New York Times Says Thinking Is Dangerous–Just Trust the Experts

Several days ago, I posted a link to a Forbes article that advising us not to trust ourselves when it comes to science…it’s too complicated…rather you do better to trust the experts. Now according to a New York Times editorial written by Charlie Warzel, we can be tricked…don’t try to sort through the misinformation…just trust the professional journalists to do the deep dive. The article attempts to use Robert F Kennedy Jr. as an example of misinformation on vaccines. However, if you examine what Kennedy says and how he sources his information you will see that he is very careful to cite peer reviewed research. I have found Kennedy to be a very useful source of information. Warzel says: “A reporter working on an investigative story or trying to synthesize complex information will have to go deep. But for someone just trying to figure out a basic fact, it’s helpful not to get bogged down. “We’ve been trained to think that Googling or just checking one resource we trust is almost like cheating,” he said. “But when people search Google, the best results may not always be first, but the good information is usually near the top. Often you see a pattern in the links of a consensus that’s been formed. But deeper into the process, it often gets weirder. It’s important to know when to stop.” In other words, don’t take the time to look more deeply. I think that is very dangerous advice in these treacherous times.

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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