Sunday, January 29, 2017

A few examples of intellectual laziness - By Joseph Archer

My wife parroted the comment that secondhand smoke is worse for you than firsthand smoke.  I was struck by the obvious insanity of the statement – and more importantly, the intellectual laziness of subscribing to it.  Now, it is not entirely impossible that 100% of a toxin is less harmful than 5% of a toxin – perhaps air dilution multiplies the toxicity – but to readily accept that assertion is simply intellectual laziness.  It would take some really conclusive evidence to believe such a claim, and that evidence does not exist.
Another good example of intellectual laziness is the global warming hypothesis.  If all the molecules in the atmosphere were lined up between N.Y. and L.A., with CO2 at the front of the line, you would run out of CO2 before your plane got off the runway.  It is called a trace gas because 4 parts in 10,000 is a pretty small fraction.  For CO2 to have the impact claimed, it would have to qualify as a supernatural atom.  Add to that the facts that CO2 represents only maybe 1% of the global heat retention caused by water and that anthropogenic CO2 is a small fraction of global CO2 production, and it is clear that the anthropogenic CO2 "hypothesis" is simply farcical.
Then there is the issue of Islam. Any belief system that asserts that it is necessary to chop a woman's head off if she goes to the market without her husband is not a legitimate philosophy; it is abject insanity.  And for so many to tell themselves that it is valid because it is a "religion" is one of the most offensive examples of intellectual laziness.  Slavery has been around since time immemorial, and it never has been and never will be part of a legitimate philosophy.
And of course there is the immigration issue.  Every nation on Earth has immigration limits.  When 10% of your population is illegal, it is not immigration; it is invasion.  When you allow yourself to conflate reasonable immigration control with racism, you are being intellectually lazy.  And when you slander with wails of racism those who aren't intellectually lazy, who admit that a country, no matter how wealthy, can't absorb unlimited numbers of the desperately poor without inflicting hardship on the native population, you are guilty of not only intellectual laziness, but also character assassination.
The most important example of intellectual laziness is the claim that I can't say something that offends you, but you can insult me, offend me, and stone me to death for disagreeing with you.  Telling yourself you can discount other people's opinions and don't have to debate them because you have convinced yourself of your own moral superiority is the pinnacle of intellectual laziness.
Before the election, a colleague said that it didn't matter, as they were all the same.  In their defense, he would have been correct for nearly every election in my lifetime.  But this time, the differences could not have been more extreme, and to tell oneself that the candidates were the same is, again, a shameful example of intellectual laziness.
To inherit one of the richest, fairest, and best run countries in the history of the world and then to allow it to be Venezuela-ized is not just intellectually lazy; it is morally lazy, or worse.