Monday, April 9, 2007

The fallacy of thinking someone else thinks like you do

We see this playing out with the war in Iraq right now.

I'm sure I've been guilty of one form of this fallacy or another. In its most basic form, I assume everyone I talk to is of equal intelligence to myself, or smarter. I never even noticed I was doing this for the longest time. It is just that I can't imagine anyone not being at least as intelligent as myself. I can certainly imagine someone being smarter, as many are. But since I tend to do well on at least some things that require intelligence, it must be the case that there are some out there less intelligent than me. But damned if I can relate or even make the assumption that anyone I'm talking to is one of those people. I guess on the whole it is probably a good thing, but then again, maybe there is a downside to that. I don't know.

But I'm sure it goes on elsewhere as well. On a somewhat related note, it reminds me of somethin else. I see it in the various racism and feminism threads. On the one hand, those saying 'everyone is racist, we live in an unchangeable patriarchy' are quick to point out that I, as a white male, have no idea what it is that they live with being non-white or being a woman, or being both. Which is true enough. But then perversely, I am then told everything I have and do because I'm a man and white - and I'm told this by people who are not a man or who are not white. And they don't seem to see the delicious irony in that - telling me how I experience life as a white male when they have never been a white male and so have NO IDEA what it is like to be one. And they have never walked in my shoes, so I find it somewhat funny and terribly arrogant to hear them tell me what it is like for me to walk in my own shoes.

I'm sorry, if you aren't me, you don't know what my experience has been, you have no idea what I have nor have not achieved in life, and if you are willing to make generalizations about me based on either my race or my gender, then you are a racist, sexist pig.

Soon, very soon, I will deal with what is and what is not a 'privilege.' And then fun with prosecutors.

SIDE NOTES: On a side note - I missed the whole theocracy weekend. I guess I don't post much about religion or atheism because to me, that is like putting up a bunch of posts about how the sky is blue. To me, atheism just is, and so I don't know what else I can say about it. I certainly do pay attention to atheists in the news, but for me personally, it is just a done deal. There is no evidence for any gods, so I'm an atheist.

On another side note - I'm going to make some nerd posts as well. Being a nerd means I do things like play Dungeons and Dragons. There, I said it. Now that is my idea of a fun time. I never did get into the whole watching sports thing. In that way, I really don't connect well with the vast majority of males in this world. In that way, it makes me an outsider to one of the core tennets of maleness. I may post about this more later as well.

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