Does belief equal stupidity?

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Hagoth
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Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Nov 03, 2022 8:01 pm

I was reading some excerpts of a book by Krishnamurti. He talks a lot about intelligence. For him, intelligence is not a collection of knowledge or an innate ability to grasp facts, it is a way of approaching the world, specifically, with an inquisitive mind. You remain intelligent as long as you are learning, rejecting traditions, rebelling against institutional assumptions, and never becoming satisfied with what you know. The moment you begin to accept ideas based on tradition, or find more interest in coming to conclusions than pursuing questions you are succumbing to stupidity. Belief is one of the things he lists as a source of stupidity. When you believe something so strongly that you accept it as fact, you have surrendered your intelligence and opened the door to stupidity. By his definition, we are all walking a tightrope to remain intelligent but we are in constant danger of falling into stupidity.

This is a very different take for me, but it also makes it's own kind of sense. I have friends who were once really interesting people to talk to but now their minds seem to be confined to a small box that is defined by the dimensions of their religious boundaries.

I detect a wave of stupidity sweeping across this nation. It's not that people are getting dumber, it's that they are lowering their standards how easily they are willing to to believe, and coming to conclusions too easily when they should be asking questions. Also, there are a lot of really smart people who subject themselves to stupidity by embracing small worldviews, like fundamentalism, even thought they have the natural ability to remain intelligent, by Krishnamurti's definition, if they had not chosen blunt their tool with belief. Or am I just jumping to that conclusion because I'm not very intelligent?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

Cnsl1
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Cnsl1 » Fri Nov 04, 2022 5:13 am

What came first? Do we dumb down by believing, or do more intelligent people naturally keep asking questions?

There's more than one way to define intelligence and several models and theories describing what that word means, but this is an interesting take.

And.. what about happiness? Is it better to seek happiness or intelligence? Are those two constructs always positively correlated? And is it better to find peace and happiness within a belief, or to constantly reject any belief in pursuit of greater knowledge?

I suspect much depends on personality and learning history.

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Hagoth
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 04, 2022 6:55 am

Cnsl1 wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 5:13 am
I suspect much depends on personality and learning history.
I think that answers a lot of the dilemmas that people like NOMs face. Some people are just naturally more comfortable with believing while others are not. They both think the other is deceiving themselves - a lazy learner.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Ghost
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Ghost » Fri Nov 04, 2022 7:11 am

It seems common for someone who once believed in whatever religious propositions but does no longer to wonder how they ever believed those things in the first place. But, of course, they didn't suddenly became more intelligent than they were as a believer.

I think that sometimes we don't even realize what we can question, and sometimes we consciously or subconsciously block the part of our mind that can truly question certain things.

I also think of how people who go through a NOM-style faith transition do so at many different ages. In different circumstances, I imagine that it could have happened to me earlier, later, or not at all.

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Linked
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Linked » Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:01 pm

Stupidity is the wrong word for what you describe. It's a pejorative with too much negativity attached to it and is essentially a personality trait. Non-stupid people do stupid things all the time.

But I do agree that having faith in something is the exact opposite of having an open mind. And you stop intellectual progress in that direction. But it's directional, so a person could be very inquisitive in other areas while still having faith in something else. Many of the people on this board lived there for a long time. :Raises hand:

It's probably wise to review where you might be stopped intellectually every now and then. But it's exhausting to leave everything open for review all the time.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by wtfluff » Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:59 pm

How does compartmentalization / "The Shelf™" fit in to this equation?

I know of folks whom I consider extremely intelligent who are also extremely good at compartmentalization. In fact, I think it might take even more intelligence to know the truth about some scientific things, and have the ability to "not think about it" (compartmentalize that science) and keep believing things in contradiction of the science. Gold-medal level mental gymnastics are not for the faint-of-mind.

I don't think I'm completely stupid, but it was a stupid "act" to shelve specific things (Evolution??? Prehistoric Wooden Submarines???) and avoid really thinking about those things for more than half my life.

To attempt to quote an intelligent friend: "That's one of my biggest problems with religion: It teaches you not to think."
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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Hagoth
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 04, 2022 7:39 pm

Linked wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:01 pm
Stupidity is the wrong word for what you describe.
I totally agree. I was repeating Krishnamurti's definitions to see how people here would respond. I think something like arrested development might be more on target. A sociologist might call it false consciousness. I do, however kind of like his definition of intelligence. It's not so much about IQ as the willingness to think, wonder, and question.

