Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Musings: Dumb and Dumbest

Though you can't always tell it from the comments, I have a lot of really akamai, funny, thoughtful readers, who frequently share interesting tidbits with me.

I thought it was time to use some of their contributions to develop the theme of dummies who weigh in — adamantly, loudly and insistently — as if they actually knew what they were talking about. And sadly, they believe that they do. Though I've long been fascinated by this topic, it surged to the forefront of my consciousness following this recent Facebook exchange:

#1 I was just reading another post that said that polio was not caused by a virus but caused instead by a pesticide that was sprayed on fruit orchards in the summer known as lead arsenate.

#2 This is where you need to check your sources. What's your source for this?

#3 Polio is most certainly a virus. Pretty sure the science is in on this one.

#1 NO, YOU need to check your sources.

#4 If that is true, then why does the vaccine work? This sounds like a conspiracy theory on the credibility level of chemtrails.

#1 Hahaha, the vaccine did not work and so the medical system played a trick on us like they always do when they are trying desperately to protect their vaccine theory. They made up a new disease and began calling the non severe cases of polio, meningitis and that helped decrease the number of polio cases dramatically. Sound familiar? Because that is what they do when vaccines KILL babies, they call it SIDS.

Me: And this is where we hit the wall.
Sadly, ignorance is too often fostered in the classroom, as evidenced by this Facebook comment left by a Hawaii substitute teacher following news of the Syngenta workers seeking treatment following exposure to pesticide:

"If it kills insects, obviously it will kill man." 

Right. Like we have the exact same physiology! Yikes. And they wonder why the keiki are uneducated.

Which offers a perfect segue to a Psychology Today article that reports:

There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.

Journalist Charles Pierce, author of Idiot America adds another perspective: “In the new media age, everybody is an expert.”

We’re creating a world of dummies. Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.

In fact, that need to weigh in on everything, even when you don't know WTF you're talking about, is so prevalent that Saturday Night Live turned it into a skit

“The game is simple: We bring out three idiots and give them hot button issues and ask them, 'should you chime in on this?' The answer should always be no. OK, now let's meet the idiots.”

The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz also found the phenomenon richly ripe for satire:

Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

Of course, this particular strain has long been present in politicians, both locally:
And nationally:
Though I'm making light of it here, I worry about its implications for our society, especially since it's so often coupled with mind-numbing fear.

If only it were self-correcting:


Anonymous said...

I remember listening to a stirring rendition of "John Brown's Body" as a child and I was sure the refrain ended, "...his tooth goes marching on." Well, since the song was obviously about the body of John Brown, it made me wonder how he came to have this fabulous marching tooth. Really, it did! It was just such a weird image. I mean, how does a tooth set about to go on a march? Sometimes, I'd lay awake at night for hours trying to conjure up an image of a legless marching tooth that inspired multitudes to sing its praises. I combed through my Dr. Seuss books to find the rambling tooth. I checked the drawer where my folks kept all my baby teeth to see if one of them was missing. Finally, I asked my mom to explain what was up with John Brown's tooth. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Love the cartoons, tweets & GIFs. Kinda says it all.

Anonymous said...

My Mom used to say "if your friend is going to jump into the fire pit....are you going to follow?" just to make us stop and think.......

Anonymous said...

If the caption was changed to "Vote for Hillary" or "Vote for Bernie", it would be just as funny considering the baggage those two have.

Anonymous said...

Did she reply figuratively or literally?

Do You even know the difference.

You must be like 12. Get back to school and edumacate urself.

Anonymous said...

Trump is America's version of Hitler.

Anonymous said...

