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Reblogged:Right Treating Expertise Like Left Treats Guns

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Writing for Breitbart, John Nolte discusses one of many climate alarmist predictions that ... failed to materialize:

"[M]ost of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years," the fake New York Times told the world 25 years ago, all the way back in 1995.

Fact check: It's 2021 and America's East Coast beaches are doing just fine!
Fair enough. We now know of many highly publicized predictions of environmental catastrophe that any thoughtful person could question. And it's not too hard to find evidence that individuals with an agenda will stoop quite low to put words into the mouths of experts in order to try to cow thoughtful people into accepting their willful misinterpretations of expert opinion.

Energy advocate Alex Epstein puts the proper attitude well in the previous link:
If my mechanic screws up, that doesn't mean mechanics are generally full of bunk. (Image by NeONBRAND, via Unsplash, license.)
[Y]ou've probably heard the smug response: "97% of climate scientists agree with climate change" -- which always carries the implication: Who are you to challenge them?

The answer is: you are a thinking, independent individual -- and you don't go by polls, let alone second-hand accounts of polls; you go by facts, logic and explanation.
The rest of Epstein's article is worth considering, especially today, when journalists quote experts left and right in an apparent attempt to get their audiences to swallow conclusions and policies that may or may not derive from -- or have anything to do with -- the actual opinions of the experts.

The proper attitude regarding an expert is the same thing as the proper attitude one has when dealing with a physician or a mechanic: Don't accept what they say on faith. Don't mindlessly take orders from them. Get second opinions. Compare what they say to what you already know or can learn. Dig into how reliable the doctor or mechanic is by talking to acquaintances or reading reviews.

And you keep doing this: Nobody in his right mind suddenly defers on everything even to a very trusted doctor or mechanic. Conversely, you fire a bad one -- and find a replacement. In this last case, nobody in his right mind, after his mechanic makes a mistake says, "To hell with 'mechanics.' I'm ignoring them from now on."

To take it a step further, you wouldn't say something like that last quote if this happened to someone else, or if someone else became sick after following the advice of a quack -- or grossly misinterpreting that of a decent physician.

Yet that's what so much conservative commentary on climate and the pandemic sounds like to me.

The problem isn't experts: It's how their expertise is being misused. This is slightly complicated by the fact that experts are people, and sometimes do misuse their own expertise to push policy positions that do not follow from their expertise.

To put it in a way conservatives might appreciate: Just as guns don't kill, because people have to use them, so it is with expertise: Expertise doesn't kill businesses and industries -- people misusing expertise do.

-- CAV

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