I have talked here about the emphasis the church puts on being childlike, and how some of the most respected and beloved members of wards I have been in seem to be the ones who, despite being intelligent and functional, seem to maintain a very shallow depth of thinking, as if their inquisitiveness and mental independence never got beyond the Primary level. Some of these are people I like very much, and I wish I could have an actual conversation about actual ideas with them, but they hit barriers and screech to a halt as soon as something from "outside" enters the conversation. God love 'em.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 04, 2022 7:43 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:59 pm
To attempt to quote an intelligent friend: "That's one of my biggest problems with religion: It teaches you not to think."
I love that. I don't know about others, but apologetics was both exhausting and sort of obsessive-compulsive for me for much of my adult life. So much energy spent to keep talking myself into things that, if I had allowed myself to relax and take a step back, would have been pretty obvious. But scary.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Angel » Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:03 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2022 8:01 pm

I detect a wave of stupidity sweeping across this nation. It's not that people are getting dumber...
As someone in education, actually, there is a wave. Online education through covid hit hard. Our school is adding unprecedented sections of lower level math.

3,500 incoming college students tested into 4th grade math.

4th. Grade. Math.


It's part internet too - no one actually solves problems anymore, they copy solutions online. It's like watching an olympic athlete perform flips, then thinking you are able to do flips too from having just watched it.

... students do not cheat in my class, because I know a little programming ;). Every hw, every quiz, every test. - every student has a different set of numbers, a different problem.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Angel
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Angel » Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:09 am

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 7:39 pm
I have talked here about the emphasis the church puts on being childlike
I read once the idea that religion was developed by slave owners.

In any event, it capitalizes on herd instincts. In power theory, you do not rise to the top by showing skill or intelligence - you rise to the top by demonstrating loyalty to the powers that be.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hagoth
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Hagoth » Sat Nov 05, 2022 8:44 am

Angel wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:03 am
It's part internet too - no one actually solves problems anymore, they copy solutions online. It's like watching an olympic athlete perform flips, then thinking you are able to do flips too from having just watched it.
And then they turn around and make videos about how to do it, never actually having mastered it themselves. This drives me crazy.

One of my hobbies is building sailboats. I watched a boatbuilding video by some guys who started a YouTube boatbuilding channel. They have very slick, professional video production value. As good as it gets. They have the best and most expensive tools and materials. They have a beautiful, drool-worthy shop. Then they built a boat that was wrong in every possible way. They designed the boat and the construction technique themselves, both of which were nightmarishly juvenile and dangerous. They tried to hide the fact that they were making it up as they went. If you follow their video you will probably end up dead. I see the same thing in videos about archaeology, history, physics, anthropology, genetics, medicine... If you are not already an expert on the subject you have no way of recognizing that you're listening to uneducated, misguided, or deluded clowns passing themselves as experts. Of course, it can also be ironically funny. Like the beauty experts setting their hair on fire, or the "how to deep fry a turkey" guys calling the fire department.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Angel
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Angel » Sat Nov 05, 2022 12:26 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 8:44 am
Angel wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:03 am
It's part internet too - no one actually solves problems anymore, they copy solutions online. It's like watching an olympic athlete perform flips, then thinking you are able to do flips too from having just watched it.
And then they turn around and make videos about how to do it, never actually having mastered it themselves. This drives me crazy.

One of my hobbies is building sailboats. I watched a boatbuilding video by some guys who started a YouTube boatbuilding channel. They have very slick, professional video production value. As good as it gets. They have the best and most expensive tools and materials. They have a beautiful, drool-worthy shop. Then they built a boat that was wrong in every possible way. They designed the boat and the construction technique themselves, both of which were nightmarishly juvenile and dangerous. They tried to hide the fact that they were making it up as they went. If you follow their video you will probably end up dead. I see the same thing in videos about archaeology, history, physics, anthropology, genetics, medicine... If you are not already an expert on the subject you have no way of recognizing that you're listening to uneducated, misguided, or deluded clowns passing themselves as experts. Of course, it can also be ironically funny. Like the beauty experts setting their hair on fire, or the "how to deep fry a turkey" guys calling the fire department.
I do love DIY's. - fixed the car, fixed clothes and dishwasher, cooking - university of youtube 😋. It's not all bad.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Rob4Hope
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Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Rob4Hope » Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:48 pm

Angel wrote:
Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2022 8:01 pm

I detect a wave of stupidity sweeping across this nation. It's not that people are getting dumber...
As someone in education, actually, there is a wave. Online education through covid hit hard. Our school is adding unprecedented sections of lower level math.

3,500 incoming college students tested into 4th grade math.

4th. Grade. Math.


It's part internet too - no one actually solves problems anymore, they copy solutions online. It's like watching an olympic athlete perform flips, then thinking you are able to do flips too from having just watched it.

... students do not cheat in my class, because I know a little programming ;). Every hw, every quiz, every test. - every student has a different set of numbers, a different problem.
Angel, I want to use this info. Can you provide a reference?

