In the introduction of Freakonomics – A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything, we are told that Steven D. Levitt is a young, successful, and serious–if controversial–economist. We should believe what Levitt writes because he has the right credentials: he is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. But soon enough we find out that Levitt doesn’t believe in “expert” opinions:
[The typical expert] is prone to sound exceedingly sure of himself. An expert doesn’t so much argue the various sides of an issues as plants his flag firmly on one side. That’s because an expert whose argument reeks of restraint or nuance often doesn’t get much attention. An expert must be bold if he hopes to alchemize his homespun theory into conventional wisdom. His best chances of doing so is to engage the public’s emotions, for emotion is the enemy of rational argument.