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Monday, 8 May 2017

Experts

I am not an expert on anything. I used to be one in auditing. However, the hiring professionals claim that my auditing knowledge is outdated. My remark that auditing is like riding a bike did not impress them. I still think, feel and believe that anyone who has also worked in Finance knows more about Auditing. Cooking the books also requires expertise.

Experts have a hard time today. They are no longer trusted. Some of my favourite experts have written about this: George Friedman and Stephen Hawking. Recently, scientists protested about this mistrust in their global March for Science. I love Science but I didn't participate. Science has become politicized and is all about opinions rather than facts. See my 31 March 2016 blog.

My view on Science fundamentally changed after reading Michael Crichton's State of Fear. He opened my eyes on scientific beliefs. Climate change has two sides, like its belief in global cooling (<1970s) and in global warming (> 1970s). The Dutch interview with Dr Richard Tol was the final push to see "both sides of the story" (eg, my blog, lyrics, video).

The scientific news that many psychology studies can not be replicated without showing different results, further eroded my trust in scientists (eg, NYT, source). Moreover, "misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications" (PNAS). Recently, a Swedish study was retracted following a ruling by the Central Ethical Review Board of Sweden that both scientists "have been guilty of scientific dishonesty".

Allegedly, the reason for this scientific behaviour is the (financial) need to publish as many studies as possible in - preferably - top scientific magazines. Wiki: "Publish or perish" is a phrase coined to describe the pressure in academia to rapidly and continually publish academic work to sustain or further one's career." A typical case of quantity over quality.

Our mistrust of experts is rooted in the mutual perspective on their role. An expert used to be one of several advisers. Experts now claim to sell the truth. Obviously, it doesn't help if several experts claim opposite truths. Hence, my 3 May 2015 blog: Climate change - Science as a Belief system. Scientists expect us to believe them only because they are scientists and even while other scientists contradict them. Mistrust is a logical consequence.

On 27 February 2017, Jon Stewart said something crucial on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: "Nobody says "believe me" unless they are lying" (video). Actually, it's even the title of a bestselling book by media strategist Ryan Holiday: "Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator". Essentially, experts and/or scientists use the same strategy: "Believe Me".

George Friedman once again hits the essence when he states: "This is not an attack on expertise. Knowledge of things smaller than the whole is essential. It is a defense of wisdom []".

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." Quote by Isaac Asimov (hat tip @ Penn)

Old and Wise (1982) by Colin Blunstone - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2