Monday, December 19, 2005

Appeal to Authority

Bertrand Russell tells us via RealClimate:
There are matters about which those who have investigated them are agreed. There are other matters about which experts are not agreed. Even when experts all agree, they may well be mistaken. .... Nevertheless, the opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion. The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this: (1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain; (2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and (3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a postive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.


The problem with wingers is they contrive false experts who are outside the fields they criticize from a point of ideology. And this is why conservatives hate experts and call them elite and the like. Listen to Russell on this one.

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