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Tuesday, July 11, 2017


To make fun of anyone who is fat, or even to point out that someone is overweight, is now considered a cardinal sin. (Even though it actually encourage people to lose weight and be healthier.)

But we have even less control over our intelligence than we do over our weight. So why isn't stupidity-shaming a thing?

One would think, given the alacrity with which the Left has pounced on almost every other form of "discrimination" they can think of, that they would find fault with those who judge others by their IQs.

After all, if anybody breathes a word of the IQ gap between the races, it's pretty much curtains for that person's career.

But, it's generally open season on whites who achieve prominence, if they say anything dumb, unless it's in the service of progressivism.

When you think about it, much of what the media is attempting to do in criticizing Trump is to stupidity-shame. Along with all of the attacks on his character, they try to make him appear dumb to boot. (Occasionally, with his help, they succeed.)

But isn't discriminating against those with less gray matter the ultimate form of discrimination? Our brains make us who we are, and what we are. Every word that comes out of our mouths, every witticism we come up with, every thought we have, is a function of our brains.

How well our brains function seems to be a matter of size, how many folds it has, how well the synapses fire off, and how many glial cells we have. And we certainly have less control over those things than we do over our food intake. Or exercise.

You'll sometimes hear people say, "I'm going to run three miles today, then I'm going to hit the gym for some incline press and pull-ups."

But you'll never hear anyone say, "I'm going to give my cerebellum a good workout today, and after that I'm going to work on my occipital and parietal lobes. Oh, and then the frontal lobe -- I'm a bit weak on ethics."

The reason you never hear anyone say that is because it would be absolutely ridiculous. You can't make your cerebellum any better functioning. You've got what you've got, and you're stuck with it.

But still, why hasn't pretending that all brains deserve equal respect become a cause celebre among the Left?

Might that conflict with the fact that intellectual snobbery is the media's favorite form of preening?

They do like to think of themselves as "enlightened," and conservatives as obtuse.

But imagine if stupidity-shaming were a thing, like fat-shaming.

Colleges would be one of the first targets. Why do they let in some students but not others? Why is it that every spring high school seniors across the nation must undergo such an orgy of stupidity-shaming? (Granted, there are other factors in admission beside IQ, but that is still theoretically the most important factor.)

The Educational Testing Service is an even worse malefactor, since SAT scores are really about nothing but stupidity-shaming. (The correlation between IQ and SAT scores is .9.)

And whenever anyone ever disparages someone's logic or memory or grasp of abstract reasoning, well, he's the one who should be ashamed -- of stupidity-shaming.

If stupidity-shaming actually became a thing, some interesting tactics would develop. Just as, despite the current frowning upon fat-shaming, everybody knows that nobody wants to be fat, so would everyone know that no one wants to be thought stupid. So, people might call to task those who criticized their enemies, pointing out that they were stupidity-shaming.

It'd just be a roundabout way of calling the opposition stupid.

For the same reason, no one would ever accuse others of doing this to their own side.

I'm certain guilty of this theoretical sin, in fact much of this blog is devoted to it.

Just, please, don't accuse anyone else of doing it to me.


Not Dave said...

John -

You're a bully. But you are too old to have been through all the anti-bullying campaigns they have in elementary schools nowadays.

I got skinny-shamed when I was a juvenile. Bean Pole was one of the titles I had been given by other bullies. Or were they normal kids? Through it all I turned out OK.

Hey, I'll be the first one to admit my intelligence has a limit. I often joke about being a product of public schooling.

You are correct in that liberals believe they hold a monopoly on intelligence. Since they run our nations education system (elementary to university - save for private schools) why shouldn't they think that? Then we listen to them and just can't believe what comes out of their mouths. They're too stupid to know how dumb they sound. CNN, I know they've had big problems lately, is a perfect example. So is UC Berkeley, Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters. Holy cow, nothing that comes out of their mouths says "I have intelligence". But now I'm stupid-shaming them and should be thrown in prison for not agreeing with them.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly, I *have* heard this by a leftie (the one who always goes on about cultural appropriation, arguing that it's only not OK when whites do it). We were debating education policy and she reckons it's "awful" that children are split into different classes by ability. She seemed to argue that everyone is intellectually equal: we just have different types of intelligence that can't be tangibly measured. This was the same woman who previously told me that scientists developing better arthritis drugs isn't scientific progress because not every arthritis sufferer worldwide has access to the newer, superior drugs. I didn't bother arguing with her about the intelligence, or explain (mansplain?) that the children are split into different classes so the dumber ones can have more support to help them improve. One cannot reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Not Dave --
I'm a stupidity-shame, and sociopath-shamer (though the latter is an oxymoron), but I don't see myself as a bully. But who knows, maybe am.

