5
   

An Appeal to Authority; in defense of Expertise.

 
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 09:44 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
How many times when you have gotten into arguments with experts (the assumption is that the argument is about something in which the expert has specific expertise) where the expert has been right?

None that I can think of.

If I have enough knowledge to recognize when someone is wrong, I am also able to recognize when they are correct. And I don't argue with people when I know that they are correct.

If I lack the knowledge to know whether they are right or wrong, then they are probably an expert in a subject that I don't care about.


maxdancona wrote:
Hint: the answer to this question says more about you than it does about the experts.

I admit that I am pretty awesome.


maxdancona wrote:
Would you insist on landing the 737?

No. At least, not without good reason. And in the scenario you gave, I would not see a good reason for me to do so.

If we set up a hypothetical where I had a good reason to believe that letting the recognized expert into the cockpit was a bad idea, perhaps then.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 09:50 pm
@oralloy,
I assume you also agree with the hypothetical homeless guy that "Relativity is a fraud" in spite of the fact that neither he nor you have education or experience in Physics.

The experts, the people who have actually had the training and experience and who are sending robots to Mars all agree that that relativity is accepted science.

oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 09:57 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
I assume you also agree with the hypothetical homeless guy that "Relativity is a fraud" in spite of the fact that neither he nor you have education or experience in Physics.

Of course not. I was trying to help you understand why the rules of logic say that appeals to authority are a fallacy unless all parties agree to recognize the legitimacy of the authority in question.

Plus, you've seen me defend Einstein and Relativity many times here on a2k.

And why would you think that I've had no education or experience in physics? Not that I'm claiming that I have had such, but you seem pretty free with your assumptions here.


maxdancona wrote:
The experts, the people who have actually had the training and experience and who are sending robots to Mars all agree that that relativity is accepted science.

Not quite. Under your proposed revised rules of logic, I was able to declare that homeless guy as an expert, remember?
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:12 pm
By the way, if you're going to blindly consider experts to always be right, the experts in logic say that appeals to authority are a fallacy unless all parties agree to accept the legitimacy of a given authority.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:13 pm
@oralloy,
You are wrong about the "rules of logic". The rules of logic say that "appeal to authority" is not a logical fallacy when the authority has legitimate expertise.

You seem to be making the claim that a licensed pilot (who has been to flight school and trained under expert pilots) has no expertise unless everyone "recognizes" their authority.

I am calling bullshit on your logic.

A licensed pilot has a far better chance of landing a 737 successfully than I do. Whether you recognize my authority, or I claim to be an expert at flying is irrelevant. It doesn't change the fact that he is the expert.

Quote:
Not quite. Under your proposed revised rules of logic, I was able to declare that homeless guy as an expert, remember?


You are completely wrong (show me a link where I have said anything close to that). I have never said that you can just declare someone to be an expert. In fact I am saying the exact opposite.

The experts are the people with education and experience. They have have done the work and had the training.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:14 pm
@oralloy,
Quote:
the experts in logic say that appeals to authority are a fallacy unless all parties agree to accept the legitimacy of a given authority


I think you are making this up. Can you link to this?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:29 pm
I play poker. This is an interesting field of study because expertise has a quantitative measure (i.e. how much money you make). I am a mathematical player... I am not anywhere close to professional, but I understand the game better than most players at my level. And I make money playing (although I have a day job).

I had a good understanding of statistics and game theory before I started playing poker, and at first I got into arguments with other players about mathematical mistakes they were making. I realized how silly that was. Now I just smile, or sometimes tell them how intelligent they are.

Part this too is me being very honest with myself. I keep careful track of how I am winning money, and where I am losing it. When someone is consistently beating me... I want to recognize this and figure out why. I also spend a lot of time studying the game, reading books and running computer simulations.

In poker, everybody thinks they are an above average player. That is why good poker players have objective measures to make sure we are not deceiving ourselves. It amazes me when other poker players don't keep track of how much money they have won or lost.... I keep careful records including which types of hands are working for me, and where I am losing the most.

