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Infecting others with knowledge vs. the simple man response


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#1 Kriminal99

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 07:34 AM

Many people do not realize the power of sharing ideas with other people. When you refine an idea down to a point that it can be easily understood by others, and then make a point to share that idea, you infect others with knowledge in such a way that cannot be achieved by that same knowledge laying dormant in a textbook somewhere. If it is of an academic nature, many people may be made aware of ideas that they did not even know could be useful and thus may not have looked into. And then they can use those new ideas in their own research. If it is of an ethical or other nature, then people will be forced to consider those ideas in their future actions and the cascading impact of this may be profound.

The most legitimate and important way for such an idea to make such a powerful impact is for it to be true, and when an idea is true and refined to a point that people can process it in a short time, they are forced to pay attention to it. Their initial willingness to listen is not required, nor is their verbalized agreement. You also do not know who could be listening or how profound the effect on that quiet listener could be.

You do not need any special social structure or position, you only need some truth and the conviction to tell it.

But while this is the case, it often occurs that people who believe themselves to be some kind of authority because of their social structure or position may try and mitigate the spread of your idea. While participating forces them to listen to the idea and be persuaded by it themselves (assuming it is true and convincing), they will attempt to lock down your expression of the idea with various debate fallacies.

Doing this allows them to dilute your message by requiring you to respond to their weightless claims and tactics, thus lessening the impact on people not already listening by causing them to think it is not worth their time to sort out the argument.

We must stop the simple man

In my opinion, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that every last human learn to disqualify debate fallacies from having any weight in an argument. If everyone realizes that such tactics are childish and wrong, then they will be used less often if at all. The end result would be that people will only debate when they have a legitimate argument, because saying anything else will just make them look silly. With this, knowledge would propagate much faster throughout humanity.

Simple man says:

The simple man responds to your argument once, perhaps using another fallacy like appeal to emotion, or some half truth, and no matter how clearly you defeat this argument, he will not give another or concede. He will not "participate in your philosophical discussion" (i e back up any of his claims or respond to any counter-points), and accuses you of being repetitive or circular when you repeat the argument that completely defeats and addresses his silly claim.

The simple man believes this is all the amount of confusion and subterfuge required to perpetuate his current perception of being knowledgeable without actually having any knowledge.

The simple man yells over you to try and prevent you from getting your point across.

The simple man needs no justification for his atrocious behavior other than the fact that you are saying something that the majority of the people present do not already agree with. The simple man often does not believe in objective truth, and thus believes that you are just trying to confuse people by talking about something that could be argued in every direction forever. The simple man fools himself into believing that he is somehow protecting the average person, when the only thing he is protecting them from is knowledge.

The simple man likes to appeal to emotion and "common sense" (read: gross oversimplifications) interpretations of events.

The simple man claims not to care or that no one would care about the issue, yet continues to argue vehemently to prevent any loss in his perceived credibility.

The simple man makes wildly speculative claims about your nature and claims that people should look to that as your motivation instead of seeing truth as the motivation behind your behavior.

#2 Eclogite

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 12:39 PM

Interesting post. Here are some off the cuff comments.

1. Good text books do not lie dormant on a shelf but effectively communicate ideas to a large audience in a more efficient way than can be achieved one on one.
2. It is questionable whether 'truth' has a secure meaning in science, philosophy, or everyday living.
3. There are plenty of individuals with conviction, who lack any kind of truth. There conviction can carry the day over a truthsayer with a clumsy oratorical style.
4. There is little evidence that we are genetically predisposed as a species to engage in logical thought. We are excellent at rationalisation, a quite different thing. Consequently your admirable wish that we should somehow train people to avoid logical fallacies is likely doomed to failure. (I would not for a moment say it is not a worthy goal to pursue. I hope I have made some small contribution in my daily life to furthering this goal. I just doubt its short or medium term success. Perhaps in two thousand years, or twenty thousand.)
4. Your simple man appears to be a strange amalgamation of several stereotypes that rarely if ever exist in reality. As such he is a not so much a simple man as a strawman, or even a windmill mistaken for a giant strawman.

