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comment by Odder
Odder  ·  132 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Steven Pinker—Certified Grief Counselor

As background for anyone unfamiliar, Pinker frequently tries to talk about how the world is actually getting better even though it might seem to be getting worse, but since he usually doesn't understand the arguments he's repeating, he quite frequently gets it wrong and does a disservice to the point he's trying to make. The late Hans Rosling was someone who made similar arguments, but as a statistician, Rosling was actually making conclusions based on real data, and therefore was much more capable of talking about exactly why we should be optimistic.

There really ought to be a word for the inability of people who are experts in one subject to engage other subjects as if they are anything other than an expert. Pinker also wrote a book recently on the historical and societal impact of the enlightenment, in addition to his earlier book on how violence has declined in the world over the past few decades. This is all kinda strange, considering he isn't a history professor or anyone else remotely qualified to write a book on these subjects.




nil  ·  131 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I believe the word you're looking for is Ultracrepidarian.

"A scientist talking about non-scientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." - Feynman

Odder  ·  130 days ago  ·  link  ·  

it looks like that is the word I'm looking for, thanks! I think I'll use the Feynman quote instead though, the word sounds too much like it has big teeth and belongs in the Cretaceous era.

johnnyFive  ·  131 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As someone with some background in history, it annoys me to no end how everyone seems to think it's an easy thing to understand and write about.