Joe Rogan and his massive audience

Exactly. He talked his way onstage for a 5-minute set in a comedy club in Boston way back in the day and impressed agent Jeff Sussman, who signed him and worked with him building up his career over the next few years. He got interested in MMA after he watched UFC 2, and Sussman just happened to be friends with the UFC’s original creator and producer. He was hired back after Dana White took over. Sussman is the smart man here, not Rogan.

No… my point is that politicians will do and say whatever they need to in order to get elected and subsequently stay in office. If there ever were principled politicians, that day is long gone.

Entertainers (like Rogan) are much the same; they’re not going to somehow grow a spine and a moral compass and start decrying stuff that their electorate holds dear, if it means lower ratings or views or whatever. There are a few outliers who actually DO exactly that- Dave Chappelle comes to mind. But people with less money or less of a moral compass would have just shrugged and kept on going as long as the money kept coming in.

It’s in their nature. I’m not exactly happy with it, but when you combine that aspect of entertainment and politics with a virulently ignorant and angry segment of the population, it seems kind of ridiculous to put all the blame on the entertainer/politician- they’re going to do what politicians and entertainers do, after all.

I’d say those fields do demonstrate intelligence. You can’t be a successful podcast host without good communication skills. You can’t be a successful commentator without the ability to extemporise and a firm knowledge of your subject. You can’t be a good comedian without being creative, without the ability to see things from different angles, and without being very quick on your feet. And you can’t hammer out a $120 million dollar Spotify deal without a certain amount of business sense. I’m not saying Rogan’s a genius or anything, but he seems smarter than average to me.

I’d say it’s productive to allow considerable leeway for the definitions of words like ‘idiot’, ‘stupid’ and ‘intelligent’. Being good at something would seem to be good reason to call somebody intelligent, depending on what that ‘something’ is, of course. Doesn’t mean that the same person can absolutely be lacking in their skills in another area of thought. So all of these terms should come with a warning labels, like “CAUTION: only for some definitions of X”.

Somebody like Rogan may be intelligent enough to know what to do in order to make a lot of money. On the other hand, as I said above, people are products of their environment – if Rogan was intelligent enough, there might be much better ways for him to make money. Essentially he just got popular doing what he likes, which translated into a lot of income.

However, either he lacks the moral fortitude to care for the consequences of his actions, or he doesn’t understand what they actually are. I’d say there are a lot of signs expecially connected to his COVID stuff, that he sincerely thinks he’s in the right and doing good, as opposed to not caring about the negative consequences. But actually in my estimation people almost always fall somewhere along a spectrum between those points, and they rationalize away any negative feelings they may have about what they are doing. I’d go as far as to say this is how we estimate the majority of our morally relevant decisions. “Well I could stop buying things made by child labor, but I’m just one person, so it wouldn’t matter anyway. What a shame.”

There’s definitely overlap, but it’s not the same skillset. I’m a pretty good communicator, and I can easily talk at length without notes on pretty much any subject which interests me. But I could never write a good hour of stand-up comedy. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Can you be a popular one? Or does popular equal good?

Did he personally hammer it out? I wonder how it affects the situation that (to my memory) he had been making the most popular podcast in the world for some time before the deal.

To me this raises the question: why would anybody be a democratic representative in the United States? Or a labour one in the UK? Et cetera.

This is just you restating “rich people are smart.”

Joe Rogan believes the moon landing was faked. Charlie Sheen and Woody Harrleson are 9/11 truthers. Kanye West… These people all communicate for a living and are rich, therefore they are smart?

Well, comedy is obviously immensely subjective. All I can say is that I personally find him very funny, and, while I’m sure he’s not to everyone’s tastes (who is?), his style clicks hard enough with enough people that he can sell out venues and get his specials on Netflix. While that may not be enough to prove to everyone’s satisfaction that he’s “good” (whatever that means in a field as subjective as comedy), it’s good enough for me.

Well let’s put it another way: is a creative person always intelligent? Or maybe this way: can a creative person be stupid, or do anything stupid?
Is a funny person automatically (especially) creative?
Can a comedian be better than Rogan in your view, but not make more money in comedy than him?

