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May 30th, 2006 1:39 PM #1
Credentialism in Forums = Useless.
I just finished reading through the bulk of the "Truth about 9/11" thread and I noticed one pervading theme. People support their arguments by saying:
I am an engineer, or I am a scientist, or I know a scientist/engineer, blah blah blah.
I would like to point out that this is useless in forum debate such as occurs on AO because its entirely unsubstantiated and cannot be substantiated in any way.
A little lesson to those on both sides of the argument: WHO you are has no bearing because you can't prove it. However, what you SAY DOES have bearing because you can then offer tangible support.
A corrolary is that the sources people choose to cite when presenting their arguments should be evaluated. State your argument, present your evidence, but also recognize the limitations of that evidence based on the source. Everyone has different standards of course. For me, I look for peer-reviewed articles that are presented in a respected non-partisan journal. Examples include Nature, Science, Scientific American, etc. At least in this regard, there are checks and balances on what is published. Even some alledged "journals" need to be scrutinized to determine their "bias", eg. one's with a single editor and NO review board.
Note, I am not arguing that the presence of bias removes the validity of an argument. However, publications that are without significant bias and provide evidence that can and has been reviewed by other accredited experts in the field lend greater weight to an argument than something you pulled off Google.
peace.:if knowledge is power, know this is tyranny:.
May 30th, 2006 2:45 PM #2
It is absolutely possible to prove that one is an engineer or scientist etc. I could scan my degrees and post them for you or I could link you to the professional associations that I am registered with as a professional engineer. I could also link you to the scientific journals to which I have contributed.
The point is I could but I won't; because no one really seems to care about credentials on this forum. (That is unless you claim to be the messiah!)
May 30th, 2006 3:21 PM #3
Ah, but I could then (as any good conspiratorist) state that those are not your degrees, that they are borrowed from a friend, they are forgeries or tampered or whatever. The list is almost endless.
Given that these forums do not require references to join, you could say anything and with readily available tools (ie any photo editing software) any idiot could produce some "documentation" who you are. That's why credentials hold no validity in an online community based in anonymity.
For example, I could say that I am Joe Blow, post a picture, my credentials, some family photos and a list of my accomplishments (complete with degrees, etc) but that means squat without some sort of check and balance. Heck, I could be arguing with myself (i.e. I am really both donniedarko and dcookcan, both begin with D ) and no one would be the wiser.
That is why we rely on accredited sources to back up are arguments and not credentials. In live debate and formal debate where these accredations can hold weight (e.g. a court of law, etc.), they become useful. Not on internet forums though..:if knowledge is power, know this is tyranny:.
May 30th, 2006 3:34 PM #4
I respectfully disagree. Credentials can be substantiated. It is simply a matter of what you are willing to accept as substantiated evidence. There is a notary public across the street that I have used before to substantiate a photocopy of my degrees. But then you can simply claim that it is a photoshop forgery. Once again, it depends on what you are willing to accept as proof, but it can be proven.
And if you are dcookcan, then you are just arguing with yourself. Does that make you a schizophreniac? ;-)
May 30th, 2006 5:05 PM #5it depends on what you are willing to accept as proof
You admit that someone might simply dismiss the signatures, etc. as a photoshop forgery. It would be much more difficult to do so in real life (notable differences in ink, etc. plus you are speaking to a person who doesn't have a couple hours to poke around wikipedia, copy and paste to give the appearance of exhaustive knowledge).
That is why I say credentials are useless on an anonymous forum because of the easy with which images can be tampered with and the difficulty in verifying that they haven't.
I am willing to concede that most people wouldn't lie, but I argue that simply stating your credentials as a basis for substantiating your claims (e.g. I am an engineer and so when I say that those beams wouldn't buckle, it is a fact that they wouldn't) isn't enough when the foundation for the argument is based in an assertion that cannot be explicitly proven. However, if I were to instead argue using documented data and accredited sources to back up my claims (e.g. The beams would buckle due to a temperature differential as stated in the following articles and according to the following sources) I have testable evidence that can be examined and whose bias can be evaluated. Basically, I am not required to take you on your word, which sadly due to anonymity cannot be trusted right away.
I imagine that for those of us who remain with the forum, credentials may play a role, but specifically within the context of those interpersonal interactions between members who have known each other (albeit anonymously) for some time. However, in most contexts, credentials aren't sufficient..:if knowledge is power, know this is tyranny:.
May 31st, 2006 11:11 AM #6
Jun 2nd, 2006 12:30 AM #7
Originally Posted by donniedarko
- Join Date
- May 2006
If you want to present your argument as strongly as possible, use this thread as a partial guide.
By the way, even scientists and engineers who have an opinion on issues still need supporting sources other than their own knowledge and experience, which is why peer-reviewed studies and articles are strong support for any position. A good way to prove your point is to say, 'this is what I think about this position and here are some smart people who agree with me! - sources go here .'
Furthermore, citing sources gives us a chance to get more information on your position to better analyze it. I have actually seen a thread where a person was trying to prove a point, and then linked to 'The Onion' without realizing that is a satiric news website. By citing his source, he showed us all how stupid he and his position was.
Jun 2nd, 2006 10:47 AM #8Originally Posted by Build More Nukes
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