Social Question

plexial's avatar

What compels you to ask or answer questions without requiring or having the credentials and experience?

Asked by plexial (102 points ) December 30th, 2013

To properly answer any question, a person has to have a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of, or skill in a particular area. This is called an expert.

Credentials, otherwise known as a Ph.d, coupled with the practical years of experience in that subject are necessary to prove expertise. Standards are equally important. A Ph.d from a prestigious ivy-league university is in no comparison to the lower standards of one that is not. Peer-review increases that standard by culling out illegitimate experts.

An engineer with a Ph.d, but has no years of experience isn’t going to be much of an expert. He/she might, though, when speaking in theory. Likewise, for an engineer with experience, but has no Ph.d.

This question also applies to experts who answer questions of a subject they have no expertise in, such as a doctor answering questions that relate to architecture.

Why do you insist on asking/answering questions with a lack thereof?

Are you overestimating your self-worth?

It seems like a perpetuation of ignorance and disinformation.

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134 Answers

Judi's avatar

Well if that’s the case lets just shut fluther down.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

What makes you think the asker doesn’t have any experience, just because they don’t have a Phd and five hundred years in university, I nhave twenty years driving transport trucks bet that’s morfe than anyone in school.

glacial's avatar

Before we continue, please upload a copy of your question asking / question answering PhD diploma. I don’t want to waste my time on a non-expert.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

A PhD is a certification by a group of people who call themselves experts in a topic, that some new person can join their club.

Awards and certifications only serve to consolidate power and protect a certain group. If you believe that makes any particular group an expert, so be it. Einstein had his most productive year the same year he was awarded a PhD. He was never as prolific afterwards. I have always suspected credentials limit creativity.

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zenvelo's avatar

Your premise is false.

A person does not have to have a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge to properly answer a question.

If that were true, most parents could not teach their child anything. In fact, you set a standard higher than most academic standards, because only a teaching credential plus a bachelor degree in just about anything are enough to teach K-12, a masters is not even required to teach in a Community College, and a Doctorate is not needed for university teaching.

And, there are many areas of knowledge that don’t have any formal academic structure, but there are plenty of people that can answer questions about them.

And, we are all entitled to our opinions. And the vast majority of answers I see on Fluther have to do with opinions over which factor is the most important.

Sounds to me like you are overestimating your critical ability.

zenvelo's avatar

And your headline question is also wrong, why would anyone need credentials to ask a question?

Seaofclouds's avatar

As others have said, there is not requirement for any users to only answer questions they are experts in. Also, there really is no official measure of who is or isn’t an expert on Fluther. All users are free to ask and answer any question they please as long as they follow Fluther’s guidelines.

plexial's avatar

@zenvelo

I’m sorry to point it out, but you seem to have a reading comprehension problem. If you read carefully, I wrote to properly answer any question. I didn’t say a parent cannot or won’t be compelled to answer. I am asking what compels those with no credentials to comment.

By claiming I have high standards, you’re thus glorifying the sub-standard, hence you’re proving my point that it is a perpetuation of ignorance and disinformation.

Read the headline question again, carefully. It is not saying that you need credentials to ask a question, it is asking what compels people to ask question of those who have no credentials.

ETpro's avatar

@plexial First, welcome to Fluther. Now, with the pleasantries out of the way, I can blast away at the fallacious logic of your assertion. It sounds like a very strange version of the Argument from Authority fallacy. Just as it doesn’t follow that the words of an expert or famous scholar are true, it does not follow that the ideas of answers from someone not recognized as an expert are false.

I have to agree that if the one gets an answer here from someone who has no credentials qualifying them as an expert in the area the question probes, then it’s wise to weigh the answer and see if it makes good sense. But every assertion needs to stand on its merits, not the scholarly reputation or lack thereof of the person providing the answer.

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plexial's avatar

@ETpro

You seem to be thinking in absolutes which do not exist in this reality. We deal in probabilities, not absolutes.

The probability is much greater for someone with a Ph.d to be correct in their judgments related to their area of expertise than a commoner, even though an expert can at times come to the wrong judgments. That is also why there is peer-review. The key difference, though, is that the peers are experts and not ordinary people.

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SQUEEKY2's avatar

I have known some very highly educated people, being extremely life stupid(book smart) but life stupid never the less.

chyna's avatar

So ask a “PHD” question already.

plexial's avatar

@SQUEEKY2

Right you’re. Just because someone is an expert at math, doesn’t mean he/she is an expert of other subjects. That is why I gave the example of a doctor who is a medical expert, but is compelled to answer questions that relate to architecture.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@plexial Are you only concerned about this in regards to Fluther or all aspects of life?

