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Thread: Trouble Sounding Intelligent/Sharing Knowledge...

  1. #1 Trouble Sounding Intelligent/Sharing Knowledge... 
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    It's strange...I read a book a week and have taken almost 6 years of college classes. I'm fairly intelligent. I've noticed recently however that I have trouble starting conversations with people, even about subjects I've learned about and know a lot about. I always feel like a damn idiot when I try to talk biology and get nervous when people ask me about it because I'm a Bio major and I always feel obliged to share something intelligent sounding with them. I think I feel insecure because if I don't fully understand something I generally don't talk about it. I know about molecular genetics cursorily and don't want to spread false information if I'm mistaken about something, for example. I know about the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal negative feedback loop and CRH, ACTH and cortisol and how stress can affect the immune system (interleukin activation in the hypothalamus for a "steroid rush" which kills immune cells if i remember correctly..and i can't recall what trigger would cause this)..but I don't understand how exactly yet. My main problems are holding back about discussing evolution in public for fear of starting an argument (many people I know in my family and many coworkers don't understand or believe in evolution) and the fact that the more I learn, the more questions I have..and I focus on what I don't know rather than what I do so I end up forgetting many things I've learned in the past...anyone else feel this way?


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    The only real way to become more comfortable speaking with people and initiating conversations is to do it more frequently. In short... Practice.

    I had a pretty difficult time speaking in front of people when I was younger... even about topics about which I was passionate. Now, after years of practice and "finding myself," part of my paycheck is earned by facilitating sessions with 20-50 incredibly bright people around me.

    It's just one of those things. Believe in yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Practice often so those mistakes can be made and corrected.


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  4. #3 Re: Trouble Sounding Intelligent/Sharing Knowledge... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    ...the fact that the more I learn, the more questions I have..and I focus on what I don't know rather than what I do...
    This, to me, is the mark of a very intelligent person. To have more questions than answers...to know that you know more than most, yet there are so many gaps, since everything is connected. About a year ago, I started a little self-study of relativity, the origin of the cosmos, and I found myself with more questions at the end of the day than I had answers. I have a degree in Enviro-Sci (very generalized, indeed) but there is so much out there I wish I understood...so much I have learned, and so much I have yet to learn. And, not to derail your OP, but do you havetrouble finding true experts willing to just sit down and talk?
    "Let your anger be as a monkey in a pinata, hiding with the candy, hoping the children do not break through with a stick."

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." *Einstein
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  5. #4  
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    The only experts I have time for are psychiatrists . Most of the problems stem from me not being able to be assertive yet cordial with people. I tend to be either defensive and shut-off or a polite push-over. For example, I have to choose between getting angry at idiots at work or I have to grin and bear it and not tell them they are wrong when we try to talk about certain things (b/c I get verryy defensive when I feel someone is telling me I'm wrong when I know I'm right). A guy I know who has taken physics and other science courses at the community college I go to for example, when I told him about how it was interesting that chemical bonds have potential energy (I don't know why lol) he said "that makes no sense". Instead of arguing I just said, "oh..well I guess you're right I haven't studied chemistry in depth yet." And it made me feel dumb and mad at myself for not proving him wrong. But I felt that because I couldn't list an example of such a bond I wouldn't be able to prove that I was correct so it'd be better to be quiet.

    I think I shy away from talking to people because I am strongly opinionated and don't want constant conflict in my life. The sad thing is, that if you don't speak up and let people know you're intelligent they can't read your mind and won't assume it out of thin air. So I end up feeling dumb. I end up also looking like a pussy. I feel that my antisocial behavior and not being able to speak fluently about scientific topics when confronted by fellow wannabe scientists due to anxiety makes people think I don't have what it takes to be a successful Biologist. I get nervous even when asked what my major is because I feel people will think "yea right" or say "ok, tell me about such and such". Basically I have no self-confidence.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore LunchBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    The only experts I have time for are psychiatrists . Most of the problems stem from me not being able to be assertive yet cordial with people. I tend to be either defensive and shut-off or a polite push-over. For example, I have to choose between getting angry at idiots at work or I have to grin and bear it and not tell them they are wrong when we try to talk about certain things (b/c I get verryy defensive when I feel someone is telling me I'm wrong when I know I'm right). A guy I know who has taken physics and other science courses at the community college I go to for example, when I told him about how it was interesting that chemical bonds have potential energy (I don't know why lol) he said "that makes no sense". Instead of arguing I just said, "oh..well I guess you're right I haven't studied chemistry in depth yet." And it made me feel dumb and mad at myself for not proving him wrong. But I felt that because I couldn't list an example of such a bond I wouldn't be able to prove that I was correct so it'd be better to be quiet.

    I think I shy away from talking to people because I am strongly opinionated and don't want constant conflict in my life. The sad thing is, that if you don't speak up and let people know you're intelligent they can't read your mind and won't assume it out of thin air. So I end up feeling dumb. I end up also looking like a pussy. I feel that my antisocial behavior and not being able to speak fluently about scientific topics when confronted by fellow wannabe scientists due to anxiety makes people think I don't have what it takes to be a successful Biologist. I get nervous even when asked what my major is because I feel people will think "yea right" or say "ok, tell me about such and such". Basically I have no self-confidence.
    Well, based on what I've read here on this forum, you are a thoughtful person...and sometimes, discussing concepts in an online forum is a good way to broaden you perspective on any topic. One of my favorite insights was from Einstein, who said (similar to my sig) "If you cannot explain it to the woman wahing the floors, perhaps you do not understand it well enough youself"...or something similar to that. All you would have had to say to the guy was, "well think about it...the release of energy during a chemical change is evidence that change was indeed chemical...so where was that energy?" It was stored in the chemical bonds, of course! And stored energy is potential energy. Sometimes, you don't need a super-technical explaination. I see a lot of people missing the big picture, as they get bogged down in details.

