Thursday, 16 June 2005

Fools and Persuasion

It is almost impossible to persuade a fool of the rationality or truth of a matter if upon that same matter some genius has averred to the contrary. This fool is apt to insinuate that, if Newton was a genius and said x, and you are not a genius and you said not-x, then no matter what your argument, x is more likely to be the case than not-x. It is no matter that you put forth a water-tight argument that proves not-x beyond doubt, and that said genius had no argument for x and was just airing his prejudices, the fool will have none of it, simply because he does not come to his stance through rational deliberation, but through seeking to align his opinions to those of someone known to be clever. It has been the less sage and sometimes downright stupid sayings of geniuses that have provided fools with much of the spurious support for their foolish opinions. Einstein – currently, the fool’s favourite genius – said many a silly thing in his time, but because it came from the mouth of a genius, it is taken by the thoughtless to be full of thought. But then, there’s a fool making notes every time a genius opens a bag of nuts.


Anonymous said...

I've thought this often...just never the beautiful way you put it into words.

Deogolwulf said...

Thank you.