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Is it moral to trust experts and what role should experts play in soci

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VoltageControl
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While there are many intelligent, capable experts in various fields, far too many are caught in the dogma of their teachers or colleagues. Even worse are experts who believe they know all there is to know about particular subjects and are unwilling to be open to new ideas or speak with people outside of a narrow audience.

Is it moral to trust experts?

How should we use their knowledge and experience in order to make rational decisions?

What role should experts play in society?

Can an expert be trusted if their knowledge does not lead to a solution or prevention of a problem?

Edited by VoltageControl
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Well, there's certainly "experts" that Objectivists oppose. The experts in economics are the Keynesians, while the "experts" in philosophy are the Kantians. Often, when an expert needs to be quoted, there is a dispute as to what is the reality of the situation. I would say to rationally analyze what each individual has to say and to judge their conclusions based on their merits.

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  • 2 weeks later...

While there are many intelligent, capable experts in various fields, far too many are caught in the dogma of their teachers or colleagues. Even worse are experts who believe they know all there is to know about particular subjects and are unwilling to be open to new ideas or speak with people outside of a narrow audience.

Most people who I label as 'experts' are smart enough to know that they don't know everything. They love meeting new people who are truly interested in the field and discussing work with them. That has been my experience, anyway.

I think that fear is usually the thing that gets in the way of people meeting 'experts' - It's true, it's hard to meet someone you really admire and respect. You might have feelings of inadequacy, or maybe you just don't want to be disappointed by the person.

Is it moral to trust experts?

How should we use their knowledge and experience in order to make rational decisions?

Of course we all can't know everything there is to know about all fields. Even an entire lifetime devoted to the study in one single field isn't enough, because things are always changing so rapidly. Take biology, computer science, genetic engineering, medicine, or even IT as examples. Given that, there are certain topics that the average person doesn't have time to understand and evaluate. If you're a historian, it's going to be hard to read a formal paper in logic, or a really long mathematical proof. You probably won't be able to get a lot out of either of these because they're not your fields of expertise. But if someone were to ask you about Cleopatra, you would be able to give an account of her entire life, but a mathematician wouldn't.

It's fair for people to ask historians where they got their information from, instead of believing it on faith. How do we know Cleopatra was even a real person? How do we know her life story? To get into that, you have to understand archeology, hieroglyphs, and dead languages. The average person won't be able to understand the details of all that, but they will be able to understand a brief overview. "We found this tablet, in this location, in this language. Experts were able to translate and here is what the message says." There's usually multiple experts who go over the same information and come to a consensus. In situations like this, you can either trust a group of experts and hope that they're not all fabricating the truth, or you can learn the dead language yourself and try to get access to the tablet to translate it yourself.. but most people don't have time (or care enough) to do that. :)

Almost every finding has been met with criticism, doubt, or outright refutation. (These don't even have to be factually based.) Look at evolution, for example. More than half of all Americans don't believe in it, despite all the supporting evidence.. so experts in evolutionary biology are not widely trusted, despite all the evidence they have accumulated that supports it.

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