Does belief equal stupidity?

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Palerider
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Palerider » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:20 am

Cnsl1 wrote:
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.
Just anecdotal experience here but it seems I've had
involvement with people of varying levels of intellect who stake out philosophical/religious beliefs that don't hold water. And they refuse to entertain even the remote possibility that they could be wrong. (Sorry about the mixed metaphor but you get the gist.)

I think what makes the difference is arrogance.

Arrogance doesn't limit itself to intellect, station in life, ethnicity, rich or poor. Some of the most arrogant people I've met were poor.

It's a mistake to equate "intellect" with "intelligence". I currently have some very well-read, intellectual people living with me whose arrogance stands in the way of their increasing in intelligence.

They are, on a very basic level, well meaning people. That's why in the past I have coined the term "arrogance without malice."

And yet if they are pushed on the reasoning of the territory they have staked out, they do indeed become angry and hateful.

I think that's why C.S. Lewis considered pride or arrogance to be such a deadly sin. It is a thought stopping plug that constipates the minds ability to reason and think freely.
"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

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:38 am

I think the narcissistic ego plays into this in a big way, at least for some alphas or wanna be alphas. Being highly educated and a true believer in BS can be easily maintained, perhaps even contribute. You know it's true because you believe it's true and it could never be otherwise. If your ego is strong enough it won't allow any other possibilities.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
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alas
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by alas » Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:24 am

I have been thinking about this, is belief stupidity, at least in the area the person is believing about? I don’t think it has to be. I think people can be open minded about belief and see both the good and bad that goes with organized religion.

And arrogance certainly is one thing that overrules openminded approaches, but other things can too. Like an inability to believe different than family, or like Trump followers hating the enemy enough that you can’t see you are more evil than the “evil” enemy.

And then there are believers who are not blind, stupid followers. I mean, there are some good humble people who do see problems with religion, yet make a decision to still stay in a religion. Not as a zealous believer, but more as a careful participant. They see the religion as flawed, but still having enough good that they want to stay. They are not close minded, and if someone says, “this religion is bad because” the person can look at what is said and even agree. But overall, they still see good in it. I know lots of good people who are Mormons and they are not “stupid” about it and they are not closed minded about it. They know enough about problems in the church to not follow blindly, but they see enough good to want to stay, whether it is “true” or not. They were people back in 1970 who were willing to come out and say, “I don’t believe the church is correct about blacks.” They are people now who say the church does not have the final answer on LGBT, because they don’t understand how LGBT people *feel* and we don’t have the science yet to understand why LGBT people even are. My husband was, and still is. He agrees with me that I should stay away from Mormonism. He supported our daughter in marrying her wife. But he has looked at the church and says, it helps me feel closer to God and people, and for me that is good. That is a balanced approach. He doesn’t follow blindly and he looks at the good and the bad and is honest about the bad.

So, let’s not be as bad in our unbelief as we are accusing religious people of being. Anti religion can become a belief system that is as bad as any religion. When we start in with generalizations that believers are stupid, close minded, and arrogant, then our unbelief is getting to the point that it is making us stupid, close minded, and arrogant.

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Ghost
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Ghost » Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:59 pm

I would imagine that for many, fear is a motivator to hold on to beliefs and consciously avoid questioning, more than arrogance, narcissism, etc. I might assume that if I allow myself to entertain another view of the world, this could lead to the loss of strong connections to family or community, moral framework, and the sense that what I've put effort into in life has had value. And I think it's hard to overstate how big a loss it is to no longer have confidence in the existence of God and the afterlife.

There really is a lot to lose, so it's not even an irrational fear. Even if some of those beliefs were not grounded in reality.

hmb
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by hmb » Mon Nov 07, 2022 2:33 pm

Ghost wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:59 pm
I would imagine that for many, fear is a motivator to hold on to beliefs and consciously avoid questioning, more than arrogance, narcissism, etc. I might assume that if I allow myself to entertain another view of the world, this could lead to the loss of strong connections to family or community, moral framework, and the sense that what I've put effort into in life has had value. And I think it's hard to overstate how big a loss it is to no longer have confidence in the existence of God and the afterlife.

