Letter to the editor—What is real expertise?

Letter to the editor—What is real expertise?

To the Editors,

 Regarding Mr. Lugosi’s letter of January 6, 2022, and Ms. Clark’s well-thought-out response, it is worth asking a follow-up question: what constitutes real expertise to comment on a complex issue?

  Mr. Lugosi’s twofold reply would apparently be that experts a) will reinforce what “most people assume,” and b) are individuals who “personally underwent” the experience they want to discuss.

  Regarding point a), we need to look back no further than the Middle Ages to find a time when most people assumed that the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around our planet. Both such superstitions were false, of course, but because most people assumed they were factual, some figures advised (and even enacted) violent retribution again anyone well-informed enough to assert the truth.

  Regarding point b), we should recall that many of us have undergone at least one hospital operation in the course of our lives. Surprise, surprise! … as emotionally impactful as it may have been, that experience does not in itself qualify us as surgeons. Some people may well go on to earn genuine credentials as physicians, but the rest of us have no authority to carry out even or to recommend for or against medical procedures.

 John Sivell, Dunnville