Friday, September 10, 2021

Do your own research. Or don't.

Scott Adams frequently says that "you can't do your own research-- no one can; it's not a thing". He tends to claim that this is one of the most stupid things anyone can say. Well...

That depends on how you use the word "research".

I'll agree that most people are not good at doing their own research. 

Googling a topic isn't research. Not even if you go far down that rabbit hole. It can give you a starting place, but it isn't research. Maybe it can even help you discover the research others have done, but why should you trust them?

If you can't do your own research, then neither can scientists. Either humans can do research, or they can't. This doesn't mean that they are all good at it.

You don't need millions of stolen dollars to do research. In fact, that only guarantees you'll "discover" whatever it takes to keep those stolen dollars coming your way. You don't need million-dollar laboratories or libraries of obscure papers that are off-limits to the common people. Those might help in the same way Google could help, but unless you're good at doing research they are wasted.

You don't need a specific educational degree to do your own research. Someone who has jumped through the hoops to get a degree might still be able to think independently enough to do research, but these days that's fairly unlikely. Research takes intelligence, not schooling.

Yes, you can do your own research. It's not easy and most people don't. But to claim that no one can... that's either ignorant or dishonest.


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