Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Plague of Lovable Doofuses Become Know-It-Alls

Green Lake, Wisconsin

Linda and I are celebrating our anniversary week at one of our favorite vacation spots. After breakfast we'll head to the beach, set up our umbrellas, unfold the beach chairs. I'll have a large cup of coffee. We'll get out our Kindles. And I'll begin reading the new book I just downloaded - The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, by Tom Nichols.

This book is about the current, expanding, "cult of knowledge," of internet know-it-alls. For example, my doctor (a great scholar who did his medical degree at University of Michigan) has told me to stay off the internet when it comes to diagnosing myself. I have counseled internet genius-atheists to get off the internet and engage in real, hard-working, scholarly, time-invested scholarship. Go after a real, labor-intensive degree if you want to know the stuff! (You would not believe the amount of hours, in libraries, pouring over books like Gadamer's Wahrheit und Methode, Husserl's Experience and Judgment, Ricoeur's La M├ętaphore Vive, and on and on and on....  for years and years and years... This is different than googling information.)

"What used to be a lovable doofus pontificating in a bar has spread way beyond that. We’ve become a country of know-it-alls, convinced that having all the information at our fingertips means we’re knowledgeable. “I can Google it” has become synonymous with “I understand it.”
We’ve become extremely annoying.
In his book “The Death of Expertise,” Tom Nichols addresses what he calls “attacks on established knowledge.”" ("Amateur Experts: A Modern Plague," thank you Beth H.)

I look forward to beginning Nichols's book today.