A pseudo-sophisticated society is especially likely to dismiss someone who does not have impeccable educational credentials.
– Neal A. Maxwell, Sermons Not Spoken
And, often, even the credentials are not enough.
Thus, we too often hear how your conclusions are special pleading, evidence of being an “apologist” (as if every bit of demonstrative discourse was not advocacy for—and thus an ‘apology’ for—some view or other). You are not a neutral, balanced, disinterested scholar—while my conclusions are merely the dispassionate working out of the evidence toward the inevitable conclusions to which I am compelled, like Newton’s apple being drawn irresistibly toward the sandy ground, even against my will or preferences.
Thus, one’s education must not only be impeccable, but one must use it in the prescribed way and come to the “proper” impeccable conclusions. To fail such a litmus test is to almost immediately have one’s credentials disparaged or minimized—which may be fair game if one’s credentials are dubious and you’ve been waving them around. But, if one has merely made an argument, perhaps the argument ought to be given first priority before hasting to cast someone out of the secular scholarly synagogue.
And, the “proper” conclusions will have been determined (as they must) by some criteria outside of the evidence or strictly rational processes. Otherwise, a sober presentation of the data would suffice.
But, to point that out is considered gauche beyond belief.
The most deadly bias is the one we ignore or deny—in others, to be sure, but especially in ourselves.