People Don’t Understand Intellectual Arguments

IntelligenceRecently, yet another debate popped up on the death penalty and all the regular suspects showed up.  I expected it, which is why I stayed out of it for a long time, because I knew where it would invariably head.  Of course, I as right, it was emotional response after emotional response after emotional response, people talking about their feelings and their wants and their desires and never taking a step back to evaluate the evidence on it’s own merits or to engage in intellectual arguments.

Now I don’t want to do a post on the death penalty, I’ve done that before, this is just one more place where people just can’t be rational.  It could have happened in any number of threads on any number of topics.  I started pointing out to people that they were acting in a wholly emotional, wholly un-intellectual manner and they just didn’t get it.  At all.  All they could talk about is how unhappy things made them, how uncomfortable things made them, how much they didn’t like things, but almost never about how they had looked at the data, examined the evidence, worked through the process and made a determination based on a purely dispassionate, unemotional, rational basis.

That just doesn’t happen and that’s a problem.  I think it’s a huge issue in the modern world, where people rarely have to think outside of their own personal box.  It’s all about them.  It’s all about how it makes them feel.  It’s all about how it affects them personally.  If it gets outside their comfortable little bubble, it’s got to be horrible because their feelings are all that matter.

Yet that’s not really how things work in the real world.  Sometimes, there are decisions that need to be made that aren’t going to make you happy.  There are things that might have to be done that are uncomfortable.  There are times when there are no good options and you have to pick the least bad option, or you have to make sacrifices for the good of all.  I don’t think these people are at all intellectually qualified to deal with those kinds of decisions because they require clear, rational, intellectual thought processes and I don’t think these people are capable.

It’s really no different than what we see out of theist.  All they care about is being happy about their beliefs in an imaginary father-figure in the sky.  Whether it’s actually true or not is irrelevant, it’s all about feeling good.  The same is true of the feminists and race-baiters.  It’s all about emotional comfort, not at all about intelligence, reason or critical thinking.

So why do people have such a problem with this?  I think in general, it’s because our liberalized educational system doesn’t teach people how to think or how to reason, it just shoves ideas down their uncritical gullets and expects them to regurgitate it on command.  Most of the time, at least until you get to college, nobody is worried about how you come to conclusions, only that you come to the right conclusions and can fill in the right bubble on the test form.  That’s not really a good way to do things in my opinion.  Young children have an amazing capacity to soak up knowledge and what they learn is usually learned for life.  The most important thing we can teach any young child is the ability to think rationally and critically and to evaluate evidence intellectually.  Yes, I’m aware that the religious and other groups that seek to indoctrinate children will oppose this vigorously, it is a dangerous thing if the funnel they’re using to fill up a child’s brain with nonsense comes with a bullshit-filter, but that’s really what we need to install on every young mind.  It keeps religion to a minimum, it keeps indefensible political nonsense at low levels and it makes them more likely to grow up into intelligent, rational and useful members of society.  That’s exactly why it will never be done because there are too many powerful groups that benefit from keeping people stupid and those people in a position to make a difference are already too stupidified by the process to want to change the process for the better.

Still, for those few of us out there who can think and can separate our wishes and desires from our rational evaluation of the world, we’re left shaking our heads as the planet slips farther into chaos and the number of people who can think intelligently become fewer and fewer.  America has become dumbed down, almost to the point of no return.  After we pass it, what do we do then?  Turn on more reality TV?

6 thoughts on “People Don’t Understand Intellectual Arguments”

  1. " I think in general, it’s because our liberalized educational system doesn’t teach people how to think or how to reason, it just shoves ideas down their uncritical gullets and expects them to regurgitate it on command."

    From my experience and from what I've seen it's not that all education systems are liberalized (although many school systems obviously are), it's that none of them – liberal or (what passes for) conservative- teach children how to reason effectively. Before university level, schools are all about producing workers, and that includes community colleges. That's it. Nothing more. Most employers don't want or need employees who can reason well, they need workers who will do what they're told. If my employees can read, write and do simple math, then that's perfect for my purposes.
    The liberal establishment doesn't want to see emotion dismissed as a valid way to make decisions, as that would undermine everything they've worked so hard to destroy over the last 70 years in this country. Both sides benefit from an emotional and ignorant populace and they merely exploit a weakness for their own benefit.

    1. Pretty much. In fact, the schools have done their level best to churn out good little mindless liberals for 40 years now, they've pushed all kinds of emotional touchy-feely nonsense into the classroom, introduced a "everyone wins" mindset and "pass 'em all on so they feel good about themselves, even if they know nothing", resulting in kids graduating high school without being able to read. I'll also agree that the pseudo-conservatives are just as bad, just look at Texas for what happens when religion is given free reign in the political arena.

      Both sides just want to brainwash future voters to pick their side. It's not about education, it's about indoctrination.

      1. I'm going to preface this comment by stating for the record that I do NOT approve of kids fighting in school. School is for learning, not for beating the shit out of each other.
        Now…that being said…
        I about had a conniption fit some 14 years or so ago when I walked by a letter posted on a bulletin board outside the my son's elementary school office.
        Basically it stated that even the victim of an assault who defended themselves would be expelled from school and that all conflicts should instead be resolved with a talk at the "peace table". Fighting…even in self-defense, is bad because fighting is yucky. Get it? Got it? Good!
        This kind of idiotic attempt at social engineering can only come from the mind of a liberal. Unfortunately, in Michigan, most school systems are completely over-run by this particular breed of moron.

        1. That's absolutely true. The idea that bullying is somehow the fault of the victim and any attempt to rectify bullying by replying in the only fashion most bullies understand gets you thrown out of school is idiotic. It's like blaming the rape victim for being raped. We have to teach our kids to meet their problems head-on and if that means physical violence, while I don't condone it, I also don't think it should be punished either. Most bullies are bullies because nobody stands up to them. You can't punish people who are just trying to solve the problem. Then again, as you note, the liberals want people to sit around, holding hands and singing Kumbayah. That doesn't work either.

  2. what about indoctrinating children from young that there is no God, isn't that the same as teaching them a religion which you believe is true. who is to say that atheism is true and theism is false, there are perfectly rational arguments from intelligent and well-informed people on both sides. Atheists like to claim intellectual superiority without actually facing any dispassionate thinking on the topic. Everything you say of theists can be equally applied to atheists. Most atheists are poorly educated in their "faith" just as most theists are. They have never been exposed to true religion and just imbibe the memes of the zeitgeist. That most followers of a certain weltanschauung cannot defend it does not mean there does not exist perfectly reasonable arguments for their position.

    1. Atheists have no faith, you cannot be "poorly educated" in something you don't have. Atheists don't claim intellectual superiority, there are dozens of studies that have been performed over the past 100 years or so that show quite clearly that IQ and education are inversely proportional to religiosity. The more educated you are, the more intelligent you are, the less likely you are to be religious. And of course, nobody is saying to indoctrinate kids into anything, they should not be told what to think, they should be taught how to think. Rational people do not come to religious conclusions because religion is not rational.

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