Why do smart people act stupid sometimes?

Why do smart people act stupid sometimes?

Seriously, every now and then you see a random internet challenge that goes too far (ranging from the Cinnamon challenge to the light yourself on yourself on fire ones). I could say this Darwinism in process, but if they already reproduced then they officially succeeded as a specimen (not that evolution is a long-term game that takes hundreds of generations, if not thousands, to see significant changes normally, inbreeding not withstanding).

Then you have legit smart folk like Richard Dawkins who has acted as a Internet troll online according to Top Tenz Net, Disney Corporatize heads firing Gunn for tweets that he has long since apologized for, and frankly moved long passed in his creativity in the decade since then.

Presently we also have Bill Maher. While the Stan Lee tweet isn't the first time he's said something that has courted Controversy (Saying the 9/11 terrorists were heroic and supporting SOAPA) but even though I don't think I could ever like the man, I had to respect him. At least until this.

It wasn't just the outrage of such a thing, and looking into several sources including his to make sure this wasn't another fake thing. That cools down soon enough and you just go meh. It was aliation of a potential fanbase of supporters. Correct me if I am wrong but nerd culture, which encompasses comic book nerd culture, tend to share a lot of the same views on government and religion, and many a fan in these circles probably saw him as a guiding light leading them to the truth. To have this happen to them must have felt like a betrayal.

So with all this in mind, why do smart people, especially ones with no known developmental disabilities, act stupid sometimes?

saint of m:
Why do smart people act stupid sometimes?

Seriously, every now and then you see a random internet challenge that goes too far (ranging from the Cinnamon challenge to the light yourself on yourself on fire ones). I could say this Darwinism in process, but if they already reproduced then they officially succeeded as a specimen (not that evolution is a long-term game that takes hundreds of generations, if not thousands, to see significant changes normally, inbreeding not withstanding).

That's not how evolution works. If you're just talking about the survival of one's genes, you could be equally 'successful' (if not more so) by defending your siblings and their offspring. Inculcating survival structures that stop the predation of your immediate family is often a better way for your 'genes to survive' than you yourself breeding, if that would prejudice the survival of the group.
Moreover, people with more expansive gene pools are clinically healthier people. Taller, higher IQs, longer lifespans, greater disease resistances. It's less about you breeding, and more about who you breed with. The survival of your genes means little if it prejudices your offspring.

After all, you've actually lost more of your 'genetic presence' if only you survive out of your 3 or 4 siblings. If your 3 or 4 siblings have children of their own, more of your genetic information will have a greater presence that way than simply your own children. And thus it's liable that protection of kin is more important than simply self-preservation, in terms of maintaining a 'genetic presence' longterm throughout a species existence.

On the actual topic, there's no golden mean of intelligent behaviour. The world and the psyche by which examines it is sufficiently complex that all humans are capable of stupid behaviour precisely because we're about as smart as our environment forced us to be to survive, yet with no other guarantees as to how that survival may be consistently gauged.

Humans have, as in modern man in the distant past, been almost wiped out completely. Somewhere as low as 3,000 breeding pairs it's estimated. We lost a ridiculously huge amount of genetic information in a very short amount of time, and yet the human race is trundling along quite fine in spite of that.

Plus, you know ... it turns out Darwinism was wrong. Our environment changes our genes. All of us have foreign DNA and RNA that didn't come from a human ancestor, but from things like horizontal gene transfer by infectious agents that we just keep accumulating and passing on. About .5% of your genome is alien or 'lost' genetic information.

And the Stan Lee tweet thing was what, exactly?

Because people don't function solely on brain power.

Squilookle:
And the Stan Lee tweet thing was what, exactly?

He basically said something to the extent of 'Why do people mourn Stan Lee? He just made a bunch of comics, and comics suck. And if you like comics you're a Trump supporter.' But this is extremely light for Maher who once claimed the Vietnam war was a good thing.

No, stupid people get mistaken for smart people too often, usually by other stupid people.

Because no matter how good your ability to think abstractly, solve complex puzzles or plan ahead, you still possess emotions. Since those emotions are much, much stronger than your ability to maintain logical though, you are bound to be guided by your emotions every now and then. That's not to say that perfect rational thought is desirable either, because emotions can be really good at guiding you towards positive behaviors and away from bad in a way that logic and rationality never can.

