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Memories of the 28th Century

On Ignorance

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In these modern times ignorance has been winning against knowledge and science. Stupidity is more admired than intelligence. Fallacy is more common than logic. Maybe Iím just getting crotchety in my middle age, but I find it absurd that ignorant people hold their ignorance with pride and expect other people to treat their misunderstandings about the world and what is in it as if they were actual facts.

I started thinking about this in regard to an interview that Trump had with Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt asked some detailed questions about the Middle East, and Trump didnít know the answers. I wasnít surprised; I didnít recognize one of the names Hewitt asked about myself, so I would have been surprised if Trump had known it. Hewitt gently chided Trump for his ignorance, and Trump became arrogant, as if it werenít his business to know any details, and to a degree it isnít, and the President of the U.S. does get to have advisors who know all of the details, while the Pres looks at the big picture. I expect that most of the people who have tossed their hats in that ring have trouble remembering all of the people in the world. I will confess that I did not recognize any of the names when I heard them spoken by Hewitt, bit all but were were familiar when I saw them written.

The next step in the praise of ignorance was the matter of the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage certificates because the court decision allowing homosexuals to marry each other had muddied the waters and offended her deeply held religious beliefs. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that ďCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;Ē That was extended to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, and while Congress didnít make any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, a court that should be operating under this restriction did make a ruling that prohibited someone from freely exercising her religion. There are people, including the errant judge, who think that the clerk did wrong. I think that she did what she thought was right. She did what she had to do, regardless of the opinions of others. There are still some people who think that she did wrong; I regard that as fallacy, but I am a religious person even if I do not share her religious beliefs, and the governor of Kentucky has made the situation as difficult as possible by not putting anything on hold until procedures are created

Unfortunately, in many cases the underlying problem is more permanent than ignorance. Many of the people who seem ignorant are actually stupid, incapable of learning, and most people with that condition cannot be cured. By coincidence I just got a reply to a Facebook comment that I made earlier that showed quite clearly that the writer did not understand the word ďfewĒ. I am not acquainted with the individual, so I donít know whether he is stupid or merely ignorant. This is the sort of thing that got me started on this. It appears that education has not been doing its job. People are remaining ignorant. We could eliminate the problem by eliminating the people, but there would be public outcry against that.

I think that the best that we can do is to demand that elementary and secondary education must be improved. It would be nice if it were possible to convince people of little intellectual capacity that that was how they were, but they usually are insistent that they are quite bright.

So where do you stand on the issue of ignorance?


  1. free's Avatar
    I read a lot, I love to read, I read everything that is (from my point of view) worth reading. And, I think, that it can, in a certain slow and invisible way, give some contribution to the strenghtening of the general intellectual force of the world. Maybe it sounds strange, but that is how I see the world and our positions in it as individuals. No matter how small, the contribution of something useful is still useful.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    I agree.