It was my first day attending an arts class in college. The teacher stood in front of the class and clarified the purpose of the class:
“In this class we will learn about the great artists in history. We will look at paintings, music, architecture, poetry and sculptures. All of these pieces from history have come from the experts in their field. This is not a class to decide which of this art is a masterpiece and which is not. This class will help you to recognize fine art. It’s not the pieces that are on trial here. It is your ability to recognize them.”
I was not expecting that. It sure set the tone for all of us. I learned about many pieces in that class. I can’t remember most of it. More than anything else, I came to appreciate “experts in their field.”
In an internet era, we all are susceptible to false expertise. Social media, Wikipedia, and even search engines can bring confirmation bias. You find what you are looking for even if it’s not right.
First hand experience is often filtered until facts are lost and agendas are found. False expertise can be deceiving.
Expertise and the pandemic
Early in the pandemic there were a lot of questions. That’s a good thing. In science, questions are how we make progress. If you use the scientific method for long enough, then you find answers. The experts in the scientific world got to work. It took months but things we didn’t understand at first have became more clear.
The vaccines brought even more questions. In our home, we were vaccinated at the first opportunity possible. It has been a relief for our health and we feel like we are part of the solution. Many friends and family were hesitant early on and at the time that was acceptable.
That is no longer the case.
While we are still learning all this pandemic brings with it, we are far enough along now that the experts in the scientific field have spoken: The vaccine is incredibly safe, effective, and is the only way out of the pandemic.
You no longer have to hold onto scientific misconceptions from early in the pandemic. We’ve reached the conclusion stage of the scientific method. It is safe. It is helpful. It is an “overnight success” that was decades in the making.
If you have questions about safety, breakthrough infections, immunity through infection, pregnancy/infertility and would like information from experts then start here.
If you are ready to receive a vaccine, find a location here.
Like my college class taught me long ago, the experts in their field have spoken and now it’s our ability to respond that is on trial.
An expert I trust
While I feel comfortable writing all of the above, I am not an expert. I am educated and confident in my research of original sources, but not an expert.
But I do know an expert.
He’s a close friend and talented physician. His mind is as sharp as his scalpel. He’s cared for me, my family, and so many others. I trust him. If he told me I needed immediate life saving surgery, I’d make my way to the table without asking a single question.
I’ve struggled over the last year as I watch him balance knowledge with kindness. He’s been accurate in predicting every stage of the pandemic. He strongly recommends the vaccines.
I’ve watched as people bring to him “evidences” that contradict his expertise. He’s repeatedly explained that vaccine research and anti-vaccine “proof” is simply not two sides of the same coin. He’s been thorough in his advice even when it is ignored.
It turns out that he is an an expert in patients and patience.
I wouldn’t blame him if he was keeping a mental list of all the people who are ignoring him now. You know, Edmond Dantés his way through the list over time with hesitant medical advice. He’s a better man than that. He just keeps helping.
He was recently told to cancel all his scheduled surgeries (again) because the hospitals have no room. I know this affects his income and livelihood. I asked him about it. Can you guess what his first concern was?
“I feel bad for all the patients who scheduled their lives around surgery and recovery time and now are told it can’t happen.”
When my friend has to postpone surgeries, he tells his patients to “get vaccinated and tell all their friends and family to get vaccinated as well.” That’s the only way to get the surgery schedule available again.
This makes it personal for the patients and those who care about them.
Let’s wrap this up
I worry about the longevity and stamina of these experts. I hope they can hold up.
I admire the constraint when their decades of expertise is questioned by someone who spent days or weeks on YouTube and Facebook. It must be tiring. Medical experts and scientists are not robots.
The hardest part of all is to know that we could be six weeks away from shutting the door on the pandemic. It’s as simple as widespread vaccination and yet we delay. I will never understand how we got to this point.
But I do know the experts in their field have spoken.