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Brain Farts: On the subject of being stupid


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I'm not sure if this thread should go here. Please move to appropriate forum if I'm wrong.


Early this morning, I entered the strange claims forum, into a thread (Stability Of The Hydrogen Atom) that I already knew was light-years above my understanding of chemistry. That's ok, I came here to learn what I could right?


Well, at one point, the person who started the thread made a statement that I knew was false, and I felt a powerful urge to correct him. Which I did. But then I started talking about how protons and electrons have opposing charges, and should repel each other. And continued for a time on this vein.


And of course, we all know this is wrong! I have known since I was a child that opposite charges attract each other. A couple of posts later, someone explained this to me, and all I felt was utter and complete embarassment!


Ok, now that I've opened myself up to a crowd I'm totally intimidated by....


I'm hoping that in this thread I can somehow turn this around into a positive learning experience. So, in that respect, I'd like to ask the following:


Have any of you made such similar utterly stupid reverse-thinking gaffs? Is this common in people, or am I "unique", to put it nicely?


The following question may seem offensive, but I hope not. I'm wondering if this sort of thinking disruption is more common in women than in men. It has been my experience that this is so, however my experience with people is not vast. Nor have I been surrounded by highly intelligent people as yourselves. I'm wondering if hormonal or other gender specific traits might play into this effect somehow. This is assuming this kind of thing happens commonly to a certain percentage of the population in the first place.


I mean this was a major fault in my thinking. And it's not the first time it's happened. And the fact that it eluded me until I was corrected really bothers me. So if I could learn anything about this, perhaps it could help me in some manner? And any others who may also suffer the same thing.


Thank you.

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...Have any of you made such similar utterly stupid reverse-thinking gaffs? Is this common in people, or am I "unique", to put it nicely?....
Dear Drosera,

put yourself at ease. Brain farts are endemic to the Human species.


In high school, the history teacher asked, "What was Daniel Boone's wife's name?" I bolted my arm into the air and hollered, "Dorothy!" The classroom erupted in laughter, and that became my nickname for a month. I was humiliated.


Five years ago, as a senior software engineer and project leader, I argued with two just-out-of-college programmers about the best computer language for a particular job. Things got heated. I stated heatedly that this job required an Object Oriented language, and that was why they had to use Perl. One of them said, "Hunh? Perl isn't Object Oriented. Do you mean Java?" With a sudden lurch, I realized I had just wasted half an hour of our time saying "Perl" when I knew damn well that I was thinking "Java". I had to apologize and leave the room.


There are a hundred different logics, each one specific to certain objects, concepts, situations. You find yourself reaching for a logic, loading, aiming and pulling the trigger, only later to learn you picked up the wrong one. Happens. :) The ONLY defense is to develop a really charming sense of humor and an entertaining way of expressing humility. People really admire that, no kidding.


I know from personal experience. :D

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  • 1 month later...

Dang, i do this all of the time! I am thinking one thing and say another and argue until I'm purple that I'm right when all of the sudden it hits me that I was not SAYING what i meant the entire time. So, they are looking at me going...Oh, I'm SO sure you knew the _____was the right thing...you are just trying to save face.


humiliating and frustrating.

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Yeah, but it's part of the experience of life. Think of this way, if you never EVER embarrassed yourself that way, it would most probably be because you were never at high enough levels of responsibility, authority or proficiency where your opinion mattered one way or another. To REALLY stick your foot in your mouth (and out your butt) you have to BE somebody important, or at least useful. And that is something to be thankful for.

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Rest assured, this is common. And there's a definite difference between misspeak, arguing out of ignorance, and just plain BS. I run into people all the time that argue out of ignorance and seem to be full of BS. And yes, I've been guilty of each of those. We do it when our egos kick in and we are trying to seem impressive or trying to cover our inadequacies.


You simply misspoke. You knew the correct understanding of the subject but it just got jumbled in your mind. You were probably just associating two separate concepts. It doesn't mean you're stupid. I understand feeling embarrassed. It's natural. Particularly around all the brainiacs and philosophers you'll find in these forums. You will likely find your assertions regularly challenged here. But it's good for us. It's a good way to learn. And the truth is that the contributers here are not likely to ridicule anyone for making a mistake. Oh sure, you'll be corrected, but ridicule is immature and not tolerated here.


The fact is you just made a mistake.


Who doesn't! :rolleyes:;)

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