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by John Spritzler

July 16, 2023

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Too few people judge experts the right way, which means to look at the data they provide or cite and look at the quality of their analysis of those data, plus look at their educational background and professional accomplishments.

The WRONG way, which too many people use, is to start from the assumption that whatever the mass media has been saying over and over and over again must be the truth, and any expert who disagrees with it must be wrong.

One version of this wrong way of judging an expert is to look at who employs, or has ever employed, the expert in question, and if it happens
to be an employer that didn't or doesn't go along with what the mass media has been saying over and over and over again, then conclude that the expert must be wrong.

Another version of this wrong way of judging an expert is to say, "Look, he/she works for (or once worked for) an employer that was pro-capitalist and did nasty things to make more profits" as if any employer today--for-profit or not-for-profit, private or public--with enough money to hire experts wasn't pro-capitalist and didn't do nasty things either to make more profits itself or help capitalists make more profits. According to this silly mode of reasoning, we should only trust experts who are employed by the World Egalitarian Anti-Capitalism and Anti-Class-Inequality Bank that has billions of dollars to hire people. Why do you think no scientists are employed by that bank, uh?


Yet another--and the most common--version of this wrong way of judging an expert is to reason illogically as follows:


1. Start with the premise that the people who say that using fossil fuel causes catastrophic global warming are correct.

2. Note that this premise (let's call it the alarmist hypothesis) implies that we should stop using fossil fuel, which in turn means that the fossil fuel industry should be abolished.

3. Next note that the fossil fuel industry owners--Big Oil--have a vested interest (i.e., to make lots of money) in refuting the alarmist hypothesis.

4. At the same time, ignore the fact that the alternative (to fossil fuel) energy industries (solar, wind, hydro, nuclear) owners--let's call them "Big Solar" for short--likewise have a vested interest (i.e., to make lots of money just like Big Oil) in promoting the alarmist hypothesis.

5. Conclude that, since Big Oil has greedy reasons for supporting scientists who refute the alarmist hypothesis, therefore the scientists employed by Big Oil must be wrong and the alarmist hypothesis must be correct.

6. But do NOT (oh no!) likewise conclude that, since Big Solar has greedy (just as greedy as Big Oil) reasons for supporting scientists who agree with the alarmist hypothesis, therefore the scientists employed by Big Solar must be wrong and the alarmist hypothesis must be false.

7. (In other words, first decide what you believe [most likely what the mass media has made you believe], and then find an excuse for only considering scientists who agree with you to be credible.) 



Let's take a look at some things the media in the past said over and over and over again.

1. Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Well, turns out he did not.

2. The U.S. government feared the military might of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Well, turns out that it did not. On the contrary, as I show in enormous detail at .

3. Sanctions against Russia would cause the Russian economy to collapse. Well, it didn't happen. On the contrary! Even the IMF admits this.

4. Smoking tobacco absolutely is the cause of lung cancer. Well, maybe it is and maybe it's not. Has the mass media ever mentioned the reason why maybe it's not? Let me explain.

Regarding smoking and lung cancer, R.A. Fisher, the father of modern statistical inference methods, came under heavy attack when in 1958 he famously declared that there was in fact no evidence that smoking CAUSED lung cancer, only evidence that it was ASSOCIATED with lung cancer (and as all scientists had to admit, even if reluctantly in this case, association does NOT imply causation.) [ Fisher RA. Lung cancer and cigarettes, Nature, 1958, vol. 182 4628pg. 108 ]

Fisher's point was that the association could be the result of some unknown factor that caused people to get lung cancer and also caused people to smoke. While this was a logical possibility, nobody had evidence that it was true, until recently. A recent scientific (and of course, peer reviewed, and in a very prestigious journal) paper linked to below, concludes this way:

"Our results here are also of historical interest. Over 50 years ago, Fisher (34) suggested that there might be a genetic variant responsible for both smoking behavior and lung cancer. He proposed that this common genetic cause might explain the association between smoking and lung cancer and thus that smoking may not itself in fact have a causal effect on lung cancer. Our results here show that, in some respects, Fisher was at least slightly correct. In previous studies, the variants on chromosome 15q25.1 have been shown to affect smoking behavior (3–9); here we have provided fairly conclusive evidence that these variants also affect lung cancer through pathways other than by increasing smoking behavior. Thus, there is indeed a common genetic cause of smoking and lung cancer."
[source: ]

5. Burning fossil fuel will cause CATASTROPHIC global warming! Well, they couldn't possibly be wrong about THAT, could they? No point bothering to read this, then, is there: ?

Or this: .

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