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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bogus or legitimate?

A friend pointed out to me recently that a warning I posted about the dangers of terrorism, allegedly from an Israeli agent, was improperly attributed and that the cited "agent" was a fraud, as pointed out in snopes.com

As a journalist, I should have checked the source more carefully, and I should have attributed the piece clearly.

But here we have something of a dilemma. Dr. Gary Habermas defines a scholarly expert as someone who has a terminal degree in a specific field of study. But is wisdom confined to the experts? Can a layperson come up with profound insight that could change the world for the better? I think so.

In recent years authors, scholars in specific fields (e.g., biology), have feigned expertise in theology, for example. It is almost as if their theology cannot be challenged except by another scholar (in biology). They find no problem in attempting to discuss Someone immaterial in material terms.

Sometimes a so-called expert is too close to his or her chosen field to see the challenges. The expert may have too much at stake to challenge one's peers.

Accordingly, we find parents with high-school educations challenging a school's curriculum chosen by a panel of PhD's who missed the blatant revisionism.

The friend who pointed out my problems with attribution hops freely from history to science to theology. He brings to bear a lifetime of education in a number of fields. He suggests that we don't see matters in terms of right or left but, rather, wise or unwise.

And so my "bogus" source poses concerns:

Aviv says that the U. S. government has in force a plan, that in the event of another terrorist attack, EVERYONE's ability to use cell phones, blackberries, etc., will immediately be cut-off, as this is the preferred communication source used by terrorists and is often the way that their bombs are detonated. (i.e. The government will shut off the cellular network in an attack!)

Does your family know what to do if you can't contact one another by phone? Where would you gather in an emergency? He says we should all have a plan that is easy enough for even our youngest children to remember and follow.

How will you communicate with your loved ones in the event you cannot speak to each other? You need to have a plan.

He stresses the importance of having a plan, that's agreed upon within your family, of how to respond in the event of a terrorist emergency. He urges parents to contact their children's schools and demand that the schools too, develop plans of actions, just as they do in Israel.

OK, perhaps he isn't an agent. But he offers wise advice. Whether our government shuts down cell phones is immaterial, if I see foreign governments adept in cyber attacks targeting our electrical grid. Thus, a family formulating a plan demonstrates wisdom

Yes, challenge sources. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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