College Essay Examples

Our Relationship with Experts


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Francis Bacon explains that four idols mislead human beings and minimize their abilities to know the truth. The idols of the tribe are the inborn tendency to assume that human knowledge, as perceived from the environment, is the infallible truth (Bacon, 1972). The idols of the marketplace explain that the use of the wrong words when interacting with other people is a cause of misunderstandings. The idols of the theatre refer to the belief in systems, which causes a false view of the world. The idols of the cave are the misguided thoughts that emanate from individual experiences. Social media has a significant effect on people in modern society. Combined with the four idols, the contemporary use of social media negatively affects people’s relationships with experts. 

The idols of the tribe, combined with social media, degrade experts by ignoring their professional information regarding the realities of life.  Social media is awash with information that seeks to confirm what people assume and generalize. The people who post the information on the interactive forum seek to gain the approval of other people, market their products, or do other things from which they can benefit either socially or materially. They gain from other people’s weaknesses of seeking comfort through the reaffirmation of what they know.  The false comfort that their followers get from such misinformation leads them to the belief that they are correct since someone else shares the same sentiments. They ignore the facts offered by people who have thoroughly researched and conducted experiments on the same matter by opting to consume only that which does not bruise their ego. 

Social media also leads people to the wrong course by derailing their thoughts upon the use of unfamiliar words. In some cases, knowledgeable persons seek to educate others by presenting facts on social media.  They explain the facts using uncommon language which does not necessarily match what other people know. The choice of words that they apply in the communication sometimes prompts arguments. However, the worst issue about the hardly harmonious conversations is that the less knowledgeable persons ignore the factual information presented by the experts. They lose more, since they are the people who should be seeking knowledge, but the use of words they consider vulgar leads them to the wrong conclusions. 

Entangling self in erroneous social media dogmas creates a sense of resistance against facts advanced by experts. Some people utilize social media platforms to achieve the goal of spreading unconfirmed and opinionated information regarding religion, science, and philosophy (Bacon, 1972). Their indoctrination abilities lead others to the belief that the information they present is correct. In reality, what they consider to be facts is erroneous. The people who consume such information fall victim to the wrong doctrines, thereby ignoring the information presented by experts. The fact that the doctrines affect the beliefs and emotions of the persons makes the idol of the theatre the most relevant amongst the idols. It affects many people in a major way. 

The idols of the cave also significantly affect the relationship with experts. It leads to the individual belief that what one knows is the infallible truth. Social media makes it worse by offering platforms through which people can justify their thoughts and beliefs without physically encountering the experts who are against their opinion.  The virtual spaces enable them to state and defend their opinion without major consequences, thereby minimizing their chances of gaining meaningful information from experts. For example, it is commonplace to find charismatic persons presenting their opinion on Facebook posts but effectively arguing against experts and winning the public’s affection despite their inaccurate articulations. Doing so minimizes the chances of experts being heard and approved.

The four idols, as explained by Francis Bacon, negatively affect the relationship between people and experts. It diminishes their ability to learn from knowledgeable persons on various and numerous issues that may be affecting them. Each of the idols has a unique and significant effect on the mental growth of the person. People who fail to recognize them are likely to fall victim to the negative effects that accompany the cave, theatre, marketplace, and tribe idols. However, awareness of the idols can minimize their impact through deliberate control. 

According to Francis Brown, the four idols are responsible for the notions and perceptions we uphold in our lives without taking time to deduce their wellness and reliability. As per his informed conclusions, the four caves of information deter persons from attaining the desired information and becoming the best version of themselves. In the wake of social media, people are inherently inclined to believe that only their experiences matter and are quite to shun away those who share dissimilar opinions. Of particular essence is how they are quite to seize pieces of information that favor their school of thought and reject all other pieces of critical information without being keen to deduce the intended meaning. The entirety of the cocoons that people have decided to surround themselves in are responsible for demeaning expert knowledge.

In the spirit of debunking the Four Idols, the Idols of Tribe discredit expert knowledge are human beings are inclined to believe that their senses are not subject to external forces. Rather than using the privileged information at their disposal for their good, they rely on their senses to deduce their intended meaning of the information (Bacon, 1972). More often than not, social media acts as a cocoon in which people hide their feelings and display only what they want others to know. Rather than exploring the facts and figures, they are quick to jump to conclusions that rarely have factual shreds of evidence as to their bottom line. More often than not, we ought to rely on expert information as the basis for making informed decisions regarding our lives. However, social media and people’s inclination towards the four idols plays a tremendous role in discrediting expert information. Failure to adhere to expert information often leads to inconclusive arguments that are rarely based on facts. Without expert knowledge, human beings are prone to baseless conclusions that are neither here nor there.

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According to the Idols of the Tribe, human beings have replaced credible information from expert sources and have chosen to rely on their intuition. The mind and other common senses can be quite deceiving especially when conclusions are made based on own perception rather than relying on facts and figures (Bacon, 1972). Basing life on mere assumptions and generalization is quite dangerous as it blinds one’s ability to make informed decisions. Adding insult to injury, social media widens the rift as people are inclined towards the perception of their peers, without deducing the credibility of the information. In truism, social media acts as a mask that hinders people from accepting their real selves and curtails their ability to make rational decisions regarding their lives. 

Social media derails the progress of reality as it fronts flaunting what one does not have rather than appreciating inadequacies. To a large extent, social media is a breeding ground for curated information, with their bloggers going to extreme extents to sieve desired information to sell to their viewers (Bacon, 1972). The originality of the information that we fetch online is biased as the platforms tell us what we want to hear and not what we ought to hear. 

In truism, the four idols explained by Francis Brown and social media are the breeding grounds in which humanity has lost touch with reality. Rather than relying on expert knowledge as the basis of making informed decisions, they tend to follow their intuitions and those of their peers, while shunning away expert information. 



Bacon, F. (1972). The four idols. Readings in Philosophy, New York: Barnes and Noble, 91-101.

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