Thursday, July 5, 2007

Getting Good Advice

I ran across this article on my Scientific American RSS feed - Getting Good Advice. I thought most of it was right on, although the bias in these types of magazines is always against business and towards big government. The advice is geared to getting medical advise but can be applied to finances, global warming or journalism in general (the biggest source of nonsense)

Some pointers:
  • Listen to people that have expertise in the field they are discussing. Al Gore and Hollywood stars have no expertise in statistics or global climate change to make them worth a listen to.
  • Neutrality - people that receive government grants are just as susceptible to bias as people that receive grants from companies - be wary of both.
  • Affiliations - what organizations do these "experts" join or donate money to? What percentage of news reporters are donating to Democratic politicians? That is an affiliation that shows bias.

As the bumper stickers from the 60's used to say - "Question Authority"


Anonymous said...

You're comment on Al Gore and celebrities seems to be pretty ignorant and elitist...

Have ever met any of those people? How do you "know" what they know or don't know?

Paul said...

Whether you meet someone or not should not be used as a determining factor about accepting their advice. Their background, educaton and other factors play more of an important role. Al Gore flunked out of theology school. I doubt that he has a degree in statistics or science. I have post-grad degrees in Chemical Engineering and statistics by contrast. Al Gore is a mediocre thinker at best with little knowldege outside of politics.