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, 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”