John Cleese on Stupidity

September 30, 2014

We’ve seen a number of demonstrations of this principle here on the blog.

Climate deniers are often textbook examples of the Dunning Kruger effect – in essence, being too stupid to know you’re stupid. It’s an affliction rampant in the US congress today – and well described here by John Cleese.

Below, more about the Dunning Kruger effect:

22 Responses to “John Cleese on Stupidity”

  1. omnologos Says:

    If only people around here would follow what these videos so explicitly and succintly explain! We would see a drop in the use of the value-laden ‘denier’ slur and a much more open debate, as we would finally recognize the possibility, as Cromwell said, of being mistaken.

    Instead I expect, as in the past, a proliferation of absurdist accusations of a D-K effect in anybody who thinks differently. At the end of the day, the strongest sign of being a sufferer of D-K may as well be the liberality of seeing it in others 🙂

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Lord love a freakin’ million ducks!!!!……and LMAO!!!!

      Two great clips about D-K and look who is the first to comment!!

      Crock’s own resident example of the D-K Effect, the original “demented rooster strutting in the barnyard crowing about his imagined superiority”—–OMNOLOGOS!!!!

      And he still doesn’t get it. Are there any metacognition-boosting pills available? If there are, Omno needs to load up on them.

      (although I must say, that within the D-K frame of reference, this comment makes a bit more sense than most of Omno’s do)

    • David Minor Says:

      That’s it omno- fight the knowledge communists! True conservatives are too smart to read and understand scientific papers!

    • Jason Says:

      “If only people around here would follow what these videos so explicitly and succintly explain!” ~ omno

      Did somebody touch a nerve?

      To be sure, though no doubt usually accurate, I also actually find the oft references to D-K in comment sections everywhere a bit tiresome – sorry guys.

      (Though to be fair, not nearly tiresome as luke warmers – as if shifting from denial of the greenhouse effect specifically, to denial of even more basic logic and physics represents some kind of intellectual prowess – they still take the biscuit.)

      But yeah, it’s not a disease that only some people have and others don’t – it’s just yet another example of common or garden cognitive bias that people invariably have, that often lead us to missjudge our own (and other’s) degree of competence.

      Which is why, of course, it’s a sound idea to put your money on the mainstream scientific position – where systematic, collaborative effort means that the competence found there is most likely to be sure footed – rather than think you know better yourself.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Well put! Would anyone care to wager on how many meters (kilometers even) all of that went over Omno’s head?

        RE: “I find the oft references to D-K in comment sections everywhere a bit tiresome”. You’re not alone, no need to apologize. Unfortunately, D-K sufferers appear as predictably as the sunrise on nearly all sites, and mentioning D-K may help a few (a very few) actually do some self-examination (or am I being a wishful thinker?)


      • Well said and I might add, that omno is doing his best to illustrate DK.

        • omnologos Says:

          Examples aplenty just as predicted. If you can’t afford to possibly consider you may be wrong, you’re destined to show stupidity and like per Cleese’s video, have no tools to identify your stupidity.

          Likewise for the cretin idea that you are right and therefore I’m in “denial”. The whole of the second video explains again and again that it’s absurd to use value laden words but none of you got that. It also shows that certainty accompanies ignorance, and there you are professing certainty.

          I may be wrong in thinking catastrophic AGW an exaggeration. I’m not afraid to say that and it’s one of the two reasons I’m following the climate change debate. Now let’s see how many of you guys can state you may be wrong. And if that’s the case then why (again) go back to label people?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I will state definitively that I was wrong when I said “Would anyone care to wager on how many meters (kilometers even) all of that went over Omno’s head?” It is obvious that it went so far over his head that we need bigger units for our wager. I wouldn’t want to insult Omno by saying light years, though—-can we agree that our bets will be on the # of AU’s?

            PS Omno says “I may be wrong in thinking catastrophic AGW an exaggeration. I’m not afraid to say that and it’s one of the two reasons I’m following the climate change debate”

            Please tell us Omno. What’s the SECOND reason you are “following the climate change debate”?

          • omnologos Says:

            Please stop reaffirming your stupidity by posting totally generic comments with no discernible reference to anything said in the videos above, thus demonstrating you can’t grasp anything they said.

            as for your renewed attempts at derailing the discussion I shall persist in refusing to go OT. If and when my other motive becomes relevant to a post by Greenman, I’ll talk about it. It’s irrelevant here.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LOL Just as during a presidential primary debate Governor Perry couldn’t remember the third department of the executive branch that he wanted to eliminate, Omno can’t remember the second of his two reasons for following the climate change debate (except that it’s no debate anymore, it’s settled).

            And doesn’t he squirm nicely? One of his few talents.

          • Jason Says:

            “I may be wrong in thinking catastrophic AGW an exaggeration.”

            Catastrophe schamastrophe.

            More importantly you’re wrong on first principles. Whether it’s first principles about what the issue even is, or about science, or risk analysis, economics or policy making – that’s what’s going on here.

            Among other things (and how many times do we need to do this?) the issue isn’t ‘C’AGW. CAGW is for people who think they’re fighting an imaginary Al Gore monster. It’s a red herring. It’s a strawman argument. It’s a total, utter cop out.

            Arguments for mitigating climate change do not hang and have never hung on fringe scenarios of the severest possible outcomes.

