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On Rats, Rocks, Goats and Liars: Presenting The Ig Nobels


On Rats, Rocks, Goats and Liars: Presenting The Ig Nobels

With the world too much with us, we honor the winners of the 26th First Annual (yes) Ig Nobel Prizes, celebrating goofy and minimally useful science research projects around the world. Among the winners: Analyses of rock personalities for branding (Economics), living life as a badger (Biology), a three-volume work on collecting flies (Literature) and, key to this election season, a philosophical study on pseudo-profound bullshit (Peace Prize), with the authors concluding, "Bullshit may be more pervasive than ever before.”


Some of the IgNobel Prizes in the past have gone to real, important science (or at least what I think is real, important science) too, like the discovery of the Dunning-Kreuger Effect.

The Dunning-Kreuger Effect is a cognitive phenomenon whereby the ignorant and incompetent tend to believe they have a high degree of knowledge and competence, while the genuinely knowledgeable and competent tend to have misgivings of their wisdom, and underestimate their their knowledge and competence.

Or more briefly, the stupid are too stupid to know they are stupid, while the wise have the wisdom to know that all wisdom is limited and tentative.

There i nothing new about this notion, but Dunning and Kreuger experimentally verified it.

"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance" - Confucius

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - Shakespeare

"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision" - Bertrand Russel


This sort of reminds me of the annual Darwin Awards. I wonder what happened to them?


Loved this response and I think I know someone like this, he, he. Now I don't feel so bad about being uncertain in these times.


Too good. The Dunning-Kreuger Effect, the umbrella we all live under.

What a refreshing Friday Subject...thank you

Ditto to Abby


It's a fun idea.

It would be worth more than a moment's notice were they to go after more interesting targets. They might profitably take the list of Nobel Prize recipients as an example. A handful of students doing social research on the demographics of the acceptance of bovine faecal artistry are likely doing a far better job than, say, heads of state, generals, financial consortia, newspapers of record, or heads of major universities.


A well-written and most informative comment. Thank you. I enjoyed reading it and will save the Dunning-Kruger Effect for future use!!!

Trump is the poster boy for and epitome of the "low-ability individuals (that) suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is." And his followers are also D-K specimens.


Bull shit can be hilarious/


Does the Dunning-Kreuger Effect apply to the difference between an atheist and an agnostic?

I believe Bertrand Russell was an agnostic.

Johnm, agnostic