Don’t Be An Expert (But if Unavoidable, Be a Fox, and Use Models)


So much for your appeal to experts to justify your position!

Aid on the Edge of Chaos

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” ~ Archilochus

In 2005, Philip Tetlock published a widely acclaimed book, “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?”, which focused on a longitudinal study of a diverse group almost 300 individuals, examining their decision-making processes. The group was made up of high-profile and significant experts. And the findings were rather damning. As one review summarises it:

These are people who appear as experts on television, get quoted in newspaper articles, advise governments and businesses, and participate in punditry roundtables. And they are no better than the rest of us. When they’re wrong, they’re rarely held accountable, and they rarely admit it, either. They insist that they were just off on timing, or blindsided by an improbable event, or almost right, or wrong for the right reasons. They have the same repertoire of…

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