            Every time (and you’ve been at this for years now) you frame this issue as CAGW demonstrates that you still haven’t even started to take the issue seriously – and as such, other people would be well advised to not take you seriously. Sorry, but there it is.

            Honestly omno, you couldn’t make it up. Insisting other folk should steer clear of value laden arguments and then pulling the value laden ‘Catastrophic’ AGW card. You’re not even trying. Even on your own terms you’re not even trying.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “Catastrophe schamastrophe”???.

            Uh, Jason? It’s obvious you like to throw words around and play rhetorical and semantic games, but CAGW is NOT “for people who think they’re fighting an imaginary Al Gore monster” or a “red herring” or a “strawman argument” or a “total, utter cop out”. You’ve overcooked things a bit.

            CAGW is WAY more likely to occur than the scenario where we can continue to burn fossil fuels without consequences and that high levels of CO2 are “good for living things”. What if the “unknown unknowns” catch up with us and we have runaway reinforcing positive feedbacks because we have passed several tipping points? Are you a “bright-sider” who just can’t face that possibility? Tell us why CAGW is an impossibility.

            “Arguments for mitigating climate change do not hang and have never hung on fringe scenarios of the severest possible outcomes”, you say. Really? What do you think underlies people like Hansen advocating that we need to “go nuclear” big time and soon? What about the various (and often goofy) last-ditch geo-engineering schemes that will only be employed if CAGW strikes?

            We don’t take Omno seriously on Crock because he’s a moron. The fact that HE sets up CAGW as a straw man doesn’t mean that CAGW is an invalid premise.

          • Jason Says:

            I will state definitively that I was wrong when I said “Would anyone care to wager on how many meters (kilometers even) all of that went over Omno’s head?”

            I was actually going to rush to omno’s defence.

            I don’t think Omno is stupid – he’s every bit as capable of wiggling his fingers and toes as the next person. Mr Cleese would probably argue: no that’s what stupidity is (and maybe he’d have a point) – but I don’t like to think of something (missjudging our competence) that’s basically all of us a lot of the time as stupidity.

            At least I don’t think it’s useful to call people stupid.

            But then omno went and said:

            “I may be wrong in thinking catastrophic AGW an exaggeration. I’m not afraid to say that…”

            …and it’s just such a classic example of not just failing to realise that you’re wrong – but also so obviously not knowing why you’re wrong.

            It’s not bravery or open mindedness. The only reason omno likes to admit that he might be wrong on ‘catastrophic’ climate change pronouncements is because ‘catastrophic’ is a value judgement. It can legitimately mean different things to different people. Omno admits he might be wrong on catastrophic pronouncements simply because it’s a safe bet when you can move the goal posts where the heck you like. He can always argue that ‘oh I meant more catastrophic than that’ or ‘oh, I meant catastrophic in a different way’, regardless of literally any outcome.

            On the other hand, when we’re talking science, wrong is a given. Science is famously ‘always wrong’. It’s just that wrong is relative. Science doesn’t claim to provide definitive answers – it just aspires to being less wrong.

            So when omno charges all and sundry with refusing to acknowledge that we might be wrong – he’s properly wrong. I just put my money with mainstream scientific thinking because I think it provides the better chance of being less wrong.

          • omnologos Says:

            Jason

            Thanks for the collection of amazing thoughts on the subject. at least we have something to discuss about.

            The catastrophic part I thought was implicit and explicit in most of the posts and comments here. I may have been wrong 😉 but the marchers in new york did speak about saving the planet, not avoiding some mild inconvenience.

            Also a few weeks ago our host made some reference to people who think there is nothing left to do and the world will roast or collapse under the waves.

            Furthermore if there is no C to AGW then most of the mitigation schemes are hopelessly expensive and all we should do is adapt – not that I would be against it.

            So if you prefer I can provide a definition of catastrophe, or better yet, refer you to Thom. You start with a set of conditions that appear more or less stable and end up with a new set of conditions that appear just as stable, but are very different. Like snow and an avalanche.

            So I do not think I could ever argue by claiming °more catastrophic than°. There is no avalanche that stops mid-way.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Pointless prattling about picayune points. We waste too much time on Omnos.

          • omnologos Says:

            Now that you are debasing yourself with dozens of comments that are just twits of an insult, your idea that somebody is wasting too much time is perfectly correct. In fact you fill up all communication channels if and only if I make a comment.

            As I said Iam not even sure you would exist, if I did not post.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Whiner! I certainly WOULD exist if you did not post, Omno. It is a measure of your narcissism and self-centeredness that you seem to be unaware that I post on many Crock threads and in response to many others. Dealing with your foolishness is a side issue and done mainly for entertainment. Only one other on Crock is as worthy of being “insulted” as you are, and he is just as D-K as you are.

            Keep demonstrating D-K for us in your comments, Omno—-it’s fun to watch.


  2. I’m looking in the mirror now.

    I’ll let you be the judge, though: http://bit.ly/1CyKoWA


  3. I must agree with you. 99,999% of people are evidently really stupid, climate deniers as well as climatophobiacs, not being open or skeptical at all about scientific evidence, but just focusing on one thing, using non-scientific argumentation fallacies to win the political debate, usually with a short term agenda behind, or fooled by it.


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