The Owner is getting cross. There are so many people making claims about Covid, she says. False Information is Everywhere. People are passing it around like Valuable Currency.
Why are People believing it if it is Not True? I ask.
Because the People making the claims are Apparent Experts, says the Owner.
I thought you said we should listen to Experts, I say.
Only to the right Experts, says the Owner. Last week a Man appeared on Fox TV claiming to be an Expert and talking about a Cure for Covid but he was in fact an Expert in Cryptocurrency.
Ah, I say, does that explain why, even though I am an Expert, you do not Listen to me?
I would listen to you if you pronounced on things on which you were Expert, says the Owner. Should I, for instance, find myself in need of Urgent Information on Fox Poo I would know where to come.
So how should people determine which Experts are the Right Experts? I ask.
The Trust we have in experts is called a second-level trust, says the Owner, because it is based on the Opinions of those we already Trust that they are Expert. An Expert may be such because, for example, of a Professional Qualification, a History of Successful Research, or Long and Lauded Clinical Experience. We trust Experts because they have been acclaimed as Experts by others who are Experts. By their Peers.
This sounds rather Circuitous, I say. A whole bunch of False Experts could simply tell us to Trust them All.
They could, says the Owner, but a bunch of False Experts would not succeed since the Community of Experts is Infinitely Large and Overlapping, and Comprises many who have Published and Worked in both Closely and More Distantly related Areas. It is Highly Difficult to Establish False Credentials that Stand Scrutiny. Let me ask you, for example, how it is that you know that Caspar is a Moral Dog, and that Jeremy the Beagle is at Heart a Socialist?
All that they say is Borne out by their Actions, I say. And those who know them Speak Highly of them, including those such as Houdini who has demonstrated True perseverance, Bercow who never gives up even when he is Prorogued by his Owner and Lucifer with the Nose Cage who once Experienced a Cruel Owner who forced him to Fight and is therefore in a Position to Understand how Less Moral Dogs behave. We have all seen the Morality of Caspar. We can all read of Jeremy the Beagle’s voting record on Matters concerning Socialism, and I can Personally Verify that he drinks only Pondwater and Barely Ever Claims Expenses. Whether or not we agree with his views, we know they are Authentic.
I did not know that had happened to Lucifer, says the Owner, that is Terrible.
He is better now, I say. The Nose cage is a mere Precaution against his Occasional Urge to remove the Extremities of Tall Men. But you are saying that we trust experts because Other People that we already Trust tell us that we can, I say.
I think you have it clear, says the Owner. We are free to Trust the views of those we Trust for our own belief. But if we wish to Disseminate and Endorse those Views we must determine for Ourselves that the Source is Properly Expert and that the Challenges do not overwhelm the Claim. To do so it is necessary to Probe a little, in order to Discover the Source of their Expertise and who it is that supports the view that they are an Expert, and who does not.
That is a lot of Work, I say. People are very busy with the Covid. They are Working from Home, recording Online songs, playing Online games and, forming Online Choirs. They do not have time to Check out every Expert.
This is True, says the Owner, but in that case they should not Endorse them, as those that Trust their Judgement may assume that they have. Each and every One of us has a moral responsibility not to Endorse someone whose Credentials we have not Verified. because otherwise, the people that Trust Us will Trust them. As a Doctor I believe in the first principle of the Hippocratic Oath, which is that one must first, Do No Harm. This Duty does not apply only to Doctors, it is a moral principle that Binds us All.
I understand, I say. This prevents False Experts disseminating False Information about Covid or Anything Else.
Exactly, says the Owner. The Moral Dog is Spot On.
By the Way, I am considered an Expert on Fox Poo, I say. Perhaps, for Proper Accreditation, and in Order that my Expertise stands Scrutiny, you should Endorse me.
I do not think think that is necessary, says the Owner. I think Most People are prepared to take that one On Trust.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.