#3 Thunderbird

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 05:15 PM

I had conversation the other day with a person on Facebook it went something like this.

I am parodying and paraphrasing here but its very accurate to the content of the conversation. It seems we have many like minded people that actually follow this way of thinking.




---------------------------------------------------

Interview with “Mr. Individualist”

Interviewer; Mr. Individualist welcome, for my first question. How would you define an “Individualist ?

Mr. Individualist; “We are self sufficient people that do not rely on any other people for anything . We think for ourselves and are masters of our domain simply because we are in need of nothing from other people therefore separate, above the fray of conflict ideas and needs of others…… you know its in Wikipedia, you can look it up.

Interviewer; Some might say you are deluding yourself since we all live in a economic and social system based on the needs of each other.

Mr. Individualist: That’s the problem yes, and since I do know this already how could I possibly be deluding myself ?

Interviewer; OK,.. Good point…. Then you are saying we as society have become too interdependent on one another .

Mr. Individualist: Yes it’s a growing problem caused by those progressives that all think alike.
You see we individualist do not care one iota about others views . We do not seek out like minded people for validation. That’s like a religion based on ego.

Interviewer; But Mahatma Gandhi said this…..
Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Without interrelation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality.

Mr. Individualist: That’s only one man’s opinion , have many facebook friends that agree with what I am, and say.

Interviewer; So you do care what others think ?

Mr. Individualist: No !,..I DO NOT CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK !!! This interview is over.


Interviewer;
Tune in text we and we will interview an “other” should be interesting.. Goodnight and God Bless you and may you bless each other.

#4 Kriminal99

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 06:42 PM

Interesting post. Here are some off the cuff comments.

1. Good text books do not lie dormant on a shelf but effectively communicate ideas to a large audience in a more efficient way than can be achieved one on one.
2. It is questionable whether 'truth' has a secure meaning in science, philosophy, or everyday living.
3. There are plenty of individuals with conviction, who lack any kind of truth. There conviction can carry the day over a truthsayer with a clumsy oratorical style.
4. There is little evidence that we are genetically predisposed as a species to engage in logical thought. We are excellent at rationalisation, a quite different thing. Consequently your admirable wish that we should somehow train people to avoid logical fallacies is likely doomed to failure. (I would not for a moment say it is not a worthy goal to pursue. I hope I have made some small contribution in my daily life to furthering this goal. I just doubt its short or medium term success. Perhaps in two thousand years, or twenty thousand.)
4. Your simple man appears to be a strange amalgamation of several stereotypes that rarely if ever exist in reality. As such he is a not so much a simple man as a strawman, or even a windmill mistaken for a giant strawman.


1) Though I think textbooks are far from valueless, I disagree that they can achieve communication more effectively than one on one, or one on many. One reason I say this is because a textbook cannot force someone to read it. If you are completely unfamiliar with something, you don't care about it and are not going to read a textbook about it.

A person on the other hand can alert you to a new line of thinking that is relevant to your situation, and cause you to want more info. There is a theory in which being alerted to the signifigance of something you previously did not care about is the evolution of inteliigence. A person can also tailor their argument to your specific doubts and difficulties with the idea.

2) Truth was worked out pretty well by philosophers a while ago. The most truth a person can have is something you are sure of, but that you still investigate every lead that could cause you to doubt it. If you have no reason to doubt it, it is true enough.

But this isn't the issue here. This was meant to address things like "How do I know I am really here?" The simple man believes anyone who tries to reason about things outside their current and immediate worldly responsibilities is "overthinking". They believe that such issues can never be solved because there is no objective solution and thinking about it is just a waste of time. Yet the simple man believes that persuasion is unethical outside the context of an occupation, thus making himself a hypocrite. The simple man is not a man of reason.

The simple man often thinks this about things that are easily proven in their respective disciplines. Fundamental principles of law, economic theory, and physics are all "convaluted bs" according to the simple man unless they are presented by a lawyer, money manager, or engineer. Never mind that none of these disciplines could exist until those ideas were first worked out by some random person.

3) The source of conviction need not be considered when it is the case that anyone can not convice us of a falsehood without using logical fallacies. If a person cannot convice us without breaking the implied rules of debate, let him not convice us at all.

