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You are not so smart

We'd like to think that we are more competent and aware compared to other people, but are we really immune to faulty thinking, logical fallacies, and even magical thinking?

Being a designer, I frequently encounter people who think that they are more talented and creative than they really are. After all, you really don't need an education to be an artist or designer. You could wait until you're financially stable in your retirement years to pursue your dream ... and ... after a few workshops with a few prominent artists and a couple of gallery shows, you could even teach some classes. ( I say this with disdain.) Claiming to be an artist is usually harmless, but claiming to be a scientist or understanding areas that are in the realm of science without the objective knowledge accumulated over years, well ... we all know what happens.

I have found the writings and work of Dan Dennett to be helpful. I didn't see that the engine on the jet airplane was missing in one of the images he featured, yet I have found over 100 four-leafed clovers. I may be very observant, but I clearly needed to reconsider my self-perception.

Recently, it seems as if more skeptics are creating ways of educating a wider public audience as to how we are self-delusional. The book and website of the title of this topic is one. I also recall hearing bits and pieces of other skeptics focusing on this topic of understanding logical fallacies, optical illusions, etc. This can only be a good thing and I am enthusiastic about some of their recent attention. Understanding logical fallacies and acknowledging how I was the one actually making up connections in unrelated events was instrumental in me de-converting from my non-traditional beliefs.

I thought I would open up this topic for discussion.

If someone is clearly wrong, how do you bring this (and facts) to their attention without them digging their heals deeper into convincing themselves that they are right and you are wrong? After all, it has been shown that telling someone clear facts creates the opposite effect. People will then be more strongly convinced of their view. They sometimes even go to the extremes of getting people on their side creating a support system to reinforce their belief. Now you have a whole posse to deal with.

Since we have been down the religious road plenty of times, I thought it would be interesting if we could discuss this in a more general way. Any other further comments on this topic would be great.




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