"The less they know, the less they know it"

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Faure, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Faure Registered Senior Member

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    How ubiquitous do you find the Dunning-Kruger effect?

    Ever since I learned about it explicitly I've seen it everywhere, especially internet forums!

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    EDIT: I've noticed its especially apparent in philosophy discussion. Interestingly, I've found that every semi-intelligent person seems to think they are an expert in philosophy (philosophical issues, not necessarily the history of philosophy or whatever).
     
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  3. Enmos Staff Member

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    It's absolutely everywhere. I'm surprised you only noticed it after you learned about it..
     
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  5. Faure Registered Senior Member

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    I guess I noticed it but dismissed it as a bias in the other direction or just a quirk of the way I judge other people. Didn't realize it was a codified part of psychology.
     
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  7. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    It's certainly common on this forum. A major giveaway is when opinions are expressed with complete confidence that they are correct. Since no one is omniscient, there is always some degree of doubt. As H.L. Mencken said, "The sure man is always dull, and the dull man is always sure."

    The ignore list takes care of the problem well enough. http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/2902/sci.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  8. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Yep, that's why I seldom, if ever, make any statements about anything. I almost always question what others state.

    The older I get, the more I realize just how little I really do know about most anything that goes on in the world. It's amazing ...it seems as if it should be that the older I get, the more I should know, but that's far, far from the truth.

    Baron Max
     
  9. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Um...wouldn't this apply to, well, this post?
    {my italics}
    And then while we are at it, this one also?

     
  10. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    So you feel my post is an example of illusory superiority? That I'm falsely confident that people wander in off the internet, and begin posting gibberish in the physics forum, completely certain that they understand the theory of relativity better than qualified physicists? And that's but one example.

    You're Xev, aren't you?
     
  11. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    No. but that it fit...

    It is your conclusion that this is a major giveaway. I was pointing out that your post, in which this quote appears, was an example of what it was describing.

    If this is a person, no. If this is an insulting adjective, I can only hope not, but can't be too sure since I don't recognize it.
     
  12. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    I don't consider it a statement of opinion that there are many posters who show up on SciForums who fit the OP's description, but more a statement of fact. You are free to disagree.
     
  13. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    The fact that you think you have reasons to be certain is beside the point. Your post expressed a few ideas, not simply the one you are saying you are still certain of above. I am quite sure most people who post with certainty, including myself right now, think they have good reasons to. Your own post, however, should make you reconsider what you call the giveaway.
     
  14. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    Thinking they have good reasons to isn't the same thing as having good reasons to. Many posters on this forum with no qualifications at all are unshakably certain that AGW is a communist plot. And when I see this, yes, I think of the Dunning Kruger effect. Members with more extensive knowledge are generally much more tentative about the conclusions they allow from the facts they are aware of. For another famous quote on the matter, "The trouble with the world is, the stupid are cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell. <--- That's actually included on the Wikipedia page about the Dunning Kruger effect I've just found out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  15. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    4,100
    My, my. But you can see then that your sentence should read, at the very least,

    The problem is, this is no longer a giveaway, since we need to know things not in the post. And then notice how that sits oddly with the next sentence.
    A doubt which your post does not show.

    Do you understand?

    I am not saying people who should not post with certainty do not post with certainty. I am saying that your giveaway is not a giveaway or your post is an example of the Dunning-Kurger effect. Since it has the giveaway you mention.


    This, out of context at least, runs into similar problems.

    Yeats says something related....

    I think there is some truth to these, but also that they are not true. Sometimes the cocksure are dead on right.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    The problem is that smart people have some idea of how much they don't know, whereas incompetent people vastly underestimate the sheer amount of knowledge out there. The incompetent skim the surface of everything and think that's all there is. And they think they have it all sorted, and can't understand why everybody else can't see what is so simple and obvious.
     
  17. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    During one of my sporadic attempts to attend college, when people would ask me what I was doing, I always thought it was funny to reply "I'm expanding the horizons of my ignorance."
     
  18. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    I'm far less certain that they are actually suffering from the Dunning Kruger effect. But when I say it's a major giveaway, it may not be certain. But certainty of being correct is something that always alerts my crap detector. I'm reasonably certain that the sun will rise tomorrow, but there is some degree of doubt. There may be some utterly unknown solar catastrophe during the night. There is some degree of doubt about all knowledge, something that dogmatists generally refuse to acknowledge.
     
  19. Enmos Staff Member

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    Not really, I just happen to notice a correlation between stupidity and arrogance. It is an observation from real life rather than on this forum.
     
  20. kenworth dude...**** it,lets go bowling Registered Senior Member

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    i worry about this a lot.im worried im that guy...
    still havent found a good way to find out
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Genuine experts are occasionally arrogant.

    But they don't present their arrogance as evidence of their expertise. They present accomplishment recognized or recognizable by others.

    There seems to be a subspecies of the DK as it afflicts the genuinely accomplished sometimes, in which recognized accomplishment in one (usually narrow) field is taken as an endorsement of expertise in another (usually more general, inclusive, or wider) field- in which the victim is not merely ignorant, but actively misled, about the nature of genuine competence in some field. I think I see this a lot in fields in which there is no genuine formally established expertise - for example, the political management of a modern industrial economy is often entrusted to expert economists, who usually have little relevant experience or skill, as a consequence of their own self-promotion of their own expertise.

    For an example of the DK doing truly large scale damage, see the effects of Ayn Rand's devotees on the last half century of US foreign and economic policy.

    So underrating of oneself is not a necessary component - it is reasonably possible for the genuinely expert to become well informed about the expertise of others, and accurately rate their own comparative ability accordingly. That is not nearly as easy for the truly incapable.

    There is a lot of money in reassuring the incapable - who keep running into odd and confusing difficulties in life - of their superior expertise in some arena. The arena should be one in which there is no inconvenient body of established and recognized expertise, such as the nature of God or the best way of raising children.
     
  22. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    I think you already know. Ask yourself: 1.) have you made any positive and/or absolute statements in posts here at Sciforums? 2.) have you made posts stating your opinion, yet posted it as factual?

    If so, then you're probably "that guy".

    Baron Max, maybe.
     
  23. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    23,053
    I question whether anyone, expert or not, brilliant or not, can actually and honestly ...KNOW... most anything for certain. And I don't mean that in the philosophical word-game sense, but in the real sense of reality. If you've studied much history, you're surely aware of new discoveries that have supplanted old, outdated "knowledge". And it's happened all through human history. Old knowledge is updated all the time.

    Do you, anyone, really "know" anything for certain? Or are you just ...well, pretty sure? Maybe pretty sure? Almost sure?

    Baron Max
     

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