“Experts” Can, & Ought To Be Dismissed, Considering State of Society, Planet

Are contemporary “experts” collectively affected by the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome? And does their lack of skill explain their position of power conferred to them by the powers that be ? This is what We The People are starting to suspect!

The establishment’s media bemoan all over that “demagogues” lead We The People in doomed “populist” wave. This is semantic non-sense: democracy means “people-power”, demagogue means “people-leader”. And “populist” comes from “populus” which means “peuple” (French) and then “people” (English). Thus the establishment actually bemoans  democracy.

A line of attack of the establishment is that we are morons, unable to comprehend our world, and not even deserving of the little “democracy” we have. As Aeon ponders in “Our world outsmarts us : “Are humans too cognitively limited to be effective citizens in the modern world? Social problems are fantastically complex, while human minds are severely under-engineered. Is democracy doomed? What if, as a species, the vast majority of us have a profoundly challenging collective difficulty with mathematics and science analogous to …dyslexia?”

The essay is written by a hyper mandarin, a total expert, Robert Burton. Mr. Burton is a neurologist, author and the former associate director of the department of neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center at Mt Zion. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, and Nautilus, among others. His latest book is A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves (2013).

Mr. Burton rolls out the Kruger-Dunning syndrome which concludes that “People who lack the knowledge or wisdom to perform well are often unaware of this fact. That is, the same incompetence that leads them to make wrong choices also deprives them of the savvy necessary to recognise competence, be it their own or anyone else’s.”

It apparently did not dawn on misters Kruger and Dunning that the effect they “observed” has a much simpler explanation. It’s not even very Machiavellian, it has to do with self-esteem. Instead the Dunning-Kruger “effect” (which may not be real, as I suggested) is extremely useful to the establishment, as it enables it to claim its critics are sub-normal, subhumans. 

As Obama would say: the only change we can believe in, is Roman emperor style of change. Obama gave us quite a bit of it, of course dwarfed by the trillions he gave to banks through “Quantitative Easing”. Oh, sorry, forgot it’s the private-public “Fed” which did that… With all the friends of Obama inside, accompanied by all these experts in how to defraud the public…


Are We Idiots, Do We Deserve Punishment And Are We Stupid To Be Angry from Just deserving our just desserts?

I replied the following, to the eminent neurological mandarin, Mr. Burton, graciously published by Aeon:


Ironically, the article is suffering from what it haughtily condemns. It implicitly excuses gross, and increasing social inequality by the fact that we are so moronic, we can’t even grasp the possibility that our own imbecility is so great, we can’t even guess the justice of it all. Instead of getting angry at the increasing inequality, we should understand it’s a natural consequence of our cerebral shortcomings.

Hey, you idiots are not even appraised of the twisted jargon used in some medical statistical semantics! What the brain weak author does not realize is that this is jargon, and that jargon is used to make those who understand it stronger. It’s a form of inequality. Jargon makes strong, and its wisdom is inequality, telling people they are morons.

Take the coin example: right, if a coin chosen haphazardly falls the same way 20 times in a row, the next one should come the other way. But there is little wisdom therein. There is more wisdom to be alert to the possibility of systematic bias. If someone produces dice which fall specially 20 times in a row, I may suspect that said dice are piped.

This was just demonstrated for Pound currency trading in Great Britain. Computer analysis show the Pound moves according to what the economic statistics will impel it to move… 24 hours before the announcement. The effect is not found with the Swedish currency. A bit of digging shows that only a handful of people see the Swedish stats, pre-publication, whereas more than one hundred see the British ones. Clearly, there are (very profitable) leaks in Great britain, and they have been making some establishment families very wealthy for a very long time.

Mr. Burton feels smart to declare that “Many of us (me included) can solve the equation f=ma without having any feel for what the equation means” So? The author of that question is too ignorant to know that this is an active research area, and that, not having any “fee” for it is wise. Buridan, introducing inertia around 1350, did away with forces, using only inertia. The idea was taken with much more detail by Riemann in his thesis, when he introduced high dimensional curvature, and the idea that curvature could replace force was further exploited in “Einstein” theory of gravitation (“GR”). It was exploited again by Kaluza and Klein to “explain” electromagnetism and more recent physics (superstrings, Calabi Yau spaces). Ergo, we don’t know what “F” is, and “m” has been hotly debated.  

