Scientists corrode public trust when they pretend to have authority on social and political matters.
Science operates by a process of criticism. Scientists don’t experience divine revelations, they propose hypotheses that they and others test. This rigorous process of testing gives science the persuasiveness that mere journalism lacks. If a scientific periodical expels editors or peer reviewers because they don’t accept some prevailing theory, that process has been short-circuited. Those who call for such expulsions have missed the whole point of how science works. They are the true deniers, far more dangerous to science than a religious fundamentalist who believes the world is 6,000 years old.
To doubt a scientist is not to doubt science. Quite the contrary, personal authority is precisely what science dispenses with, as much as possible…
What Afghanistan shows is that we need a new definition of expertise, one that relies more on proven track records and healthy cognitive habits, and less on credentials and the narrow forms of knowledge that are too often rewarded. In an era of populism and declining trust in institutions, such a project is necessary to put expertise on a stronger footing.
Tetlock and the Taliban
How a humiliating military loss proves that so much of our so-called “expertise” is fake, and the case against specialization and intellectual diversity
The American-led coalition had countless experts with backgrounds pertaining to every part of the mission on their side: people who had done their dissertations on topics like state building, terrorism, military-civilian relations, and gender in the military…Meanwhile, the Taliban did not have a Western PhD among them.
The more certain someone is about covid-19, the less you should trust them
Acknowledging uncertainty a little more might improve not only the atmosphere of the debate and the science, but also public trust. If we publicly bet the reputational ranch on one answer, how open minded can we be when the evidence changes?
“In the wake of public tragedy there is a space between the official narrative and the stories of the people who experienced it. Today, we crawl inside that space and question the role of journalists in helping us move on from a traumatic event.
NPR’s East Africa correspondent Gregory Warner takes us back to the 2013 terrorist attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Warner reported on the attack as it happened, listening to eyewitness accounts, sorting out the facts, establishing the truth. But he’s been been wrestling with it ever since as his friends and neighbors try not only to put their lives back together, but also try to piece together what really happened that day.”
“The investigators say there is no evidence in the wreckage or on the flight recorders of an in-flight fire or explosion. A plane breaking up in flight, as this one did, might in its last moments produce flashes of fire from engines ripping loose, but the idea that the plane caught fire is a trick of memory, they say.”
“The role of art in our society is not to reenact history but to offer an interpretation of human experience as seen through the eyes of the artist. The philosopher Aristotle says it best: ‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance.'”