Debate Magazine

Ignorance is the Gunloon State of Mind

Posted on the 25 June 2012 by Mikeb302000
Ignorance is a state of not knowing, a state of being uninformed and unaware.
You can be incredibly intelligent, yet you can still be ignorant. Ignorance is distinguished from stupidity, although both can lead to "unwise" acts.
Writer Thomas Pynchon articulated about the scope and structure of one's ignorance: "Ignorance is not just a blank space on a person's mental map. It has contours and coherence, and for all I know rules of operation as well. So as a corollary to [the advice of] writing about what we know, maybe we should add getting familiar with our ignorance, and the possibilities therein for writing a good story."
There is also Willful delusion. That is a state where matters which are obvious are sometimes ignored, not taken into consideration. This phenomenon is not limited to ordinary persons without native ability but extends to the highest level of human governance resulting in nightmarish scenarios that could, with more wisdom, have been avoided. In fact, the term Ignoramus is sometimes used for someone who is willfully ignorant.
But the reason I mention this, is that I find when I deal with gunloons, I can show them passages which in which it is quite obvious that it supports my position, not theirs, where they will deny this.
In fact, they can even raise points that contradict their positions, yet they do not acknowledge this. It's weird how they can see or say things which contradict their position, yet still hold onto them for dear life.
Personally, I would prefer something substantive in the way of criticism rather than the fallacious arguments; in particular, the use of personal information--especially imagined personal information. Such attempts to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. That is a a logical fallacy, or more precisely an informal fallacy and an irrelevance to the argument.
But, I find that the gunloon argument is based upon fallacies, fiction (in particular Science fiction "an armed society is a polite society"), half-quotations, and just general historic misrepresentation. In fact, the gun rights concept is a good example of believing in the concept of just wanting to believe that one believes rather than actually believing in anything real.
Ultimately, I can provide far more facts than they do, yet they will choose not to believe it. Science has shown that a part of the brain, the amygdala, helps to keep one ignorant. The amygdala is responsible for the body's fight or flight response, setting off a chain of biological changes that prepare the body to respond to danger well before the brain is conscious of any threat. It's reactions will resist any information that conflicts with deeply held beliefs.
There is another thing, some people also justify their beliefs against any arguments to the contrary. Behavioural economist Dan Ariely says the assumption made by most economists that people behave rationally, balancing the costs and benefits of different courses of action, is simply wrong Ariely is the Duke University professor who wrote “Predictably Irrational,” a look at how irrational behavior bends our lives in predictable ways. Ariely explains that expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.
Even sadder is the fact that these people will ignore experts and people with better knowledge of a topic merely because it conflicts with their deeply held beliefs. Expertise and knowledge is seen as elitism, while ignorance that reinforces ignorance is seen as a virtue.
So, while there are some who hope to conquer ignorance with truth. I think the reality is that it is hard to persuade people who are seriously stuck in their beliefs. The sad thing is that they can be incredibly intelligent, yet they can also be woefully ignorant.

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