Experts in bullshit

What exactly is an expert?

Legiron got me thinking on this topic this morning so I decided to look up the definition of the word.

The definition as given by Google isa person who is very knowledgeable about, or skilful in a particular area.

Not very helpful really?

The problem with that definition in the modern world is that most experts are self-defined.  “I am an expert” they cry without any sort of yardstick or qualification.  For example I have a good knowledge of a great many subjects and in some I would possibly class myself as having an expertise, but only informally.  I would never stand up in court and proclaim myself to be an expert witness for example.  I could claim I was an expert in scribbling shite on the Interweb, and possibly some would agree, but what exactly does that mean?  Could I teach the subject?  No.  Could I pen a scientific treatise on the subject?  No.  Are there people out there who would consider me not to be an expert?  Millions.

In the past experts were generally accepted if they had say a degree.  To have a degree in physics would imply an expertise in physics.  You would listen to an astronomer if he talked about the stars.  Nowadays though we can have an aerospace engineer declare himself an expert on the subject of smoking which makes no sense whatsoever.  We can have so called experts declaring nonsense that can be countered by simple logic or experience.

Over the last decade or two, so called experts have been crawling out of the woodwork and from under rocks to claim that not only are they an expert in a topic but that I must believe every single utterance of theirs purely and simply because they are a self proclaimed “expert” but that I should be forced to believe their every utterance.

One thing that seems to be in common with all the modern experts is that they have an axe to grind.  Isn’t it remarkable how many of them make a handsome living solely out of their so called expertise?  How many of the experts in Climate Change make a living out of the concept of Climate Change?  How many Anti-Smoker rely purely on the notion of cigarettes being harmful?

One glaring indication of the fallacy of expertise is in the electrofag area.  In the UK, the experts claim electrofags are 95% safer than cigarettes, while over the Atlantic the experts proclaim that electrofags are as dangerous [or even more dangerous] than cigarettes.  Both groups claim to be experts yet it is impossible for them both to be right?

Personally, I gave up listening to them years ago.  I no longer believe a single utterance as they have destroyed any respect I may have once had.  I can ony laugh at the likes of Jamie Oliver [a glorified burger-flipper] who proclaims himself an expert on diet, or Luke Clancy who makes a very handsome living out of promoting Anti-Smoker propaganda.  They are in it for the prestige and the money and as such every utterance is tainted.

I’m not alone.  There is a growing tide of scorn and disbelief across the planet. 

The sooner it overwhelm the “experts” and drowns them, the better.

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Experts in bullshit — 14 Comments

  1. I am reminded of Blaster Bate (a demolition expert), who defined an expert thus; “ex denoting something that has been, and spurt, meaning a drip under pressure”. I can think of no better definition!

    • Welcome Geoff!  I couldn’t agree more, though I would trust Blaster to know somewhat more about explosives than I.  If he said run, I think I probably would without question…..

  2. You’re a wise old bird, Grandad, but you’ve rarely wrote truer words than your penultimate sentence.

    ‘Experts believe…’ ‘Studies suggest…’ ‘Scientists say…’ Seems they all mean the same thing – the grant money’s running out.

    Completely OT. I see you blokes in the Republic have Post Codes now. News to me, ‘cos when I sent a parcel to West Cork last week they didn’t have one. I remember teasing our local Postmaster about it, him being from Wexford. ‘Ah, sure,’ he said. ‘We don’t need them in Ireland; everybody knows everybody else!’

    (Collapse of stout party.)

    • We do indeed have postcodes at the cost of God knows how many millions.  They are so illogical as to be virtually useless [my adjacent postcode is five miles away] and I don’t know of anyone who uses them.  As far as I am aware, our postal system doesn’t even have a method to track them, and I know our postman has no time for them at all.

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  5. Economics expert: somebody who can analyse and explain the problems of the economy and predict future prospects, but wouldn’t know how to set up and run a henhouse.

    Child psychologists: people who can explain what’s going on inside children’s heads and their emotional bonds with parents, but would quickly turn into nervous wrecks if they were probationary teachers assigned to a classroom of 35 wild ghetto twelve-year-olds.

  6. I was always told that an expert was someone who came from far away at great expense – the greater the fee, the more expert the person was

  7. Now I’m no expert in anything with the possible exception of poking holes in the ocean with a nuclear powered submarine and that kind of expert-ness pretty much doesn’t apply in modern society–such as it is.

    However, there’s supposedly a new-ish M.A. (Master of Arts degree one can go for called “Climate and Society” that takes all of 1 to 2 years to complete depending on where the student  attends the classes. 1 to 2 years to attain a masters degree in climate and the effects on society? I suppose that would make the graduates think  they’re actually makes them experts on the subject? Really?

    Whatever. All I know is that I’ve never heard of anyone achieving a masters degree in A.S.S (Anti Smoking Assessment)

  8. I am reminded of the definition of management consultant…

    Somebody who knows how to do it, can tell you when its wrong, but can’t do it himself!

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