When bad theories happen to good scientists

Oh, yeah, those of us who have been harmed by medicine (iatrogenic illness) and then been told our illness is not possible, know all about this painful reality where experts are convinced of quite faulty  universal “truths.” Medicine is widely suffering from this problem now in really big ways. More and more people are coming to understand this too, however, causing quite a lot of friction with the powers that be which will hopefully eventually bear fruits of wisdom and perhaps correct itself to some degree. We can hope anyway, right?

From the Washington Post by Matt Ridley:

When Bad Theories Happen to Good Scientists

There’s a myth out there that has gained the status of a cliché: that scientists love proving themselves wrong, that the first thing they do after constructing a hypothesis is to try to falsify it. Professors tell students that this is the essence of science.

Yet most scientists behave very differently in practice. They not only become strongly attached to their own theories; they perpetually look for evidence that supports rather than challenges their theories. Like defense attorneys building a case, they collect confirming evidence….

‎…One of the alarming things about confirmation bias is that it seems to get worse with greater expertise. Lawyers and doctors (but not weather forecasters who get regularly mugged by reality) become more confident in their judgment as they become more senior, requiring less positive evidence to support their views than they need negative evidence to drop them. (continue reading)

Makes me think of this very delightful quote as well:

‎In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few. — Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

A book by Matt Ridley:

●  The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

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