Saturday, June 18, 2005

COM: Almost Cold Fusion . . .

PZ at Pharyngula nearly melts down the blogosphere with his reaction to someone questioning his expertise.

You'll have to read the whole thing, including the comments here, but i have to, just have to, repeat the withering rebuttal, if only it were winter . . . (sorry, and thanks P.Z.)

Update: Okay, i screwed this up by not following a link. I thought PZ had picked up something from another site and was expounding himself. Not so. He was duplicating this tirade from Steve Dutch, of the Dept. of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. You can read the rest of this enlightening page here.

We're not "self-appointed" or "so-called" experts. We are real experts. We're not "authority figures." We are real authorities.

It's not arrogance to say what you know professionally. It is arrogance to reject expert opinion without having expertise of your own.

If hearing the experts say you're wrong makes you feel bad or stupid, that is your problem, not ours. See a therapist and work on your self-esteem. If you think this is rough on the ego, try getting a paper or grant proposal you've worked on for months rejected, something real experts face all the time.

We don't know everything, but we do know more on our subjects of expertise than other people, especially people with no training at all.

Unless you have real evidence to back up your opinions, they don't count.

If you hear something that conflicts with what you think you know, and you don't bother to check it out, you shouldn't feel stupid. You are stupid.

If you want to take on the experts but won't spend the time, effort and money to become an expert yourself, you're not just stupid. You're lazy, too.

If you think I'm disrespecting you, you're right. I have no respect for people who are uninformed, get angry when someone contradicts them, but are too lazy to get informed and too cowardly to face failure, criticism, and the possibility they might have to change their minds. You're not a good person. Nobody who is lazy and cowardly can be called "good."

Where did you get the idea you're so valuable? There are six billion of us. You're not all that unique. How exactly did you get the notion that you stand so high in the cosmic scheme of things that you have the right to make real experts treat you as an equal without bothering to acquire any knowledge yourself?

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