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Laypeople trump experts
#1
I have seen the idea brought up numerous times, especially in relation to alt-science views, that individuals are reasonably capable of picking and choosing which authorities can be regarded as plausible. Or, if they have a modicum of knowledge and experience in a field, that they are capable of weighing the evidence themselves. In these cases, the views they come to hold contradict the views held by the vast majority of people with considerable knowledge and experience in the matter.

I tried to think of an example where this particular bit of self-confidence has been demonstrated to be valid, and I failed. Yet I was once told by someone here that "history is not lacking in examples of experts being proven wildly wrong, oftentimes by lay people..." 

So I started this thread to ask for examples of what people mean by this. I'm not looking for examples of competing ideas in immature fields of science (like tectonic plates), but rather examples of mature fields which ended up overturned by people well outside of the field.

Linda
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#2
(10-29-2017, 05:29 PM)fls Wrote: I have seen the idea brought up numerous times, especially in relation to alt-science views, that individuals are reasonably capable of picking and choosing which authorities can be regarded as plausible. Or, if they have a modicum of knowledge and experience in a field, that they are capable of weighing the evidence themselves. In these cases, the views they come to hold contradict the views held by the vast majority of people with considerable knowledge and experience in the matter.

I tried to think of an example where this particular bit of self-confidence has been demonstrated to be valid, and I failed. Yet I was once told by someone here that "history is not lacking in examples of experts being proven wildly wrong, oftentimes by lay people..." 

So I started this thread to ask for examples of what people mean by this. I'm not looking for examples of competing ideas in immature fields of science (like tectonic plates), but rather examples of mature fields which ended up overturned by people well outside of the field.

Linda

I too am unable to recall any unschooled layperson over turning a well established science.
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#3
(10-29-2017, 05:29 PM)fls Wrote: that individuals are reasonably capable of picking and choosing which authorities can be regarded as plausible.

Can you define such authorities?  Can you further define what statements from them I can take on their authority versus which I can not?  (I'm thinking of scientists like Krauss and Dawkins who seem to offer authoritative statements on a wide range of topics.)
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#4
(10-29-2017, 09:54 PM)Silence Wrote: Can you define such authorities?  Can you further define what statements from them I can take on their authority versus which I can not?  (I'm thinking of scientists like Krauss and Dawkins who seem to offer authoritative statements on a wide range of topics.)

That's a good question.

Someone with the knowledge and experience to directly convey the valid conclusions which can be supported by the research. Much less so, statements based on opinion or from less direct sources (such as from outside one's area of expertise).

Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, so it seems reasonable to look at what he says about evolution. For example, I found his book, "The Extended Phenotype", excellent. And he cited primary sources for the information which (on the ones I looked at) said what he said they did. On the other hand, I'm not sure about the other stuff he writes about. To be fair, I haven't read his books which seem to be outside of his area of expertise (like "The God Delusion"), so my prejudice may be unwarranted.

Krauss is a theoretical physicist who works primarily in cosmology and the origins of the universe (I'm getting this stuff from Wikipedia), so I would probably be interested in what he has to say on those topics. I don't know about other stuff. I'm not that familiar with him as I haven't read any of his books (although my son bought me "The Physics of Star Trek" recently, so I have that to read).

I'd be interested in what other people think of with respect to "authority".

Linda
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#5
Professed experts proved to be wildly wrong aren't uncommon - and sometimes they can even be proved wrong by laypeople. Marilyn vos Savant and the Monty Hall problem spring to mind. Reportedly she received many letters from academic statisticians insisting she was wrong, though the problem wasn't hard to analyse - albeit the answer was counterintuitive.

Asking for an example of a mature scientific discipline overturned by laypeople is a tall order, and I'm sure extreme caution is called for when people claim that the consensus view of a field, among scientists working in that field, is wrong. The closest example I can come up with is from archaeology - which probably doesn't count as a science - Michael Ventris's decipherment of Linear B. Ventris was an amateur, but he solved the problem, and the fact that the language was a form of Greek overturned (Wikipedia actually uses that word) the prevailing theories about ancient Crete.
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#6
(10-29-2017, 05:29 PM)fls Wrote: I have seen the idea brought up numerous times, especially in relation to alt-science views, that individuals are reasonably capable of picking and choosing which authorities can be regarded as plausible.
...
Can you post some actual quotes? If I reply, I would like to know exactly what you are referring to. 

Thanks
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
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#7
FLS

I have seen the idea brought up numerous times, especially in relation to alt-science views, that individuals (members of the forum) are reasonably capable of picking and choosing which authorities ( bear in mind  Linda has often warned the less intelligent than her not to appeal to authority)  can be regarded as plausible. Or, if they have a modicum of knowledge and experience in a field (if they are not half wits), that they are capable of weighing the evidence themselves. In these cases, the views they come to hold (anything she doesn't like) contradict the views held by the vast majority of people with considerable knowledge her and experience in the matter (her good self)
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#8
(10-30-2017, 07:29 AM)Jim_Smith Wrote: Can you post some actual quotes? If I reply, I would like to know exactly what you are referring to. 