There really is a lot to lose, so it's not even an irrational fear. Even if some of those beliefs were not grounded in reality.
I still struggle with the loss of an afterlife. I was looking forward to a Telestial or Terrestrial forever. Now I believe I'll be worm food.

Maybe use "willful ignorance" instead of "stupidity?

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Linked
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Linked » Mon Nov 07, 2022 3:17 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.
This is a really interesting thread, thanks for posting Hagoth. The open mind can be filled, the closed mind cannot. Repurposing well-understood words is confusing though. Intelligence and Stupid both already have well understood meanings.

Maybe some of these?
- Intellectual curiosity
- Intellectual humility
- Intellectual openness

or for the opposite:
- Intellectual apathy
- Intellectual arrogance
- Intellectually closed

Perhaps I'm missing the forest for the trees here though.

One interesting aspect here is that with belief you compartmentalize your intellectual curiosity. A person may have great intellectual talent and even apply in some areas, but their beliefs prevent them from entertaining some possibilities. They could be very intelligent but effectively blind to certain conclusions. Some people get very creative with mental gymnastics to be both intellectually curious but also a true believer (hi dad).

In my experience the salt of the earth people at church don't get too deep in any direction. They will serve until their shoes wear thru, but aren't intellectually curious about anything at all.
"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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Palerider
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Palerider » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:02 pm

alas wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:24 am


So, let’s not be as bad in our unbelief as we are accusing religious people of being. Anti religion can become a belief system that is as bad as any religion. When we start in with generalizations that believers are stupid, close minded, and arrogant, then our unbelief is getting to the point that it is making us stupid, close minded, and arrogant.
Just to be clear, I wasn't nor would I define "believers" as stupid. My intent was to define people who don't care for truth. People who would rather bury their heads in the sand than be open to the possibility they might be wrong in any aspect of life, religious, political, scientific or otherwise.

Some may start out being naive or just assuming something is a particular way but as time goes on they become comfortable in that assumption and would prefer not to be challenged by new information. It is indeed a form of arrogance with a dash of cowardice added in. Perhaps their view was given to them by someone they admired and respected. A mentor. They don't want that individual's stature in their own mind to be diminished by new information. It would hurt too badly.

There are a number of reasons why people hold on to false assumptions, narratives, philosophies, etc.

One thing I did learn on my mission was that the number of people who would tell us, "I'm Catholic. My father was Catholic and my family has always been Catholic".......was endless. The only thing that mattered was family tradition. Which in a very real way is a mild form of arrogance. Arrogance need not always be brutish or boorish. To me it can also be a "Thanks but no thanks, we got this" type of conceit. Dismissive without intending to harm.

"We've just always done it this way so we'll just keep doing it this way."

I think the LDS church uses this kind of thinking as a way of protecting itself. There's no place in the scriptures (pseudo or otherwise) that indicates ANYTHING about wearing a white shirt to church or that a white shirt indicates purity of those who perform ordinances. But some doofus leader way back when thought it was a good idea and look what you end up with. A little way to measure "righteousness". A little form of arrogance. A little bit of judgement. But we've always done it this way so......

Belief doesn't equal stupidity. Just obstinate belief in things that are blatantly not true.....that might be kinda' stupid.
"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

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alas
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by alas » Mon Nov 07, 2022 10:14 pm

Palerider wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:02 pm
alas wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:24 am


So, let’s not be as bad in our unbelief as we are accusing religious people of being. Anti religion can become a belief system that is as bad as any religion. When we start in with generalizations that believers are stupid, close minded, and arrogant, then our unbelief is getting to the point that it is making us stupid, close minded, and arrogant.
Just to be clear, I wasn't nor would I define "believers" as stupid. My intent was to define people who don't care for truth. People who would rather bury their heads in the sand than be open to the possibility they might be wrong in any aspect of life, religious, political, scientific or otherwise.

Some may start out being naive or just assuming something is a particular way but as time goes on they become comfortable in that assumption and would prefer not to be challenged by new information. It is indeed a form of arrogance with a dash of cowardice added in. Perhaps their view was given to them by someone they admired and respected. A mentor. They don't want that individual's stature in their own mind to be diminished by new information. It would hurt too badly.

