ALS Topic 59 - ONLINE - Stupdity is Kind of Interesting

Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar Saturday, 9 May 2020 11 am to 1:30 PM (end time flexible)

Venue: ONLINE using the ZOOM meeting app  . Notes to remember online:

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding

Focus Questions

1. Who is stupid? How did you decide that? Are the same people always stupid?

2. So you have decided that someone is stupid, but you have to manage them to carry out a job. How do you go about it?

3. You are the leader of a country. You are faced with a national health emergency. You have to get the whole population to cooperate for their own survival, but large numbers of them are too stupid to understand the problem. How do you manage them?

4. You are a political leader in a democratic country. Of course you want to win re-election, but at least half the population is too stupid to accept your plans for the country. How do you persuade them to vote for you anyway?

5. You run a manufacturing facility in a regional Australian town. Overseas competition is almost impossible to compete against because your technology is dated and your workforce has the wrong skills. They oppose restructuring - it is a threat to their security and they don't trust your arguments. How do you manage your way out of this dilemma?

6. Your husband or wife don't accept your career plans (or lack of), or wish to have children (or not), or intention to buy a house (or not) or wish to work overseas (or not). You wonder why you married them. They seem stupid now. How can you manage this situation?

7. There is immense profit to be made from stupid people. How would you design an advertising program to appeal to the stupid while discouraging smart people from getting involved?

8. Your boss is an idiot. Maybe the whole management team are idiots. All your experience tells you that the track they are on will lead to disaster. What can/should you do? [Examples?]

9. You have a East Asian boyfriend/girlfriend. They think the way you sometimes help random strangers is completely stupid, while they think you don't show enough commitment to helping family. You think their indifference to public welfare is a deep cultural failure, while their obligation to dodgy family members is often dumb. This is a very common cross-cultural conflict. How can it be resolved?

10. Is a simple life what you want? Isn't that stupid in a complex world? What is a simple life anyway? You can graph people on a curve according to how well they tolerate and understand different kinds of complexity. One person might be open to fine nuances of personality, but dumb & blind with simple math. Another might be insensitive in personal relationships, but build mathematical models of great power.

Zoom Notes:

a) Zoom is available to use directly in your browser, or can be downloaded to Windows 10, Apple O/S, Android or Apple phones. You don't have to join Zoom to participate. However if you join (free) you can get a personal login and test your microphone & video before the meetup. There are Zoom tutorials on Youtube, and also on the Zoom site itself.

b) To participate in the Lunchtime Seminar Online you will have to paste in a meetup code and password on Zoom. These will become visible on your app after you RSVP.

c) We are limiting the online meetup to 8 people per session. After 8 RSVPs, people go onto a waitlist. If you decide not to come, cancel quickly so that anyone waiting can be notified to attend. If there is a lot of interest, we might be able to run another session at a different time/date.

d) The free version of Zoom only gives us 40 minutes. However, I understand that after that we can re-start for another 40 minute segment, and so on. This Saturday's meetup is our first try online, so there will probably be some teething mistakes.

e) People attending can make a $2 donation in Australia using PAY ID. All the major banks in Australia have PAY ID if you activate it. To send me money, the banking app with PAY ID will ask for my phone number: 0479 154 831

f) If you are not in South Australia, remember that in Adelaide we operate on Central Australian Time (11 a.m.)

g) Before the meetup, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COPY OF THE FOCUS QUESTIONS BELOW TO LOOK AT WHILE YOU ARE IN THE ZOOM PROGRAM. It is best to print them out. I don't want to waste time having to read these out to people during the meetup.


Extra Reading, Comments and Links

Thor May (2015) "The Unexpected Power of Stupidity" The Passionate Skeptic Website @  [This article includes many links to read] [Quote: "It turns out that stupidity is complicated. Your stupid act or mine may be boringly simple, but the whole mass of human stupidity acted out on a daily basis is a Gordian knot which may be beyond human comprehension let alone resolution, even as it strangles the life out of the planet. In fact I know it is insoluble because your simple minded stupidity, and yours, and yours … is beyond my comprehension. If we all understood each other perfectly 100% of the time, our judgements of other people’s stupidity would probably reduce by about 95%. We never understand each other perfectly, even after long acquaintance, and there is no prospect that we ever will understand each other perfectly (life would be extremely boring if we did). Therefore the best we can do with the stupidity monster is to sort out some of its more common disguises"].

Thor May (4 August 2018) "Trump says Americans (and everyone else) are stupid. Is he right?" [meetup topic] The Passionate Skeptic Website @

Thor May (27 December 2017) "Lazy & Stupid Saves Us All". [meetup topic] The Passionate Skeptic Website @

Thor May (2014) "Are We Too Rich?" The Passionate Skeptic website @

ABC News (19 April 2020) "Adelaide Police issue 16 COVID-19 expiations after car gathering". ABC News @

SBS News (15 April 2020) "Thousands protest over US state lockdowns" SBS News @

Alex Linder (April 8 2020) "Crazy crowds swarm Huangshan as China loosens coronavirus restrictions - It's just like old times!" The Shanghaiist @

Dumb and dumber - Youtube (20 April 2020) "Nurse faces off anti-lockdown protesters in Colorado - nurses concerned about the spread of the virus blocked anti-lock-down protesters - who then told the nurses they should go to China if they do not like the liberty afforded Americans".

Malcolm Sutton (23 April 2020) "Science denial among the greatest risks to humanity, new 'call to arms' report finds". ABC News @

Matthew Knott (May 5, 2020) "Grim new coronavirus projections collide with American optimism" Brisbane Times @  [Thor comment: 'Give me liberty or give me death!' was the cry as they rushed around shoulder to shoulder waving guns and defying requests to stay at home. Well, they are getting far more death than the average, with minds enslaved by slogans. Enterprise and innovation need calculated risk taking. Stupidity guarantees stupid risk taking - like a Covid-19 death rate per 100,000 in US thirty-six times higher than in Australia -  ].


Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar

Index of past discussion topics & questions:

Convenor : Thor May Personal website (legacy)
Articles  (.. about 147 articles by Thor)


ONLINE - Stupdity is Kind of Interesting (c) Thor May 2020 

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