Q-reeus's feedback (original title "Intellectual humility")

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by wegs, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Moderator note: This thread was originally titled "Intellectual Humility". It was moved to the Site Feedback subforum after being derailed by Q-reeus, who wanted to use it to attack moderator James R. It has been left intact here, with no posts deleted.

    Another version is available for those who would like to discuss the original topic rather than Q-reeus's complaints. It can be found in the Human Science forum. Here is the link:

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/intellectual-humility.164034
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    Julia Rohrer wants to create a radical new culture for social scientists. A personality psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Rohrer is trying to get her peers to publicly, willingly admit it when they are wrong. Read more here:


    https://www.vox.com/science-and-hea...ual-humility-explained-psychology-replication

    Hmm, Dunning-Kruger effect in reverse? lol It seems that people who are willing to learn, or believe that they have something more to learn (about any given topic), are the most humble when it comes to what they lack in knowledge. Is winning an argument basically for the ego? Being wrong once in a while is good for one's growth. Many scientific discoveries were/are from trial and error - the ability for scientists to catch where they were wrong, and find solutions.

    Do you see yourself as intellectually humble? Do you mind being wrong? Do you personally know anyone who cringes at the thought of being wrong?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2021
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed. Scientists have always known this and revised their theories whenever fresh evidence was presented. They might have personal rivalries, disagreements and animosities among themselves, by they always yield to facts.
    Religionists, not so much.
     
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  5. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Well said. Yea, facts don't care about morality or ego. Scientists realize that they don't know what they don't know, but don't stop there - they're always seeking to know.

    It probably stands to reason that political views, ideologies, spiritual beliefs, etc all share a common thread - they're often a part of or stem from one's personal value system or worldview. (which can be formed from childhood, life experience, etc) If ''both/all sides'' come to the table with the desire to at least have a respectful dialogue, progress can be made in any ''debate.'' It's a shame when two sound minded people with differing world views come together to debate religion, or politics...and find themselves sparring, instead of discussing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Nobody wants to share power with their competitor.
     
  8. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Lol But maybe we shouldn’t view each other as “competitors” or “opponents?” That seems to be the problem and why humility takes a back seat to “needing to be right.”
     
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  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    "We" shouldn't, and often don't. But aspirants to power - the control of other people's minds, hearts, behaviour and money - cannot see one another in any other way. And aspirants for power, whether their goal is to be president, chancellor, chief justice, pope or CEO, are not humble personalities.

    On the other track: the comparison of intellectual attainment, I think an accurate assessment of one's own status is more useful than a show of humility.
     
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's an interesting question. The scientific method, as pointed out, strives to be proven wrong, in effect.

    As far as an individual "needing" to be right due to ego issues, I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

    I have no problem with being wrong and yet I try to make sure I'm rarely wrong...meaning I try to know what I'm talking about and I try to be generally well informed. So if I am wrong, I don't like it in the sense that I don't like getting a B when I was shooting for an A. If you are competitive with yourself in that regard, it's not something that you "like" but it does have to be something that you are OK with rather than trying to fight it when you are wrong.

    On the other hand there are many people who almost seem proud of being OK with being wrong. This is kind of the anti-intellectual approach. They are usually wrong, and therefore OK with it, because they never give any real thought to what they say.

    They can afterward excuse the lazy behavior by saying "Well, I was just asking or this is the way I learn". In general, I don't find that a better behavior than not liking to be wrong but being able to accept being wrong when that is, in fact, the case.

    It can just lead down crackpot lane by posting nonsense, being corrected and saying "OK, I didn't know that. I'm learning" and then continuing to post more non-sense. It's a matter of bragging about having an open mind when in fact they are bragging about having an empty mind.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
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  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Scientific research tends to be a humbling experience. When you're working at trying to push the boundaries of current knowledge out just a bit, a lot of the time you turn out to be wrong. A lot of the time, your experiment doesn't work the way you thought it might, or it doesn't work at all. You can spend literally years trying to achieve a breakthrough, only to find that the whole pathway you laid out is a dead end.

