Dealing With Experts

A big issue with information online is who people are citing as their sources. How do you deal with or think through that?

One of the books I reviewed earlier this year was Tactics by Greg Koukl from str.org. In it, there is a tactic to deal with the fallacy of expert witnesses. It’s called Rhodes Scholar.

Before I go on, use this against your own opinions before taking on others. 

Now appealing to scholarly opinion is a way to make a point. However, it’s not always right. People will weigh in outside their area of expertise, get facts wrong, or philosophical bias distorts their judgment. 

I can speak about the Kalam Cosmological Argument for God. I’m sure you could too. However, the weight of Dr. William Lane Craig’s thoughts on it outweighs ours in this regard…it’s his area of expertise. 

We could watch a trial on TV; however, Sam’s godmother would have a weightier opinion since she’s a lawyer. My best friend is a retired cop, and he would also have a more educated perspective. 

But in my area of expertise, I have the base of knowledge necessary. 

The key isn’t what their opinion is. It’s to find out why they have that opinion.

The first part informs, and the second educates. 

Ask: 

How did they (the expert cited) come to their conclusions? 

What are the specific facts?

Are there any biases distorting their assessment?

Then you can see if their conclusions are sound. What an expert believes isn’t as important as why they believe it.

Everyone has an opinion, but is it a well-informed one? Are your opinions well-informed? Or are they a product of your particular echo chamber?

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