Challenging the experts...

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,313
For me at least, this is a very thought provoking article. Unlike some people, I've never had a problem with authority. Quite the contrary, I've always respected and trusted people whose credentials and experience prove to be superior to mine. I consider every interaction I have with them as an opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge.
But in this era in which information (both good and bad) is available to anyone who seeks it, I can't help but notice that objective skeptical thought has become scarce. A healthy skeptic demands experimental proof and well documented sources when unusual claims are made. But others go too far in the name of schepticism and simply won't accept truth even when it's being rubbed in their faces.
This article shows the other side of the coin... that of the members of the scientific community that have lost their patience and now demand that their views go unquestioned by others not familiar with their fields.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...as-the-right-to-challenge-scientific-experts/
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,217
You have opened a very wide field here.
The first time I corrected my teacher, I was 7 years old.
I've been watching a site called http://www.sciencedaily.com/ but it more and more resembles The National Enquirer.
Millions of people that did not get Measles or Polio can't be wrong.
I would never tell a Hydrogen Bomb that it doesn't have sufficient credentials.
Every generation of people has despaired of the next generation.
Even on this site, we struggle to, "prove" the basics to some people.
This topic can take all the time and energy you have.
 

Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,226
For me at least, this is a very thought provoking article. Unlike some people, I've never had a problem with authority. Quite the contrary, I've always respected and trusted people whose credentials and experience prove to be superior to mine. I consider every interaction I have with them as an opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge.
But in this era in which information (both good and bad) is available to anyone who seeks it, I can't help but notice that objective skeptical thought has become scarce. A healthy skeptic demands experimental proof and well documented sources when unusual claims are made. But others go too far in the name of schepticism and simply won't accept truth even when it's being rubbed in their faces.
This article shows the other side of the coin... that of the members of the scientific community that have lost their patience and now demand that their views go unquestioned by others not familiar with their fields.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...as-the-right-to-challenge-scientific-experts/
I concur with your point to the extent that 'credentialism' is a sad and, I might add, rather embarrassing, 'comment' upon those whom, lacking the requisite eloquence, and/or courage of their convictions, seek refuge 'back of' their qualifications... That said I find nothing quite as repugnant as the craven legions of 'followers' whose cowardice and sloth enable such behavior -- and so much worse!

Great call!:)

Best regards
HP
 
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Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,313
You have opened a very wide field here.
The first time I corrected my teacher, I was 7 years old.
I've been watching a site called http://www.sciencedaily.com/ but it more and more resembles The National Enquirer.
Millions of people that did not get Measles or Polio can't be wrong.
I would never tell a Hydrogen Bomb that it doesn't have sufficient credentials.
Every generation of people has despaired of the next generation.
Even on this site, we struggle to, "prove" the basics to some people.
This topic can take all the time and energy you have.
My point is this: Science has advanced tremendously over the last couple of hundred years (that's relative of course, and only my humble opinion) but what has not changed one bit is human nature... we're still driven by ego, and we still crave the admiration of others, often times forgetting to be grateful for the blessings that have been poured on us... thinking about them rather as rightfully earned qualities instead of recognizing them as the undeserved gifts that they really are... and even the best of the best stumble on those issues.
This site is a good example of what I'm saying. I find the AAC forum fascinating, and without a doubt, the best community of its kind in the cyberspace, but even here every once in a while you can see hurt egos that flare up, and authoritarianism rear its ugly head... We tend to forget that although some of us might know far more things and in more depth than others, we all are perpetual students.
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,566
Unlike some people, I've never had a problem with authority.
I don't have any problem with authorities either, but I have a HUGE problem with authoritarians.

Quite the contrary, I've always respected and trusted people whose credentials and experience prove to be superior to mine.
The key word in that sentence is "prove." I will consider someone an authority if, over time, they consistently show themselves worthy of being considered one-- and anyone who demands to be considered an authority, is automatically disbarred from consideration. At least, by me.

A healthy skeptic demands experimental proof and well documented sources when unusual claims are made.
And even, sometimes, when the claims are not unusual, for it's always good to be willing to examine premises.

But others go too far in the name of schepticism and simply won't accept truth even when it's being rubbed in their faces.
It is their absolute right to do so, even when they go "too far." Jenny McCarthy may be a loon (and IMO she is), but the correct response is not to censor and suppress her views, but subject them to public ridicule and show why they are incorrect.

This article shows the other side of the coin... that of the members of the scientific community that have lost their patience and now demand that their views go unquestioned by others not familiar with their fields.
To see where this authoritarian "high priesthood" mind-set can lead, see what happened to Soviet geneticists who dared criticize Trofim Lysenko and his "vernalization" theories under Stalin.

I don't give a damn how indignant these so-called "experts" are at having to endure challenges to their opinions. Let's NOT go down the road of suppressing scientific dissent, not even by the Jenny McCarthys of our world, because that road leads to places like the Siberian gulags.

</rant>
 

Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,226
I don't have any problem with authorities either, but I have a HUGE problem with authoritarians.


