Re: What is to be done?

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 25 Mar 1997 16:17:42 -0800 (PST)

> << If you ask how many people whose opinions--in the absence of any
> direct experience of mine--I value so highly that I might actually
> re-examine my own ideas in light of their disagreement, then yes,
> there are very few of those indeed. I see absolutely no reason
> why I should give any creedence at all to J. Random Ph.D. or
> John Q. Bestseller. >>
> I agree with the first half of this - opinions that I value are hard to
> find, indeed! But as to questioning my own beliefs, I do it often and
> with each new piece of information that I find.

Yes, perhaps I could have worded that better. How about "...cause me to
question my previous reasoning from the same observations..."? Of course
beliefs change with new inputs, including new methods of reasoning that
might come along. We then apply our current best tools of reason to the
facts as we see them, and draw tentative conclusions with which to make
decisions. But sometimes the conclusions we reach differ from those
reached by someone else from the same premises and data. In that case,
one can either question the other's reasoning, your own reasoning, or
the data. There are a precious few people whose disagreement with me
would motivate me to examine my own reasoning; it is those people to
whom I referred.

> Also, I do not like the emotional tone of sarcasm in reference to Ph.D.'s
> or successful authors. I like to support the successes of other people who
> excell, not put them down for being rewarded for it, in money or fame.

I too support others who excel /for the right reasons/. I spend probably
$200 a month on books, but only those of authors who have earned my
respect, and I want them to earn my money as well. But I would no sooner
buy a book by Jeremy Rifkin than I would castrate myself with a spoon,
despite the fact that his sales outnumber those of, say, Friedman. So
success, by itself, is no measure of intellectual worth. I do not "put
down" successful authors, necessarily; I just refuse to grant them the
accolades for it that others seem to.

The same with academic degrees. Knowing that someone has a Ph.D. is
precisely as valuable to me as knowing that they own a cat. I have
nothing against cats--I have one myself. I have nothing against those
with degrees--my father and most of my friends have them. I just don't
give that piece of information any weight in judging the intelligence
or character of anyone. Actual accomplishments impress me more than
empty credentials. Getting a degree is hard work, but work does not
equal accomplishment or ability or character.

Before you ask, no, I don't have a degree, though I have attended
college off and on. I've been programming computers for 17 years, and
never found any need to bother. Yes, this probably affects my opinion.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>  <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC