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The Trouble with Experts

Experts are a vital ingredient for human society and progress
Experts are called upon to pass judgment on new ideas. Most likely 80% of all new ideas are complete nonsense and some are even bad and dangerous. Only 20% are ideas that range from acceptable to good and even brilliant.

Experts are great at protecting society from most of the bad ideas because they have a natural tendency of dismissing just about every new idea as nonsense. Dismissing all new ideas as nonsense gives experts an instant 80% track record of being correct and only 20% of the time wrong on judging new ideas. Not such an impressive feat if you realize that a 4 year old could do equally well by dismissing everything new as nonsense (the famed "female intuition" has the same 80% track record by dismissing any new ideas that we fool males come up with).

Pareto's 80-20 principle
As a general rule, new ideas in any field of expertise follow Pareto’s 80-20 Principle in that 80% of new ideas are most likely bad or useless and only 20% of new ideas range from good to brilliant. Experts are called upon to pass judgment on questions dealing with their realm of expertise. Media people and others, consult experts on a frequent basis with questions about old as well as new ideas. Over 90% of those questions are about existing concepts that have been thoroughly studied and on which experts have established a body of knowledge and beliefs (which by the way may contain errors in logic as well).

The better a new idea is the more likely it will be dismissed as useless by experts. The reasons for this curious process are explained below. On rare occasions some of the good ideas and also some of the bad ideas make it past the expert barrier. It takes usually a massive marketing effort for good and bad ideas to make it past the expert barrier. If there is money to be made or power to be had with bad ideas they will be promoted with heavy marketing budgets. Some of those bad ideas become national and Global disasters. Look at bad ideas like Communism and National Socialism that both had fantastic marketing machines behind them and of course contributed to a lot of misery in the World.

Bad ideas of lesser negative impact result in bad legislation created by legislators that are promoted by marketing campaigns through lobbyists. The good products and ideas that are marketed successfully do us no harm and help society ahead. But how do we identify these good ideas? How do they distinguish themselves from bad ideas? Some of these good ideas would not make it into the mainstream if a few courageous experts would not break ranks with their fraternity of experts.

Experts are least suited to identify brilliant ideas
The “business” of being an expert is, like most other businesses, a matter of time allocation to generate the most result for the least time spent. That process requires triage in allocating time to the efforts that yield the most useful results. This process of triage is the major reason why it is almost impossible for experts to identify good and brilliant ideas. Not only will experts fail to identify those good and brilliant new ideas, they will often ridicule the ideas and it will delay their eventual recognition by many years or decades.

A practical approach to evaluate general questions
When experts are called upon to pass judgment on questions dealing with their field of expertise, they take a very practical approach and compare the questions and ideas against their expert body of knowledge and beliefs. Fully 90% of questions posed by the media to experts are about old and known things. Questions dealing with topics that have been thoroughly studied in the past have been included in the expert standard body of knowledge as true or false. Those can be dealt with rather efficiently. The subject matter of these old ideas is familiar to experts. The answers to those questions will be supplemented with thoroughly researched explanations as to why the ideas are deemed either good or bad. That leaves only 10% questions that are about new ideas.

Only 10% are questions about new ideas
Experts often know as little or less about the 10% question about new ideas as the general public. New means that they are different. New ideas will be different from what experts know and believe in. These new ideas have not as yet been classified as good or bad in the expert body of knowledge. In fact there is no reference to them in the expert body of knowledge. The fatal violation against logic made by experts in judging these 10% new ideas is that experts will swiftly dismiss those ideas as false, based solely on the fact that the new ideas have little or nothing in common with their body of knowledge and beliefs.

Experts find no reference to those ideas in their body of knowledge and swiftly dismiss these new ideas as false or bad simply because they find no reference to them. Since the subject matter of these new ideas is unfamiliar to experts, the answers to those questions will not be supplemented with thoroughly researched explanations as to why the experts declare these new ideas as false. Sometimes no explanation is given at all, but often the ideas are dismissed with stupid arguments and even ridicule such as: "There is not much supporting research for this idea. Where are the supporting University studies?" (If the idea is new, how could there be much University research available on it?) or "If this idea were true, it would go against everything we know about this subject matter." (Yes indeed. Duh. Good new ideas are different and brilliant new ideas are very different)" or "If this idea would be as simple and good as it sounds, then someone would have discovered it many years ago and it would be implemented by now". All these stupid arguments seem to fly with the general public, because experts keep getting away with them.