So basically: Humans are complex being and being smart does not stop one from being rash, pre-occupied, prejudiced, narrow minded or stuck in their ways. Add to that the myriad of ways besides emotions that a persons ability for rational thought can be diminished (stress, sleep depravation, poor nutrition, social isolation etc.), and it should be clear why none of us is smart all the time.

To put it into D&D terms, there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom. The first is knowing things while the latter is understanding. There is a difference and having lots of one says nothing about the other.

saint of m:
Correct me if I am wrong but nerd culture, which encompasses comic book nerd culture, tend to share a lot of the same views on government and religion

I'm gonna correct you here. Fans of "nerd culture" come from every faith and walk of life out there and have as many varied views on "government" and "religion" as there are fans. We aren't a herd with a group mind.

And also it's "geek culture", not "nerd culture".

Some good answers there, but I'd also add that this seems to be partially an "us and them" thing. People that you agree with, that you approve of or like or expect are people you expect to be in agreement with. People tend to be surprised and disappointed with people they like who do something foolish or morally reprehensible.

Bill Maher is not smart. Successful maybe.

Why do dumb people occasionally do smart things?

Majestic Manatee:
Bill Maher is not smart. Successful maybe.

He is smart. IV league educated, with an extensive knowledge of history and politics. He's just old and out of touch with 'the youth'. I've seen him in concert a few times and even met him once with backstage passes.
And he's depressed. Not depressing, although he can be on occasion, no he has depression. ever since he turned 60 he's just angry and talks about how he's done experiencing new things. Like he's always had a 3-way on his bucket list, but at 60 decided he's lived this long without one, so why bother now? Same with skiing, skydiving, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I think he's depressed at getting older, and lashes out at the young kids and their superheros.

Silentpony:

Majestic Manatee:
Bill Maher is not smart. Successful maybe.

He is smart. IV league educated, with an extensive knowledge of history and politics. He's just old and out of touch with 'the youth'. I've seen him in concert a few times and even met him once with backstage passes.
And he's depressed. Not depressing, although he can be on occasion, no he has depression. ever since he turned 60 he's just angry and talks about how he's done experiencing new things. Like he's always had a 3-way on his bucket list, but at 60 decided he's lived this long without one, so why bother now? Same with skiing, skydiving, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I think he's depressed at getting older, and lashes out at the young kids and their superheros.

the depression thing makes sense, and as I have it, know people that have it, and given some very respected entertainment icons like Chester Benington and Robin Williams he has my sympathies. That said, that is not an excuse.

Casual Shinji:
He basically said something to the extent of 'Why do people mourn Stan Lee? He just made a bunch of comics, and comics suck. And if you like comics you're a Trump supporter.'

From what I've seen, it was "superhero comics made people stupid, stupid people elected Trump, so Trump is the fault of people like Stan Lee".

saint of m:

Silentpony:

Majestic Manatee:
Bill Maher is not smart. Successful maybe.

He is smart. IV league educated, with an extensive knowledge of history and politics. He's just old and out of touch with 'the youth'. I've seen him in concert a few times and even met him once with backstage passes.
And he's depressed. Not depressing, although he can be on occasion, no he has depression. ever since he turned 60 he's just angry and talks about how he's done experiencing new things. Like he's always had a 3-way on his bucket list, but at 60 decided he's lived this long without one, so why bother now? Same with skiing, skydiving, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I think he's depressed at getting older, and lashes out at the young kids and their superheros.

the depression thing makes sense, and as I have it, know people that have it, and given some very respected entertainment icons like Chester Benington and Robin Williams he has my sympathies. That said, that is not an excuse.

Well its an excuse for a lot of people to get away with a lot of just shitty activity. I mean how many of us don't have a friend who went through a rough spot and acted out a few times, but we forgive them because it wasn't them, but that rough spot, acting out?

You're assumption is that smart means smart at everything. That is generally not the case. A doctor usually can't be a mechanic and vice versa. Or a stock broker. Or an artist. It is highly unlikely that one person is 'smart' enough to pick up all these talents.

