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Old 03-21-2014, 02:14 PM   #1
James Sawers
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Question Are You a Nut-Job?

Are You a Nut-Job?

Not that long ago nut-jobs used to hid the fact that they were nut-jobs; or, at least, they would be uncomfortable, even embarrassed, expressing nut-job views, hiding them from public view, perhaps only expressing them in their own nut-job churches, nut-job societies, and other nut-job organizations, or, just hiding them in their own nut-job skulls.

But, now, under the guise of political correctness, diversity, or, some supposed, perverse humanism, we have somehow given the nut-jobs free reign. It's like getting social promotions in school -- everyone is a winner! Every opinion has weight. But that's not true. Everyone is not a winner. Not all the time. Not all opinions are equal. Some are just plain wrong! In this case, a nut-job is a nut-job is a nut-job; and, if not for their own good, then certainly for our good, they should be told so and held accountable for their nut-job views and what they are doing to us and society in general.

If nut-jobs cannot look at information, process data, absorb an education, and use the hardwiring of their brains to understand the world and the universe as it is, not as they may want it to be, then that is on them. The rest of us are not responsible for their nut-job views, nor should we tolerate them any more than we would someone who is mentally ill telling us how the world is and how it should be run. For make no mistake, it is a type of mental illness! One day it will be listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) under Nut-Job, perhaps as a Personality Disorder, certainly an Adjustment Disorder! So, while we may feel sorry for them and try to do our best for them, we cannot allow their nut-job views to influence us in the real world and determine our fate.

So, of course, we have to ask ourselves how do we establish who the nut-jobs are and what is a nut-job view-point? You could say that it is a lot like pornography, we know it when we see it -- but, is this true, and is it always true?

Perhaps some general guidelines would help. Does a view-point ignore current scientific evidence? (Sidebar: Yes, science is sometimes wrong. Yes, science is incomplete. Yes, science is created by fallible humans. All true. The big difference here between science and nut-job views is that science knows these things. Science at its core is about destroying itself and then re-creating itself, again and again...and again) Does a view-point hold back information and knowledge to the betterment of a few and to the detriment of the many? Is a view-point rational; that is, rational in the sense that it can hold up to open and clear scrutiny? Is a view-point based on dogma or data? Does dogmatic belief replace rational discourse and available evidence? Is a view-point's purpose to hurt others? That is, does this view-point have as its aim to denigrate other people and their position in the world? To create the "Other" as the enemy, sometimes to the point of actually physically hurting or killing other people, just because they may disagree with you or hold a different belief system. Is a view-point arbitrarily binary -- that is, are you with us or against us, based on nothing more than a difference in belief or opinion?

Anyway, I think you can see what I am thinking and saying. So, the big question is: are you a nut-job? Stay calm, of course you aren't. That other guy is, not you! So, stand up and present and justify your view-point! Ah, but here's the rub. The nut-job will not listen, or, perhaps even process, a rational, logical, data supported discussion. So, here are your guidelines. If someone can't or won't follow them, it is your duty to stand up and say so. Say: You are a nut-job. You have a right to your view (remember, a nut-job would not allow you that same right!), but you do not have the right to inflict your nut-job view on me and others. So, go back to your cave and let the rest of us go boldly, and fallibly, into the future! Ad Astra, please!

Too much to ask? Yes, for nut-jobs it is (another sign that they are nut-jobs - their degree of intolerance is intolerable). The only remedy I can offer is to constantly and bravely stand up to nut-jobs. Not that they will listen (another sign), but others may listen that are just confused or ignorant, and then may actually see the nut-jobs for what they are. Overcoming nut-jobs; only then can we really call ourselves a modern, rational, humane society that can have a chance of surviving and prospering, not only as a civilization, but as a species. Yes, the risks and costs are that dire. Have no illusion, make no mistake; while some nut-jobs are basically harmless, others are crazy enough to endanger all of us, and, perhaps, the planet itself.

