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So Called EXPERTS!

Discussion in 'Break Room' started by drsarbes, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member


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    6/22/2012: Earlier this month, the New Yorker published a brilliant piece detailing the glamorous yet gullible world of expert wine-tasters. The article profiled one blind tasting after another, highlighting perhaps what advertisers knew all along: for so-called experts and amateurs alike,*our expectations of wine are often more important than what’s actually in the glass.

    “This was nicely demonstrated in a mischievous 2001 experiment led by Frédéric Brochet at the University of Bordeaux,” writes Jonah Lehrer. “In the first test, Brochet invited fifty-seven wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn’t stop the experts from describing the “red” wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its “jamminess,” while another enjoyed its “crushed red fruit.”
    In fact, the look of a label or the price on the bottle profoundly influence the tasting experience.

    Said Lehrer: “The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle bore the label of a fancy grand cru, the other of an ordinary*vin de table. Although they were being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the bottles nearly opposite descriptions. The grand cru was summarized as being “agreeable,” “woody,” “complex,” “balanced,” and “rounded,” while the most popular adjectives for the*vin de table*included “weak,” “short,” “light,” “flat,” and “faulty.”

    Quite remarkable, eh?

    It looks as though these so-called wine experts are not only fooling themselves into thinking they have an extraordinarily nuanced palette, but they’re also fooling everyday consumers into believing so-called expert advice on taste and pairings. Even if we were to believe their palettes were able to discern marginal differences among a broad range of tastes, as a recent study by Penn State’s sensory evaluation center suggests, are such “experts” qualified to make meaningful recommendations to the rest of us who lack such abilities?
    Reading this article reminded me of a 2009 op-ed by New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, in which he argued that “so-called experts turn out to be, in many situations, a stunningly poor source of expertise.” Citing a number of examples to prove his point, I particularly enjoyed this one:

    Said Kristof: “The expert on experts is Philip Tetlock,*a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His 2005 book, “Expert Political Judgment,” is based on two decades of tracking some 82,000 predictions by 284 experts. The experts’ forecasts were tracked both on the subjects of their specialties and on subjects that they knew little about. The result? The predictions of experts were, on average, only a tiny bit better than random guesses — the equivalent of a chimpanzee throwing darts at a board.

    According to Tetlock, “It made virtually no difference whether participants had doctorates, whether they were economists, political scientists, journalists or historians, whether they had policy experience or access to classified information, or whether they had logged many or few years of experience.”

    As a society, we put an enormous amount of trust into the advice and insight of so-called experts, and yet it seems to me that the word itself has been utterly stripped of its authenticity. What does it really mean to be an expert anymore? Indeed, you can still find so-called scientific experts trying to refute climate change. Perhaps this is what led to the explosion of crowdsourcing information and ideas, for if the experts keep getting it wrong, the rest of us together can probably get it right.
    What worries me the most is that we have a natural inclination to trust those who are branded as experts, even before they open their mouths, and this is a dangerous tendency in a world where experts have the accuracy of a chimp playing darts.
     
  2. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Yea we should ignore the experts and just vote on what we feel is right. ;) I just saw something that said that 67% of Americans believed global warming was real. So, it must be real. Or we could just look at the thermometers all over the world.

    Eric
     
  3. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    Hahaha

    No inter thread mingling !!!!!!!!!

    If you repeat it often enough...........

    Steve
     
  4. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Your post at the top of the thread had a reference to global warming while questioning the validity of expert opinion. Who is repeating?

    Yea experts who needs them. For the best advice on feet you should go to the local nail salon. The people who work there obviously know as much about feet as those expert doctors do. :dizzy:

    Steve, your post that started this thread seems to be attacking all experts. There must be some fields of study where the experts know more than the lay population. I would agree that the economic pundits should have their batting average posted under their picture when they pundify.

    Eric
     
  5. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Is this how your podiatry practice works?

    The patient decides the diagnosis, treatment, fee, etc, because you, the 'expert', are really a chimp playing darts?


    Remind us where your practice is again as the phrase 'body swerve' seems to come to mind.


    Bill
     
  6. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Looks as though this is a case of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater'.

    There's a significant difference between 'taste' as in food, wine etc. and expert opinion in scientific matters. For what it is worth (and I enjoy a decent glass of wine), drink whatever you enjoy, and if that means a sweet Sauternes with beef or venison, then carry on regardless! However, when serious matters such as health and scientific fact are concerned then I prefer to listen to the 'experts'.

    Hic!

    Bill Liggins
     
  7. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    I always thought that posts on the BREAK ROOM board was just that...a break from what we do every day.

    You two are a tough audience....first...I did not make any reference to "Global you know what...."
    I do see the reference to Climate change..I would have deleted that part of the article if I had known it was going to get your undies in a bundies!

    Second....it's the results of a small "experiment" (the wine tasting) and a study on "expert projections"....I don't see any reference by me or anyone else that perhaps somehow this relates to the practice of Podiatric Medicine. That's quite a leap.