Judi's avatar

If a person only respects education that is gained in a classroom and disregards life experience then that person is missing out on a world of knowledge.
You can have a professor in economics explain the effects of poverty in a precise and calculated manner. They still will not understand it as well as someone who had to choose between rent and electricity or food and medicine. Life experience is a completely different kind of education and that’s why the phrase “school of hard knocks” has stuck around and rings true for so many.

plexial's avatar

I believe I mentioned experience in my question details and gave an example of a doctor who has a Ph.d but has not yet gained any experience in the practice of medicine. Only after years of experience in the medical field should he be considered an expert.

It has to be both. Knowledge and applied knowledge (degree and experience).

Seaofclouds's avatar

@plexial So, whenever you ask someone a question, do you check their credentials and make sure they are an expert in what you are asking? Have you never had a question that didn’t need an experts answer or that there wasn’t an expert available to answer?

amujinx's avatar

So, how much of what you have learned over your whole life should you just forget since it wasn’t taught to you by someone without a PhD? Guess I better forget how to use the toilet since my parents don’t have doctorates. A ridiculous example admittedly, but really not any more ridiculous than thinking one can’t get good answers from someone unless they have a doctorate.

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” – Isaac Asimov, PhD. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 1948

YARNLADY's avatar

I am compelled to answer questions because I have knowledge, experience or opinion to share. If the asker insists on a particular level of responses, as you suggest, they are on the wrong forum.

Haleth's avatar

@plexial Welcome to the internet.

plexial's avatar

@Seaofclouds

Well, no one carries a Ph.d certification with them in person, so during socialized settings, I keep quiet and let folks speak their mind. Internally, I ignore them. However, if I needed an answer, I would most certainly request to see their credentials and years of experience.

The good news is almost everything is digitized these days, so I don’t require my answers to be given to me in person. If I need a scientific answer and a scientist isn’t available, I pay for a peer-reviewed scientific journal or search its database for the answer.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@plexial I see, so then how do you weigh one’s life experience as expertise? Also, how are you going to handle being on a site like this were you can’t verify who we are or what expertise we say we have?

chyna's avatar

@plexial Then you are in the wrong place. We are a question and answer site with people sharing ideas. All kinds of people. With/without degrees, poor, rich, and everything in between.

dxs's avatar

I answer questions based on my 18 years of experience living. No PhD-holder can speak for my opinions and experiences. Why do you care?

zenvelo's avatar

@plexial I read your question, you did not properly read my answer. I said your premise is false, you do not need that level of “expert” credential to properly answer most questions.

Your premise is false, and your logic proceeds from a falsehood.

plexial's avatar

@Seaofclouds

A sign of expertise for me has to be a combination of knowledge and experience. One without the other is cast out.

I probably will not be able to handle this site. I was curious enough to ask ordinary folks. If I wanted an expert answer for my question, which I plan to ask later on, I would contact the peer-reviewed data of a biologist, social scientist, evolutionary theorist, and a psychologist.

Have you ever heard of scholarpedia? It is a site created by former members of wikipedia with the intention to create a free peer-reviewed encyclopedia that is invitation only to those who have a Ph.d and requires them to put up all their personal information and photo ID.
That would be an example of high standards that should be applied in all aspects.

plexial's avatar

@dxs

Curiosity.

@zenvelo

Ok, we disagree here.

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plexial's avatar

Why would you say that? I’m just as ordinary as you. The only difference is I am honest enough to say I don’t have the expertise to comment, and remain quiet about subjects I have no expertise in, which is pretty much every subject since I don’t hold a Ph.d in any of them.

dxs's avatar

@plexial Curiosity? How can I be so sure?? Show me your credentials!

plexial's avatar

Hehe, good it is rubbing off.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@plexial I never heard of that, but honestly, it sounds boring. I rather enjoy listening to people with life experience that wouldn’t mean anything at such a place. If I wanted to learn just what the folks with a PhD had to say, there are numerous places for me to read such information. Hearing what everyone else has to say though, that you don’t find as easily.

jca's avatar

If I want to find out about how to expertly plow snow, I doubt I would be able to find someone who has a PhD in snow plowing.

plexial's avatar

@Seaofclouds

Have you ever fact checked what people say? In my brief time here, I fact checked some of the answers members gave for economic questions. They were mostly inaccurate with small gems of truth.

Why would you enjoy something like that? A plumber is telling you how the universe works. A homemaker is telling you the causes and solutions for economic problems. They quote you experts as evidence but misinterpret their entire message.

