I’ve always wondered what this phenomenon was called but eChurch blog has enlightened me…
Put simply this effect occurs when someone knows very little about something and fails to realise they know very little. Their lack of knowledge leads them to a lack of insight into their lack of knowledge and gives rise to an erroneous confidence. Conversely, those that have much knowledge realise how little they know and this leads to a lack of confidence.
Tim mentioned this effect in relation to an article on New Atheists and specifically Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion.
Obviously there are atheists with a profound knowledge of Christianity, but I suspect I am not alone in encountering atheists suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.
No, you’re certainly not. It seems to be rampant amongst the more vociferous New Atheists we meet here in Sydney. In general, the louder they shout, the less they actually really know about what Christians believe or what the main apologetic arguments are. Frankly, if anyone ever acts like they know what they’re talking about when it comes to the historicity of the New Testament and then uses that throwaway “if Jesus ever existed” line, you have a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in, well, full effect.
The other day on Twitter I was challenged by an atheist who pontificated that I worship a “reanimated corpse” and indulge in cannibalism and such like. I tried briefly to engage him seriously, but quickly realised that he was in no way interested to learn my views and was happier constructing a straw-man of my beliefs and then gleefully knocking it over. As I bowed out of our “conversation” he pronounced his victory, declared he had trounced me and said that as a result of this interaction he wouldn’t be surprised if my faith crumbled.
There is no doubt that this chap was subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect in relation to Christianity.
Otherwise known as the Dawkins-Theological-Prowess-Syndrome.
Having said this, I believe that the Dunning-Kruger effect afflicts some believers also.
Indeed. Go see what he has to say (although it doesn’t quite go where I would take it).
This whole thing reminds me of this (slightly NSFW)….
If you don’t rate, just over-compensate