Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Are Not Stupid!

Bill Maher has a lot of people up in arms over his comment on CNN that America is a stupid nation, one reason being that Sarah Palin could become president.

He's right of course, although some of Palin's following could be attributed more to political partisanship than stupidity. There are a lot of Republicans who would look you in the eye and tell you they'd rather vote for a fool than a Democrat.

But what drove me to write here about it was what I heard on the radio driving home, which was a DJ incensed by this comment and challenging callers to defend Maher's comment. The dialogue I heard went something like this:

DJ: So why is Bill Maher right that America is a stupid country?

Caller: Because Americans have no critical thinking skills, no understanding or interest in anything outside our borders.

DJ: Then why do you still live here? How can you be an American and think America is stupid?

Caller: The same way I can love my child and still accept that he's a little shit sometimes.

DJ: Sounds to me you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

[sigh] This hearkens back to that famous line "You shouldn't live here if you don't speak American good." I was tempted to call in and tell the DJ that his answers were non sequitors, but I doubt he'd have known what those were.


Fallsroad said...

Much as Maher is right about Palin and to some extent, right about America having a stupid streak, he is not one to speak of critical thinking. This is a guy who believes in all manner of woo and nonsense when it comes to things medical, where clearly his critical thinking skills have been tossed out the window in favor of unquestioning acceptance of medical treatments of no proven value as a substitute for real medicine.

It's too bad. Much of his critiques about America are dead on, but his anti-science belief in medical woo goes a long way in discrediting his definition of stupidity.

ScienceAvenger said...

Personal hypocrisy doesn't invalidate an argument, whether it is Maher on American stupidity or Al Gore's allegedly ungreen personal habits in light of his push for a greener planet. In fact, I'd say Maher serves as proof of his claims rather than discrediting them. That is, stupidity in America is so pervasive that even those ahead of the curve are still infected by it.

Fallsroad said...

I certainly agree his arguments are valid, but his anti-science stances on things medical will become an issue for him eventually, as the opposition becomes more aware of them.

It is common practice to use one discredited argument to discredit all of a person's positions. It isn't necessarily right, but it is how the world works. I'm hoping when Maher accepts his atheism award he is called to account for this fuzzy thinking on some of those issues. Might sharpen him up.

I enjoy reading your posts, btw.