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Mad Men

Scientists work at ways to scare “the stupid” out of people.


From the world of true science comes tantalizing evidence that stupidity, through rigorously applied reparative therapy can, in some rare instances, be partially overcome.

“We’re not saying you can make some total idiot smart,” says F. Ernest Pratt, director of Brigham Young University’s Center for Cognitive Reparation. “Not by a long shot. But we have the first tiny hints that inborn tendencies toward stupidity are not completely preset. As Brother Boyd K. Packer said about homos, why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”

Experiments were conducted on three learned gentleman—board members of something called the Foundation for Attraction Research—who recently published a muddle-headed op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune arguing that “true science” and “true religion” supported Brother Packer’s contention that “impure and unnatural” same-sex attraction is not preset and predetermined.

One of the gentleman scholars who took part in the reparative experiments agreed to sit down with us and share his thoughts, muddled as they still are, about overcoming his native stupidity. Due to our editorial policy of not identifying victims of stupidity by name, the gentleman in question is designated in the interview as “FAR Man.”

Deep End: First of all, can you explain to us what you mean by “true science?”

FAR Man: Be glad to. “True science” is anything, whether scientific or not, that supports, however tangentially, our bigoted beliefs with regard to our homo brothers. We don’t pay any attention to lesbo sister saints because they keep quiet, and it’s easier for them to fake it. Notice we don’t say “science,” but “true science.” For “science,” you need a lot more evidence than we’re prepared to offer.

DE: How about “true religion.” How is that different from “religion?”

FM: By “true religion,” we mean our religion, which is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. All other religions are abominations.

DE: Tell us, if you will, how the experiments in overcoming stupidity came about.

FM: Well, you know about reparative therapy, where homos are hooked up to wires and shocked when they see naked guys, and given a chocolate when a gal in a nice, modest frock comes on the screen. One day, I thought to myself, how about if we try reparative therapy on stupidity? We advertised for morons, idiots, numbskulls and pinheads to come into our lab in exchange for a free set of steak knives or a free rug shampoo, but folks were too stupid to see what a great deal it was.

DE: So what did you do?

FM: Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was a dim bulb. After all, my wife is always calling me “you idiot!” and so I volunteered and got a free rug shampoo out of it in the bargain.

DE: Do you mind divulging just a few details of your reparative therapy?

FM: Not at all. First thing, we were locked in a hermetically sealed room and forced to watch the collected Conference Talks of Brother Packer and other General Authorities. Normally, I just doze during those talks, but for the experiment, every time I’d nod off, zap! I wised up pretty quick. Then we watched tapes of Jeopardy with that Ken Jennings guy, along with lectures on logic from Alex Trebeck. He taught us all about fallacies like the argument from authority, or what smart people call argument ad verecundiam. See, I’m pretty smart already! Plus, we got a chocolate every time we gave a true answer. Plus we learned some other neat fallacies like false dichotomy, hasty generalization and begging the question, which me and my colleagues use all the time.

DE: What’s the smartest thing you learned?

FM: A couple of things, sort of related, I guess. It’s kind of a contradiction to say that homosexuality is not preset, and then go ahead anyway and do this horrific shock therapy to get it out of someone’s system. If people choose it freely, then why not respect their free agency?

DE: I see your point.

FM: And then there’s the whole assumption that it’s “impure and unnatural.” Who says? As long as it doesn’t scare the horses, who gives a gosh darn? So in the end, it really doesn’t matter why someone is homosexual. You have to wonder why folks get so hot and bothered in the first place about what other folks do to have fun. By the way, are you interested in a rug shampoo?