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Experts?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Risky, 8 Dec 2017.

  1. Risky

    Risky Well-Known Member

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    I just read an article The Death Of Expertise by Tom Nichols which though it is from nearly four years ago is more relevant than ever. Taking one quote:
    There is a real problem when people now never read an article or listen to an opinion that contradict their own. In fact I recall that Trump in his campaign speeches urged his supported not the read or listen to "The Mainstream Media" and find their own news online instead. But you will see people on the far left as using the same term to tell their supported not to believe anything negative about their own side in the press.

    Do people think here that this will necessarily get worse or is there hope of a reaction against the current "hyper-partisanship"?
     
  2. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    It's going to get worse.

    People are, by and large, unable to tell a pile of ******** from a verified, well researched, honest, story. See the number of people who believe stories they read on The Onion, and repost only to become the internet's whipping boys/girls for a brief moment in time.

    The world has collectively been seduced by bigger and bigger personalities, rather than cold hard facts.
     
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  3. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Human minds operate on all sorts of selective attentional filters and confirmation biases. There are good evolutionary survival reasons for doing so, but these heuristics are no good for understanding complex reality. Science is a discipline designed to compensate for these human cognitive weaknesses.

    However science is often counterintuitive, whereas biased, emotional reasoning feels natural and intuitive --and is a lot easier. So people tend to go with that.

    Of course such reasoning is flawed, but it requires scientific objectivity to be aware of that in the first place.
     
  4. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    I just wish we'd stop calling the social sciences a science. :mad:
     
  5. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Social sciences are a science. Problem is, it's a bit like quantum physics: it doesn't work along classical deterministic lines, just observing the subject changes its behaviour, and everybody who thinks they understand it, really doesn't.
     
  6. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    Explaining quantum physics isn't about explaining quantum physics, it's about sharing the headache around. --Jim Al-Khalili
     
  7. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    See? Social sciences work the same way. :p
     
  8. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    Not in my book they're not and by blurring the lines between the real sciences and the social ones damages the image people have of experts IMO, that's not to say people working in the social sciences aren't highly knowledgeable in their respective fields it's just in my personal opinion, and i suspect you'll disagree, when an economist, psychologist, sociologist, etc, etc, give their opinion and if later it turns out to be wrong it gives people the wrong impression of experts.

    That's not to say the social sciences are to blame for that though, like i said they're highly knowledgeable in their respective fields and I'd give their opinion much more weight when talking about what they're experts in, however unlike the weight of evidence behind hard sciences i wouldn't be putting my life on the line depending on what they say.

    I guess it comes down to how much weight people put on what their told by experts and the weight of the evidence backing it up, maybe we should be teaching people what constitutes evidence and that not all evidence is equal, it's probably the same thing as "fake news" and how everyone seems to be talking about teaching people how to recognise it, IMO we shouldn't need to teach people how to evaluate the validity of information, it should be a basic skill everyones capable of doing.
     
    Last edited: 9 Dec 2017
  9. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Physicists and other "hard" scientists turn out to be wrong all the time, and find that they have to adjust their theories. Sometimes their theories don't even make sense: is light a wave and a particle? Is gravity a force and a curvature in space-time? And what is space-time anyway? The reason nobody makes a fuss about that is because people don't understand it anyway. It's somewhere over their heads. As long as the plane flies, their mobile phone works, whatever.

    When people do think they understand, it gets tricky. Medical sciences make mistakes, and we all know how that colour people's opinions about doctors. Same with meteorology, same with psychology --people think they understand how climate works, how people work. So we get a lot of amateur critical opinion.

    There is a joke in the NHS that a management committee will sign off the budget on a surgeon without thinking about it, because they don't understand surgery but they are aware that they need one. But they will debate for weeks on whether to sign off the budget on a clinical psychologist because they all think they know psychology and therefore can make an informed judgement on whether they really need one. The same committee will take a few minutes to sign off a billion pound hospital, but then bicker for half an hour where to go for Christmas lunch.

    You already do, every time you join traffic, step on a plane or enter a large public building. Lots of psychologists were involved in designing traffic signals, designing the plane cockpit layout and selecting the pilot for training, in designing the building for smooth emergency evacuation.

    The British educational system is still stuck in the Victorian age. It is designed to turn working class kids into skilled labourers and servants for the higher classes, and higher classes into legal and financial service professionals to manage the estates and affairs for the upper classes. It is not designed to educate (as in educt, extrude): to maximally actualise in each individual pupil their unique talent and ability. It is not designed for social mobility.

    Hence children are still taught necessary skills and information: reading, copperplate handwriting, arithmetic; but they are not taught how to find out and use information; they are not taught to think and learn.
     
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  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    A complaint we have in psychology is that there is not sufficient rigor being maintained in teaching and research in social sciences.

    I totally agree that as a species, we're ****ed.
     
  11. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    Theories are exactly that though, they don't carry the same weight of evidence that comes with empirical evidence, they're just thoughts that attempt to explain what we don't understand so we can put those thoughts to a test and ascertain the validity of them.

    I'd also say physicists and other "hard" scientists are never "wrong" as any physicists or "hard" scientist worth their salt would never say their "right", they'd say based on our current understand something is either more or less likely, "hard" scientists don't operate on absolutes as the most basic tenant of scientific inquiry is that it's an ongoing process.

    A case in point, there's no "do understand" as what you or I understand today maybe worthless tomorrow, what we understand is based on current understanding and knowledge and as that processes never ends we can't make a definitive statement like "do understand"

    None of those involve putting my life on the line though, they simply increase or decrease possibilities, likelihoods, and chances, putting you're life on the line is knowing that your not going to turn into a meat popsicle when you touch 700k volts because of the Faraday cage effect.
     
  12. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    That's also how it works in social sciences: probabilities rather than certainties, and models and theories that try to offer as reliable as possible predictions about human behaviour and experience.

    Your point about "understanding" is well made, which is why I say that people think that they do.
     
  13. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Everything is belief. It's just that some beliefs are more functional approximations of reality than others.
     
  14. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    I think you are referring to hypotheses. Theories explain natural phenomenon and are typically supported by hard experimental evidence and scientific rigour.
     
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  15. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    "Cogito, ergo sum." I think, therefore I am. Thinking is the process of forming beliefs. That is why quality of thinking is so important; the product is only as good as the tools used to create it.

    I am of course defining 'belief' in the wider sense as cognitive schemas of how the world works.
     
  16. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    I turn that one around. I am, therefore I think.
     
  17. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    Apologies, i blame Nexxo though as he described hypotheses but called them theories. ;)
     
  18. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Thing is, unlike in the first statement, the latter does not necessarily follow from the former.
     
  19. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Yeah, that's right, blame the EU immigrant again... :p
     
  20. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    Correct, there's lots of creations out there that it doesn't apply too. Hence why I turn it around, not all creations are consciously aware.
     

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