How wrong can you be The Dunning-Kruger effect E-Reminders
Channel: Abdurraheem Green
Series: Abdurraheem Green - E-Reminders
File Size: 17.78MB
Episode Transcript ©
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Salam Alaikum brothers and sisters, today is a very, very interesting very important topic is going to be short it's going to be sweet. I have given a long talk about this on my YouTube channel. So if you if you'd like the sound of it and it's you find it interesting.
You can find out more. So first thing what I want to talk about this. So what am I talking about today I'm talking about what's called the Dunning Kruger effect. What a great name. And it's really about ignorance. It's really the whole thing is about ignorance.
And it was sparked by a
the investigation into this phenomena was, was the interest was sparked by these two psychologists Dunning and Kruger named after them.
When a guy was robbed to try to rob a bank, what he did, he successfully robbed a bank.
And the police caught him a few hours later.
Because he'd gone in with no disguise. His face wasn't covered. He'd been picked up on CCTV, CCTV cameras, CCTV cameras, and the guy was couldn't believe that he'd been caught.
He just couldn't understand how he had been caught. And the police were trying to find out like why, you know, what is it that you you know, why you so amazed that you got caught because your face was all over the cameras. You just literally gave yourself away. And the guy is saying, but I had the juice, I had the juice.
Turns out that this guy thought that if you put lemon juice on his face, it would make him invisible to cameras.
Right? And that's, that's what the juice was.
Obviously, you know, like there's invisible ink. Yeah. So you can you can write with lemon juice, and it makes it invisible. And then obviously, if you heat the paper up, whatever it is you do, then the lemon juice, you know that the ink becomes visible. And he thought that if he put lemon juice on his face, he'd become invisible to cameras. Now how he made that connection, how he came to that conclusion?
I don't I have no idea. But the Dunning Kruger effect is named after someone who is so ignorant,
that they don't even know they're ignorant. Their level of stupidity is so high, their level of ignorance is so high. That is unbelievable to anyone who has a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of insight and a little bit of understanding, will not be able to comprehend how a person could get something so wrong. And this is the danger of a little bit of knowledge. And it's calling climbing Mount stupidity. And yes, literally, I love the term, a climbing Mount stupidity. So mount stupidity is actually a very dangerous place to be.
And it's when you combine a little bit of knowledge, a very small amount of knowledge, which usually goes hand in hand with a lot of confidence. Now the interesting thing is Dunning Kruger are definitely not the first people to notice this effect.
And the West has a really great habit. When I say great, I mean sarcastically, of loving to claim that they've discovered things which have actually been discovered by people before them, but since they probably don't really consider those other people to be actual real people. Since only white western people are real people. So you know, like, when America was discovered, means when Christopher Columbus didn't go to America did he but the pilgrim Foggo fathers or whoever they weren't discovered America, or when Columbus discovered the West Indies, even though there were human beings already living there for 1000s and 1000s of years. So what does it mean discovered?
Then they didn't didn't discover it. You mean, they conquered it and they discovered it for Western civilization to re
and pillage and destroy?
Yeah. So I mean, you know, this is a very common habit you find in, you know, in the West, in academia, even in science, it's very, it's not a new thing, a lot of so called scientific discoveries. I mean, we're talking especially earlier scientific discoveries had already been discovered by Muslim scientists. In fact, many of the foundations argue will, in fact, the very sight that that the actual scientific method itself, and there's a very strong argument put forward that the scientific method itself was actually developed by Muslims.
However, that's a diversion, because it doesn't really matter. Because this is not supposed to be a pod, this is a podcast or a
reminder, that supposed to be talking about clash of civilizations, and, you know, so on and so forth. It's
it's a, it's a journey into ourselves, it's a journey into our inner being, it is a journey, so that we can understand more about how we function, how we often don't function, who we are,
the stories we tell ourselves, how we get things wrong, and how we get things, right. And that's it, we're, we're looking into the human psyche, we're looking into the soul, we're looking into the heart of the human being, and that means you and me, and actually, all of us, almost without exception, suffer from this. Now, I, you know, I did make that little prelude about Western civilization, and loving to claim things for themselves. Because something this, this phenomena has been noted by Muslim scholars for a long, long time, long, long time ago, and I'm sure they are not even the first ones to discover it and discuss it, you probably the Greeks discussed it, and I mean,
everyone, like who is going to think about and observe human beings would have noticed this. And that is that so in in the Islamic tradition, they talk about it, they talk about the hands bands of knowledge, and they talk about the firsthand span of knowledge, when someone is beginning to know, things, they're beginning to seek knowledge, they're beginning to understand a little bit of stuff. And almost always, people think they overestimate, hugely overestimate how much they know. So they have this little bit of knowledge. And they think that this little bit of knowledge is a huge amount of knowledge. They think they know it all literally know it all.
And with it, unfortunately, comes a lot of confidence. You see with it comes a lot. And I say unfortunately, because you know, you would think that that little bit of knowledge.
But the thing is, the problem is, and this is the diachronic Dunning Kruger effect. The thing is, you don't think that you have a little bit of knowledge, and this is the point. The point is you don't you're ignorant of how ignorant you are, that's the point, you are really ignorant of how ignorant you are, you just don't know how little you understand.
And this could be of course, obviously in religious knowledge it but it could be in anything, it could be in politics, it could be in you know, in, in studying vaccines, medicine, public health policy, mental health, like whatever you can think of relationships,
anything, any branch of knowledge that you can think of, right?