Further, I am reminded of what the late Carl Sagan said: We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. This seems to lead inexorably to something that the late Arthur C. Clarke also said: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

To many people in today's world the technology that they use on a daily basis, and upon which they are so exquisitely dependent, is a total black box. From their air-conditioned, centrally-heated homes, to their modern cars, their TVs, computers, and cell phones, all of it, may just as well be magic, for all their understanding. Of course, no one today can be expected to fully understand everything in the world and how everything works, but the general principles should be known. That it is not magic! It is science and that this science is based upon certain knowledge, principles and processes. I should point out here that having education and standing in the sciences does not make anyone exempt from being a nut-job or holding nut-job views. We don't have to look far to see this is true. So, we just have to look at our established guidelines to help us in our decision making process as to whether or not someone is a nut-job, regardless of any scientific or educational credentials that person may have.

So, when a nut-job stands up and declares some nut-job view-point, people should be able to place this view-point in the continuum of current scientific or common knowledge, or at least, know how to research and find out where this view-point stands on this continuum. At the very least, how likely is this view-point to be true or accurate based on currently accepted scientific or common knowledge? This doesn't mean that some far-out view-point or theory may not be true, but how likely is it to be true based on what we currently know and understand? You can't just throw out a thousand or more years of scientific, rational, and humanistic struggle just because some idea or belief sounds lovely today -- oh, but I forgot, if you are a nut-job, yes you can! I'm a big believer in Occam's razor or The Law of Parsimony. Can any view-point or theory stand up to these simple rules and their scrutiny? Is this review, critical thinking process perhaps too difficult a task for most of us?

Who knows? But, it's your choice. Your decision. What are you going to do?

But, to scarily quote Clarke again: It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.

So, who owns the future? You or the nut-jobs!?

Last edited by James Sawers : 03-21-2014 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:41 PM   #2
Keith Larman
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Pffft, nut job... :P

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Old 03-21-2014, 04:18 PM   #3
lbb
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Why do you blame "diversity" and "political correctness" for the proliferation of nutjobs?
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:42 AM   #4
Keith Larman
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Nuts jobs have always been here. Nut jobs will always be here. Sometimes you can say something if for no other reason to allow everyone else to hear what you have to say because the nut job won't hear it. Right now media seems to have handed megaphones to the loudest voices in our society, effectively drowning out the more reasonable among us. But it's a pendulum, swinging back and forth. When change and difficulties are pronounced the nut jobs get louder. When things go better, usually they fade in to obscurity.

Shrug. I don't see a solution other than keeping the above in mind.

Carry on.

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Old 03-22-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
James Sawers
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Why do you blame "diversity" and "political correctness" for the proliferation of nutjobs?
The proliferation of nut-jobs has come about via various and numerous means. I mentioned the two above and associated them with social promotions in the school system because they are sometimes used as umbrella excuses for not telling someone that they are nut-jobs. Under "diversity" we have to allow everyone under the tent, even those bent on destroying the tent. Under "political correctness" we refrain from telling someone that they are nut-jobs because, ah, that just wouldn't be nice. Everyone, after all, is entitled to their opinion, as crazy as it may be. Entitled to these crazy opinions they may be, but that should not constrain us in calling a duck a duck.

As Keith pointed out, the media has recently given nut-jobs a megaphone with which to announce their nut-jobiness. Perhaps this explains the seeming proliferation of nut-jobs today. In the past, view-points, opinions, theories used to go thru some kind of societal filtering process, filtering thru the rocks, gravel, and sand of the various strata of society, and Darwinian-like, surviving or not. Now with the rise and explosion of social media, nut-jobs can by-pass this filtering process and give vent to their nuttiness unfiltered.