    The other thing I see, is you might be afraid to be outspoken, because usually the loudest voice is that of the one who knows the least. Since you may have something intelligent to say, you might be afraid to come off as one of the others.

    Finally...bravo to you for facing your insecurities, and broadcasting them. Most people, myself included at times, would rather mask them. It takes a lt of courage to admit one's imperfections, even if they are only self-imposed.

    Thanks!
    "Let your anger be as a monkey in a pinata, hiding with the candy, hoping the children do not break through with a stick."

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." *Einstein
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  7. #6  
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    Thanks man. :P I know I need to stop my bitching and make changes in my life. Haha..I would have explained potential energy in chemical bonds as you've described but I would have probably yelled it condescendingly at him. I have to find a peaceful middle ground. I've been reading the I Ching and am well on my way to riding the 6 dragons to enlightenment and learning to be a great person so that I may see all people as great persons. Makes a lot more sense than the Bible..
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    The only real way to become more comfortable speaking with people and initiating conversations is to do it more frequently. In short... Practice.

    I had a pretty difficult time speaking in front of people when I was younger... even about topics about which I was passionate. Now, after years of practice and "finding myself," part of my paycheck is earned by facilitating sessions with 20-50 incredibly bright people around me.

    It's just one of those things. Believe in yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Practice often so those mistakes can be made and corrected.
    I find it's a lot easier in professional situations. When I was working as a receptionist for a brief period, when I was in uni, I found it surprisingly easy to speak with clients.

    Also, I agree, Gott, the Bible is useless as a public speaking aid...
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Start doing scientific research and soon nobody will ever even want to talk to you about science. Your interests will be so focussed, marginal and filled with incomprehensible jargon, that people will avoid asking you questions about work and eventually biology in general, because the point will arrive where you can cloud any topic with biological gobbledegook.


    Intelligence is also not really an attractive social characteristic. Most people will avoid intelligence when possible. It is therefore much better to sound like a retard. Because that way you will fit right into the bell curve, that is the good part of the Bell curve. The part that every biologist loves. And of course you know now what I am talking about, but the average person doesn't.

    So just do that. Wrap some biology around every concept used in a conversation and pretty soon you will be only able to talk to fellow outliers.

    Don't say I didn't warn you. It's not too late for you yet.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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  10. #9  
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    Yeah, I've noticed spuriousmonkey. People hate intelligence (some even try to deny the intelligence of an intelligent person only to make themselves feel smart)when what is presented
    contradicts pseudo-facts they've been indoctrinated to believe. I tried tell my friend about
    embryological gill slits and he just shook his head. He apparently thinks that I'mmaking the similarities b/w human and reptile/pig embryos up or that the similarites have little significance. Anything that isn't "mainstream" is considered "wierd". I'm tired of people thinking about scientific concepts this way simply because they are too lazy to learn the facts. People like simple concepts and when they learn something semi-complicated (in their minds) like a few random facts concerning history or psychology they read in a magazine somewhere they get big-headed and think they are just as smart as the experts who devote their lives to research.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore LunchBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Yeah, I've noticed spuriousmonkey. People hate intelligence (some even try to deny the intelligence of an intelligent person only to make themselves feel smart)when what is presented
    contradicts pseudo-facts they've been indoctrinated to believe. I tried tell my friend about
    embryological gill slits and he just shook his head. He apparently thinks that I'mmaking the similarities b/w human and reptile/pig embryos up or that the similarites have little significance. Anything that isn't "mainstream" is considered "wierd". I'm tired of people thinking about scientific concepts this way simply because they are too lazy to learn the facts. People like simple concepts and when they learn something semi-complicated (in their minds) like a few random facts concerning history or psychology they read in a magazine somewhere they get big-headed and think they are just as smart as the experts who devote their lives to research.
    ...and this is why I absolutely LOVED your posting of Thunderf00t's videos.
    "Let your anger be as a monkey in a pinata, hiding with the candy, hoping the children do not break through with a stick."

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." *Einstein
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    You can't even talk science with most scientists. But entering the scientific world exposes you to a population enriched with people who want to talk to science.

    Find one, become friends. talk science and life.

    Keep the other chit chat for the mob.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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  13. #12 Learn to talk Evolution! 
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    Please!

    If you are a rational and level-headed person who has as science background, please do.

    Don't be antagonistic. The anti-Evolutionists that you are talking to are not open to being convinced they are wrong. But if you remain calm and have an open mind, you will impress lookers-on who might have an intermediate opinion of the subject.

    Do realize that there is no one type of "Creationist." This is why I call them anti-Evolutionists. There is a spectrum and it is important that this is recognized. Someone who believed that Yaweh created life somehow at some time is not necessarily opposed to the idea of natural selection or even significant amounts of species diversification/macro evolution. In addition, they are not equivalent to someone who believes that God lets Satan bury fossils so that when we dig them up it tests our faith.

    In my opinion and from my experience, treating anyone who expresses uncertainty about evolution as FACT as an ignorant yokel is part of how this issue became and issue in the first place. NOTE: I say PART. And many of them are indeed ignorant yokels. But don't be derogatory and turn off people who are more middle-of-the-road. It does not make scientists look like intelligent people who know what they're talking about.
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  14. #13  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    That was a nicely balanced, apt post. Welcome to the forum.
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