May 2008

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if u cant think straight u need to die.

Anil Ravindran

Hi Scott,

I've thought about this long, and I've thought about this hard. I've finally come to the conclusion that yes, a line of thought qualifies as sane only because the majority does it. 'It's the done thing' kind of thing. I've also looked at this from the other end of the spectrum: the truly other end. Take, for instance, a COMPLETELY deviant individual. He/she (yeah, we need to be politically correct and all that jazz, don't we?) would probably think the REST of the world (the majority, and therefore by conventional definition, sane)is insane. Insane, or just plain different.

I think it's the people on the middle of the bridge are the confused lot!



Remember - half the people in the world have below average intelligence.


had to write this, i tend to read a lot of responses from your bloggers and i have identified 3 primary groups amongst them all (though there can be/are people who may fall in none of these catagories)
1. People who by some strange incident ended up thinking they are smarter than most others. So they try to rationalize their thinking rather than expanding their barins analyze and accept others. i.e. dumb intellectual narcissist
2. People who don't have individual opinion, that is their thinking is driven by some editorial/blog/statement that they have seen or read. i.e. dumb headred sheep.
3. People who think that by googling anything for 10 mins constitute enough research to form a solid opinion on any internatinal topic. i.e. dimwits
Yes people you do fall into one of these catagories.. DEAL WITH IT.. and yes i know i might also fall in one of these catagories, but atleast i can see the peoblem here and i can deal with it.



The world is a complex place as we all know and no person is completely able to understand it. The human brain has many ways to help us cope with this, which basically boils down to a rapid categorisation process. While this helps us cope with intense information exposure, it also gives us some of our illogical thought processes. Confirmation bias, prejudice, framing, endowement effect, Von Restorff, and many more. This allows people to offer up as rational, logical arguments, things that are neither.

This then couples with the spectrum people sit on how comfortable they are with the uncertainty of the world ranging from, 'so what' to 'please don't let that scary reality intrude on my life'. The level of fear drives people to comfort zones of thought, a world view that allows them to make sense of and feel comfort in the world.

There is then a level of self realisation and tractability. While everyone builds their own view of the world, some allow scope for change in theirs and some don't. While it is not possible to take in everything at once, it is definitely possible to rationally examine specific facts and decide if a particular mental schema needs to be altered. For some people this is easy, for some to do such examination of their 'beliefs' exposes them too much to the fear.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to the dark side.

It is key to realise that while there is a group of people that apply this to many/most/all facets of their world, all of us have at least one mental comfort zone that if breached will lead us to irrational argument. It could be argued that there is a level of this behaviour that would indicate a mental illness.

And don't forget that there are some people who are simply assholes that enjoy winding people up with stupid arguments.


I read recently, in Wired Magazine, that Neuropsychologists are now studying how our brains are stimulated as we are forced to listen to ideas. They wire up test subjects brains and start playing audio tapes of conservative and liberal talk show hosts.

Interestingly, when self-identified conservatives hear O'Reilly speak, it causes the areas of their brain associated with pleasure to light up. The same thing happens when self -identified liberals hear Al Franken. Their brains react as if they are having sex or eating chocolate.

What do you suppose happens when the test subjects hear political talk that does not agree with their pre-determined positions? You might think they would experience pain, or at least seem to have eaten something distasteful. But what actually happens is much more insidious. What happens is - nothing! It is as if they never heard the speaker at all!

This shows that people may be incapable (at least to some degree) of taking in any ideas they are not pre-disposed to accepting. I think this explains a lot.

Meanwhile, I stand by my previous comment that the only solution is a third party.

Stamp out ripperitis, vote RATIONAL PARTY, '08!

(Ratbert could be our poster child.)


Few things first...
How many ideas do you get for a new dilbert strip by reading comments on your blog?? :)
From the past few days the blog seems to be bordering on ideas and opinions of people who are commenting here.. Not that I mind...its your blog...Gotta wonder whether its a part of the Dance monkey dance approach...or have you hypnotized us all into seeing similarities?

The trouble with following the herd is stepping into what it leaves behind!



