Showing posts from December, 2018

The Internet is the Dunning-Kruger effect in perpetual motion.

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."  --  Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park
The Dunning-Kruger effect can be summed up by saying that the less knowledgeable and skilled you are at something, the more likely you think you're pretty great at it.

Don't know what you're talking about? You're pretty sure you do.

Think you have a really smart comment to add? You really don't.

This cognitive bias in which someone who is ignorant thinks they are incredibly skilled and smart shows up on social media and in blog comments sections.

Perhaps the flip side of this is impostor syndrome, which I've seen crop up in a lot of writers and actual skilled people. In this, you feel pretty sure someone is going to find out that you're not that good and see you for who you really are, an impostor. No matter what you achieve, you're always waiting for the day when someone points to you and says "you…

What if God.

A friend jokingly emailed me a link to a politically religious speculative argument.

What if God was inclusive and allowed all religions to hold services in the nation's temple?

What if Joseph divorced Mary and that forced her to go on Medicaid and raise Jesus as a single mom?

What if there was no government safety net while the government simultaneously demanded tax and census information, forcing them to travel beyond their budget and end up giving birth to Jesus in a barn?

What if the government had so little concern for human life that they decided to kill babies, forcing Mary and Joseph to flee to a different country?

How low we've gone in search of "though provoking."

You could drink from a toilet, but why would you?

You can drink your water from the faucet or from the toilet. Both will quench your thirst, but you might have some problems from the latter.

With this idea in your mind, let me tell you that it's OK to block people, refuse to visit certain websites or information sources, and even keep their comments from reaching you on social media or blogs.

I stumbled upon a brouhaha regarding a generally loathesome blog (located nearby, in Montana!), and a call to block the blog's social media accounts and stop visiting the blog. I knew for sure what I'd see in the the second and third generation comments (those that respond under an initial comment).

1. "By telling people to do X, aren't you doing X?" This is the equivalent of thinking logical superiority has been achieved by you when your teacher tells you and your classmates to be quiet, and you call her out for talking in order tell people to be quiet. Go claim your trophy, little buddy.

2. "It's not a good i…

I see that the words are in English, but they make no sense.

I attended an event recently. I'm not going to tell you too much about it, other than it was a kind of public awareness humanities social justice thing. I'm not looking to make specific trouble for a specific group.

I am, however, going to make some vague trouble.

Words matter. Much of the book I wrote about the pipeline protest a few years ago dwelt on the use (and misuse) of words and how that played into emotions and public understanding of what was really happening. Whether on purpose or not, we've continued to develop and perfect the ability of using a lot of words to say nothing. We're obsessed with concepts of narrative, story, and conversation, but I'm not sure why. We seem to have perfected abilities that are going to get in the way of successfully carrying any of that out.

So I'm at this local event, reading the single-fold program they provided that listed folks involved, waiting for the shindig to get started.

John Doe is the Senior Program Director …