Unknown Unknown

"Knowledge is what we know. Also, what we know we do not know. We discover what we do not know essentially by what we know. Thus knowledge expands. With more knowledge we come to know more of what we do not know. Thus knowledge expands endlessly. ------ C Radhakrishna Rao, STATISTICS AND TRUTH"

It is the end of 2018. My post about some of my thoughts in 2017 feels like yesterday. I still can’t answer the question I laid out on the first day of 2018. Here are the keywords in my mind at the end of 2018: Dunning-Kruger effect, anti-new year resolution, information anxiety, the veil of ignorance, jerk taxonomy, the least romantic thing, consistent philosophy of life and intimate relationship. I hope to go through each in a series of posts.

Dunning-Kruger effect: Unknown Unknown

Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias discovered by two social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999.

Here is the story behind it. Have you heard about lemon juice as “invisible ink”? That is true. If you write messages on a piece of paper using plain lemon juice, you won’t be able to see the words once lemon-juice dries completely. The invisible messages can be revealed by heating the paper because the lemon juice corrodes the paper.

One day in 1995, a middle-aged man named McArthur Wheeler rubbed two Pittsburgh banks by himself in board daylight without any disguise. He even smiled at surveillance cameras before walking out of each bank. Wheeler was surprised when the police arrested him later that night and showed him the surveillance tapes. He stared at the video in disbelief and mumbled: “But I wore the lemon juice.” Apparently, Wheeler thought that he was invisible to videotape once rubbing lemon juice on his skin.

The unfortunate affair of Mr. Wheeler caught the eye of psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. They conducted an outstanding research to see what was going on. They focused on the relationship between one’s skill in a particular domain and one’s awareness of his/her skill in that domain. They argued that people tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains, i.e., over-confidence. That is not the worst news.

They also found that the same knowledge, what cognitive psychologists term metacognition, that underlies the ability to produce correct judgment is also the knowledge that underlies the ability to recognize correct judgment. It leads to an unfortunate cognitive bias to inflate self-assessment, and the most unskilled people suffer the bias the most. In other words:

The more stupid you are, the less likely you realize you are stupid.

No wonder Steve Jobs said: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” If you don’t stay foolish, then you are foolish. In other words, there is no way not to be stupid. You can only choose to admit or deny it. That is the essence of...

full post...

Something...sexy......

Sherlock Holmes is no doubt the most attractive fiction character for me (But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is not my favorite novelist, Milan Kundera is). I got “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” the second year in middle school, a book with 1000+ pages. I was so obsessed with it and the obsession filled my adolescent years. I used to put the book under my pillow and read it every night before bed (Yes,...

full post...

Free Will Conundrum (2)

面对困难时应该感到幸福。 [爸爸]

It is for 2018. Happy New Year to the world! On the first day of 2018, I want to lay out a list of questions without answers and some books related to each. Those questions will be with me in 2018.

Q1: How much free will do we have?

Let’s start with the...

full post...

Free Will Conundrum (1)

It is for my 2017. Whenever I look back, my life is equal parts wonder and blunder. Many things that I believed to be true are untrue now. As an analogy to a term coined by philosophers of science, the pessimistic induction , because many of my beliefs have been wrong, many of my beliefs are wrong …… How can I reconcile my messy value system? Stay foolish; Stay open. Ok, let’s back to the...

full post...

Placebo Effect

Most of the people should be familiar with the Placebo Effect.

“Placebo Effect: the tendency of any medication or treatment, even an inert or ineffective one, to exhibit results simply because the recipient believes that it will work.”

Mom is a devout believer in traditional Chinese medicine philosophy (Yin and Yang and Five Phases Theory) and active practitioner of a repertory of Chinese medicine therapies, such as moxibustion and gua...

full post...