CRITICAL THINKING: “Ignorance Begets Confidence: The Dunning-Kruger Effect”

Dunning-Kruger EffectAs it turns out, the reason most Christians are so difficult to budge from their religious views is because they know so little about their religion. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this is the essence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, discovered and described by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, both then of Cornell University, in a 1999 paper titled: “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.”

The D-K Effect was frequently suggested historically, notably by Charles Darwin –

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”

– and Bertrand Russell

“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

In a series of studies, Dunning and Kruger found this pattern across many skills, including reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis. Apparently, those displaying the D-K Effect are so lacking in competence that they are even unaware of their incompetence, thus they tend to overestimate their level of skill and fail to recognize skill in others. Conversely, people with high levels of skill or knowledge tend to underestimate their standing relative to others. It seems that the more one knows, the more he realizes how little he knows.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Dunning and Kruger also found the Effect operative in broad tests of logical reasoning skills.

The D-K Effect goes a long way toward explaining why those with the least competence in their religion are the most sure they are right about it. Similarly, those who know the least about science are the most certain that it has nothing important to say about how the world works. And, in general, those who are the least adept at critical thinking are the most confident they have the answers.

Continue reading . . .

CRITICAL THINKING: “Ignorance Begets Confidence: The Dunning-Kruger Effect”

Dunning-Kruger EffectAs it turns out, the reason most Christians are so difficult to budge from their religious views is because they know so little about their religion. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this is the essence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, discovered and described by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, both then of Cornell University, in a 1999 paper titled: “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.”

The D-K Effect was frequently suggested historically, notably by Charles Darwin –

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”

– and Bertrand Russell

“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

In a series of studies, Dunning and Kruger found this pattern across many skills, including reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis. Apparently, those displaying the D-K Effect are so lacking in competence that they are even unaware of their incompetence, thus they tend to overestimate their level of skill and fail to recognize skill in others. Conversely, people with high levels of skill or knowledge tend to underestimate their standing relative to others. It seems that the more one knows, the more he realizes how little he knows.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Dunning and Kruger also found the Effect operative in broad tests of logical reasoning skills.

The D-K Effect goes a long way toward explaining why those with the least competence in their religion are the most sure they are right about it. Similarly, those who know the least about science are the most certain that it has nothing important to say about how the world works. And, in general, those who are the least adept at critical thinking are the most confident they have the answers.

Continue reading . . .

Anarchism Is Not What You Think It Is—And There’s a Whole Lot We Can Learn from It

On February 8, 1921 twenty thousand people, braving temperatures so low that musical instruments froze, marched in a funeral procession in the town of Dimitrov, a suburb of Moscow. They came to pay their respects to a man, Petr Kropotkin, and his philosophy, anarchism.

Some 90 years later few know of Kropotkin. And the word anarchism has been so stripped of substance that it has come to be equated with chaos and nihilism.  This is regrettable, for both the man and the philosophy that he did so much to develop have much to teach us in 2012. . . .

The precipitating event that led Kropotkin to embrace anarchism was the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species in 1859. . . .

He spent the rest of his life promoting that concept and the theory of social structure known as anarchism. To Americans anarchism is synonymous with a lack of order. But to Kropotkin anarchist societies don’t lack order but the order emerges from rules designed by those who feel their impact, rules that encourage humanly scaled production systems and maximize individual freedom and social cohesion.

Read more . . . 

Quote: Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 March 1882)
English Naturalist, Author, proposed the Scientific Theory that
Evolution resulted from a process that he called Natural Selection.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.