Projects need experts. Technological and scientific development depends upon experts. We expect experts to bring the knowledge to support decisions. However, experts on a subject are especially vulnerable to cognitive bias. Experts are brilliant, but biased. Furthermore,the more we know, the worse we may be at communicating that knowledge.
As experts we may have a tendency to overvalue what we know, what we have researched and what we value. We may find it difficult to question our own assumptions, to adopt a different perspective, to break with beliefs that define our very identity. When experts debate a controversy they bring their social perspective to bear on the issue.
As experts we are likely to cede to the effects of illusion and distraction, because we tend to see what we want to see. We are less open to the unexpected and more able to construct a logic that justifies our convictions. This all means that there is ego involved, and thus as experts we can be less subjective than those with less knowledge.
All of this goes to show that an expert is not an expert unless aware of the phenomenon of cognitive bias
. Why is this? Because an authentic expert must be able to question belief and to adjust as knowledge expands. Future knowledge is like the dark matter in the universe or the black in the stage set. Though we don’t understand it yet, it is present and part of reality, though beyond our orbit of understanding. In other words, a real expert might hold the view that there is more that we don’t know than we do know
Here are further quotes from Max Planck, a theoretical physicist at the origin of quantum theory:
1. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”
2. “We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up until now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”
3. “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”
And here is nearly another quote, although I cannot trace its source: "When there’s a scientific or technological breakthrough, experts first deny it’s requird, they then deny it’s effective, then that it’s important, then that it will justify the effort; until lastly they accept, enjoy, attribute it to themselves and deny the existence of 1 to 4."