Skip to comments.Artificial Stupidity (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 03/09/2010 2:26:51 PM PST by jazusamo
A woman with a petition went among the crowds attending a state fair, asking people to sign her petition demanding the banning of dihydroxymonoxide. She said it was in our lakes and streams, and now it was in our sweat and urine and tears.
She collected hundreds of signatures to ban dihydroxymonoxide a fancy chemical name for water. A couple of comedians were behind this ploy. But there is nothing funny about its implications. It is one of the grim and dangerous signs of our times.
This little episode revealed how conditioned we have become, responding like Pavlov's dog when we hear a certain sound in this case, the sound of some politically correct crusade.
People are all born ignorant but they are not born stupid. Much of the stupidity we see today is induced by our educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities. In a high-tech age that has seen the creation of artificial intelligence by computers, we are also seeing the creation of artificial stupidity by people who call themselves educators.
Educational institutions created to pass on to the next generation the knowledge, experience and culture of the generations that went before them have instead been turned into indoctrination centers to promote whatever notions, fashions or ideologies happen to be in vogue among today's intelligentsia.
Many conservatives have protested against the specifics of the things with which students are being indoctrinated. But that is not where the most lasting harm is done. Many, if not most, of the leading conservatives of our times were on the left in their youth. These have included Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan and the whole neoconservative movement.
The experiences of life can help people outgrow whatever they were indoctrinated with. What may persist, however, is the lazy habit of hearing one side of an issue and being galvanized into action without hearing the other side and, more fundamentally, not having developed any mental skills that would enable you to systematically test one set of beliefs against another.
It was once the proud declaration of many educators that "We are here to teach you how to think, not what to think." But far too many of our teachers and professors today are teaching their students what to think, about everything from global warming to the new trinity of "race, class and gender."
Even if all the conclusions with which they indoctrinate their students were 100 percent correct, that would still not be equipping students with the mental skills to weigh opposing views for themselves, in order to be prepared for new and unforeseeable issues that will arise over their lifetimes, after they leave the schools and colleges.
Many of today's "educators" not only supply students with conclusions, they promote the idea that students should spring into action because of these prepackaged conclusions in other words, vent their feelings and go galloping off on crusades, without either a knowledge of what is said by those on the other side or the intellectual discipline to know how to analyze opposing arguments.
When we see children in elementary schools out carrying signs in demonstrations, we are seeing the kind of mindless groupthink that causes adults to sign petitions they don't understand or worse yet follow leaders they don't understand, whether to the White House, the Kremlin or Jonestown.
A philosopher once said that the most important knowledge is knowledge of one's own ignorance. That is the knowledge that too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach our young people.
It takes a certain amount of knowledge just to understand the extent of one's own ignorance. But our "educators" have given assignments to children who are not yet a decade old to write letters to members of Congress, or to Presidents, spouting off on issues ranging from nuclear weapons to medical care.
Will Rogers once said that it was not ignorance that was so bad but "all the things we know that ain't so." But our classroom indoctrinators are getting students to think that they know after hearing only one side of an issue. It is artificial stupidity.
“People are all born ignorant but they are not born stupid.”
On this point I disagree with the good doctor. Some people are born stupid, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Ignorance is curable, stupidity is terminal.
The Invisible Killer
Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted
thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental
inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there.
Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage.
Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and
possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance.
For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.
is also known as hydroxl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
contributes to the “greenhouse effect.”
may cause severe burns.
contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.
Contamination Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions!
Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream,
lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global,
and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has
caused millions of dollars of property damage in the US.
Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:
as an industrial solvent and coolant.
in nuclear power plants.
in the production of styrofoam.
as a fire retardant.
in many forms of cruel animal research.
in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains
contaminated by this chemical.
as an additive in certain “junk-foods” and other food products.
Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done
to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is
extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!
The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution,
or use of this damaging chemical due to its “importance to the economic
health of this nation.” In fact, the navy and other military
organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing
multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations.
Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a
highly sophisticated underground distribution network.