4) I think that human beings are capable of being inherently logical, and that logical is a more natural way to be. I think that it is a subgoal of our need for security and self-preservation. I think that our technical advancements have afforded us the ability to pay less attention to these needs, and that this can ONLY LEAD TO OUR EVENTUAL DOOM. IMO this occurs as we favor strategies and behaviors that afford us more comfort not only at the expense of preparedness and effectiveness, but in ways that create long-term problems that are not immediately obvious to the untrained eye.

5?) What stereotypes? The simple man is the person who tries to argue without knowledge. People do this all the time. We must identify specifically what you said: That not everyone with conviction has knowledge as the source of their conviction, and we must learn to tell the difference.

PS I know dozens of people who fit this exact description.

#5 Eclogite

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 05:25 AM

Though I think textbooks are far from valueless, I disagree that they can achieve communication more effectively than one on one, or one on many.


I didn’t claim that. I said they were more efficient. Efficient and effective are different words with distinct meanings. Textbooks are more efficient because they have the potential to reach a vastly larger audience, by several orders of magnitude, than is possible in one on one communication. Moreover they can do this in a more measured and consistent manner than is typically possible with one on one communication. One on one communication can sometimes be more effective than textbooks, but to a much more limited audience. You might wish to consider that the scientific revolution coincided with the invention of the printing press. Do you think there might just possibly be a connection?

A person on the other hand can alert you to a new line of thinking that is relevant to your situation, and cause you to want more info.


So the individual who ignores the textbook in a cavalier fashion, whose mind is so closed as to resist exploring other areas of expertise and knowledge, this same Luddite personality is going to undergo a miraculous transformation because a complete stranger suggests to him it would be a good idea to consider a new idea? You will have to offer some very persuasive arguments to convince me that this is likely, arguments that go beyond simply asserting that it is so.

Truth was worked out pretty well by philosophers a while ago.

Engage me in a one on one education in this matter – for I do have an open mind – and tell what this truth is and which convocation of philosophers reached agreement on this point. You probably detect scepticism on my part, for I am deeply sceptical of this claim. However, I am only an armchair philosopher so it is entirely possible that I have missed this important agreement between so many diverse branches of philosophy. If that is so I shall welcome the removal of my ignorance in the matter. (Your brief attempted description of truth that follows the above quote is not what philosophers have declared truth to be, but a simplification of one interpretation of one view of what truth in part may be. I think you’ll agree that is not very comprehensive.)

The simple man believes anyone who tries to reason about things outside their current and immediate worldly responsibilities is "overthinking". They believe that such issues can never be solved because there is no objective solution and thinking about it is just a waste of time. Yet the simple man believes that persuasion is unethical outside the context of an occupation, thus making himself a hypocrite. The simple man is not a man of reason.

This paragraph contains multiple assertions, none of which is substantiated in any way, and none of which follow from the preceding statements. Indeed the last statement is a complete non sequitur while the penultimate statement, regarding hypocrisy is logically flawed. Perhaps you have simply expressed yourself poorly, but this paragraph appears to suffer from the very failings you condemn in the speech of the simple man.

Fundamental principles of law, economic theory, and physics are all "convaluted bs" according to the simple man unless they are presented by a lawyer, money manager, or engineer.


Hmm. Perhaps I am the simple man you are so concerned by. If I require an understanding on a point of law I do not ask my doctor what he thinks, nor seek the advice of my butcher, or request my badminton coach to defend me in court. More to the point I am very likely to view a detailed explanation of a legal matter from a retired major I know in my local pub to be convoluted bullshit. (Unless of course he was a Redcap, in which case I would give his words some credence.)

You seem to be conflating the logical fallacy of Argument from Authority with the practice of distinguishing between expert and non-expert advice. I think you will find that act is neither logical, nor reasonable.

The source of conviction need not be considered when it is the case that anyone can not convice us of a falsehood without using logical fallacies.

