Found in 9 comments on Hacker News
_tom_ · 2021-02-15 · Original thread
I recommend the book "Wrong", which talks about a number of failings in our current research system, why invalid results persist, and how people game the system to get the results they want.

giardini · 2020-10-09 · Original thread
No way! Look at the book

"Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them" by David H. Freedman

to see why. Experts and expert organizations, scientific or otherwise, often provide wisdom about all aspects of life - and all wrong!

The Covid pandemic proves this point: we can't get agreement on most anything. We'd do better to shitcan the CDC and most other academic and governmental institutions, forget about WHO and start all over again but with an eye to our failed past.

Sure would save a lot of money too, even though it would put a multitude of incompetents onto the streets looking for jobs.

giardini · 2020-07-30 · Original thread
OK, so "Science Fictions" was just released and is full of cartoons and we have an obvious promotional push going on. But I simply must recommend the (possibly) more mundane (no comics) but nonetheless excellent David H. Freedman book:

"Wrong: Why experts keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, ... consultants, health officials and more"

which begins with an interview with John Ioannidis and goes on to discuss in detail why so many academic (and expert) publications are wrong and how they got that way.

giardini · 2020-06-09 · Original thread
The book "Wrong!" by David H. Freedman describes in detail how this occurs in hundreds of cases. We've been blinded by institutional science and experts for decades. I've had to put the book down repeatedly out of dismay after reading yet another description of how scientists, experts, consultants and entire organizations have misled the public, other scientists and themselves.

Science is in very, very bad shape in the USA right now. The Covid-19 crisis has pulled back the curtain revealing only a fraction of the errors, uncertainties, and misdeeds of modern "science" and "experts".

giardini · 2020-06-02 · Original thread
And perhaps most of our conclusions are wrong (not b/c of our poor reasoning, but b/c we are misled by poor studies)!

Remember that half of all research papers are probably wrong and most of medical research is wrong, according to John Ioannidis:

"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" by John P. A. Ioannidis:

Lighter reading on this topic:

"Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science" by David H. Freedman (who later wrote an excellent book on this topic, see below for link):

"A Researcher’s Claim: 90% of Medical Research Is Wrong" by Maia Szalavitz:

And in these days of COVID, HCQ, Remdesevir, crisis, civil unrest and crime I cannot recommend enough David H. Freedman's book titled:

"Wrong: Why experts[1] keep failing us"

with the subtitle

[1]"Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, ... consultants, health officials and more"

Freedman examines thoroughly the issues that John P. A. Ioannidis has raised.

repolfx · 2019-09-26 · Original thread
No. What it's saying is that data based decisions are not always right and may in fact often be more wrong than an emotional decision.

The argument can be found in much greater detail in the book "Wrong" by David Freedman:

and is explored from a slightly different angle in this essay by Scott Alexander:

Here's a brief summary of the book.

The world is full of people, presented to us by the media as experts, who constantly make predictions. These predictions are not sometimes wrong, but it turns out are mostly/almost always wrong. Some data is provided to back this up.

These people usually share the same characteristics. They are wrong because they radically over-estimate their understanding of complex systems, and apply simple models as a consequence. Sometimes it may be impossible to construct a model sophisticated enough to do what they're trying to do, but this doesn't stop them. Sometimes the media garbles or exaggerates what's being predicted, or doesn't communicate uncertainty. And then when their predictions turn out to be wrong, they are isolated from any kind of accountability or reality check.

Freedman focuses quite a bit on 'experts' in health, dieting etc (e.g. does red wine cause cancer or not?) but examines other areas too, and arguably they're more important. For instance economists are always wrong unless they're predicting a continuation of the current trend line, which is pretty useless, but no economist is ever fired because their predictions turned out badly. And he argues that one reason there's no accountability is that many people refuse to downgrade their belief in these experts, even when presented with repeated evidence of their wrong beliefs.

The second link, the Alexander essay, explores why people may often be right to make an apparently emotion-driven decision. His argument boils down to evaluating arguments being really hard, and it being easy to be convinced by arguments that are wrong, and the world being full of wrong arguments that would have radically devastating outcomes on your life if you really took them seriously and tried to live by their conclusions, so it's often smarter to just ignore (apparently) rational arguments and reject anything that sounds "weird".

repolfx · 2018-06-10 · Original thread
It's not actually. This book argues for the position that expert advice is wrong more often than not:

The dubious reliability of much advice presented in the media as expert advice is one of the impending themes of our time. Expect skepticism about "experts" (defined as the sort of people who we tend to be told are experts when debating matters of politics, wealth or health) only to increase in the coming years.

The Swiss National Bank themselves, who will be put in charge of all lending if this is implemented, say this is a bad idea

The Overton window of acceptable thought in central banking is laughably narrow. Central bankers should really be the last people who are listened to on changes to how the monetary system works - they will always argue for minor changes to the status quo.

aedocw · 2013-10-20 · Original thread
David H. Feedman wrote an excellent book* on this very topic. "Wrong: Why experts keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them"

He goes very deep into the research around confirmation bias and cultural beliefs that cause doctors to be very confident and believe they are absolutely right when they are at best 50/50. Obviously not all experts/doctors are rightly only 50% of the time, but I found the book to be extremely informative. ALWAYS question experts - the worst thing you can do is shut your brain down.


Aside from the particulars of this case, I just got through reading a book recommended by another HN'er: "Wrong: Why experts keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them"

And while I have always been a skeptic of just about anything, even I was struck by the perverse disincentives there are for reporting scientific malpractice. If you're a student, then you're side-tracked and black-listed. If your'e a colleague, you're shunned. Even professional publications get in on the act -- positive findings outrank negative findings when it comes to publication by a factor of 10-1.

Good book. A little over-the-top, but powerful and relevant.

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