I suppose it depends on what your goal is. Accurate knowledge is my goal and so I emphasize its importance. Your goals are different, so you find, as such, enjoyable.

plexial's avatar

@jca

Why not? An engineer. A physicist.

jca's avatar

If this site is not suitable to anyone, they’re welcome not to visit it.

glacial's avatar

@plexial “If I wanted an expert answer for my question, which I plan to ask later on, I would contact the peer-reviewed data of a biologist, social scientist, evolutionary theorist, and a psychologist.”

If you hear them talking to you, do let me know your secret. My data are always so quiet.

jca's avatar

A physicist is not necessarily an expert at snow plowing. If someone has never operated a snow plow, a PhD is not going to make a difference.

plexial's avatar

@jca

Well when I say physicists and engineer, I am speaking of what I defined as expertise (the knowledge of science and the experience of applied sciences).

Seaofclouds's avatar

@plexial I rarely ask questions here that would require me to do any fact checking. The questions I ask here tend to rely more on personal experience and opinions. If I had a question that required specific knowledge to answer it, I may or may not ask it here. It would depend entirely on the question and the users of the site at that time. Currently, we have people in multiple professions that I would trust their answers because I have gotten to know them over the years I’ve been a member of this site.

plexial's avatar

@glacial

Wonderful invention called audio recorders. Data that talks.

dxs's avatar

@plexial If you don’t like the atmosphere of everyday people who may not have PhDs, then I don’t think this is the place for you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What compels me?

My human nature.

plexial's avatar

@dxs

I’m aware of that. This question is specific for ordinary folks. I want to hear from them, their reasons.

Only a few actually answered. You’re one of them. :)

tom_g's avatar

I could be wrong, but I think you may have set up your question as a variant of the liar paradox. If we accept your premise, we have to reject your premise.

Mimishu1995's avatar

My direct answer to your question: because I want to be helpful. Is this some kind of crime?

Why are you so sure that we don’t have a PhD?
And suppose that you have the answer to your question, how can you be certain that the answerer have a PhD (unless you post your question on sites like scholarpedia)?
And if you need an answer from an expert that badly, why don’t you just come to scholarpedia instead of register here then complain?

A person can be an expert in many fields, even though they may not have PhDs on those fields or have experience. For example, a doctor with a PhD may be able to answer a question about computing even though he doesn’t have a PhD in computing, because he has a good knowledge about both medical and computing fields, he just choose to be a doctor and not a programmer. That is why like you say, a plumber can tell you how the universe works. You can never tell what a person is good at in just one look! When you ask a question, people will just try their best to give the good answers. Trusting the answer or not is up to you. It’s clearly not the answerers’ fault because they just try to be helpful.

And if you think you can handle Fluther, you don’t need to stay here. If your goal is to get accurate knowledge, go find a more “specialize” websites. I promise I won’t answer any of your later questions because I’m just an ordinary person without any experience or PhD, surely I’m not qualify for any of your standard.

dxs's avatar

You’re calling me ordinary? I think that I’m anything but ordinary personally. As far as you know, I’m just a talking orange block with blue musical notes who has nothing better to do then spend time arguing with some random troll in cyberland on a Monday night. What more could you possibly know about me?

Seek's avatar

@plexial

I don’t need anyone’s credentials to determine whether I accept their answer. I find good advice stands on its own merit.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I asked many Ph.d’s about my problem for over a year. They were each convinced of their diagnosis. Despite their lauded educations, they were all wrong.

Not until I asked about my problem to local tavern friends, most of the time half drunk, did one of them (a grocery bagger who dropped out of high school) relate a story of his brother who had a similar problem.

I took his story to a urologist, who discovered I needed kidney surgery. The advise from the drunken bar buddy was more valuable than a year of multiple million dollar Ph.d’s.
_____________

How many times have I heard the same type of story from people who didn’t get help from the medical community, but instead found healing from natural medicine quacks?

Please qualify your credentials before answering that question.

plexial's avatar

@tom_g

Care to explain yourself in context to what I wrote?

@Mimishu1995

If you’re giving medical advice without being a medical doctor, I would consider that a crime, yes. If it is a recipe for apple pie. no, but then again, you can be giving a recipe for a really awful tasting apple pie.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

I have no credentials but since you insisted on asking an ordinary person such as myself, I’ll try and give you my opinion. Your story sounds like the exception, not the rule. How many stories can you possibly hear being a single individual? Not that many. Probability clearly points in favor of the doctor, not the experience of some drunk. You lucked out, wonderful. An anomaly.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Funny that one rarely hears someone complaining about friendly advice. Much less than one hears complaints about the medical money making machine industry.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You can ask a friend to recommend a doctor.

But how awkward to ask a doctor to recommend a friend.

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plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Funny that one rarely hears someone complaining about friendly advice. Much less than one hears complaints about the medical money making machine industry.