Many people, myself included, can convince others of falsehoods without resorting to logical fallacies. Indeed I find the technique works best when one scrupulously avoids such fallacies. The technique has likely been used effectively since before language entered human usage. (There is clear evidence of the technique being used in rudimentary form by chimpanzees in the wild and in captivity.) The technique has been honed, nurtured and polished by hundreds of generations of humans and some practitioners have raised it to the level of a sophisticated art form. The technique is known by the deceptively simple term of lying.

In short, to convince someone of a falsehood one has simply to tell the falsehood convincingly.

I think that human beings are capable of being inherently logical, and that logical is a more natural way to be.

However, what you think and what the ‘truth’ of the matter is, are two different things. I shall try to locate references to recent research that clearly establishes the contrary position. In the meantime perhaps you will provide citations that confirm your position is something more than an opinion, or a simple wish.

What stereotypes? The simple man is the person who tries to argue without knowledge. People do this all the time…….
PS I know dozens of people who fit this exact description.

Perhaps you are stereotyping them.
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#6 Kriminal99

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 08:50 PM

Oh right the "more" referenced the efficiency not the effectiveness. Nevertheless, I feel the argument still stands. 0 effectiveness because no one will read the book means 0 efficiency as well.

The issue isn't that the person actively rejects reading a textbook. The issue is that they simply have no motivation to know or care about the usefulness of the text book. It isn't that a complete stranger convinces them against their will. It's that they say "Hey look at this cool idea". Books don't do that.

Philosophy doesn't come to a consensus because we don't place a value on it. Epistemology itself precludes us from doing so. People came after Lehr (far after) and said things about truth that were far dumber and were directly addressed by older arguments. Lehr's argument, when properly understood, is invincible.

For instance a sort of "anti-philosophy" movement came much more recently and claimed that truth was "justified true belief" in the hopes of invalidating the field of epistemology by making an argument that common sense interpretation of truth was good enough. All it demonstrated was that the writers were incapable of distinguishing bad from good philosophical arguments - all 3 criteria are clearly begging the question.

Lehr basically said: If you have no reason to doubt it, you cannot doubt it unless you doubt everything and then you can do nothing. If you see something or someone that implies there is a reason to doubt your belief, you must investigate or risk being more ignorant than you have to be.

The paragraph about the simple man is defining the simple man used in this thread. There is no need for argument to the effect that simple man does these things. He is a person who does these things.

Principles of law, economic theory etc were created by people who weren't lawyers or economists. In fact such disciplines could not exist until some person said "Look what I have figured out!" and divulged some theories about law or economic theory.

The fallacy of appeal to authority deals with presuming someone to be right because they are an authority instead of presuming that person to have a valid explanation for a point of view because of their authoritative status. If Einstein has an idea on economics, and the economics teacher at the local high school disagrees, then I would expect the teacher to have a legitimate argument for why Einstein is wrong. I would not assume he is right if he simply said "I am the authority and I say Einstein is wrong."

Lying is a fallacy, when fallacy is defined to be anything that defeats the purpose of debate. The purpose of debate is for all parties to reach maximum understanding. Lying about facts defeats that purpose as much as any other fallacy.

I gave a deductive argument supporting my claim that people are inherently logical but trained not to be in society. The premises needed are that the human need for security comes before the human need for social interaction and interdependency. Do you dispute these claims? If not, then you must agree that people are more inherently logical, since it is needed to guarantee security. People are less logical in modern society because security is taken for granted.

How can I be stereotyping these people I know when I have seen them do each and every one of the things I have mentioned?

#7 dieadderalls

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:16 AM

PS I know dozens of people who fit this exact description.



Man I dig this so hard.

My mother is one of these people who just isn't interested, citing "real world concerns" as reasoning. These people get caught up in the system and forget that there can be something else, even when it is right in their face (e.g. pretty much all media). I support the Zeitgeist Movement, and when I tried to convince her that the monetary system supports negative values (a valid truth, as their manifesto shows), she just ignored it, again citing these mystery real world concerns (i.e. money to purchase material goods, what the movement is vehemently opposed to).

The same treatment shows from many people when I attempt to have philosophical discussions, and my only conclusion is that they have been indoctrinated into capitalism, a religion that encourages as much diverse narrowmindedness and extended bigotry as any other extremist group. Perhaps even more.

