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.

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2 Responses to “Other minds are stupid”

  1. Lee Davis Says:

    Reducing further, it is not absolutely certain you are a sentient being:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/science/14tier.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1190968923-BeW/2SZtF6RfD4uGWeyXWg

    BTW, there are some belief systems where it IS their fault they were born with a handicap.

  2. chris sivori Says:

    You should rise to the challenge in trying to translate the output of your advanced intelligence into something a semi-retard could relate to.


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