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When we're educated beyond our intelligence: we're drowning in information because we don't know how to swim.


While working on some art projects recently, I had sermons running in the background. I don’t always catch everything but I suspect God gently whacks me upside the head when something comes on I need to hear.


“People are educated beyond their intelligence,” the speaker said.1


Wait. What?


I pushed the progress bar back a bit to hear it again.


“People are educated beyond their intelligence,” he said again, but this time I had a pencil ready to write some notes. He went on to describe how people don’t know how to think about the information they consume.


Wow. He just explained the internet.


He was bold enough to call out flat earthers and allude to other such conspiracies.


That church is going to get a deluge of email from flat earthers, was my first thought. But then I listened further and continued to think about the ideas of wisdom and knowledge long after the project was done.


I’d covered that ground before.


In 2016, I foolishly decided to do a “short” personal Bible study on wisdom and knowledge and the differences therein. I posited several questions in a notebook that had been nagging at me, and the idea was to then do a dive into what the Bible said about wisdom and knowledge and the pursuit of each, and then see what the answers to the questions would be.


“In An Information Age, Are We Playing God?” I wrote at the top of the first page.


  • What is God’s view of wisdom, knowledge, information, and understanding?

  • What happened in the garden? Did the serpent use knowledge to bring sin into the world? Is it wrong to want to know?

  • What is the danger of knowing what only God is to know? Of trying to know it?

  • What is the difference between wisdom, knowledge, and information?

  • What does it mean that we are to love God with our hearts, soul, and mind?

  • Why is wisdom more important than knowledge? How does wisdom make knowledge less dangerous?

  • When is knowledge a dangerous weapon? Is there a danger of knowing too much, even if it’s true?

  • Does the pursuit of knowledge become an idol or addiction? How do we pursue it without abandoning God?

  • Which leads or points us to God, wisdom or knowledge, and why?

  • How can we be Christians in a flooded information age? How should we respond to so much information? How do we verify what is true, and of that, what is necessary for us to know?

  • What about the pursuit or pride in having a “secret” or insider knowledge? Where does that lead?


After my mind exploded and my notebook of initially careful outlines morphed into a mess, I stepped back from the Bible study and let the notebook sit on the shelf.


What had inspired it was the Dakota Access pipeline protest, where so many people had a kind of knowledge but no wisdom. I saw how information could lead to prejudiced knowledge, partial knowledge, full knowledge, and overwhelming knowledge after living through the times of the Dakota Access pipeline protest. But then came the pandemic, the 2020 election, the rise of trutherism and a fixation on conspiracies (whether true or not), January 6, and the rise of antisemitism on the far left and far right, and the topic of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and information seemed more important than ever.


We have people who don’t know how to think about information, and unless we each choose an active state instead of a passive state—the latter of which is what clickbait headlines and social media encourage—we’re in trouble if we keep consuming information without understanding.


To illustrate, let me explain how I came to the conclusion I did in regards to not receiving the vaccine for SARSCOV-2. Please hear me out, as it did not involve a deep dive into a conspiracy.


  1. Most vaccines take seven to ten years to test and bring to market, many not successfully accomplishing that goal.

  2. Proper testing control groups and the time to compare outcomes are necessary to determine efficacy and potential harm.

  3. This was a novel (new) virus.

  4. Operation Warp Speed took less than a year to test and release on the general public, with control groups that were quickly vaccinated before time to compare outcomes was done.

  5. Two of the pharmaceutical companies used a new kind of vaccine (mRNA), a method that one of the companies had tried to focus on in prior years but had not been successful with past attempts to use for other viruses.

  6. In light of this, it was illogical to receive this vaccine. It had not been properly tested or proven to work.


There is much more to my reasoning and conclusion, and additional thoughts since that initial thought process, but this is the stripped-down logic that anyone could have come to if they knew these basic facts about vaccines. It is not an illogical conclusion, nor is it me flipping a coin and making a gamble in my choice.


When we don’t have the ability to process the information flying at us at Warp Speed, we generally look to someone else who seems smart and knows what they’re doing to tell us what to do and how to think.


Have you ever gotten into a discussion with someone who believes the earth is flat?2 I wouldn’t recommend it, but the frustration is that you realize you’re arguing about observational science, i.e. science that can be, at this very moment, observed to be true. This is different than historical or theoretical science, which cannot be observed or is not yet able to be proven.


We can literally, right now, prove that the earth is round.


But there is so much information out there, so many well-crafted videos, so many blog posts, so many celebrities and leaders and movements espousing the belief, so much passion and desire to believe against anything that was mainstream or stemmed from some “global cabal” that the sway is strong and, as that preacher in the video I mentioned at the start of this blog post said, people are educated beyond their intelligence.


It sounds offensive.


How dare he say people are receiving an education, whether it’s from a school or university or YouTube, that exceeds their intelligence? How dare he suggest people are dumb?


That’s not what he’s saying.


Information is just a pile of letters and numbers if we don’t recognize it for what it is and if we don’t know what to do with it or how to categorize it. It’s not about who is dumb, it’s about how well-versed we are in knowing what to do with information.


I don’t want to mock people, having been on the receiving end of mockery during the pandemic, and also because of my faith and beliefs which are, essentially, laughable to almost everyone (though, I would argue, not exactly illogical). I understand that on some things, the belief is strong and passionate and I don’t want to think any person is a joke or of low value even if I don’t esteem what they say they believe.


But I am cautious.


I want a standard process for what to do when I come across new information. There is too much information on too many topics from too many viewpoints and unless you have a strong understanding of the material or a decent logical thought process to help you know how to sift through it or, worst case scenario, pull a Joseph from the Bible and just flee from it instead of being trapped in the rabbit hole, there’s trouble ahead.


Knowing beyond comprehension is drowning. Knowing beyond what God needs you to know is distraction. Knowing what God doesn’t want you to know is disabling.


That is, some things we can’t know. Some things we don’t have to know. And some things we shouldn’t pursue the knowledge of for our own good, whether the rabbit trail leads you to what’s true or not.


I’m quite certain I need to resume my study on wisdom and knowledge that I started back in 2016, because things have become dire since then. It’s no longer an abstract question, but a life-or-death matter.


The reason we're drowning in information is we don't know how to swim. The information age exceeded our ability to process it correctly. Small wonder we look to AI as salvation for our overloaded brains. We have become people who trust anyone or no one instead of thinking carefully.



 

1 Burke Zack, October 25, 2023, “God’s Coming Soon.” Church of His Presence.


2 Interestingly enough, the flat earth movement has a strong following in the far right, and it also has some ties to antisemitism movements. This explains why, in my deathly forays over on Gab to try to figure out what is going on in people’s minds in these end times, I see various topics of Jew-hatred, Holocaust denial, Hitler praise, flat earth, moon landing is faked, 9/11, Epstein, pandemic, and white supremacy oddly mixing together in one foul pot, a poisonous soup of just enough tiny bits of truth simmering in oceans of lies. I’m theorizing that deceit is magnetic, and tends to try to weave itself into whatever truth it can find to hook someone down towards rank deception.

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