Friday, September 05, 2008


Going to Press

It may be high time for the good captains of the good ship Elitist Bastard to institute press gangs to help man the yardarms. I have a likely conscript in mind if it comes to that:

[M]y problem is with the all too common accusation of intellectual arrogance being hurled at myself and most of my colleagues who defend science from pseudoscience, be that creationism, intelligent design, UFO claims, psychic powers, astrology or "alternative" medicine. The reasoning, such as it is, goes like this: how dare you, Dr. X (put here any name of any scientist who dares to write for the public), claim that so many people are wrong and you and a small number of other egg-headed intellectuals are right? Who are you to declare the truth of evolution and the falsity of intelligent design? What makes you the arbiter in deciding what is science and what is bunk? ...

Intellectual arrogance, in the utmost degree, is being displayed by those who dismiss out of hand the considerate opinion of someone who has studied a field for 25 years only because they cherish a particular religious worldview that has no independent foundation in reality. Arrogance, according to my dictionary, is "having an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities," and it seems to me to fit perfectly someone who has no technical background in a given field and yet pontificates endlessly about what is True and what is not.

- Massimo Pigliucci, "Intellectual arrogance" at Rationally Speaking

Hmmm ....

I'm not sure who you are referring to. Are you criticizing Pigliucci or are you criticizing non-scientists who pontificate about science?
As an elitist bastard myself and given what that means to me, I'm most definitely against dismissing out of hand the considered opinion of someone who has studied a field for 25 years. That doesn't mean that scientists are infallible about science nor that non-scientists know nothing about science. It means you have to judge what is really going on ... pontificating or real discussion of real issues.
Press gangs... I likes it!

I nominate you to lead the charge.
I was thinking that, if people see a post particularly germane to elitist bastardry, they could nominate it and we'd include a link in a section for non-participants.
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