15 May 2016

Wise Commencement Words: Ignorance is Not A Virtue

Posted by Dan Satterfield

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Some advice to students: Avoid people who criticize or belittle knowledge.

Some very wise words at the commencement today at Rutgers University, and while I suspect that a large majority of younger folks understand this, it’s worth sharing.

“Facts. Evidence. Reason. Logic. An understanding of science.These are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens.”

“We traditionally have valued those things, but if you were listening to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from. So class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be: in politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness, that’s just not knowing what you’re talking about. And yet we’ve become confused about this.”

“The world is more interconnected than ever before and it’s becoming more connected every day. Building walls won’t change that.”

-Barack Obama
President of the United States

These words have the ring of Carl Sagan in them, and students, take heed, if you are being told that what’s in every science book in every college classroom worldwide is wrong, you’re tilting at windmills. The mob may win some temporary victories, but you’ll eventually lose. Sagan wrote about his fear of an America where more and more there seemed to be “a kind of celebration of ignorance”.  Fact, logic, and scientific method will always win in the end.

You can watch the Rutgers Commencement address below:

It always has.