Dunning-Kruger Effect strikes creator of Dunning-Kruger Effect

Mockingbird

Well-known member
I have written on the Dunning-Kruger Effect for a while and looked at some of the literature on the research.

Something that is probably the most misunderstood fact about it is that we tend to overestimate our knowledge on topics which we are not experts in, especially if we have slight expertise or extremely high expertise.

People often misunderstand the Dunning-Kruger Effect and think it means stupid people overestimate their expertise. But it is related to knowledge, not stupidity.

Smart people fall prey to it very often.

I have seen experts in one field get treated as experts in separate unrelated fields and the media and public feed this.

Brian Dunning made some comments about Scientology that are in my opinion grossly inadequate to describe it as an expert and people who don't understand the difference between skepticism in general and cultic studies as a specific specialty won't understand that he is not an expert appropriate for being consulted on this topic.

He has an opinion but it is a profoundly uneducated opinion. Don't get me wrong, he got a lot right about Scientology but far from everything and his error is one many people who are experts in other fields also commit.

I think that his lack of education on cultic relationships and the dynamics of the cult leader and cult follower relationship in particular as well as the methods cults use to influence members and the state of mind cult members have while in the cult leave him unprepared to examine Scientology.

(He could have consulted many experienced cult experts on the subject. Terror, Love and Brainwashing by Alexandra Stein and Traumatic Narcissism by Daniel Shaw together describe the cultic relationships, Cults In Our Midst by Margaret Singer and the eight criteria for thought reform by Robert Jay Lifton described the methods cults use to influence members and The Discipling Dilemma by Flavil Yeakley describes the effect that cults have on the minds of cult members)



It is kind of like a person who has not studied chemistry and the effects of combining different chemicals under various conditions trying to understand what happens with various substances being combined under different conditions of temperature, pressure and with varying degrees of force and only looking at the equations of Newton regarding force and motion.

More happens in chemistry and chemical reactions than what is described in one corner of physics. This doesn't invalidate physics, it means that the other subjects like chemistry help to give a more complete and accurate picture.

We can easily see that chemistry can help us to understand that dumping a strong acid on many substances under many conditions will lead to a reaction beyond what we would know if we just understood what the weight and force of the substances were. So, a physics expert SHOULD understand that understanding how real matter interacts with real matter isn't the same as understanding how some other types of matter will react in hypothetical situations.

They SHOULD understand it but won't always.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has also been asked about Scientology and rather than say that he is not an expert on cults he has made glib comments that in my opinion are inaccurate. Some of the media and public will treat his remarks as based on genuine expertise.

People make this mistake with all kinds of experts. I have seen many people who present articles as definitive evidence for scientific claims to end up dissecting the articles and finding that everyone involved in writing the article has no education on the topic at hand. With articles on very specific details regarding nuclear power we have articles by journalists and people who have doctorates in fields like oncology and psychiatry. That's right a psychiatrist and cancer doctor are evaluating the fine points of designing, financing and operating nuclear power plants and being promoted by journalists who are equally uneducated regarding nuclear power.

I have had to point this out when presenting articles by nuclear power safety experts and officials who worked in the nuclear industry. The public often latches onto articles that agree with whatever position fits their peer group with no regard for whether the authors are experts or if people who disagree are experts. They also don't evaluate the claims with skepticism and try to get the best evidence and arguments both for AND against their own position.

We have media that present fictional omnidisciplinary doctors who know all medical practices, nuclear physics, chemistry and can do everything any engineer or architect or scientist of any kind could ever do.

In reality very few people learn the equivalent of a medical doctor and a PhD in physics, probably less than one in several thousand and when we get to people who have four or more PhDs, the norm for a television doctor or smart person, it is probably exceptionally unlikely. You can find a few dozen or so but they are not Einstein combined with a master of every field of medicine and a master of chemical engineering and archaeology and fluent in thirty five languages.

Here is the Scientology video by Brian Dunning of Dunning-Kruger Effect fame at Skeptoid for com.


 
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Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
The problem with leaving issues to experts, is how do you reliably determine who should be deemed an "expert"?

If you leave that to the hierarchy of academic "experts", then if some clique captures control of the hierarchy, then they control what is considered to be the expert opinion we are supposed to rely upon.
 

