BULLGOOSE: Ignorance has know limits

Speech by Wes Piddens at 2023 Casino Beef Week Dinner

One two, one two (tap tap, feedback howl) is this thing working? Can you hear me through this mask? OK. Ladies, gents, people, beefers and bald-headed babies…

First, let me thank Wal McChumley for inviting me to speak. I think he was desperate. He said, “Wes, you know some weird stuff, you like the sound of your own voice, you’ll probably give us a few laughs, if only by accident, and you can say ten words without five of them being  Awesome!”

Thanks for that, Wal. A real vote of confidence. (Mild laughter)

Anyway, are you having a good time? (Inebriated cheering) Right, well I’ll soon put a stop to that.

So, a funny thing happened in the carpark tonight. I slipped on a banana skin. Yeah, I did. But yellow doesn’t really suit my look, so I slipped it off again. (Audience groans).

But seriously, I’m not going to talk about the riot at the parade today. It happened, but no one and no animals got hurt.

But seriously, I’m not going to talk about the riot at the parade today. It happened, but no one and no animals got hurt.

Apparently, some people don’t want us vaccinating our cattle, which is kind of ironic seeing as ‘vaccination’ comes from ‘vacca’, the Latin word for cow. Well, the parade was still a roaring – or mooing – success, and after listening to our Beef Week Queen, Darryne Lontopo’s, speech, I think the future is in good hands. (Raucous cheering).

The late John Allen, a good friend of Beef Week, used to greet everyone with “What do you know?” It was kind of annoying because the only decent answer I could come up with besides “Not much” was, “More than you suspect, but not as much as I’d like to”, which was a bit wordy for everyday use.

So, what do we really know? Well, researchers have discovered four things that got my attention recently.

So, what do we really know? Well, researchers have discovered four things that got my attention recently.

First, nobody is as smart as they think they are. Most people estimate their IQ to be ‘a bit above average’, but statistically that couldn’t work unless average IQ was 70 or something. Researchers have discovered that smart people aren’t necessarily confident, and confident people aren’t necessarily smart: maybe they’re just not smart enough to see all the angles: “Hold my beer.” Say no more.

You want more?

OK, the world isn’t always the way we think it is

OK, the world isn’t always the way we think it is. There is a blind spot in everyone’s vision where the optic nerve connects to your retina. There are no light-sensitive cells there. You can’t see anything there. So, what does the brain do? It makes it up. Yep, it makes it up.

Which brings me to the wildest discovery. First, some background – I feel like Dr Karl.

The brain is greedy for blood. Not enough blood to the brain and we fall in a heap, literally. It’s called fainting. Over millions of years our body has evolved some neat ways of saving blood flow for important brain business. One of those ways is ‘not thinking too much’.

Once we’ve got ourselves an opinion about something, our control centre doesn’t want to waste valuable bloodflow considering alternative opinions. When presented with damn good proof or argument for a different position our brain doesn’t even consider it. The brain rejects it before it has to think about it. Whoa!

Does that ring any bells? That’s why it’s so hard to de-radicalise terrorists, to convince flat-Earthers to go on an ocean cruise or to convince your partner that you’re not a low-down, no-good, hound dog.

With all these discoveries, I’m getting increasingly comfortable with the idea that I might be wrong more often than I think.

With all these discoveries, I’m getting increasingly comfortable with the idea that I might be wrong more often than I think.

A few years back I was fencing with my boys, Big Minch and Little Minch. They were hooking into it because I’d offered them 50 cents a post. Yes, I know I’m too generous. So, I mooched on down to check on a spring-fed dam, but on the way, I spotted a black snake eating another snake.

“Hey, hey,” I said to myself, “here’s an edja-macational opportunity for the boys.”

“Hoy, Minches,” I called out, “Come and check this out!”

By the time the Minches arrived the snake had well and truly swallowed the head. I squatted down next to it to observe. “It’s OK, come a bit closer. When he’s finished eating it he’ll just slug around for a week or so to digest the other bugger.” I’d seen the documentaries.

The swallowee was pretty much the same size as the swallower, and I thought the process would take half an hour or so. I was wrong. This critter had all the form of a pie-eating champ, and it was all over in a matter of minutes. He sucked up the last of the tail like a strand of spaghetti and Bingo! He shot between our legs fast as a tasered lightning bolt and disappeared under a log.

“Whoa!”

“Whoa!”

“Whoa!”

Had that snake chosen to bite one or all of us on the way we would not have seen it coming. I was wrong, dangerously wrong. But the Minches still love me. I guess it’s all the money I pay them. (A couple of hoots).

I don’t like being wrong, but I’m getting used to it.

I don’t like being wrong, but I’m getting used to it.

My wife and Life Coach, Alice, is never wrong, apparently. And even if, hypothetically, she was wrong she would not be happy about it. (Chuckling, only from the men).

There is only one person in the world who is happy to be proved wrong, and I think we’ve forgotten who that person is. Preachers and politicians can’t countenance the idea of being wrong. It’s not me, and I don’t think it’s you, so who is it?

It’s the true scientist.

The true scientist gets an idea and deliberately tries to prove it’s wrong.

The true scientist gets an idea and deliberately tries to prove it’s wrong.

If they can’t, they publish it and invite other scientists to prove it’s wrong. And here is the magic part: if they are proved wrong, they say “Fair enough,” and they try another idea. Imagine a preacher or a politician, those demonstrators this morning, or even yourself, doing that. Imagine what a better world this would be.

I leave you with a Beef Week riddle. What’s dipped in chocolate, served with coffee and tastes beefy?

(??????)

After dinner mince. Thank you very much.

A lesson to us all.

Bullgoose from Bonalbo is our regular columnist

 

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