Why you should question what you really know?

A woman asking questions.

Do you really know?

The more a wise person learns, the more he or she realizes how much more there is to know.

One appreciates how limited their knowledge really is, and that in a lifetime of seventy or eighty years one can only scratch the surface of the things there are to learn.

They also realizes that many things people accept as fact today may be corrected with an increase of knowledge tomorrow.

This keeps one from being dogmatic and from manifesting that irritating “know-it-all” attitude.

Generally it is the person that has only a smattering of knowledge that develops this attitude.

It is particularly a characteristic of many youths today.

They learn a little, and then think they know it all.

Their newfound knowledge puffs them up, causing them to consider their parents and other older folks to be “old-fashioned.”

Unfortunately many persons carry this “know-it-all” attitude over into adult life.

Such persons will go to great ends to give the appearance of knowing.

Have you ever had the occasion to ask for directions, and, instead of the person simply saying he did not know, he directed you on a wild goose chase?

Certainly it is annoying when individuals give misleading information simply to give the appearance of being well informed.

But it can be more than annoying; it can at times cause great suffering and heartache.

Not long ago attractive eight-year-old died after being under the care of a chiropractor who claimed he could cure her cancerous eye with medicines and manipulation.

“I can cure your child without surgery,” he said.

He collected his consultation fees; but the girl suffered terribly and died about a month later.

Regardless of whether he was sincere or not, the chiropractor did not really know; he had no real evidence to support his claim.

So in an unprecedented ruling, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to imprisonment.

Certainly it is unloving and can even be criminal to propagate information you are unsure of.

A person should therefore think before speaking: “Do I really know this is true?

What evidence do I have that it is?

Could it be only hearsay?

How much better it would be to admit you do not know for sure than to make dogmatic assertions simply because you feel something to be true!

You may even have a basis for your contention, but that does not necessarily mean it is correct.

Due to inadequate methods of observation, faulty experiments or insufficient knowledge, humans sometimes reach different conclusions.

These are printed in reputable books and magazines, and conflicting ideas are thus presented.

So, can you truthfully say you really know for sure, even when you have a reputable source for your information?

A wise person will take into consideration that the conclusions of people are at times incorrect.

One will therefore not be dogmatic.

One will be reasonable, and will recognize that there may be more to the subject than just what he or she has heard or read.

For instance, one person may have learned from authoritative sources that the queen honeybee mates with only one drone bee on her mating flight.

Yet another person may have read the Scientific American, which says that she mates “successively with several drones (on the wing).”

There are endless similar examples of where observations and studies made by learned humans yield different conclusions.

Another thing to consider is that many persons in this world are interested in furthering their own ends, and so endeavor to keep up the appearance of knowing it all when they really do not.

In certain parts of the world, for instance, whole communities have been misinformed, and often exploited, by those who only pretend to know.

In some of such places the literate person is considered practically infallible.

Everything he says is believed without questions, because, as it is said, ‘He reads the book.’

This is true particularly in certain African countries; but, surprisingly, quite similar conditions exist in places where nearly everyone is literate.

In the Western world the pronouncements of men of science are likewise viewed as almost infallible.

When a scientist makes an announcement, observed Anthony Standen in his book Science Is a Sacred Cow:

he may not be understood, but at least he is certain to be believed. No one ever doubts what is said by a scientist.”

Just as many Africans gullibly accept the word of the person who ‘reads the book,’ so the general public parrots the sayings of scientists as though they were gospel truth.

You can therefore appreciate that, when you hear or read something, it is necessary to weigh the evidence.

Always keep in mind that human authorities and people are subject to error, and that sometimes they are even dishonest.

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