Sunday, September 12, 2010

We often forget that people are human.

Think of a field that you are knowledgeable in. It could be anything, really. Now consider this: Do you know everything in that field?

I was discussing the Aspie Quiz a while back, and one of the people I was discussing it with dismissed it because of the fact that they had been tested for a number of things (including OCD and ADD), and the doctor doing the testing would know if they were autistic, not some quiz online. It actually reminded me of something an autistic had mentioned on Wrong Planet. He said that his doctor dismissed autism because of the fact that he was well-spoken.

Of course not all doctors are going to assume that sort of thing, but misconceptions about many things abound and it is a fallacy to believe something is true merely because a figure in authority says it. While doctors are more likely to be right in their particular specialty, they are not necessarily always right. In many fields (including medicine and psychology), students are taught to believe certain things to be absolutely true and without question. It is heresy to to question this. In addition to this, there is the possibility of remembering something wrong or just plain ignorance of something (such as a particular study or experience working differently for them than the average).

This same problem can be applied to religion, as well. Sages are wise, but not all-knowing. In many cases, it is better to listen to the advice of the sages. Sages are sages because they're wiser than you, and thus more likely to be correct. If you were wise like a sage, you would be a sage as well (and thus have no use for the title). However, I would suggest that you always keep in mind that things are not true because people say they are true. Things are true because they are true. It is really that simple (and yet oh so complex).

It is never a good idea to assume things based on the source. If action is required without the ability to properly know something, then it would probably be best to act as if the source is right. However, if given the opportunity to question the source's knowledge, I would suggest that you do it. This is why second opinions exist, after all.

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