Self-deception in physics, believing you understand more than you actually do, probably isn't going to get you into trouble. Pretending to know more about poker than you actually do can lose you money.

Deceiving yourself about your ability to land a 737 can have real consequences.


0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:32 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
I think you are making this up. Can you link to this?

http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:35 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
The rules of logic say that "appeal to authority" is not a logical fallacy when the authority has legitimate expertise.

Can you produce a cite for rules of logic saying this?


maxdancona wrote:
You seem to be making the claim that a licensed pilot (who has been to flight school and trained under expert pilots) has no expertise unless everyone "recognizes" their authority.

No. The rules of logic deal with intellectual debates (such as those found on message boards), not with flying airplanes.

Also, the rules of logic do not deny anyone's expertise. They just deny the validity of unsupported proclamations by experts in a logical debate.


maxdancona wrote:
I am calling bullshit on your logic.

Here's a cite of my own:
http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority


maxdancona wrote:
You are completely wrong (show me a link where I have said anything close to that). I have never said that you can just declare someone to be an expert. In fact I am saying the exact opposite.

"I suppose you do..." (in response to me saying "I have as much authority to declare someone an expert as you do.")
http://able2know.org/topic/528141-1#post-6887207

Also, "It has nothing to do with whether you accept it or not." (which effectively denies people, including yourself, the ability to challenge another person's claimed experts)
http://able2know.org/topic/528141-1#post-6887003
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:40 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

By the way, if you're going to blindly consider experts to always be right, the experts in logic say that appeals to authority are a fallacy unless all parties agree to accept the legitimacy of a given authority.

You are 'citing' experts and denying the experts in the same sentence? What am I missing?
oralloy
 
  2  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:43 pm
@roger,
I do not deny that experts in logic say that appeals to authority are a fallacy.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:47 pm
@oralloy,
You are setting up a straw man.

I have consistently said that the pilot's expertise comes from his education and experience. The pilot is an authority on flying and landing a jet plane because he has been through flight school and trained under an expert pilot.

Expertise comes from education and experience. It something that you develop with hard work and training from other experts. What other people think about your knowledge is irrelevant.

If you can't can't accept this point (which is the key to my position) then you are arguing with yourself.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Aug, 2019 10:55 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
You are setting up a straw man.

Not really.


maxdancona wrote:
The pilot is an authority on flying and landing a jet plane because he has been through flight school and trained under an expert pilot.

So you claim.

I claim that a homeless guy who is mumbling gibberish is an expert in physics.

Now we've both claimed that someone is an expert.


maxdancona wrote:
Expertise comes from education and experience. It something that you develop with hard work and training from other experts. What other people think about your knowledge is irrelevant.

Expertise does not confer legitimacy to unsupported statements made by the person who has been labeled as an expert.


maxdancona wrote:
If you can't can't accept this point (which is the key to my position) then you are arguing with yourself.

I accept that you've claimed that someone is an expert.

Do you accept that I've claimed the crazy homeless guy to be an expert in physics?
0 Replies
 
Jewels Vern
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 12:39 am
@maxdancona,
If an expert says a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing. That is why we teach basic principles: a duffer can check an expert's pronouncements against the principles to see if they are acceptable. Modern science presents an awful lot of stuff that fails the comparison, and that is when scientists fall back on authority.

The problem is that research is expensive, and a scientist does not have to be right to get funding. He only has to propose something that the authorities agree with. It is extremely hard to persuade someone to admit he made a mistake when his funding depends on not admitting that he made a mistake.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 06:23 am
@Jewels Vern,
Quote:
an expert says a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.... Modern science presents an awful lot of stuff that fails the comparison, and that is when scientists fall back on authority.


You have a problem with this attitude. If you require science to "make sense" to you, you will be stuck with the science of 2000 years ago. There are lots of things in "modern" science that are counter-intuitive starting with the fact that the Earth is a tiny ball of rock rotating around a much bigger star.

