When “Authority” Goes Wrong

  • Category: Authority Mindset

In the 80’s and 90’s—before DNA was used in courtroom trials—so called “authorities” roamed the country testifying in criminal courts about things like blood spatter, bite marks, ballistics, fingerprints and more.

They could take a course on any specialty, earn a certificate and then present themselves as an expert. Judges tended to assume that if the witness had testified in other trials in other states, then he must be a genuine authority.

Appellate courts reviewing convictions didn’t bother to question the science, which just increased the “authority” of the junk science being peddled.

DNA changed the game.

And as real scientists developed rigor around criminal science investigations and study, the imposters skulked away (John Grisham’s latest novel shows how truly wrong this could go).

This story is still relevant today, because your field may have a few false “authorities” whose reputations far exceed their knowledge and ability to provide value.

It may feel frustrating to witness—especially if they happen to garner a large share of media attention or client work.

The thing to remember is this: eventually, they’ll be unmasked.

So whether you challenge them or ignore them, the key is to keep working at your craft, steadily building real authority in YOUR lane.