I get your point Lava, and it is a valid one. Yes, I am arguing that science is done by a group of experts who have knowledge that most people don't have, and who determine what is correct or incorrect. I think your use of the word "authoritarian" is a little harsh, but I don't deny your point.
You don't like the 'harsh' sound of 'authoritarian,' because you want people to mindlessly accept scientific facts as dogma and worship academic degrees like priests and you know that if they see it for the authoritarianism it is, they will question why it is better than other forms of authoritarianism that lull people into sheeple-mode and otherwise discourage active, critical thought.
1. There is no other way. Science is complicated (notice the tie in the the Dunning-Kruger.) You can not understand modern Physics (or Chemistry or any of collection of hard sciences) without mastering differential calculus.
All you prove every time you say this is that you don't really understand physics except as a regime of complex mathematics.
Physics and all science is natural philosophy. Math is a tool for processing data. Knowledge and understanding go beyond the math.
Math can also be summed up in ways that facilitate understanding for people who don't understand the math. You don't have to measure and calculate changes in pressure/temperature/volume to understand Boyle's law. You just have to understand the mechanics that cause them to be connected in a way that doesn't allow volume, pressure, and temperature to all increase or decrease together without some corresponding gain or loss of energy from the closed system.
2. People can not just read on their own and "critically think about what they hear/read". They simply don't have the intellectual tools to understand what they are reading.
Not true. Empirical observations and experiments are used to demonstrate to general audiences how a principle is supported or refuted by evidence.
Anyone can question something they read. Michelson-Morley experiments, for example, supposedly proved the non-existence of luminiferous ether, but someone could think of a reason how the ether could be present without affecting the speed of radio transmissions around the Earth and the burden would be shifted to believers to show why Michelson's-Morley's experiment excluded that hypothesis in their experimental design.
That doesn't mean that any credentialed scientist will actually bother to accept that burden when they can just take it easy and teach accepted dogma to people paying to gain credentials in that dogma in order to make money with it themselves.
Real scientists write mathematical papers. That is real science. But, these papers are not accessible to people who don't have an education in advanced mathematics. (Anyone can get a copy, but only scientists get anything of value from them).
When you say things like this, it is like saying that "real plumbers are licensed and bonded." It doesn't say anything about the essence of plumbing, which is to get water to flow properly through pipes without leaks, backups, pressure problems, etc.
- Then journalists take the science from talking to the scientist or reading the paper, and they interpret it and put it into words. Then non-scientists read these words and interpret again.
- Non-scientists end up with an understanding based on an interpretation of an interpretation. That isn't the same as an understanding of science.
You are not thinking about what you're saying. If a scientist once published a paper about how ice-water remains at 0C until all ice is melted and only then begins rising to higher temps, that conclusion can be 'interpreted' in a way that is understandable to a non-expert and the non-expert could repeat the experiment by putting a pan of well-mixed ice water on a stove and watching the temperature while stirring the mixture until it was all melted and began to warm up.
Not all science is rocket science, so to speak.
3. Critical thinking requires external feedback. If you think up things by yourself without any external criticism, you will have no way to counter your own biases.
Not true. Critical thinking just requires questioning how and why. If someone tells you that ice water stays 0C until all the ice is melted, you can think about why the water temp can't go up without causing more ice to melt.
The advantage of an education is that you have to present your ideas to other people who can pick them apart. Of course, once you learn enough mathematics, you have an unbiased way to decide who is correct... you do out the math and other people will point out your mistakes.
It's not that there's no validity to what you're saying, but it's just not the whole picture. You are worshiping a narrow view of how science can be done and arguing against other methods, like saying that using arabic numerals are truer than using roman numerals, as per the thread title.
4. When you get an education you reach a point where you can confirm the answers for yourself. I can tell you the result of a differential equation. However, if you don't understand differential calculus you have to take my word for it. Once you learn differential calculus, then when I tell you something you can check it for yourself.
Even without being able to do calculus myself, I can listen to mathematicians explain how they apply calculus to calculating things like distance, acceleration, and speed all using the same curve/equation. Even if a person hasn't practiced doing that math themselves, they can see how it works, the same as you can see how a play on the football field works without being able to function as a player on the field using that play.
One of the important reasons for getting an education is so that you can check the answers for yourself. But there are no shortcuts to get to this point.
You say "authoritarian". I would call it "authoritative".
You say "getting an education" as if everything anyone learns by any means isn't a form of education. If you grew up in a primitive village and studied the behavior of insects and plants and learned to identify differences between different varieties, you would have been educating yourself and doing scientific research.
Everyone's education is in a partial state at every point in their lives, and all science is only tentatively valid until some question comes along that pushes it beyond its current limits.
You are trying to ascribe absolute status distinctions between educated and uneducated and between scientists and non-scientists, but the reality is that both science and education are names for general processes that have emerged as part of human life outside of the formal institutions some people regard as the exclusive domains of science and education.