These days, we all place our trust in the experts. Yet from economists to climate scientists they hold wildly disparate views. In this issue of IAI News we question not only the reliability of experts but the very possibility of expertise.
Drawing on his experience among Amazonian tribes, anthropologist Daniel Everett unpicks the division between fantasy and reality. If the very idea of objective knowledge is an illusion, how can expertise ever exist?
A trio of political thinkers take a less radical line, instead urging a curb on the power of the expert. In the light of Jeremy Corbyn’s shock elevation to the Labour leadership, political heavyweight Norman Lamont challenges the role of the expert in contemporary democracy. Demos analyst Carl Miller warns of the rise of the social media expert. Social media cannot be trusted if unscrupulous regimes start to control the flow of information, he argues. And former Times journalist and UN Director of Communications, Edward Mortimer, urges healthy scepticism towards the so-called experts.
Finally, professor in the sociology of religion, Linda Woodhead discusses the heroics of true altruism, and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock explains why we still haven’t found extra-terrestrial intelligence.