“Yes, but what are your credentials?”
Whenever you see or hear these words, a red flag should immediately go up. What does it matter what your credentials are? All that matters is whether you’re got your facts right and your argument follows logically from those facts.
When someone asks for your credentials, it’s a sure sign that they either can’t disprove your facts and/or they can’t rebut your arguments. If they could do it, why wouldn’t they? After all, that’s what any disagreement is about. You aren’t going to be right just because you have the right credentials, or wrong because you don’t. So as soon as you hear those words, you know your opponent is betting the farm on a low pair. And you act accordingly.
Your opponent is simply trying to wrong-foot you. You’re supposed to cringe and shamefacedly confess that, well, as a matter of fact you don’t have the right credentials, BUT… In other words, you’re one down from start of play.
In the course of a long and varied life, I have met people who never even reached high-school but were as sharp as a tack, as well as people with a string of degrees as long as your arm who were as thick as two planks. As anyone with life experience knows, it takes all sorts. And smart people can…surprise, surprise! ...TEACH THEMSELVES! The word is autodidact, one insufficiently used, perhaps because teachers like to feel they’re essential. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to become an autodidact. With Wikipedia for a quick-and-dirty intro and Google Scholar for the heavy lifting, anyone with half a brain and enough common sense to tell shit from Shinola can become proficient on any topic in a relatively short space of time.
Of course if you’ve had professional training in some other field, it does help. Case in point, Stephanie Seneff. Professor Seneff has a B.S. degree in Biophysics, M.S. and E.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering, and a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Quite a spread but oh, horror of horrors, nothing in any science connected to GMOs! Nothing in biology!
Just like Charles Darwin (who dropped out of med school after a couple of years and finished up with an ordinary B.A., all the formal credentials he ever had).
Okay, that doesn’t make her a second Darwin, not even close. The poster boy for Uncredentiality is Alfred Wegener.
In 1912, when terms like “tectonic plate” and “continental drift” weren't even twinkles in the eyes of establishment geologists, Wegener, a meteorologist by trade, proposed that the earth’s continents must at one time have been joined in a single supercontinent. Unfortunately, he had NO CREDENTIALS IN GEOLOGY! Worse still, meteorology was pretty low in the pecking order of science. So the establishment poured scorn on him. For example, Dr. Rollin T. Chamberlin, a geology professor at the University of Chicago, said "Wegener's hypothesis in general is of the footloose type, in that it takes considerable liberty with our globe, and is less bound by restrictions or tied down by awkward, ugly facts than most of its rival theories." Paleontologists piled on too: according to George Gaylord Simpson, “perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the twentieth century”, “There appear to be no facts in this field that are more completely or more simply explicable by transoceanic than by stable continents and the supposed evidence of this sort is demonstrably false or misinterpreted.” Everyone knew that continents couldn’t drift around, that they had been where they are since the beginning!
Wegener pointed out, among much else, that identical fossils were found in rocks that were now hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. How could that be? But of course the establishment had an answer. Land bridges had risen from the ocean floor, the animals had marched across (just like the Israelites fleeing captivity in Egypt!) and the land bridges had then promptly and obligingly sunk again. Any intelligent eight-year-old should have been able to spot this as a shameless fudge, made out of whole cloth to preserve establishment science and for no other reason (there was no evidence for land bridges save the assumptions that the fudge was designed to save).
So how could intelligent adults have swallowed it? Simple. The establishment scientists had CREDENTIALS. How could they possibly be wrong?
Alas, poor old Wegener died at age 50, thirty years too soon for his stunning vindication. His only problem was that he lacked an explanation for WHY and HOW continents could shift around. Hardly surprising, since it took the development of wholly new areas of science to uncover the mechanisms of plate tectonics.
Well, so much for credentials. I’m just looking forward to the delicious moment when someone asks me for mine.