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Profs outside their specialization

Reader comment on item: Profs Who Hate America

Submitted by JA (Australia), Aug 19, 2003 at 21:16

(as per an earlier comment arguing the right of professors to speak as authorities on a variety of subjects because of their generally higher level of education and academic experience)

what a load of nonsense. if i have a heart problem, i'm most inclined to see a cardiologist. if i want my car fixed, i see a mechanic. if i'm interested in studying chemistry, likewise, i'll seek the appropriate professional (ie a chemistry professor). This is not to say my cardiologist isn't a superb mechanic or an expert in chemical equations, however, i'd prefer to go to the most relevant person for assistance. personally, i believe profs who speak outside their area of specialization are simply exploiting their titles and position to grant an air of authority to their opinions and win a larger audience. noam chomsky, for example, is very aware/educated in historical/political issues, but i resent people claiming his arguments are particularly valid as he is a noted professor at MIT...not that his focus has anything remotely to do with history or politics. Ultimately i would prefer said individuals speak on topics relevant to their expertise. I think it's the height of hubris to claim because you are a professor you can claim academic authority on any given subject.
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