Having been bullied when you were a youngster must have been good preparation for working in a jail.

Exactly right: the liberals are too stupid to realize how stupid they sound. Or, too convinced of their own righteousness. It's a sort of collective narcissism.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
"One cannot reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into."

That's great, I may quote you sometime.

The everyone is intellectually equal, we all just have different types of intelligence argument rings a bell. Remember when "emotional intelligence" was a big thing? That was just a way for people with middling IQ's to feel good about themselves. "Oh, well, I may not have scored well on those silly tests, but I have really high emotional intelligence, which is what really counts." The truth is, most of the people who subscribed to that were only in touch with their own emotions, but they figured since they were moe in touch with their own emotions than you were with theirs, they must be "smarter." Or, since they made sympathetic noises at the appropriate times, it showed what high "emotional intelligence" they had.

It's also a little reminiscent of how liberals liked to say that there were types of "intelligence" that IQ couldn't measure, like "physical intelligence," of the sort that Michael Jordan displayed on the basketball court. That was just an incredibly lame attempt to diminish the racial gap.

That Leftie you know is undoubtedly particularly sensitive to stupidity-shaming, for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as emotional intelligence?!!!! So, basically, I've been having daily emotional outbursts for NO reason? Well, I guess I can stop the emotional outbursts now that I know it's not making me any smarter. It's probably a good thing though. It has really put a damper on my social life. Besides, I have a back up IQ enhancer. Studies have shown that women who wait to have kids later in life...late twenties etc...tend to have higher IQs than women who have children at younger ages. So I decided to game that whole system and just not have kids which means that I am getting smarter every day. This only works for women. Men, if you are stupid, you are just going to have to stay that way.


John Craig said...

Hannah --
Aw c'mon, you mean there's no hope for us?

I think, to follow your logic to its proper conclusion, you still have to have children, but just wait a bit (though I don't know how old you are now).

One thing about children, they tend to hog up the emotional outbursts in a family, so you may find you'll have to repress yours.

John Craig said...

Hannah --
PS -- On a more serious note, I'm not saying that there's no such thing as emotional intelligence, just that the people who think they have it generally don't.

Not Dave said...

Well I never had kids and I'm a guy so I guess that leaves me to being a neanderthal. Since I'm a product of public schooling I can always fall back on that as the reason I'm stupid (or have stupid moments). My wife got her master's degree, so did her oldest daughter (my wife and I got married 4 years ago). Her other daughter is currently attempting to graduate with a government degree and is having a hard time with being an adult. Sometimes I get to tease my wife for stupid things she does which I guess is stupid-shaming. What I do lack in intelligence (because I didn't spend tens of thousands of dollars to take tests and get a piece of paper to hang on the wall saying I'm smart) I seem to make up with common sense (which my wife does lack sometimes, even though she has a master's degree).

My youngest stepdaughter did try to stupid-shame me a few years ago by telling me that on the average Law Enforcement Officers (LEO's) have very little education. This coming from a girl that just graduated high school and did it #18 out of 400 students. Then real life kicked in for her once she started college. She was supposed to graduate last month, now she might graduate in December but even that's starting to look optimistic. I have not stupid-shamed her because she's a fragile little snowflake, still young (almost 22) and doesn't need it. I want her to graduate, get a job with medical insurance so we no longer have to pay for hers. Yes I'm being selfish. By the way, she didn't attempt to stupid-shame me after that first try as she's grown up a little since then.