I told you I was trouble

Suspended animation.
I think what Mockingbird may be saying in a roundabout way is that even someone with no academic training whatsoever in a given field or subject (ie critical thinking) can read a lot, think a lot and write a lot and become 'an expert' ... which I expect in some cases is true but he/she will not be accepted as an expert until certain educational qualifications are also achieved.
 
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Mockingbird

Well-known member
The problem with leaving issues to experts, is how do you reliably determine who should be deemed an "expert"?

If you leave that to the hierarchy of academic "experts", then if some clique captures control of the hierarchy, then they control what is considered to be the expert opinion we are supposed to rely upon.
That is a key part of it. You have stated in a very succinct way, a concise way a crucial problem.


Confirmation bias fits too. As I found people treat journalists who agree with them as experts and those who disagree as unqualified. They often go with whatever views their peers or leaders propose and have only the most superficial understanding of issues.

Critical thinking expert Richard Paul described three categories of believers. He has vulgar believers who have only the slimmest knowledge, maybe a few slogans and thought stopping cliches and nothing more.

They repeat phrases with no real understanding of issues. He pointed out the example of a Marxist vulgar believer who might know the phrase "down with the bourgeois" and " power to the people" and "Guillotine 2020" and nothing else . They never read Marx or Engels or any contemporary Marxists or socialists and don't know any theory or any principles of Marxism and definitely don't know any criticism or rebuttal of criticism regarding Marx, communism, socialism, anarcho-syndicalism, libertarian socialism, fiat currency, fractional reserve banking or anything else relevant to the issue including how other government systems function including our current ones and historical ones.

The truly uneducated people who never ask significant questions, don't remember or care to remember anything from school and never read anything to increase their knowledge of reality are often vulgar believers.

They may even have graduated from college and have advanced degrees. The mindset and utter rejection of knowledge is the key with them and not just how far they advanced in school.

We can be vulgar believers in Marxism, the country, any religion or philosophy or any economic system like capitalism or just about any idea. The lack of understanding is the key. We can be vulgar believers in a bad idea or a good one.

We can be what Richard Paul calls sophistic believers and like the old school sophists act like lawyers whose only job is to win a contest for our system. We may know six volumes of our system, like any good Marxist or Scientologist but crucially see all other subjects as inferior opponents to only oppose and attack.

The sophistic believers see themselves as educated in the one true way, the one solution to everything, infallible and eternal.

The conflicts and piles of dead bodies stacked up from people who were sophistic believers and leading vulgar believers to fight for their systems is a mountain of millions and millions of corpses.

Sophistic believers don't always fight with others but they do look down on others and look up to themselves and pride themselves as really knowing their systems. Whether they carry a bible or constitution or book on atheism or a constitution or ancient text or personal manifesto, they have learned a volume or three or twenty of some subject and know it is everything they need to always be right.

They are not much as critical thinkers.They in fact are quite poor at it.

Finally, Richard Paul described critical believers. He said that they crucially know no system, no subject is ever perfect or complete. Our knowledge on anything is never free from flaws, absolutely certain or totally complete. Any idea or even subject can be falsified or replaced by a better one.

Any subject can be better understood with help or perspectives from other subjects. The ideas in a part of math may be better understood if we know the history of them or the scientific evidence for and against them or their application to economics or engineering or astronomy or in a hundred different ways.

By comparing subjects to each other and seeing how they relate or fail we can see if they are reality based or reality independent. Reality independent subjects can be looked at quite differently. Astronomy, astrophysics and physics are reality based subjects that involve stars. Astrology is a non-reality based system that involves stars. It doesn't play by the same rules. If you like it is not the point. The point is it is one category and in some ways incompatible with the other class of subjects.

We can argue that Scientology is a reality independent subject. There are no clears or OTs and many of the claims in Scientology don't conform to observations we can make using reality based subjects and so Scientology doesn't fit in the same category as physics, medical science, chemistry or even things like psychology.

Now, things like psychology and social psychology and even hypnosis can be used to look at Scientology but Scientology itself lends itself to a sophistic relationship with these subjects because it is frankly packed with lies and fraudulent claims and designed to defend these lies by attacking and degrading other subjects and their believers. a

WIth what you said taken in mind it is apparent that the more people are predisposed to not look for the best arguments and evidence both for and against ideas and to form educated opinions on individual claims and to tend to defer to the obedience to authority and conformity to group norms regarding beliefs the worse off we are going to be regarding critical thinking or any meaningful thinking at all in a society.

