RISE OF THE SCHOLAR-IDS
I once heard a lady quote from the Bible and say, “I got that from God, not some social scientist!” What was even more amazing about this statement was that the other individuals listening applauded wildly. This made me wonder if they really understood what she actually said! Apparently not, because if they had just given limited thought to her statement, they would have recognize the illogical, the thoughtlessness, and the ignorance manifest in her statement. The number of people on the Earth who can understand ancient Hebrew symbols is limited in number. Therefore, the principal question to be asked is, “How many interested individuals can literally translate what they believe to be the words of God? Especially when the majority of these individuals have no knowledge of what the original manuscripts actually said? The answer is simple: social scientists! (If one wishes to include “linguists” in this category). Are the masses of people so ignorant as not to know that the original Old Testament was written in Hebrew and that the New Testament was written in Greek? It took linguists to translate one language to another, and to transfer ancient languages into their modern versions!
Indeed, everything that woman had read in the Bible was due to the work of a social scientist! Given that the original manuscripts do not contain the same (literal) information as what she believes to be the Bible, she would have been more accurate by stating, “I got that from a social scientist!” This entire episode made me wonder if others wondered as I do? This, along with other incidents, has allowed me, in part, to (adequately) respond to my “wonder.” My conclusion is that America is in “big trouble” because its citizens have become mental sheep who are easily influenced by charismatic and influential “know-nothings.”
Many Americans are part of the “I- Believe-Without-Fact Generation.” That is, many Americans are more ready and willing to use nonfactual information as the basis for making decisions and explaining situations than they are to spend the time seeking facts related to these matters. I am reminded of a newspaper columnist who received a letter from an official of the Anti-Defamation League in the Los Angeles area. The letter criticized the columnist for saying that Israel had no right to exist—-which the columnist, of course, never said. When the columnist contacted the writer on the phone, the official admitted that he had never read the column in question—-someone had called him with false information and he responded by writing a letter. There was no apology for the mistake.
People are not in the habit of searching for the truth. Many individuals make up the “truth,” based on their experiences, their feelings, and information they receive from their friends or preferred information sources consistent with their existing beliefs. I have been in classes where professors, who have spent hours of proper research on specific matters, have been second-guessed by students who have never attempted to gather facts related to the issues being discussed and debated. I have heard these individuals, in the face of fact, comment, and “I just don’t believe that.”
They have no factual or logical basis for their beliefs! However, because they disagree with an issue they simply refuse to acknowledge their ignorance or their error. A major force in this “I- Believe- Without- Fact” arena consists of people who rely on what I call the “Scholar Idiots” (“Scholar-ids,” for short—see definition below). These are individuals who others view as being informed, intelligent, and logical. In fact, many of these individuals have no formal education and, therefore, lack the basics skills related to gathering, research, and critical thinking. I have even had a Scholar-id accuse me of “hiding behind my education.” I, of course, was not insulted for being educated and, therefore, expressed my pride is having been trained in a manner in which he had not (been trained).
Generally speaking, Scholar-ids are individuals operating in the following manner:
1. “Sound” intelligent! They may be misinformed, ignorant, or lying, but the manner in which they state their position “sounds” intelligent—that is, the presentation is “smooth,” utilizes appropriate sounding words, and is accepted as “reasonable” by those seeking legitimate substantiation for their beliefs;
2. Assume that their information sources are legitimate! They rarely distinguish between primary and secondary sources of information. What they hear is “something” that appeared in the “news” and, based on their acceptance of the news source to be accurate, they feel there is no need to challenge what has been presented!
3. They assume that what they receive from their news sources is factual (are the facts) and, therefore, they believe that the foundations of their beliefs are legitimate information: facts, not opinion;
4. Many rarely, if ever, make a distinction between “fact” and “opinion.” Their responses manifest a belief that ALL opinions and facts have equal value. Therefore, an opinion can, logically, be substituted for a fact;
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal//archives/viguerienow.html (Read the transcript)
5. Few make an effort to follow the accepted rules of critical thinking! They know nothing of induction and/or deduction, validity, soundness, cogency, or fallacies. When accused of lacking this knowledge, they simply ignore it—refusing to deal with it, before contemplating their next statement;
6. Believe that their positions, because of the lack of formal education, represents the “wisdom” of common sense. They never consider that “common sense” is not “common” in ALL settings and that, many times, statements of the sort are contradictory or lack a connection with reality (http://corkskeptics.org/2011/05/03/the-common-sense-fallacy/).
7. When shown the falsity of a position, they “double-down” by creating “facts” that are used as “logical responses “to the matter or issue being discussed.
There was a time in America’s history when intelligent citizens—-in their attempts to analyze information—-made use of something called the “scientific method.” This method, obviously, is either not being taught in the classroom or is being ignored by students of all ages, colors and persuasion. How else can one explain the present tendency toward the widespread illogical, uncritical and non-analytical approach to information and knowledge?
Instead of looking to scientists—social, physical, psychological, and/or biological—significant numbers of citizens are turning to the Scholar-ids for their information and intellectual guidance! Flat Earth theories anyone?