When looking for information about some area outside of one’s expertise, it is usually a good idea to first ask what academic scholarship has to say on the subject. …The trouble is, this is not always the case. The fact that a view is way out of the academic mainstream may imply that it’s bunk with near-certainty, but it may also tell us nothing if the mainstream standards in the area are especially bad. I will discuss some heuristics that provide a realistic first estimate of how sound the academic mainstream in a given field is likely to be, and how justified one would be to dismiss contrarians.
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