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Calling people stupid

Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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1/31/2014 11:03:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
This is spurned from another thread, but I don't want to derail that thread, so instead I will create a new thread. I hope that this can expand from just what a single member said into a conversation about the overall treatment of ideas and concepts that you don't agree with or are unpopular.

I mean if you are just scrolling through DDO and see someones profile and it says

"I support slavery and all black people should be exterminated"

I am sorry but the first thing you are going to think to yourself is, "That person is a F*@*ing moron. To be completely honest you probably will make a post about it and link the dudes page. Why is this? The sad truth is people can believe stupid things. Whether or not it is stupid is a matter of perspective sure, but if a majority consensus think a remark is stupid chances are it has some weight to it.

To put in context, this was said in support of general insults and name calling. It was not in support with just the thought process, but the action process that limits our thought process (calling something or someone stupid, rather than engaging in discourse).

I have to vehemently disagree with such a notion, and hope that most members on here do as well. While this person lists an extreme example, by allowing the ability to just right it off as "stupid" opens the doors for writing off anything and everything you disagree with as stupid. And before anyone claims a slippery slope, this is clearly visible in modern politics and in religious debates.

Now, I can fully appreciate where this has meaning out in the real world. Often times, you are given so many different thoughts and ideas, that it is not realistically possible (without compromising your lifestyle) to thoroughly and logically dive into each one. You have to have some way to quickly and semi-accurately decide which are worth investigating into, and which ones simply aren't worth your time. However, the rationale into doing such things breaks down if you do more than ignore what is deemed as "stupid" or "pointless" or not worth your time. If you engage in attacking something, you cannot make the same claim that it isn't worth your time without being a clear hypocrite. Once you decide to engage, you should, for sake of logic, truly get to understand a topic.

This brings us back to the extreme example provided and what the goal of DDO and most of its members. Before something can be deemed "stupid," one must know both sides of the argument. Why does one think that way? What has lead them to believe that? By reaching out along these lines, you can more rationally come to a conclusion about the legitimacy of a position and better still, possibly reach out and help someone else come to that same, rational conclusion. When you dismiss it flat out and respond with personal attacks, you create a divide and only stronger their resolve for that position.

I can think of one great recent example regarding genetics and IQ (and how it may or may not relate to race). This was one topic that is very frequently dismissed as "stupid" and racist. However, some members dived deep into it, comparing twin studies and meta-studies on the subject, and I fully believe that everyone, even those who only witnessed the debates (such as myself) came out far wiser and with a better appreciation for the science involved than if both sides merely resorted to "you're an idiot!" "No, you're an idiot!" type of arguments.

This should be especially true when considering new members, and young members. Believe it or not, there are many people that are not well informed. They are naturally curious and wish to learn and share. They are perfect opportunities to share ideas and help them grow. As stated before, attacking and insulting only strengthens their resolve for those opinions, rather than potentially correcting or improving them.

I must suggest though, that if it is not in your interest to expand your own thoughts and ideas, and to help others expand their's; if you prefer to berate, insult, and aggressively troll, you might find a better fit with youtube comments or 4chan.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/1/2014 12:30:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
If a profile says, "I support slavery and all black people should be exterminated" the first thing I think of is "There is someone who's really desperate for attention." That's a problem, but it's not an intelligence problem. Children get attention by kicking up a fuss, and for some that method persists for their whole life.

There are many ideas that really are "stupid," but it's difficult to disprove them quickly in a few sentences, so instead of providing arguments it's convenient to just dismiss them as "stupid." Prove "the earth is flat" is wrong in a few sentences. I thought about that one and came up with, "A round earth is the only explanation for hurricanes moving counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. No flat earth explains it." I think a debater is obliged to come up with good arguments rather than just be dismissive.

Some "stupid" things take a lot of 'splaining to show why.

Then there are the many things that seem stupid, but are really true.

If IQ is a predictor of academic success (and it is) then there ought to be more male professors in college and more female students. Males and females have the same average IQ, but male IQs have a larger variance. There is a Wikipedia article on that. Hence there are a few more high IQ men then women, and also more low IQ men than women.

Affirmative action in college admissions results in fewer Black and Hispanic students graduating. The book "Mismatch" gives the data. An advantage in admissions to elite schools produces minority dropouts who are so thoroughly discouraged as to abandon higher education.

imabench implied I was stupid to claim "The rules of political correctness match that of any religion." He then lost the debate we had on the subject. http://www.debate.org... PC is called "the new Puritanism" in serious studies, and for good reasons.

