Moron? Or Graduate Degree?

Quote of the Day

There are some notions so idiotic that, to believe them, much less evangelize them, one must either be a moron or have a graduate degree.

March 25, 2025
Comment to Another Monday, Another Science Denier.

Why not both?

See also George Owell:

One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.

And Betrand Russell:

This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.


6 thoughts on “Moron? Or Graduate Degree?

  1. Yup, cause the only way you get a Ph.D. Is by telling another Ph.D what he wants to hear.
    Wither it has any connection to reality or not. They’re the Ph.D. And they will let you know that in a hurry should you have questions/concerns about a given subject.
    The professional class in this country has given themselves a big black eye. That loss of trust is a major problem.
    And I can’t help but think it’s just something else being done on propose.
    Cause every society needs a class of engineers to design, build, and run it. They are indispensable.

  2. Regarding Orwell’s quote about the “intelligentsia”, I am reminded of FA Hayek’s definition of an ‘intellectual’: a purveyor of second-hand information. Much like a used-car salesman, the intellectual is selling what he wants to sell, for his own benefit.

    At the risk of acting as an intellectual myself in this regard, I like the distinction Hayek makes in his 1949 paper “The Intellectuals and Socialism” (free to read from the Mises Institute):

    The term “intellectuals,” howeve r, does not at once convey a true picture of the large class to which we refer, and the fact that we have no better name by which to describe what we have called the secondhand dealers in ideas is not the least of the reasons why their power is not understood. Even persons who use the word “intellectual” mainly as a term of abuse are still inclined to withhold it from many who undoubtedly perform that characteristic function. This is neither that of the original thinker nor that of the scholar or expert in a particular field of thought. The typical intellectual need be neither: he need not possess special knowledge of anything in particular, nor need he even be particularly intelligent, to perform his role as intermediary in the spreading of ideas. What qualifies him for his job is the wide range of subjects on which he can readily talk and write, and a position or habits through which he becomes acquainted with new ideas sooner than those to whom he addresses himself.

    Until one begins to list all the professions and activities which belong to the
    class, it is difficult to realize how numerous it is, how the scope for activities constantly increases in modern society, and how dependent on it we all have become. The class does not consist of only journalists, teachers, ministers, lecturers, publicists, radio commentators, writers of fiction, cartoonists, and artists all of whom may be masters of the technique of conveying ideas but are usually amateurs so far as the substance of what they convey is concerned. The class also includes many professional men and technicians, such as scientists and doctors, who through their habitual intercourse with the printed word become carriers of new ideas outside their own fields and who, because of their expert knowledge of their own subjects, are listened with respect on most others. There is little that the ordinary man of today learns about events or ideas except through the medium of this class; and outside our special fields of work we are in this respect almost all ordinary men, dependent for our information and instruction on those who make it their job to keep abreast of opinion. It is the intellectuals in this sense who decide what views and opinions are to reach us, which facts are important enough to be told to us, and in what form and from what angle they are to be presented. Whether we shall ever learn of the results of the work of the expert and the original thinker depends mainly on their decision.

    • I like Hayek’s definition of “intellectual”. There’s a subtle air of contempt for such a person, who is peddling information someone else created or discovered rather than putting in the work to create anything themselves. A person full of information, but no discipline or understanding.

      It’s the same attitude Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcom, portrays in Jurassic Park [bold emphasis mine]:

      I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now [bangs on the table] you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. […] Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

      Jurassic Park is a fictional example of what happens when intellectuals try to be scientists and engineers, using second-hand knowledge they don’t truly understand — which is all Hayek’s version of an intellectual has.

  3. I’m reminded of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s Expert Witness that showed such terrifying lack of firearm safety protocols in the witness stand that the bailiff had to intervene.
    I don’t know this dude’s education level, but he is paid for expert testimony……..

  4. Well, yes; one has to be a VERY ‘nuanced’ thinker to be able to completely ignore common sense and obvious truths.

Comments are closed.