    Speaking personally, I think it depends what you mean. I've spent a lot of time and effort getting an education, and in educating myself. So, in terms of being confident in what I'm an expert in, I might not come across as very humble. If you happen to know more about a particular topic than, say, 95% of the other people in the world, then I think there's some justification for standing your ground in the face of challenges to your knowledge, for instance.

    On the other hand, the more you learn, the more you tend to find out about how much you don't know, and even something about how much nobody knows. That tends to be intellectually humbling, no matter how "qualified" you are.

    It depends on why I'm wrong, I suppose. If the reason I'm wrong is that I've made a stupid mistake of some kind, then I usually mind, because I think I should have known better. On occasion, that kind of thing can also be embarrassing. On the other hand, if I'm wrong because of an "innocent" error, then it's no big deal; I've just learned something new by discovering the error or having my error pointed out to me.

    Generally speaking, there are a lot of thing we all wish were true, but which turn out not to be. For some of those, I'd say I "mind" being wrong, in the sense that I think my world would be a better place if I hadn't turned out to be wrong.
     
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  12. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Seattle and James, you make great points. Yea, humility isn’t code for dumbing down a debate or accepting nonsense/pseudo-science as “truth.” The article seems to be suggesting that there is a way to drive one’s point forward in a discussion without bullying and berating. And, if you’re in fact, “wrong”...it’s not the end of the world to admit that.

    Sometimes, one can become so focused on winning an argument that the truth gets lost, the debate is derailed and credibility is lost, ya know? An example that comes to mind is from another forum that I was active on in the past. and this member often got lost in name calling and misinterpreting other members’ comments to the point where the thread topic wasn't even being addressed, anymore. The person’s need to be right (and they sometimes were) overrode any possible fruitful discussion. It’s a boring, old scene after a while because you know that no matter what the topic, if you dare to disagree, that member is going to attack, instead of discuss.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    That's just good manners and good communication. People who know zip-all about the topic far more often resort of insults than people who do know whereof they type. There is nothing to be gained or learned from accurate information ceding to a crackpot notion, for the sake of civility.
     
  14. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    No one is suggesting that, and that’s not really what is being conveyed in the article.
     
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    OK. I was referring to the participants in your internet example. I could have put it more clearly; tend to err on the side of concision.
    In summary to the OP questions:
    Selectively, by subject.
    Of course. But there are degrees of 'minding', from "Oh, now I get it!" to "FFS! How could I have been so incredibly stupid??"
    I don't know anyone who doesn't.
     
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  16. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Aw, do you flog yourself sometimes when you’re “wrong?”

    I’m actually semi-okay with being wrong unless I’ve made a costly error. Losing money over dumb mistakes makes me cringe. This is why I’m not a gambler - the thought of losing a bunch of money because I was “wrong” is painful. The mere thought!

    But, if it’s a matter of engaging with someone and we simply have different ideologies? I expect to have conflicting views, then. If I’m wrong when it comes to math or a more objective topic, I’m eager to learn why.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  17. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Flog, no. Reprimand myself, occasionally. Apologize to another person, sometimes. Regret not checking the facts, often.
    If I'm wrong in some ideological matter, I won't discover it. Too old to change my convictions and sentiments.
     
  18. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    i was just thinking along similar lines a few moments ago.
    around the nature of cultural indoctrination of thought paradigms(personalty structure).

    The concept of authority & power people being told they are always right & people changing the truth to make sure the person in power is always right.
    people telling the person in power what they think they want to hear to kiss ass instead of discuss the facts & science.

    it appears to be fairly consistent in all cultures as a human behavior.
    however, some cultures who self promote to be liberal with free speech who adhere to this form of cultism equally strongly as those they claim are less liberal & less free.

    There has been a consistent theme around the nature of rights to free speech & the pursuit of liberal free will encumbered with the fascist will of the need to obey some entity to portray a compliance model of assumed value by virtue of "respect".