My view is that there is no excuse on a debate site for calling something "stupid." If it is stupid, then prove it. If you can't prove it, you should doubt your claim.
YYW
Posts: 36,365
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2/1/2014 4:51:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/31/2014 11:03:56 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
I mean if you are just scrolling through DDO and see someones profile and it says

"I support slavery and all black people should be exterminated"

I am sorry but the first thing you are going to think to yourself is, "That person is a F*@*ing moron. To be completely honest you probably will make a post about it and link the dudes page. Why is this? The sad truth is people can believe stupid things. Whether or not it is stupid is a matter of perspective sure, but if a majority consensus think a remark is stupid chances are it has some weight to it.

To put in context, this was said in support of general insults and name calling. It was not in support with just the thought process, but the action process that limits our thought process (calling something or someone stupid, rather than engaging in discourse).

I'm not really sure if this is the most effective way to say this, but there is a fine line between being justified in dismissing one's beliefs on their face and dismissing the person who holds them, and not. For me, that dividing line between the former and the latter is made based on my judgement call of the person who holds a stupid opinion's probability of changing against the potential impact that my actions have.

But, in calling someone, some belief or some idea stupid, that isn't a failure or refusal to engage in discourse. It's judging the idea with the purpose of making that judgement known to those who read your response, that others may respond. So, the problem isn't that people are calling some ideas stupid. The problem is that the practical utility of calling someone or some idea stupid is lost on those who read the comment. But, it should also be mentioned that explaining why something is stupid is also necessary, unless the idea is so morally revulsive (like supporting racism, or sexual pruriency) that no rational person could find any redeeming value in the idea discussed.

I have to vehemently disagree with such a notion, and hope that most members on here do as well. While this person lists an extreme example, by allowing the ability to just right it off as "stupid" opens the doors for writing off anything and everything you disagree with as stupid. And before anyone claims a slippery slope, this is clearly visible in modern politics and in religious debates.

What you're talking about is a tit-for-tat escalation potential both in a thread (calling someone stupid leads to worse insults that cloud out the possibility of substantive discussion) and cultural amplification (to the extent that this becomes a communally sanctioned activity). I'm not saying that you're wrong, only that the potential for this happening is more closely correlated to the extent to which there is bullsh!t on this site, relative to non-bullsh!t.

This should be especially true when considering new members, and young members. Believe it or not, there are many people that are not well informed. They are naturally curious and wish to learn and share. They are perfect opportunities to share ideas and help them grow. As stated before, attacking and insulting only strengthens their resolve for those opinions, rather than potentially correcting or improving them.

That's a significant point, and why if you'll notice I don't mock younger members or condone mocking younger members. But adults who should know better, that is a different situation.

I must suggest though, that if it is not in your interest to expand your own thoughts and ideas, and to help others expand their's; if you prefer to berate, insult, and aggressively troll, you might find a better fit with youtube comments or 4chan.

As a general rule, I think you're over concerned about this. There are some members, like Badger, who want nothing more than to insult others (by calling them "idiots" and the like) as a means to validating their own irrational conceptions of their own brilliance. There are other members, like Imabench, who call others stupid as a means of acknowledging real problems that exist within the community. I'm not opposed to either, because they're just not that big of a problem. I get irritated when older members go after younger members (like STALIN), who are only 16 or so and -despite their misgivings- are still only kids. I have no problem, however, when everyone on the site reins hell, condemnation and shame upon a deserving adult who actively continues to harm this site.
Tsar of DDO
imabench
Posts: 21,229
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2/1/2014 4:53:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/31/2014 11:17:22 PM, NightofTheLivingCats wrote:
TL;DR
Kevin24018 : "He's just so mean it makes me want to ball up my fists and stamp on the ground"
Geogeer: "Nobody is dumb enough to become my protege."

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies

DDO: THE MOVIE = http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

VP of DDO from Dec 14th 2014 to Jan 1st 2015
Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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2/1/2014 5:19:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/1/2014 4:53:30 AM, imabench wrote:
At 1/31/2014 11:17:22 PM, NightofTheLivingCats wrote:
TL;DR
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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2/1/2014 5:59:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/31/2014 11:03:56 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:

[signed]

At 2/1/2014 12:30:32 AM, RoyLatham wrote:

[signed]
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
tylergraham95
Posts: 1,461
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2/1/2014 8:50:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/1/2014 12:30:32 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
My view is that there is no excuse on a debate site for calling something "stupid." If it is stupid, then prove it. If you can't prove it, you should doubt your claim.

