I don’t know much.
Nor do you.
Every minute more knowledge is gained by humanity than any one person could learn in that minute. And the rate at which knowledge is being gained is accelerating.
It has been argued that the last person who knew all that Western science knows died in 1829 (Source). By 1950, human knowledge was doubling every 25 years, and by 2000 human knowledge was doubling every year. By 2018, it was believed that human knowledge was doubling every single day (Source).
The point is, it really is impossible to know everything.
I recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. What I learned from that was how much there is to learn in the field of Computer Science. There are parts of Computer Science that a person could spend their entire life researching. No-one can know all of the science of Computer Science.
And Computer Science is just one field of knowledge. One could spend several lifetimes on Computer Science, several lifetimes on human medicine, several lifetimes on organic chemistry, several lifetimes on string theory, several lifetimes on quantum physics. And all of these lifetimes would be spent knowing what we know now. As soon as you spent a lifetime learning one of these fields, the other fields would have moved into yet more lifetimes of accumulated knowledge.
There is an old adage: The more you learn, the more you learn how little you know. It’s trite, but it’s true. If you do real, genuinely deep research into a topic, as well as learning a little about a subject, you will get a glimpse of all the avenues of research that stand before you.
If ever you learn something, and come out of it thinking that you now know more about a subject, then what you have learned was probably false. To be generous, it may have been dumbed down to make it comprehensible. But really, if you learn about something, you should start to realize that there is more to learn.
What can we do with the knowledge that we know nothing?
That’s what experts are for. We all have opinions about what the government should do to encourage economic growth, but we should defer to economists. They will get things wrong, but it is guaranteed they know more than non-economists about growing an economy.
Many people have opinions about whether vaccines work or do not, but we should not ask a Pastor, or a conspiracy theorist, or a commentator on BitChute, we should rely on the knowledge and expertise of an epidemiologist.
Many people have opinions about gender roles. Some believe that girls and boys have different inate skills, and that girls should play with kitchen sets and boys with cars, but psychologists will tell you that these are cultural artifacts. We should rely on the knowledge of psychologists because unless you have spent an entire lifetime researching child psychology, you will inevitably know less than those who have.
Most important of all, though, is that some people have opinions about how Monopoly should be played. The only authority on how Monopoly should be played are the ones who studied Monopoly the most – the manufacturer. We all have our ‘folk-rules’ – our ‘house rules’. Whether that’s not auctioning the properties or having some build-up of cash on Free Parking. But we’re all wrong – the game works best if played according to the rules in the box.
If you are unsure whether something is true, find the expert. Whether that’s the majority of doctors, the majority of physicists, the majority of psychologists, the majority of evolutionary biologists, or the majority of economists – they will have the best answer that humanity has.
Everyone else is just guessing.
Should I get vaccinated?
- If epidemiologists are wrong about vaccine safety, you will get hurt.
- If you are wrong about vaccine safety, you will get hurt or die, and so will everyone you interact with.
- Vaccines require herd immunity because they are not 100% effective. The COVID-19 vaccines, for example, are around 90% effective. If everyone has the vaccine, that’s plenty, but if some people decide, against the evidence, not to get it, then people will die. The loving choice is to get vaccinated.
Is it worth wearing a mask?
With masks for COVID-19:
- If epidemiologists are wrong about the effectiveness of wearing masks to combat COVID-19, you will have misted up glasses and have had a warm face.
- If you are wrong about mask efficacy, you will get hurt (or die), and so will everyone you interact with.
So what should I do?
If you are unsure whether something is true, find the expert. Whether that’s the majority of epidemiologists, the majority of physicists, the majority of psychologists, the majority of anthropologists, or the majority of economists – they will have the best answer that humanity has.
Everyone else is just guessing.