Too smart for their own good

This post got me thinking about something I have noticed for quite some time: Why the smartest people can make the dumbest mistakes. Before going on let me take you to the heart of it. As you will see, the author of this report, ironically, exactly demonstrates personally the case he is trying to make out.

Consider people’s beliefs about issues such as climate change. Among Democrats, the pattern is exactly as you would hope [?????]: the more educated someone is, the more likely they are to endorse the scientific evidence that carbon emissions generated by humans are leading to global warming. Among Republicans, however, the exact opposite is true: the more educated someone is, the less likely they are to accept the scientific evidence…. When it comes to certain tightly held beliefs, higher intelligence and knowledge is a tool for propaganda rather than truth seeking, amplifying our errors.

The unfortunate conclusion is that, even if you happen to be rational in general, it’s possible that you may still be prone to flawed reasoning on certain questions that matter most to you.

Universities are filled with people who really do believe global warming is an issue needing deep consideration and urgent action. They are also places filled with socialists, who because they hunger for someone else to pay their bills, and hate it when someone gets rich running a business, want the government to run the economy. The media the same. Talking to these people leave you aware how precarious our future is. The more we breed ignorant elites who think they are smarter than everyone else while knowing nothing about politics, history and economics, the more in danger we become.

What really needs teaching is the imperative that whatever you may believe, you should be able to make the strongest possible case for the other side of the argument. The smug insufferable ignorance of the global-warming set, or these full-on clueless imbecilic socialists, is a continuous astonishment to me. They’ll tell you about some phone call from a Nigerian scammer as they head off to some demo on behalf of some group who would if they could rob and murder them in their sleep, and who even say so everywhere else but to their face. And sometimes even to their face.

The American election is still a toss up. Trump is by no means the certainty he ought to be. And you know what? Given the profile of the man who wrote this article

– David Robson is a senior journalist at the BBC –

there would not the the slightest doubt that he is worried about global warming, favours socialism, votes far left and hates PDT.

This entry was posted in Conservative politics, Politics of the Left. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Too smart for their own good

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Among Republicans, however, the exact opposite is true: the more educated someone is, the less likely they are to accept the scientific evidence

    And there is the problem. The Right is trained to be sceptical, the Left is trained to go along with the herd. The “scientific evidence” this guy is invoking is fallacious, so of course the more educated a Republican is the more they reject the fallacy.

    The more educated a Righty is the more equipped they are to investigate the data itself. When they do that they rapidly find that the data shows not much is happening in the real world, and that most of the temperature rise seen in the last century is due to several natural processes – which are all ignored by the Left. It is purest hubris to imagine humans drive climate through one single process, CO2 emissions, and ignore the rest of the data.

  2. chrisl

    I notice it a lot where people are very very clever in their fields but pretty stupid in other things Eg my neighbor who has many papers published in pharmacy/chemistry but couldn’t figure out how to use his whipper snipper or start his lawn mower. Or my sister in law also very clever but couldn’t understand the difference between income and assets for tax purposes .

  3. stackja

    The BBC was supposedly the model for 1984 Ministry of Truth.

  4. mh

    Economic globalists – think banking cartels – have historically had greater success using the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party to further their agenda.

    I suspect this is because Republicans tend to have a greater understanding of economics, and greater skepticism.

  5. The Right is trained to be sceptical, the Left is trained to go along with the herd.

    I don’t know where you get that idea. I’m quite the conservative, but no one ‘trained’ me to be so. I’d suggest that my outlook and beliefs have come from the fact that I’ve led a very diverse life; dirty blue collar jobs to neat and tidy white collar jobs, worked for the man and worked for myself.

    I’ve also interacted with all walks of life and formed my own opinions about what’s right and wrong, and what’s true or false. Plus I try to keep informed, by not just relying on conservative media, but also keeping on top of the Leftist media (know thine enemy).

  6. @ bemused
    #3145491, posted on September 1, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Sounds to me like you ‘trained’ yourself. I went through much the same as you.
    Climate scaeptics tend to be an older crowd as well, so maybe the ‘trained’ bit is about the education we got way back when. Unlike the indoctrination that’s happening now.

  7. 132andBush

    bemused,
    In a sense you have trained yourself. You’re not a herd follower by nature.

  8. Natural Instinct

    The BBC was supposedly the model for 1984 Ministry of Truth

    If one listens to the ABC News Radio, it switches over to a BBC feed around 11pm.
    Between 200 and 400am history is rewritten every night.
    And around 5:30am when the ABC wakes up, they know exactly what are the “memes” for the day – among the chattering ‘elite’ classes.

