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The Death of Expertise
  • And thusly the reason for my absence of late... it's literally exhausting.

    This subverts any real hope of a conversation, because it is simply exhausting — at least speaking from my perspective as the policy expert in most of these discussions — to have to start from the very beginning of every argument and establish the merest baseline of knowledge, and then constantly to have to negotiate the rules of logical argument. (Most people I encounter, for example, have no idea what a non-sequitur is, or when they’re using one; nor do they understand the difference between generalizations and stereotypes.) Most people are already huffy and offended before ever encountering the substance of the issue at hand.

    Once upon a time — way back in the Dark Ages before the 2000s — people seemed to understand, in a general way, the difference between experts and laymen. There was a clear demarcation in political food fights, as objections and dissent among experts came from their peers — that is, from people equipped with similar knowledge. The public, largely, were spectators.

    This was both good and bad. While it strained out the kook factor in discussions (editors controlled their letters pages, which today would be called “moderating”), it also meant that sometimes public policy debate was too esoteric, conducted less for public enlightenment and more as just so much dueling jargon between experts.

    If experts go back to only talking to each other, that’s bad for democracy. No one — not me, anyway — wants to return to those days. I like the 21st century, and I like the democratization of knowledge and the wider circle of public participation. That greater participation, however, is endangered by the utterly illogical insistence that every opinion should have equal weight, because people like me, sooner or later, are forced to tune out people who insist that we’re all starting from intellectual scratch. (Spoiler: We’re not.) And if that happens, experts will go back to only talking to each other.

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  • Now the kooks are running for President.

    I posted something on another forum recently and got mauled by 'expert' trolls. Noob meat of the day. I had to add a signature link and slap a few trolls to shut them up. After 30 years creating stuff and 2 kids I'm slowly learning to just tune out the white noise.

  • @shian

    Internet, communities and such are just like cleared window. Until it was almost black from dirt you can not see a thing. It is not some new reality, it is same reality you had around you.

    To check it out you can just go into any medical university and check students performance (distribution is more or less same since long time ago). Yet, many people assume that big amount of this students vanish or magically transform after graduation.

  • Of course part of the problem is even experts with credentials can be wrong? Any question of that just start a discussion about global warming the varying opinions of so called experts will make your head spin.