Experts have a respectable 98% record of answering questions correctly
The 90% of questions they are asked about are old known ideas that have been already classified by them as good or bad and the experts are able to give swift answers to them (mostly correct). That gives them 90% answers thought to be correct. This leaves the 10% of questions that are about new ideas that nobody knows much about, Experts have not as yet had a chance to study these new ideas. Because new ideas, good as well as bad ones, will depart from the knowledge experts have and believe in. They will generally swiftly dismiss new ideas as bad or useless because the ne ideas are in conflict with what the experts know and believe in. Experts, by dismissing all things new and unfamiliar to them, are the GUARDIANS OF THE STATUS-QUO. By dismissing the 10% new ideas they will be another 8% right and the 2% good new ideas that they dismiss as bad or useless are the only 2% they are wrong about, giving them an impressive 98% track record of being (what is thought to be) right. With such an impressive 98% track record many expert develop a degree of arrogance,  thinking that they are failless and all knowing, which of course they are not. Persuaded by this arrogance they deprive the economy of benefiting from most of the 2% good and brilliant ideas, or at least the success of new ideas is several years delayed. Then when the new ideas recover from their initial blows from experts and they gradually gather strength, many experts become outright hostile toward those new ideas because their initial dismissal is now challenged. If eventually after many years of struggle a good idea prevails, many experts scramble to quickly make it their own and vow that they believed in it all along.

So how much expertise do experts have?
Don't ask experts any questions about new ideas that they have no knowledge about and that would strongly challenge or totally destroy the validity or basis of their expertise. Instead, make up your own mind by applying reason and logic. Only ask experts questions about old ideas on which they have expertise because those old ideas have been studied and are part of their expert body of knowledge and beliefs (which beliefs most likely will eventually be found to be incorrect as well). When after many years finally the accurate answer is found about any topic, experts disappear because everybody believes the same thing now and no one has any need for experts any longer on that topic.

Two examples of great new ideas that are enduring this "Expert" process
1. An excellent $14,615, four minute per day, exercise machine that sounds too good to be true.
2. A very interesting tax replacement proposal that also sounds too good to be true  ( )

First the ROM 4 minute exercise machine
1. Our excellent 4 minute per day $14,615 exercise machine that we have manufactured since 1990, still has to endure expert abuse and some dumb media attention that is based on expert opinion.

Some samples of media coverage are below. Many more are elsewhere on this website. Many with completely opposing opinions.
Time Magazine June 6, 2005 link to Time Website:,10987,1066923,00.html

The Four-Minute Workout Machine

I work hard at staying fit, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it. Running for half an hour or more five or six days a week is just the price I grudgingly pay in time and discomfort to stay healthy.

So when I heard about a machine that promised a full aerobic and strength-training workout in just four minutes a day, I had to check it out. The device, called the ROM (for Range of Motion) 4-Minute CrossTrainer, is a futuristic-looking contraption with an impressive price tag ($14,615). The manufacturer's website offers a scattering of testimonials (Tom Cruise reportedly owns one) and a link to several scientific studies backing up the four-minute claim.

Fortunately, I didn't have to come up with $14,615 to give the machine a whirl. A doctor in my hometown has opened a one-ROM fitness center that he was kind enough to let me use. The device has two stations, one at each end. The first is like a rowing machine, except you have to push as well as pull; the second is like a stair climber. After four minutes on each, my heart was pounding, my muscles felt like lead, and I thought I was going to faint. I had certainly got a workout.

But was it really equal to a full session of aerobic exercise? I had Miriam Nelson, a respected exercise physiologist at Tufts University, look at the three studies cited on the website. What they actually say, she explains, is that adding an intense four-minute workout to your regular aerobic routine can make you slightly fitter. Beyond that, the studies were small and 10 years old. If the four-minute workout truly worked, Nelson says, "everything we know about fitness and metabolism would be wrong. I just don't buy it." Oh, well. I guess I'll just go running. --By Michael D. Lemonick
Can you believe it that a "respected" expert comes out with the standard expert, outright stupid illogical, argumentation of "everything we know about fitness and metabolism would be wrong. I just don't buy it." That is of course the logical consequence whenever new and superior ideas replace old ideas. It is also astonishing that journalists do not pick up on such nonsense and that they keep consulting such "respected" experts. How do such experts become well respected? Certainly not by their knowledge. They most likely publish lots of papers on research done by them, speak at lots of gatherings, collect lots of degrees and belong to lots of organizations that have nexus to their branch of expertise. All of this counts as "credentials" and the word credentials is associated with "credence", meaning belief. The more credentials experts collect, the more they are believed in. The experts that specialize on collecting credentials also start believing themselves that their judgment is superior to that of experts with a smaller credential collection, and they develop superior arrogance as well. The publishing of papers is one of the main methods by which experts elbow their way ahead of other experts. A neat practice is to publish individual papers as a small group of four or five experts together. That way each of the experts in the group collect another "credential" from a single paper.  That practice of publishing papers also results in the publishing of complete drivel, because the race to publish papers is about quantity, not quality. Their fellow experts who are to critique all those papers do not have enough time to pay serious attention to the avalanche of papers that are published and presented in all fields of expertise because they are too busy writing papers of their own. The process of approving of new ideas that are published by insider experts is totally reverse from approving new ideas that sprout from the minds of outsider non-experts in that the ideas published by experts are mostly about minutia and stray carefully little from the expert body of beliefs (with some notable exceptions from courageous experts) and those ideas are swiftly approved while the non-expert created ideas tend to stray farther from the expert body of beliefs and are subject to strong expert attack or are completely ignored as not worthy of the time experts would have to devote to reading them. Usually the first stage is that ne ideas are totally ignored and if the ideas still stay alive and gather some steam then they are strongly attacked and if the ideas survive the attacks they suddenly meet with a 180 degree about turn by the experts who are now eagerly making it their own and start publishing papers on minute variations on these now accepted ideas. Nice process. I wish it could be different.
Here is the contact information for theTufts University Associate Professor Miriam Nelson, the "respected exercise physiologist " that was consulted by Time Magazine :