One of the absolute most important lessons I think we can learn is to not defer our important thinking to other people, even if we think they are smart or good or chosen by God. But it has socially been our habit to do that for a very long time. We may not find the ultimate truth in issues but we can go with our peers, especially when they agree with our leaders and when our leaders are all in step with each other and allow no dissent in our groups the easiest "truth" to find is how to not rock the boat and draw unwanted negative attention or worse to ourselves. That "truth" has kept people obediently conforming to the group and leaders for a very long time.

In the past maybe the worst a bad leader could do was get a village, tribe or few nations destroyed but today with nuclear weapons and mass scale technology a leader and group can destroy humanity as a whole.

The leader marching his followers off a cliff can take everyone with him today. And most bad leaders are men.

If some or most of the followers were taught to be critical believers they might occasionally consult reality and realize when a leader is taking them to their doom and actually LOOK and SEE the cliff they are headed for before they go over it.

They might realize some of the other people are sophistic believers and try to get them to consult reality, look at the evidence and arguments both for and against ideas and to consult rather than attack other legitimate subjects.

If there are conflicts with other subjects then look at them for accuracy and not to win.
 
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Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
What holds civilization together is "trust relationships".

What do I mean by that phrase? I mean the ability to trust that most other people are telling me the truth, and aren't secretly trying to harm me (whether for their own profit, or just because they like causing harm).

In my job, I operate as an expert. My boss, most of the time, has no easy way to independently verify that all my actions are correct, and for the benefit of the company. But he trusts me, due to many years of experience in my decisions turning out to be the correct ones.

In our day-to-day lives, we depend on trust relationships with the various experts we deal with. We depend on our car mechanics knowing what they are doing, and that they are dealing honestly with us. We likewise depend on our doctors, lawyers, professors, etc. And when we discover that one of our trust relationships has been violated, he tend to have a severe reaction to that violation.

Such severe reaction happened to us with Scientology, when we discovered that we had been conned.
 

Dotey OT

Dis-Membered
I have written on the Dunning-Kruger Effect for a while and looked at some of the literature on the research.

Something that is probably the most misunderstood fact about it is that we tend to overestimate our knowledge on topics which we are not experts in, especially if we have slight expertise or extremely high expertise.

People often misunderstand the Dunning-Kruger Effect and think it means stupid people overestimate their expertise. But it is related to knowledge, not stupidity.

Smart people fall prey to it very often.

I have seen experts in one field get treated as experts in separate unrelated fields and the media and public feed this.

Brian Dunning made some comments about Scientology that are in my opinion grossly inadequate to describe it as an expert and people who don't understand the difference between skepticism in general and cultic studies as a specific specialty won't understand that he is not an expert appropriate for being consulted on this topic.

He has an opinion but it is a profoundly uneducated opinion. Don't get me wrong, he got a lot right about Scientology but far from everything and his error is one many people who are experts in other fields also commit.

I think that his lack of education on cultic relationships and the dynamics of the cult leader and cult follower relationship in particular as well as the methods cults use to influence members and the state of mind cult members have while in the cult leave him unprepared to examine Scientology.

(He could have consulted many experienced cult experts on the subject. Terror, Love and Brainwashing by Alexandra Stein and Traumatic Narcissism by Daniel Shaw together describe the cultic relationships, Cults In Our Midst by Margaret Singer and the eight criteria for thought reform by Robert Jay Lifton described the methods cults use to influence members and The Discipling Dilemma by Flavil Yeakley describes the effect that cults have on the minds of cult members)



It is kind of like a person who has not studied chemistry and the effects of combining different chemicals under various conditions trying to understand what happens with various substances being combined under different conditions of temperature, pressure and with varying degrees of force and only looking at the equations of Newton regarding force and motion.

More happens in chemistry and chemical reactions than what is described in one corner of physics. This doesn't invalidate physics, it means that the other subjects like chemistry help to give a more complete and accurate picture.