Many store large quantities for later use.
The Horror Must Be Stopped!
The official website for this terrible chemical (dihydrogen monoxide) and how it affects us. http://www.dhmo.org/
heh heh heh
I remember reading that sometime back and I believe there may have been pics with the article. It may even have been here on FR.
Reminds me of the Man Show episode where they got women at a mall to sign a petition banning women’s sufferage.
>> It was once the proud declaration of many educators that “We are here to teach you how to think, not what to think.”
Serious, serious problem for the lazy minded.
Protesting non-feel-good stuff is the predicate to the erroneous sense of popular decency.
I am so damn glad to be in the often uncomfortable position of disagreeing with the devoid, feel-good trends. At least at FR, this is not a problem.
Not only do the youth know very little, but they think they have depth of understanding & try to demean others who may truly be knowledgeable on issues.
There is no personal admission of ignorance on issues. People who do not know about a subject will no longer go and learn about it, they try to fake a response and pretend they have knowledge. When they are exposed they get angry & shut down the conversation.
That’s a great way to put it.
Hah. The brainwashed masses think your evil. Muhahah.
Profundity from the good Dr.!
(Anybody who has ever had teenage kids knows exactly what he means.)
Dang! You nailed that squarely on the head. :-)
Excellent! Hits the nail smack on the head.
“Artificial stupidity” describes most of the Leftist sycophants well doesn’t it.
Thanks for the ping jaz.
Indeed. We’re not all created equally, no matter what.
I wandered into expressing this exact thought tonight in a discussion.
Part of intelligence is having the discretion to be able to reject an absurdly wrong idea. And I believe (as a side-effect) that this is one reason why so many libs have almost no sense of satirical humor....and as a side-side effect must constantly resort to calling “racism” or “sexism” or claiming offense to a turn of phrase that nobody with a brain could give a crap about. They often cannot discriminate between a genuinely offered idea submitted as a solution to one of their favorite dilemmas, and a piece of absurdity purposefully offered in the name of ridiculousness. So long as the idea, no matter how harebrained, is offered by an apparently scholarly source, it could be literally anything. Having no moral nor discriminatory compass, the course of settling for what I call “bumper-sticker-depth” slogans becomes so much more comforting. It’s remarkable how many so-called educated libs are stuck on such oversimplified banalities (Bush lied-people died...Republicans are the party of greed, etc;) and yet they are always decrying how simplistic and moronic Conservative ideas are. The reality is, not only have they never examined Conservate ideas, they lack the intellectual tools to evaluate them.
One of his best articles yet, in my opinion.
DU fell for it.
Thanks, didn’t know that. I suppose it’s not too surprising.
Excellent article. Mr Sowell has outdone himself, and that’s hard to do. Brilliant trick with the dihydroxymonoxide too. Sent it to my bio/chem major daughter....saving to my Junk Science folder.
I’m almost willing to waste $12 bucks on this “Educator’s kit”....it might almost be worth the money to read the “lesson plans for teachers”.
“Excellent article. Mr Sowell has outdone himself, and thats hard to do. Brilliant trick with the dihydroxymonoxide too. Sent it to my bio/chem major daughter....saving to my Junk Science folder.”
If your daughter has learned anything she will tell you that dihydroxymonoxide is H2O3 which is NOT water.
OMG I DID type that! No, I copied and pasted the first few sentences fo the article to her, and mistyped dihydromonoxide. And didn’t catch it, obviously. Thanks for noticing.
“A philosopher once said that the most important knowledge is knowledge of one’s own ignorance. That is the knowledge that too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach our young people.”
I have an unmeasurable depth of respect, admiration and appreciation for Thomas Sowell. He really IS the brilliant man that people try to pretend that Barack Obama is. One of the hallmarks of his brilliance is that he is able to express himself so well using simple everyday language, no “out of town words” are needed when a real thinker is writing.
Please add me to your ping list. Thanks.
Well said, and he does it with everything he writes.
You’re most welcome, Ladysmith, you’re on.