#wisdom
"we dig" - Jeanette Runquist (1943 - 2015)
sadolite
Posts: 8,839
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2/1/2014 10:30:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
"My view is that there is no excuse on a debate site for calling something "stupid." If it is stupid, then prove it. If you can't prove it, you should doubt your claim."

Fixed
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/2/2014 1:45:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/1/2014 4:51:08 AM, YYW wrote:
But, in calling someone, some belief or some idea stupid, that isn't a failure or refusal to engage in discourse. It's judging the idea with the purpose of making that judgement known to those who read your response, that others may respond. So, the problem isn't that people are calling some ideas stupid. The problem is that the practical utility of calling someone or some idea stupid is lost on those who read the comment. But, it should also be mentioned that explaining why something is stupid is also necessary, unless the idea is so morally revulsive (like supporting racism, or sexual pruriency) that no rational person could find any redeeming value in the idea discussed.

I don't buy the argument that making a call of "stupid" provokes others to respond. It provides an example of thinking it is adequate not to respond, and to just pronounce judgement.

I can think of a possible exception. If a person is a genuine authority on a subject and is known as an authority, then perhaps being dismissive has some value. the idea is that you can trust the expert opinion. That rarely happens on DDO, and I can never recall a true expert being dismissive. They are eager to explain the error.

When a regular non-authority calls someone "stupid" it's an implicit claim to being so knowledgeable as to have a good grounds to dismiss others. That doesn't fly.
I have to vehemently disagree with such a notion, and hope that most members on here do as well. While this person lists an extreme example, by allowing the ability to just right it off as "stupid" opens the doors for writing off anything and everything you disagree with as stupid. And before anyone claims a slippery slope, this is clearly visible in modern politics and in religious debates.

This should be especially true when considering new members, and young members. Believe it or not, there are many people that are not well informed. They are naturally curious and wish to learn and share.

Good point, but I'm not convinced that older people do much better overall. The advantage with young people is that sometimes they can be convinced.
Mikal
Posts: 11,270
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2/2/2014 3:01:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
That was a direct quote from me, but I still fully stand beside it.

It is more of a notion of dismissing the actual remark and thought process behind it than the actual user. Anyone is entitled to believe anything they wish, but when certain people believe certain things and try to justify rationally there is a point where you can dismiss them as a lost cause.

As I mentioned it could be anything from

Slavery
Extreme Christian views (such as directly condemning people to hell for different beliefs)
Radical Muslims beliefs ( Which we have seen on this sight and one user went as far as to say that members of the gay community should be drug out into public and shot on tv)
So on and so forth

Sure you can use it a way to engage it a thought provoking conversation, but you are going still going to think to yourself "that remark is stupid". That is unavoidable, and is something everyone is guilty of.

Bear in mind this was a brief thing I wrote in support of the weekly stupid. Basically underlining the fact that people can make stupid remarks, and it is within imas right to call that remark stupid publicly if he sees fit.

Bear in mind there is a fundamental difference in between calling the user stupid, and calling their remark stupid. I was simply stating if you were to read a remark like that chances are the first thought that is going to cross your mind is "that is stupid". There is nothing wrong with thinking that, and everyone will have a different perspective on the actual remark.
Mikal
Posts: 11,270
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2/2/2014 3:11:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Example

" Homosexuality should be illegal and the world must act now before it spreads and leads to human destruction. I personally think that Homosexuals should be charged with crimes against humanity cause they indirectly and openly call for the destruction of the human race. They should be executed on live tv so other people don't fall for the governments trap and not destroy their lives just cause of a couple of millions of dollars. Gays are really good actors so they can convince anyone they are Gay. Anyways hope to hear from you soon. "

" I support the death penalty against Homosexuality and wish for it to be applied internationally. Naturally no one would ever true it is cause it doesn't exist. If they did try they would be killed yes but if there are any why not go public. Better to die than remain Gay"

To me remarks like that can be justified as stupid. Especially when you confront the person and he stands by the statement in full faith. Not only are those remarks stupid they are dangerous.