We can easily see that chemistry can help us to understand that dumping a strong acid on many substances under many conditions will lead to a reaction beyond what we would know if we just understood what the weight and force of the substances were. So, a physics expert SHOULD understand that understanding how real matter interacts with real matter isn't the same as understanding how some other types of matter will react in hypothetical situations.

They SHOULD understand it but won't always.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has also been asked about Scientology and rather than say that he is not an expert on cults he has made glib comments that in my opinion are inaccurate. Some of the media and public will treat his remarks as based on genuine expertise.

People make this mistake with all kinds of experts. I have seen many people who present articles as definitive evidence for scientific claims to end up dissecting the articles and finding that everyone involved in writing the article has no education on the topic at hand. With articles on very specific details regarding nuclear power we have articles by journalists and people who have doctorates in fields like oncology and psychiatry. That's right a psychiatrist and cancer doctor are evaluating the fine points of designing, financing and operating nuclear power plants and being promoted by journalists who are equally uneducated regarding nuclear power.

I have had to point this out when presenting articles by nuclear power safety experts and officials who worked in the nuclear industry. The public often latches onto articles that agree with whatever position fits their peer group with no regard for whether the authors are experts or if people who disagree are experts. They also don't evaluate the claims with skepticism and try to get the best evidence and arguments both for AND against their own position.

We have media that present fictional omnidisciplinary doctors who know all medical practices, nuclear physics, chemistry and can do everything any engineer or architect or scientist of any kind could ever do.

In reality very few people learn the equivalent of a medical doctor and a PhD in physics, probably less than one in several thousand and when we get to people who have four or more PhDs, the norm for a television doctor or smart person, it is probably exceptionally unlikely. You can find a few dozen or so but they are not Einstein combined with a master of every field of medicine and a master of chemical engineering and archaeology and fluent in thirty five languages.

Here is the Scientology video by Brian Dunning of Dunning-Kruger Effect fame at Skeptoid for com.


Brian Andrew Dunning Skeptoid: Brian Dunning

David Allen Dunning David Dunning - Wikipedia
 

Dotey OT

Dis-Membered
@Mockingbird

...but I'm tracking with what you are saying.

I think there are several great examples of biases on this thread.

I appreciate your work. It's hard to crack open the skull and look at the contents, since many of the last times I did that were with people trained in the dark arts thinking they were helping, after being trained by an occultist.

But it's a job to be done or you wind up thinking you know it all when you don't.

“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.”

― Bertrand Russell
 

HelluvaHoax!

Well-known member
“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.” ― Bertrand Russell
.
.

I surveyed leading Scientologists to see what they thought about that quote, here's a sample:

posted by WB
I really liked the parts of that quote that were uptone like "certainty" and "understanding". As an OT VIII, I also greatly appreciated the unreasonable commentary on lower-toned things like "indecision" and "doubt"---which as we know (per LRH!) is a low-toned ethics condition.
That is why I am proud to be a Scientologist who is doing uptone things to handle all these stupid outpoints, on this planet!
ML,
William "Billy" Blowdown
OT VIII
ps: I have no idea know why anyone here is being allowed to post really low-toned, out-pointy psych data like Dunning-Kruger. Knock it off!
.
 

Karakorum

Broke ranks over 10 years ago, never looked back
I have written on the Dunning-Kruger Effect for a while and looked at some of the literature on the research.

Something that is probably the most misunderstood fact about it is that we tend to overestimate our knowledge on topics which we are not experts in, especially if we have slight expertise or extremely high expertise.

People often misunderstand the Dunning-Kruger Effect and think it means stupid people overestimate their expertise. But it is related to knowledge, not stupidity.

Smart people fall prey to it very often.

I have seen experts in one field get treated as experts in separate unrelated fields and the media and public feed this.

Brian Dunning made some comments about Scientology that are in my opinion grossly inadequate to describe it as an expert and people who don't understand the difference between skepticism in general and cultic studies as a specific specialty won't understand that he is not an expert appropriate for being consulted on this topic.

He has an opinion but it is a profoundly uneducated opinion. Don't get me wrong, he got a lot right about Scientology but far from everything and his error is one many people who are experts in other fields also commit.

I think that his lack of education on cultic relationships and the dynamics of the cult leader and cult follower relationship in particular as well as the methods cults use to influence members and the state of mind cult members have while in the cult leave him unprepared to examine Scientology.