Thanks

These posts by Michael Larkin are what led me to ask the question, so this should give an idea of what I'm referring to:

http://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-12...l#pid10363

http://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-12...l#pid10365

Quote:I told you: it's because many of the critiques of Darwinism they provide are really very astute, regardless of their motivation. If you prefer to believe in the fairy tales, that's your prerogative, but seeing as you admit you don't have much expertise in evaluating some of the IDers papers because you lack the education, I don't see how you can evince that their work is suspect. Even were you to bother to read it, how would you possibly know? I stress you because all your information comes from ideologues. They present it in a form you can understand, you swallow it as gospel, and then regurgitate it ex cathedra.

A large part of your justification is that the neo-Darwinians must know, because they get a lot of their work published in peer-reviewed literature. You know, the literature that is increasingly being criticised these days because peer-review is being shown to be the work of a woefully inadequate old boy's club that acts as gatekeeper for Darwinian doctrine.

Unlike you, I do have quite a lot of education in the field of biology to evaluate the work both of IDers and neo-Darwinists, both of which are often discussed at EN&V. I have come to the conclusion that much (not all by any means) of what IDers say is cogent. I don't have to rely wholly on second-hand interpretations -- I can usually draw my own.

I can see people like you for what they are: ignorant promulgators of other people's views -- which wouldn't be too bad if those other people knew what the heck they were talking about. They're sheep being led by shepherds in precisely the direction they want them to go because it makes them feel self-important, allows them to  bask in borrowed authority. But ignoramuses have no authority. They're just a little eegits who don't know arse from elbow.

Quote:I agree with a lot of what you say, but then ask myself why the powers that be here relegate the potentially paradigm-busting evidence of there being no link between HIV and AIDS to a lonely backwater where hopefully no one will see it.

Linda
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#9
(10-29-2017, 11:12 PM)fls Wrote: That's a good question.

Someone with the knowledge and experience to directly convey the valid conclusions which can be supported by the research. Much less so, statements based on opinion or from less direct sources (such as from outside one's area of expertise).

Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, so it seems reasonable to look at what he says about evolution. For example, I found his book, "The Extended Phenotype", excellent. And he cited primary sources for the information which (on the ones I looked at) said what he said they did. On the other hand, I'm not sure about the other stuff he writes about. To be fair, I haven't read his books which seem to be outside of his area of expertise (like "The God Delusion"), so my prejudice may be unwarranted.

Krauss is a theoretical physicist who works primarily in cosmology and the origins of the universe (I'm getting this stuff from Wikipedia), so I would probably be interested in what he has to say on those topics. I don't know about other stuff. I'm not that familiar with him as I haven't read any of his books (although my son bought me "The Physics of Star Trek" recently, so I have that to read).

I'd be interested in what other people think of with respect to "authority".

Linda

Krauss wrote a book titled A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.

Its subject is generally, if not specifically, within his academic realm of expertise.  It postulates a materialist solution to one of the age old "God of the Gaps" questions: Who/what started this whole thing?  Its reception appears to have been mixed at best (at least within scientific circles).  Many scientists have challenged the book.

It appears to be (clearly) motivated by Krauss' personal faith in materialism or perhaps his personal quest against organized religion.

He appears equally biased, albeit in the opposite direction, as any faith-based scientist seeking affirmation of their metaphysical worldview.  Should I still take Krauss' word on physics as pure?

I may have gone in another direction here Linda, and if so I apologize.  For me, at least, my frustration with science is what appears to be many of its members' overstepping of their actual scientific authority.  There is an inherent dishonesty that I find concerning.  The dogma of materialism seems quite similar as what we see from religious fundamentalism.

Additionally, we haven't addressed the impact of money and power on the scientific community as yet.
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#10
(10-30-2017, 02:50 PM)Silence Wrote: Krauss wrote a book titled A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.

Its subject is generally, if not specifically, within his academic realm of expertise.  It postulates a materialist solution to one of the age old "God of the Gaps" questions: Who/what started this whole thing?  Its reception appears to have been mixed at best (at least within scientific circles).  Many scientists have challenged the book.

It appears to be (clearly) motivated by Krauss' personal faith in materialism or perhaps his personal quest against organized religion.

He appears equally biased, albeit in the opposite direction, as any faith-based scientist seeking affirmation of their metaphysical worldview.  Should I still take Krauss' word on physics as pure?

I'm not sure why you would, with respect to his own speculations? If the reception to his own ideas have been mixed, that wouldn't be an example of agreement on what sort of valid conclusions the research supports, would it?

Personally (and I know that I am in the minority on this), if I see something written with an obvious agenda in mind, I don't even bother reading it, even if it happens to support my own ideas/beliefs. 

Quote:I may have gone in another direction here Linda, and if so I apologize.  For me, at least, my frustration with science is what appears to be many of its members' overstepping of their actual scientific authority.

I agree with you on that. I thought (hoped) that what I wrote referred to members confining themselves to what could reasonably be considered their area of expertise. And that what they conveyed represented ideas which had been established, rather than personal opinion and speculation.

Quote:There is an inherent dishonesty that I find concerning.  The dogma of materialism seems quite similar as what we see from religious fundamentalism.

Well, you may be more familiar with that than I am. I haven't really spent any time reading about the dogma of materialism, and it doesn't seem to be something which comes up in scientific/academic work.

Quote:Additionally, we haven't addressed the impact of money and power on the scientific community as yet.

I'm curious as to how you see that as relevant to what I asked?

Linda
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