Joan, thanks for proving teachers are dumb. The government is making people stoopid by putting lead in the water, and Zika in the GMO skeeters are shrinking babies heads.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to any idiot politician to bring up these companies. I haven't heard other than from the Republican candidate about GMO and at this point on the subject, I am neutral, informed and educated on both sides. The blog seems redundant on the GMO issue.Is this now primarily it's function? You are an incredible writer. Would be disappointed to see your talent go mostly to this cause. It is the biggest dead elephant in the room that keeps getting kicked. The island is riddled with the wealthy governing every facet of it's use. They are internally and on a state level, the ones responsible for it's changes.Re: Case, Omidyar, Stone.. Does anyone think that the county's kama'aina wealthy hang out with maids from hotels? Or busboys,waiters, cooks from restaurants when they are in Honolulu? No, they don't. They hang with them, the Punahou people.. Making Hawaii that the world fell in love with because of it's aloha the Hawaiian's shared to it's new diverse community and when the sugar mill stay pau in Maui, we will never see that again. No more waves or honks. Just a bunch of people who drive too fast, extend their vegetation lines, put up big gates or bring in people from other countries to do their work. Don't get me started on the low life real estate people or the new, "Land Trust" individuals who make it obvious in some cases, providing nothing but a clear view plain for multi million dollar homes. Land that the 99% cannot afford. Holy cannoli on to other agendas..

Anonymous said...

If the two Democrats have baggage as they surely do, it was accumulated in public service- both as senators to which Clinton added Secretary of State. Trump on the other hand is the Baron of Bragadocio, developer of One Percenter rookeries and self important star of a limping reality show. That people would actually vote for this blowhard for high office solidifies the thesis of this blog. If you really want a plutocrat, a better choice would be Bloomberg who earned some chops as NYC Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Here you go Joan:

Remember "Science does not give a shit what you believe"

Love this post

Unknown said...

Trump is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Felicia and our experts where on KKCR discussing vaccines and autism. As a parent with an autistic child I was appalled by the discussion. I would have called in to rebut what they said but there's no point in arguing with an uninformed mind.

Anonymous said...

February 3, 2016 at 10:49 AM
Disagree. Most of the island still has courtesy, friendliness and happy sense of being. A friendly and caring place. People who for the most part accept life's gifts and share with each other.
Maybe some people need a little guidance, but this is a happy place.
With the exception of certain political animals.
Kauai political vision, nothing for the local folks, just tax and spend.
Example. On the Mayor's list of 2015 major accomplishments is the "construction of 6 bus shelters"....6 bus shelters? an achievement? Great Balls of Bullsh*t Batman, 6 measly shelters? out of a budget of 200 million plus?
C'mon Mel, time to watch the money. Time to set up some real goals. Time for some real achievements.
At least get the State to paint some traffic lanes on their puka filled roads... or even put a water cooler and lua out front of the County building for the homeless. Do something. Anything......

Anonymous said...

So true, 12:14 PM.
My child has seizures. How convenient it would be to assign blame to something or someone and avoid the truly complex etiologies of human maladies. Ironically, my other child experienced one of the listed adverse side effects when he was vaccinated with the pertussis vaccine 30 years ago. It was frightening and we were advised not to give him the subsequent shots, but it didn't change my mind about the benefits of vaccinations.

Anonymous said...

O dear 1:52! Jon Rappoport is a first-class sycophant and blowhard. Do your homework. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Melvin ain't shit!!! I don't why any of you think he is some kind of savior.

That bitch is a coward and hides behind his political seat.

Yeah the Mayor is a piece of shit but it's the citizens of Kauai that let piece of shits run the county as Mayor and on council.

Joann's reasoning for the GET increase is BS. She's one of the OG good ol boys and gals that has ruined Kauai.

KIUC wants to brag about how they reached their green energy goal and yet the citizens electric bills hasn't correlated to the price of oil and fuel. Gas at the pumps has gone down $2 per gallon and oil is at $30 a barrel yet Kauai's KWH stays the same as to when gas was nearly $5 a gallon for regular unleaded and oil was $130 a barrel. Keep on bragging about your pay raises and business ventures. The people know the monopoly overcharging like Hawaiian airlines are all about your profits and how much you people can leech out of every person on island.

