Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tab Clearing...


Buzz said...

I disagree about "experts" in areas of social/political science. The "soft" sciences, as I, an engineer, refer to them, are heavily populated with agenda-driven and blindered ideologues.
Hell, even the hard sciences are infested now, too. (meteorology, a glaring example)

By the way, is "Dunning-Kruger" another term for "progressive?"

Anonymous said...

Can't blame the NSA for this one. They're supposed to spy on other countries. Do you just not want any intelligence agencies?

I guess you could say that if they weren't overstepping their bounds and getting mixed up in domestic issues, Snowden would never have felt the need to defect, and they could have continued spying on foreigners relatively unimpeded.

batchainpuller said...

(my opinion) There's opinion, informed opinion and expertise. The internet is a wonderful tool for the layman to get at the expertise, but it requires a bit of expertise to do it properly.

Anonymous said...

"Seriously, if China wanted to really f*** us up, they'd buy us another National Security Agency or two."

Actually, I think the damage done by the Marxist in Chief should be sufficient for their purposes ....
wheather they helped pay for the ammo used in this self inflicted wound is up for debate. That they continue to loan us money that we can not repay tells me that there must be something in it for them ..... our (self)destruction, maybe?

Divemedic said...

As a person who has spent his entire adult life (more than 25 years) in Emergency services, I can agree with the post on the death of expertise.

The internet is filled with people who have opinions on how patients should be treated, and on how I was doing it wrong.

After earning four college degrees and spending nearly three decades studying a topic, it is vexing to hear someone who read an article on the internet or watched an episode of House tell you how you should have handled that last patient.

Ancient Woodsman said...

That was a great article.

I've noticed in the last four or five years that we have a new phenomenon in the world of the victim: the internet-informed and "CSI/NCIS/Bones"-instructed victim who is now an expert on laws, rules of evidence, investigation techniques & technology, and prosecutions.

With over two decades of criminal investigation & prosecution, I am more often confronted now with the victim of a civil wrongdoing who will go to great lengths - including writing to their governor, executive councilor, state representative - to complain about my 'inability to do my job' due to the answer that I will give after what is some times months (recently one went on for a year and a half - there's no way in hell Abby gets a DNA match in five minutes) of investigation, occasionally involving multiple agencies across local, state & federal jurisdictions. Although this is my job and they are among the public who pay for my education, continuing professional development, and salary to do exactly this sort of work compared to anyone else in the state, they do not want to hear it when I say, "I'm sorry...this is not a criminal matter, and here's why. You can hire an attorney and pursue civil litigation if you wish." Which of course is what we often tell them on day one of such an investigation, but few actually go to any lengths to help themselves. Instead they expect the government to fix their problem and are apparently offended when the same government tells them that this may be a matter of wrongdoing between two people and as such you alone have to fix it if you want, but it is not against the peace & dignity of 'the state' and we will not be pursuing criminal charges. They do not ever seem to make the connection between the idea that Seely Booth may detain the drunk driver who crashed in to your house if there's articulable suspicion for the stop, and Gil Grissom may be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did it provided that there's probable cause a crime was committed in the first place, but if you want Perry Mason & Matlock to sue the guy to get the restitution to fix your house, well then you've actually got to pony up to hire him yourself.

Contrary to what the occupant of the oval office has been selling it is not always the governments job to fix your stuff or ensure that you feel better about yourself.

Sorry for the rant. I really think that the stock of Maalox and Alka-Seltzer has been boosted because of this "you may be an expert, but you're wrong" attitude among the general public.

Old NFO said...

Dearth is right... sigh...

RevolverRob said...

I got bored with the death of experts article about halfway through. Cry some more Dr. SocialScience. And frankly at the end of it, his four deliverable points were poorly made, and if he had anyone convinced in his argument he lost them on point number 2 and especially point number 4. Trust me I know, one area of my expertise is communicating complex material to the public in an effective manner (yes seriously, but no you don't actually have to trust me).

I actually disagree about the death of experts. Walk into any classroom in this world and what you will see is a classroom full of students who pay rapt attention to the central authority figure (supposed expert) in the room. I remind my students at least once a week to beware the argument of authority, because of this. I could honestly tell my students snow was really made of powdered sugar and half of them would at least believe me until they confirmed by tasting it.

