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Thread: Why are people so arrogant?

  1. #1
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    Default Why are people so arrogant?

    http://whyisthereanything.org/conference-speakers

    This is not a thread about the question that these speakers are trying to answer, someone else already started such a thread as to the question of somethingness and nothingness.

    My question is rather, why do people often dismiss this question as if it were really easy, and that the person asking this question is an idiot?

    This conference was attended by people with impeccable credentials, professors at Yale, etc; they're undeniably intelligent, and think that this question is worth as worth asking, and yet most people will dismiss this question is meaningless.

    Why do you think people are so arrogant? This is a sociological question.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Basically comes down to a lack of good communication skills, which has little to do with whether you have a PHD or whatever. One is not born with communication skills, one learns them (in many ways), it's a work in progress. Arrogance to me comes across as being part of poor communication - I extend it to lack of empathy, lack of understanding, inability to appreciate diversity (of people, their opinions, etc.), building up ideologies to become hardened dogmas, lack of flexibility, ivory tower and clique mentalities, not speaking your mind and hiding behind various agendas, etc. etc. etc...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    Basically comes down to a lack of good communication skills, which has little to do with whether you have a PHD or whatever. One is not born with communication skills, one learns them (in many ways), it's a work in progress. Arrogance to me comes across as being part of poor communication - I extend it to lack of empathy, lack of understanding, inability to appreciate diversity (of people, their opinions, etc.), building up ideologies to become hardened dogmas, lack of flexibility, ivory tower and clique mentalities, not speaking your mind and hiding behind various agendas, etc. etc. etc...
    This has nothing to do with my question as regards to why people dismiss the question.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    This has nothing to do with my question as regards to why people dismiss the question.
    Then what exactly is your question? Sorry I'm not clear.

    Is it what's on that link "why is there anything?"

    Or is it something like "why do people dismiss the question of questioning why someone is arrogant?"
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    Actually I think there are two very different questions in the OP.

    1) Why do people dismiss the question?
    I don't know if arrogance has much to do with this question. Most people are enormously ignorant of issues surrounding this basic question. They are unaware of the progress already made and the potential to understand issues related to the question. I think people's dismissal comes not from feeling they know so much but rather from not being able to imagine how we could learn anything useful toward answering the question.

    2) Why are people arrogant?
    There are presumably psychological and evolutionary answers to this question, and I'm not sure what those answers are. Acting as though one is more knowledgeable than one actually is gives the appearance of superiority over others. People who are perceived as better than others (more attractive, smarter, more athletic, etc.) often get treated better. Obviously arrogance can backfire causing others to shun you, but arrogance must "work" often enough to make it a valuable strategy for some.

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    Edit: Don't worry, I answered the thread's question. I just took a round about way to do that, and I equivocated questions 1 & 2 because of my approach to the issue.

    People dismiss the question, because they don't have a background in critical thinking. I mean no offense to people here, as if you aren't intelligent. You are in fact one of the more intelligent groups I've been around, and I've been around some pretty smart cats. However, the chances are that if you don't have a background in critical thinking, that you follow absurd trains of thought all the time. If "absurd" got you going, that was just some humor of mine. It's a technical term for logical impossibilities.

    When I use the expression "critical thinking", I am using one of a few technical names/expressions for thinking that is formalized and divides itself between internal (how a proposition/argument gels together with it's components) and external criticism
    (how a proposition/argument corresponds with the outside world; i.e. observed phenomena or facts). Take these algebraic expressions as an example:

    P1 implies P2. P3 implies P1. However, P2 does not imply P3, nor does P3 imply P2, and nor does P1 imply P3.

    That looks fairly simple, right? Well, you probably make a mistake like "P1 implies P3" all of the time, most of those mistakes being informal fallacies. An "informal fallacy" is a logical error that occurs when a statement with premises and a conclusion is given, but the premises do not actually imply the conclusion.

    Here's an example:

    N% of sample S has characteristic C.
    (Where S is a sample unrepresentative of the population P.)
    Therefore, N% of population P has characteristic C.
    That was what you call a "weak analogy", because it had a biased sample.

    This is a fallacy affecting statistical inferences, which are arguments of the following form:

    N% of sample S has characteristic C.
    (Where sample S is a subset of set P, the population.)
    Therefore, N% of population P has characteristic C.

    For example, suppose that an opaque bag is full of marbles, and you can win a prize by guessing the proportions of colors of the marbles in the bag. Assume, further, that you are allowed to stick your hand into the bag and withdraw one fistful of marbles before making your guess. Suppose that you pull out ten marbles, six of which are black and four of which are white. The set of all marbles in the bag is the population which you are going to guess about, and the ten marbles that you removed is the sample. You want to use the information in your sample to guess as closely as possible the proportion of colors in the bag. You might draw the following conclusions:

    60% of the marbles in the bag are black.
    40% of the marbles in the bag are white.

    Notice that if 100% of the sampled marbles were black, say, then you could infer that all the marbles in the bag are black, and that none of them are white. Thus, the type of inference usually referred to as "induction by enumeration" is a type of statistical inference, even though it doesn't use percentages. Similarly, from the example we could just draw the vague conclusion that most of the marbles are black and few of them are white.

