The problem with "experts."

Discussion in 'International Current News & Events' started by mosquitomountainman, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    This is part of an interview with the author of Wrong and points out the problems with experts and thier influence in our lives. You might want to read the entire article.

    "You found some cases of experts who willing discarded data that didn't fit with the conclusion they were after?"

    "That is a huge understatement - it is almost routine. Now, let me point out that it's not always nefarious, scientists and experts have to do a certain amount of data sorting. Some data turns out to be garbage, some just isn't useful or it just doesn't help you answer the question, so scientists always have to edit their data and that's OK. The problem is, how can we make sure that when they're editing the data they're not simply manipulating the data in the way that helps them end up with the data they want. Unfortunately, there really aren't any safeguards in place against that. Scientists and other experts are human beings, they want to advance their careers, they have families to support, and what do you know, they tend to get the answers they chase."


    "So you're saying if I set out to prove that wine is good for you I can find the data to back up that claim?"

    "You can. We see that all the time. In fact, we're seeing it constantly. There are studies that come out that say obesity is actually good for you and those that say exercise doesn't do you any good. If there's a certain answer that you want, for example, an exciting research finding that's going to get published in a research journal, then you will probably find some way to achieve it."

    And the final question ...

    "OK, this question has to be asked, you're kind of an expert, of experts, so should we not trust you either?"

    "Yes, you should not trust me either. I mean how could I possibly claim that I have some foothold on the truth that these other people I'm talking about don't have? I don't. Of course, I'm biased. I want a nice sexy story. How boring would it be for me to come out and be like, "You know, those experts, they're pretty good, they're right a lot of the time." We wouldn't even be having this conversation if I said that. There are all kinds of reasons why I might fudge the data myself or mislead people about this. But I'm not trying to give people answers here. What I am trying to do is provoke thinking, raise awareness and point out that there are real questions here that we all should be asking. We should all try to be smarter about how we pick our advice. How could I possibly be wrong about that?"



    Experts and Studies: Not Always Trustworthy - Yahoo! News
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  2. Knotted

    Knotted Member

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    Interesting point!s Experts :)
     

  3. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    The way I've often sorted out advice from "experts" is to dig beyond the news article and find out the studies. Very often they are commissioned by a party with an interest in the subject and NOT peer-reviewed before publish. Once you look into the source and funding of the expert, you'll find that your BS detector can take care of the rest.
     
  4. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Was it Mark Twain who said, "Beware the experts."? The old buzzard was right on.

    A good example is shrinks. Psychologist/psychiatrists give all sorts of outright stupid advice on rearing kids and -- you guessed it. As a group, they raise the most disfunctional kids imaginable.

    And then there is the expert on anthropogenic global warming, our good friend and top climate scientist and internet inventor, Al Gore. :gaah::gaah::nuts:
     
  5. longtime

    longtime Well-Known Member

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