The Expert

I have a teenager who knows everything. You can ask her yourself, and she will tell you straight out that she knows everything. She gets A’s in all of her classes, and this reinforces her strong belief that she knows everything. She can tell you with great certainty everything that you need to know. Of course, there are those things that she has never heard of before, but they really aren’t that important - they are way too boring. So, for the most part she knows everything that she needs to know.

At first glance one might suggest that we have it made. We don’t need to worry about her doing poorly in school, because she knows everything. We don’t need to tell her what she should be doing, because she knows everything. When we tell her about the dangers of having unprotected sex she replies, “Duh!.” When we tell her about the dangers of drinking alcohol or taking drugs she will give us the same reply. What else can I say, she knows everything.

Imagine for a moment my brilliant daughter and her sister sitting in front of the computer one evening. As her sister begins a new game my brilliant daughter responds, “Don’t do that you idiot! Use this key and do this instead. You are so stupid, how are you going to even get out of level one like this?” Of course, my response to this is to tell my daughter that she is being nasty and she shouldn’t belittle her sister like that. And, she quickly retorts, “Well, she deserves it. She is being so stupid. Come here and watch what a moron she is being.”

Obviously the previous scene is a slight exaggeration of reality. However, I am exaggerating to make a point. My brilliant daughter knows quite a bit, and even in her mind she believes that she knows everything. The truth is that she is lacking in one important aspect of life, and that pertains to social skills. She can tell you how you ought to do a number of things, and she will if she sees you doing something wrong. After all, with thirteen years of experience she is currently and expert at life. But, when it comes to dealing with her sister she uses poor judgement. She was completely correct in the fact that she knew how to play the computer game that her sister was just learning. But she did little in the way of teaching her how she should play.

My point here is that being an expert isn’t everything. Many people have become experts by that fact that they perform the same job every day. They certainly have an expertise in that area. But, we all know people who are experts, but they don’t know how they should exercise their expertise. In fact, expertise is a very important attribute that we should strive for, but there are at least two additional attributes that are also important. Judgement and creativity are also quite important.

In recent years it has become fashionable to judge our politicians based on the issues. In most cases however it becomes impossible to choose a politicians that matches squarely with your own personal political agenda. As candidates get weeded out through a series of campaigns the resulting candidates are less likely to match our own personal political agenda. And, we are left with a choice to vote for a candidate that we don’t completely agree with, or not to vote at all.

If we choose to vote, then we must invent new criteria in order to judge the candidates that we don’t completely agree with. One popular method was to pick the candidate that we disliked the least. Each candidate commonly contributed to this by issuing advertising telling us how horrid the other guy was. This type of campaign results in negative attack advertising that wearies the public and pushing the majority into hating politicians in general. A second method to pick between two similar candidates is to base your choice on personality. Of course the personality put forward by the politicians is likely to be created and marketed by people who sell soda pop and potato chips by implying that they are good for you.

The final way to choose a candidate is to look at their personal history and determine whether they exercised good judgement had expertise and used creative ways to solve problems in the past. And this method is most likely the most reliable way to choose a candidate. Of course this is the most difficult and time-consuming way to select a candidate. And, even when you go through all this trouble it is likely that those who choose to use the first two methods will overwhelm your vote. However, in a close election your informed vote just might be the difference needed to put that one guy over the top.
Just think, if people in 2000 had used this method to choose between Al Gore and George W Bush we would have had a completely different history over the last seven years. Al Gore’s “cardboard” personality lost to George W Bush’s “guy you’d like to have a beer with” personality. And we ended up with a guy with no expertise in any function of government. We ended up with a guy who exercised poor judgement in picking his cabinet and advisors. He then continued to exercise poor judgement continually there after. Finally, we ended up with a guy who had absolutely no creative thought in his head. He opted to choose between the ideas submitted by his poorly chosen staff without a thought to modify them in any way. Al Gore may have lacked the personality, but he exercised terrific judgement in his activity to rally people around environmental issues even after he lost the presidential election. Could anyone even imagine George W Bush doing anything after he leaves the White House?

Now I need to go ask my daughter who she thinks is going to be President next year, because she knows everything.

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection

11 Responses to “The Expert”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Al Gore had to do something as he was “green” with envy. He’s so good at getting us to rally around the enviroment that if he were president everyone would be convinced that his CO2 income tax proposal was neccessary.
    Plus he had the backing of Hollywood who was also bitter he didn’t win the election.
    Hey but nothing wrong with protecting the enviroment. Everyone seems to be making more of an effort and being more aware without Kyoto and a CO2 tax.