People who are trapped in the revolving door of the monetary/politico-financial system just keep their head down as people enter and exit freely in all directions. It's like the door is in the middle of a forest, but people are convinced there's a building there.

It's hella ****ed up.

Krim, hit up the Zeitgeist Movement, if you don't already know about it I'm sure you'd dig it: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Also I'd encourage you to use less self-praising/self-oriented language, because even though I agree with you it makes you seem like a bit of an egocentric jerk, in the most loving way possible. <3
By that I mean that you may alienate a large portion of your audience, and if you use less negative language you might have more success. Just some psychology to prod yer brain with :)

#8 pljames

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

Kriminal99,
How can I share my knowledge with others if they always interpret what they thought I meant? Even if I always edit my posts? My subject is share my knowledge. I agree with what you are saying but, what's knowledge to them, might not be knowledge to you. I like the ones who claim their life is a illusion. I am aware what a illusion is, been there done that. How does one convince another, flying saucers exist, if they really saw one and you don't believe in them?

It seems so dam hard to explain in my words what I am saying than, it is in your words. Do I really see what you see and vice versa. Do I really understand what you are saying and believe it? What is truth? I want to share my knowledge but not if they are going to interpret it.Paul









Many people do not realize the power of sharing ideas with other people. When you refine an idea down to a point that it can be easily understood by others, and then make a point to share that idea, you infect others with knowledge in such a way that cannot be achieved by that same knowledge laying dormant in a textbook somewhere. If it is of an academic nature, many people may be made aware of ideas that they did not even know could be useful and thus may not have looked into. And then they can use those new ideas in their own research. If it is of an ethical or other nature, then people will be forced to consider those ideas in their future actions and the cascading impact of this may be profound.

The most legitimate and important way for such an idea to make such a powerful impact is for it to be true, and when an idea is true and refined to a point that people can process it in a short time, they are forced to pay attention to it. Their initial willingness to listen is not required, nor is their verbalized agreement. You also do not know who could be listening or how profound the effect on that quiet listener could be.

You do not need any special social structure or position, you only need some truth and the conviction to tell it.

But while this is the case, it often occurs that people who believe themselves to be some kind of authority because of their social structure or position may try and mitigate the spread of your idea. While participating forces them to listen to the idea and be persuaded by it themselves (assuming it is true and convincing), they will attempt to lock down your expression of the idea with various debate fallacies.

Doing this allows them to dilute your message by requiring you to respond to their weightless claims and tactics, thus lessening the impact on people not already listening by causing them to think it is not worth their time to sort out the argument.

We must stop the simple man

In my opinion, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that every last human learn to disqualify debate fallacies from having any weight in an argument. If everyone realizes that such tactics are childish and wrong, then they will be used less often if at all. The end result would be that people will only debate when they have a legitimate argument, because saying anything else will just make them look silly. With this, knowledge would propagate much faster throughout humanity.

Simple man says:

The simple man responds to your argument once, perhaps using another fallacy like appeal to emotion, or some half truth, and no matter how clearly you defeat this argument, he will not give another or concede. He will not "participate in your philosophical discussion" (i e back up any of his claims or respond to any counter-points), and accuses you of being repetitive or circular when you repeat the argument that completely defeats and addresses his silly claim.

The simple man believes this is all the amount of confusion and subterfuge required to perpetuate his current perception of being knowledgeable without actually having any knowledge.

The simple man yells over you to try and prevent you from getting your point across.

The simple man needs no justification for his atrocious behavior other than the fact that you are saying something that the majority of the people present do not already agree with. The simple man often does not believe in objective truth, and thus believes that you are just trying to confuse people by talking about something that could be argued in every direction forever. The simple man fools himself into believing that he is somehow protecting the average person, when the only thing he is protecting them from is knowledge.

The simple man likes to appeal to emotion and "common sense" (read: gross oversimplifications) interpretations of events.

The simple man claims not to care or that no one would care about the issue, yet continues to argue vehemently to prevent any loss in his perceived credibility.

The simple man makes wildly speculative claims about your nature and claims that people should look to that as your motivation instead of seeing truth as the motivation behind your behavior.