My common sense has brought me along this far. I realize I'm not master's material, not everyone is. My wife loves me anyway and she has not stupid-shamed me. She may have tried in the past but feeble attempts at best. Because I study people daily, recognize personalities and habits I can see through most folks facade's and can call their BS. My wife isn't as good at it as I am though she is more intelligent than I am.

The good thing is I'm not stupid. Well according to liberals I am but since they live in a juvenile world I'm happy in my grown up world. I understand socialism doesn't work, it never has. I understand welfare programs are akin to government slavery. I understand that not everyone can be reasoned with to save the world, some people are just evil and want to destroy you/us.

Yes, fat-shaming is bullying and evil and should be a capital punishment crime (why isn't it already?). Since liberals hold a death grip on intellectualism (so they think) of course if you're not a liberal you should be stupid-shamed. The liberal double standard applies. A non-liberal cannot stupid-shame unless a liberal agrees with you, then it's acceptable.

Now I have to get ready for work dealing with stupid people.

[I am highly sarcastic at times with a dry sense of humor, don't hate]

John Craig said...

Not Dave --
It sounds as if even you pay too much attention to academic credentialism. I don't, and wrote about it here, recently:

Not Dave said...

John, I just read that blog and can relate to it. There's a coworker that fits that last paragraph to a tee (and it isn't me). He has no sense of humor. At all. But that's not why he fits: he will tell people he's a Master Peace Officer and spout his experience whenever someone questions him or his actions.

As for humor keeping your sanity I wholeheartedly agree and believe that's one thing that keeps me sane. My wife likes my humor (most of the time) and tells me so on occasion.

Sometimes the only way to get ahead is to have that piece of paper in a frame on your wall. My oldest stepdaughter is in med school and getting close (next year) to graduating and becoming a surgeon. She worked hard to get where she is. Will that degree mean she'll be a good doctor? No. I come in contact with Magistrates (not elected judges) that don't know the law though they're attorneys and have a degree and passed the BAR exam.

I've been licensed by the State to be what I am but like you said it just proves I could memorize things and pass tests to get it. It's what I do with my position granted me by the State that makes me successful or not, how I do that job I'm licensed to do. I couldn't do this job without being licensed, no agency would hire me. It is part of my life experience that I can use to do my job the best I can.

We, nurses, fireman, EMT's and doctors normally possess morbid humor. It helps us get through the rough stuff normal people aren't exposed to and it's totally politically incorrect. It's life.

What was the original topic of your blog? Common sense seems to be having intelligence or knowledge about something and using it within realistic boundaries associated with life events. You know that jumping off a cliff, falling 100 feet and landing on a solid object usually means you'll die or be seriously injured so common sense says don't do it. You follow that and don't, therefore you've succeeded. Putting together a news story that has no or little facts in it and broadcasting it out as though it is completely credible is stupid. CNN has the right the be stupid-shamed. People that but a bottle rocket in their anus then light it deserve to be stupid-shamed. Having to vote on and pass a law before you know what's in it is stupid. The congresswoman who said that should be stupid-shamed. Being an elected official does not make one intelligent nor does is it a certification of intelligence.

John Craig said...

Not Dave --
I wonder if the coworker you mention in your first paragraph has Aspergers, he sorta sounds like it.

Humor helps you keep your sanity, yes, but more than that, it's actually proof of sanity. In order to have a sense of what's funny, you have to have some sense of what's normal and what's not, what's factual and what's not, and what other people are like. If you don't have a sense of reality, you can't really have a sense of the absurd, either, at least not in the sense of recognizing its absurdity.

Yes, people I those jobs are known for they mordant wit. Especially detectives and coroners, from what I understand. In all honestly, I haven't met that many doctors I'd say had a great sense of humor.

I'd say CNN and Nancy Pelosi HAVE been stupidity-shamed. The problem is, the people who want to see it do, and those who don't want to remain blind.

Fled The Undertow said...

I think there already IS a movement to end stupidity-shaming in education: it's the new liberal abhorrence to "labels".

I work at a private school with mostly liberals. If I ever use an acronym like ADHD, BPD, or other various shorthand terms (like dyslexia) to describe a student's behavior or learning issues, one of the patronizing blowhards on the board will look down his nose and proclaim, "We should stay away from using labels, and just describe behaviors."