  9. ArthurB

    Most Cats will not be aware of the writings of P.B. Medawar, an English scientist who was awarded a Nobel in 1960 for his work on immunology. He was also a public intellectual, who wrote on scientific matters for the popular press.
    In 1961 he reviewed Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man, a book which was widely read at the time, but which now belongs in the dustbin of history. In his review, Medawar said that

    How have people come to be taken in by The Phenomenon of Man? We must not underestimate the size of the market for works of this kind, for philosophy-fiction. Just as compulsory primary education created a market catered for by cheap dailies and weeklies, so the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.

    I would love to know what Medawar would have thought of the current hysteria over “climate change”, which in recent years has become a substitute for religion, particularly among the journalists who infest our national broadcaster.

  10. J.H.

    David Robson still hasn’t got over Brexit….. Probably never will. People like him are desperate to maintain the Taxpool. They will do anything to that end.

    As for our mob of corruptible elites, I wouldn’t trust them as far as you could kick ’em. I reckon they are more than willing to throw their hand in with the Chinese if push comes to shove…. Victoria already has.

  11. Mother Lode

    I have found the biggest intellectual poseurs to be on the left. I suppose it is because, although they are collectivists, they still believe that they are outside of and above all collectives. When they think of an ideal society, which instead of people they see as big coloured oblongs and circles on a diagram, they want it to be their ideal.

    While hey marvel at the wondrous vistas of thei brave new world, they are utterly oblivious to the fact that they are viewing it. Other people would see something different.

    But they each nurse deep in their hearts the same immutable certainty that they should not be in the society, but running it from above.

    So they must act the part. Speak of collectives, present their own individual characters.

    They don’t really know how to make things work.

    Their track record puts this beyond all doubt.

  12. Baa Humbug
    #3145553, posted on September 1, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Sounds to me like you ‘trained’ yourself.

    Life is an education. But I guess it depends on how much variety you’ve had in that life as to what you’ve learned and who you’ve become. Perhaps one of today’s problems is that all too many have had a cloistered life and that’s become increasingly the norm.

  13. Up The Workers!

    Perhaps this BBC idiot could advise us of the “scientific evidence” of the names of any 10 people who have been savagely “warmed to death” by all the human breath in the climate; or perhaps name any 10 nations which have been submerged by the “rising sea levels” caused by human breath (as opposed to being submerged under the morbid obesity of the malingering freeloaders gorging themselves on KFC and Maccas).

    Any gathering of Leftard group-“finkers” reminds me of the multitude scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, where the multitude all yell in unison – “We are all individuals”. “We are all different”. and then Zali Steggall yells: “I’m not!”

  14. JR

    I think it was G. K. Chesterton who observed that “when men stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing, though they will believe in anything.”

  15. Iampeter

    Why the smartest people can make the dumbest mistakes.

    You mean like classic economists supporting tariffs?
    Then these same people going on to educate our children?

    It’s not really a mystery.

  16. Paul

    The method for selling AGW when it first began to be ramped up was the through use of intellectual snobbery/superiority. Only the clever people were able to understand the nuance/complexity/whatever the hell… Those who smelt the rat were simply not intelligent (like us) and couldn’t be expected to analyze complex science and needed “guiding” to the correct opinions etc, etc. That’s certainly how the ABC pitched it when they made the policy decision to treat it as an undeniable fact back in the early 2000s.

    Whether true or otherwise, it is still yet another example of our betters “not letting a good crisis go to waste”.

  17. Karabar

    Even thirty years ago I was often called a “sceptic”.
    I would deny and reply that scepticism implies doubt, and I have never had the slightest doubt that the entire CAGW meme is a scam.

  18. Dr Fred Lenin

    I remember an Oxford Don telling me about his students ,”before they come here they are told they are one in a million ,when they study here they find they are one of a million” ,sounds like they are sheeps ,to be shorn of individuality .

  19. Leo G

    … and I have never had the slightest doubt that the entire CAGW meme is a scam.

    The entire meme? Surely there’s room for a psychoneurosis, particularly now that catastrophic warming has proven to be rather tepid and the general response has been increased enthusiasm for delusions of runaway extreme weather.

  20. cuckoo

    My one name for this – there may be a better one – is Situational Insanity. Educated people who are fully functional in everyday life, but who through painting themselves into an ideological corner, end up doing insane things. I was once confronted in the supermarket by a distant acquaintance who has written a number of distinguished academic histories. She began the conversation from scratch with a diatribe about the then PM Tony Abbott (horrible) and his role in causing climate change. She was clutching armfuls of plastic bottles of drinking water. I looked but didn’t comment. But she saw the look and began blabbering some nonsense about how she couldn’t drink Melbourne tap water (“Ice cream, Mandrake…children’s ice cream..”) and she had promised to stop buying plastic bottled water…when she turned 75. This woman was not insane but actions were those of an insane person.

  21. Bad Samaritan

    Here’s R. Feynman…a few choice quotes….

    A) “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.”……Immediately you see that ACC believers have nought to do with science since they have no doubt whatsoever, despite all the inconsistencies and failed predictions etc, They keep their faith regardless.

