Distrusters of experts all around

The Wall Street Journal op-ed page is always good for a full-throated demand that we distrust the experts:

The general public is not privy to the IPCC debate. But I have been speaking to somebody who understands the issues: Nic Lewis. A semiretired successful financier from Bath, England, with a strong mathematics and physics background, Mr. Lewis has made significant contributions to the subject of climate change.

…Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC’s existing 2°-4.5°C “likely” range for climate sensitivity? Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization’s record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.

Domain knowledge, phooey — this dude is successful!

“Distrust the experts,” as a principle, does as much harm as good.  A better principle would be “Distrust people who are bad and trust people who are not bad.”  Of course, it can be hard to tell the difference — but that distinction is one we have to make anyway, in all kinds of contexts, so why not this one?


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