First, read this Tom Tomorrow cartoon. Then consider the following ad for Ted Koppel’s “The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Critical Look” on the Discovery Channel :

>Hear both sides of the story and see what the experts have to say.

Great. It was easier when there were only two sides–pro and con. Now there are experts too, and they’re on neither side.

6 thoughts on “Expertise”

  1. A couple of things strike me as suspicious about this. The first thing is that, ironically, in the Simcha (sciema? [this ad hominem is meant as an inside joke for those of you who know a little italian ;-)] ) interview, he states “wait a minute, the holy grail may actually be accessible” in reference to some archaeological discoveries that the public doesn’t know about. I wonder if he means “holy grail” as in chalice or ‘holy grail’ as in payday. The other thing is that he mentions that there is a ‘sub-culture of people who know certain things’ about these artifacts and he wants to inform the public. This sub-culture of ‘people who know certain things’ sounds suspiciously like the ‘outsiders’ that scientists talk about that don’t get any respect in peer reviewed journals. Another thing that goes on in biblical archeology is the cultures of the Minimalists and the Maximalists. One minimizes the biblical importance of findings and the other maximizes. Steven mentioned ‘confirmation bias’ in a previous post, is this ‘Confirmation Bias’ in action? It could mean the difference of the James ossuary being regarded as a forgery, or as the real deal. It could mean the difference in whether this one is regarded as real or not. But in any case, a little money is bound to be made by all, but In my opinion science will suffer. Science is defeasable by nature, (however effective) and when opportunists take advantage of that intentionally, it makes the whole process suspect to allegations of unreliability. Then the media commits the fallacy for which I don’t know the term but they give equal time to both sides or make up thier own side as jcasey suggests whether it is warranted or not. But hey, it sells advertising and allows people to posture.

  2. The comic you linked is great. But as for the “and” in question here… much like the many senses of “is,” might there be another way to interpret this conjunction?

    I.e., it’s not conjoining a list of arbitrary order:
    (1) Hear both sides of the story, and [then, in the next segment,] see what the experts have to say.

    But it’s a sort of cause and effect relation:
    (2) Hear both sides of the story, [in order that you may] see what [all] the experts have to say.

    Perhaps not the best word choice on their part, but it is just an ad, after all. As much as I hate to give basic cable to benefit of the doubt, I’d say it’s plausible that (2) is what they meant.

  3. Yes I realize that it’s an ad on TV. But Koppel distinguished “both sides” of the story from the view of experts–perhaps this doesn’t come across clearly in the transcription. And besides I think the causal sense of “and” doesn’t make sense without contortion. A more obvious remark would be: “we’ll hear from experts on both sides.” Nonetheless, I would also take issue with the “both sides” remark. Why insist on portraying the experts as partisan?

  4. Because it generates the appearance of controversy and increases the likelihood that people will want to watch it?

  5. It could be that they are saying something like “hear both sides of the story and hear what the experts have to say in terms of do they support the claims being made by the supporters and detractors”

  6. I watched the first part of that and determined that the first part of the show consisted of partisans (the shows producers) vs. two other fellows. Did anyone catch the last part? It might have been quicker just to have experts produce the show in the first place.

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