On Trusting Academic Experts

Ideas and Data

In this post, I will argue against the view that we should trust academic experts. By “trust academic experts” I mean endorsing  the following two propositions:

  • Academics endorsing a proposition is strong evidence that the proposition is true or at least that the proposition is maximally warranted by the available evidence.
  • The fact that an argument is being made by a non-academic is strong enough evidence against the soundness of the argument to justify ignoring the argument.

In this post, I will exempt from my arguments academic experts in physics, chemistry, and closely related fields (e.g. engineering).

The question of whether to trust academic experts is a particular instance of a broader set of questions about which, if any, institutions we should trust to give us accurate knowledge about the world. For most of history, the institutions people relied on for such knowledge were at least partly religious in nature…

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