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Monday, December 22, 2008

Got mail: Historian is idiot. But guy who pretends to know prehistory is genius

Recently, I got mail. Some U dullard thought I had bumped the shark, quoting Bruce Thornton on false knowledge - presumably because a classics prof like Thornton couldn't really know anything.

Wowza! A guy who actually knows what happened thousands of years ago (when at least some people were literate) is an ignoramus, but dullards who make up stupid stories about stuff that allegedly happened tens of thousands of years ago - when there is no way of checking - are scholars?

People who honestly believe that kind of thing are self-refuting. Apart from government funding, they are a problem that would solve itself. Look, when I was in school in the early 1970s, my classics profs were by far the smartest of the bunch.

They had not yet been wrecked by the tsunami of false knowledge blowing through scandalously overpriced and overpoliced classrooms today.

More from Thornton:
Perhaps the most pervasive example of how easily wanton speculation and oversimplifications dressed in the stolen garments of science dupe us into false knowledge, is the instant authority we grant to the "study," the ipse dixit of the modern world . Anytime a sentence is prefaced with the phrase "studies have shown," you can be sure to hear either some truism ponderously restated, or some half-baked oversimplification the authors of the study already believed to be true before they ever began. And when the "study" purports to prove some truth about that intricate, complex, quirky, unpredictable, unique creature that is a human being, then you can be equally sure that its conclusions add one more disease to the syndrome of false knowledge. (p. 11)
My personal favourites - I mean for sheer ridiculousness - are the conclusions of therapists who claim occult knowledge of the minds of their patients.

And nonetheless there are people out there who wonder why there is an intelligent design controversy?

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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