Journalism professor Angela Phillips was the 2019 winner of the Philosophy Now (UK) Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity. From her acceptance speech:
"Stupidity is not about intelligence, or education. Rather, a stupid action or statement usually follows an untested assumption. It is stupid to leave your house without your keys because you didn’t check that they were where you thought they ought to be. And our assumptions too often come from a broad understanding of the world that we have stopped bothering to reconsider, because, ‘Hey, we’ve always thought that, so it must be true’. Broadcasting a conclusion based on an untested assumption simply compounds the error. ... [T]he very first step in the consideration of any new piece of information should be to stop and check your own preconceptions. Whatever one’s worldview, if the evidence doesn’t tell you what you thought it would, then you need to reconsider your own assumptions before rejecting the evidence. I tried to follow that rule in my own journalism, and now my job as a professor of journalism is to teach other people: • To be careful; • To ask yourself, ‘Is this plausible?’; • To respect the evidence;• To check your own prejudices; • To keep in mind the prejudices of those who employ you; • To correct the record if you find that the evidence doesn’t accord with your first impressions."
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