Don’t necessarily trust the experts

My goodness some people are literal-minded. Judging from some of the commentary (here and elsewhere) on my post about the PhilPapers survey, some people really think I was making a blanket assertion to the effect that one should always trust the experts. Well, no, of course I wasn’t saying that. I thought it was obvious that what I was really saying is that if a certain kind of atheist is going to play the stupid “A says this, but THE EXPERTS say otherwise!” game, he ought to do so consistently.

Does expertise count for something? Of course it does. The argument from authority is, when the authority in question is a genuine authority, a serious argument. But it is hardly conclusive. Experts can be wrong. The conventional wisdom in an entire field of study can be wrong. I’m with Aquinas: The argument from (genuine) authority is a serious argument, but when the authority in question is a human being or group of human beings it is nevertheless the weakest of all arguments (ST I.1.8).
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