Expert Lie

Fifth day, the day of Freya. Why so many days named after Norse imaginaries? Is it because the days really get wonky that close to the poles? 

Anyway, off to the park for a constitutional. Managed the requisite number of laps but still at a reduced speed (same distance – obviously! – but more time.) Can’t say much about the podcast. Except diverting from most of the discomfort. But that let me cogitate on the meat of the matter today.

As I have stressed repeatedly, nerds think differently than the whelming ( stifling? nauseating?) bogs. Geeks also but to a lesser extent. One aspect of this is to view all advertisements (commercials) as implicitly prevaricative. Said and said, but I want to mumble on a related matter today.

I recently read Harry Collins’ “Are we all scientific experts now?’ It was recommended by one of my nerd STEM periodicals and since I have been arguing with some colleagues who have become infected with politician’s disorder lately I wanted to expand my landscape.

Collins is an English (British?) sociologist and what he espouses is a taxonomy (four states) of expertness. The book is written for a bog audience so there are no real details or references, just a list of relevant (?) sources at the end. I won’t elaborate the taxonomy because it is a worthwhile book if not taken too seriously. It falls into the category I call meta-physics, which means not physics but might be if a physicist had done it and had insights. No maths, not even stats.

Put simply, the nerd (STEM?) view of experts is the same as advertisements. If someone tells me X is an expert that statement is immediately labeled as a prevarication and the scam is immediately sought. The idea of expert is most strongly espoused these days in two circles: legal and advertising. The latter is obvious; the former is a scam. The idea is that an officer of the court (in violation of his/her oath of honesty and integrity) deploys an “expert” to influence the jury (at least in common law environments.) The credentials of this expert are entirely legalistic and antithetic to STEM and nerdery. A nerd is not an expert; they either know or know not, to paraphrase Yoda. And passing them off is a falseness.

That’s the nerd view of experts.

Enough for today.