Having all the Facts

Whenever we make decisions we typically seek advice from someone who is considered more of an expert in the area of interest. Most of the time we follow this advice, but sometimes we do not. Why is it that we think we can make a better decision than someone who is an expert? Shouldn't we just follow the advice of whoever has the most knowledge?

It is likely that there are experts, of relatively the same expertise, who agree and disagree with you. How then do you determine who is actually the expert? Do we need an expert to determine the expert? This is clearly nonsense and not helpful in making decisions. If there are no experts that agree with your position then that would provide some guidance, but that is rarely the case.

Intuitively, it seems that the more knowledge two people have regarding a particular area, the more they should agree with each other, but that is not always the case. In fact, with regards to the biggest questions in life, it is rarely the case. The reason lies in the difference between fact and interpretation. Facts are those things that are indisputable, but interpretations are not. Interpretations are as fallible as the experts making them. The wide range of experts opinions should make it clear that there is more than just fact involved with every area of expertise.

Experts are affected by culture, family, and desire just like everybody else. Since we don't have time to investigate every issue, we typically find an expert we relate to and agree with, which is not really using the advice of an expert. The fact of the matter is that we all, experts included, need to be convinced in our own minds. The best we can do is gather as many facts as possible before making a decision. However, having all the facts is not the same as being able to interpret all the facts.


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