Sunday, October 26, 2008

Do pundits ever really know what they are talking about?

"Often wrong, but never in doubt!"

Each day we see "experts" on TV holding forth on various topics. In most cases, the most expert people are least in demand, as TV needs people who are great communicators who have no hesitation or self-doubt. The true expert is often very aware of the fact that no one knows everything about the topic. Even in hard sciences, it was not so long ago that "experts" thought that heavier than air flight was impossible! In topics such as economics or interpersonal relationships, there are many self-proclaimed, or even widely recognized, experts who are quite wrong. If you hear an expert or read an article by an expert, go to the original source. Frequently, you will find that it is far less definitive that it is later presented. Also, it is often less clear or relevant. Even "scientific"studies can be poorly constructed or analyzed.

Perhaps we each seek simple answers and assurance. It may just not be possible.

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