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Who are the Experts?

September 10, 2021

We hear a lot of talk in the media about following the science and going along with the experts in society. But big presumptions are made here that we can know, trust and rely on who the experts in these fields are. And big presumptions are made that we know what an expert is. But what is an expert? And how do we define one in a non begging the question way? That is, how do we determine expert status without immediately deferring to some expert and endless chain of command of interconnected “experts” all patting each other on the back?

I think a lot of what is traditionally considered to make someone an expert revolves around how much study they have done on something, and how competently they have shown themselves to be in their studies. Once again, we hit problems immediately here though, as who is judging their competence except other people. Where is our neutral and independent arbitrator of competence? It keeps getting moved down the line, deferred to an endlessly receding ultimate authority on a subject, a bit like Aristotle’s prime mover explanation for God. Either that, or they muddy the water in a particular profession or expertise, so that one can refer to another, and another refers back to them, in such a complicated tangle of networks, that we can’t see on first view that it is really just one big, forgive the expression, circle jerk.

An expression often thrown around in this situation is “peer review”. Now, in a situation where you have genuinely independent individuals in a study area, then they have no reason to be biased to their peers in how they review their articles and ideas. But, I doubt you could say we have such a situation anymore, we are increasingly all at the mercy of the same paymasters, particularly in the academic world, who all have the same values, so peer review becomes little more than the aforementioned circle jerk, and everyone just will say what they have to say to get by and ensure they continue getting their pay check.

It is this kind of line of reasoning, when you look into the notion of experts, that explodes and demolishes at the first hurdle, the medias rhetoric, propaganda and confidence in their trust of experts and following the science. It is why I have little time for people who engage in such mindless pronouncements, as they have clearly not made any personal effort to engage in this quite simple and obvious line of reasoning.

Yes, experts still remain, genuine experts, but it has been made murky territory by the absence of true independence of the people involved in these disciplines, as to when they are making claims from a position of competence based on fair and neutral standards, and when they are making claims judged competent merely in line with the unfair biases of their selected profession, who all support each other in their shared values, which also are shared often merely because they have to do to get paid and get funding, not because of any idea that these values are true and correct.

You are much wiser in this situation to form your own critical judgments than to trust the latest media promotion of who the experts are. Deferring to experts in who we could trust was originally one of the things that allowed the modern western world to reach great heights in its science and technology. But their competence is now questioned as is their expert status, when they are not independently corroborated, but are merely protected and supported by a special, elite group of back patters. Now, it is threatening to tear the fabric of western society apart, because we have let ourselves be led on a merry dance by people, who care not for us and not even for their own true selves, but only for their misplaced privileged egos.

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