An Idea is "stupid", in the colloquial sense, when it's not tethered to reality in any meaningful way. When the person holding the idea has no sense of the burden to present evidence or argument for the claim. When an idea is not subjected to the time tested application of the falsification principle, this inevitably indicates a lack of scientific & logical considerations, or any consideration for that matter. Futhermore, rationalizations tailor fitted around the stupid idea often manifest without establishing a foundation in the 1st place!
This is always a red flag, yet it is common among us advanced apes, especially in the United States, but thats another topic for another day!
A stupid idea is an idea that springs forth into the ether. In other words, people do not think before they speak. Donald Trump would often do this. He would say something stupid without thinking, then instead of saying "That came out wrong, let me clarify. What I meant to say was." ect, he would just double down upon the idea because he was stuck with it, and his ego would not allow for him to ever be wrong.
An idea ,in a certain sense, is only as stupid as the person that holds it because a more intelligent or self aware person can believe & say stupid things all the time. They can be wrong in a drastic way, yet when presented with a counter argument & evidence or when reality itself comes crashing down upon said idea, that person will simply let the idea go & properly update their beliefs. No need to be wrong longer than you have to. These types of changes in beliefs & ideas should happen more often, preferably outloud & on the spot. It is an admirable thing to do but peoples' ideas are often tied to their identity & ego.
People letting bad, immoral, dangerous & stupid ideas go is much more common in intellectual environments that are grounded in logic, skepticism, debate, & the scientific method. Actually you get kudos & points for proving your theory wrong! These environments put a great emphasis & reward on a person updating, discarding & perhaps denouncing previously held flawed ideas. The ethic is tied to the integrity of the idea, not the person. Thus if you're in a room with alot of smart people that notice you're committing the cardinal sin of clinging to long falsified ideas, red flags go up. This is why I say that an idea is only as stupid as the person holding it, because a smarter or wiser person will soon discard the idea for a better one, while the fool will embrace the idea & add other fallacies reasoning upon the rotten foundation. This is how you theories & ideologies like Phrenology & Q-anon.
Now there are stupid ideas all the time, but an Idea is supremely stupid when it isn't tethered to reality, which is what you run into when you're ideas are wrong, & it has NEGATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL & BEHAVIORAL COSEQUENCES. Most conscience behaviors are a result of ideas & beliefs after all, so the truly stupid ideas I like to focus on are the obviously harmful ones.
. Now to address a few critiques, some may say I'm conflating stupid ideas with harmful ideas.
I believe this to be a fair distinction, however not all harmful ideas are stupid ideas.(I.E. the Atom bomb). Thus I'm concentrating on stupid ideas with negative consequences for the believer or people in their path.
Other people may say a stupid ideas are more along the lines of a bad decision.
When I think of stupid ideas, I don't think of benign decisions to turn right when you are to turn left & you say "well that was stupid." To me this should be viewed as a stupid MISTAKE, not a stupid idea. An idea is more robust than a mistake which is more similar to a bad choice. Thus I concentrate on ideas that are not only stupid, but dangerous as well. Some may ask of what metric am I using when I use words like DANGEROUS & BAD OUTCOMES. To that I'll take the easy way out & say conscious human well being. An umbrella term, yet effective for my purposes nevertheless.
Having stupid ideas that form into beliefs are the most dangerous. For example, having a belief that you are Peter Parker COULD work out in your favor. This mythological & archetypal belief could have you eating right & working out, becoming a neighborhood watchmen to stop little old ladies from getting mugged, it might get you to join an MMA gym in case you have to protect yourself from the inevitable thugs of the world, & you could get a fun job as a journalist writing a column in the times about the frightening beauty & complexity of
On the other hand,you could jump out of the 10th story window of your office building with your wrists pointed toward Trump Tower, expecting sticky webs to come shooting out of your arms in the hope of having a thrilling Spiderman style bungy jumping session.
However, in other news, a man jumped 100 feet to his death on 5th
This I submit to you, is supremely stupid as tragic as it may be. Maybe this exceeds mere stupidity & falls in the realm of mental illness.
However, the line between a stupid idea and the idea of an insane mind is not clear enough, therefore I think my analogy stands.
So, in closing, a stupid idea is an idea that is not connected or beholden to reality, facts & logic. The idea lacks scientifically minded consideration & is not willing to be updated or subjected to critique. Some ideas have this built into the idea itself as a safety valve for when the logical contradictions are pointed out. Conspiracy theories are abundant with this type of thinking. When presented with contrary evidence, it gets incorporated into the theory AD HOC.
"Well that's part of the COVERUP MANNNN." Also the classic
Kafka trap of heads I win, tails you lose.
Finally & most importantly, in my opinion, an idea is stupid when it has real life NEGATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL & BEHAVIORAL COSEQUENCES for the believer or the victims of the stupid ideas' implementation, especially when the cosequences are observable, measurable, statistically significant & the idea is heavily correlated with said outcomes.
My final examples to illustrate my point are
1) Communism & its measurable body count.
2)The Nazis idea of them being the master race thus giving them carte blanche on the rest of humanity.
3) The infamous toy that is considered the worst toy idea of all time.
The Lawn Dart. A javelin repackaged & marketed as a toy for children to be thrown into a target on the lawn.
6,000 injuries & 3 deaths latter, it was taken off the market.