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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:38 pm 
The Dilbert strip for 2005-02-17 makes the bald assertion that since 'intelligent people' were more or less evenly divided in the 2004 presidential election, then intelligence must have nothing to do with electoral decisions, and therefore, voting is 'absurd'.

Any comments on this? Is 'intellligence' really the only valid factor in voting? If people disagree, does that mean that they aren't thinking 'correctly' and therefore should be discounted (one subtext of the cartoon)? Is it reasonable to expect people of 'equal intelligence and knowledge' to always agree, or is this a bias of the engineering mindset?

Is Scott Adams really making a valid point here, or is he just expressing his disdain for the political process and/or the electorate? Is he just being a shill for 'the establishment', as critics such as Tom Tomorrow have alleged, by encouraging an attitude of smug superiority, while at the same time undermining the hope that circumstances can be improved? How 'intelligent' is he being here himself?

For that matter, just what does Adams mean by 'intelligent' anyway, and how does it relate to competency in the real world? Is 'intelligence' really the only yardstick by which the worth of things can be measured, either within or without the enclosed world of the engineering dept.? Is extremely high intelligence a positive survival trait, or (as I have asserted in the past) a negative one for the individuals who possess it (even if it is a beneficial one to the gene pool as a whole)?

Given that he has effectively discounted democracy as a valid form of government, what kind of government would Adams want instead? (I think that his running joke about the importance of DNRC makes the answer to that one clear enough. It is obvious that Dogbert, rather than Dilbert himself, is Adams' authorial avatar, and that he is laughing at his readers, not with them. Adams has repeatedly made statements - in ways that make it clear he was not joking - to the effect that anyone who can't find some kind of gravy train to ride is a sucker and deserves to be treated as such.)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:28 pm 
Schol-R-LEA wrote:

Is 'intellligence' really the only valid factor in voting?


If you have to ask, there is no way you could possibly understand the answer.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:24 pm 
Adams himself has said that people swing between stupidity and intelligence constantly throughout the day. It's probably just that half the people were being stupid and half the people were being intelligent when they picked their candidates. Which half was which is dependant on your own point of view, likely. I'm sure my answer disagrees with yours.

To me, 48% voted for kerry, and 51% voted for bush. To me, this means that 99% of the people who voted in the election were being stupid or gullible that day.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:44 pm 
Pronto wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:

Is 'intellligence' really the only valid factor in voting?


If you have to ask, there is no way you could possibly understand the answer.


And thus any and all attempt to to actually think is ground to a halt.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:57 pm 
Kazriko wrote:
Adams himself has said that people swing between stupidity and intelligence constantly throughout the day.


Yes, the so-called 'Dilbert Principle', though the observation goes back at least to the times of Socrates, Lao Tse and Buddha, if not much earlier.

What he fails to note about this is the pattern involved: that the reason people are 'stupid' most of the time is because they are following preexisting 'scripts' - instincts, conditioned reflexes, habits, indoctrination, and the like - that are adequate for the majority of circumstances. Most of the time, the human mind is only marginally self-aware, just alert enough to spot trouble signs really. This occurs even when the brain is actively puzzling over a problem, to some degree.

People only really 'think' either when they are in a contemplative mood (where it usually has little lasting impact), or else in the midst of a situation which these scripts don't cover - emergencies, major life decisions, solving engineering problems, and so on - and even then the flow of thought tend to slip into the pre-existing channels. To put it into programming terms, critical thought is the brain's exception handling mechanism - and as such, has all the strengths and weaknesses that go with the idea of exception handling. The human brain simply isn't structured to be continuously self-conscious, and it is possible that no 'intelligent' being (whatever 'intelligence' means) could be.


Last edited by Schol-R-LEA on Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 4:49 pm 
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Pronto wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:

Is 'intellligence' really the only valid factor in voting?


If you have to ask, there is no way you could possibly understand the answer.


And thus any and all attempt to to actually think is ground to a halt.


Speak for yourself.
Ok, lets examine your options.
What else would you bring to the voting booth? Emotion? Bias? Bigotry?
Fashion sense?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:08 pm 
Character judgement.

Unless it's my ability to understand advanced mathematics. I forget.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:48 pm 
Pronto wrote:
Speak for yourself.
Ok, lets examine your options.
What else would you bring to the voting booth? Emotion? Bias? Bigotry?
Fashion sense?


How do you propose to exclude those factors?


If all other factors are equal any of those (except bigotry) could be deciding factors. Of course if all other factors are equal a coin toss would work just as well. (Except in cases where there are more than two possibilities.)


bigot
Quote:
The noun "bigot" has 1 sense in WordNet.

1. bigot -- (a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:02 pm 
Anh Minh wrote:
Character judgement.

Unless it's my ability to understand advanced mathematics. I forget.


I've always considered character judgement as a function of intelligence.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:19 pm 
I guess it is, but that's not often what people mean when they say someone's "intelligent".

And people can be very "intelligent" (say, be quantum mechanic whiz or something) and yet have very little in the way of character judgement and/or political awareness.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:03 pm 
Exactly. :) (Nice summation, Anh Minh, thank you.)

And that high lights why Schol-R-LEA's thread start and that Dilbert strip are near-meaningless.
When you use the word 'intelligent' you have to redefine it everytime. We assume that an 'intelligent' person is 'intelligent' on all subjects, or at least, all the important subjects. But thats obviously not the case.

So when you say INTELLIGENT! you haven't said anything.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:25 pm 
I would like to point out that the character asserting that intelligent people were evenly divided and that therefore voting is irrelevant is Wally, the cynical, defeatist slacker.

The real point of that strip, I think, is the punchline: "Then you have no right to complain." "I'm pretty sure I do."


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:07 pm 
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Schol-R-LEA wrote:
The Dilbert strip for 2005-02-17 makes the bald assertion that since 'intelligent people' were more or less evenly divided in the 2004 presidential election, then intelligence must have nothing to do with electoral decisions, and therefore, voting is 'absurd'.


Think of how stupid the average person is, then realize half of em are stupider than that! --George Carlin

How is intelligence measured? By advanced educational degrees?

If you think that, do try hanging around a college's graduate studies lounge for a few months.

You'll find a LOT of idiots well on their way to tossing on a mortarboard.
Or sitting behind a door marked "Professor".

Some other way? Then you need to set your criteria.

Even then, intelligence is not necessarily proof against shortsightedness or greed.

Hmm, it's been a while since I went through Dilbert.

<a href="http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20050123.html">I like this one, too</a>. Considering how many people probably voted on the basis of a slogan or two...


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:50 pm 
I have a very simple, not to mention widespread, system for judging intelligence.

If you disagree with or disapprove of me you're an idiot, if not you're smart.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:18 am 
Ishidan wrote:
How is intelligence measured?


This is precisely why I had 'intelligent' in quotes, and part of why I brought up the strip in the first place. I felt that there were a lot of questionable assumptions going into it.

Anh Minh wrote:
If you disagree with or disapprove of me you're an idiot, if not you're smart.


That sums up exactly what I think Scott Adams feels, and why the whole thing bothered me.


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