  2. Dr. Forbush Says:

    Not only that, but polluting the environment is on the revised list of sins from the Vatican.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/seven-more-sins-thanks-to-vatican/?hp

  3. Lisa Says:

    So if Bush doesn’t go along with Kyoto it’s a sin?

  4. Dr. Forbush Says:

    According to the latest from the Catholic Church….

  5. Lisa Says:

    No it states “Polluting the Environment” which does not equate to signing a piece of paper.
    So if you support that you should also support all of it even abortion and or birth control,yes?

  6. manapp99 Says:

    “Al Gore may have lacked the personality, but he exercised terrific judgement in his activity to rally people around environmenta l issues even after he lost the presidential election.”

    Actually it is looking more and more like Al’s judgement was anything but terrific.

    The latest of the AWG scam:

    “New derivation of equations governing the greenhouse effect reveals “runaway warming” impossible

    Miklós Zágoni isn’t just a physicist and environmental researcher. He is also a global warming activist and Hungary’s most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol. Or was. …

    “Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations,” Miskolczi states. Just as the theory of relativity sets an upper limit on velocity, his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount.

    How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution.”

    More about this startling revelation here:

    http://www.dailytech.com/Researcher+Basic+Greenhouse+Equations+Totally+Wrong/article10973.htm

    How about we raise prices on the groceries even more with a bogus ban on plastic bags based on flawed science:

    “Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims.

    The widely stated accusation that the bags kill 100,000 animals and a million seabirds every year are false, experts have told The Times. They pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3508263.ece

    Then there is this recent article:

    “Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming

    Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.
    No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.”

    http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm

    I cannot say with any certainty that Al Gore purposley
    mislead the world with his global warming hysteria, however he certaintly has not publicly acknowleged that the debate as he framed it is not over. This seems pretty dishonest to me.
    Look a the damage being done in the name of “saving the earth” from global warming. CF bulbs with their mercury danger, Ethanol driving up grocery prices and causing eco damage to the Gulf of Mexico, banning of plastic bags making the high price of groceries even higher and the coming tax increases due to even more appeasment of the enviromental fear mongers. We have got to slow down and admit that the facts concerning the weather are not conclusive and need cooler heads to prevail before more damage is done.

    In summary, I am glad we did not chose Al Gore for his judgement on the enviroment.

  7. manapp99 Says:

    The link for the Ethanol damage to the Gulf:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/22/bloomberg/bxdead.php

  8. Dr. Forbush Says:

    Lisa,

    If you pay a hit man to kill someone, then are you guilty of murder? Our judicial system tends to rule that way.

    Of course, I sin all the time. The question isn’t usually whether one sins, but a matter of sinning the least. When you lie to protect someone’s feelings you sin less than when you are brutally honest about something that will hurt their feelings.

    So, if you pollute to save lives you might be justified in that sin. But, in the case of the many US industries they pollute in order to Contribute to widening divide between rich and poor by becoming excessively wealthy. That is a trifecta.

  9. Dr. Forbush Says:

    Man App 99,

    Your point would be?

    I believe that environmentalists have been saying that corn production is not the best way to produce ethanol for many years now. Unfortunately it is the easiest way with our current infrastructure that has been built around the brewing industry.

    Growing plants that require less nitrogen like switch grass and studying new enzimes to break down the cellulose quicker has been the goal over the last few years.

    However, we need to work on all areas of the total process in order to bring up the system in the most efficient way. And, farmers are going to be growing corn for animal feed even if they weren’t making ethanol with it. Fertilizer run off is a major problem all over the country, not just the Mississippi River. It gets into well water that we would like to drink.

  10. manapp99 Says:

    My point, Dr Forbush, is that if you are basing Al Gores “terrific judgement” on his enviornmental stance you (and he) should look at the latest data on global warming. He clearly jumped to major conclusions based on flimsy and sometimes false data and urged the world to spend its capital and resources on questionable and even harmful “fixes” This is not the kind of rash judgement I would want in the President. I believe this was a poor example you posted and was linking to stories that backed my POV.

  11. Dr. Forbush Says:

    ManApp99,

    First of all I never claimed that Al Gore had “terrific judgement.” I simply claimed that his judgement was better than any evidence put forth by our current president. It wouldn’t take much to do better than him.

    Second, science is like that - it is impossible to know every detail of everything. However, you also need to understand that you don’t need to know every detail of everything to know that CO2 causes the Greenhouse effect and the amount of CO2 is going up increasing this effect. That doesn’t mean that it might stop going up at some point. In fact we have measurements that would tell us how high the temperature would get based on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The idea of “run away” heating of the Earth isn’t even a question. Instead we must merely deal with the dynamic heating to get to the end point of the current CO2 concentration. Of course that end point gets further away the more CO2 we put into the atmosphere. None of that is in question.

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