Which comes to the second issue. Specialization means that all other education area need to be ignored while you master just one line of education. And one of these lines of education includes social skills or relationships or delaying gratification.

The last two areas are the cause sexual harassment cases. As a CEO, you focus on business and leadership skills. Social skills is a very low priority after a baseline of manners. Delayed Gratification is deliberately suppressed due to Capitalism. And then we wonder why a CEO, who had to be incredibly smart, gets targeted by sexual harrassment claims (a dumb move). The CEO hasnt had to value the skills necessary to treat employees appropriately.

KingsGambit:
To put it into D&D terms, there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom. The first is knowing things while the latter is understanding. There is a difference and having lots of one says nothing about the other.

saint of m:
Correct me if I am wrong but nerd culture, which encompasses comic book nerd culture, tend to share a lot of the same views on government and religion

I'm gonna correct you here. Fans of "nerd culture" come from every faith and walk of life out there and have as many varied views on "government" and "religion" as there are fans. We aren't a herd with a group mind.

And also it's "geek culture", not "nerd culture".

Or to put your point more poetically, "Intelligence is knowing that tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in fruit salad"

trunkage:
You're assumption is that smart means smart at everything. That is generally not the case. A doctor usually can't be a mechanic and vice versa. Or a stock broker. Or an artist. It is highly unlikely that one person is 'smart' enough to pick up all these talents.

This is terribly false. Yes, people are not experts in all fields, but yes a doctor certainly can be a mechanic and an artist and often smart people are really good at many things, not just one. It is funny that you mentioned those exact things, because I happen to have skills in all of them and I am not even as smart as many of my colleagues. Growing up the daughter of an engineer who designed, built and raced pro stock cars as his hobby I was rebuilding carburetors at the age of 4, I sold my art to help pay my way through medical school so yea I actually can build a car, paint the returning of the knights from battle on it and practice medicine. I happen to be good at many other things as I do not like to do just one hobby, I am always learning how to do new things and move on once I mastered them, as I am not very fond of duplication and want to do a variety of things rather than just a few.

People are multifaceted, they do not just do or like one thing and usually do a great many things over their lifetime. This does not mean they necessarily do everything, but still there is no limit on things one can enjoy to do or learn about. Often smart people can do stupid things because people do not always take all data into account, speak without thinking or allow themselves to be influenced by emotions or "gut feelings" that are not necessarily rational. We can have experts in their own fields who say stupid things about their own field, but that is part of what makes us human. Humans are flawed and make mistakes. What makes someone smart often is the ability to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others and be willing to correct those errors and improve. We area always learning, changing and adapting in order to improve to hopefully make less mistakes. The reality is though we will always be flawed and make mistakes and we can only improve so much before we reach the age where we decline rather than improve and just hope that what we learned along the way helps others improve and advance more than we were able to in our short time.

Being smart at one thing doesn't immediately mean that a person is smart at another, or at the more extreme level being a genius at something doesn't make you an authority on anything else. As a society we have a weird habit of assuming a genius chessplayer for instance might have something worthwhile to say about politics or warfare. If they studied those fields they might have something decent to say, but chances are they haven't and don't. Going further, if someone really does have degrees and accreditation in engineering, law, medicine and poly science, chances are they probably aren't as good at any one of those compared to a person who actually just dedicated themselves to being good at one thing. 0

The reality of the way our society has developed in terms of technology and knowledge means that in order for a doctor to be considered really good they need a commanding knowledge of hundreds of times more information compared to a doctor from one or two hundred years ago. Same with engineering, and probably double or triple that for lawyers who have to navigate an exponentially more complex legal landscape as time has moved on. Even trades like mechanics or welders have gotten far more difficult to master over time as competing standards, more complex machinery, and more demanding tasks become necessary.

People are dumb. That's the baseline. Some people are sometimes acceptably smart at some things. A very small percentage of people are wise enough to have a pretty good idea of what they're not good at. But, generally speaking, people revert to form and act stupid more often than not. You see someone be smart in a few narrow contexts and you think "this person is smart" but they're not, they're still people, they're still just dumb with some exceptions.

