Academic credibility
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17-10-2013, 04:02 PM
RE: Academic credibility
(16-10-2013 01:42 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  
(11-10-2013 12:51 PM)Chopdoc Wrote:  I'm posting this as a new discussion thread because while it pertains to some current threads, it's a broader topic and I didn't want to derail any specific discussion. My thanks to Mark Fulton for being my sounding board before posting.

As a relative newcomer to online discussion/debate formats, including blogs, forums, “reply to” videos, and the ever-present accompanying comment sections, I’ve noticed the “my Ph.D. is bigger than your Ph.D.” argument used often. At times academics use this to dismiss or even ignore criticism of his or her work made by someone the scholar sees as not having the prerequisite gravitas. Without naming names, I’ve seen so-called religious apologists do this regularly and unfairly. Other times people cite an academic’s work to support their position, and then are (sometimes unfairly, sometimes with reason) accused of the argumentum ad verecundiam fallacy. Don't we all rely on expert opinion within a specific field to some extent? After all, we can’t all be PhD’s in every subject area we discuss. And aren’t we entitled to a considered opinion on a given topic? I try to evaluate evidence, compare what recognized experts have to say on said (relevant) data, and synthesize that into forming my own opinion.
While it would be unreasonable to expect a professional scholar to respond to every wing nut who posts on their blog or website, it is unfair to assume that a person’s assertions are invalid simply because they don’t have terminal degree letters after their name. I recognize that our society does not value undocumented knowledge—rightfully so in some cases, but I’ve also been to school (hold a Master’s and am an ABD in cultural musicology) and I think it’s a mistake to disregard a person’s independent study and conclusions if their statements are reasoned, credible, and have the support of evidence.

Hopefully this will generate some discussion. Tell me what you think.

I found this to be a good part of the conversation on the Amazon book reviews regarding Dr. Reza Aslan's book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Those disagreeing with the book sited his Ph.D not being exactly in religious studies and of course that he is a Muslim , those agreeing with the book were throwing around his scholarly degrees in religion. There's over 2000 reviews now and the comments go on forever, much of it arguing over who has what kind of academic degree. It goes on for pages and pages. Of course I side with Reza Asian and plan to read his book but after reading through many of the posts my brain is now numb.Shocking

If you want to waste a good portion of the day read all the dolts with the one star reviews. Hobo

I've read his book and it's very good. I have a wry grin on my face though because he comes to almost exactly the same conclusions that I did in my chapter on Jesus, just with a lot more detail.
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