That is because friends usually don’t give medical advice.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

I would say it is awkward because you’re just visiting shity doctors.

tom_g's avatar

@plexial: “Care to explain yourself in context to what I wrote?”

You have no credentials, so we are to disregard your statements on the subject of credentials and information. If I were to accept your premise (I do not), I would be forced into disregarding everything you wrote, which would include your premise.

plexial's avatar

Ah, that is interesting and a good point.

Seek's avatar

And I believe I speak for @tom_g when I say, “BAZINGA!”

plexial's avatar

I don’t watch that show. It is really lame. I don’t understand how Americans find that funny. You know they use an artificial laugh track?

Go check out some of the youtube videos where they remove the laugh track.

Seek's avatar

I’m sorry, do you have a Ph.D. in comedy, screenwriting, or performance arts?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@plexial Like I said, believing or not is up to you. Instead of complaining, go and find someone with the suitable Ph.D to satisfy your need.

ragingloli's avatar

Because it can be expected that no one expects expert answers on a general internet Q&A site.

plexial's avatar

@Mimishu1995

This is an inquiry, not a complaint.

@Seek_Kolinahr

No, but I have another Ph.d = Papi has dough

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“I would say it is awkward because you’re just visiting shity doctors.”

With Ph.D?

And in the context of the statement, are you suggesting that a good doctor can be relied upon to recommend a friend?

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plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

Your complaint is on behavior not expertise. You can be an expert and behave like a savage. Not all geniuses are noble.

It depends on the purpose of the recommendation. If it is medical, a good one would have no problem in recommending a colleague. I don’t think a good or bad one would recommend a regular joe friend when it comes to medical advice.

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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What “behavior” does my comment describe?

Did you miss, that asking a drunken friend was more beneficial to me than spending thousands of hard earned dollars seeking relief from doctors?

What criteria do you use to label the doctors I visited as “shitty”? I mean really… What do you know about my experience other than what I’ve shared? Why would you invent convenient false truths to fit my experience into your comfort zone?

plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

I don’t think you’re following me. You feeling awkward about asking your doctor to recommend a friend is not a complaint of his expertise. It is a complaint of his behavior.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Someone with a great deal of life experience on a subject,can be a thousand times more beneficial , than some moron that only has classroom experience on the same subject.

plexial's avatar

And the one who has both the knowledge and experience culls out the latter and former.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How is awkwardness classified as a complaint?

snowberry's avatar

@plexial If you want to have a conversation online with people who have been vetted, you might try to join Mensa (many of them have doctorates, and I assume you can check their credentials). Or you could try some organization that caters to a certain section of society, such as medical doctors (they’ll all have doctorates), and you can pick and choose your friends. Here, there’s no way anyone can check up on someone who claims to have a doctorate, because it’s supposed to be anonymous.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I prefer someone with real life experience,as to some phd dud who wouldn’t know the real world if it bit them on the butt.

plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

_You can ask a friend to recommend a doctor.
But how awkward to ask a doctor to recommend a friend_

This isn’t a gripe? Sure sounds like it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s an acknowledgement of reality. Why does that “sound” like a complaint to you?

snowberry's avatar

@plexial This whole question sounds a bit like a gripe. Just sayin’

plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

Either way, the awkwardness has nothing to do with the expertise. You asked me “even with Ph.d” which implies you assume it is some kind of relationship. I say it doesn’t relate.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

”...the awkwardness has nothing to do with the expertise…”

Au contraire, the awkwardness is specifically because the doctor does not have the expertise required to recommend a friend. But a friend does indeed have the expertise required to recommend a doctor.

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plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

Elaborate.

Why can’t the doctor?
Why can the friend?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I trust a friend to recommend a doctor because they have experience with that doctor.

But I could not trust a doctor to recommend a friend when they have no experience about me other than the condition I present to them.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“Hey doc, I need a friend. Can you recommend someone?”

plexial's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

But people have different medical problems, and react differently to treatment/surgeries, so if your friend recommends a doctor, what worked for him might not work for you at all.

Haleth's avatar

@plexial “I told you guys, if you think I’m a troll, feel free to ban me anytime. It will actually help prove my point further.”

IIRC the rules here, they don’t really ban users for that. You can be a troll and be on this site. Individual answers might get modded, like if you post a personal attack toward another user, or if your answer is full of spelling and punctuation problems. (Any mods care to weigh in?)

Another feature here is that after a few minutes, you can’t go back and edit your answers. Questions and answers here never disappear or fade away. Everything is archived for future people who might be interested and seek out a given topic.

