An Investigation of Modern Physics by Brian Williams
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  • Expert Witnesses

    Posted on August 5th, 2013 Brian No comments

    What is an ‘Expert Witness’?

    Perhaps we should really ask ‘What is an Expert?’.

    A genuine expert is someone who knows everything about a particular subject. There are very few subjects that anyone could claim that they know everything about. There are many subjects that very little is known about and therefore no-one can claim to be an expert. I worked with a man who had spent 30 years calculating the settings and other parameters for pressure control valves. In this very narrow field he could be considered to be an expert. ( He did have the unfortunate habit of going to sleep whilst working, still holding his slide rule up in front of his eyes, but totally asleep.)

    Would he classified as an expert engineer? Not really, there are thousands of such narrow specialisations possible in engineering, although generally engineers tend to have a wide range of knowledge within engineering and prefer not to specialise because it is boring and reduces your job prospects. (I once interviewed a candidate for a job that needed a reasonable proficiency in steelwork construction. He had worked in the engineering office of a company involved primarily in structural steel for the oil and gas industry. He told me that he had worked for this company for 24 years, producing manufacturing drawings, but then stated that he did not do calculations! I questioned him further on this point and he told me that he had never, ever,  done calculations in his job, and wouldn’t know how to start!)

    An expert chemist would be able to give you the exact formulation for any substance you required to suit your exact specification. There are no expert chemists. This is not the fault of the chemists, there is so little knowledge available on chemistry. Most chemists are involved in finding knowledge that in the far future may produce ‘An Expert Chemist’.

    The same problem applies to biology, both human and animal. We are probably 2000 years away from producing a ‘medical expert’, even just considering human biology. Even this may never happen due to variables caused by the Golden Ratio in biology. (See “Origin of the Golden Section _ Rev 2.”).

    Someone could have all the knowledge that is known or has ever been known about a particular subject and yet be essentially ignorant of the subject.

    It is essntial that people should be aware of things that they do not know. A child of age five can be forgiven for thinking that he/she is an expert on language after learning to read. By the age of 11 years they should start to understand that they are not experts. At the ages of 15 and 18 there are more shocks for them. At university they start again being ‘dumb kids’ (according to their teachers).

    We now come to a further problem. Tuition is about passing knowledge from teacher to student. The knowledge passed on is limited to the knowledge available to the teacher. In subjects like medicine and chemistry there is very little actually known about the subjects. ( If you are a university student you may argue that there is too much to learn already, and you would be correct.) To become  expert in these subjects you would spend your whole life at university just covering existing knowledge. But humanity is still at the very beginnings of its knowledge of these subjects. Obviously, we cannot wait a thousand years for an expert to finally come along to solve our medical problems, so we have to guess, keep trying different options etcetera in the hope of finding something that works. This struggle is part of human evolution.

    So, when you refer to an expert in medical terms, you are referring to someone who has a very small amount of knowledge of a subject that is colossal in scale.

    Over 50 years ago I was suffering from quite severe stress and depression (work related). I finally went to my local chemist. and I was given a quarter pint bottle of a oily looking yellow liquid. I was told to take two tablespoonful per day until I was OK. In three days I was fit and raring to go. I did not have any more of the medicine, nor have I ever needed it since. It was highly effective and was not addictive. Compare this with the £millions spent on addictive drugs that just don’t work for stress and depression patients. This remedy cost me about 6 shillings, a minute fraction of the cost of (non-working) modern equivalents. It should be clear that that the  ‘medical experts’ were not actually experts then, nor are they experts now. The same argument must apply to the manufacturers of the high priced ‘non-working’ medicines. I do not know if the medicine I received was a proprietary product or was prepared by the chemist himself.

    So what is an “Expert Witness”?

    First of all he/she will probably be a ‘specialist’ not an expert. Secondly, the word ‘witness’ means that you have seen and/or examined something.

    In a law court  an ‘expert witness’ may say that he examined a victim and observed spots on the victims back, or an axe embedded in the victims head, or cyanide in the victims organs. He will be able to supply photographs or test results to prove his statements.

    Unfortunately, he is then asked for his opinion on what these results mean. Only ‘expert witnesses’ are ever asked for their opinions, ‘ordinary witnesses’ are banned from expressing opinions.

    However, ‘opinions’ should never be considered as evidence.  Preconceived ideas affect opinions. An ‘ordinary witness’  may or may not have any preconceived ideas about the evidence, but an ‘expert witness’  almost certainly will. His opinions will generally be governed by the opinions of his teachers and those of the authors of books on his specialist subject, and almost certainly by the current medical ‘fashion’. It wasn’t so long ago that any man visiting the doctor was first asked if he wore tight underpants. If you unfortunately said yes, you were told to go home, buy some new underpants and come back in 6 weeks if that didn’t cure the problem. That is now out of fashion, because I have not been asked that in over ten years.

    This is a problem of education. Technical subjects have a fairly intense educational programme that means the student must pass the exams every year. Examination success depends on remembering the information that you have been taught. The student does not have time to analyse what he is being taught, he just has to believe that it is the truth. If he passes all his exams he then starts his career and then for years he does not have time to analyse the validity of what he is practising. (Years ago I often visited hospital accommodation blocks across Britain. In most cases the doctor residents appeared to need medical attention more than the patients they were looking after.)

    It is only a few years ago when younger doctors were working over 100 hours per week. This does not leave a lot of time for eating, sleeping, recreation and a love life. It leaves no time for medical research or analysing the work that they do.

    The Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    Author. Brian Williams


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    New Research on SBS.PDF

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    This paper can be downloaded free of charge at;