The logical problem you are having with this is that you are reading this on a modern computer on the modern internet, a digital device that is built using modern science. Modern science has also doubled human life expectancy and sent robots to Mars.

You can reject modern science if you want. But you can't argue with its success (at least not on on the internet).

Jewels Vern
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 06:48 am
@maxdancona,
Technological advances in one field do not prove theories in another field. Science is or should be based on observations and tests. A huge amount of modern science is based on assumptions and computer simulations.

I have no such problem. It seems that you do. You think science is advanced by authorities proclaiming it. No, the first step in the scientific method is "Observe something."
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 07:07 am
@Jewels Vern,
Nonsense. Nothing in science is based on assumptions. Einstein's theories have been tested multiple times from atoms to GPS satellites to astronomical measurements. They are accepted because they have been tested and measured.

The problem is with your ability to understand. Modern science has advanced over thousands of years. Science is now done in mathematics (as it has been since Newton) and the advances now involve some pretty advanced mathematics. The people who are doing science understand that math and they understand the measurements.

You are basically saying "I don't understand it, so I refuse to accept it". You are basing science on what makes sense to you. If you got more science education, likely your views would change.
Jewels Vern
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 07:43 am
@maxdancona,
You totally miss the point. Even when someone does not understand all the science they can still check whether the basic principles have been met. Those are:
1. Observe something.
2 Formulate a possible explanation (hypothesis) for the observation.
3. Make up a test for that explanation.
4. If the test fails, return to step 2, or seek more observations.
5. If the test succeeds, the explanation might be promoted to a theory and used to test other explanations. And it might not.

A great many hypotheses are used as if they had been proven when they are demonstrably false. When I was a teacher in the Air Force we taught that a magnetic field moved across a conductor and induced a current. Well, that was not true; a magnetic field does not move. It is entirely imaginary. If you wrap wire around a donut shape you can not detect a magnetic field anywhere outside the core, but it still works exactly as if the field moved across the wires. So the fact that something works does not prove that your explanation of it is valid.

When you study any scientific topic, watch for the word "falsify". You only rarely hear any mention of a hypothesis being falsified. Scientists will make up fudge factors by the dozens before they will admit that their theory has been falsified, as long as the theory is accepted by "consensus". Propose something that has not been approved by "consensus" and you might be physically ejected from the room.

BTW I was one of the engineers designing the satellite uplink system to put VH1 on the air, so I have pretty well demonstrated that I understand a helluva lot, without regard to your science religion.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 08:01 am
@Jewels Vern,
Quote:
Even when someone does not understand all the science they can still check whether the basic principles have been met.


No they can't. Science is always advancing as it has been for thousands of years. If you don't understand Newton's laws you can't understand Einstein. If you don't understand differential equations you can't understand Quantum Mechanics.

Someone who does not understand the science...

1) Is likely to have misconceptions about the theory involved.

2) Doesn't have the scientific or mathematical tools to test the hypothesis.

3) May not even understand the subject enough to formulate a valid hypothesis (if you don't understand what "curved space" means (i.e. the mathematics behind it), you aren't going to be able to state a valid hypothesis about spacetime).

Are you making the claim that the peer-reviewed science, supported by the scientific and academic communities are "falsified"?
Jewels Vern
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Aug, 2019 09:22 pm
@maxdancona,
"Are you making the claim that the peer-reviewed science, supported by the scientific and academic communities are "falsified"?"

No, I am saying that if the entire scientific and academic communities say a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing. And any random person on the street is qualified to judge a pronouncement that violates logic.

Example: The entire scientific and academic communities say that some large fraction of the universe is dark matter. But any random person can look it up at wikipedia to see that it was invented in 1932 by Ian Oort to fudge his data to agree with his theory. In any other field that would be called fraud.

You need to get close to a dictionary now and then. "Falsified" does not mean what you seem to think it means. Along with that homework, review "scientific method." The sole purpose of scientific method is to falsify a hypothesis if possible.
 

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