Be wary of Fake Experts!
Example 1: Experts in an irrelevant field.
People spreading disinformation have a bag of tricks you’ll see over and over. Trying to pass off experts in one thing as experts in another is one we’ve seen a lot in 2020.
Should you trust that expert someone’s putting on TV? If a brain surgeon talks about climate change or a politician talks about science, they may sound like an expert – but are they? If an expert in computer science is making big claims about national security that disagree with most national security experts, be wary.
Knowing a lot about cancer doesn’t mean you know much about measles.
If a divorce lawyer goes off on Constitutional law, be careful. There’s a chance they’re right, and a big chance they’re wrong.
Should you trust this person on this issue? Real experts will point out the limits of what they know.
- Google them. Make sure you look at credible sites. Wikipedia is usually reliable for biographical info.
- Do they have any educational or career experience in this field?
- Do the majority of experts in the field dismiss the idea or do they think it deserves consideration?
- Could this person have a conflict of interest or other reason to mislead?
Sometimes good ideas come from unlikely places – but use caution when making important decisions based on these types of “experts.”