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I always think it’s a great and satisfying thing when someone whose work I admire is friends with someone else whose work I admire.

A while back I wrote about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, the idea that stupid people just about always think they’re experts at everything, while smart people have self-doubts. Not only do stupid people reach erroneous conclusions and make bad choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability and awareness to recognize it. As economist Paul Krugman writes, the truly incompetent are too incompetent to realize they’re incompetent. And as my dad used to say: there’s no one stupider than someone who knows everything.

Well, it turns out that a friend of researcher David Dunning…. is John Cleese.

“You see: if you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very, very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are… If you’re absolutely no good at something, at all, then you lack exactly the skills that you need to know that you’re absolutely no good at it.”

And the awesome blog Wickersham’s Conscience had this to say:

“When you combine ignorance, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and pride in that ignorance, together with an unwillingness to develop judgment skills… well,  you’ve got Sarah Palin.




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