Relying on the Experts

Ah, the experts, whoever they are. It’s so nice we have people we don’t know in whom we can trust every aspect of our lives, livelihood, health, religious beliefs, etc. It’s so convenient not having to take responsibility for what we believe or think. Some experts said so, thus it must be true. Case closed, turn off the brain.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be great having some authority on a topic. (With the internet, it’s easy to find a leading expert in any profession.) My criticism comes from the over reliance on that authority figure. The point when thinking is no longer required because some expert, somewhere made a statement on a topic.

Examining a topic and thinking through it isn’t a skill only for the professional. Though it’s tempting, especially in a culture that values specialization more than general knowledge, but there is something to be said of polymaths.

In Christianity, this means going to your Bible, not taking everything your pastor says as the word of God.

In science, it can be a little more complicated, but still comes down to accumulating facts, leaving out opinions and making your own decision on a subject. 

There’s different ways and times to doubting ‘experts’ too. The difference is a trade of knowledge verses a trade of skill. It is the difference in listening to what your doctor says about nutrition, then studying it out for yourself and arguing with a surgeon about how to operate. To be clear, I’d recommend the former on a daily bases and the latter when you find a piece of gauze under the sutures. 

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