THE FOOLISHNESS OF EXPERTISE

In Phil Torres’s The End: What Science and Religion Can Tell Us About the Apocalypse, the first half of the book offers nothin that religion can tell us, a scant zero, but a good, stunning amount that science can tell us about our eschatology. Torres is a brilliant, winning atheist writer, and he is secure enough to reinforce for all of us on page 85 that, given the Information Overload, all of us alive today are ignorant about most subjects.  As cited by Torres, another thinker pointed out that 300 years ago, a learned, book-smart person could know just about all that there was to be understood about the world. Today, however, with about the same brainpower and brain size of our ancestors 30,00 years ago, we must contend with data that grows exponentially every year.

Before there was a puddle, and we, the thinking human, could step all over it. Today, there is a vast, virtually limitless ocean of data, fields, sub-strata of esoteric knowledge and technology to derive even greater astronomical sums of knowledge, and we are still that encased collection of neural wires, able only to swim across a few waves, at best.

Yes, there will be a quiz. It is not open-book, and no online access. Ready?

NAME THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELPPMENTS WITHIN THE FOLLOWING FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE/CULTURE :

  1. Evolutionary Psychology
  2. Documentary Films
  3. Environmental Economics
  4. Participant-Observer Sociology
  5. Meta-Fiction
  6. Performance- Enhancing Drugs in Elite Professional  Sports
  7. Freud’s Dislike of Marzipan
  8. Numbers 8-12: You choose Five Additional Fields of Your Own
  9. You’ve got an hour and a half. Go.

And we’re back. As I thought. 0 Views, 0 likes, all dislikes. None of us in this age can calim the great and exalted title of “Master Expert.” Not Hawking (doesn’t know shit about sociology), not Pinker (he’s got a team of slave/interns writing his stuff, and he’s doltish about this supposed non-violent epoch).  Machines are guaranteed to achieve a superintelligence that none of us can even dream of, locked into this compelx yet solidly under-performing brain structure of ours.

Go ahead, test us here at Fun Social Nihilism: we know, if basically just a working acquaintanceship,  more about a diverse array of important subjects than any functioning human, but that still presages a functional ignorance, since for every respondent, there are areas of real, active knowledge that would stump the hell out of us. DNA, nanotechnology, ultramontane poesy, Buddhist apologetics, we’d lose it all on those topics in Final Jeopardy.

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