The key word in that sentence is "prove." I will consider someone an authority if, over time, they consistently show themselves worthy of being considered one-- and anyone who demands to be considered an authority, is automatically disbarred from consideration. At least, by me.


And even, sometimes, when the claims are not unusual, for it's always good to be willing to examine premises.


It is their absolute right to do so, even when they go "too far." Jenny McCarthy may be a loon (and IMO she is), but the correct response is not to censor and suppress her views, but subject them to public ridicule and show why they are incorrect.


To see where this authoritarian "high priesthood" mind-set can lead, see what happened to Soviet geneticists who dared criticize Trofim Lysenko and his "vernalization" theories under Stalin.

I don't give a damn how indignant these so-called "experts" are at having to endure challenges to their opinions. Let's NOT go down the road of suppressing scientific dissent, not even by the Jenny McCarthys of our world, because that road leads to places like the Siberian gulags.

</rant>
Absolutely! Thus the utter immiscibility of science (to wit: good science) and politics!

Best regards
HP
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,313
It is their absolute right to do so, even when they go "too far." Jenny McCarthy may be a loon (and IMO she is), but the correct response is not to censor and suppress her views, but subject them to public ridicule and show why they are incorrect.
Just to clarify, when I said that some people won't accept truth even if it's rubbed in their faces, I was referring to people that would not only not accept experimental proof, but also not even an axiom... IE: "I think, therefore I exist" ... if someone tried to argue against that point with me... well, I'd think they have every right to try, but I would not waste my time with them, mainly because time is a limited resource, and I simply cannot spend my life arguing about fundamental (axiomatic) things when there is a trove of treasures to be found out there once one sets foot on that first rung in the ladder.
So yes, everyone has the right to question any assertion made by any so-called authority... but I also think there's a difference between being skeptical and being obstinate.
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,313
Who decides what experimental proof is, and what it proves?
If it's scientific truth, then it's the replication of results.
If it's philosophical truth, then it's logic and reason.

The former is not too hard to accept. But the latter, I'm afraid, will always lead to an endless road. The reason is that science studies immediate causes, whilst philosophy the primary ones. And if one accepts Gödel's incompleteness theorem, one realizes that we can't achieve perfect and consistent knowledge. Not because of our limited intelligence, but because of our unavoidable self-referential involvement in reality.
 
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Speaking of tabloid science... why am I not surprised by this?
One would assume that the results of psychometric testing upon anyone paying to be marooned for life in uninhabitable waste would be a forgone conclusion! --- I've not heard tell of anyone 'bidding' on Botany Bay 'real estate', back in the day! :eek::D

With sincere apologies to any from 'the land of OZ' whom misapprehend my intention! :)
HP
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,313
One would assume that the results of psychometric testing upon anyone paying to be marooned for life in uninhabitable waste would be a forgone conclusion! --- I've not heard tell of anyone 'bidding' on Botany Bay 'real estate', back in the day! :eek::D

With sincere apologies to any from 'the land of OZ' whom misapprehend my intention! :)
HP
Thanks HP.... I needed a laugh...
 

BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
Why do you have such blind faith in science?

The biggest scientific controversy right now is climate change.

The experimental evidence for this is computer modelling.

I can feed the same data into my computer and get the same results.

Did I replicate a scientific experiment?

Those models said the temp should have gone up the last 18 years.

Does this cause concern?

This is the undeniable scientific proof to control all your activity and assign responsibility for pass transgressions.

We have endangered the earth and our children, and equality and balance must be restored.

Sound familiar?
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,313
Why do you have such blind faith in science?

The biggest scientific controversy right now is climate change.

The experimental evidence for this is computer modelling.

I can feed the same data into my computer and get the same results.

Did I replicate a scientific experiment?

Those models said the temp should have gone up the last 18 years.

Does this cause concern?

This is the undeniable scientific proof to control all your activity and assign responsibility for pass transgressions.

We have endangered the earth and our children, and equality and balance must be restored.

Sound familiar?
Computer modeling is not experimental evidence... it's simply a simulation of our own assumptions. And BTW I do have faith (though not blind) in science... but most people forget that science and scientists are not the same thing.
 

KL7AJ

Joined Nov 4, 2008
2,229
For me at least, this is a very thought provoking article. Unlike some people, I've never had a problem with authority. Quite the contrary, I've always respected and trusted people whose credentials and experience prove to be superior to mine. I consider every interaction I have with them as an opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge.
But in this era in which information (both good and bad) is available to anyone who seeks it, I can't help but notice that objective skeptical thought has become scarce. A healthy skeptic demands experimental proof and well documented sources when unusual claims are made. But others go too far in the name of schepticism and simply won't accept truth even when it's being rubbed in their faces.
This article shows the other side of the coin... that of the members of the scientific community that have lost their patience and now demand that their views go unquestioned by others not familiar with their fields.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...as-the-right-to-challenge-scientific-experts/
The whole concept of peer review addresses this. My latest book on radio propagation for ARRL (coming out soon) is my first peer reviewed book, and my "peer" has a pretty good "gift of suspicion." It's forced me to write the best, tightest prose I've ever done. It's a LOT more work, but I know when it's all done it has more authority.
 
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