I work to convince and teach students to be educated, to learn to question sources, and to learn to find sources, and then some bozo comes along and says, "Listen to the experts they are probably right." Oh brother. And I used the term bozo precisely, because only a bozo would write a 12-page monologue on how he laments it when no one listens to him. Hey Francis, sometimes people don't listen to other people because they sound like hot air filled blowhards AND fail to provide sources to back up their hot air claims beyond their own degree and 30 years of "expertise". Who's a sad clown with a PhD from Columbia that no one takes seriously?

Sorry, this kind of crap really irks me as an academic. Just because you have a PhD and some published papers doesn't mean you can use the argument of authority to make your point. In MY WORLD you still have to do you research, make your skilled, nuanced, and cited argument, and then be prepared for people to not accept it. Especially, if you write it in such a way that you expect them to take it on face value, because you hold a PhD from some prestigious university. It is in fact those very people that make it exceptionally difficult to work effectively as academia. Every time I make a step forward in communicating effectively with an audience old Columbia-PhD steps in and rolls it up with his expert-steamroller and sends everyone packing.

Okay I am done since this is longest comment I have ever posted here and thinking about it longer will continue to irritate me.


azmountaintroll said...

Re: The NSA

They got caught. 'nuff said.

billy.harvey said...

The problem with experts is not what they're right about - it's what they're so gloriously wrong about.

Ted N said...

What about Pvt Snuffy, who just got some with Combat Lifesaver class? :)

Divemedic said...

@ Revolver Rob:
I don't think that the main point was "believe me, I have a PhD."
The point, and I have seen this myself, is that you enter a discussion on a topic in which you are an expert, and the other person is not. It goes like this:

Lay Person: "I think that topic A means X"
Expert: "That is incorrect. If you refer to the studies done my MIT, or even the one done by Dr. Smith, you will see that ... 6 pages of discussion follow."
LP: "No. (Link to wikipedia article)"
Expert: "That article is incorrect. 4 pages spent explaining why article is either wrong or doesn't apply."
LP: "But you haven't read this article here. (link to web article containing conspiracy theory that is not grounded on evidence, and is full of scientific sounding mumbo jumbo, and has more errors than you can count)"

The problem is that when one expert in a field has a discussion with another, even if they disagree, they have some common knowledge base where they don't have to waste time explaining basic concepts to one another.

When you have to explain to a person that they are wrong when they expound a theory, but cannot even get them to understand a basic concept like 2+2=4, then the advanced discussion that follows is pointless.

Tam said...

I had a Taurus, and it rocked. You're just a gun snob for not recommending them.

Matt said...

My favorite firearm lube is the tears of hippies.

burkdoggy said...

If I cut myself and get an infection, I may google "lacerations" or "infections" but I'll still pay the $150+ to have my doc look at it and I'll believe him if he says it's time for a tetanus booster!

Divemedic said...

Exactly. You are one of those people that I listen to, and whose opinions I value when it comes to firearms.

You surely know more than I do, and you are not a paid shill for anyone.

However, I would not consider you an expert on, say, 4th century poetry.

This is the reason why I cannot understand why celebrities have such weight placed upon their opinions. How can a rock star's opinion on international politics be better than my own? (Unless he somehow was earning a PhD in international relations while playing in a rock bank for extra money, and somehow the rock band worked out...)

Steve Skubinna said...

Back in the seventies I used RBC and LSA because that's what my rich uncle provided, and since they were his guns anyway...

Now I use Break-Free, Hoppe's #9 and Tetra. Are they the best ever and anyone not using them is totally gay?

Nah, they just work well for me and the guns I have, in the conditions I use them. The guy's comments on Rand CLP sound interesting... so I'll get some to try. Right now however, anyone using it instead of BreakFree is totally gay, man.

If I decide I like Rand better, than of course that situation will reverse itself.

Tam said...


LL's a pretty clueful dude, so I'll at least check some of the stuff out.

Scott J said...

"I had a Taurus, and it rocked. You're just a gun snob for not recommending them."

Hey! Leave my cheapness out of this :)

Of course I've had to come to grips lately that I appear to be an optics snob. Leupold, Burris, Nikon in that order (I have no experience with Zeiss).

I realized this when a friend claimed those who look askance at Vortex scopes are optics snobs.

benEzra said...

RevolverRob nailed it. A true expert will show through in the quality and documentation of his arguments.

