Re: [asa] The fight in Texas over evolution training in schools

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 08:38:56 EDT

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to mislead. I didn't get them either.

I wonder if Nicholas Kristof has been following our thread. His editorial in today's NYTimes talks about Tetlock and the problem with experts.
His first two paragraphs are:
"Ever wonder how financial experts could lead the world over the economic cliff?
One explanation is that so-called experts turn out to be, in many situations, a stunningly poor source of expertise. There's evidence that what matters in making a sound forecast or decision isn't so much knowledge or experience as good judgment - or, to be more precise, the way a person's mind works. "

Later he says:
"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.
"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," Mr. Tetlock wrote."

I'm not sure how or why they feel "experts" can be lumped together from widely disparate fields. For my money, when I take my car to the mechanic or when I'm headed into the operating room, I'll go for the expert every time. If the topic is solely political judgment, that's fair. I doubt if it extrapolates to other areas.


  Randy's response to this implies that he got the "set of peer review stupidities" that Glenn said were "below" but the version of Glenn's post that I got is cut off before it gets to them (as below). Maybe others had this problem too.


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Received on Thu Mar 26 08:39:15 2009

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