There is nothing wrong with using those as guides, until you get to a point that you know what to look for. The problem with them (probes) is they will slide above 170, unless you have one that uses a thermocoupler. And, the only one I know that does is a BBQ Guru. A good friend of mine called one of them not sure which company, and complained that at 190 - 200 degrees, 3 of them read different temps. All they said to him was, they aren't designed for that high temp cooking. That the degree of accuracy goes down after 170, and your not supposed to cook meat higher than that anyway :?
I just went back to what I knew before these gadgets came out. I had a dial instant read that had a calibration nut on the back, and an oven thermometer which I used once in awhile to keep the outside thermometer on the pit honest.
If you can use them to a point to get yourself to where you can trust your instincts, then ween yourself off of them. You will be much better off in the long run. Just my 02 cents..
And on the scoring, I agree with you 100%, I think the low score should be thrown out also. But we all are dealing with the same problem. The key there is to try to get solid, and consistent on all 4 categories. Odds are you will have something that you thought wasn't so good fall on a high scoring table.