    Bill.....It seems that someone is having a bad day. No need to personally attack me or my professionalism.
    Lighten up.

    As far as the point of the post itself...you have to admit that the tracking results of 82,000 predictions by over 280 different sources is very very interesting. Perhaps I should fire my investment broker and purchase a dart board.

    An interesting note on wine tasting....having gone on many many such tastings in the Napa area over the years...apparently not everyone is physically able to differenciate various "tastes" - thus, some of these so called expert tasters, although they may know quite a bit about wine, are physiologically unable to taste what needs to be tasted in appreciating and or grading various wines.

    Steve
     
  8. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Keep it to wine tasting and I agree with your conclusion completely.

    Conflate it with the contents of a book called "Expert Political Judgement', then I would need a lot more than headline statements to agree.

    Extrapolate to include all scientists ('so called scientific experts') then I disagree completely and I am glad to see that from your response that you disagree too?

    Even on the Break Room cut and paste thinking is unlikely to pass without comment.

    Bill
     
  9. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    The study was about expert "predictions "....... Not advice.

    Comment all you'd like, it's free will here , still , I believe.
    Extrapolate all you want, that's what most of us are very good at.

    Connecting A to B to get to D. Who cares about C?

    Experts in their field. Authorities. Who decides and what makes it so? Authoring a book? A few published studies or articles on a particular subject, frequent invitations to CNN or FOX News? Years of experience ?

    And what field of study are we referencing? One subject to absolutes and definitive study results or one open to subjectivity and interpretation? One which is new and evolving or one that has been established for decades or even centuries?

    Hard to roll them all into one defined mass, but the study is interesting. Counter intuitive really.


    Steve
     
  10. horseman

    horseman Active Member

    :drinks seems to be a good start...
    I once had a meal with a lot of wine growers, the spread included bottles of Red and white wine each masked in a sort of sock. The wine was actually rather good and international the women and men who made the stuff identified the country, vinyard, year and often the bin number of the bottle with almost 100% accuracy. Some experts are just that: EXPERT!

    Cheers:D


    Hic
     
  11. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    As a society, we put an enormous amount of trust into the advice and insight of so-called experts, and yet it seems to me that the word itself has been utterly stripped of its authenticity. What does it really mean to be an expert anymore?

    It's a good question. I don't think that the use of the word 'expert' has changed. My feeling is that because of 'universal' education people are more ready to question the description 'expert'. Experts were never more correct than they are currently but they were less questionable, ie they had the information/power/status and the 'others' had next to nothing.

    It is important to examine the concept of 'expert' without assuming that there is no such thing or that we are all 'experts'.

    ....., for if the experts keep getting it wrong, the rest of us together can probably get it right.

    I would think that in the vaste majority of cases 'the rest of us together' can possibly get it right but will probably get is even more wrong.

    Of course that throws us back to an examination of what getting it 'right' means?

    Bill
     
  12. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    "what getting it right means…"

    exactly


    Some predictions are easier to define as eventually being correct or not….end of the world by a certain date, stock market hitting a specific number, someone winning a political race…

    Some are not….they are more ambiguous by their very nature, subjective observations …… a politician will perform better next year, you will feel younger if you take this, man will eventually be able to travel back in time….

    Part of this equation is that we do not really want to wait around to find out….we want to know right now. Bring on the experts so they can tell us.


    Steve
     
  13. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Some are not….they are more ambiguous by their very nature, subjective observations ……... man will eventually be able to travel back in time….

    So this has been one of your subjective observations Steve?

    Tell us more. We are all ears or possibly will be.

    Bill
     
  14. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    No, it's one that is ambiguous by nature......It's one that can never be proven wrong since when one says man will be able to "someday" travel back in time, obviously if he has not yet- he may still tomorrow. There is always a tomorrow. An expert can always make the argument that he is correct, although not yet.

    Simple stuff really.
     
  15. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Shakespeare knew:

    "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, thus creeps this petty pace from day to day, until the last syllable of recorded time. Life's but a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; Out Out, brief candle' (paraphrased slightly).

    In other words, we all travel through time and we're all going to snuff it. No ambiguity there then!

    Cheers

    Bill
     
  16. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    Beautiful Bill.

    I believe the life's clock is only ticking forward.

    Steve
     
  17. medisrch

    medisrch Active Member

    The quote I like best from the "experts" on wines was " An amusing little wine". Response:: - you need a sense of humour to drink it!.
     
  18. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    BTW".....Bill,

    Initial post was, obviously, cut and paste. Served its purpose, save the comments concerning the messenger rather than the message.

    Sitting her enjoying a very nice Napa red zin with a bit of drunken goat cheese. I'm no expert (my wife is) but this is very very good ( in my opinion)

    Steve
     
  19. horseman

    horseman Active Member

    now that is a good idea:D
     
  20. omg 123

    omg 123 Member

    don't have any Idea on wine all tastes the same to me!