    (its quite an intellectual discussion & well above the heads of most people but it needs to be discussed as new models of leadership support culture are in urgent need to reform if the species is to prevent extinction via corona virus &/or climate change or ensuing rise of nationalistic trends leading to global war)
     
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  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    My default stance in any debate - in conversation in general, in fact - is to be polite and respectful towards my conversation partner. Certainly, it is possible to have disagreements without descending to personal attacks and the like. Bullying and berating do nothing to advance the strength of any argument. Rather, they are ways to try to "win" the argument not through persuasion but by intimidation, ridicule or similar means.

    On the other hand, it is useless trying to remain respectful and polite once it becomes clear that one's opponent in an argument has no intention of doing likewise. If one's opponent starts berating or bullying, then it is clear at that point that their aim is no longer to try to persuade by making a convincing case, or anything like that. At that point, it is no longer a real debate. Respect should be assumed initially, but it can also be lost. In general, real respect must be earned, and bullying or berating is no way to earn respect. Some people might side with a bully because they're the sort of people who value assertions of power above matters like respect or the truth. Those people don't deserve respect, any more than the bully they kowtow to.

    As far as admitting you're wrong goes, in my experience it usually works out to be a point of strength in an argument, rather than a point of weakness. A lot of people assume the exact opposite, of course. On sciforums, time and again, I have discussions with people who won't concede the slightest bit of ground in a discussion. They start by arguing points A, B and C, say. Point A is shown to be mistaken, or misguided, or just wrong, clearly and unambiguously. But even though points B and C don't necessarily stand or fall on whether point A is correct, such people nevertheless spend all of their time and energy refusing to admit that point A has been demolished, and continue to defend it long after any such defence has become untenable. The results are: (a) they make themselves look idiotic, because they are unable to acknowledge their own errors, and (b) they never get to discuss points B and C, which may or may not be stronger arguments than A, because they're still stuck on point A.

    When I'm arguing with somebody and I have points A, B and C, then when somebody demolishes point A, I try to say "Okay. That's a good point you have there. I was wrong about that. Now, what about points B and C?" I find that saves a lot of time and effort that I might otherwise waste trying in vain to salvage point A, when my better arguments might actually be B or C. It also sends an important signal to my adversary in the debate that I'm a reasonable person who is willing to concede a point when I am shown to be wrong about something. I am willing to learn new things. I'm willing to change my mind if somebody gives me a persuasive reason to do that.

    Anybody who goes into a debate determined not to change his/her mind no matter what is there for a fight, not a real debate.

    Exactly. We see that sort of behaviour regularly here, from some posters.

    When the name calling starts, by the way, the real debate is usually long gone. The same goes for resorting to stereotypes, like the often-seen "You would say that! You're a .... and all .... think that."
     
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  20. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Nah, not on sci forums?

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    I like the phrase “conversation partner” because it’s inviting, welcoming...a partnership of sorts, for sure. That’s how I see most conversations - but sci forums is “designed” in a way, for debate. Spirited debates are fine imo, but ad homs, personal attacks, flaming etc all create a barrier that doesn’t foster growth. If we’re honest though, when dealing with many people on the Internet, their desire to bully and win comes from a place of insecurity, especially if the behavior is chronic. I’m no saint but I try to give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

    Your arguments seem reasonable, I think religious debates are sometimes a tangly, thorny exchange because believing in a deity doesn’t fit your value system. It goes back to what we were stating above - debating ideologies can be fun but I’m not sure anyone is changing their minds anytime soon. lol And that’s perfectly fine, if you go into it without any preconceived (or ill conceived) notions.
     
  21. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Kissing leaders’ asses so to speak during discussions, seems to me to be a form of intellectual dishonesty. Sycophants are clout chasers in disguise, often just echoing the ideas of those they think can elevate their status. Social media is filled with these types which is why forums like this are a refreshing change. Lots of disagreement but you will be better for it, in the end! lol
     
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Kissing butt is not good, in the end.

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    Got it

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  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    lol I see what you did, there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
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