A few weeks ago I was “tagged” on facebook by Evelin Petes. Evelin is an activist in a number of areas having to do with criminal justice issues so notwithstanding my actually not knowing what being tagged meant I clicked on the provided link.
I was taken to a place where the question was being asked as to why Gov. Rick Perry of Texas should judge anybody. Based upon my knowledge of Rick I concluded that he should not be in charge of anything much less judging other people. This was not a hard concept to get my arms around. All one has to do is read a few speeches and listen to him. Additionally, no grown man should call himself “Rick” if he wants to be taken seriously. That includes Rick Lazio who is a conservative running for Gov. in NY.
Not wanting to spend a lot of time thinking about Rick, I broadened the question to be that of why do the least intelligent most prejudiced that walk among us seem to have the most to say? Seriously. And that took me to the Dunning-Kruger effect or, do assholes know they are assholes?
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it”.
The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than actuality; by contrast the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to a perverse result where less competent people will rate their own ability higher than relatively more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. “Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”
“The phenomenon was demonstrated in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, then both of Cornell University. Their results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December 1999.”
“Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (as Charles Darwin put it). They hypothesized that with a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree,
- 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.”
Does this explain a lot, or what? The assholes really don’t know they are assholes. Who knew?
So the next time you hear or read a venomous, mean spirited and unintelligent “pundit” spouting off you will now have a deeper meaning of what motivates them. Remember the Dunning-Kruger effect.
So now, thanks to Evelin, I have an idea. Let’s take all the vicious, stupid people and put them in one spot and make Rick their governor? They deserve him. I will leave the idea of fencing them in up to the reader. What do you think? And if you get tagged by Evelin, pay attention.