(He could have consulted many experienced cult experts on the subject. Terror, Love and Brainwashing by Alexandra Stein and Traumatic Narcissism by Daniel Shaw together describe the cultic relationships, Cults In Our Midst by Margaret Singer and the eight criteria for thought reform by Robert Jay Lifton described the methods cults use to influence members and The Discipling Dilemma by Flavil Yeakley describes the effect that cults have on the minds of cult members)



It is kind of like a person who has not studied chemistry and the effects of combining different chemicals under various conditions trying to understand what happens with various substances being combined under different conditions of temperature, pressure and with varying degrees of force and only looking at the equations of Newton regarding force and motion.

More happens in chemistry and chemical reactions than what is described in one corner of physics. This doesn't invalidate physics, it means that the other subjects like chemistry help to give a more complete and accurate picture.

We can easily see that chemistry can help us to understand that dumping a strong acid on many substances under many conditions will lead to a reaction beyond what we would know if we just understood what the weight and force of the substances were. So, a physics expert SHOULD understand that understanding how real matter interacts with real matter isn't the same as understanding how some other types of matter will react in hypothetical situations.

They SHOULD understand it but won't always.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has also been asked about Scientology and rather than say that he is not an expert on cults he has made glib comments that in my opinion are inaccurate. Some of the media and public will treat his remarks as based on genuine expertise.

People make this mistake with all kinds of experts. I have seen many people who present articles as definitive evidence for scientific claims to end up dissecting the articles and finding that everyone involved in writing the article has no education on the topic at hand. With articles on very specific details regarding nuclear power we have articles by journalists and people who have doctorates in fields like oncology and psychiatry. That's right a psychiatrist and cancer doctor are evaluating the fine points of designing, financing and operating nuclear power plants and being promoted by journalists who are equally uneducated regarding nuclear power.

I have had to point this out when presenting articles by nuclear power safety experts and officials who worked in the nuclear industry. The public often latches onto articles that agree with whatever position fits their peer group with no regard for whether the authors are experts or if people who disagree are experts. They also don't evaluate the claims with skepticism and try to get the best evidence and arguments both for AND against their own position.

We have media that present fictional omnidisciplinary doctors who know all medical practices, nuclear physics, chemistry and can do everything any engineer or architect or scientist of any kind could ever do.

In reality very few people learn the equivalent of a medical doctor and a PhD in physics, probably less than one in several thousand and when we get to people who have four or more PhDs, the norm for a television doctor or smart person, it is probably exceptionally unlikely. You can find a few dozen or so but they are not Einstein combined with a master of every field of medicine and a master of chemical engineering and archaeology and fluent in thirty five languages.

Here is the Scientology video by Brian Dunning of Dunning-Kruger Effect fame at Skeptoid for com.


I totally agree with all you wrote. This guy means well, but he really sounds like the people who just saw the South Park episode and read the "Scientology" article on wikipedia.

And you know what's the worst? If you take his video and replace "Scientology" with "Freezone Sceintology", his vid will make perfect sense. I think that's his problem. He doesn't distinguish between the "philosophy" and the organization that runs it.

I think this guy could benefit from having to go through some personal experiences with scientology. Chris could put him through the study tech part and have him clear words like "the" or "and". Mike or Karen could put him through the real OSA experience. I can gladly provide the ethics experience. After a few confessionals (and having to pay for them) he would probably not want to deal with me, unless he's a masochist. And even that wouldn't work cause I hate wearing leather or latex.
 

Mockingbird

Well-known member
I totally agree with all you wrote. This guy means well, but he really sounds like the people who just saw the South Park episode and read the "Scientology" article on wikipedia.

And you know what's the worst? If you take his video and replace "Scientology" with "Freezone Sceintology", his vid will make perfect sense. I think that's his problem. He doesn't distinguish between the "philosophy" and the organization that runs it.

I think this guy could benefit from having to go through some personal experiences with scientology. Chris could put him through the study tech part and have him clear words like "the" or "and". Mike or Karen could put him through the real OSA experience. I can gladly provide the ethics experience. After a few confessionals (and having to pay for them) he would probably not want to deal with me, unless he's a masochist. And even that wouldn't work cause I hate wearing leather or latex.
I think that you put it very well. He doesn't really understand what it's like to be in a cult, especially a brutal one that has so many harmful practices that hurt people so much.