So philosophy, whatever, right? So people who begin to study something very, very often, they reached this what is called the first hand span of knowledge. And that is a lot of a little bit of knowledge, a little bit of information, but a lot of confidence. And it is a sort of a little bit of a case of in the land of the blind, that one eye one eyed man is king. That's a it is a little bit of that, because in reality if a person and I mean, I don't think that in this particular instance, the the example of the bank robber is a very good example. But certainly in the instance of students of knowledge people, you know, moving into academia beginning to study whatever subject it may be,
right, but obviously, I guess especially for us as Muslims, we would be cool
sent about religious knowledge seeking religious knowledge.
It may be that with a very small amount of study, you really do
look like a king, you look like a scholar, you look like it compared to the general masses of people who call themselves Muslims, whose level of religious knowledge and understanding is so low, I mean, especially today, the baseline is so low, it's so appallingly low, you don't have to study much to suddenly appear as if you're really really knowledgeable. And of course, that's quite dangerous. Because in reality, you feel very confident, you feel like you know, a lot,
but you don't. And so this is what is called climbing Mount stupid. And it's, it's, it's dangerous, it is actually a really dangerous position to be in. And in a sense, it is something the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he warned us against that a time, you know, the time will come when, generally, of course, we are warned about speaking about Allah, and his religion without knowledge. But again, here's the problem. People who are at that stage don't know that they don't have knowledge, they think they have knowledge, but they don't. Now, if they keep studying knowledge, then what happens, then they will move to the second hand span of knowledge. And the second hand
span of knowledge is when they begin to realize that actually, they don't know as much as they thought they did. So now this is the beginning of developing awareness of the reality of one's ignorance. And the fact that that little bit of knowledge that a person has,
they begin to realize, actually, it wasn't that much knowledge. And so with that comes the loss of confidence. With that comes the, you know, a beginning of being cautious, the beginning of being really, you know, afraid to speak. And this is the reality of I have found actually the reality of quite a lot of students of knowledge who have come out of, you know, good universities, and I'm talking about here from an Islamic perspective.
And actually Alhamdulillah, their knowledge level is really, it's good. It's not, it's not like, it's bad. But they reached that second hand span. And, you know, they've, they've suffered this loss of confidence, which is not an entirely bad thing, but sometimes it can be very severe, like, to the extent that they, you know, that they, you know, they really don't want to say anything, which is necessarily not necessarily bad, but actually, in reality, that's probably the time when we would like them to start speaking. So the third hand span of knowledge, is when a person really does acquire some expertise in a particular field. And almost inevitably, when a person begins to acquire
expertise in a field, then then they are truly aware of the depth of their ignorance.
Yeah, so that's, that's different from
me, that's different from, you know, oh, maybe I thought I didn't know so much. And then you reach the thing, where you realize you actually hardly know anything at all. And that you begin to realize that things are nuanced, things are subtle, things tend to be quite complicated. They're not as black and white, as you thought they were, you realize there's lots of different shades of gray. And, you know, to be honest, I feel that as well.
And this is not something that's discussed, but some people can get a little bit lost in that as well. And to the extent that everything becomes fuzzy,
and then nothing is almost you know, it's like nothing's clear anymore.
And whereas in Islam generally, when we know what the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that you know that what is halal is clear and what is haram is clear, and in between those things in between, you know, the halal and haram there are some things that are, you know, they are, they are matters that are only known by a few people, you see, so, I mean, this is one of the blessings actually Alhamdulillah of being
Muslim that in broad terms, there are certain things that most things are very, you know, they are quite clear, right? So we're not talking about those type of things here.
But unfortunately, like I said, the bar is so low for the Muslim ummah, today, the level of knowledge and knowledge is so paltry is so weak, that unfortunately, even some of the most basic aspects of halal and haram people are, they're ignorant of it, it's, it's quite scary. It is quite scary.
And so anyway, this is this is the, I think the important thing from this small little reminder is going to be very short today is, is humility,
to approach when you approach knowledge, approach with humility, and be aware of this effect, if you realize, I mean, once I think generally once you've realized that once, once you realize that once and you've studied something in some degree of depth, and you realize then you went through this, you climbed Mount stupidity, and then you came down from Mountain stupidity, you reached into the secondhand secondhand span of knowledge. So once you've done that, especially if you've become really competent in a particular branch of knowledge, then I mean, it's not always the case that because you've experienced that in one field, you'll experience it in another. But generally, I
think that if a person has reached that level, they will understand that this is the reality of any field. And that generally, they will, you know, hopefully not really fall into that problem again.
So the lesson is,
become an expert in something, because that's one really good way to avoid the Dunning Kruger effect. Because when you reach that level of expertise, and I'm saying when you reach that third hand span of knowledge, when you realize when you begin to realize, or you do realize that you are really ignorant, and the you actually know, really very little, and that things that are just generally complicated. And the more you study it, the more you realize that and the more you know, the more you know that you don't know.
Yes, that's a good place to be. That's where we really want to be. And that's a beautiful way in that studying knowledge does humbled you it makes you humble.
And the pursuit of knowledge brothers and sisters is just to remind you of its great virtue. And the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that whoever takes a path,
seeking knowledge that Allah will make it easy for them the path to paradise. I hope that today
whoever is listening, and whoever is watching, and obviously could be any day because the amazing thing about this is, hopefully in 10 years time, people might still be listening to this. So if you are and you're pursuing knowledge, and you're on the path of seeking knowledge, well inshallah this listening to this video is being on the path of seeking knowledge. So I pray that Allah makes easy for you the path to paradise brothers and sisters, and beware
of the firsthand span of knowledge, and beware of the juice and thinking that you have the juice when you don't, and you don't even know really what the juice is because you're so
cute. Don't be like that unfortunate guy. All right, brothers and sisters. It's been a pleasure until next time as Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh