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Marchin’, marchin’: The experts are right, it’s the facts that are wrong


Cover for The Death of Expertise Further to marchin’, marchin’ for science: From law prof Glenn Reynolds at USA Today:

According to Foreign Affairs magazine, Americans reject the advice of experts so as “to insulate their fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong.” That’s in support of a book by Tom Nichols called The Death of Expertise, which essentially advances that thesis.

Hmmm. Sounds like Nichols is another candidate for our Blinkers Award. Reynolds touches on many topics, including some raised here, such as:

By its fruit the tree is known, and the tree of expertise hasn’t been doing well lately. As Nassim Taleb recently observed: “With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers.” More.

Probably, but it’s best that the instincts consulted actually be ancestral instincts—and real grandmothers.

Any time now (indeed, we may already have missed it here at UD News ) , the evolutionary psychologist will chime in with a pop science retro about why we evolved so as not to trust experts and what a shame that is. One can count on them not to even envisage the possibility that if we had trusted experts, most of us would be dead, not running the planet. For… they are Experts, right?

See also: The high cost of marchin’, marchin’ for Science: If female, you could be road kill yourself It’s good that social sciences are not really sciences anyway. But seeing how their point of view has spread into medical sciences, which can actually help people, is disconcerting

Shades of “Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science”


“The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”

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The alternative is quackery, denial, blindness
Says the cat who can't produce the courage to even speak of the physical evidence against his ideology -- the one who proudly admits that he closes himself off to any such observations.
You know? Reality.
Reality includes the fact that semantic closure enables RM+NS. It's physical reality. Upright BiPed
Andrew, "Devotion"? Yes! Absolutely! The alternative is quackery, denial, blindness, religion, fantasy, imagination, and ID. Much as I like to cushion my existance from reality, reality is real, and being aware of reality aids my survival and chances of passing on my DNA. You know? Reality. Reality also involves, family, relationships, friends, commitments, children,art, music, beer, and happiness. These also aid me in passing on my genetic material. You!? rvb8
my attachement to professional journalists, and real scientists
Devotion, perhaps? Andrew asauber
Denyse, "find out that treatment drugs failed replication - but worse, replication is not usually risked." Your next few sentences are equally bizzar, but let's just concentrate on this example of weird style. Do you mean that, the treatment drugs failed to stop the 'replication' of cancer cells, and therefore didn't work? I just can't tell from your sentence structure. I do have a question however. What is your answer for your friends awful predicament? Homeopathey? Acupuncture? Shen Balancing? Saying beware of science is fine. Rubbishing it, and offering absolutely nothing at all to fill the gargantuan space, is irresponsable journalism in the extreme. Hence my attachement to professional journalists, and real scientists. rvb8
johnnyb, Upright Biped, and rvb8, my principal concern is that people can't better their game if they don't know their weaknesses. The Marchin' Marchin' for Science movement is dangerously deluded if it thinks that the public is against science, hates science, etc. I've followed these kinds of stories for over two decades now. As so often, the answer is simpler, clearer, and less comfortable: Most people who do not work in science or follow science news interact with it in areas like medicine. Even if the Higgs boson find were shown to be a fraud, it would be nothing more than the Piltdown Particle. Most people who didn't care before won't now. Cancer diagnoses, by contrast, get to the top of everybody's tray. Here's what really happens: People like myself who have dear friends fighting breast cancer find out that treatment drugs failed replication - but worse, replication is not usually even risked. Or that ideological nonsense around gender equality harms, possibly sometimes kills, women patients. Could that have played a role in the death of someone we know? Anyone who thinks that people who want change are anti-science should just stay clear of public policy. Their blinkers mentality will not do them or their causes any good. (On the other hand, if I don't support the cause, maybe I should cheer them on.) Note: See Science marching away from its real problems News
...and right on cue. You can't even make this up. Upright BiPed
UB, what do you mean? 'right next to another story where four years ago...'? Denyse can question scientists all she likes, as can anyone. But those questons have to carry some weight, that is, you can not say, Irreducible Complexity, and leave it at that. Denyse has a real bug bear in the mainstream media, science, and life I suppose. I don't. I will continue to read science written by scientists and avoid the Mazurs of this world. rvb8
Note the juxtaposition of this story appearing on an ID blog, questioning the dogma of experts, right next to another story where four years ago, scientists used empirical science to detect intelligent design in the genetic media that establishes biology on earth. And the insults keep on coming … Upright BiPed
What amuses me about all of this is that one of the main criticisms of many scientists about "religion" is that religious ideas are simply given as unquestionable dogmas. Of course, religious ideas could always be questioned by credentialed academics, even in the most difficult of time. What was not allowed in the middle ages was the teaching of unsanctioned ideas to the public and the public's right to question things themselves. So, apparently, they don't mind it so much if *they* are responsible for dispensing the dogmas. Then they are fine with suppressing dissent all day long, and us heretics need to realize that we aren't part of the credentialed magisteria, so we don't get their imprimatur on our discussions. johnnyb

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