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The experts are lying to you


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UnHeard

Their laundering of the truth is deliberate and tactical

Andrew Doyle

June 22 2022

With most of the world’s information only a click away, one would have assumed that ours would be the most enlightened generation in human history. We may have lost the rote-learning skills and depth of knowledge of our grandparents, but we know where to find the facts and can do so in an instant.

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Instinctively, it feels as though these reporters must be peddling these untruths knowingly, perhaps out of a misguided sense of paternalistic responsibility to prevent further discord. But even more troubling is the possibility that they have bought into their own fictions. If one accepts the postmodernist belief that our experiences are solely constructed through the language with which they are expressed, then to describe an event as “largely peaceful” makes it so.

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Even reputable academic journals are willing to jettison inconvenient truths if they better suit their desired reality. When the New England Journal of Medicine argued that “sex designations on birth certificates offer no clinical utility”, few of us were surprised. The Journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry has even produced new guidelines to “minimise the risk of publishing inappropriate or otherwise offensive content”. If the truth hurts, it ought to be avoided.

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That figures of authority are so often caught in lies has brought about an erosion of confidence in our institutions. I barely scraped a GCSE in Biology, but when esteemed scientific journals are publishing authors who maintain that “sex is a spectrum”, it gives the false impression that my understanding of the subject is superior to theirs.  Experts appear to have forgotten that the legitimacy of their claims is grounded in evidence and research, not by waving around a doctoral certificate.

Perhaps this is why we are now so familiar with the spectacle of academics humiliating themselves on social media. As Helen Pluckrose once pointed out to me: “It’s a worry when you can’t tell whether the person yelling at you is a 12-year-old whose parents need to take their Twitter account away, or a Professor of Sociology.”.....(Snip)

 

Scepticism about expertise is important: no human being is infallible or free from bias, however well-qualified. Yet at the same time, we rely on figures in authority with specialist insight for the practical business of living. When journalists begin to conflate truth and fiction, or when academics substitute wishful thinking for empirical knowledge, we are left unmoored from reality. For the sake of our collective sanity, we need to restate the primacy of the truth.

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