Here is a news item that appears to somewhat agree with our ROM machine insights:

CNN News Story June 6, 2005 Website link:

Fitness 'takes 6 minutes a week'
Monday, June 6, 2005 Posted: 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)

LONDON, England -- Six minutes of pure, hard exercise a week could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate activity, according to a new study.
"Short bouts of very intense exercise improved muscle health and performance comparable to several weeks of traditional endurance training," said Martin Gibala, an associate professor at Canada's McMaster University. The research, published in the June edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, says that repeatedly doing very intense exercise such as sprinting resulted in unique changes in skeletal muscle and endurance capacity, similar to training that requires hours of exercise each week
Sixteen subjects were used in the test: Eight who performed two weeks of sprinting at intervals, and eight who did no exercise training. The program had in it four and seven 30-second bursts of "all out" cycling followed by four minutes of recovery time, three times a week for two weeks.
Researchers found that endurance capacity in the sprint group increased on average from 26 minutes to 51 minutes, whereas the control group showed no change. The muscles of the trained group also showed a significant increase in a chemical known as citrate synthase, an enzyme that is indicative of the tissue's power to use oxygen. "Sprint training may offer an option for individuals who cite lack of time as a major impediment to fitness and conditioning," said Gibala. "This type of training is very demanding and requires a high level of motivation, however less frequent, higher intensity exercise can indeed lead to improvements in health and fitness."

Other news articles about this same subject:

Martin Gibala
McMaster University's Martin Gibala hit the nerve centre of a culture looking for quick-fix fitness with his latest study.

The associate professor this week revealed his work with young subjects showed as little as seven minutes of intense exercise a week was as good as long bouts of moderate endurance work.

Even he was startled with the response. He spent the best part of two days fielding media calls as the notion of instant returns on exercise rippled through news organizations.

"A Few 30-Second Sprints As Beneficial As Hour Long Jog", said the website Science Daily. "A minute of intense exercise as effective as hour-long jog," overstated an Indian website. The Hamilton Spectator's "No time? No excuse! Try a 30-second workout," was a bit more realistic, though still implied an easy answer.

(The Hamilton Spectator, June 7, 2005)


Martin Gibala
McMaster kinesiologist Martin Gibala appeared on CTV last night about his research that suggests just six minutes of exercise a week could be as effective as the recommended 30 minutes of exercise every day. Gibala and his research team asked test subjects to perform just 30 seconds of very intense bike riding, followed by four minutes of rest. So subjects spent just two minutes in intensive exercise a day, three days a week. After just two weeks, their aerobic endurance levels have doubled, comparable, researchers say, to training that requires hours of work.

"This could become a new prescription for the amount of exercise that people need," Gibala said.

(CTV News, May 30, 2005)

This expert, Martin Gibala, did depart a country mile from the current expert body of belief because if his findings are correct (and judging from our own over 17 year old ROM research they are), they will invalidate "everything we know about fitness and metabolism" that the "respected" expert Miriam Nelson of the Time Magazine article above uses as her foolish argument to invalidate new ideas and insights. Mr.Gibala has courageously, and perhaps foolishly, exposed himself to the potential ridicule and strong opposition from the brethren of his expert fraternity. We at are absolutely certain that he will be vindicated in the end because we have already 17 years of informal study based on feedback from hundreds of ROM machine owners. This kind of feedback from ROM owners is termed "anecdotal" and is generally not taken very seriously in academic circles, even though many of these ROM owners are doctors and exercise experts themselves. Their weight of anecdotal testimony is still totally outweighed by the prevailing expert belief of the vast majority of experts. The pendulum is ever so slowly swinging to the ROM side of a quick 4 minute per day exercise. How long it will take for the pendulum to completely swing to the ROM side is anybody's guess. So far the experts have been able to ridicule the ROM since 1990 and the pendulum has only ever so slightly moved to the ROM side of belief. The momentum of change however is exponential since more and more research is being done on, high intensity interval training. We'll see how other experts will try to take Mr.Gibala apart in pieces, or maybe, just maybe, we'll start developing critical mass for adopting ROM and hiit as the method to turn the health problems around with daily exercise of mere minutes. ROM does it with a great degree of safety.  Contact information for McMaster University Associate Professor Martin Gibala:

The system that experts have problems understanding
2. An excellent tax reform/replacement idea that was proposed to the "President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform" did not make it past the experts either. All us tax payers deserve to get rid of the IRS and the $900 billion dollars that would be saved per year when implementing

If a brilliant idea is not at first ridiculed, there is not much hope for it. (that is a variation of something Einstein said about new ideas).