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I do science and philosophy of science and what is being said here is that unless you’re prepared to do a great deal of reading and thinking, you really can’t have an opinion about almost anything in science, this may be true but it goes against human nature.
Good that Harvard is publishing her book, which I will read. They should still be ashamed of themselves for this one:
Dean’s “troubling thought” — “The experts we relied on to tell us whether a given design was safe, or indeed whether nuclear power generally was safe, were people with advanced degrees in nuclear engineering and experience running nuclear plants. That is, we were relying on people who made their living from nuclear power to tell us if nuclear power was safe. If they started saying out loud that anything about the nuclear enterprise was iffy, they risked putting themselves out of business” — has certain flaws that should have been obvious at the time.
Many of the nuclear power authorities we relied on then, and rely on now, have no skin in the game. They included Edward Teller, who famously claimed to be Three Mile Island’s only casualty, and now-a-days include James E. Hansen, author with Kharecha of “Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power”.
When authorities say things within their areas of expertise that you wish to reject, and you call upon the principle that purse strings make abject puppets of them, and they are nuclear *power* authorities, you are particularly silly, because the purse strings may well be trying to pull them in the direction of not saying those things.
Speaking *against* the financial interests of their paymasters is, in particular, something that is often done by government employees when they say fear-reducing things about nuclear power, because uranium replaces natural gas at about four cents on the dollar, and that dollar, had it been paid, would have included twenty cents or so for government.
Isn’t it interesting, that this sparks emotive comments among self-proclaimed “thinkers”.
Really, let’s be real. James Watson is probably brilliant – in his field. This is evident, but science also means that this must be open to criticism. But what his brilliance does not guarantee is being an expert in other areas.
The problem is this – who has the power to decide who is an “expert” and who not. We have enough experts on this planet, but those in power do not always select the true experts.
When I saw the headline I thought of a certain Nobel winner and former Vice President. Another measure that Cornelia Dean might consider – if we are being told that there is a crisis and immediate action is required, is the “expect” acting like it is a crisis? For example, I’ve heard that I must reduce my carbon footprint because the Earth is in the balance from climate change from experts who live huge mansions and fly around the globe in private jets to accept environmental awards. I’ll be convinced that the seas are rising when I see housing prices in Malibu begin to tumble.
You might consider that if the Earth is in the balance, real estate prices in Malibu won’t tumble because other destinations on Earth won’t be preferable. It doesn’t make sense for real estate prices to drop in Malibu or anywhere else on Earth unless real estate on some other planet opens up. Also, you’ve heard this from “experts who live huge mansions and fly around the globe in private jets to accept environmental awards” but also from so many of the country (and world)’s physicists and meteorologists who do not “fly around the globe” and who do not stand to gain economically from a public belief that climate change is occurring.
Idan, your initial logic doesn’t quite hold up. Even assuming uniform warming, it’s quite obvious that some locations/geographies would benefit more or be harmed less than others. E.g. If GW increases the incidence of large coastal storms, you would expect to see a differential come into play that would tend to increase the value of non-coastal real estate. Only in the unlikely case that all places warm identically and all warming causes precisely the same effect in terms of human comfort, habitability, and added expense, would you expect to see no relative impact on real estate prices.
Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Of course, needless to say that one should not rush to a conclusion. Take everything with a pinch of salt! Given time TRUTH speaks for it self.
DARPA Summit 7/13/2017 I first heard about reverse engineering of the human brain at this Summit. I would love to join the best research on this topic.
Humbly, could you host a seminar that educates us about the Nobel Organization, Stockholm, Sweden?
another example: How the prosecutor and defense can somehow find expert witnesses in forensics or psychology that contradict each other.
As a doctor of everything, I call BS on this article. Everything online is true.
… yes, this article immediately struck me as frivolous and biased.
never heard of Cornelia Dean before, but I see she’s a typical leftist academic and journalist. Of course, she is unable to see her faulty thinking/bias — but proudly displays it here. No doubt this stuff sells well at the Ivy League… where it never receives objective review or criticism.
This comment is written well enough or poorly enough that I can’t tell if it is joking or serious. Haha (smiley).
I fear it’s serious…
A superficial article which would have criticized Aristotle for the errors in his studies on animals, and Einstein for his comment on “God doesn’t play dice”. If we were to venture only where Cornelia Dean doesn’t cast her hooded eyes, we would be at a serious loss in this world.
Suffice it to say that James Watson’s penetrating brilliance — which doesn’t render him infalliable — will ever be an inspiration and a beacon to thinkers, long after the tide has wiped lesser names from the sands. The hubris to slap down this genius is only matched by its spitefulness.
Another clue that an expert may be wrong is when the text is loaded with emotional appeal to their view, in other words, it reads like propaganda. Well written science can contain emotional terms, but the author should explain the reason for their emotional reaction.
I dont know about experts but what scientists do for a living is strive very very hard to be wrong. Its a seemingly odd mindset but it achieves extraordinary things.
Much like some of the comments here. Accusations of bias without any detail to back then up.