Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Every single time I think I have now reached a point where nothing could possibly astonish me anymore in terms of levels of ignorance some people exhibit, I stumble across something like this:

You are asking to understand Logic of God, if you could understand it then you too would be a God.Before i explain to you the logic of the Devil, i would like for you to explain to me; 1- how a child is born and suddenly begins to breath air?2- How lightning bugs glow?3-Where is the end of space?
Ask your self this, what would the world look like with no Evil? Pretty boring huh? You ever seen a great action flick without a villain? Good VS Evil, the oldest story in the book!

This is, as you might have guessed, a YouTube comment. One astonishing thing about it is the complete lack of curiosity, or rather the willfull embrace of total ignorance. Finding out exactly how a firefly produces its glow takes about 20 seconds. You go to wikipedia, you type in ‘firefly’ (or even ‘lightning bug’ – it redirects you to the correct page), and there you are. The same goes for the baby, although everyone who ever visited a school at all should not have to ask that question in the first place. Simply amazing how this person throws these questions at others as if they were somehow profound, obviously without ever having bothered to even try finding out the answer for himself.

The third question is peculiar too, since it doesn’t make any sense. ‘Where’ is always asking for a position in space, so asking where the end of space is makes as much sense as asking how tall a movie is. Just because it’s grammatically possible doesn’t make it a meaningful question.

He actually thinks these are questions that will stump a nonbeliever; questions that he thinks never have occured to us before. Questions that we, the infidels, might ponder and conclude: “Wow, There Really Is A God! How else would a firefly glow? Why else would a baby breathe? How could I be so blind? Halleluja!”

I am reminded of this brilliant video by TheraminTrees, one of the people who helps me maintain my faith in the YouTube-community (and also humanity in general). He explains the Dunning-Kruger effect, a very interesting study on errors in self-assessed competence. It’s a great study, and it explains so much. But see for yourselves.

So in short, they verified the notion that the more incompetent people are, the more they tend to overestimate their own skills. Or, as Bertrand Russel put it:

In the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

To that, I have nothing to add.

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