    The strength of a statistical inference is determined by the degree to which the sample is representative of the population, that is, how similar in the relevant respects the sample and population are. For example, if we know in advance that all of the marbles in the bag are the same color, then we can conclude that the sample is perfectly representative of the color of the population—though it might not represent other aspects, such as size. When a sample perfectly represents a population, statistical inferences are actually deductive enthymemes. Otherwise, they are inductive inferences.

    Moreover, since the strength of statistical inferences depend upon the similarity of the sample and population, they are really a species of argument from analogy, and the strength of the inference varies directly with the strength of the analogy. Thus, a statistical inference will commit the Fallacy of Unrepresentative Sample when the similarity between the sample and population is too weak to support the conclusion. There are two main ways that a sample can fail to sufficiently represent the population:

    The sample is simply too small to represent the population, in which case the argument will commit the subfallacy of Hasty Generalization.
    The sample is biased in some way as a result of not having been chosen randomly from the population. The Example is a famous case of such bias in a sample. It also illustrates that even a very large sample can be biased; the important thing is representativeness, not size. Small samples can be representative, and even a sample of one is sufficient in some cases.
    How many of us, without being careful and methodical when it comes to thinking through things, have made this kind of an error in judgment? People don't like that kind of a topic or discussion direction, because regardless of how smart they are they probably commit fallacies regularly and are irritated by their lack of progress with other people.

    So, questions like those asked by existentialists, seem stupid to the average person. The average person doesn't build a linear paper trail in their heads of "and", "if", "then", "or", "but", "therefore", etc. let alone building series of premised arguments and algebraic functions. Arguing for many people has a lot to do with building straw man after straw man (to build a straw man is to pretend/think you are criticizing your opponent's position, when you are in fact mistaken about what his/her arguments and/or position are), assuming motives, making hasty generalizations, or improperly sourcing claims; baggage that gets carried along with a person's character level, education, and intelligence.

    We are arrogant either because we are individuals or because we have been propped up to have the presumptions of arrogance. The human experience is so novel, that even though you and I can't help but think fallaciously all the time, we are nonetheless going to be convinced of the models we've constructed to reckon with our experience. We have to stay sane, after all, and we don't have the time to think like a professional philosopher about everything including the mundane.

    In conclusion, I think question 1 and question 2 can be regarded the same, depending on the way you come at the issue. I came after a root cause of the issue, when someone can very well differentiate answers for 1 and 2 by attacking the questions of character and maturity in people.
    Last edited by Lukecash12; Mar-19-2012 at 10:15.
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    I meet and work with many, many arrogant people. At least people can be arrogant during certain situations, not necessarily all (I doubt many of them are as arrogant during their private times with family, for example). This then leads to interesting questions as to why many that I meet are arrogant during those times when they do put on the air of arrogance.

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    The question, as interesting as it is, is readily dismissed because it sounds general, and naive. Reading your post carefully, it is interesting, but I would imagine the ones best qualified to really explain the behavior are psychologists, and better, psychiatrists, not a behavioral sociologist with an undergraduate degree.

    Personal pathologies, the social context of who is being arrogant and with or to whom, all come into play.

    Unless there is a qualified psychiatrist roaming about the membership here, and they want to give us what would be a few moments of time (fifteen minutes can be around $250) I don't think you will come up with other than intelligent stabs at an answer.

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    In the hours since this thread appeared, I've done some intense soul-searching, and reached the conclusion that I am arrogant due to an acute consciousness of my own inherent superiority to most people in most regards.

    For example, let us consider the art of breakdancing: with my freak on, I can bust a pretty mad move, getting right down with my bad self.

    Likewise, massage: I'm, frankly speaking, the priest of petrissage, the embodiment of tapotement. (No: go back and reread that phrase with the correct pronunciation. Gitcher French on.)

    Finally, my college roommates brewed their own beer.

    Hence, and inevitably, arrogance. (My wife is throwing things at me.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    In the hours since this thread appeared, I've done some intense soul-searching, and reached the conclusion that I am arrogant due to an acute consciousness of my own inherent superiority to most people in most regards.

    For example, let us consider the art of breakdancing: with my freak on, I can bust a pretty mad move, getting right down with my bad self.

    Likewise, massage: I'm, frankly speaking, the priest of petrissage, the embodiment of tapotement. (No: go back and reread that phrase with the correct pronunciation. Gitcher French on.)

    Finally, my college roommates brewed their own beer.

    Hence, and inevitably, arrogance. (My wife is throwing things at me.)
    Or maybe you are lacking, in that you aren't big enough where it counts, and must compensate.
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    Isn't it kind of arrogant to assume everyone's arrogant?
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Or maybe you are lacking, in that you aren't big enough where it counts, and must compensate.
    I won't give out any personal information for fear that you'd know me from my film career, but it's true that I always get the largest size of coffee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by regressivetransphobe View Post
    Isn't it kind of arrogant to assume everyone's arrogant?
    I didn't say everyone is arrogant.

    I said anyone who dismisses the somethingness question easily is arrogant. That is a well defined group.

    I also gave reasons for why I think the people in said clearly demarcated group are arrogant.

    For example, I think all the people at that conference are not arrogant. Ergo, it is false that I think that everyone is arrogant.

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