Professor Steven Sheppard writes:

Please note this report.

Perhaps those who are not epidemiologists or health care professionals should speak with less certainty.

This is more or less the exact opposite of the lesson of a good liberal arts education. What are they teaching at Williams? Back in the day, economics professors like Morty Schapiro, Cappy Hill, Mike McPherson and Steve Lewis taught us, and showed us, that it was possible for someone with a Williams education to have an informed opinion about topics of the day. Of course, we should read the experts, but not blindly. We should be open-minded, but not naive, skeptical but not dogmatic. Life is never certain, but the magic of Williams was that it made us better citizens, better able to form and express opinions on topics like: Should our local public schools be open this fall. Is that not what Professor Sheppard teaches his students today? Keep in mind:

1) For any non-trivial topic, the experts will disagree. Does Sheppard really believe that experts are unified about whether or not public schools should be open? If so, they why are they open right now in (many) countries around the world?

2) Decisions must be made. Williamstown Elementary School will either be open or closed come September. There are costs and benefits for either option. There is uncertainty. But none of those complexities will allow us to avoid the choice. What will Sheppard recommend? What will he say to his fellow Williamstown residents, like Professor Steven Miller, who disagree?

3) How delicious! Sheppard is busy telling us that we should write with “less certainty” when he himself misinterpreted the link he provides as evidence! Ha!

EphBlog would love to hear more from local residents on this topic! Please tell us the state of the debate.

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