Do you trust intellectuals and expertise?
resolved Apr 24

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I don't trust experts or intellectuals, i listen to their arguments and reasoning and think about which arguments i find most convincing, or if I'm feeling lazy i go with the consensus of the experts. Thousands of scientists and hundreds of biologists signed a petition saying they don't believe in evolution, if you add in the scientists who don't believe in evolution but didn't sign the petition, the biblical experts, the experts in random topics, and the general intellectuals, the amount of experts and intellectuals who believe in creationism is huge. Yet i don't believe in creationism, i haven't heard any good arguments for it, or at least I've heard good counter arguments for all the good arguments I've heard. As far as i can tell every single expert or intellectual has something that they believe for no reason, so if they can't explain their reasoning to me than i don't trust them.

Hmm, i may have misread the question as "do you trust intellectuals and experts", i do think i trust expertise in general, this started out as a response to @Joshua's comment of "as opposed to... trusting no one?" until i decided to make it it's own comment, but now that i reread the question it probably would have been better as a reply, oh well.

@bluerat your first reading makes sense to me -- that is, "expertise" as possessed by someone.

I am not even sure it makes sense to apply the concept of "trust" to expertise in the ontological sense. For instance, if something is tautological, self-evident, or certain to a mathemathical, philosophical or metaphysical degree (if there is such a thing), then you neither trust nor distrust it, you simply observe it. The concept itself is useless if there is no reasoning or judgement involved.

@tbird i am pretty sure i am not understanding what you are saying, can you clarify if i am misunderstanding your point? I wasn't trying to differentiate between expertise as possesed by someone vs like the platonic ideal of expertise, but rather expertise as possesed by an individual or group vs expertise as possessed by a collective. like if an group is composed of experts and intellectuals i don't automatically trust them, but i am willing to trust that experts in general are right more often than non-experts when it comes to matters of their field.

@bluerat ah, sounds like a "yes" to me, then.

"some assortment of" (what I think you mean by group vs. collective), "automatically", and "as opposed to" are not present in the question as written.

@tbird that's interesting, it makes sense that you could interpret that as a "yes", but i think i ultimately said basically the same thing as @ProjectVictory, i trust some intellectuals on some questions to a certain degree depending on whether there is a concensus, and whether their expertise is relevant, and you said that sounded like a "no", i think I'll stick with my answer of "no", but i think that goes to show that the results of this poll is more about how the people answering the question interprets the question than about how trusting they are of experts, because of how vaguely it was worded.

@bluerat that's great! "No" it is.

I interpreted this as "would you trust a randomly selected scientific researcher with a PhD more than a randomly selected political commentator on a randomly selected controversial question?" to which my answer was yes

@TheAllMemeingEye That is a somewhat creative interpretation.

@HarrisonNathan Do you have a more concise yet also still objective interpretation?

@TheAllMemeingEye There's no objective interpretation.

@HarrisonNathan I mean an interpretation that has a clear unambiguous meaning, not that the interpretation itself clearly and unambiguously followed from the original question itself

@HarrisonNathan However you substituted "scientific researcher with a PhD" for "intellectual" and made the subject about something he presumably has no expertise in.

@HarrisonNathan How would you define intellectual? Also nitpick but 'they' may be more appropriate

@TheAllMemeingEye I don't know, and I don't want to get into a long back and forth, but it definitely doesn't include only one half of the academy.

@HarrisonNathan @TheAllMemeingEye great exchange! It is very interesting to read the different interpretations.

I don't think there is a way to disambiguate this question within a single poll without determining the result. It is what it is and it will gauge overall sentiment whatever people's interpretations are. If I formulate it in a way no one would quibble with, I am 100% certain I could guess the result, in which case I could instead simply ask myself in front of a mirror and save us all the trouble (but also spare us all the fun!). Such is the dismal reality of polling.

As opposed to... trusting no one?

@Joshua hopefully not everyone is an intellectual or an expert. We would run out of bow ties...

@Joshua He's right. You could always choose to trust anti-intellectuals and ignoramuses. Many people are doing this.

Given the replication crisis in psychology and other fields, why would you trust scientific experts from those fields? The majority of them are incorrect in their officially endorsed writings, and it seems unlikely that when casually talking to you their accuracy would increase enough to make mistrust inappropriate.

Medical mistakes that can be prevented by patients who put >5 minutes of effort into studying their condition are also very common. Trusting your doctor to take care of your health is dangerous.

I don't think there are authoritative sources elsewhere. It's more a matter of double checking and triple checking conclusions, redundancy, different independent sources, etc. Patients will make more mistakes than doctors, but the combination of a doctor and a skeptical patient and a support group of people who have the condition will make fewer mistakes than the doctor alone.

@dph121 Psychologists are hardly the worst of it. When I hear "intellectuals" I think of the postmodernists and their ilk.

I trust them in their area of expertise

@ItsMe sounds like a "Yes".

Define intellectual.

@negation that's left as an exercise for the voter.

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