Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Credentials Game

“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.


  1. Good points, though I prefer to counterattack instead of defend, so I hammer home the fact that without exception (so far as I've seen) no credentialed pro-GMO activist stays anywhere near the bounds of THEIR OWN credentials, and so by their own credentialist ideology they forfeit all standing to opine, and we can reject their credibility out of hand. Of course I rip their lies to shreds anyway, but I make a point of establishing that none of them has standing to speak in the first place, according to their own standards.

    You can read my full exposition on that here, including my own brief exchange with Folta.


  2. Interesting blog. Haven't gone into to much depth yet since this is my first time here. Liked your article about Cuba and the coral reefs. I don't have any credentials, except 30 years of construction, several years with animals, combat airfield construction (Semper Fi), a lifetime of dogs, tropical fish, gardening , and canning. I guess once upon a time my old man was an organic farmer, but back then there wasn't anything else.
    As worthless as the VA is, I've figured out on my own what my health problems were caused by. I'll say I'm fairly regular at both Mayo and Johns Hopkins web sites. I get a good laugh when I tell people that are credited, that I don't agree with there diagnosis, and don't want there drugs they seem to always want to push on me.
    I do know the difference between shit and shinola, and have read several of Stephanie Seneff's papers. I'd be full of it if I said I understood everything she covers, but I have had enough Bio in HS to get the idea of it. I'm on pins and needles waiting for her next paper to come out with Samsel. For some odd reason I'm putting down the history books and picking up science research papers. Your never to old to learn. Science like history is polar opposite at times of what we're told as fact, and what is fact. And the Constitution which I was willing to sacrifice my life for, is largely ignored by Washington DC.

  3. Thank you, Jon. Appreciate your input. Yes, two synonymous words start with CR, one is "credentials" and the other has only two more letters. Just look at the post I've just this minute put up, you'll love it.