A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing

Topics: Germany, Judaism, Jews Pages: 4 (1529 words) Published: May 6, 2002
Throughout history there have been many individuals whose statements have made an impact on the lives of those around them and on the world. A person may say something out of impulse that sounds bizarre, but when others realize what was said they begin to feel moved. Alexander Pope once said, "A little learning is a dangerous thing." (Phrase Finder) This essentially means a small amount of knowledge can cause people to think they are more expert than they are and consequently make unwise choices. An individual's confidence of being an expert on a subject when in reality he is not can be a hazardous state of mind and has never been more apparent than in the twentieth century.

The nuclear reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in New Jersey illustrates the validity of Pope's statement. "On Sunday afternoon, while Carter was still there, Victor Stello found the proof he needed. They discovered that Mattson and his team of consultants had been using the wrong formula to determine the risk posed by the hydrogen bubble."(Roger Mattson) This clearly shows that the wrong information used in the calculations for the reactor caused the whole project to fail. The scientists were hooked on the fact that they were using the correct formula that they did not make sure that it was correct in its entirety. The carelessness of the scientists resulted in millions of dollars spent for clean up and contamination of land and water. This contamination could be lethal to individuals and is all because of a very simple mistake. If the ego of the scientists had been smaller the entire disaster may have been avoided.

Pope knew that little knowledge can cause people to act based on rumors which is exemplified by the destruction of Merrill Hall. Merrill Hall was destroyed by ELF (Earth Liberation Front) arsonists who said that Toby Bradshaw's study of tree genetics was causing harm to the environment. (McCormick p.1) However, what the arsonists said and what actually happened are two...
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