Stop Blindly Following Experts

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Why you should care

Because when experts and chimpanzees go head-to-head, you won’t believe who comes out on top.

To be or not to be? Democrat or Republican? Paper or plastic? Nothing is more human than the struggle to decide. Whether you’re calmly considering all the options or struggling under their sheer weight, making a decision can mystify. Which is, arguably, what keeps a passel of consultants, doctors, advisers, specialists and pundits employed. They speak — on fad diets or foreign policy — and we listen. They follow, we lead.

And are misled.

Cases in point: the 2008 financial crisis, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Arab Spring. Need we go on? Just because someone is a specialist at X, Y and Z, it doesn’t mean they can’t err. In fact, expert opinions are sometimes just a game of chance, swayed by underlying factors like our personal biases and more trivial affairs like whether you ate or skipped lunch that day.

Then again, who is this expert telling us to be wary of experts?

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