So is the increasing hostility in society a computer effect? Yes and no: high frequency trading has allowed “quants” like the mathematician Simons to syphon trillions from the public, by leading the market, and using computers and special links to have information other market participants do not enjoy, a form of legal thievery.

More generally, plutocracy has set-up mental traps to divert attention of the public from the real problems. One of these tactics has even a name: Political Correctness.

Others, such as Paul Krugman, are paid handsomely to advertize erroneous theories of how money is created (as I have long claimed; last week, the Deutsche Bundesbank concurred… with the truth as I saw it! Something I found properly stupefying, especially coming from that particular bank… Great, although after 15 years of erroneous expert opinion. Does it have to do with the French election?)

The fundamental problem is increasing inequality and the disappearance of even a semblance of democracy. And the correct answer is anger. First anger, then answer. That’s how progress works.

The most fundamental reason is not justice, and human ethology, although both are very important for optimizing human happiness. The fundamental reason for democracy is smarts. To be overlorded by experts who claim only them don’t have “dyslexia”, is the opposite of democracy.

Patrice Ayme’

9 Responses to ““Experts” Can, & Ought To Be Dismissed, Considering State of Society, Planet”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Just read this quickly before turning the light off. Too quickly. But not too quickly to revel in what you are saying and want to express that reaction immediately.

    A more reflective, slower re-reading tomorrow.


  2. Paleologue Says:

    Extremely well put, Patrice. Your description applies to most of the truly important trends in our world. The man moving the shells around makes what he’s doing appear to be simple… deceptively so.

    A word I’ve always admired is sanction. Because, depending on context or just whim, it can mean either ‘permitted’ or ‘prohibited’. I would strongly sanction its use.


  3. Gee Eff Says:

    I agree: very well put indeed, and important.


  4. E.I.E.I. Owen Says:

    Nice rant, Patrice! I agree with the general gist of it [part of this comment has been removed because it contravenes community guidelines]

    However, I feel the need to say just one thing: as wifey keeps telling me, it’s not the anger that matters, it’s how you deal with it. Therefore, if some people decide to express their anger by backing demagogues, I think that they deserve to be called a bunch of dumbasses.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks E IEI… To further deabte, thus progress, it would help to tell where the BS is… I mean you may have a point, or two, or more, it would help to know what they are…


  5. Paleologue Says:

    The best comedians are those people who figure out that expressing anger as hostility is always counterproductive… so after simmering in their own juices for a sufficiently long time, they turn it into satire.

    And for such artists, we are blessed to be living in times like these.


  6. SDM Says:

    Burton’s article is intriguing in that he touches upon aspects of intelligence, neuroscience and education. At the most base level there is the question of what can we know about reality -what are the limits of intelligence?- and reaches towards the issue of whether our intelligence is capable of saving humanity from itself.
    The inequality and plutocracy you rail against are enabled in some sense by the thought process of the masses. People can be easily swayed, distracted, propagandized to where they willingly act against their own self interests. When these tactics fail, then it gets violent.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Exactly. I agree Burton’s article is interesting as you say.
      I think intelligence requires effort. In recent days more than half a dozen French people refused to engage in any conversation with me about the French elections… On the ground I knew too much, I understood too much, they could not make the effort to get any of it. It was like talking to sheep and trying to persuade them that it would be worth the effort to learn to read. Contemplate my sort of dialogue with EugenR on Macron: he basically said I was engaged in propaganda, but he did not have the basic cognitif elements of how Germany has a subsidy regime not available to other countries (France has no small banks). When I roll out my reasons better, silence.

      In any case, it was fascinating to have several people who didn’t know each other, telling me they didn’t have the brain power (actually they didn’t have the will/time/energy to try to have the brain power). With some, I got insulted, because at this point saying anything which could be interpreted as pro-Le Pen is viewed as the “end of the republic” as a seriously blonde character told me yesterday…

      Civilization is a mass effect, and a much greater one than basic group think. Plutocracy is also, partly, a mass effect. Intellectual fascism is also, partly, a mass effect (and a great comfort). Civilization is the greatest mass effect of them all.

      The violence, right now, is lethally directed against Earth’s biosphere itself, for the first time ever to a lethal scale. So control will fail, it’s already failing (drought induced famine in Syria played a role in the anti-Assad revolt, it is said). And this is exactly the problem with Macron in France: the measures he proposes won’t make enough of a dent.


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