One Of Our Biggest Problems

I saw this video the other day that does a pretty good job of explaining the Dunning-Kruger Effect and how it is one of the major causes of the disagreements and animosity in our country today. I do not disagree with the conclusions reached in this video, having seen more than a few examples of the Dunning-Kruger Effect personally and having come under its influence myself (but at least realizing that was the case and doing something to remedy the problem).

As I mentioned, I have dealt directly with people under the influence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, specifically when it comes to areas of technology where I make my living, with them telling me I’m wrong and don’t know what I’m talking about even though I have published a number of papers and hold a number patents for the technologies in question. It wasn’t until further discussion that I found that they had read a couple of articles and visited a couple of forums on the ‘Net and realized they had no real understanding of the technologies in question or the businesses employing those technologies. It is no different when it comes to other technologies, science, economics, politics, history, and a whole host of other areas of knowledge. The had a little knowledge, felt overly confident that they ‘knew it all’, but actually knew very little. As they learned more their confidence about their knowledge dwindled as they came to know just how much they didn’t know.

However, there is a problem with some of these folks, that being that too many of them believe they don’t need to know more so they get stuck in that “overconfidence in their minimal (and probably wrong) knowledge” zone. When confronted with additional and easily verifiable information, they ignore it, will not believe it. At some point everyone falls into that trap, me included. Recognizing that trap means that we can move past it and get out of that zone. And that is the rub – too many don’t/won’t recognize it, so they get stuck believing something that just isn’t so.

I don’t know how to solve the problem of the “know-nothings”, but maybe someone does.