If that's the case, then you're going to speak as fluently as someone who has been engaged in the practices. And if you can speak as fluently, then you're indistinguishable from an expert. It's what I like to call "walking the talk". You still can't do the stuff, but you can make judgments, inferences and so on, which are on a par.
We picked color-blind people because they've spent their whole lives immersed in a community talking about color. So we thought color-blind people should be indistinguishable from color-perceivers when asked questions by a color-perceiver who knew what was going on. And we demonstrated that that was in fact the case. Now we're planning to do another imitation test on the congenitally blind to see if they can perform as well as the color-blind.
You also found that gravitational wave physicists had a hard time distinguishing you from one of their own in a written test.
I thought it's my duty to put myself through this test and see if anybody can tell. I'm not claiming my interactional expertise is really good enough to pass for a physicist, so I had to put brackets around it. There were no mathematical questions allowed. But they did involve some pretty damn difficult questions, which I'd never encountered before and which really gave me a fright. And it turned out I could work out the answers.
You've spent the past 30 years studying gravitational wave physicists. What do you like about them?
They're my ideal kind of academic. They're doing a slightly crazy, almost impossible project, and they're doing it for purely academic reasons with no economic payoff. I consider myself an academic who's made the bargain that I want to have an interesting life, and I'm prepared to have a little less status and a little less money as a result.