Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unskilled and Unaware of It

The phenomenon of people who are unskilled and unaware of it is one of the favorite topics of bloggers trying to understand why not everybody agrees with them and, what's worse, why those who disagree refuse to be humble about it. I'm usually reluctant to mention it on the grounds that it's commonly cited in debates between two groups of arrogant fools each claiming that the other side is unskilled and unaware of it. I've recently (while looking up comments on Kohlberg's stages of moral development) found the following:

I bring this up because justifications and explanations from conservatives regularly use concepts from level 4 and when they do use concepts from level 6 conservatives usually get it wrong as if they are repeating what they have heard. Liberals use language from level 6 almost exclusivly. Sadly, "W" often uses concepts from level 3!


Because those who are missing the level 5+ concepts cannot understand how policy or social structures work with regard to moral issues, they assume that no one else can understand them either. Therefore the maxim "humans are imperfect and limited." However, it is an invalid argument that "since I cannot understand complex social or legal systems, it must not be possible for anyone to understand them."

In other words, this clown was using the humility of libertarians and conservatives as a rhetorical bludgeon. This is a clear example of someone who is unskilled and unaware of it criticizing those who are unskilled and aware of it. But wait, there's more:

An "Anointed" one's rebuttle is that no one knows everything, but more knowledge means better decisions and we have a lot of knowledge. There are huge models of such systems in software that accurately (but not perfectly) simulate market economies, so to say that it is impossible to build such models is a little like saying "It's impossible for a computer to play chess." It's been done, and the results getting better all the time.

Over the past decade, we've seen that there were people who thought they understood market economies but turned out to be so wrong they wound up being bailed out. More recently, we've seen an overlapping group who also thought they understood market economies designing a stimulus and failing.

We also can't get a better handle on modeling market economies with better research since that research will also affect the market.

The really annoying thing about people who are unskilled and unaware of it is that they won't understand the above-mentioned theory and will regard it as a threadbare rationalization by people stuck at an earlier stage of development.


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