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  Topic: Conservative Commentators and AE, Talking heads, columnists, talk shows...< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4928
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2010,07:07   

Another comment I entered over at the Hannity forum:


Jack Scrapper wrote:

I have no problem with you arguing that [someone] is wrong, unscientific, and making false statements as long as you do not say he is intentionally making false statements.
There is a generic problem with that. If someone claims to be an expert whose opinion should be given credence because of that expertise, there is more to the equation than what you say above. Anybody can make a mistake, even an expert. But an expert can't be an expert and continue to get stuff wrong consistently, especially when the errors always go in favor of their argument. Either they aren't really an expert, in which case they are intentionally misrepresenting their status, or they are an expert, and are intentionally misrepresenting the content. We are left with some uncertainty about which form of intentional misrepresentation is in play, but not that the person in question is engaging in such.

  • Myself, I mostly leave it at "this person is telling falsehoods". That gets away from the whole intentionality thing but still makes the point that the person is an unreliable source of information, whether by intention or not.


  • OK, there is a last resort that might serve as an excuse for a self-identified expert who nonetheless tendentiously gets things wrong. There is the research result about "Unskilled and Unaware of it", where people in the bottom quartile of ability in a topic often rank themselves as above average, because they don't even know enough to accurately rate their own ignorance. One could argue that such people would escape the intentionality trap thereby, but it would be by stipulating that they were, in fact, so completely incompetent and far from expertise that they couldn't even recognize that for themselves. If anyone wishes to make that kind of excuse for professional IDC advocates, please feel free to do so.

    "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

      28 replies since Jan. 01 2010,12:24 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  


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