Ignorance, “experts”

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.

By Richard Feynman, in: “What is Science?”, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, in New York City (1966) published in The Physics Teacher Vol. 7, issue 6 (1969)

Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge” – Lao Tzu, 6thCentury BC Chinese Poet

A selection of my blog posts relating to our ignorance and folly, and the folly of “experts”

Stupidity rules the world

The pitfalls of forecasting

Beware the “expert”

Other people’s writings that clarify commonly held fallacies

In the year 2000, the US National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) insisted that all researchers register their “primary aim” and then later their “primary outcome” with clinicaltrials.gov. This one small change in the way medical studies were reported transformed the “success” rates in peer reviewed papers. Before 2000, fully 57% of studies found the success they said they were testing for, but after that, their success rate fell to to a dismal 8%. When people didn’t have to declare what their aim was, they could fish through their results to find some positive, perhaps tangential association, and report that as if they had been investigating that effect all along. The negative results became invisible. If a diet, drug or treatment showed no benefit at all, or turned up bad results, nobody had to know. [Source]