So in fact, your particular brand of wisdom will remain for quite some time. Future readers will be able to judge the arguments on their own merits. Isn’t that exciting?~

@SQUEEKY2 “Someone with a great deal of life experience on a subject,can be a thousand times more beneficial , than some moron that only has classroom experience on the same subject.”

Like sex, for instance. Can you imagine taking advice about that from someone who only read about it in a book? Wine also. I’d really rather hear someone’s firsthand opinion of what a wine actually tastes like, than what they read in a book about it. Learning about wine in a classroom is great, but it only gets you so far. It can complement your firsthand experience, but not replace it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Key term “might”.

Common sense allows doctor referral programs to run on the premise of “might”.

Not Ph.D sense. Common sense. See if your doctor can prescribe some of that.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“To properly answer any question, a person has to have a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of, or skill in a particular area. This is called an expert.”

“Does that pie taste good?”

“Sorry I can’t answer that. I’m not a pie expert.”

plexial's avatar

@Haleth

Ah, thanks for the info, but I’m really not trolling. I have a feeling the few people who are reacting harshly to my inquiry are doing so because they were overestimating their self-worth for a long time and lived with that dishonesty 24/7. I suspect my inquiry brings up their real self-worth that they buried deep down inside them and so they react harshly as a defense mechanism to retain their comfort zone. Just my opinion.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Common sense allows doctor referral programs to run on the premise of “might”.

It shouldn’t.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Does that pie taste good?
Sorry I can’t answer that. I’m not a pie expert.

No one said you cannot answer. I’m saying the probability of an accurate answer will sooner come from an expert than a commoner.

To some, pie will taste the same, all good, all around. But a professional will explain the fine differences in tastes. Why X tastes good and why Z tastes better.

You never seen the world’s best cheeses, world’s best wines? Wine experts decide that because they have the knowledge and experience that you don’t.

Judi's avatar

My value (self worth) is not determined by a piece of paper granted by a university. If that’s how you value people you lead a very narrow life and I kind of feel sorry for you and those in your life that don’t measure up.
Would you consider Bill Gates or Abraham Lincoln experts in their field? Neither had a degree in anything.

plexial's avatar

You’re taking self-worth out of context. It only pertained to knowledge and experience.

7 billion people in the world and you found 32 individuals who dropped out of ivy-league schools which they could have easily finished if they wanted to?

Yeah, I don’t think you have much of an argument there at all. My argument is the same as before, probability is on my side. You guys keep using extreme examples that are the exception, not the norm.

ETpro's avatar

@plexial To follow up on what @Judi said, Ted Kaczynski was a child prodigy who was admitted to Harvard at age 16 and went on to earn a PhD in mathematics.

plexial's avatar

And so when Ted Kaczynski talks about math, you should listen to him since he has the Ph.d title to prove his expertise.

The only people qualified to correct him of any errors are his peers who have the same Ph.d in the same subject.

ETpro's avatar

@plexial Anyone who is right is qualified to correct anyone else. In the scientific method, alphabet soup behind a name doesn’t determine what conforms to observed results, experiments do. Truth is truth and the teller has no influence on that.

And if Ph.d means what you said it means, then you HAVE to allow the list of innovators that @Judi provided.

plexial's avatar

I agree, but that is just empty words. The peers that review scientific research are other scientists. It isn’t joe the plumber.

I’m not disagreeing with Judi. They’re experts. I’m simply saying that she and others use extreme examples to make their point. You don’t go by the anomaly, you go by probability.

Also, a key point here is that these people chose to not finish the degree. It is not the case that they couldn’t actually finish, so even though they don’t have the Ph.d, they could have had it if they chose to finish.

Judi's avatar

@plexial , many found finishing their degree a waste of time and energy because letters after their name didn’t determine their value or their ability to come up with correct answers.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

”...the probability of an accurate answer will sooner come from an expert than a commoner….”

Is that your expert opinion, or your common one?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@plexial yeah, it’s not a complaint, but it’s not an inquiry either.
I’ve been reading all of your answers here. And I have the impression (actually, this impression came to me the moment I read you question’s title! Your answers just confirmed it) that you seem to be using the question to tell us that: “You guys can’t answer any questions because none of you seem to be experts. You are just a bunch of stupid people who just waste my time giving me stupid answers”. Is that right? Do you think you are superior to us? If so, then go away and find someone else who is as superior as you. Stop staying here and boasting about yourself! You think we are worse than you, so we will forever remain worse than you, no matter how much you say!

