No One is and Expert

I read an article today by a well known journalist, who cited and referred to those he interviewed as “experts.” After reading the article, it was obvious that those who he referred to as experts were nothing near. It made me wonder who actually determines who is an expert in their field.

In my limited number of years on this great planet, and even fewer as a card carrying adult, I can tell you that I have realized, or at least formed the opinion that, no one is really any smarter than anyone else (Stephen Hawking, and the likes excluded.) There are definitely those who are more knowledgeable in certain disciplines, but very few experts.

Additionally, expertise is not immune to failure or bad decision making either. I may be digressing from what I’d hoped was going to be my point, so bringing it back home, let me say this.

Beware of one who refers to themselves as an expert. Don’t be intimidated by those who others refer to as experts, and finally, always be prepared to verify any ideas, concepts, or theories expressed by an “expert.”

One comment

  1. Terry

    Dan,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your take on the subject of experts.

    Take any given subject and there are a host of people who have got something to say AFTER the event is over. Watch CNN or the BBC and the like and you'll find the screen is stuffed full of people who know what the problem is all about. Unfortunately, their message is usually framed around vested interests and only deals with the part of the truth that we are supposed to hear about.

    * Where were all the experts when 9/11 was unfolding?

    * Where were all the experts when the Iraq invasion was being planned i.e. Exit Plan anybody?

    * Where were the experts when the global economy went into meltdown?

    * Where were the experts when people were building nuclear power stations and thereby generating waste that remains toxic for millions of years. A waste that can only be removed and buried deep underground – er, tectonic plates anyone? And movement of entire continents during the lifetime of the waste?

    There are so many other examples lower down on the scale of importance, but the end result remains the same. Man-made things happen and we all react with sheep-like outrage and horror.

    Despite modern sophistication, high-dollar resources and an abundance of highly educated people swilling around in the system, generally speaking we still seem stuck in the reactive mood for most of the time.

    Even in the mid-point of event, you will find people making statements that are clearly inappropriate. Remember Bush declaring the Iraq war “over” within just a few weeks of the entry into the area? I certainly recall politicians and economists spouting forth that “The worst is behind us” in mid-2008 when the wheels were still falling off the trolley of the global financial markets.

    God help us and protect us from the experts!

    Terry

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