Credentialed and Uncredentialed Scientists

There’s been lots of talk about citizen science, amateur science, and “wisdom of the crowds.” I find it terribly patronizing. Consider the contrast between the headline of this article and what is actually written in there:

Prof T Ryan Gregory, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Guelph in Canada, said: “Most of the discovery of new variants, informing the world about them, and characterising them is increasingly being done by a fairly small handful of people who do not necessarily have a formal training in biology but are now some of the world experts as far as I’m concerned.

Dr Shay Fleishon, the head researcher for variants and pathogen evolution at Israel’s Ministry of Health, said: “The work of these independent scientists is not just beneficial, it is really crucial. No pathogen, or indeed organism, has ever been sequenced to the extent that this virus has, but to mine this knowledge and craft policies in real time is a huge responsibility. It is very hard to do without their help.”

We can see the contrast between the largely credentialed definers of the mainstream (few of them actually scientists) on one hand, and true scientists, some of them credentialed, on the other.


This is especially bizarre considering that “doing your own research” became a derisive meme at the height of the pandemic.