Experts are called “experts” for very good reasons.
One of the most dangerous ideas that have come about in recent years is that all points of view are equally valid and that an average citizen (YOU) are just as equipped to judge which have merit as anyone else.
“Hear all sides, and judge for yourself!”
No. I do not condone the death of expertise, and neither should you.
I am an expert in very, very few things. But in those areas, my expertise is hard-earned through study, work, experience, and aptitude. None of it comes from attending Google University. Unless you are an expert in exactly the same areas, your opinion is not just as valid as mine. It’s not.
And my opinion is not as valid as experts’ in other fields. That is why they are called “experts”. So if our leading epidemiologists largely agree that “A” is correct, and a couple of discredited doctors make a video that says “B” is correct, our response should not be “I’ll listen to both and decide which makes sense to me.”
Confirmation bias exists, and only fools think they are free of it. To paraphrase Isaac Asimov, your ignorance is not as good as an expert’s knowledge. Genuinely smart people look for answers from people who are smarter than themselves. Only ignorant people believe their guess is as good as anyone else’s.
The “Appeal to Authority” fallacy… or as some say “sheeple” fallacy, doesn’t apply to those who reference authorities who are actually qualified to have an evidence-based opinion.
Smart people know there are people who are smarter than themselves. Dumb people tend to assume they’re the smartest person in the room.
Related: I did my own research
What is an expert?
- An expert is a person who has broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill, and experience through practice and education in a particular field. (Wikipedia)
- A person with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject who is having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. (Merriam-Webster)
- A person with a high level of knowledge or skill relating to a particular subject or activity. (Cambridge Dictionary)