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We do not know what we do not know.

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  • We do not know what we do not know.

    This is such an obvious axiom we are likely to not contemplate its significance.

    When it comes to world geography, Columbus thought the ocean west of Portugal was the same ocean east of India and the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Accordingly, he considered sailing west from Spain would have a direct path to the Islands of Indonesia. Columbus did not know that the Americas would block that possibility or the there were two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific. His presupposition was so powerful that he named the Caribbean Islands as if they were the Indies, and the indigenous people of the Americas continue to be called Indians. Accordingly, for centuries the Caribbean was labeled the West Indies on maps. His geographical ignorance demonstrates this simple axiom. Figuratively, he was ignorantly blind.

    If an education educates it ought to at least remove this blindness of not recognizing what we do not know we do not know. If an education trains the educated remain blind. Education in the sciences and technical disciplines trains rather than educates. Thus, the designation of the Bachelor of Science degree while the liberal arts degree receives the designation of the Bachelor of Arts. These differences provide less than what is implied here in their use, but the issue is that a B.A. degree should expose the educated to broader range of knowledge than a B.S. This translates into the B.S. degree providing more advanced technical skills at the loss of a broader exposure to knowledge.

    Because of these same ideas about concentrating studies, the self taught have less acceptance, economic, and academic value than those receiving a programmed education. Unless one knows where to look he is blind to what he does not know. The advantage to a "taught" education is not that the educated are just taught where to look for themselves, but the looking is done in groups or classes where the seminars provide presentation, discussion, and criticism. This experience is superior to just reading where one is told to look. Another advantage to being taught is that knowledge accumulates through successive generations. For the emphasis of this topic this means there are fewer blind spots of what we do not know.

    For the discipline of Bible study there is an understandable example of not knowing what we do not know. For many, in the predominately Protestant American of the past centuries there was only the King James Bible. Some if not many believers were unaware of the original languages of the biblical texts. The only text of which they were aware was the KJV. Out of this “blindness” developed the KJV only sect of Protestantism. This is understandable given the teaching about the inspiration and authority of the Bible when all that one has ever been aware of is the KJV. It is the KJV which one assumes is the inspired words of God. This idea is so firmly entrenched in the thought of a few of these believers that even when presented with a more accurate place to look for biblical knowledge they remain blinded by their own choice. We do not know what we do not know but sometimes we just do not want to know what we do not know.

    We do not know what we do not know is ignorance and is forgivable.
    However, when we just do not want to know what we do not know, it is stupidity.
    Unlike ignorance, which is a condition related to experience, stupidity is in the fabric of being human (human nature), therefore, it also, ought to be forgivable.

    Let us plead our case before the Father.
    Father, forgive our stupidity.
    Last edited by glen smith; February 16, 2018, 05:02 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks Glen.