24 February 2020
When the famous 1930’s comedian W. C. Fields was dying in a hospital, a friend came to visit him. She was shocked to see the notorious atheist reading a Bible as she walked in. “What are you doing with that?” she asked. W. C. Fields replied “Looking for loopholes!”.
This describes a whole group of people on social media whose worldview will not allow that every major scientific body on earth is right about the threat of climate change. They spend all their free time looking for loopholes and often they find them. At least they think they do.
That’s where the Dunning-Kruger effect kicks in. In case you do not know, Dunning Kruger is a psychological effect that causes people who learn a little about a subject to greatly overestimate their knowledge in it. Just the opposite happens to people who really are experts in a field. They tend to underestimate their knowledge and will in almost every case rank it at a lower level than those who know just a little and think they are experts!
The story below is about what happens when the legions of climate deniers in social media looking for loopholes catch a bad case of Dunning Kruger. I suspect there is no cure for this, but you’d have to ask a doctor since I didn’t go to medical school, and realise that reading blogs and looking at things on Google doesn’t make me as smart as one.
There is a lesson here: If you read a scientific paper and think it has overturned 150 years of science, you are probably wrong, (Unless it’s this one) and should check with the author before telling the world about it on Twitter.