Are Experts Always Right?

I enjoy reading about health issues and natural ways to stay healthy.  A lot of the reading I do comes from people who are going against what the medical establishment says.

Inevitably, I will read opposing comments by people who say such things as: “Anyone who believes this is foolish.  This is quack science.  Are you a doctor and what are your qualifications?”

These are the kinds of harsh comments I see and I have heard similar arguments in person too.  The defender of the medical establishment will likely pull out the “Are you a doctor?” card.  In other words, if you haven’t been licensed by the government, then your thoughts and opinions mean nothing.

This is using an argument from authority.  It is a methodology people use to debate, but it doesn’t make them right.  Their sole argument rests on the authority of someone else.  Because someone else said something, that automatically makes it so.

The ironic thing is that some of the reading I do about natural health issues comes from licensed physicians.  I am not saying that this makes what I am reading automatically correct, but it refutes the other argument.

How can you have two “experts” who completely disagree on something?  It means that one of them has to be wrong.  It means that one of them is not as much of an expert as we think.

(As a side note, I think it is important to keep this in mind when looking at investments and economic forecasts.  You can certainly have two knowledgeable people who have differing opinions about the economic outlook if only because there are so many variables and it is impossible to predict each one.  But you should keep in mind that just because someone is labeled an “expert”, it doesn’t mean he will always be right or that you should automatically listen to him.)

I think too many people make the mistake of putting all of their trust in experts, especially when it comes to medicine.  I have met some really dumb doctors before.  I have seen many doctors who will just throw antibiotics at patients who have a virus and don’t need them.  I have seen many doctors who will prescribe drugs frequently and almost never recommend anything natural to a patient such as dietary changes or supplements.

You have to realize that most medical doctors go through the same curriculum and take the same tests.  They don’t contain some special powers that others do not have.

I am not saying that you should never trust doctors and to avoid them entirely.  There are some great doctors out there and some of the specialties are simply amazing.  It is incredible what heart surgeons and brain surgeons can do and this really is a technical skill that others do not possess.

The main point is that you should do your own research where you can and you should be strong enough to form your own opinions, even if outside of the establishment.  Just because someone has a government-issued license, it does not validate everything they say.