Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
Being an expert on a topic is a wonderful thing: If knowing about something is a part of your job, there's a fair chance what you have to say about the matter is worth listening to. Not always, but often. But just because you're not one of those people, that doesn't mean what you have to say is inherently worthless.
On many topics that I come across, I like to think of myself as an intelligent layman. For example, I've got an intuitive grasp of the general principles of evolution, but when I hear Sonic Hedgehog, I think of a certain thing other than a signaling pathway (well, almost). In most online arguments, however, I don't have to deal with those sorts of fine details: My adversaries typically make much more basic errors than the details the experts have to handle. Against IDiots, I more often have to point out that evolution is NOT random, or that "irreducible complexity" is a cakewalk for evolution. If I run into one complaining about protein-protein binding, I may need some help, but I seldom do.
That's why many of us non-expert skeptics can so easily deal with a lot of woos out there: The mistakes they make are often so basic and fundamental that anyone with a grasp of logic can catch them, sometimes even if they don't know anything at all about the topic. Logic and the principles of the scientific method are still the foundation of knowledge. I don't read medical journals, but I can still spot an anti-vaxxer equivocating "mercury" when they mean thimerosal.