A long time ago I was a secondary math teacher. I spent all my time remediating which is why this interests me…


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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Angel
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Angel » Sat Nov 05, 2022 8:41 pm

Rob4Hope wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:48 pm
Angel wrote:
Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2022 8:01 pm

I detect a wave of stupidity sweeping across this nation. It's not that people are getting dumber...
As someone in education, actually, there is a wave. Online education through covid hit hard. Our school is adding unprecedented sections of lower level math.

3,500 incoming college students tested into 4th grade math.

4th. Grade. Math.


It's part internet too - no one actually solves problems anymore, they copy solutions online. It's like watching an olympic athlete perform flips, then thinking you are able to do flips too from having just watched it.

... students do not cheat in my class, because I know a little programming ;). Every hw, every quiz, every test. - every student has a different set of numbers, a different problem.
Angel, I want to use this info. Can you provide a reference?

A long time ago I was a secondary math teacher. I spent all my time remediating which is why this interests me…


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Sorry, FERPA, those are internal numbers I'm afraid.

Student test scores are private... but the number of sections of various classes being offered can be dug into.

Testing standards are lowered too... pressure is on for everyone to lower standards. Some have given up, which makes it that much harder for those of us still doing our job.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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glass shelf
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by glass shelf » Sun Nov 06, 2022 3:46 am

Interestingly enough as I look back, I do think Mormonism required me to (for lack of a better term) dumb down a lot of things about myself to stay active in it as long as I did. I have always been a very curious person who likes to learn new things, but the scope of what I delved into when I was a practicing Mormon is much different than it is now.

I don't think I'm any more intelligent now than I was as a mormon, but I definitely value my own curiosity differently than I did then, and I don't avoid looking at things too closely because I have to keep believing anything. Unlike when I was a Mormon, I value my own ability to change my mind based on new things that I have learned.


And a little bit of side discussion...
Angel wrote:
Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:03 am

As someone in education, actually, there is a wave. Online education through covid hit hard. Our school is adding unprecedented sections of lower level math.

3,500 incoming college students tested into 4th grade math.

4th. Grade. Math.
As a parent of teens, this one is interesting to me. When I finished high school, I had taken the higest available class which was Calc1. My recent grad took AP Calc BC (so his second year of HS calc because he took AB as a junior). My other kids are on the same trajectory. This makes me wonder about it being more of a systemic educational failure. Was someone really on a college prep level if they were at 4th grade level math even when we account for Covid? That's a lot more than a couple of years of online education behind. My kids' suburban high school is much more rigorous and has way more offerings than the HS I went to did, so I would be very curious to see what type of educational background/setting those 3500 students came from.

As for online education, I did my MS through online coursework and in-person clinicals. I don't think it was a negative for me, and it actually fit my learning style extremely well. It gave me time to seek out unique and interesting clinical work that I wouldn't have gotten to do in another program. By all outside reports/discussions, I graduated well-prepared. (Lots more to learn in the yeasrs since, but that's another discussion!)

OTOH, I now mentor grad students for their clinicals who went to grad school during Covid. They thought they were going to be getting in person classes and got online classes instead. All concerns about their lack of preparation discussed with either them or the university are met with "BUT COVID?!?!?" They're much younger than I was when I was in grad school, and they didn't sign up for online courses, so maybe those are factors here.

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Angel
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Angel » Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:04 am

I do work at a low-income minority serving institution, have some really brilliant students, and others the system has not served. If you don't have reliable internet or a working computer at home... covid hit some districts harder than others.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/act-colleg ... mic-slide/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/te ... -rcna53659

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissio ... cores-fall
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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glass shelf
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by glass shelf » Sun Nov 06, 2022 8:20 am

Angel wrote:
Sun Nov 06, 2022 7:04 am
I do work at a low-income minority serving institution, have some really brilliant students, and others the system has not served. If you don't have reliable internet or a working computer at home... covid hit some districts harder than others.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/act-colleg ... mic-slide/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/te ... -rcna53659

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissio ... cores-fall
There are, for sure, many brilliant minds the educational system has failed, and I can see that Covid probably highlighted those differences. For example, my kids' district already had 1:1 tech in place prior to covid. When we moved to online education the number of students in this small, suburban district that did not have internet at home was a small percentage (I think less than 3% was the report that I heard.) The district made sure those kids had internet access as needed. I know it would definitely not be the same in other areas, and that's very difficult to address.

In my own profession, I think we lack sufficient rigor in many ways, and I'm sure it's not an isolated situation. Lots of things to consider for sure.

I think we can definnitely say our educational system is failing students, though, if 3500 show up at one institution, "ready" for college, with 4th grade math skills.

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Palerider
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Palerider » Sun Nov 06, 2022 9:13 pm

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

"Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous."