If someone comes along and says "trust me because [argument from authority] or else I'll insult you and make fun of your position without actually addressing it", he has shot himself in his expert foot.

For an example of how genuine experts can make boneheaded blunders when writing about things slightly outside their area of expertise, even when they think they are speaking authoritatively, look at articles on gun issues in peer-reviewed medical journals. One I've cited elsewhere many times is Trask, Richards, Schwartzbach, and Kurtzke, "Massive orthopedic, vascular, and soft tissue wounds from military type assault weapons: a case report," J Trauma 1995 Mar 38(3):428-31. That article flatly contradicted the peer-reviewed wound ballistics literature on 7.62x39mm wounding ability (ref. Fackler et al), overstated kinetic energies by 40% (a math error, inconsequential except it was a major point of the paper), and claimed that low-velocity 7.62x39mm AK rounds have greater velocity than high-velocity hunting rounds. Those blunders weren't even noticed in peer review, because the "reviewers" didn't know crap about the subject either. (And of course rifles are the least misused class of weapons in the United States, but you'll rarely see that in the doctors-as-criminologists literature.) Or, heck, look at all the peer-reviewed press releases by Kellerman et al in JAMA.

The medical literature on gun technology, gun law, and criminal gun misuse is almost universally characterized by technical and judicial ignorance, intentional conflation of low-risk and high-risk groups, and intentional conflation of low-risk and high-risk activities, yet they are often authored by certified experts with Ph.D's from prestigious universities....and are easily debunked by a college freshman with a passing knowledge of firearms who can read a ballistics chart.

To look at it another way, Dr. Arthur Kellerman, Dr. David Hemenway, the authors of the aforementioned pile of fail in J. Trauma, and the chief of the NYPD are recognized "experts" on firearms and firearm injury prevention, whereas the inhabitants of the gun blogosphere are just amateur dabblers. Except that such characterization gets the polarity of the knowledge distribution, and the quality of the writing, precisely backwards.

staghounds said...

They can't want their privacy respected, they can't even speak English.

Yrro said...

I think the biggest lesson to take from that blog post is that twitter is a horrible medium for actual discussion.

I get his argument, but he does miss a bit... the reason anyone is listening to his argument in the first place is because he's an expert. The argument still has to stand on its own.

There is nothing so disappointing as actually reading the followup cites and articles from a professor only find to out that nothing they're claiming has actually been proven - it's just a concept that someone else with a PHD thought up and that they all thought sounded reasonable.

Goober said...

LL may be smart as hell. He may be right about everything he wrote. But he is awful at putting together a coherent argument as to why he is right.

That article was chock full of strawmen and was mainly just an argument to authority, which is a logical fallacy.

He May be 100 percent right, but he didn awful job of making his argument.

I'm not saying that I disagree with him, but perhaps part of his frustration comes from the fact that well he may be right, but he just can't state his case that well. This is oftentimes the root of the frustration of academics in getting people to listen to them. Super smart; poor communicator

Tam said...


"LL may be smart as hell. He may be right about everything he wrote. But he is awful at putting together a coherent argument as to why he is right.

That article was chock full of strawmen and was mainly just an argument to authority, which is a logical fallacy.

He May be 100 percent right, but he didn awful job of making his argument.

I think LL reported on the lubricants he used just fine. He also read the labels on the gun oil bottles correctly.

Goober said...

Did I get his initials wrong? Sorry. My bad

Tam said...


"Did I get his initials wrong? Sorry. My bad"


Steve Skubinna made some comments regarding the gun lube post to which I linked. I replied:

LL's a pretty clueful dude, so I'll at least check some of the stuff out.

"LL" being "LittleLebowski"; the forum/blog handle of the gentleman who wrote the post on gun lubricants that Steve referenced in his comment to which I replied.

I have no idea where you got "LL" in relation to what you wrote.

Goober said...

My handle is goober for a reason. Think I picked up the initials upthread from a post I thought was about the credentialism article.

jeff said...

Just found out the same thing about Froglube this winter. Been pretty happy with it over the last 8 months or so, but when I opened up the safe this week and checked on the rest of the kids it had definitely thickened up into some kinda goop. Not enough to stop up the guns, but definitely noticeable. Apparently I keep my daily carry warm enough, as I didn't notice any difference, even when shooting in below freezing temps.