I ran into this and remembered that I had covered this in the past at this link. Since nobody read that one, I did some editing and am going to include what I wrote in this post. The basic idea is that in many areas people are "unconsciously incompetent", or basically "too stupid to know how stupid they are, so they assume they are intelligent".
As Darwin put it, "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge". The Dunning-Kruger (DK) study seems to prove it and shows the following:
- Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
- Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
- Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
- If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.
Dunning believes there are two key issues: first, critical thinking skills, applied to your own knowledge, as well as everything else, are vital. But, importantly, if you don't exercise critical thinking skills, they will fade, leaving you with a false impression of your own abilities.Naturally, the Moose is immune to DK effects because the Moose is AVERAGE, and the problem with DK begins because people (as opposed to mooses) believe they are above average!
I maintain that the BIG problem with DK is "The Party (TP-D) Standard Knowledge". No need to think if you agree with "the 97%" as one recent supposed "expert" did before congress. The left often likes to assert that such loss of critical thinking happens to "conservatives" with the "FAUX News Effect", but considering that most every other outlet plus the universities tend to lean left, they for some reason are never worried that their own "critical thinking" might have a small chance to atrophy.
We see a bit of that atrophy in the author of the column where he says:
That said, spotting an expert outside of one’s field is a task one can become better at. And that’s important, given just how much information, good and bad, is not available to people. For example, is the expert associated with a university (a good sign) or some 'think tank' (a bad sign)?" Again, though, this takes experience and expertise. Groups like think tanks try to give themselves the trappings of expertise in a move specifically designed to fool us into trusting their statements.So why pray tell does grant money from a government or some very possibly biased other source going to a researcher at a university have less effect on what kind of research they do or the conclusions that they might come to than funding at a "think tank"? As I pointed out in the FAUX link above about "Media Matters", their whole schtick is looking for "conservative" bias. It would be a rare university indeed where you find any of THAT!
In any case, the following is copied from the 09 post that nobody read -- so I cheated!
We **ALL** fall prey to DK, since we are all OFTEN incompetent! In fact, for ALL of us, our areas of incompetence VASTLY exceed those areas where we are competent, and the worst problem tends to be those areas where we are "unconsciously incompetent". We are too stupid to know that we don't know!
If you are more intelligent than the average person, you can commonly "make something up" that will sound plausible to all but the more intelligent or the better trained in some area that you happen to drift into. Even worse, if you couple high intelligence with argumentative ability, you are likely to intimidate even those who really DO know from pointing it out since you will STILL be hard to argue with / convince. (If you are REALLY bad, you will just call them "racist" if they point out where you are wrong!)
A near certain sign of a vast level of ignorance and high level of the DK effect is the belief that "Someone that was "smart" could explain this to me SIMPLY (meaning "simple" to the person that wants the explanation)". Often this comes with the corollary that "If it can't be explained (to the person) "simply", NOBODY understands it very well and all views (certainly MINE!) are pretty much "equal"". The simple answer to this is Quantum Physics -- geniuses like Feynman knew that if you weren't confused, you REALLY didn't understand it!
The core of this idea is viewing ones self as the center of the universe to an extraordinary degree -- why is it that all phenomena ought to be easily explainable to YOU (if indeed to ANYONE)? It is a piece of unfounded faith that shows extreme ignorance coupled with hubris, but remember, it is very possible to couple extreme ignorance with high intelligence. Narcissists are often exactly this case -- convinced they are the only one that really matters, and their special knowledge, opinion and perspective is really the only one that counts! Obama may be the greatest example of this in history!
High Dunning-Kruger and great communication skills is especially dangerous. "See Obama". Note, Reagan had great communications skills, but very low DK -- he clearly knew what he didn't know and acted accordingly. Bush had poor communications skills, and I'd argue a low DK problem as well -- he also was willing to bring in expertise that he knew exceeded his and support them. BO has no clue about economics, mideast history, running car companies, what it takes to win against terrorists, or apparently even Constitutional Law, which was SUPPOSED to be his specialty! -- but no matter. He is absolutely convinced he can do all of them because he has a law degree from Harvard and worked as a Community Organizer for awhile!
Very much thought about this and the term "chilling" doesn't really do it justice!