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Opinions Of Experts In The Search For Knowledge Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1382 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Experts are those who are specialists and practice a particular profession, therefore many people tend to place a huge amount of trust in the hands of these people as they believe that the expert knows what he is doing, unlike themselves. This trust leads to the belief of everything the experts tell us. Therefore in the search for knowledge, we tend to use experts in order to prove our point, as it is the experts who must know the real truth about the subject that they have been studying and investigating. A simple example would be when we visit the doctor and take the medication he gives us without reading about them first, we trust them because of their credentials. In truth, experts are the people who have been looking into all sorts of beliefs and coming out with truths. Every time we learn something new about space, earth, or the earth’s inhabitants it is because an expert or a group of experts has finally come out with a truthful result from all his research and work. This is what gains our trust in experts, because they tend to be right with what they say, as once they discover an answer to something, it then becomes clear to us when explained, therefore the truth; such as the discovery of a new planet or new species. Though what if are now holding too much trust in experts? Do they sometimes have the ability to take advantage of us with items of proclaimed truths and discoveries?

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The opinions of experts are what I look for when I am researching a topic or trying to prove a point. Once I have found the opinion I repeat it to others carrying on the apparent knowledge, spreading it as I feel confident and correct, such as the wrongly proven fact that you could only fold a paper seven times or less, or that the ratio of dog years to human years is 1:7. Though all this confidence comes from another human being, as we are all equal I hold my knowledge of apparent truth in the hands of someone who is just as good as I am. Yes, this ‘expert’ has achieved degrees and maybe some awards for his knowledge, but in this search for knowledge and confidence I do not search for these credentials. I am gullible, and with such a broad use with the internet many misconceptions can be spread due to unqualified, incorrect ‘experts’, such as the craze for the ‘bonsai kittens’ which were grown into jars and the internet told us that it was common in China, this of course was proven to be hoax but it shows us the influence internet has. Therefore the trust that I hold in the name of an ‘expert’ has now been betrayed.

Everything we know about the earth and its surroundings today has been discovered by experts. Those people who have studied in a particular profession for many years and have then ventured into discovering more than they already knew. Once they discover more, new knowledge, it opens more doors leading to an even greater expansion of knowledge such as the recent discovery that a zebrafish’s heart can heal itself; this opens doors to scientists as they try to discover if this concept can help humans. The rest of the population are shown the newly discovered knowledge and of course believe it. Experts therefore hold power over the impressionable minds of the rest of the population. I believe that they do have the power to take advantage of people and give them false knowledge because we trust their credentials and their knowledge because we do not know any better than them, especially in this field of study.

Though what happens if there is more than one opinion on a piece of knowledge and both sides have proof to back up their argument? A good example of this is whether global warming is increasing due to an increased amount of global warming gasses being released, or whether it is a natural occurrence in nature; those who call global warming a hoax. A documentary produced by Martin Durkin claims that global warming is a government-supported scheme in order to gain publicity and money, proclaiming it to be “the biggest scam of modern times.”. The film is also backed up by experts including scientists such as Patrick Moore, “former member of Greenpeace but for the past 21 years a critic of the organization”. Whereas the Oscar winning documentary entitled “An Inconvenient Truth”, written by Al Gore, a previous president of the United States and the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”, promotes the necessity in the education of the human population about global warming and how to lower green house gas emissions. This is due to the, apparent, drastic effect on the earth we have created ourselves. This information tells us that experts may have different opinions and therefore influence different people giving these people confidence in the belief that what they know is the truth, yet only one can be correct. The novel entitled WRONG: Why experts keep failing us–and how to know when not to trust them written by David Freedman reveals the truth about how experts mislead the public due to their high stature, directly discussing what I believe to be true, that it incredibly difficult to not trust your senses when it comes to trusting experts.

You may have a different opinion to that of an expert. If so, which would be more important? Who should you trust most, you own senses, or an expert who may have been studying that field for many years? How sure are you that your senses may be misleading you with delusions that can be caused due to factors such as hallucinations or maybe even colour blindness? Would you change your mind if there was more support for the expert’s evidence than for yours? Though then we must look into the reliability of evidence rather than belief. There is no proof that God exists yet people trust experts when it comes to religion, and many people would say that a priest is an expert in the Christian faith, even though he doesn’t have proof, and relies on belief. The importance of an expert therefore relies on your instincts and what your own opinion is. Opinion is the most important part because otherwise we wouldn’t get anywhere in life and wouldn’t have discovered what we have today. Knowledge should be backed up by proof and if you have an opinion you should discover that truth. Experts merely provide their own opinions and therefore can be incorrect as they are simply humans. It is your choice whether to believe them or not and you must be reminded that you have the ability to disagree as many people seep in every word given to them by an expert without understanding and viewing the evidence.

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When looking for an answer the opinion from more than one expert can help discover the truth, such as diagnosing a sick patient, and all minds think differently and may come up with different solutions. Therefore it is very important to get opinions from experts, especially when it is a second opinion but we must not rely on those opinions as they are simply an idea, an idea which needs to be researched more. From a medical point of view, “40% of coma patients in a ‘vegetative state’ may be misdiagnosed”, this tells us that doctors, ‘experts’, are wrong 40% of the time when it comes to coma patients proving my point that they can be wrong and their opinion should not be instinctively trusted. In this case though it shows us how a doctor’s opinion is crucially important as we rely on them with our lives, though the more opinions you get is better.

Experts are hard workers who have aims in achieving knowledge and proving what they believe to be knowledge, in doing so they gain the supports from others. Their opinions are incredibly important as they provide us with a different or new understanding though we must learn which points of knowledge are credible and who to believe. In this I think we should investigate their proof and trust our instincts and get the opinions of others in order to confirm your result as instincts can be deceived.


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