GRE Issue Essay 240

“Critical judgment of work in any given field has little value unless it comes from someone who is an expert in that field.”

Can a television channel appoint a professional doctor as the judge for one of its reality shows that is based on a salsa dance competition? The answer is obvious. There is no way that the doctor will be able to ascertain the winner of the competition unless he himself is aware of the nuances of salsa dancing. The modern world consists of numerous self-proclaimed critics who judge work in any given field irrespective of their own knowledge in that field. Such judgment is utterly useless, unless the person making the judgment is an expert in the field to which the work being judged belongs.

If you browse the internet for reviews of the latest released movies, you will find numerous web sites where common people have posted reviews of the movie. Do we give importance to the comments posted on such blogs? We probably do not give much importance to what these people say about a particular movie as such observations are largely personal opinions and they may have to do nothing with the actual value of the movie. However, we give due credence to the opinion of a renowned film critic who may appear on a television program that is based on film reviews. The observations made by the film critic may change our perspective on the movie much before we have actually seen it. Why do we have this difference in accepting the views presented by random bloggers and those presented by well-known film critics? The reason behind this difference in acceptance of judgment from different types of people is that we attach a higher value to the judgment passed by people who are proficient in the same field.

If a person has to select suitable furniture for home dcor that falls within his financial budget, where would he look for sound advice? Would he just ask his friends randomly, or would he rather ask an acquaintance who is a furniture designer himself? This designer would be able to give him an idea about how much the furniture should ideally cost and he would also be aware of the names of commonly known furniture dealers and the amount they charge for the furniture marketed by them. People who have no idea about furniture designs, quality of furniture and the costs involved will not be able to point out the pros and cons of the furniture being selected by this person. They will only go by the external appearance of the furniture and their judgment will probably not have any value. Contrast this with a person who is a seasoned furniture expert. He would be able to identify the type of wood used, its durability, termite resistance and other related aspects which have to be considered before buying the furniture. His judgment would hold much more value as he will be able to identity the actual worth of the furniture with respect to its cost.

The same holds true for critical judgment in all fields whether they are related to the sciences or to arts. The judgment for the best school science project can be done only by the science teachers of the school. On the other hand, the same science teachers will not be able to pass valued judgment in a painting competition. They may be able to judge a painting by its face value, but the types of colors and brushes that should have ideally been used can be judged only by the painting teachers as they are experts in that particular field. Hence, it is obvious that you need to be an expert in a particular field to be able to pass valued judgment on work pertaining to that field.