaken assumptions and beliefs I've held in my life, it helps not to judge others for theirs.

As you wrote:

"We learned as kids name-calling is childish so let's be adults now."

..but on social media we as community consist of all ages, from very young to now very old people, unexperienced and experienced, prejudiced or open-minded, angry or happy, i'm acting for someone unappealing for others likeable. It's a wavering pool of opinions, views and emotions. We're a bit like the crowd surfer who celebrates the moment on top but should be aware he could have a hard landing if someone in the crowd put his hands down..


animation from giphy.com

..in the end we decide always driven by our emotions no matter how much (fuzzy) logical arguments we put in our decisions, in this case we put simply more emotions in our decision and that can be sometimes fatal if two parties are so polarized that we exaggerate and loose control of our emotions.. just my thoughts. Even people working on the same goal, living in the same family thinking sometimes so different that it's hard for them to hold their feelings back and don't offend the other.. we're human, failures, but that's at the same time the beauty of life..

Mhhh I actually think that the value of an argument is determined by how hateful it is. Of course "you are an idiot" is such a generic insult that there can't be much value to it, but personally i see it having the same value as "great post!". One of them is an expression of hate and the other of love without very much detail.

It matters most when talking to your own tribe. Say you agree, but that the Other side is made of (not evil) people who have come to their own decision, and you will NOT be seen as contributive, but as pointlessly overcomplicating what is secretly very simple. People for some reason think it's okay to simplify and stereotype the entire world when the Other is not watching, and I think that is the root of the problem.

The usage of the word idiot is a sign for upcoming aggression. It is like the fullstop after rational discussion... what comes afterwards usually is not a step towards peace...

I think one you need to add is "Natural Law" argument to the Idiot stage of how to end a debate and ignore everything the other side just said. I invoke "Natural Law" From a conversation: "I see that you are a moral relativist. The truth of natural rights is not up for interpretation. Physics operate the same way no matter what misguided people believe."
Pretty much end of debate which from my point of view was about unfollowing someone because of one "Core" belief being different than their "Core" belief. In this case gun control.

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"natural rights" is equivalent to physics?

That's... quite an interesting argument to make.

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What can I say, their quote, not mine, I am after all in their opinion, a Moral Relativist. Sorry, not college or university educated, so like I told them no clue what it meant. I guess their Idea of natural law is "I get to kill what, who, and however I want" I don't understand the Natural Law people at all.

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Well, there's always Wikipedia. :)

Often when we don't understand someone or their position, we can't move past those differences and find common ground. Often, I think, we just don't want to put that much effort into it because we have better things to do with our time. That's fair.

I have a theory that the polarisation of views might be a plant, you know, a deliberate infiltration of the system? How to divide and conquer from within. If you polarise the enemy - and turn them against themselves, they don't present a united front. I also think that Facebook is used to promote a lot of extremist views and information. Where does it come from? And what is the net effect of only reading matter that correlates with your own views? Does it confirm your bias and increase it? Is this polarisation deliberate on the part of some group, i.e. orchestrated, or the dissemination of a more balanced view now being absent because of the demise of the balanced press, does it mean the void is filled with extremist rant? How do we address it?

@lukestokes - I am blushing a bit because, though I totally agree that name calling is childish and we need to defend things with reason + logic, I have actually ranted about 'idiots' in one of my blogs in the past! It was not about someone expressing an opinion that I disagreed with and ended up calling someone an idiot. My rant was totally about people on social media who send me selfies with pouts and useless updates like 'Just had a shower'!! What value does that add? Made my blood boil and I ended up calling such 'contributers' idiots. I guess that is strong word to use but could not help myself.

Anyway - great point. Need to keep this in mind when I post my comments or posts. Thanks. Upvoted.

Regards,

@vm2904

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You should know, I'm sitting on the toilet right now, taking a crap!

Hahah. Sorry, I could resist.

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LOL. Ouch. I could do without updates like that. Hahaha