The tipping point for me was a recent election somewhere out west where a candidate won a primary (I won't mention the Party), by a hefty margin, according to the news reports, despite her publicly stating that tornadoes and the increased severe weather is caused by God's punishment for humans allowing gay marriage and equal rights. Regardless of how we may feel about this issue, this is nut-jobiness personified! Yet, this person is running for public office and, worse yet, other people are voting for her!

So, I sat down the other day and wrote this down just to get it out of my system.

Last edited by James Sawers : 03-22-2014 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:23 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

We think they are the nut-jobs.
They think we are.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:28 PM   #7
James Sawers
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Eek! Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
We think they are the nut-jobs.
They think we are.
Ah, yes.......but, we KNOW.....!!!!.......
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:03 PM   #8
lbb
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Quote:
James Sawers wrote: View Post
The proliferation of nut-jobs has come about via various and numerous means. I mentioned the two above and associated them with social promotions in the school system because they are sometimes used as umbrella excuses for not telling someone that they are nut-jobs. Under "diversity" we have to allow everyone under the tent, even those bent on destroying the tent. Under "political correctness" we refrain from telling someone that they are nut-jobs because, ah, that just wouldn't be nice. Everyone, after all, is entitled to their opinion, as crazy as it may be. Entitled to these crazy opinions they may be, but that should not constrain us in calling a duck a duck.
I see. I wondered because when people start blaming things on "diversity" and "political correctness", they're usually attacking the left side of the political spectrum, which struck me as ironic given how many of today's flagrant "nut-jobs" seem to hail from a different orientation (as in your election example).

Here's an article you might like. Written after Jared Lee Loughner went on his rampage (and at a time when people were questioning the role of violent rhetoric in his actions), I think it has some very intelligent things to say about the influence of the larger culture on mental illness. The last two paragraphs boil it down pretty well, I think.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:35 PM   #9
James Sawers
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Mary, thanks for the link to the article. I liked what it said, particularly this line: The public embrace of implausible beliefs creates a context of credulity

Still, it takes a receptive vessel (mind, that is) for such thoughts to take root. Which leads back (to me, at least) to one of my questions as why people are not more able to use critical thinking and established knowledge in order to reach a decision. Seeing the general public as so vulnerable and susceptible to "propaganda" does not fill me with confidence for the future.

Perhaps we should have NPR provide a daily psychiatric moment for all of us (besides Click and Clack) to counter the nut-job media....???

I tend to place the most responsibility on the receiver of a message to filter it and use proper judgement as to its veracity. After all, if the originator of the message is a true nut-job, then they cannot help it, can they, and while we may sympathize with their condition, we (the non-nut-jobs) should do our part to stand up and say: Hey, you are a nut-job!; despite the fact that nut-jobs will continue to be nut-jobs. It is part of their psychopathology, after all. We on the other hand have no excuse.

Last edited by James Sawers : 03-22-2014 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:25 AM   #10
Fred Little
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Quote:
James Sawers wrote: View Post
The proliferation of nut-jobs has come about via various and numerous means. I mentioned the two above and associated them with social promotions in the school system because they are sometimes used as umbrella excuses for not telling someone that they are nut-jobs. Under "diversity" we have to allow everyone under the tent, even those bent on destroying the tent. Under "political correctness" we refrain from telling someone that they are nut-jobs because, ah, that just wouldn't be nice. Everyone, after all, is entitled to their opinion, as crazy as it may be. Entitled to these crazy opinions they may be, but that should not constrain us in calling a duck a duck.
Yeah, the system worked much better before that whole diversity and political correctness thing got going and we didn't have any of this social promotion nonsense. Oh for the good old days of the "gentleman's 'C'."

FL

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Old 03-28-2014, 08:38 AM   #11
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Re: Are You a Nut-Job?

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
Yeah, the system worked much better before that whole diversity and political correctness thing got going and we didn't have any of this social promotion nonsense. Oh for the good old days of the "gentleman's 'C'."
...when you could get a C just for being a "gentleman", and anyone who wasn't (a white man of means) didn't even get in the door
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