Aug 2, 2022 • 23M

Expertise, Definitions, and Credibility

You're going to have to build from scratch

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Appears in this episode

Mary Pat Campbell
Meep (Mary Pat Campbell) talks about mortality trends and/or public finance issues, usually with a connection to current events.
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2017: Friday Trumpery: The Murder-Suicide of Expertise

[H]ere are the hallmarks of why “experts” are not being trusted:

  • The experts are not all that expert (well-credentialed, but deeply ignorant)

  • The experts lack intellectual humility – they hold onto wrong claims far past reasonability as a result, and make overconfident pronouncements

  • The experts are intellectually dishonest

  • The experts aren’t the people who get hurt by what they get wrong


It’s usually via media of some sort, and the grand gatekeepers drove the knife in for reasons similar to that of the suicide of expertise.

  • Many media people are deeply ignorant, and can’t tell credible experts from know-nothing phonies

  • The media needs eyeballs — so intellectually dishonest as well as overconfident experts make for a better show

  • It’s not the media people who get hurt by the sensationalism they peddle

The thing is, being able to play around with words and to spin stories does sell very well — the boring expert who says “There is no nifty risk-free trick to making pensions cheaper. There’s always a trade-off” will be outdone by the bombastic person yelling “THEY WANT US TO DIEEEEEE!”

June 2021:

STUMP - Meep on public finance, pensions, mortality and more
An Elegy for the "Experts" and for Memory
Oh wait, I don’t mean elegy for the self-appointed experts. I mean exaltation over them completely murdering their own reputations. I have been extremely annoyed over the past year plus some months. No, it’s not necessarily over people who really don’t think through arguments over counting dead people…
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I am annoyed.

If these people just admitted they were wrong in the past, and will try not to make such mistakes in the future, that would go a long way in establishing future credibility.

That many people have decided to take the “nuh uh, I never wrote that” route has made it much easier for me to carve down who I will actually pay attention to.

So, “experts”?

If you wonder why people aren’t paying attention to your profound pronouncements after you have scrubbed your past?

You were the ones who decided your credibility was really most sincerely dead. Not me. Not others.

You did that.

I don’t want to hear any whining about what you did to yourselves.

28 July 2022:

STUMP - Meep on public finance, pensions, mortality and more
On recessions: definitions, Humpty Dumpty, and out-sourcing decision-making
Just got this breaking news: Stock futures slide after GDP contracts for a second time, raising recession fears Stock futures fell on Thursday after the latest GDP reading showed a slight decrease, adding to investors’ worries about an economic recession…
Read more

The Professor and the Madman:

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by [Simon Winchester]

Quote from the book:

The lexicographer, Trench pointed out, was “an historian…not a critic”.