Everybody thinks their ideas are based on reason

I know I harp on this a lot. It’s because I think we can’t move ahead on much else without dealing with the “how”. This is one of the founders of Braver Angels. He doesn’t get into that until later. The first story, and he tells it in full, is how he came to be hated by the right and the left on the issue of gay marriage. It tracks the change in the political landscape over the last few decades. So, that gives the guy cred, in my book.

Later, and I’ll find the timestamp later, he mentions a common occurrence in Braver Angels workshops, where someone points out that they (themselves) make their decisions based on reason and evidenced and those other guys use their emotions. This happened to me, I was going to bring that up in the workshop I did, but then a conservative beat me to it. I was shocked. First that he thought that, since I’m sure he was wrong, but then that I thought that without ever attempting to query the guy as to what he knew, or how he arrived at his conclusion. If I did that work, I’m almost certain I’d still find him wrong, but if I want to reach him, get him to nuance his thoughts in the slightest, I’m not going to do that if I don’t do that work.

I am sure this is directly related to the Dunning-Ktuger effect, which describes how people tend to believe they are the smartest mind in the room.

Their ego often won’t allow them to accept that others are not necessarily smarter but are just better educated and just “know” more about a specific subject

The problem with that is that you don’t know what you do not know… :face_with_monocle:

Not sure that’s a fit. I think we need another “effect”. I can’t vouch for this guy, because I only met him for a few hours, but he seemed to be fairly knowledgeable. There are also people who have achieved much more respect, who speak on these issues, and would agree with this guy. I have no problem disagreeing with a college professor in economics, but they would probably walk away saying Dunning-Kruger applied to me.

The “effect” of that intelligence is something that has been identified, that if you are smart, it’s easier to create an argument that is sound, and appears valid, but isn’t. Or as Feynmann said, it’s easiest to fool yourself. Dunning-Kruger can be overcome with facts, and simply shining the light on the person, getting them out of whatever dark corner they were in where they were validated.

What I’m pointing to, and this applies to anyone, no matter how much data they have in their heads, or how many of their theories have been confirmed, is the failure to recognize the experiences of whomever they are talking to. Throughout history, and we know it’s happening now, the expert opinion is functioning and the field is self-validating, but something is being missed.

Examples would be the opioid epidemic in rural America, while drug addiction in the cities had developed multiple pathways of treatment and recovery. Racism in the South was rampant and barely addressed until black people were called on to fight in WWII. Sexual abuse in churches and women’s athletics. All of these persist because we don’t listen to the story of the person who is having the experience because they don’t speak the academic language about their experience.