Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Ignorance and learning...


I realise that's an odd title. It comes from my increasing realisation that there are far too many people in the world who DON'T know what they're talking about, but refuse to accept that someone who is an expert in the topic might know more than them...

BBC radio 4 recently (and deservedly) got flack from scientists (and others) who were understandably outraged that Lord Lamont was brought in 'to add balance to the climate change discussion'. Lord Lamont may know a lot of things but he patently knows nothing about climate change science. And patently told a heap of lies that went unchallenged by the presenters.

Donald Trump doesn't appear to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction (and won't accept being told that). If he doesn't like something or doesn't understand it, it's 'fake news'.

Most of the UK government are not scientists and yet make wide-sweeping (and incorrect) statements or policies about a whole heap of things - neonics and the effect on insects, whether badger culling reduces the incidence of TB in cattle to name but two.

If someone who knows more about a topic than I do says something I don't understand or don't think is true, I ask them about it. I ask them to explain it to me. Maybe I'm strange... but surely, if an expert in an area thinks something different from you, maybe it's because they know more than you, including all the nuances of the topic.

When did it become the norm for people to assume that whatever they believe is absolute fact, regardless of whether they actually have any sound knowledge in the area? It depresses me. Only by people accepting their ignorance and welcoming learning, will the general knowledge of the world increase. Only by being curious about the boundaries of our knowledge, will we learn more.

But, perhaps it's because the world is reduced to sound bites and limited-character Tweets and people feeling they can be rude and obnoxious on social media, whatever their level of knowledge or ignorance. Don't reveal that you don't know the answer - you'll be mocked. Don't show any weakness - you will be mauled. And yet, that's so wrong. I would FAR rather interact with someone who would further my knowledge and accept mine than be in a shouting match that helps no one.

I keep hoping that the world will be a nicer place, but it feels increasingly like it's full of arrogant bullies and people who shout a lot. Maybe that's why I keep disappearing into the worlds I create for myself.


Enjoyed reading this? Why not subscribe to my newsletter? It comes out once a month and subscribers get a free novella and all my special offers.
No spam, I promise.


No comments:

Post a Comment