Two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling believed that Vitamin C could cure terminal cancer. Nobel Laureates William Shockley and James Watson both believed in race science. Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis was an AIDS denialist. Do these beliefs make them stupid? Or are they smart people with stupid beliefs? I won’t deny that Rogan believes some dumb stuff (although, in his defence, he’s said that he now accepts the moon landing wasn’t faked), but if we step back and look at the big picture I’d argue that his accomplishments prove he’s no dummy, even if they’re not academic accomplishments

Depends on many factors, among others the timeframe for holding said beliefs.

Perhaps, if the beliefs can justifiably be judged to be stupid.

This is exactly what I meant with what I said earlier about not thinking about the content/meaning of certain words too rigidly. But I also think that in this case, it’s more under discussion whether Rogan does certain things out of ignorance in certain ideas, or knowingly spreads misinformation to benefit financially. I may have missed it if you stated it already, but is your position the latter? Meaning his is a moral failing, not one of sufficient intelligence in the required area?

His accomplishments of talking for a living vs inventing the transistor? Pretty low bar you have there.

Also, this phenomenon really is more commonplace than one would think just by guessing, I’d say. Benjamin Franklin spent a lot of time working on alchemy.

I’d also summarize what I was saying earlier as: it’s a language thing. Saying somebody is stupid does quite often refer to specific failings. In my opinion in a case like this, it would be good to think of it like this: people saying “person X is stupid” actually means “person X is (being) stupid”. It’s another question how far and wide this ‘being’ reaches regarding said person and their actions.

Here’s some more thoughts:
Can comedians be put in order of quality based on their popularity?
Is income the absolute metric for popularity, let’s say, for the purposes of this discussion?
Does liking a particular comedian correlate with the intelligence of the audience? Either on average or on individual level?
If so, is the correlation direct or inverse?
Or, is it all a question of the comedian being intelligent enough to know what to do (what kind of material to write, how to perform etc.) to be as popular as possible? And therefore, knowing which demographic and what kind of sense of humor to appeal to, in order to make the most money?

(I promise I’ll stop asking questions eventually.)

That seems like something you should post to Facebook.

I think he genuinely believes what he’s saying. And in fairness to him, 99% of the time his beliefs are actually pretty mainstream, and certainly not what anyone would call crazy. Most people who don’t listen to his show only hear about him when he goes viral for saying something dumb about COVID, and never when he says something smart about anything else. As a long time listener, I can attest that examples of the latter greatly outweigh examples of the former.

When it comes to COVID, I think the problem is that he’s just listening to the wrong people. For example, he thinks Ivermectin works because Brett Weinstein and Heather Heying, both PhD holding biologists, have told him as much. I tend not to listen to the episodes where he has scientists on to discuss COVID because I don’t think the guests he invites on are reliable. But I think he genuinely believes that they are.

My point was just that even the smartest people can believe stupid things. Therefore, the fact that someone believes a stupid thing (for example, that Ivermectin can treat COVID) isn’t enough evidence to declare that they’re stupid.

I’m aware, you have to weight it against the things that make your think they’re smart. And for Shockley you weigh it against being one of the most brilliant scientists of the past 100 years. And for Rogan you weigh it against people enjoying him talking about gorillas and getting high.

My view of Rogan’s beliefs of what he puts out there seems to align pretty well with yours. But this doesn’t seem to reflect favourably on the level of his intelligence. Not least because of the fact that he seemingly acknowledges he isn’t intelligent enough to be reliable, and also isn’t intelligent enought to realize that his actions based on his limited understanding can be very harmful. It’s like telling somebody “you know that’s really dangerous what you’re doing, you’re gonna en up hurting sombody”, and them repyling “yeah I know, but I’m having fun”.

Not too smart, I’d say. Maybe he should check some other sources and carefully evaluate which one is more reliable. Only I’m under the imperssion he already did the evaluation and decided to trust the sources you mentioned.

But let’s not forget that even otherwise smart (and/or rich) people can be and often are victims of scams. Like the Theranos one. But you don’t have to even go to that scale – James Randi for example has very entertaining stories of how very educated people have been taken in by fairly simple sleight of hand. Higly recommend checking out his output.