Forbes Writer: You Must Not ‘Do Your Own Research’ When It Comes to Science (Wrong)

There are so many things wrong with this article. It is a true challenge to try to do one’s own evaluation in areas outside one’s expertise, but we must do the work. We can use the tools of logic to look for inconsistencies. We can identify potential conflicts of interest. We can also look for important omissions. None of these approaches require specialized knowledge. Does it pass the “smell test”? The author tries to make the case that in our highly specialized technical world it is just too complicated…you won’t understand it…the best thing to do is trust the experts. And yet the author who is an astrophysicist contradicts himself when he discusses issues such as COVID-19 and vaccination, fluoridated drinking water, and global warming. If the author follows his own advice, how is it that he could write about these issues with such certainty? Is he not implicitly “doing his own research” on topics where he is not an expert?

Published by markskidmore

Mark Skidmore is Professor of Economics at Michigan State University where he holds the Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance and Policy. His research focuses on topics in public finance, regional economics, and the economics of natural disasters. Mark created the Lighthouse Economics website and blog to share economic research and information relevant for navigating tumultuous times.

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