That's all well and good, but why use several paragraphs to describe behaviors when saying, "That kid is a budding Borderline, or Oppositional Defiant disorder", or whatever? It's not going into his school records, for God's sake, it's just a more efficient way of communicating privately with other teachers.

So I said to him, "Yeah, well, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck...".

Speaking of which, I would love it if you explored the comorbidity of cleft lip/palate and behavioral/cognitive problems. I had a kid with a surgically-fixed cleft last week, and he was a piece of work. His brother, however, was a dream to have in class, and his mom is super nice, too. But cleft kid was immature, aggressive, impulsive, had a low tolerance for frustration, etc. A dental website I found said that research indicates higher than average behavioral issues among those with clefts, and not simply the result of environmental factors like low self-esteem or teasing. Some clefts are a result of "syndromes", I know, like 22q11 deletion. I guess behavior/cognitive problems are part and parcel of the neurophysiology that caused the defect to begin with?

John Craig said...

Fled --
What you're describing at your private school sounds less like just stupidity-shaming and more like just everything-shaming. It sounds as if the members of the board have decided that to label ANY behavior is to subscribe to "stereotypes," that great bogeyman all good liberals despise.

You're right, of course, that using such labels is simply a shorthand way of cutting through all the excess verbiage and getting to the heart of a kid's problems. But that would be to engage in stereotyping.

Honestly, I know little about cleft palates, and I don't want to pretend expertise on a subject I know little about. What little I do know I mentioned here, in a sociopath alert about Jesse Jackson:

It does seem that a mother who drinks is four times more likely to have a child with a cleft palate than other mothers are, and alcoholic mother is also likely to have a child with the problems, so that correlation alone would indicate comorbidity.

Anonymous said...

Intelligence is like fitness to me, about 90% of people have decent enough intelligence to get basic things done if they put effort into it. I am not smart nor a genius, no 150 IQ stuff. But I do try to use my head or work on my shortcomings (like my executive dysfunction).
You take a child who has the predisposition to have a 120 IQ, but let him live with wolves, he will become retarded.

Enviroment determines how much potential you will reach, genetics determines what the potential is. Aside from exceptionally stupid people, most people if they are raised right or work at it have just enough to get by. If there is an obesity epidemic, there may be a stupidity epidemic too. Also the brain is still plastic until the age of 25, you can squeeze out a bit more. Black people raised by white families still have lower IQs than their white peers, but still higher than black people raised by poor black families.

You just gotta make a society that squeezes out a bit more of what could have been or can be. I believe we, the world, really could be doing a lot better. So stupidity shaming can be legit to a degree, especially if someone spurns their predisposition to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs which decrease IQ from long term use.


John Craig said...

Ga --
You sound quite smart to me, you're far better informed than I was at your age.

There's no question that environment plays a role in intelligence, but no one argues with that. The silly ones are the ones who are purely in the nurture camp and who won't admit that genetics play any role. And while there are differences in environment, they are never as great as the raised-by-wolves example you cite. And bear in mind, environment is also a result of the parents' intelligence, so it's a little bit of a chicken and egg question as well.

Anonymous said...

I am not smart naturally, if you tried talking to me 10 years ago you would not be able to, I would just try to piss you off until you went away then retreated into my room to play video games. I am not on the mild end of the spectrum, people tell me that but I know they are trying to be nice, I just gained some common sense in the past few years, that's all.

I was raised without much education, help, or proper support. Family life was crap, mom was uneducated and always stressed taking care of my more disabled sibling and dad was working like hell through the financial crisis and then also taking care of my disabled sibling.

My first IQ test wasn't that good, but my psych now looking at it says I would score higher if I redid it today. I kept my brain in the gym for the past year, some yoga too since my psych says it helps grow new connections and cells.

