The Experts Can Be Wrong

The Experts Can Be Wrong January 3, 2014

The inanity of the frequent refrain of peddlers of pseudoscience and pseudoscholarship that “Even the experts can be wrong” is perhaps best illustrated be comparison with expertise in another domain.

Even professional musicians can play wrong notes. But that doesn’t make all players of instruments equal, nor does it make it equally or more likely that amateurs will get those same notes right.

By way of illustration, here is Valentina Lisitsa playing one of Rachmaninov’s Etudes Tableaux:

When someone asks me if I play the piano, I always try to respond by saying “It depends how broadly or narrowly you define the word ‘play’.” I do play – but do not have the skill or the cultivated ability of those who devote their lives to it.

If you are not devoting your life to something, then you can dabble, but for real precision you need to defer to those who do.

Here is Evgeny Kissin playing my favorite of the set:

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