Monday, January 19, 2015
Consensus & Source
Oh, that’s right, I’m not. I only know the broad strokes of evolution, TV cosmology and pop-quantum physics. In other words, I don’t know shit. I know a lot more than the average guy walking down the street, but it’s relative. If I know anything, it's my limitations.
Which brings me to the conundrum. In order to talk about issues beyond my pay grade, I need to trust some of those papers and studies by the professionals. The best way I see to go about this is by focusing on consensus and source. Papers from respected journals with no clear agenda are more valuable than those from publishers with a vested interest in certain kinds of conclusions. The assessments supported by the majority of the community should be taken more seriously than fringe assessments by outliers.
I know this is the road to the fallacious arguments from authority and popularity, that’s why it’s important to consider source and consensus not as markers of truth, but as markers for a better likelihood of truth. It’s not perfect, but I can think of no better way. Can you?