Autism is not a mere social disorder, it is kinda, but that's like saying a mosquito bite is an itching disorder, the bite is the problem the itchiness is a consequence of the skin bump. The problem is this underlying dysfunction that is hard to wrap up, but there is something the ties it all together, the symptoms. Some people with ASD have sensory issues, well I have some weird reverse, my head won't stop playing musics, clips, memories get muddled with flashes of sounds of images, like a big tangled mess, nothing are in neat boxes I can't sort through. They can attack me or rape my mind, the ritalin helps, adderall was better but it's illegal in Hong Kong.

I also have to deal with resisting obsession and special interests, I do feel disgust when the urges come but I just push myself through and try to ignore having one.

My executive function and memory are terrible, I tend to have trouble being creative, even if I have a creative idea, or finding words to express ideas I have. I also have trouble thinking, literally, stress and video games over the years made me aphantasic, and I almost lack an inner monologue in my head typical of some forms of ADHD, so self regulation only comes occassionally when I am on my ritalin.

I just keep working, man its stressing, like forgetting to close bottles, I put notes until the habit sinks in. I do forget things and when I do It gets me down because I don't want to. I do things here and there to try to compensate. I just wish my parents did something when I was younger so I don't have to keep doing it on my own. And I burn out a lot, no meltdowns but I do cry in my bedroom, not loud enough for my mom to hear. Then I just go back to working on it.

At work I keep notes and take pictures of tasks to keep up, meanwhile I burn with anger seeing that guy next to me just remember how to do something in one go without effort. Not angry at him, just at figuratively God.

I am not naturally intelligent or smart, the opposite, I am almost retarded. Just a day at my job you can see how much of an imbecile I look like to complete basic tasks without being careful or preparing beforehand. I work my ass off to try and keep up.

Do I wan't people to be sympathetic for all the crap I have to go through? Yup, I am very vain about that. People are not sympathetic or give me any encuragement for working hard at it, neither my parents nor society. I don't know who to blame more, the autists who keep making those lists where they say DaVinci was an autist or the latte sippers who eat it all up. My psych once said "we need diverse minds" to which I said "at what cost?" which actually got him thinking.


John Craig said...

Ga --
You must come across differently in person than you do "on paper." On paper (i.e., here) you seem remarkably well-informed for someone of your age. You now way marabout psychology than I did at your age, and I had a degree in psychology from a prestigious university. (Which, I'll admit, was pretty near useless.)

If people don't sympathize with you enough, you should take it as a compliment. You're making it look easier than it is. Which is what you should want, even if it's an internal struggle.

And your ability to recognize your own weaknesses would be rare for neurotypicals, let alone Aspies.

(If you respond to this I may not respond for 24 hours, will basically be away from early tomorrow morning until the evening.)

Anonymous said...

I talked to a friend, very empathetic guy able to read people, I want pity not out of a narcissistic desire according to him but because he noticed my tendency to always compare, and since I see others get pity I believe I should get pity. I realize I compare because I have such a weak understanding of who I am that I look for information outside. I look for information to compensate.

Another friend said my emotional flatness (blunted affect is the professional term) was because I felt so much in the past I renounced feeling. It kinda works, I don't panic if something happens, I just go "ughhhh this shit...", but I said to him (from some song) it is better to feel than to feel nothing at all. So how do I find balance?

Some ASD behaviour is psychological, a very inevitable kind, but not biological. I realise like my pedantic speech or repetivity, to avoid ambiguity from misunderstanding in the past. Obsessiveness or rigidity because of poor memory or a weak central coherance, so an autist tries to keep everything predictable out of fear of forgetting. A lot when I look back makes sense. Like the itchiness from a mosquito bite, the bite is the problem, but the itchiness is a consequence. Weak central coherance also means lack of picking up social cues, literal mindedness also leads to poor communication. The social problems of autism are an itch. They are not the root.

I'm gonna double down and get more serious with my yoga (don't laugh heh) since they talk about wiping away old habits or imprinted behaviours. Doing a class a week fixed a ton of my motor problems, so there is still benefit.

What do you think of yoga? The one I go to is by a modern gym company, it isn't new age, it's quite serious place. My uncle vomited after a hot class once, and his muscles were sore for days! Haven't tried the hot yoga.

