The more you learn, the more you obfuscate.
Ever have one of those ha-I-got-you moments with someone of incredible intelligence, only to lose an argument? For instance, someone who is generally right all of the time messes up and you call them out. You point out the flaws in their argument, but then they rationalize their claims to such depths the any other human being would drown in thought. This is just one of the many ways a smart person, who is wrong, can make themselves sound right.
In this recent The New Yorker Post, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, discovered most smart people are actually pretty stupid.
For years, he's been asking very simple questions that require a minute portion of analysis and arithmetic. In the article, they ask:
In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?
You're probably tempted to just divide the end of the data in half, which would mean it takes 24 days for the patch to cover the entire lake. However, it's kind of like the doubling-penny scenario they teach you in grade school (if you gave 1 penny on day 1 and 2pennies on day 2, etc). We're talking about doubling each day, which means it would take 47 days for the lily pads to cover half the lake.
In short, the more you know, the more bullshit you can use to take shortcuts. Instead of looking at the facts and doing some basic math, you might try to take a shortcut and then rationalize your answer with everything else you know.
4. In with the new, in with the old.
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concludes that more intelligent people find difficulty in overcoming their biases. It's rather easy for them to point out everyone else's flaws, but mostly because they've made similar mistakes.
If you're the sports-minded type, you've probably had that coach who gave you hell. I know I've had one. It's because they had a shortcoming in their athletic career and it pains them to see the same mistake happening again before their eyes. In essence, they want you to achieve what they couldn't. They feel, if they punish you for mistakes they even made, it will make you the best performer possible.
Unfortunately, with the more intellectually inclined, you're less likely to admit you're correcting someone for their benefit. What happens is smarter people can consume so much information and apply it day after day. If you were to hold a bias while in college, but then you learned how to correct your fallacies, then you're more likely to explore new solutions and drop your bias. In the end, though, you might end up losing your cool with someone making the same mistake. How stupid of them, right?
On the other hand, if there's a certain thought process that's part of your code, it stays there. All the new information you encounter will become ammo for your weapon of justification. In articles related to this study, some suggest this is the very reason people with high IQs favor creationism, but I don't write about religion. You'll have to find these debates and draw conclusions for yourself.
The big idea behind this centers around the idea of biases before your "became smart". If it was at the core of your thinking and personality, you're likely to argue it with far-fetched concepts that you can piece together in a narrative ever so eloquently.
3. The Great Narrator
For this argument, you have to assume someone who is smart is also a great communicator.
The reason an intelligent person can out-argue anyone - even when they're wrong - is because they can take an set of abstract points and string together in such away you'd think they're the best writer, actor, or president ever.
The ability to sound smart, however, does not mean you're always right. You just think you're right.
2. Recognising errors
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.