Too smart for their own good

This post got me thinking about something I have noticed for quite some time: Why the smartest people can make the dumbest mistakes. Before going on let me take you to the heart of it. As you will see, the author of this report, ironically, exactly demonstrate personally the case he is trying to make out.

Consider people’s beliefs about issues such as climate change. Among Democrats, the pattern is exactly as you would hope [?????]: the more educated someone is, the more likely they are to endorse the scientific evidence that carbon emissions generated by humans are leading to global warming. Among Republicans, however, the exact opposite is true: the more educated someone is, the less likely they are to accept the scientific evidence…. When it comes to certain tightly held beliefs, higher intelligence and knowledge is a tool for propaganda rather than truth seeking, amplifying our errors.

The unfortunate conclusion is that, even if you happen to be rational in general, it’s possible that you may still be prone to flawed reasoning on certain questions that matter most to you.

Universities are filled with people who really do believe global warming is an issue needing deep consideration and urgent action. They are also places filled with socialists, who because they hunger for someone else to pay their bills, and hate it when someone gets rich running a business, want the government to run the economy. The media the same. Talking to these people leave you aware how precarious our future is. The more we breed ignorant elites who think they are smarter than everyone else while knowing nothing about politics, history and economics, the more in danger we become.

What really needs teaching is the imperative that whatever you may believe, you should be able to make the strongest possible case for the other side of the argument. The smug insufferable ignorance of the global-warming set, or these full-on clueless imbecilic socialists, is a continuous astonishment to me. They’ll tell you about some phone call from a Nigerian scammer as they head off to some demo on behalf of some group who would if they could rob and murder them in their sleep, and who even say so everywhere else but to their face. And sometimes even to their face.

The American election is still a toss up. Trump is by no means the certainty he ought to be. And you know what? Given the profile of the man who wrote this article –

David Robson is a senior journalist at the BBC –

there would not the the slightest doubt that he is worried about global warming, favours socialism, votes far left and hates PDT.

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