On the one hand we have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which seems to work pretty well. You will note the modesty of the name: control and prevention as opposed to elimination or eradication.
Conversely, thanks to Jimmy Carter we have the federal Department of Education, when it would be preferable to imitate the CDC model and simply try our best to prevent the most common stupidities on a pandemic scale. Instead, the DoED -- like all leftist projects -- ends up spreading the pathologies it presumes to cure. Democrats have for decades been living off the messes they make, whether the question is race, poverty, crime, energy, education, gender, whatever.
Why must wackiness this way come? Because, as Schuon explains, "there is inevitably a separation between the thing to be expressed and its expression, that is to say, between reality and a doctrine."
Nor does it matter one whit whether we are speaking of a scientific doctrine or a religious one: in the final analysis -- assuming one wishes to be intellectually honest -- both necessarily fall short of the mark, since "no doctrine can be identified with what it intends to express" (emphasis mine). No matter how accurate the map, the map can never be the territory. If it is the territory, then it is no longer a map.
Most religious folk intuitively understand this. It's those naive devotees of scientism we have to keep an eye on. Hayek in his way and Gödel in his are two of the main inoculations against scientistic presumption and stupidity. For example, thanks to Hayek, we know that rational planning is impossible under socialism, for the information is infinite while the minds of the planners are finite.
In short, finite minds do not possess infinite knowledge. Ah, but they can always force the issue, which is why on the left power is substituted for knowledge:
Hayek argued that all forms of collectivism could only be maintained by a central authority of some kind..., and that such planning in turn leads towards totalitarianism.... a central planning authority would have to be endowed with powers that would impact and ultimately control social life, because the knowledge required for centrally planning an economy is inherently decentralised, and would need to be brought under control.
It's the same with science more generally: scientism reduces a complex reality to a linear equation, for example, vis-a-vis climate change models that pretend CO2 can be turned like a knob on a thermostat to control temperature. But we know full well that CO2 levels have been much higher in the past, with no corresponding increase in temperature.
This post is veering and even careening into the Great Unintended. Focus!
So, how do we preserve truth while minimizing stupidity? Back to what Schuon was saying: "If the expression of a thing could be adequate or exhaustive in an absolute sense or from every point of view," then "there would no longer be any difference between the image and its prototype," with the result being that "it would be pointless to speak of thought or even simply of language."
It sounds obvious, and yet, this is another one of those Keys to Everything. Moreover, every inadequate doctrine gets this wrong, which in turn causes our necessary and inevitable stupidity to become "crystalized," so to speak; instead of a way to truth, it becomes an infirmity, a stumbling block.
Hovering over the whole thing is the principle of creation. Tweaking what Schuon says above, if our expression could be adequate or exhaustive in an absolute sense or from every point of view, then we would be the Creator, not the creature. Rather, there is an absolutely necessary gap between Creator and creature, and it is precisely this gap that simultaneously facilitates both our quasi-divine knowledge and our ineradicable ignorance.
Thus, our knowledge always faces in two directions. Scientism, of course, faces only down, and thereby negates itself. Likewise, there are stupid form of religiosity that face only up, thereby negating the world, or at least rendering it completely unintelligible.
No one has expressed this orthoparadox more clearly than Josef Pieper. In a passage called Things Are Unfathomable Because They Are Created, he writes that
it becomes evident that being true and being unfathomable go together, and that the comprehensibility of a thing can never be fully exhausted by any finite mind -- for all things are created, which means that the reason they are knowable is also the reason they are unfathomable....
For this reason our questing mind in its search for the essence of things, even of the humblest and simplest things, finds itself perforce on a path without an attainable destination. This is so because all things are created; it is so because the inner lucidity of all things flows from their original in the infinitely radiant fullness of the Divine Mind.