When you’re communicating with people who know more than you, you have two options. You can accept their greater state of knowledge, causing you to speak more honestly about the pertinent topics. Or, you could reject their credibility, claiming that they really don’t know more than you. Many people who know less than you both may believe you over them.
A third option is to claim epistemic learned helplessness. You can believe someone knows more than you, but reject their claims because there are incentives to deceive. It’s even possible to openly coordinate based on this. This seems like something I’ve seen people do, maybe even frequently. I can’t think of anything specific, but one method would be to portray the more knowledgeable person as “using their power [in the form of knowledge] for evil”.
It’s a good point.
The options are about how you talk to others, rather than how you listen to others. So if you talk with someone who knows more than you, “humble” means that you don’t act overconfidently, because they could call you out on it. It does not mean that you aren’t skeptical of what they have to say.
I definitely agree that you should often begin skeptical. Epistemic learned helplessness seems like a good phrase, thanks for the link.
One specific area I could see this coming up is when you have to debate someone you are sure is wrong, but has way more practice debating. They may know all the arguments and counter-arguments, and would destroy you in any regular debate, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them, especially if you know there are better experts on the other side. You could probably find great debaters on all controversial topics, on both sides.