Being an autodidact is a good thing…, but it can also be a very bad thing, because when we teach ourselves, we only know to ask the question we think of by ourselves. We tend to only read the material that interests us, or answers our specific questions, and that means we haven’t read all those boring textbooks that are essential to providing us with an adequate grasp of the field.
Which struck home. I have a B.A. in theology (where I focussed on languages), but I’d say 99% of what I know I acquired by reading since graduating. Like Carrier, I am often convinced of my correctness for no better reason that it hasn’t occurred to me that I might be wrong. Being a passionate auto-didact, I suspect, is linked to intellectual arrogance. Something which I have called Carrier out on before, but of which I also regularly partake.