Expert for hire
|Style over substance|
“”An all-purpose expert is an oxymoron.
|—Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway|
Experts for hire, say for pay professionals, or rent-a-quote experts is a term used for those who make their livelihood making rounds testifying at trials to lend credence to many pet crank theories with little or no credible experience in the fields in which they testify. Often they are paid by an attorney to render a professional opinion on research that is not mainstream, skewed towards helping the lawyer's case, as saying much more would be considered perjury.
It is an attempt at credential bullying, in that many people tend to give more weight to someone who allegedly spent many years of their lives educating and working in the fields in which they are are called to testify. Unfortunately, as diploma mills and unaccredited theological educational institutions grant toilet paper to many cranks, often with little more work than signing a check, many have put the letters Ph.D. at the end of their name.
Not to be confused with "expert witnesses" and similar terms — where the expertise of the person so designated is readily verifiable.
Spotting an expert for hire
- Their degree is not related to the knowledge required (giving medical opinions with a Ph.D. in Christian education)
- Their degree is from an unaccredited university or diploma mill
- Professional experience in their field is nearly nonexistent
- Has only been employed in trials instead of work in their field
- Removed from an organization in their field due to serious misconduct or falsifying records for their agenda
- Can show no research, in progress or completed, to establish data behind their opinion
- Number of published peer-reviewed studies or articles: 0 (or very few, very long ago and/or in a different discipline).
- Think tank
- Federal Rules of Evidence
- Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth of Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010; p. 271.