JLeslie's avatar

I came to this late. I think so many of the answers are great. I answer medical Q’s all the time and have no education in medicine. I am interested in medicine though and know more than the typical layperson. I know a lot about the illnesses I have suffered. I know what I have been through, treatments that have been tried, side effects I experienced. I also am interested enough in medicine that when a Q is asked and I know very little about it, I do some googling and post some links to maybe help the OP. One of our MD jelly’s actually often makes his entire answer a link to information on the topic. Sometimes a study that was done, or a link to an organization for a particular disease, or a link to CDC or similar. Even people without the MD degree can provide those links. Links to reliable sources.

I’m also thinking about how many psychologists I know who have trouble themselves with relationships. “Experts” I guess from your definition, but in reality they have trouble themselves in real life, sometimes real life is a better teacher or test of a theory than what is in the books. I am not saying throw away the books, I just mean real life experience counts for something. Think about drugs that have come to market after being tested and then later need to be recalled because the drug has injured or killed too many people. It was tested, experts tell us it is safe, and then in the end, not safe, or not safe enough.

If I want to learn about fishing, I certainly don’t care if a fisherman has a college degree. I care if he is successful at fishing.

Aspoestertjie's avatar

@plexial So you need to be an expert thief to know that it is wrong to steel? Many questions here (and I have been here for less than 24 hours), seems to be common sense questions and answers. Only here and there you will find a question that requires more skills and/or knowledge. Why do people feel compelled to ask questions and give answers? It is easy. Those who do not ask will never know the answer or will understand how other people perceive things to be. It is to feed our curiosity. If you don’t like Fluther and the questions and/or answers provided, what are you still doing here?

Judi's avatar

I AM an expert in Real Estate, especially property management but I don’t have a PHD. I’m a Real Estate Broker but my expertise comes from 25+ years in the industry not from the class’s I’ve taken. I HAVE learned from classes and seminars but most of my knowledge comes from experience and independent study. I have been mistaken for an attorney several times because of my knowledge of landlord tenant law in California. If you’re having a problem with your landlord I think my advice would be worth quite a bit. I suggest you don’t ask though and pay $150 an hour to get marginal advice from an attorney who probably doesn’t deal with landlord tenant issues very often anyway and if he does it’s probably from the landlords side.

dougiedawg's avatar

I think humans feel compelled to give advice in this type forum in order to participate in the process and to enjoy the experience of expressing themselves in a helpful manner.

Though many or not qualified and some answers may fall short, I do believe that most are given with the best intentions. It is up to the person asking to use proper discrimination to weed out the b.s. and not accept all answers as spot on.

If someone is completely off base in their response, then one should either bring them to task or ignore them. All public forums are plagued by people without a clue who will unfailingly walk in where angels fear to tread. To engage or ignore is the question, eh?

Judi's avatar

(Spellcheck PUT that apostrophe there! I didn’t!)

rojo's avatar

I am not sure I have the expertise to know how to answer this question without seeming like a total fraud or imbecile.

Sorry.

funkdaddy's avatar

@plexial – the education you hold in high regard is just packaged and distilled experience from many individuals, each new thought, opinion, or experience is reviewed and weighed against what is already known…

Much like fluther.

ETpro's avatar

@plexial When debaters dismiss solid epistemological statement by simply saying “You seem to be thinking in absolutes which do not exist in this reality.” then they either have conceded and don’t wish to admit it, or aren’t very expert in epistemology. :-)

I will grant you that it’s more likely to get a sound medical opinion from a specialist in the complaint you’re asking about than from a bricklayer or homemaker. Certainly, if I had a terrible pain in my lower right abdomen, I wouldn’t first ask for a diagnosis here, I’d contact my doctor.

But you might get some very useful information from a bricklayer in homemaker who has actually confronted the condition in question. In fact, they will know things you that the MD doesn’t know despite all her/his years of schooling and even if the MD came from Harvard. In point of fact, about this time last year, I had a severe pain just like I mentioned above. I contacted my doctor, who diagnosed it as a lingual hernia and referred me to a specialist at Mass General for evaluation and surgery. But once I knew what it was, I asked here for info on what I might expect, and got lots of solid, sound information from people who had already had the same condition repaired, or had family members who had.

I don’t know if the “Related Questions” at the bottom of the right column stay the same or occasionally cycle, but the ones showing over there right now are all questions that ordinary people could correctly answer just as well as any sort of PhD I am aware of.

And I wrote all that before I saw your post as to why you were using Ph.d as an acronym.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I remember when people of imagination used to distrust the clergy because they were sanctioned by the church.

Now people of imagination should yield before those with PhD’s because they are sanctioned by for-profit schools. Seems like we have lost something along the way.