It's all about how they want more of your money because they believe that they can spend your hard earned money better than you know how. Ain't that right GET increase tax spenders?

It will be 10 years when it's all said and done for this mayor and what has he really accomplished. His legacy is tainted and he will never be remembered in a good way. He has set Kauai back 20 years with all the BS that he and his admin has been able to scam and scheme.

Sympathizer's will always say "what you think you can do better so file your papers" what they know is that I've been accomplishing more than you people will ever know. The slaves know and the slave masters know but they not going say nothing.

Unknown said...

at 1:52 PM
One of these usual suspects (conspiracy theorists) breathlessly tells us about the CDC, autism and vaccines, and one Dr. Thompson. This is all debunked right here:

Robin said...

@1:52. You have just proved Joan's point. Remember Andrew Wakefield!

Anonymous said...

How can Justin run when also applying to be a judge?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Antonson. It is infuriating to have KKCR give an audience to conspiracy theorists all the while ignoring other real issues. Like the DOE's findings in the special education program's internal audit. Or the irrational fear in vaccinating against preventable diseases caused by conspiracy theorists.

Anonymous said...

And on the other end of the dumb and dumbest spectrum, a quote from the lawsuit article on Civil Beat: "bob don't be a fool. Look up LD50 of caffeine it has a lower LD50 than glyphosate that means it is more toxic (about 100x more toxic). This is not a faith issue this is science. The problem is this focuses people on teh worng chemicals RoundUp is one of the safest herbicides. Stop using that and they will use much more toxic ones. Glyphosate is less toxic than table salt" I would love to see this dumbass drink some Glyphosate like coffee and sprinkle it on his food like salt.

Anonymous said...

2/5 @ 8:13 AM, what that person wrote is factually correct, so what is your problem? Do you think the person was advocating that glyphosate or RoundUp be used for human consumption?

Anonymous said...

Wait until you guys see the scientific studies coming out that show the generation skipping impacts on human DNA.

The anti's are yelling blah blah blah fear fear fear...... and the GMO companies are saying we save children and you all are stupid and I don't believe any of them. I go with the doctors. Their judgement is probably what I trust most on balance.

ORIGINAL ARTICLES AAEM Ann Agric Environ Med 2005, 12, 177–179Received: 17 August 2004Accepted: 14 November 2005EFFECT OF PESTICIDES ON KYNURENIC ACID PRODUCTION IN RAT BRAIN SLICES .... Department of Toxicology, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland 2Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical University, Lublin, Poland 3Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary

Effect of pesticides on kynurenic acid production in rat brain slices. Ann Agric Environ Med 2005, 12, 177–179. Abstract: Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is a broad spectrum antagonist of ionotropic glutamate receptors, preferentially active at the strychnine-insensitive glycine allosteric site of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, and a noncompetitive antagonist of alpha7 nicotinic receptor. Animal studies showed that it possesses anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties. Its involvement in the pathophysiology of various brain disorders was suggested. In this study, the effect of pesticides on KYNA production in brain cortical slices was investigated. Pyrethroids, deltamethrin and fenpropathrin significantly lowered KYNA production. Methomyl, bensultap, fipronil, diquat and MCPA were ineffective in this regard. In view of this data, the inhibition of KYNA synthesis appear to merit further investigation as a potential factor contributing to the toxicology of pyrethroids.

Unknown said...

@ February 6, 2016 at 11:03 AM

"Wait until you guys see the scientific studies coming out..."

What, did you go into a coma after reading this 11 years ago? This CAME OUT 11 years ago and did not affect the scientific consensus.

I'm not going to bother finding out why not; but, I will point out that your ref. is from the AAEM - American Academy of Environmental Medicine - 150 of whom were medical or osteopathic physicians licensed within the U.S. Of these, at least 25 have been subjected to licensing board actions. Most AAEM members espouse dubious concepts of multiple chemical sensitivity, toxic mold, and yeast overgrowth.

Quakety, Quack, Quack, Baby!