Opinions and meritocracy

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I like Patrick Stoke’s take on being entitled to an opinion:

So what does it mean to be “entitled” to an opinion?

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

So how do we decide whose views to give credence? I vote for meritocracy.1 In other words: a person’s level of knowledge or experience in a given area is proportional to how much consideration their opinion should be given in that area.

But what do I know?


  1. You can see where this is going: I’m no expert so my opinion on this topic should be given a sum total of ZERO consideration. [return]