There are a number of reasons why people hold on to false assumptions, narratives, philosophies, etc.

One thing I did learn on my mission was that the number of people who would tell us, "I'm Catholic. My father was Catholic and my family has always been Catholic".......was endless. The only thing that mattered was family tradition. Which in a very real way is a mild form of arrogance. Arrogance need not always be brutish or boorish. To me it can also be a "Thanks but no thanks, we got this" type of conceit. Dismissive without intending to harm.

"We've just always done it this way so we'll just keep doing it this way."

I think the LDS church uses this kind of thinking as a way of protecting itself. There's no place in the scriptures (pseudo or otherwise) that indicates ANYTHING about wearing a white shirt to church or that a white shirt indicates purity of those who perform ordinances. But some doofus leader way back when thought it was a good idea and look what you end up with. A little way to measure "righteousness". A little form of arrogance. A little bit of judgement. But we've always done it this way so......

Belief doesn't equal stupidity. Just obstinate belief in things that are blatantly not true.....that might be kinda' stupid.
I guess as the conversation went on, I got feeling like there was too much of a generalization of all believers into the obstinate kind who don’t care about truth. And yes, those knuckle heads exist about more than just religion. So, understanding that by this kind of “believer” we are talking about the kind who can be smacked over the head with facts and they just don’t care, yes, there is a kind of deliberate unwillingness to know there that is kind of stupid. The science deniers, and flat earth believers, and anti vaxers, and religious kooks all can be called “selectively stupid” because on their pet subject they hang on in spite of facts. I just got defensive about “not all believers” are THAT kind of believers.

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Hagoth
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Nov 08, 2022 6:39 am

RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:38 am
I think the narcissistic ego plays into this in a big way, at least for some alphas or wanna be alphas. Being highly educated and a true believer in BS can be easily maintained, perhaps even contribute. You know it's true because you believe it's true and it could never be otherwise. If your ego is strong enough it won't allow any other possibilities.
I think this (and Palerider's previous post) goes a long way toward explaining people who consider themselves apologist for the church. They have always been the go-to answer guy. They cannot be wrong. Their ego will not allow it, but they are intelligent and motivated enough to twist, bend, and fold their mental landscape into a form that always makes them right and, in their minds, logical, no matter how lacking in logic their worldview is when viewed from a distance.
“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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Not Buying It
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Not Buying It » Tue Nov 08, 2022 2:55 pm

Michael Shermer - whose problematic behavior I am not condoning or excusing in referencing him - once wrote a book called "Why People Believe Weird Things". It had a chapter called "Why Smart People Believe Weird Things", and he suggested an idea that has always stuck with me - smart people are good at coming up with reasons to keep believing what they want to believe.

In some sense, belief in something that is obviously false is stupid and inexcusable. But looking at it from another perspective, it takes some level of intelligence (not to mention creativity) to come up with a somewhat plausible reason to keep believing something that clearly isn't true.

And I have seen it time and again - smart people who are just smart enough to come up with reasons to justify their pre-existing erroneous beliefs, but not quite smart enough to question or abandon them.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Angel
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Re: Does belief equal stupidity?

Post by Angel » Tue Nov 08, 2022 4:43 pm

hmb wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 2:33 pm

I still struggle with the loss of an afterlife. I was looking forward to a Telestial or Terrestrial forever. Now I believe I'll be worm food.

Maybe use "willful ignorance" instead of "stupidity?
Conservation of mass, energy, information cannot be destroyed - drop of water returning to the ocean my friend :). The earth, worms, trees, universe - we've always been, and always will be "together forever" with ALL of it - everything eternally sealed as one.

No regrets, embrace a larger view of heaven :)
“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 » Tue Nov 08, 2022 4:45 pm

Not Buying It wrote:
Tue Nov 08, 2022 2:55 pm
smart people are good at coming up with reasons to keep believing what they want to believe.
Really smart people can turn reality into something worth believing in :)

Here's to optimism.
“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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