Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
Thesis: serious scholarship produces something of value which those who have not engaged in it in some cases cannot properly appreciate. Their failure to appreciate it is what makes so many CrankS. Why should we ''care'' about idiosyncratic views of someone from the outside looking in? Usually, no matter how intelligent and wide-ranging one's experience, if one has not done ''serious study'' of the subject, one is bound to sound like a crank, and you will simply annoy and turn away serious students of the subject and those who value serious scholarship. And by "serious scholarship" that I do ''not'' mean university study--university study is only one, certainly not infallible, way to engage in serious study. What, then, does serious study of a subject require? It requires, first, acknowledging that you don't know very much about the subject. Second, it requires reading many books and (for academic and most professional disciplines) journal articles, until one is familiar with the leading theories, concepts, jargon, people, and historical trends that are recognized by experts in the field. Serious study of a subject does ''not''--emphatically ''not''--require that one buy into any particular current theories.