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I am a computer programmer. I do programming professionally and for a laugh.

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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Ignorance is not a virtue

Just watched a video of POTUS Barack Obama talking at some uni graduation. It does touch various points I vigorously argue daily, which makes a blog post inevitable.

First of all the transcript is here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/15/remarks-president-commencement-address-rutgers-state-university-new

Basically it says: It's not cool to not know what you're talking about.

These are my highlights;

- Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science -- these are good things. (Applause.) These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens.
- In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. (Applause.) It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. (Applause.) That's not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. (Laughter.) That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about.
- But when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem. (Applause.) You know, it's interesting that if we get sick, we actually want to make sure the doctors have gone to medical school, they know what they’re talking about. (Applause.) If we get on a plane, we say we really want a pilot to be able to pilot the plane. (Laughter.) And yet, in our public lives, we certainly think, “I don't want somebody who’s done it before.” (Laughter and applause.) The rejection of facts, the rejection of reason and science -- that is the path to decline.

Of course he is the president, so let me paraphrase a bit;

Talking BS is not cool. Dismissing facts, logic, reason just because it does not serve one's purpose is not cool. Making a totally irrelevant remark just to say something is also not cool.

We see this happen daily. From politics to ordinary meetings. BS can vary from a blatant lie to an out of the blue irrelevant fact. Unfortunately people are usually kind and just roll their eyes.

But no, here is the correct response: 'Wait what? What on earth are you talking about?'

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