I have mostly written on the indoctrination and auditing but make no mistake the ethics and admin policies lead to terrible policies that lead to real abuses and these are usually hidden quite well from members while they are in Scientology.

We could go on for hours about the conditions staff and especially Sea Org members endure with sleep deprivation, heavy labor, the truth rundown and the horrors of the hole, forced abortions, the chain locker and chain locker for kids, disconnection and on and on.

He needs to see the REALITY of Scientology.
 
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Mockingbird

Well-known member
I totally agree with all you wrote. This guy means well, but he really sounds like the people who just saw the South Park episode and read the "Scientology" article on wikipedia.

And you know what's the worst? If you take his video and replace "Scientology" with "Freezone Sceintology", his vid will make perfect sense. I think that's his problem. He doesn't distinguish between the "philosophy" and the organization that runs it.

I think this guy could benefit from having to go through some personal experiences with scientology. Chris could put him through the study tech part and have him clear words like "the" or "and". Mike or Karen could put him through the real OSA experience. I can gladly provide the ethics experience. After a few confessionals (and having to pay for them) he would probably not want to deal with me, unless he's a masochist. And even that wouldn't work cause I hate wearing leather or latex.
And I don't think he is a bad guy or stupid or anything like that. He is speaking as an expert on many topics and mistakenly thinks he understands cults and Scientology when in my opinion he really doesn't.

He has fallen victim to the Dunning-Kruger Effect despite discovering it. So, the lesson is we are all vulnerable.
 

Dotey OT

Dis-Membered
I have seen people trained and familiar with the various cognitive biases exhibit examples, unbeknownst to themselves, all the while being the "expert".

It is kind of spooky, in the way that we were all blind to the cult, selling our souls for whatever period.
 

Karakorum

Broke ranks over 10 years ago, never looked back
I have seen people trained and familiar with the various cognitive biases exhibit examples, unbeknownst to themselves, all the while being the "expert".

It is kind of spooky, in the way that we were all blind to the cult, selling our souls for whatever period.
I started killing time on Quora recently after Mockingbird made me realize that Quora exists. I've often tried to pick up some answers and then went: "Nah, no way in hell does my experience with anything allow me to answer this as even a minor "expert".

Cognitive bias is a thing and its difficult to see it in yourself. I always felt the "half-intellectuals", the "half-qualified" and the "half-trained" people were the worst and most damaging to themselves and people around them.

Because if someone knows nothing at all about a certain issue, he will usually have a certain caution about him. The "I'm a bit scared of the jackhammer cause I never held one not built anything" type. Its the: "Well, I helped my dad build a shed 20 years back and the contract builder showed me how to turn the jackhammer on and off so I'll be fine" type of people that caused the most damage.

.. stupid example. Don't judge me, its late here.
 
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Dotey OT

Dis-Membered
What's funny is that sometimes while talking to someone about a subject that I have a blind spot on, sometimes I will see my own blind spot. It's like "wtf???". I know I'm probably not catching them all, but it is funny, but then not. I had to eat crow on the spot. Or sometimes I just keep it to myself but don't bring it up again. :innocent:
 

Mockingbird

Well-known member
I have seen people trained and familiar with the various cognitive biases exhibit examples, unbeknownst to themselves, all the while being the "expert".

It is kind of spooky, in the way that we were all blind to the cult, selling our souls for whatever period.
I don't know if you read the thread on cognitive biases, but one list is the biases that make it difficult to see biases in your own thinking.

We have perhaps a couple hundred biases but a couple dozen or so specifically make us blind to biases in ourselves and the groups we are members of.

With biases we need to understand the specific details,f how they each work to understand what they do. They are like drugs.

If we take drugs we need to understand what they each do to us and our thinking as well as to understand what they do in combination or we really don't understand them. It is the same way with cognitive biases.

It doesn't matter how much of an expert one is on cognitive biases, we are built to use them as they are our natural behavior. Many have been studied and it was found that teaching people about them doesn't prohibit people from using them. In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman the reality that teaching people the effects of a bias didn't stop students from using them in their courses and the teachers were confused by this but should not have been.
 