Oh and another thing I realized, you know how autists tend to talk narcissisticly by making it all about themselves (their obsessions or interests really, I don't think bragging happens often)? Well it's not so much about themselves but the topic, their obsession. Imagine a fanatic muslim who talks about Allah all the time and Muhammed and their religion. It's not them the person, but their fanaticism or ideas.

In a way, being more egotistical, slightly, prevents this attention seeking vain behavior. A sense of pride means a person doesn't desire to win as much approval, too much pride means they will demand approval to fit their narrative. It's being in the balanced middle that is healthy.

Not enough "ego". A weak sense of self (okay some trivia, when people with autism talk to other people, the part of the brain for the "Self" or "ego" doesn't activate as strongly or not at all, it's the same when a neurotypical interacts talks with an ai like siri, meaning they can't monitor how they effect others and lack self awareness in their behavior, it's not so much selfishness as while they don't regard other's feelings, they don't regard their own. There is "non-self". There is no "regarding" to begin with. It's literally (lower case) autism, not enough allicism.


Anonymous said...

To save you a google search, what I mean by allicism is from "allo-" the opposite of "auto-", I see the person's self as being an "other" inside that person. A person existing in the body.
When I see two people talk, I know if one is being sarcastic or joking, etc. when I am talking, I can't track myself inside the big picture. Because that "other" that "self" is not inside me as strongly. Even when I see a video of myself or a picture I don't feel as if I am looking at me.

It seems some people can get a form of it later in life. It's been getting pretty bad with me.
Now why do I keep talking about myself here? I also realize it's because I am using myself as an example and I want other people to know everything I keep talking about. Why? Because I want them to have what I believe is a correct view. Why? To make the world more predictable, grey misunderstandings is room for the unknown.

That's why I tend to have few opinions on things I don't believe I know the absolute truth about (and sometimes there is none), if you asked me what I though about prostitution or the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and I had to answer, I would go an research a ton before saying anything just to be absolutely sure what I say is rooted in measurable reality. But the truth is that not everything can be measured, likes social interactions, heck even Baron-Cohen kinda got it right by implying one of the reasons ASD people have trouble with empathy or theory of mind is that they are not absolute areas, they are inferred, and a person who sees things in concrete will not infer if they cannot predict absolute results, too much logic, not enough room for fantasy. Funnily it's said the opposite happens in psychosis where a person infers too much even if they lack the mind reading and ability to predict/reflect leading to absurd ideas and paranoia.

So I am overloading you with this stuff about me and my interests/obsessions to make my world more predictable and to avoid ambiguity. It looks so much like narcissism (or maybe histrionicism more accurately), and I can see why. Maybe it's a horshoe, too little sense of a strong real feeling ego leads to problems similar to too much egoism. I don't want a reply necesarrily but feel a desire for you or anyone to read this for them to become informed about me and the rest so they know. Like you said about informing people earlier on about having a conditon creates more sympathy, informing removes misunderstanding. I have a crazed phobia of an unpredictable world. Why? Weak coherance...ooops repetiveness again. I did once take adderall and it worked amazing with all these, I could say something briefly without a nagging fear of not covering every area. I could shrug off things I would obsess about not predictiing. But its illegal in HK. Ritalin doesn't have as good effect. Damn shame.


John Craig said...

Ga --
I have no opinion on yoga. I tried it once, just to see what it was all about, since so many people swear by it, but it was too much "facing the sun" kind of stuff for me, and not a good enough workout. I've heard the theories about how different physical activities can align the body and mind, I'm not sure what to think about those; I tend to be skeptical, but I don't have motor difficulties of that sort, so can't speak from experience. And to tell the truth, I'm sort of addicted to swimming, it's been my sport since I was 14, and it makes me feel "right," who knows if it doesn't fulfill a similar function with me.

Yes, there is key difference between Aspies and narcissists, and that is the ego involved. I was having an argument with someone recently about a specific person we both know, the person I was arguing with said that this person was a narcissistic personality, I said no, he was an Aspie. Where the two overlap is in the way both will almost never admit they're wrong, and come up with incredibly lame excuses for their mistakes. But people who are narcissists will often just exude pride in a way that Aspies don't; and also, narcissists tend to be successfully manipulative in a way that Aspies are not.