Gell-Mann Amnesia

10 March 2021

The phenomenon of finding the flaws with relative ease in a field you have some sort of expertise while accepting everything you read — considering it makes sense — in a field you are not involved or familiar with.

The classic example is when reading the newspaper. Let’s take an example of a physicist. Going through the paper the physicist stumbles upon a science-based article. If the article describes something that the physicist comes across on a daily basis, she will cut through the noise with relative ease, finding the weak points and having a firm grasp of what the article got right and what it got wrong.

On the other hand, if the subject is, let’s say politics, which she might have an average understanding of, she will perceive that all makes sense without thinking of it further.

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