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Made and uploaded a few more ringtones, 448 of them now. Enjoy.

Everyone is (not) an expert

I will be the first to tell you that I am not an expert in anything. I am knowledgeable in several areas, however I am not an expert.

I found this article, The Death of Expertise and found it to be simultaneously interesting and frightening. I found it interesting in that he is correct on multiple points. I found it frightening because of the same thing. The term "expert" implies you know most, if not all of the knowledge that is applicable to any particular field. I continue to learn new things every day. I know that I do not have the corner on knowledge, nor possess some special insight or skill no one else has. I consider myself knowledgeable on the Second Amendment and the RKBA (Right to Keep and Bear Arms), politics and military tactics and strategy in wargaming.

I am learning about Project Management and Masonry. I used to be knowledgeable in model and high power rocketry as well as scuba diving and practical shooting. For one reason or another, those last three have fallen by the wayside. For example, I became involved with firearms and the Second Amendment when I purchased my first firearm in 1990. At that point, I began reading and asking questions of the people I saw at the range. I asked a question, then kept my mouth shut and listened with the intent to learn, not the intent to reply. I read more (a lot more) and thought critically about my positions and why they were what they were, and the facts I used to arrive at that position.

It took about seven years between the time I purchased my first firearm and I started voicing my opinion publicly on this subject. So, when someone says something like, "Citizens don't need to own firearms, let the Police handle the criminals" I can quote SCOTUS case law (like South V. Maryland, 1856) that says the Police have no responsibility to protect individual citizens. I quote facts, like the average police response time is 15 minutes and that you can be dead long before the Police can get there. I then point to societies across the world, in current events and in history where when only the police have guns, the people are oppressed and quite often slaughtered.

Today, everyone has an opinion, and society demands that everyone must be heard. It does not matter how knowledgeable they are on that particular subject, their voice must be heard and given the same weight as all others, even those who have spent years studying this subject. Someone who once heard Barack Obama speak about government must suddenly be considered an equal to Henry Kissinger. I have one word to say about that. Bullshit.

If someone declares that explosives were used to demolish the Twin Towers on 9/11, I will ask them how much they know about building construction and demolition, as well as all of the engineering and work to accomplish those tasks. If all they know is derived from YouTube CT videos, They get ignored, unless they want to learn. There is even a psychological term for it, the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I especially like this passage:

The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a cognitive bias in which people perform poorly on a task, but lack the meta-cognitive capacity to properly evaluate their performance. As a result, such people remain unaware of their incompetence and accordingly fail to take any self-improvement measures that might rid them of their incompetence.

In other words, they don't know, they don't know they don't know, and they don't want to know that they don't know. There are several stages one must go through to become knowledgeable.

First, learn by observation and asking questions. Things work the way they do and in the order they do for a particular reason. Learn why this is before you try to change it.

Second, form opinions and positions based on verifiable facts. Check and research your facts before you quote them. Double-check these facts, opinions and positions with those who are respected in that knowledge area. Don't ask a Psychologist an accounting question.

Third, now you can put your opinion out and check it against a broader group to see how well you are received. Stand ready to be criticized and have your facts lined up and ready. Refute those who assail you with facts. If you get into a discussion with others, watch their method of interacting. You know you're winning when you can quote facts and their response is to personally attack you and they start shouting to drown you out.

I can agree to disagree with a reasonable person. I can respect your opinion even if I disagree with it, as long as you do the same to me. I do not hate someone just because their opinion differs from mine. If you call me a Nazi fuckwad just because I call myself Conservative, then we have nothing to discuss. If you ban me from the discussion, or delete the exchange entirely, I win and you know I won because you know you can't refute me.

There is a difference between stupid and uninformed. If you are uninformed, you know you lack knowledge on a subject, and you want to learn more. If you are stupid, you think you know something, however upon critical examination, you know only the talking points of someone else. You also refuse to expand your pool of knowledge.

One final thought: This is inscribed outside my local library:

If a man knows not, and knows not that he knows not, shun him.
If a man knows not, and knows that he knows not, teach him.
If a man knows, and knows that he knows, follow him.

On the Internet, you can appear to be anyone you want. Why so many choose to be stupid is beyond me.


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