Bonhoeffer was a German Christian minister during WWII who had studied in the U.S. prior to the war. He became involved in the German resistance against Hitler and was captured and executed even as the Russians were bombing Berlin at the end of the war.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Cnsl1
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Cnsl1 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 10:40 pm

I like that description that stupid people are more dangerous than the malevolent, though maybe "stupid" isn't a great adjective. I suspect there is a positive correlation between that type of person and poorer scores on an intelligence test, but I wouldn't guess the correlation is very strong. I suspect there is a stronger correlation with personality type.. maybe more a gullible, neurotic, closed to new experiences type of person.. intellectually lazy, non-inquisitive, which might relate more to environment and learning history. A "lazy learner" is maybe a pretty good description, ironically enough.

Shifting gears to Covid. Wow. There have been a number of patternistic phenomenon that maybe we should have been better at predicting and maybe phenomenonis the wrong word. First, maybe I should disclose that while I'm half the time tongue in cheek with my comments on this forum, I'm not doing it now. Also, my profession is such that I work directly with a very large number of kids across multiple school districts and have intimate knowledge of things like the trends of academic test scores, intelligence testing, benchmarks for various ages, and overall childhood development from birth through high school.

Here are some interesting things I've noticed during and post Covid. Again, this is based on my observations and lots of data, but I'm not up on all of the published peer reviewed data on the subject. Still, I'm seeing these trends:

First, when schools initially shut down there was a clear increase in anxiety and depression. Pretty much makes sense. Obviously there were some kids who did just fine, but the difference in opportunity became a huge factor in how kids progressed academically and managed socially and emotionally. All of the districts I was involved with were able to provide educational access to every student through laptops, chrome books and internet hot spots, BUT too many kids and parents were inconsistent and could not provide the home support and additional teaching, which became so crucial. Not surprisingly, by 2021, a significantly higher than normal amount of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders were delayed in their reading development, based on criterion level "benchmarks" or expectations of where they were "supposed " to be. The older kids did not really show differences in reading benchmarks compared to pre-covid, but their MATH skills were noticeably delayed. They'd already learned how to read, so they were able to better benefit from that online instruction than were the younger kids, BUT their math suffered because of the missed direct instruction (my theory).

As 2022 plods along, we're now seeing an abnormally high amount of kindergarten students showing autistic features. It's not that they are all really autistic, but they are noticeably delayed in their social development at higher rates than normal. I think maybe this is because they were 3 years old, ready to make some big strides in social development with more exposure to other preschool age kids when everything shut down and they couldn't be in play groups and had limited contact with other humans during a crucial time in their development, and often had social contact filtered to only half a face as people interacted behind masks. So, what's next? Will we have an increase in schizophrenia in 20 years since history tells us there's often an increase in schizophrenia following virus outbreaks, or more specifically, among the children who's mothers had the virus while pregnant with them. Will we have a schizophrenic "outbreak" when these 2020-21 born children hit their late teens and 20's? I've not heard anyone but me mention this, though hopefully someone else is also thinking about it, and maybe starting to prepare just in case. I guess if it happens, you heard it here first. I'm not a prophet, lol, but I do look at the data.

I think I've drifted from the Original topic enough. Oops

Cnsl1
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Cnsl1 » Sun Nov 06, 2022 10:58 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 7:39 pm
Linked wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2022 1:01 pm
Stupidity is the wrong word for what you describe.
I totally agree. I was repeating Krishnamurti's definitions to see how people here would respond. I think something like arrested development might be more on target. A sociologist might call it false consciousness. I do, however kind of like his definition of intelligence. It's not so much about IQ as the willingness to think, wonder, and question.

I have talked here about the emphasis the church puts on being childlike, and how some of the most respected and beloved members of wards I have been in seem to be the ones who, despite being intelligent and functional, seem to maintain a very shallow depth of thinking, as if their inquisitiveness and mental independence never got beyond the Primary level. Some of these are people I like very much, and I wish I could have an actual conversation about actual ideas with them, but they hit barriers and screech to a halt as soon as something from "outside" enters the conversation. God love 'em.
Amen to that. Interesting stuff, Hagoth.

When you "know" something, maybe there is no longer either a curiosity or desire to entertain any other possibilities, and also to flatly reject any data that does not fit your view. This obviously begets conformation bias and belief biases. It is probably emotionally safer to "hang tight to the rod" especially when you're explicitly taught that is how to deal with doubts or disconforming data. It doesn't matter how compelling the evidence, it cannot possibly be true so i can shut my mind off of those ideas and thoughts. It is easier not to ponderize the tough questions, or the evidence that doesn't fit the narrative. Again, this seems like the perfect description of a lazy learner. Ha

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