The World is Round. Isn’t It?

Bast
Watching a documentary on the Flat Earth Society

Cooch
Um …

Bast
Just because. And I learned I am considered heliocentric because I believe that the Earth is round.


Cooch
Good grief. I’m not sure I want to say this, but do go on.

Bast
It’s actually kind of depressing because they really, really believe it. Might as well believe that cats are our alien overlords. Wait … never mind.

Bast
And now I’m learning about the Imposter Syndrome and its counterpart, the Dunning-Kruger effect. D-K Effect explains a lot right now. It is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they are. Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence.

Bast
That, and confirmation bias (or people living in their own echo chambers) really makes sense when you think about the epidemic of fake news right now.

Cooch
And terrible bosses!

Bast
Dollars to doughnuts terrible bosses suffer from the D-K effect.

Bast
Or is that just me exhibiting D-K effect??? Oooh, it gets complex.

Cooch
Okay, now that I’ve researched this D-K effect a bit, I can confidently say that I am living proof that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Example: home plumbing (I could give details).

Cooch
But I feel like the antidote to the conviction we have that we are smarter than we are, or better at something than we actually are, is self-awareness. And from that, an ability to take criticism without getting all defensive about it.

Cooch
I expect we all suffer from D-K effect to varying degrees. We can’t all be smart about everything. But the more we know about how little we know, the less we profess to know. Agh, what a horrible sentence. I wish I knew enough to fix it.

Bast
Add to that confirmation bias and you have people prone to believing only what they choose to believe. I think critical thinking is lacking. D-K effect allows people to start with the conclusion they want in mind and cherrypick data to support that conclusion.

Cooch
So is there a way to break the cycle?

Cooch
Actually, have you read Dan Levitin?
Weaponized Lies

Bast
Nope. What’s his theory?

Cooch
More of a strategy, really. It’s a handbook for thinking critically in the post-truth era. Should be mandatory education starting in high school. I think.

Bast
But some of those flat-earthers seem intelligent. So what goes wrong?

Cooch
Ah, that’s the million-dollar question. Maybe some gaps in neuron wiring? Like some connections in the brain that hook up to areas that are supposed to be used for fantasy?

Bast
Perhaps. But that’s beyond my pay grade. Couldn’t comment.

Bast
See what I did there?

Cooch
Countering the D-K effect. Nicely played.

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