How to fool smart people

I ran across a little essay this morning that’s rather commonsensical, once you start thinking about it.*  The last thing an intelligent person, or most intelligent people, want to show is an inability to understand something.  So, nonsensical jargon and ludicrous concepts couched in technical language can be used quite effectively to fool them.  I see this all the time in academia.  Sound smart, put up pretty graphs, and use the right terms, and most people in the audience will be eating out of your hand.

Now, it seems to me that this also comes into play in theological discussions.  Take last night, for example.  My old friend Paul puts up a blunt, clear response to a liberal theologian, who then responds with something that sounds so…intelligent, but once I started parsing it, had a gigantic hole.  The author had little idea about the boundaries between science and metaphysics.

If I have time today (doubtful–probably tomorrow…), I’m going to do a bit of fisking to make my point.

* But I do not endorse this site in general…I think a little browsing around it will make that obvious.


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