The problem with stupid people is: They’re too stupid to know they’re stupid.
I was inspired to write this post a long time ago, but it became one of those posts that linger in my mind instead of actually taking form. This was the case despite the fact that I’m frequently reminded of my ex-wife’s stupidity. And it doesn’t help that she’s with someone who is just as stupid as she. It’s the intellectual version of two people eating each other’s puke, and then they vomit that back out, and then eat it again, and this repeats over and over.
There’s a guy named Ken Ham, who I saw have a live debate with Bill Nye the Science Guy. Their debate was about creationism (the belief that God made the universe in six literal days, and that this occurred only a few thousand years ago). In this debate, I remember Bill Nye the Science Guy asking Ken Ham this question:
“What would change your mind?”
And Ken Ham responded: “Nothing.”
And if I were to ever approach my ex-wife and ask her, “What would make you realize that I loved you and never tried to control you?” Her response would be exactly the same as Ken Ham’s. She would reply: “Nothing.”
That response is the absolute epitome of what stupidity is and why it’s detrimental to everyone, literally everyone. Stupid people are too stupid to know that they are stupid. That’s the very thing that makes it possible for them to believe whatever they want.
Intelligent people are swayed by facts and logic, and sometimes just by sheer doubt. Morons get to choose what they believe.
I don’t get to choose whether I believe in … Santa Claus or something, because it’s just too illogical to believe in Santa Claus. How does he get to billions of households in a single night when he’d have to travel to thousands of them every single second? How does he get to every house in the world in one night when half the world is always experiencing daytime? How do his reindeer fly without propulsion or wings? How does Santa have a factory at the north pole when there’s nothing but ocean at the north pole?
See, if I were an idiot, I could believe in Santa Claus no problem, and none of those questions would be difficult to answer. I could just keep saying “it’s magic.” Or, I could come up with some extensive pseudo-science to make myself believe Santa Claus is a perfectly reasonable thing to believe in (the same thing creationists do, or flat-earthers).
One thing I have noticed with all stupid people, from people I’ve personally known, to people I see through a screen, is this: They never question what they think. They only inflate what they already think. The consistent attitude of stupid people is being completely certain of everything they believe. Everything you throw at them is just another thing that can be explained away by magic, or through fake science that another moron made up. Or in social settings, they can explain everything they think by over-exaggerating past events, or making up past events entirely. Sometimes (but not always) when you corner a stupid person with logic and facts, they pretend they didn’t hear you, or they abandon the discussion, because they know they have nothing with which to make a legitimate counter-argument.
This is why stupid people never figure out where knowledge and wisdom truly comes from: Doubt.
When I was a teenager, and I first noticed my habit of thinking too much, asking too many questions, and never being certain about anything, I believed that was a bad thing. It contributed to my depression. That was the time in my life when I felt too stupid to be anything but a waste of space. I wasn’t sure about God, and I wasn’t sure about the big questions in general. It was most likely only after I reached my adult years that I came to realize that doubt is the only source of knowledge and wisdom.
Because humans, with our limited primate brains, never have a direct line to the absolute truth. We can only speculate. We can only make guesses, and then have a bunch of our fellow primates question our guesses. We can always come up with stuff that makes sense to us, but there is always, literally always, the chance we are wrong about everything.
This is where I envy stupid people, actually. I really, truly wish I could decide what I believe. Because at least that way, I could believe something and nothing in all the universe could make me change my mind and thus make me leave my mental comfort zone.
Ken Ham believes in creationism because he wants to. My ex-wife thinks she is right about everything because she wants to. People like this get to choose what they believe, and nothing can ever sway them.
This is why I call myself an overthinker. This is why my internet name is Thinking Michael. Because the only worth my words have on this blog are just things I think about. I am not Omniscient Michael. Nope, I am just another primate with his spongey brain trying to figure out as many truths as he can find, all while accepting he can never be absolutely certain about any of his thoughts. I can engage in debate with logic and facts, but even if I win every debate I engage in, that technically doesn’t mean I am guaranteed to be 100% correct. I could still be wrong, even if points I make defeat whatever dissenters throw at me.
And as someone who is not stupid, I accept and openly admit I can still be wrong even if the whole world thinks I’m right.
Good luck winning an argument against me about anything I’m 99% certain about, but I can promise you, you’re far more likely to win an argument against me than with someone like Ken Ham or my ex-wife, for whom it is physically impossible to make them doubt or change their mind about anything, let alone the important stuff.
“It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.” – Bill Murray (I think)
Are you smart enough to feel stupid?