I noticed in grade school how directions from the teacher made perfect sense to me, but not to my classmates, she had to repeat herself several times to make herself clear. This was an observation I made shortly after moving and attending a public school for the first time in my life after going to private schools for years. I think the problem lies in the public school system, they barely keep the population literate, let alone thinking logically.


All your comments are reasonabl, as a single woman , here i just want to show some of my feelings about life and relationship:Some one please tell me why when a woman gets a good man... I mean a real keeper... she then changes her mind... do most women of us know what we really want in a man? indeed most are not. Whoa! That's a loaded question. And you're sure to get many different answers. and some of them are interesting at So, here goes mine...The simple answer to the question above is yess, but only to a certain point. It depends on what you are looking for and how much time and energy you are willing to devote to developing a friendship/relationship.



This brings up an interesting point. Most people believe that illness and disease is some static fact-- once we discover a new disease, everyone accepts that categorization.

The reality is that illnesses are (to some extent) culturally defined and they evolve over time. One example in the U.S. is homosexuality. 50 years ago, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Now, society (in general) considers it a valid life choice, not some mental defect requiring treatment.

Similarly, other cultures have different concepts of illness and the body. While these differences are being minimized as western culture and values are increasing exported all over the world, they still exist. For example, consider Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM views the body as more of a complex organic entity that maintains harmony through interrelated processes. Western medicine, on the other hand, tends to look at the body as a machine with individual parts.

With these two conceptions of the body, the same cause of illness will be treated in two very different manners depending on the modes of discourse surrounding it (i.e. is the illness stigmatized?), the patients' and their family's interpretation of the illness, and the course of treatment.


As long as people are publishing there favorite silly-gisms, here's mine:

Proof of Life After Death:

After a death, comes the mourning.
After the morning, comes the night.
After the knight, comes the bishop.
After the Bishop, comes the Pope.
The Pope has serious convictions.
After a serious conviction, the judge gives you life.

Therefore there is Life after Death.



Lots of famous syndromes are named for people. John Langdon Down's name has lived on long after he died, but I'm not sure he'd be happy with the way he's remembered.

In that spirit, ripperitus should be named for malfeasant people who foster ripperitusy thinking and deserve to be associated with it throughout history.

I nominate "Limbaugh-O'Reilly Depravity".


Your post today is a continuation of yesterday's post.

I suffer from a condition called obvious-itis. Actually, that is not true. I think it is great. You guys have to suffer my ramblings.


Mental problems are a specttrum, not an absolute. At what point in the rainbow does "Red" become "Orange" ?

De gustibus non est disputatum.

That translates variously as "There's no accounting for taste" or "It's pointless arguing with idiots"


"Go on, admit it ... you're trolling today." -- Calgarian

Dude. He's trolling every day. Did you not get the memo?


Speaking of interesting categories I wonder how many people fall into the category of "siding with Scott cause he's smart" or as I like to put it: followtheleaderitis.

Hell i'm suffering from it a little bit just by stating it that way.

It seems to me there are two groups who comment, thoughs who like a good laugh and relate to what you are saying and generally post along these lines:
Scott's right, Scott's right, blah blah blah Scott's right. Insert some quoted reference about people in general from five posts ago generally referencing Cognitive Dissonance.
Most of these people don't understand what they are saying but manage to make the same point thats already been made multiple times before them and convey a tone of condescension as if they want to say at the end "isn't that right Scott."

The second group are the ones who generally like and understand your humor also, but they like and prefer Righteous Indignation (I seem to be refering to a previous post damn that followtheleaderitis i've got it again).
This group unfortunantly tends to focus more on the indignation and less on the righteous owing mainly to the logic traps you laden your posts with. As such there posts normally consist of:
"Na uh, your stupid, Scott's stupid" or at best the ripperitis example. Every now and then they will of course hit on a very logical and articulate response that has generally mist the point of the post, but thats ok. Half of them are only arguing not because they disagree with Scott but because they see the other group as a bunch of simpering idiots who don't have a thought of there own and just suck on the teat of Scott's intelligence so they may regurgitate it in there own time and feel better about themselves. The second group then disagrees in an attempt to show that they to have thoughts and wish to bask in your opinion of there intelligence which generally takes the form of a post commenting on there comments.

