Saturday, October 20, 2018

Thoughts On Consulting Experts

        Our perception of facts changes as new discoveries are made, whether they pertain to scientific or mathematical inquiry. What is at this moment termed common knowledge in our culture could be deemed mistaken in future generations. The process of investigation for truth requires persistent work and effort. It requires determination, as well as a great sense of humility. We should be staying informed and testing new ideas. That is how we conduct research, which is the process of uncovering truth. Even so, we do not have all the answers to the questions of life.

        We have finite minds that are liable to error. The same is equally true of the greatest thinkers in mankind. Experts do not know everything. Being a specialist in one sphere of learning does not make that person an expert in every aspect of a particular field. Professionals may also have to cite other professionals who are more qualified in different areas. They can even contradict one another, using the same data (which is subject to interpretation). Some fields have few experts working in them.

        It would be wise to consult the most trustworthy and authoritative figures which are relative to the subject matter. Such people would not likely act by themselves. Respectable experts objectively examine published resources and attend academic conferences to discuss questions. Competent scholars hold themselves and each other accountable. They publish their conclusions for the public to praise or criticize accordingly.

        God gave us counselors to guide us in truth (Proverbs 24:6). Though we are fallible beings, our reasoning capacities are reliable. We must carefully weigh the work of various professionals against others. This must be done objectively. The evidence backing up a scholarly view is of greater importance than the scholarly view itself. We do not know everything, however. The wisdom provided by experts is valuable only insofar that it conforms to already established facts and is consistent with the nature of reality. Scripture is the final standard of authority for the Christian (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

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