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When the Experts Are Just Plain Wrong

When the Experts Are Just Plain Wrong

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Published by Bill Allin
By virtue of the needs of his art, a writer must be a thinker. However, there is no requirement that the thinking be clear, orderly, logical or that the material presented must be truthful. We need only follow the spoutings of pastors and politicians to show that.
Find the home site of author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com
By virtue of the needs of his art, a writer must be a thinker. However, there is no requirement that the thinking be clear, orderly, logical or that the material presented must be truthful. We need only follow the spoutings of pastors and politicians to show that.
Find the home site of author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com

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Published by: Bill Allin on Dec 13, 2009
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07/22/2011

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When The Experts Are Just Plain Wrong
'I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it ina child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.'-Ursula K. Le Guin, American author (b. 1929)'You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until youknow what good and evil will follow on that act. The world is in balance, inEquilibrium.'-Ursula K. Le Guin, American author (b. 1929)If these two quotes give evidence of one thing, it's that just because aperson is an expert in one thing does not give him the right to believe thathe is on every subject.By virtue of the needs of his art, a writer must be a thinker. However, thereis no requirement that the thinking be clear, orderly, logical or that thematerial presented must be truthful. We need only follow the spoutings of pastors and politicians to show that.Members of other professions, experienced with receiving respect for theirknowledge and skills within the context of their work, often come to believethat their thinking must be correct on all subjects. Engineers and architects,for example, seldom admit they don't know something. We call it arrogancewhen they act as if others don't know what they are talking about and hubriswhen they can't imagine being wrong.As admirable as Le Guin's writings are, especially her utopian science fiction,I can't help taking issue with the two quotes that began this article. They arebased on her thinking, her understanding of the world. On the subjects of education (child development) and ecology, her understanding may be of questionable value to the rest of us.First, it's true that children do not grow into eggplants. However, many growinto adults with precious little imagination and ability to think forthemselves. Consider that the average American, for example, has histelevision running more than five hours a day. Television, the greatstupidifier, encourages people to not think by providing them with whateverthe producer wants his audience to know and believe. Viewers are notallowed to think for themselves if they follow the producer's intentions.Look at the lineup of television programs that grace (or disgrace) the screenthese days and you will find faked reality shows, home videos that showpeople at their absolute stupidest, soap operas that demonstrate the worst
 
in human morals and compassion and advertising designed to convincesimple minds that they should become poor and unhealthy by buying theproducts advertised.Not eggplants, no. But television is doing its best to bring human intelligencedown to the level close to at least a smart eggplant. When the computer isthe entertainment of choice, we have YouTube to show us that many peoplehave reached that level of intelligence already.Ursula Le Guin seems to live in a world protected from the realities of entertainment by the average person. For one thing, she reads, which givesher perspectives that non-readers never experience. Reading stimulates theimagination as television, the internet, movies and video games never can.She can't conceive of people not having an imagination. She is sadlymistaken.As an educator who has taught young children as well as older ones, I cantell you that imagination has been all but eliminated (at least channeled) inmany of them before they leave primary school. As I classroom teacher Ifound it hard to stimulate children to be creative in non-traditional ways.As for ecology, Le Guin is correct that the universe is in equilibrium.However, she is dead wrong that nothing should change. Nature itself is thegreatest force for change.When one factor changes or many change as a result of natural disaster orhuman tragedy, nature regroups and establishes a new equilibrium.Look what happened after the disaster 65 million years ago when thedinosaurs disappeared. Whether an asteroid struck our planet or climatechange eliminated the food dinosaurs ate matters little now. What matters isthat mammals succeeded them, and here we are.Look what happened 225 million years ago when as much as 97 percent of life on land and 85 percent of life in the oceans were wiped out.Nature adjusts. The universe establishes equilibrium with whateverconditions exist at the time. No matter if we destroyed ourselves, naturewould adjust to a new equilibrium.When Le Guin recommends that we "must not change one thing" for fear of upsetting the equilibrium she fails to understand the concept. In fact, wemust change what we do that is destructive, at the least.

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Bill Allin added this note
Teilhard, thanks for your observations. I have a love/hate relationship with Asimov's work. Sometimes I must respect his innovative genius, others I think he stepped too far out with his thoughts. He was a great writer and scientist, but not too accurate about human nature.
Bill Allin added this note
Lee, you made excellent points. Daunting though some are, your predictions may understate what will happen in the future. Let's remember that most people are stupid followers (emphasis on both words), so will go where and do what they are told by ads.
Bill Allin added this note
Thanks Jean. We need to be aware of this situation, as described in the article, so we can keep the opinions of others in perspective. Some are worthy, others a waste.
Taemojitsu added this note
"Youtube" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPn... "Iraq [...] nothing gained" The United States gained an awareness of its limits, the rest of the world lost its believe in the omnipotence of US military power as US casualties continued to grow. Iraqi nationalists, of course, presented it as defeat of the US. And of course, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muntadha...
Bill Allin added this note
Thanks for the Asimov anecdote. Whether true or fiction, the core of the story has proven to be real for many people.
frankmerelin liked this

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