Mockingbird

Well-known member
I have seen people trained and familiar with the various cognitive biases exhibit examples, unbeknownst to themselves, all the while being the "expert".

It is kind of spooky, in the way that we were all blind to the cult, selling our souls for whatever period.
Here is a list of ten biases that predispose us to resist seeing biases in ourselves. It doesn't matter if you are trained in them or not, you are designed to both use them and not see them in yourself. It's literally human nature.

The thing about learning about them is it is much easier to see them in others, especially people we disagree with or oppose and groups that our groups disagree with or oppose. It is similar to logical fallacies in that it is our nature to think and communicate with arguments that contain fallacies in good faith, meaning we often don't know we are using flawed claims. We are using them and not spitting the flaws.

It often ends up with a person who points out the flaws in the arguments of others having other people feverishly comb through every comment they made to try to point out hypocrisy but they are missing the point.

Conversation isn't a game with points and a winner. If you point out logical fallacies in my arguments that legitimately exist then the arguments are bad arguments. Full stop. You don't have to be a perfect person who never uses bad arguments for that to be true.

we ALL use bad arguments on occasion. It is our deeply flawed human nature. So, in some contexts pointing out hypocrisy is an ad hominem attack and a non sequitur. It is irrelevant to the validity of other arguments.

The biases listed here are part of why it is so difficult to move from only seeing logical fallacies and cognitive biases in the acts of people and groups we oppose.

Here is a list of pro self biases.

The following group of cognitive biases serves to make us prone to fail to see our biases, to see biases (or flaws in thinking and character) in others and to see our own ideas as better than they are or unbiased and the ideas of others (especially if they disagree with or oppose us) as worse than they are or wrong. (Note: all definitions are quoted from

50 COGNITIVE BIASES TO BE AWARE OF SO YOU CAN BE THE VERY BEST VERSION OF YOU

By Mighty Max)


  1. Blind Spot Bias: We don’t think we have bias, and we see it in others more than ourselves.
  2. Self-Serving Bias: Our failures are situational, but our successes are our responsibility.
  3. Halo Effect: If you see a person as having a positive trait, that positive impression will spill over into their other traits. (This also works for negative traits.)
  4. Naïve Realism: We believe that we observe objective reality and that other people are irrational, uninformed, or biased.
  5. Naïve Cynicism: We believe that we observe objective reality and that other people have a higher egocentric bias than they actually do in their intentions/actions.
  6. Dunning-Kruger Effect: The less you know, the more confident you are. The more you know, the less confident you are.
  7. Confirmation Bias: We tend to find and remember information that confirms our perceptions.
  8. Backfire Effect: Disproving evidence sometimes has the unwarranted effect of confirming our beliefs.
  9. Third-Person Effect: We believe that others are more affected by mass media consumption than we ourselves are.
  10. Belief Bias: We judge an argument’s strength not by how strongly it supports the conclusion but how plausible the conclusion is in our own minds.
Blind Spot Bias is an obvious one to start with, we naturally are blinded by our biases and usually only learn about biases by observing them in others and realizing that we as human beings must also have them too, without the benefit of direct observations of the biases in ourselves. A lot of research on psychological priming and biases has good evidence to support the idea that we all have biases and are profoundly unaware of them in our direct observations of our daily lives. They are well hidden.

Regarding Self-Serving bias, seeing OUR failures as caused by circumstances and the failures of OTHER PEOPLE as caused by their character makes us biased to see ourselves as both more moral than others and better in our decision making. Seeing ourselves through rose colored glasses and others through a dark tint gives us a false sense of superiority and competence that is undeserved.

The Halo Effect serves as a one two punch with the Self-Serving Bias because it lets us see any alleged flaws in someone as "proof" they are wrong, stupid, irrational, and so on in their claims and beliefs, conveniently whenever they disagree with us ! This is irrational as a person who is usually or generally wrong can have a valid claim or idea and a person who is generally right or intelligent or agrees with us can have an incorrect claim or idea.

The Halo Effect is one of the most frequently abused biases as politicians and media and people online frequently comment "that guy was SO WRONG about this other entirely unrelated topic ! No one should EVER listen to anything he says !" or "That person complains about an issue and consequences but they are not perfect in their own past behavior and conduct ! So they have no right to bring up the issue until they go back in time and live a life that cannot be criticized in any way because a flawed person only creates flawed arguments and claims !" Well, I may have exaggerated the last one a little to show that saying someone has to be perfect or have impeccable character and conduct to be listened to is just silly, since no human being has perfect behavior that is beyond any criticism.

