Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Titanic Experts

Christmas decorations came down 1st thing yesterday morning and one of the cats (neighbour's, not ours) decided it wanted to herd three pheasants that had come into the garden.

Glad the holiday is out of the way - not the best we've had, what with illness.

I was listening to something in Radio 4 the other day where some old lady was complaining about experts (in the context of Brexit) and she used the oft trotted out phrase that experts built the Titanic. Yes, they also built the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the QEII and many more wonderful feats of engineering, not to mention all the scientific and medical wonders that keep us alive (and in all probability the complaining lady's hip replacement). It's an intellectually bankrupt argument to say experts are not to be trusted on the basis of the few notable failures and the sound-bite of the desperate.

Then there's the fact that the Titanic disaster was built upon and resulted in the passenger vessel safety rules we have today. Using the Titanic to rubbish all experts is clutching at straws. Had the Titanic been built by people totally ignorant of ship stability and naval architecture she would never have made it off the stocks in the first place.

The point of experts is that they have something called experience on which to base their decisions - and yes, some of those decisions can be fallible in novel situations. However, the complete absence of experience will have a success factor no higher than pure chance, and in many areas of expertise chance means almost zero.

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