Other minds are stupid
September 28, 2007
There’s a simple philosophy of mind problem that says you can’t really know that other people are sentient beings. They could be Cylons or simulations in the Matrix. One answer is to assume they are like me by analogy: I have a mind, I think and react; they are similar to me, so they must have a mind, too. I also assumed other people are as mentally capable and rational as me. So when other people arrive at utterly preposterous conclusions (e.g. intelligent design), I find it confusing. For a long time I racked my brain trying to find the flaw in my thinking. It took me a while to realize that most other people are stupid. Consider this: the average IQ is 100. An IQ of 60 – only 40 points lower – is considered mild retardation. My IQ is around 140, so 50% of the population appears to me to be mildly retarded or worse. It’s easier to accept other people’s stupidity if I recast the issue like this. It’s not their fault they were born with a handicap.