I get no one can be a master of all kind of a thing. That still dosn't mean there are somethings a reasonable healthy adult should not do. I used Dawkins as an excample because he's undeniably smarty smart smart-smart. Then you see something and go, what?

Just going on the top of my head of things from WTFIWWY

1. Shoving Live Lobster down pants.
2. Putting Penis into a small pile, getting stuck, and not getting it removed for 2 days because it was embarising.
3. Jumping the Whitehouse Fence.
4. Yelling Bomb on an Airplain.
5. Trying to pick a fight with a wild Bison.
6. Skinny Dipping in a Shark Tank
7. Setting up a Starbucks without any running water so you have to get your water by the bucket from a Garage Parking Lot Bathroom.

Oh I gotcha now. Being smart doesn't make you not a douche. More broadly, being smart doesn't make you immune to not thinking stuff through and in extreme cases can lead people to think "this is a smart thing to do, because I'm a smart person" as opposed to the preferred "I have thought this thing through and it is a smart thing to do, THEREFORE I'm a smart person".

If you ever end up going into research or hang around with PhD students/professors you start to see how they develop these weird blind spots. Gambling is like the easiest one to use to snag people on. Otherwise intelligent people will start talking all about how easy card counting is and how working out probabilities is no problem at a table, but then absolutely crash and burn in practice because they just sort of assumed being good at math would translate 1:1 to being good at actually putting card counting into practice. See also philosophy majors for a somewhat more insufferable option, where a person attempts to use simple logic puzzles to disprove things like relativity on the basis that they have been taught to ask interesting questions, but lack the experience or knowledge to apply that skill to anything outside of philosophy.

As a funny and benign example I watched an extremely smart grad student, knows about four languages and passed his candidacy exam (very difficult in his field) with flying colours, spend twenty minutes trying to turn on a concrete mixer that had one engine and one switch. He just looked right at it, didn't understand what he saw, and kept dicking around with the power bar and the lab breakers.

High INT, low WIS. Simple as that.

Lil devils x:

trunkage:
You're assumption is that smart means smart at everything. That is generally not the case. A doctor usually can't be a mechanic and vice versa. Or a stock broker. Or an artist. It is highly unlikely that one person is 'smart' enough to pick up all these talents.

This is terribly false. Yes, people are not experts in all fields, but yes a doctor certainly can be a mechanic and an artist and often smart people are really good at many things, not just one. It is funny that you mentioned those exact things, because I happen to have skills in all of them and I am not even as smart as many of my colleagues. Growing up the daughter of an engineer who designed, built and raced pro stock cars as his hobby I was rebuilding carburetors at the age of 4, I sold my art to help pay my way through medical school so yea I actually can build a car, paint the returning of the knights from battle on it and practice medicine. I happen to be good at many other things as I do not like to do just one hobby, I am always learning how to do new things and move on once I mastered them, as I am not very fond of duplication and want to do a variety of things rather than just a few.

EvilRoy:
Being smart at one thing doesn't immediately mean that a person is smart at another, or at the more extreme level being a genius at something doesn't make you an authority on anything else. As a society we have a weird habit of assuming a genius chessplayer for instance might have something worthwhile to say about politics or warfare. If they studied those fields they might have something decent to say, but chances are they haven't and don't. Going further, if someone really does have degrees and accreditation in engineering, law, medicine and poly science, chances are they probably aren't as good at any one of those compared to a person who actually just dedicated themselves to being good at one thing. 0

Smart people very often have some inerest in several of those complicated field.

But being smart is not the only thing needed to be a competent doctor/engineer/artist/whatever. You need time and practice to master any of that. Which is why nearly everyone only persues one of those fields as a professional career and stays an amateur/hobbyist in the rest of them. Because one of those careers takes up all the time a healthy lifestyle allows for education/job. They might have been smart enough for those other fields too, but never had the time to tackle them in earnest.
Smart people often are quite competent for laymen in fields beyond their expertise but they can't compete with professionals and might have some dangerous holes in their knowledge. Which is why you ask a professional for expert advice, not a smart person who dabbled in the topic.

