SeaBeecb wrote:Who defines the standards for objectivity?
Nobody defines them - that's what makes them objective. We can argue for the use of some standard or another and hopefully come to a consensus on one, but if we're all being rational then it's the strength of that argument on its own, not anything about the fact that we are putting it forth, which supports that consensus. The scientific community has long since settled on repeatable observation as the standard of objectivity, and it's reasonable to use that to mediate our disagreements because observations are from something independent of any of us (the whole "reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it" bit), and if they are repeatable then they are accessible to any of us (we don't have to take each other's words for it), so we can mutually appeal to them to give an answer which is applicable to all of us, but unbiased toward any of us, and is thus objective.
The problem is that observations really only directly tell us when we're wrong; at best they shrug and gesture vaguely in some direction when we ask what's right then. Beyond simply falsifying a theory, actually developing a theory and building support for it is educated guesswork, looking for patterns and making inductive, and therefore uncertain, inferences; and then asking further observations whether there's anything wrong with those inferences, again only getting a solid response if the answer is "yes, here's a problem". Otherwise, all we can say are variably tentative degrees of "maybe not, yet" (that is, maybe there's not a problem, that we've found yet; or conversely, maybe the theory is correct, as far as we can tell thus far).
Since the strongest objective answer we can ever get as to the truth of a proposition is a very confident "maybe", nobody ever has objective authority to say "this is the way it is, kid" (though we can frequently say with good authority that "that's just not the way things are").
The point being, sometimes, it takes extensive time and study to be able to address certain questions and sort out what BS even looks like, in a given field. This doesn't mean you should take every expert as gospel. In fact, given that experts disagree so frequently, it's always a good idea to consult several (IMHO). However, it does mean that, there are more qualified sources of information than others. In general, I think there are different levels of objectivity, with different ranges of verifiability, and claims that acknowledge this can be considered trustworthy, even if we may not know weather or not they are factual.
This is a very good, but different, point. We are by necessity lazy in testing our beliefs; nobody has the time and resources to personally verify the entire chain of evidence supporting every detail of every theory they work with, especially with complex and subtle subjects like yours. We have to delegate some of that work to other people who have already done it, and I agree that their declared methods are the best way of choosing who to delegate to: we can say "look, I can't double-check all of your work, but I can see that you're going about things the right way so I'll take your word on it". We can also delegate checking our delegate's work to others, and give more trust to those whose work has been double-checked by many others who likewise adhere to methods we trust.
In this way people can develop a different sense of authority, and a more valid one. There may be no authority in the sense of "this is so, and you should believe it is so, because I say it is so, and who are you to question me", but there is definitely authority in the sense of "I say this is so, and you can check that for yourself in this way; but I have a strong history of being right for the right reasons, so if you don't have time to check it yourself, you're pretty safe taking my word for it." It's the difference between "you have to take my word for it" and "you don't have to, but you're pretty safe doing so."
But even then, all there is to take their word on or not is the strength of their "maybe". If they're saying "this is so" absolutely, then you can tell right away that that claim is unjustified; although "this is very probably so" may be justified, and you could perhaps trust them on that.