    B) “If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.” . The exact opposite position of all who have faith in the pseudo-science of ACC. For them ACC is certain.

    C)“We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.” Again, the exact opposite of the fake “Climate Science” approach, where we have the recent example of Michael Mann refusing point-blank to even allow his wrong-ness to be exposed in any degree whatsoever. then cheered on by the faithful in his religious circles.

    And finally, a bonus D) “I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” ….which just about covers every branch of leftist credentialism run rampant. Cheers.

  22. A Lurker

    There is much to be said for being a generalist in academia, rather than a specialist.

  23. Bad Samaritan

    Oops…for those who are unfamiliar….

    ‘During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.[1]”

  24. mem

    A diesel-powered generator is being used to run the music stage at the Extinction Rebellion protests on Deansgate.
    Graham Buss, 63, said: “We were desperate to get a solar panel specially made for the demonstrations but it would have cost us £8,000.
    “That’s money we simply don’t have.
    “Even if we’d been able to get a solar panel made, we would have still had to have had a diesel-powered generator as a back up.

    “It’s something we really do regret having to use and we feel like hypocrites, but this is the point.

    “We’re part of a system that has made it incredibly difficult to use solar panels for these sorts of events and we feel like we’ve been forced to have to use the diesel generator.

    “It’s atrocious that the cost of getting a solar panel made should be so expensive.”
    Article from Paul Homewood. More here at his site https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/

  25. Dr Fred Lenin

    If I had been the judge in the Manne case I would have slotted him fo refusing to produce the lies he built his case on. Contempt of court obviously ,and I would keep him slotted untill he produced the material required to prove or disprove his case . I would not tolerate his arrogance there woukd be severe consequences . Proving his figures were lies would leave him open to charges of fraud and conspiricy ,and
    I would ensure he faced those charges . I would get a reputation as the denier judge and wouldnt give a damn .

  26. Jo Smyth

    Can’t believe that SK still has doubts about Trump winning the next election. The Dems have no argument. Any slur they try to get up is being countered well ahead of time i.e recession fears, racism. The Squad is systematically being dismantled, starting with the gradual destruction of the fake Somali. I’m sure they will be picked off one by one. Donald Trump hasn’t even started on his campaign trail and no matter who he comes up against in the Debates, he will have baggage on them. On the reverse, what on earth can any of them throw at Trump that hasn’t been slung already. No, Trump is a cert for 2020 and the bets are going in early.

  27. Fair shake of the Sauce bottle

    For global warming and sea levels rising I have as a rule of thumb referred to the market. If sea levels were indeed rising I’m sure the Insurance companies would be on to it before us plebs. Houses such as Barry Odramas would be un- insurable. As it is the demand for seaside properties is a strong in the elites.

  28. Percy Popinjay

    a diatribe about the then PM Tony Abbott (horrible) and his role in causing climate change

    Also known as “questioning the role Tony Abbott played in (insert hysterical cause du jour here)”.

  29. Dr Fred Lenin:

    If I had been the judge in the Manne case I would have slotted him fo refusing to produce the lies he built his case on. Contempt of court obviously ,and I would keep him slotted untill he produced the material required to prove or disprove his case . I would not tolerate his arrogance there woukd be severe consequences . Proving his figures were lies would leave him open to charges of fraud and conspiricy ,and
    I would ensure he faced those charges . I would get a reputation as the denier judge and wouldnt give a damn .

    Exactly right. Why this bloke wasn’t gaoled for contempt of court is beyond me.

  30. Enoch Root

    @Bad Samaritan
    #3145835, posted on September 2, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    What a great quote! thanks for that!

  31. cuckoo

    Feynman. If you’ve never read his anecdotal memoir Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman then I envy you for the treat you have in store.

  32. notafan

    “We’re part of a system that has made it incredibly difficult to use solar panels for these sorts of events and we feel like we’ve been forced to have to use the diesel generator.

    yeah right

    More free stuff now!

  33. Ellen of Tasmania

    What really needs teaching is the imperative that whatever you may believe, you should be able to make the strongest possible case for the other side of the argument. The smug insufferable ignorance of the global-warming set, or these full-on clueless imbecilic socialists, is a continuous astonishment to me

    The first part of this interview will explain why we can no longer discuss issues with the left. Very interesting – apparently Marx was anti-discussion, pro conflict. I haven’t done any homework to find out if what he is saying is historically true, but it is certainly playing out before our eyes as such.

    If you are interested in the China stuff, start at the 25 minute mark of the interview. Mind-boggling.

  34. Lee

    <em>“It’s atrocious that the cost of getting a solar panel made should be so expensive.”
    Article from Paul Homewood. More here at his site https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/

    Welcome to the real world, Extinction Rebellion morons!

  35. Tapdog

    No point bitching about the problem. Not going to change while Marxists run the education system that spews forth its yearly cohort of eager young useful idiots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.