Fear and Loathing in Minneapolis

Good morning.

I'm afraid to go to the SkepchiCON party tonight because I might get into a conversation with someone and since it will be loud, and we will have to shout to be heard, we will be shouting at each other.

At the "evolution from the experts" panel, I want to spend more time talking about what Evolution Is rather than what happened in the news over the last year, but I'm afraid that will bore the audience.

Despite my deep commitment to the study of evolution and defense of evolution-related teaching in schools, I'm starting to realize that global climate change is more important as a political issue, and thus I'm really looking forward to the Global Warming session tomorrow morning, though I'm afraid that I won't have as much to add as my esteemed colleagues.

I have grown accustom to spending most of my waking hours in close range of an intense, thoughtful, hard working, and dear friend who is visiting from far away lands, and I'm afraid I'll experience withdraw when she goes back home tomorrow.

I am afraid that there are human endeavors including but not limited to Skepticism and related activities that can be carried out by generations of rank amateurs who think of themselves as professionals for no other reason than the fact that they don't have to use math to do their thing and therefore never stumbled (but also never really stood up). There are very few rank amateur theoretical physicists or bridge building engineers for reasons that do not apply to, say, "doing" Skepticism or "doing" biology or "doing" politics.

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Your mention of rank amateurs who think of themselves as professionals reminded me of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. It's probably not what you had in mind, but I thought I'd mention it.

As for the fear, I think generations of rank amateurs are harmless compared to the few highly competent frauds and charlatans propagating bad ideas. Those I fear and loathe most.

By bibliovore (not verified) on 02 Jul 2011 #permalink