Another thing beyond time and intelligence you would need for any of those fields is dedication. There are quite a lot of smart people who start several of those carreers but can't get a degree in any of them becausse they get bored and uninterested too fast. The smarter they are, the sooner they become bored, it doesn't really help here.

Grouchy Imp:
High INT, low WIS. Simple as that.

Oh, they are playing goblins

There are a lot of different versions of "intelligence", and they don't necessarily bleed into one another. Something like "scholastic intelligence" versus "social intelligence" being one frequently cited example, but there are other divisions. Someone who is an aggressive and effective negotiator might not be particularly good at making and keeping friends. Being able to work the calculations and write the code for an unmanned spacecraft to make its way from one planet to another doesn't guarantee that you're very good at balancing your checkbook.

Everyone has their blind spots, which is a good reason to invest in a measure of humility, especially when presuming to judge other people.

Lil devils x:

trunkage:
You're assumption is that smart means smart at everything. That is generally not the case. A doctor usually can't be a mechanic and vice versa. Or a stock broker. Or an artist. It is highly unlikely that one person is 'smart' enough to pick up all these talents.

This is terribly false. Yes, people are not experts in all fields, but yes a doctor certainly can be a mechanic and an artist and often smart people are really good at many things, not just one. It is funny that you mentioned those exact things, because I happen to have skills in all of them and I am not even as smart as many of my colleagues. Growing up the daughter of an engineer who designed, built and raced pro stock cars as his hobby I was rebuilding carburetors at the age of 4, I sold my art to help pay my way through medical school so yea I actually can build a car, paint the returning of the knights from battle on it and practice medicine. I happen to be good at many other things as I do not like to do just one hobby, I am always learning how to do new things and move on once I mastered them, as I am not very fond of duplication and want to do a variety of things rather than just a few.

People are multifaceted, they do not just do or like one thing and usually do a great many things over their lifetime. This does not mean they necessarily do everything, but still there is no limit on things one can enjoy to do or learn about. Often smart people can do stupid things because people do not always take all data into account, speak without thinking or allow themselves to be influenced by emotions or "gut feelings" that are not necessarily rational. We can have experts in their own fields who say stupid things about their own field, but that is part of what makes us human. Humans are flawed and make mistakes. What makes someone smart often is the ability to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others and be willing to correct those errors and improve. We area always learning, changing and adapting in order to improve to hopefully make less mistakes. The reality is though we will always be flawed and make mistakes and we can only improve so much before we reach the age where we decline rather than improve and just hope that what we learned along the way helps others improve and advance more than we were able to in our short time.

You have a very interesting life.

Bill Mahar isn't smart, for one.

Because their intelligence tends to be specialised. + They might just have a off day.

Because ALL people are stupid.
Some are just less stupid than others.
Even most geniuses are only good at 1-2 things and are clueless about the rest.
Also, Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer, please don't call him smart.

Chewster:
Bill Mahar isn't smart, for one.

Sick burn, and thank you. Honestly, I don't know why people like or respect that fuck nugget.

Vanilla ISIS:

Also, Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer, please don't call him smart.

I just learned something new today. Thanks Vanilla. And now Bill Maher credibility slips even further.

Smart people can be stupid because they don't base all of their decisions solely on intelligence and rationality, or because they just flat out don't care about certain or many things.. Smart people can appear stupid based on the fact that reality and human systems are near infinite in complexity and no one mind can take into account all possible data points leading into a decision, and the predilictions of the person in question tends to lead them to some data points whilst directing them away from others that others with their own predilections are lead to easily in comparison.

And sometimes, smart people can put their trust into someone they shouldn't cuz nobody got time or energy to figure out everything about life, and come out stupid for it.

But maybe, just maybe, "smartness" isn't a real concept as it is commonly perceived; the ability to retain, process, and apply knowledge has a lot of moving parts that are variable between different people. We tend to call an excellence among all of them "intelligence", but nothing in that human data processing guarantees better decisions, merely better informed ones. People's decision making skills tend to be rooted in their values rather than their data processing, from my direct observation. Such values include the willing pursuit of knowledge, without which those data processing skills are wasted anyway.

 

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