    But have a pair of "beer goggles" that after a few pints let me predict all kinds of things!
    even time travel!!!!

    Only problem is once I take them off in the morning my head hurts!!!!!
     
  21. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Strange thing, the beer goggles work for me with wine also. They improve my singing voice immeasurably and inspire me to dance brilliantly (something that I've never been able to do without them), as well as making me attractive to the opposite sex - again, a sad failing without the goggles. I also agree with the comment concerning time travel. I end up in bed with no memory of how I got there.
     
  22. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Initial post was, obviously, cut and paste. Served its purpose, save the comments concerning the messenger rather than the message.

    Always remembering that when this saying was originally used the messenger was the innocent party, he was delivering someone elses message, ie he was just the postman. Within the context of this thread the message is yours. As it is apparently a distillation of your ideas you are more than a just the postman. If your message applies to all experts, as you seem to suggest, then by what appears to be your own logic it becomes impossible to make any exceptions. No?

    Bill
     
  23. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    Yikes
    Bill
    Lighten up a bit.
    Firstly it's 2014. Cut and paste is a way of the world. Have you heard of EMR? Op reort templates? Dragon dictate? Did you really want me to type that entire post?????

    I know persons of a certain generation may not be used to correspondence via written snippets....email, blog, tweet, posts, cut n pastes, ...... no verbal aspect, no voice inflection, body language....it's a different

    Also, you can try a new skill set that you may not have....ignoring.......it's wonderful. It will FREE you. I


    Steve
     
  24. efuller

    efuller MVP

    I have to agree with Bill. You are more than just the postman. You chose which quote, of all the quotes out there, to cut an paste to start the thread. There is a right wing attempt to attack science and the careful study of our society's problems. This thread was started right after a comment on global cooing and that close proximity was hard to ignore. I don't think we should ignore attacks on science.

    Eric
     
  25. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    Apparently we have divided this thread into two parts...EXPERTS and now SCIENCE.
    No one here is bashing science...stop going from point A to point C.

    Perhaps if you take a step back you can see someone else's viewpoint.

    Is not the person who makes a claim in the name of science but has no independent reproducible conclusions the one that is actually assaulting "science"?

    Is it not the "group" or "society" or whatever they may call themselves who are either being financed by a 3rd party with an agenda or have a stake in the outcome themselves...are not these people the ones assaulting?

    and experts.....

    We have so many so called experts now a days....and who decides that they are experts? Just because someone has a degree and may look good on camera so they appears often on the TV doesn't make them an expert.

    Just because they have been paid to have their picture placed on a product that is being marketed does not make them an authority.

    Just because a person has an interest in a subject and is outspoken on it does not an expert make.

    How many times have you cringed at foot advice given by so called experts? Are other fields so different?



    Without science we have very little, however modern times, especially with the advent of 24/7 news services, tweets, blogs, easily made webpages...we expect conclusions and scientific data almost immediately. How many times a day do you hear about a study that just came out on this, or that? New studies everyday! Do we ever hear about the study being replicated? Maybe it will be, maybe it won't.... but that's not news is it.


    A jet goes down...we EXPECT, even demand, our experts to know what happened, why it happened, who was involved, on and on and on...and we want to know right now. March in the experts. Experts on airplanes, suicide, search and rescue, terrorism, airplane disasters, fires, high altitude medicine........


    We are conditioned. We have been bombarded by expert advice our entire lives and it's getting worse by the day.

    But again (and I didn't cut and paste this) WHO really are these people. Does this equate to SCIENCE? Of course not.

    Steve
     
  26. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    I'm all for global cooing - it sounds charming and we could all do with some just at the moment......

    Bill L
     
  27. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    A jet goes down...we EXPECT, even demand, our experts to know what happened, why it happened, who was involved, on and on and on...and we want to know right now. March in the experts. Experts on airplanes, suicide, search and rescue, terrorism, airplane disasters, fires, high altitude medicine........

    Hi Steve,

    I'm glad to say that I can identify with a lot of what you say in your last post.

    I have 'cut and pasted' the bit which might refer to Malaysian flight MH 370. In the UK, the 'experts' consulted have only spoken in terms of possibility and probability and have readily updated their hypotheses as more 'information' became available. I don't seem to have heard anything extreme or that would question their expertise or scientific approach, although the pressure for an immediate and definitive answer has been quite apparent.

    I think in many cases the media is the guilty party both in terms of attaching the epithet 'expert' and misreporting or partially/inadequately reporting the 'expert's' opinion.

    And as Eric says there is a right wing, eg Neoliberal Thought Collective; Mount Pellerin Society; who have/are developing the techniques used originally or at least most comprehensively by the tobacco Industry to attack science.

    Bill
     
  28. blinda

    blinda MVP

    Made me smile, Bill. :drinks
     
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