This kind of critical thinking about sources and expertise is essential in navigating the complexity of our modern scientific world and developing sensible and defensible positions on everything from the age of the earth to the real cost of Medicare.
Unfortunately, America has an uneasy relationship with experts. Many people don’t like the idea of consulting some egghead at a university to get scoop on complex problems, even though that egghead might be the world’s leading expert and hold a position endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences. Every night on Fox News Glenn Beck assaults expertise and education as if they are just different prejudices. He regularly pits his high school diploma against teams of Ivy League doctorates in a most amazing performance as America’s leading anti-intellectual. A few hours later on Fox News, Sean Hannity hosts a “great American panel” in which he asks former beauty queens, football coaches, and country singers to comment on complex political and economic questions.
Karl is a funny guy – who knew?
Buy he is correct, I fear, about Americans. We simply do not like experts or the dreaded ‘i’ word – intellectuals….