By Robert N. Proctor
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Additional resources for Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance
In other w o r d s , suppose we ask a b o u t the transmission of k n o w l e d g e not by asking the usual social studies of k n o w l e d g e question, " H o w does replication o c c u r ? " but instead by probing the staggeringly large effort de voted to impeding the transmission of knowledge. Already before America's entry into World War II, nuclear scientists began a self-imposed ban on pub lishing matters relating to nuclear fission. T h e effect w a s immediate: N a z i scientists spent the w a r struggling to moderate neutrons (slow them d o w n to the point where they were effective in causing fission) using heavy water (deuterium) rather than the vastly more useful graphite.
100 B C ) To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge. Nicolaus Copernicus ( 1 4 7 3 - 1 5 4 3 ) Ignorance of certain subjects is a great part of wisdom. Hugo De Groot (1583-1645) Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. T h o m a s Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia ( 1 7 8 5 ) All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
12 T h e real heart of a classification guide is the identification and enunciation of the specific items or elements of informa tion w a r r a n t i n g security protection. Regardless of the size or c o m p l e x i t y of the subject matter of the guide, or the level at w h i c h the classification guide is issued, certain identifiable features of the information create or contribute to actual or expected national security a d v a n t a g e . 13 Getting at those "special features or critical items of i n f o r m a t i o n " and tying them to the net national advantage is the primary task of the classi fier.