Beware of Experts

Experts get it wrong.

The price we pay in trusting experts to take the important decisions for us is huge.

We don’t like uncertainty.  Experts give us a sense of certainty.

I don’t know what to do with my savings.  I go to a financial “expert”.  He tells me what to do.  I hand it over to him.  He loses it all in the property crash.

I feel sick and I go to the doctor.  He takes my temperature, looks in my throat, tells me to say “ahh” and then he sits down and writes out a prescription.  I feel good to “know” that the expert doctor “knows” what is causing my symptoms.

Adam's a Doctor
Photo: dalboz17

He doesn’t.  I have learnt to trust the white coats, the diplomas on the walls.  He has learnt to pretend.  He means well, but a system as complex as the human body cannot be diagnosed with temperature and a look in the throat.  Sometimes he is right.  Often he just prescribed some generic drug that seemed to work for the last case that looked like my symptoms.

Be aware of False Certainty.

We love the feeling of certainty that experts give. It is a false sense of certainty.

I am not saying “don’t go to doctors”.  I am not saying “don’t get financial advice”.

I am saying go to the doctor but take his opinion as another input into your own decision making about treatment.  Ask questions.  Ask “what are you seeing?  what are you thinking?  what other things might cause that?  what other options are you considering?”

Experts are more hero-worshiping than others.

Global warming, Financial investments: the “expert” has a vested interest in supporting the status-quo.  Experts’ power comes from the status quo, the accepted viewpoint.  Experts are less likely to question global warming science, year 2000, property bubbles, inflation estimates than those who are not experts.  Their egos are tied up in their status in the existing status quo.  They fear that changing.

Accept uncertainty as life.  Ask better questions.  Allow yourself permission to not agree.

What are your thoughts?

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