[FoRK] The fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism - deliberate gullibility: My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jan 26 13:02:00 PST 2015

This is not that.

Those effects are relative to a subjective & fuzzy area and are about not having a clear idea of ranking benchmarks along with not 
having clear measure of your own skills except your perception.  Thorough testing could settle your ranking with reasonable error.

We were talking about various degrees of not accepting facts for various false reasons, up to and including the fact that they are 

If you want it in driving skill terms: I feel I'm a better driver than you despite the fact that I may have wrecked multiple 
vehicles, received dozens of citations, killed people, etc. while you have a clean driving record.  If you don't agree, then that's 
just your opinion.  None of those failures were my fault.  In fact, I think you may have caused them.  And you're lying about your 
record, probably as part of a conspiracy.

Sometimes: Inferiority superiority complex.  You can't be that good / right, and I'm not bad or wrong, so it must be a rigged game 
or rigged score keeping.  Therefore, I have as much proof that I'm better as you do.  I know I'm good, but I'm not certain you are, 
so by Pascal's Wager, it is a good bet to assume you are worse than me.  By my rules, you can't possibly prove me wrong, so I win.

Additionally, add in some false confirmation bias (such as: cultural warriors that vote with you, causing you to think they agree 
with your logic on other things), might makes right, ends justifies means, and other misleading thoughts, and you could become very 
smug in your superiority while being substantially wrong.

I see it as various types of immaturity: These effects are things that we've all seen and probably experienced at earlier points in 
our lives.
Are we really so PC about childishness that we can't identify it? Childhood doesn't fully end until about 26 typically. 
Additionally, there are certain mental changes / leaps / competencies that nearly always require living through certain 
experiences.  There's nothing wrong with that, it just is.  It ought to be a thing to gently point this out without angst to signal 
that someone may not have everything needed to be thoughtful about something.

Friends of mine who are 35-45 and haven't had children are often immature in certain ways that I can see but they don't perceive at 
first.  If you didn't grow up black in a racist area, you are forever an outsider in that realm.  Generally, you only get to grow up 
as one sex.  People who have been in the military in a war zone have insight that the rest of us can not be a native speaker of, so 
to speak.  People who haven't had sex can't validly reason about sex.  People who haven't _really_, successfully had sex for an 
extended period, can't completely reason about it either.

Perhaps it would be interesting to identify, characterize, and rank various maturities, the typical effects of them, and 
countermeasures.  While the Passages books do some of this, they are very self-centric.  A politically and sociologically oriented 
perspective might produce different results.  Truly knowing what it is like to be poor for significant periods, or rich, etc.  To 
some extent, knowing those at certain ages will be qualitatively different than experiencing it later.  Just naming this is an 
interesting challenge.  Situational metaphor complexes?

Is there any good work out there along these lines?


On 1/26/15 11:21 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
> Illusory superiority, the above average effect, superiority bias, leniency
> error, sense of relative superioriry, the primus inter pares effect, the
> Lake Wobegon effect, and the California driver syndrome.  All right there
> in the manual.
> Greg
> Svenson (1981) surveyed 161 students in Sweden
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden> and the United States
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States>, asking them to compare their
> driving safety and skill to the other people in the experiment. For driving
> skill, 93% of the US sample and 69% of the Swedish sample put themselves in
> the top 50% (above the median). For safety, 88% of the US group and 77% of
> the Swedish sample put themselves in the top 50%.[26]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority#cite_note-26>
> McCormick, Walkey and Green (1986) found similar results in their study,
> asking 178 participants to evaluate their position on eight different
> dimensions relating to driving skill (examples include the "dangerous-safe"
> dimension and the "considerate-inconsiderate" dimension). Only a small
> minority rated themselves as below average (the midpoint of the dimension
> scale) at any point, and when all eight dimensions were considered together
> it was found that almost 80% of participants had evaluated themselves as
> being above the average driver.[27]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority#cite_note-27>
> A survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates showed that 36% of drivers
> believe they are an above average driver while using a phone for things
> like texting or email compared to other drivers who are using their phones
> for things like texting or email, while 44% considered themselves average,
> and 18% below average.[28]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority#cite_note-28>
> On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 3:42 PM, Bill Kearney <wkearney99 at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Somehow I'm more inclined toward thinking this has more to do with
>> hand-wringing on the part of those considering themselves "intelligent"
>> than it does about any of the stupid people.
>> We met with a lot of that when blogging and newsfeeds became possible.
>> All kinds of "concern" from those that considered themselves 'gatekeepers'
>> or otherwise 'authorities' in fields suddenly cluttered with a lot of
>> 'unprofessional' bloggers.
>> Stupid people have always been able to congregate.  Being online doesn't
>> somehow automate their ability to rise above their usual level of
>> stupidity, at least not in an actionable sort of way.
>> -Bill Kearney
>> -----Original Message----- From: Stephen D. Williams
>> Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2015 4:25 PM
>> To: Friends of Rohit Khare
>> Subject: Re: [FoRK] The fusion of anti-rationalism with
>> anti-intellectualism - deliberate gullibility: My ignorance is just as good
>> as your knowledge
>> The belief is that it is worse now because of the Internet, political
>> polarization and manipulation, etc.
>> In the past, the unthinking masses had trouble reinforcing each other
>> quite so effectively.  Now, they have almost equal publishing
>> and visible, documented association as academics, and they can do it in a
>> self-selected online monoculture that avoids much
>> tempering with other views.
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