Tuesday, April 23, 2013
"Expertise" is part of the problem of ignorance not part of the solution
I have decided that nobody calling themselves an "expert" as opposed to being described as such by their colleagues in the field can be trusted. In fact expertise as such does not really exist I have concluded. Sure some people know more about some things than other people do. But, people who make a big production about having special knowledge and insist on sharing their "expert" opinions are often the most ignorant people on the face of the planet. It has made me fully realize that I am not now nor have I ever been an expert on anything. Although I still like to share my opinion on things as I tell my students, "question everything, especially me." After all while I have some more knowledge than them, I am not an "expert" and I am certainly not perfect. Like all humans I am deeply flawed. The complete lack of humility even in the face of being completely wrong that accompanies most self described "experts" makes me reject the term. I had not really thought about this until recently in these terms, but the fact that so many US academics claiming to be "experts" in certain areas can be radically wrong about basic facts in the areas they claim to be "expert"s in has convinced me that the whole notion of "expert" as title is a problem. People calling themselves "experts" are more often than not a key part of the problem of ignorance and misinformation rather than a solution to it. I hope to God that there are not too many "experts" on the Caucasus that have been teaching for more than twenty years who think that the Karbardians and Balkars are a single people. But, given the dreadful state of academia in North America I just don't know.