Kropotkin's avatar

@ETpro “When debaters dismiss solid epistemological statement by simply saying “You seem to be thinking in absolutes which do not exist in this reality.” then they either have conceded and don’t wish to admit it, or aren’t very expert in epistemology. :-)”

Actually, his response made perfect sense. He made the point that relying on expert authority gives a probabilistic conclusion. It is only fallacious if one claims that an authority is necessarily true—which is not what he claimed.

That experts are more likely to know what they’re talking about is completely uncontroversial, and that various people on here are trying to argue against what appears to a truism, serves only to reinforce @plexial‘s argument. (There are some very rare instances where going against expert consensus can be justified.)

@plexial‘s question did amuse me, because it really just seems to be a restating of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but framed in a rather accusatory manner, and with a hint of personal hubris. Instead of people lucidly interpreting the underlying sentiment, the responses have been to “take him down”, and to show that he himself is somehow lacking expertise, or to take the predictable sarcastic route of saying that they’re not expert enough to answer him—all which gained many mutually congratulatory GAs.

A Q&A site like Fluther is likely a self-selecting sample of people who like giving their opinions on all sorts of matters, and these will invariably include lots of bad, non-authoritative answers from people who really do overestimate their intellectual worth and competence.

Just to take the focus away from Fluther, I think there really is a problem with people wilfully refusing to recognise expert authority on all sorts of important matters. Yes, ideally one would not simply accept the views of experts just because they’re experts—we’d also be able to assess their arguments astutely and come to agree with a particular expert consensus mostly from our own intellectual endeavour and scrutiny. This is generally not practical or feasible even for the brightest and most diligent of us.

As for the unwashed masses, they are often incredulous in the face of expertise, and sometimes even contemptuous and hostile. I have seen instances of thoughtful, intelligent experts, diligent and vastly experienced with a wealth of knowledge at their disposal, dismissed as “just having an opinion”.

That’s just my opinion.

funkdaddy's avatar

For the most part, questions on fluther are experience and opinion based or don’t require much specialized expertise. That’s the nature of the site. Even when questions are technical in nature, it’s more about making answers digestible without requiring the same level of knowledge to start with.

Something engineers, physicists, and PhDs are known for of course ;)

dougiedawg's avatar

During the Vietnam war, I was going through weapons training at Ft. Bragg, N.C. one hellaciously hot summer.

One of my platoon’s members was a combat vet and via the GI Bill had enrolled in ROTC after serving. It was a pop up target course and we were told to shoulder our AR-15’s and shoot standing for the best accuracy.

The combat vet shot from the hip instead and hit every target dead on. That no amount of theory and education can trump life experience was the lesson of the day.

ETpro's avatar

@Kropotkin Actually, what the OP claimed was that anyone lacking a PhD should not ask or answer questions. That claim, I believe, is patently false and that is what I argued against.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@ETpro You’re right. That’s what I argued against too. But my problem doesn’t come from the nature of this question, but his language. He sounded very arrogant from the beginning. You can clearly see that he repeatedly devalued us, as if we were nothing without a Ph.d. I detest this kind of manner, that’s why I used so many harsh words in my answer.

pleiades's avatar

Did the journalist who cracked the Water Gate scandal have PhD’s?...

My point is, you don’t need a certificate from a group of people to prove that you can research/investigate the hell out of any one particular subject.

AshLeigh's avatar

There is nothing in the rules of Fluther that says you must have a PhD to answer or ask questions. The requirements are being at least 13 years of age, having a decent understanding of the English language, and being grammatically acceptable.
If you do not like this, you’re free not being forced to mingle with the people who do not meet your standards. I’m sure the majority of Fluther would be okay with it.

Smitha's avatar

I don’t have a Ph.D but when people ask questions I try to read or listen closely what the person seeking advice is saying. The more you understand what the person wishes to say the more insight you will have and the better advice you can give. Most of the time people asking for advice just want a listener. In many cases we may not be able to offer any advice, but we can definitely calm them down with some simple words. For such comforting words or help a Ph.D is not needed.

Thammuz's avatar

You had me kind-of-agreeing until you went A Ph.d from a prestigious ivy-league university is in no comparison to the lower standards of one that is not.

Yeah, no, fuck your plutocratic bullshit. Not everyone can afford the ivy league, and not everyone comes from the united states.

Take the data on their own merit and test it yourself if you’re skeptical, or don’t ask the questions at all. If you’re just going to take any information given on faith just because the guy telling you claims to be an authority, you are the one propagating ignorance.

You are the kind of person who allows any morally bankrupt “authority” to exploit your ignorance for its own gain, because you think you must have a license to doubt and inquire.

