Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Everyone's an Expert on Everything

In trying to find some home remedies for canker sores (this bad boy is still growing bigger by the day, for the record), I came across a lot of sites giving conflicting information.  Who do I believe in the age where everyone is qualified to espouse their opinion as fact?

A few days ago, I saw a post on Lauren Conrad's website with a face map explaining what acne in different areas of your face means.  There were no sources, and I wondered - beyond having nice skin herself, what are Lauren Conrad's credentials to be definitely telling us these things?  Why should we trust what she has to say?
In terms of ways in which the internet has changed our lives for the worse, I would say that giving everyone a platform to speak is probably number one on my list.  This goes along with the fake quotes I posted about last Friday because you can say anything without any sources or citations and people will just believe you.

I'll never forget when I was in college and the Loose Change videos were being released.  Everyone would eagerly watch them and lap them up as people spoke with their job descriptions displayed below them; "Fire Safety Engineer"... what the fuck does that mean?  Here he is telling us the official report is lies and we should believe him instead, but why?

They talk about thermite and it being impossible for a building to fall that way without it being controlled demolition and steel not melting at those temperatures.  Yet they expect us to accept that as fact the way they claim the "sheeple" have accepted the official report as fact.

This has become what we have on the internet, a series of conflicting reports and we have to choose what to believe.  When the hCG diet came out it was obviously a farce but people posted online about their successes with it - could me with my science argue with that?  Of course not, you can't deny someone else's experiences as they claim them.

You don't need to be an expert to have an opinion worth listening to, and I wish that this was something more people understood.  If I want an expert opinion I certainly won't be Google searching and click random blogs - those I go to for opinions and subjective information and anecdotes, because those are worthwhile when you're trying to develop an understanding of a subject as well as hard facts.

A popular defense used by climate change deniers is that there exists a document with the signatures of 1000 scientists and researchers who don't agree with the theory.  So what does that mean?  There are thousands more who agree... you're choosing to believe one set over another because they share your opinion, which is really the complete opposite of what science stands for (finding objective answers).  Who are the real experts here?  Why do I use so many questions in my writing?

So should I trust Lauren Conrad's unsourced advice?  Should I trust a random blogger about what's going to be in next season and drop a bunch of money on something she guarantees will be in?  Do I listen to the person swearing up and down that their all popcorn diet helped them lose and keep off 40 pounds?  I don't know, but I do know I'll be staying away from anyone who claims to be unequivocally expert on anything.

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