when experts go bad

Having just received Theodore Dalrymple’s Romancing Opiates, I have already read 1/3 of the book. It is well written, but not the same caliber as Life at the Bottom. Still, my highlighter has not been without use:

I felt increasingly not like a doctor whose clinical experience might be valuable, the starting point of reflection and debate, but like a heretic who had better keep his beliefs to himself for fear of drawing the institutional wrath of orthodoxy down on himself and making himself the object of inquisition.

Increasingly there has been a trend for specialists in most fields of science to become increasingly homogeneous in thought. Kling writes that the marco-economists in power are highly inbred. New methods and thoughts questioning the establishment (and thus the establishment’s power) are increasingly brought down. Heretics are not brought into the inner sanctum, and thus a free market of ideas cannot flourish. This is illustrated perfecting in the ClimateGate scandal in which Phil Jones wrote of studies questioning Man-made Global Warming:

“Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Of course, this suppressing of outside thought, inbred elitists, and demagoguery all lead to an intellectual wasteland. But, fanatics of all religions (the religion of psychiatry, the religion of evolution, the religion of socialism, etc.) would rather have that then have their core beliefs tried in the free market.

Spotting this type of fascism should not be hard. When advocates of certain ideas call for censorship, for violence, when they do not release data, marginalized their opponents, engage in red herrings, or subject their opponents to ad hominem attacks, refuse to engage in debates or bets, these are tell take signs that they are intellectual fascists. Their work should be instantly suspect, and the burden of proof should be theirs.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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