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Lay those experts end-to-end!

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–“If all experts were laid end-to-end, I’d be in favor of it,” someone once quipped. I wish I knew who said it; I would buy them lunch or at the very least a Pepsi.

I have become weary of so-called experts spouting off about every subject imaginable.

Global warming “experts” insist the world is baking and mankind is destined to be nothing more than burnt toast. Other learned voices insist sea levels will rise and humans will eventually become floaties in a global swimming pool.

Where are these warming experts now that evidence is beginning to emerge that the earth might actually be entering a cooling phase? It seems their rhetoric has evaporated just a tad.

Then there are the sexuality experts who continue to espouse the notion that homosexuality has a biological cause. They insist sexual orientation is genetic and innate. A person, they say, is born homosexual, bisexual or transsexual and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Ask any of these sexuality experts to produce one definitive study (note the word ‘definitive’) to back up their claims and all you will get is stammering. The best they will be able to produce is “studies suggest that homosexuality might, possibly, could have a biological origin.” Real definitive, huh?

How about those energy experts? It wasn’t two months ago that I heard one predict we would be paying $10 a gallon for gas by the end of the year. Right now, gasoline is selling for under $2 a gallon in some parts of America. Of course, it is still a couple of months to the end of the year, so I am sure Mr. Energy Expert still stands by his prognostication.

And of course there are the political experts. Right now these pundits are polling and pontificating about the outcome of the presidential race. Some, with great confidence, have already predicted the winner. Others say the race is too tight to call. Whom should you believe?

Many experts tout themselves as modern-day prophets. They claim to possess special wisdom, experience and education that place them above the masses. As such, they should be looked to as trusted interpreters — gurus, if you will — of the future. Humility is a rare commodity among today’s experts.

One of the problems I see with experts is that the more they agree on any one subject, the more their insights are accepted as fact. And too often the expert majority simply dismisses minority voices as nothing more than ignorant ideologues.

Another problem I have with the vast majority of experts is their reluctance to accept accountability when their predictions are wrong. When was the last time you saw an expert come forward and say “I was wrong”? The first time one does, he or she will gain credibility with me.

To be sure, there are individuals in every field and walk of life whose wisdom and insight are to be respected. However, it is one thing to offer a learned opinion and quite another to proclaim a prediction as if it is fact. The former should be pondered; the latter ignored.

In the Old Testament, if a self-proclaimed prophet’s prediction turned out to be wrong, he or she was put to death. You can be sure not too many people went around spouting their predictions concerning the future –and even fewer vied for the title of prophet. Accountability has a way of keeping irresponsibility in check.

Go ahead and lay all the experts end-to-end. We’ll all be better off.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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  • Kelly Boggs