Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Explaining Gunloonery (Part Uno)

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge
--Charles Darwin

Whenever one encounters a gunloon, one is struck by their confidence in their knowledge of all things firearm-related.  Not only do they fully understand the most technical minutiae of firearms but they are expert in the maintenance, repair, operation, and handling of same.  Gun policy, history, and science are their fortes. More amazingly, they can comment authoritatively on scenarios they've never experienced, even claiming a better understanding than those who have encountered such situations.

Ever wonder why this is?

There is a scientific explanation.  It's called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  To illustrate the D-K Effect--consider American Idol.  During the early auditions, the television audience gets to hear some truly awful singing by folks who have literally spent days waiting in line for an audition.  When they're rejected, many of these would-be performers are genuinely hurt, upset, and puzzled by the the judges' inability to recognize their obvious "talent."

The D-K Effect basically finds that bottom performers tend not to just overestimate their performance, but to vastly overestimate their performance and knowledge.  OTOH, top performers tended to slightly underestimate their knowledge and performance.  This makes sense; the more knowledgeable you are, the more experiences you've had and the more adept you are at assessing your performance relative to others gives you better insight into what areas you may need more work.  If you're incompetent, you simply haven't the wherewithal to understand your deficiencies.


  1. "More amazingly, they can comment authoritatively on scenarios they've never experienced, even claiming a better understanding than those who have encountered such situations."

    I would say that is because they have the intimate knowledge of the workings of some things. Like when a mechanic can tell you what is wrong with your car after a description of an event or how that same mechanic can be trained by investigators and the like to see in thier heads how an accident played out even though they were not there. I would hazard to guess that most of traffic investigators have never been in an accident, but does that mean they know nothing of it?

    Have a good day.

  2. It extends even to the reading of statistics. No matter what statistic you cite, or how authoritative the source, they will always find some fact to focus on that, in their mind, completely negates any message or significance of the statistic, if it doesn't support their view, and leads them to not only doubt the data entirely, but call you dishonest for it. (e.g. "Your study only looks at gun deaths by state, but they didn't take into consideration all violent crimes of every kind, city-by-city," or "suicides and justified shootings shouldn't count as 'gun deaths.'"). Groan.

  3. "No matter what statistic you cite, or how authoritative the source, they will always find some fact to focus on that..."

    Quite right. We gunloons spend way too much time focusing on facts. If we instead ignored facts, perhaps we could be anti's too.

  4. FWM: No, gunloons don't focus on facts. Case in point, there's a recent study that shows the rate of gun deaths among urban children and rural children isn't significantly different.

    This irritates gunloons because they like to propagate the myth that urban kids (all gangbangers) have much higher rates of gun death than rural kids (all (white)kids who have grown up around guns and hunt).

    So, when I advanced this study at another forum, the gunloons dismissed it because they objected to the authors (all MDs) calling children anyone aged 0-18. So, I suggested they could call them "young adults" or "carbon-based life forms" or whatever made them comfortable. But they rejected the study because they couldn't get past medical doctors labelling children as ages 0-18.

  5. Jade,

    I have no problem recognizing "children as those 0-17 and including even 15 year old gangbangers. They are still children even though some of them may have children of their own. 18 is an adult.

    The problem with some of those same "studies" in the '90s, and the reason they are sometimes met with skepticism, was that they morphed "young people" into "children" so they started counting 18-23 year olds as "Children".

  6. FWM: The problem is that they dismissed the study based solely on a terminology they didn't like. I even pointed out the study authors broke down the gun deaths by age (e.g., 0-1, 1-2, 2-3, etc.) as well as by whether the gun death was suicide, accident, or homicide.

    You know, I've heard about these mythical studies claiming children being 24--but so far nobody has produced such a study.

  7. BTW, as I noted, whether you call them "children" or "young people" or "carbon-based life forms" is immaterial. The central issue is that gunloons often claim that urban people have more gun deaths (in terms of rates) than rural folks.

  8. Jade, just check VPC, CeaseFire or any of the other anti-freedom groups. Any that claim 10 "kids" a day die from gun violence are counting 18-23 year olds as "kids".

  9. Show me, FWM. I keep hearing about this--but I'm seeing nuthin'

  10. FatWhiteMan, You just did a great job of making JadeGold's point.

  11. Jade, I live in an extremely rural area. Care to tell me where the hell all the nonwhite kids came from?
    Contrary to your stereotyping, there are a lot of black country kids too.

  12. Wait a minute, wouldn't including older teens in the group called "kids" favor the urban totals? That's where those young gang members live, right.

    If a poll like that shows similar numbers urban vs. rural, it would only be more so by limiting it to younger kids, no?