You sir, are quite simply the least inquisitive person i’ve ever met.

amujinx's avatar

I would like to point out that @plexial at one point mentioned that he was fact checking some responses to economics questions. I’m going to make the assumption, since he specifically mentioned those questions, that he posted this in response to those “incorrect answers”. There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to economics, so what may be wrong in one school of thought could be work in another. I’m not going to say the answers aren’t wrong still, but I will question whether he fact checked from only one school of thought or he fact checked from multiple schools of thought.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@amujinx I don’t care what @plexial asks. I would have given a “normal” answer or had a friendly argument with him had he not been so arrogant.

LilCosmo's avatar

Everyone has opinions. Many people believe they are the smartest person in the room most of the time so they feel compelled to give their two cents. While holding a PhD is not my criteria when I decide who I want to ask questions, I do agree with the premise that for expert advice, one needs to consult experts.

If I was looking for an expert on the development of Windows, I would look to Bill Gates college degree of no. If I wanted information on real estate and property management I would consult @Judi, whether or not she has college degree. If I wanted an option on presidential politics I would speak to my brother who has a PhD in political science. If I wanted more information on the fate of the Oxford comma, I would consult @Gailcalled, then I would shoot my other brother an email – his PhD is In English.

I think makes sense to consult an expert on a given subject – the issue is with the strict criteria you are wanting to apply for what makes an expert.

Thammuz's avatar

@plexial To some, pie will taste the same, all good, all around. But a professional will explain the fine differences in tastes. Why X tastes good and why Z tastes better.
And I’ll still not agree if i don’t like it. Do you even hear how dumb you sound in going with the metaphor of taste matters for your particular issue?

You never seen the world’s best cheeses, world’s best wines? Wine experts decide that because they have the knowledge and experience that you don’t.
Ok, so if i bring you a “best wine” and you think it tastes like shit, what then? Do you have absolutely no individuality that you let a committee of authority figures decide everything for you? Are you that insecure of a human being that you need your choices validated by supposed authorities?

Let me give you a friendly tip: my girlfriend is studying patisserie in one of the best schoools in the country, a country that, if you check my profile, is already renowned for its food. In the same school there is a sommelier course.

She had to take it. It’s bullshit. You can make up anything, the more ludicrous the better, nobody will ever contradict you, unless you strike out big time, because guess what? Flavours can’t be measured, so what you taste doesn’t necessarily gel with what everyone else does.

Not every authority figure is respectable, not every statement is objective, not every skill can be measured, and not everythign is a skill, furthermore.

chyna's avatar

Just as a side note, @plexial hasn’t been back since December 31, one day after asking this question.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
rojo's avatar

I must assume then that we have been judged; and found wanting.

Symbeline's avatar

Say I have a drug addiction, and I want to stop. Maybe there are programs I can seek out, and I get an agent who has a Phd for counseling and helping addicts. Maybe he studied 20 years to be able to help drug users.
Or, I could go see a guy who beat a 20 year addiction. If he’s willing to help me, who am I going to go see? The guy who never smoked a joint in his life, or the dude who beat the 20 year addiction?

I’m not saying the guy with the creds can’t help me, but certainly hands on experience is more than valid, a lot more than what you’re implying here.

mattbrowne's avatar

Many Fluther questions don’t require a Ph.D. Some of the more complex ones can be answered by including words like “could” or “might”. Plus, there’s community wisdom. Other people will react to your answers and might challenge them, which is a good thing. Fluther is a learning experience.

VS's avatar

So, to recap, the OP is not a troll, but has asked only this question, has only made responses to this question and hasn’t been back since. I have no Ph. D. but I did get a lifetime award from Screw U. and I’m curious now if there is an ivy league university now awarding Ph. D.s in trolldom? It would seem we have come up lacking the necessary credentials to live up the very high standards set by @plexial. Oh, snap!

GloPro's avatar

First, I cannot believe I just read through all of this bloviating. I only use such a big word to try to compete with everyone over thinking here. What is ultimately wrong with the entire premise is the simple difference between subjective and objective. Not all questions have a right or wrong. Not everything is black and white. Even a 5 year-old can answer with his opinion about which pie tastes best, and to him, he is correct and has successfully “properly” answered a question. I may not agree, but I am also not wrong.
After reading the OP’s question and responses, it doesn’t take an expert to see that he is very opinionated and argumentative, and very much of a hypocrite. I, personally, would hate to go through my life judging others so individually and seeking to make others feel inferior and upset for my own amusement. I see no rewards in the long term for going through life being so unpleasant. Of course, that is my opinion based on how I seek fulfillment. I’m certainly no “expert.”

GloPro's avatar

In addition, I reject the idea that self-worth is tied to knowledge.

I also would like to point out that I consider Shawn White an EXPERT in the half pipe… And as far as I know he has never stepped foot in a college classroom. Go Shawn -Sochi 2014!!!

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