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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/19/20

Trusting the experts

By       (Page 1 of 6 pages)   7 comments, In Series: Ephektikoi
Message Mike Zimmer

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Trusting the experts

Trust the experts? Why would I be daft enough to do that? It is not that experts are wrong, although they are often wrong. It is that we are exhorted to treat them with reverence when that defies reason. -- ephektikoi


We routinely rely on experts for services and for advice. Does this work out? Sometimes the results are acceptable and sometimes they are barely adequate. In other cases, our interaction with experts becomes a disaster.

There are experts we can be pretty confident will solve our problems, and experts we need to treat with caution, if not just ignore. In some cases, the outcomes, positive or negative, only effect our pocket book. In other cases, the outcomes affect our long term health or our lives.

We are bombarded with opinion delivered by experts on a daily basis, some sounding authoritative, but with views contradicting one and other. Logically they can't all be right, at least in those areas where views conflict. Maybe none are correct in any significant respect on particular topics.

There is not a lot of reason to universally trust experts, since they are frequently wrong, and in some disciplines, may be right only at the level of chance - they disagree, they agree, they get it wrong, they get it right.

Expert opinion, is it better than ours? That depends. Listening to the experts is sometime the best we can do, since the non-experts are not likely to be even as good. In some fields, experts are actually quite good, but in other important areas, they are not very good at all.

What Areas Of Expertise Are We Discussing?

Expertise can reside in trades, service industries, music, art, dance, sports, various professions, academia, healthcare, retail, consulting, finance, banking, mortgage, and on. Expertise can reside anywhere where knowledge, skill and experience go beyond the average. So, under this broad umbrella, many, if not most, people will have some areas of expertise.

I have several areas of expertise. It does not mean that I am at the top of hill in any of these particular regions, but I have competency in several things that are fairly complex.

What Services Do The Experts Provide?

Experts make the world run. They may do fabrication, construction, repair, give advise, explanation things, predict things, research things, teach things and render opinions.


Too many "experts" start from the position that our current understanding is correct, and anomalous results must be wrong. You can be an absolute master of the body of knowledge of your discipline, and also of the schisms which invariably exist in any discipline, and be dead wrong on a large number of topics, because the body of knowledge in your discipline is very flawed. You can be an expert in bullshit to be more blunt.

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Father and husband, free thinker, with a libertarian socialist bent, published writer, essayist, retired information systems consultant, former experimental psychology graduate student, martial arts teacher, writer of tunes, guitar teacher, (more...)

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