I want to speak about intellectual ability. Some of it’s inborn intelligence and some of it’s learned habits such as memory tricks or reading comprehension. However, those aspects aren’t necessarily the most central or most important. Without intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn, all the ability in the world is useless.
In online discussions, I’m surprised how often someone asks a question when a five second websearch would’ve given them an answer. So much time gets spent on explaining (sometimes very basic ideas and facts) to people who lack any motivation to learn.
I’m surprised how often people don’t read a link when I post it explaining what it is and why it’s relevant. I’ve even cited a link as a basis of an argument and the argument itself was straight from the article, but the other person disagrees with me demonstrating they didn’t even read the article. If I’m citing an article by an expert or which quotes an expert, then any disagreement anyone has should be with the expert or the article. But do they quote another expert or link another article? No. They just disagree with some magical power of intuition. They just know your wrong.
It’s a rare person who goes to the effort of actually backing up their opinions with logic and facts. And I really hate it when people pull the ‘experience’ card. Someone may be a mother but it doesn’t mean they understand every mother. Certainly, a survey or scientific research of thousands of people has at least equal or greater worth than the anecdotal experience of one person. Another stupid tactic is when someone argues, for example, that since you take a liberal position that therefore you don’t know what it’s like to be fighting on the frontline… as if all soldiers are conservatives.
Then there are the nitpickers who either are trolls or simply lack inter-personal skills. There comments can seem stupid as the person never adds anything of intelligence, but the person might actually have some hidden intelligence. It really annoys me when I sense or suspect they’re intelligent because I keep waiting for an intelligent response which never comes. What is the point of having intelligence if you don’t like using it? I’d rather deal with a well-intentioned idiot than a halfway intelligent troll… a little bit of intelligence can be a dangerous thing.
The most typical variety of intellectually challenged debater is the person who simply repeats the same statement or belief or supposed fact. They’ll rarely back up what they say with any cited source and if they offer a link it’s probably a ranting blog, a conspiracy website, apologetics or whatever. If this person is also a nitpicker, they can be extremely annoying because they’ll demand that you cite sources for every minor statement. This kind of person if they’re subtle enough (as some intelligent apologists are), they can lead you on for hours. They make you think they actually care about the discussion, but they just want to make you run around. They already have their mind made up before you wrote your first word.
It’s not that most people are stupid, but most definitely the average person tends to under-utilize their intelligence to an extreme degree. What is lacking is curiosity. How sad! 😦
I realize people are busy with more “important” things, but I still think it’s sad.