Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Death Of Expertise (Thank Goodness)

Worse, it's dangerous. The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. Fundamentally, it's a rejection of science and rationality, which are the foundations of Western civilization itself. Yes, I said "Western civilization": that paternalistic, racist, ethnocentric approach to knowledge that created the nuclear bomb, the Edsel, and New Coke, but which also keeps diabetics alive, lands mammoth airliners in the dark, and writes documents like the Charter of the United Nations.

Actually, the opposite is true.  

In short, this author is a pompous ass.  Frankly, when science is conclusive, it doesn't take expert opinion to disseminate it.  And if science isn't conclusive, expert opinion is no more valid than anyone else's opinion.  It isn't the rejection of science, it is the affirmation that opinion is not part of scientific truth.

"Experts" have manipulated us for years with mis-information and outright dishonesty.  They abused their positions of power.  We don't have to depend upon them any longer.  Experts don't always have access to information we don't access to, and we aren't subject to the distorting incentives that experts can be subject to.  

I long for the day that enough folks will have enough scientific literacy that when someone says abnegation of "experts" is against science, the whole room full of people will think "bullshit" and cross that expert off of their list of folks to listen to.

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