With expert advice by bring ing to bear disparate

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with expert advice, by bring- ing to bear disparate sources of knowledge, by understanding the structure of evidence and claims, and by having the confidence to raise questions' we were able to intervene in empowered, freeing and life preserving ways. None of us had train- ing in biology, medicine or any science, though all of us had considerable formal edu- cation and confidence in our ability to research and think about any issue. My own knowledge of critical thinking and general issues around statistical reasoning was cer- tainly valuable but, as it turned out, what was most crucial was my wife's awareness of DNA testing to track cancers-an awareness which was a result of her interest and pleasure in reading about science. The confidence and intellectual abilities we used are ones that any graduate of a university should possess. I believe that the goal ofproducing graduates who have these abilities and attitudes is a way of making meaningfrrl the traditional liberal ideal of education as intellectual liberation and empowerment' And never has the need and opportunity for people to become empowered by knowledge been greater. Thanks to the Internet, everyone can have access to an incredible amount of information' But making good use of this access requires its own expertise. Because we are dependent on experts for most of what we knoq intellectual liberation comes crucially from knowing how to make (thoughtfirl and critical) use of expert knowledge. I characterize
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B r Selecled Essoys for Anolysis 427 a person who is good at dealing with experts and expertise outside their own field as a "competent lalperson. " It is not only in scientific areas that we need a layperson's competenry. When we attend movies and plays, when we read for pleasure, we do so as laypeople, and we do so with varying degrees of competence. Non-professional members of an audience should be competent laypeople. More generally, competentlalpeopleare peoplewho: . Have a broad understanding of the intellectual landscape
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with expert advice by bring ing to bear disparate sources...

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