We when it is convenient pivot to thinking of flaws in people, especially people who disagree with us and to think of good traits in people who agree with us as if the unrelated and irrelevant traits support or disprove claims that they have nothing to do with.

You can find thousands of comments online each day that follow this. A politician proposes a policy and many people attack or praise the policy based on their general attitude towards the politician or party.

Naive Realism has been written about a bit by psychologists and is well worth considering, it primes us to be overconfident in our own perception, memory and thinking and to arrogantly think WE have a better grasp on reality than others.

Naive Cynicism together with Naive Realism sets us up to see OTHER people as needing to learn critical thinking, scientific method and other subjects and to not see that we ourselves are part of the problem.

Dunning-Kruger Effect is a monster. Research has shown we are not built to dig into many or most subjects in depth, we lack the time and we work together as groups.

So, consequently, we have usually only a few subjects we learn in depth and we are prone to think we understand others far better than we really do. Even if we understand one or several subjects well we don't understand others and we and others can mistake knowledge or expertise in one area for the same thing in others.

I have seen people who have degrees even master's degrees and PhDs in some subjects give incredibly wrong and uneducated opinions in other subjects and seen that most people think a doctor or professor is an expert in everything when a little digging in the subject can show that they don't know what they're talking about.

This doesn't mean experts are worthless and always wrong. It means that they are just as vulnerable to Dunning-Kruger Effect in areas outside their expertise as the rest of us. Dunning-Kruger Effect is not about stupidity, it is about expertise.

I have seen thousands of comments that incorrectly identify Dunning-Kruger Effect as "stupid people don't know that they are stupid" that is not what it is, so you are claiming something incorrect if you say that.

Confirmation Bias is easy to understand as we can see it in others, but we have to work hard to monitor and acknowledge it in ourselves and to fight it. It goes against the easiest way to deal with information to fight confirmation bias, it takes willpower, self discipline and a lot of work to go against our first nature.

The ideas from A Theory Of Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger and On Liberty by John Stuart Mill go a long way to deal with the basic problem. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a superb compliment to those ideas.

The Backfire Effect is a neat little cognitive trick in which we convince ourselves we are right even when evidence shows we are not. It debunks the deficit model of information in which it was believed that availability of true information was the barrier to people knowing the truth. You can provide true information and good evidence all day and it doesn't always help.

Third Person Effect is summed up by a little cartoon showing a half dozen or so stick figure people together. One thought bubble is above them all with a thought like "look at those poor fools, robots controlled by propaganda. Poor devils, I am the only one who is thinking for myself." We tend to see ourselves as having unrestrained free will, regardless of evidence, and others as being influenced by all sorts of things we ourselves somehow escaped.

Belief Bias is very subtle and hard to get people to understand because it operates below conscious awareness and only a lot of experiments and research in psychology and social psychology revealed the subconscious has tremendous unnoticed influence on our beliefs and behavior. The book Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow gives a terrific description of how this works and great evidence to support the claims.

Beliefs that feel good or not threatening to us and our identity and prior beliefs are much easier to perceive, accept, think of and remember than beliefs that disagree, especially with beliefs that have deep emotional impact and our fundamental values about ourselves, our groups and whatever deep underlying assumptions serve to frame and define everything else for us, they could be emotional, psychological, religious or other types depending on what has strong emotional associations for us as individuals.

Belief Bias is described by the logical fallacy personal incredulity. If I don't consider the evidence and arguments for a claim because I cannot stand the idea of thinking of it because of a strong compulsion to reject it or to not endanger an idea or belief or value it could throw into doubt then the belief bias is at play. It can have a strong emotional or intellectual component or both simultaneously but one way or another considering an idea is unacceptable. But sometimes unthinkable ideas are true.


This grouping is sadly not complete but meant to give a taste of why "I think that I am not wrong and others are" exists and how this is unfortunately in each of us. This tendency serves as a primary obstacle to education on critical thinking, everyone knows it is lacking in society when they hear about it but they also know someone else needs to learn and that I am doing it just fine.
 
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