In the end Scott we all seem like children vying for your attention through different means. Please tell us how smart we are :)

Just in case anyone is curious, yes I fit into both groups I just flit between them from post to post.

terry k

Mental problems? What mental problems??

All that is being said when you suggest to someone that they have a mental problem is that you believe that you do not have a mental problem. And your crazy if you believe that.


It's called an analogy, Scott. Why do some people seem to have an allergy to them? Or maybe it's a fear. Analophobia. Or a mental problem. Antianalogitis.

Josh Scholar

I realize that Adams mistake was that he followed one of his usual patterns - for just the wrong gag.

Adams likes to find something extremely cynical position, something Dogbertish if you will, to agree with at some point in his rants. In this one it was the " Israel’s best interests dictate keeping the neighbors too economically weak to purchase expensive weapons, and to control as much territory as possible."

It went badly wrong for two reasons:

1. In the first paragraph he established that he was mocking right wing, Ann Coulter fans etc. Just the people who DON'T buy into the that sort of thing - and since the gag was inconsistent with the object of the satire it broke character and came across as being Scott's actual opinion rather than satire.

2. It doesn't fit in with his usual "I'm so realistic and cynical" gag because:

a) it's not actually possible for Israel to be destroying the economy of the middle east

b) the claim that Israel wants greater Israel, as it used to be called, is out of date - at this point polls have shown that Israelis would be perfectly willing to trade land for peace but know that this isn't possible, no one will offer peace.

c) both items are actually examples of purely fantastic slander used by regimes like Syria as an excuse for nixing democracy and other vile oppressions. Also used to justify terrorism. Also used by every antisemitic group on the planet.

Thus it isn't cynical to accuse Israel of the impossible its merely a gag that sounds like antisemitism. He'd do as well to accuse Israel of dosing Palestinian women with aphrodisiacs in chewing gum (another bit of antisemitic propaganda) or of making Matzoh out of the blood of Muslim babies.

The joke just lies down and dies. No actually, it fails so spectacularly that I don't have words to describe it.


I've been a psychotherapist for a lot of years, and the only people who think this way are right-wing politicians and their minions. It's a distortion of logic, purposely done to mislead and dazzle with bullshit.

Tennessee Leeuwenburg

Ripperitis is also pretty useful in some situations.

Billy tried to makes friend with the shark. Billy got eaten by the sharks. I should avoid all sharks...

When it happens to be true, it can be a great mental short-cut.

People tend to make short cuts when
-- they don't really care enough to learn about something properly
-- they find an explanation they find likely

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way."
- Bertrand Russell


Why do we speak? Some seek the pleasure of accordance, some seek the thrill of confrontation. It is not unusual to attend any discussion that end up saying absolutely nothing in substance. Speaking feels good, what more motive do we need?


Ahmadinejad said today "Iran has no gay people", however, some scholars suggest a more accurate translation as "cartoonists have small penises and make up for their inadequacy by stirring up trouble via blogs".

I'm no Islamic scholar, but they may be onto something.

fan of logical reasoning

All dogs die.
Socrates is dead.
...therefore Socrates is/was a dog.

Except, um, no he wasn't. Think of this line of reasoning as a Venn Diagram. One big circle is things that die. In this big circle is humans, plants, dogs, other stuff you can name. The other big circle is dogs. Some dogs are alive and some are dead, so the "overlap" between the two circles would be the dead dogs. But you can be in one of the big circles (dead stuff) without being in the overlap area (dead dogs). Similarly, if the two circles are "doctors" and "positive role models" you can approve of some doctors (the overlap area) without liking Jack the Ripper. Or "good doctors" could just be a smaller circle in the big doctor circle and still exclude JtheR. Really, it's pretty easy to use logic properly, but maybe I'm just being smarmy.


Well Scott,
you certainly have me thinking. If an artist's presents and ugly, deranged attempt at "satire" which he probably posted on Yom Kippur to avoid criticism from Jewish readership...and then quickly retracts to heady psuedo-intellecualism...well isn't it time to question his mental status?
Once that guy start accusing any criticism as mental dysfunction...begin to doubt whether he just is making this stuff up.
PS Che, Josef Mengele, Zawahiri were/are all trained physicians and murderers...shows you what an idiot i am.

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