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This is super disappointing. Apparently, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is not a thing:

Measuring someone’s perception of anything, including their own skills, is fraught with difficulties. How well I think I did on my test today could change if the whole thing was done tomorrow, when my mood might differ and my self-confidence may waver. This measurement of self-assessment is thus, to a degree, unreliable. This unreliability–sometimes massive, sometimes not–means that any true psychological effect that does exist will be measured as smaller in the context of an experiment. This is called attenuation due to unreliability. “Scores of books, articles, and chapters highlight the problem with measurement error and attenuated effects,” Patrick McKnight wrote to me. In his simulation with random measurements, the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect actually becomes more visible as the measurement error increases. “We have no instance in the history of scientific discovery,” he continued, “where a finding improves by increasing measurement error. None.”

Honestly, if one can’t trust the feelings of respondents in psycho-social experiments, is there even any point in anything anymore? But that is not what caught my attention this morning. It was really this:

Let me just preface my excitable remarks by saying that since Christmas I have, more than any other time in the last six years, become addicted to doom scrolling. I’ve always spent a bit too much time online as long as there was any online to spend time on. But I’ve also been more entranced with real life than with that offered by the bright screen. And that is still true…but, I dunno. The last six weeks it seems as though that which is craziest is more completely on display than ever before, usually in the ubiquitous “Reels” section of every social media platform. I’m not on TikTok, but that’s ok because TikTok is following me everywhere. And then, oh my goodness, Twitter is, well, I don’t know, it’s like standing gawking at the huge fire that destroyed the particularly depressing apartments/defunked-gaybar near my church yesterday. One wants to look away, and pray for the victims and stuff, but one can’t.

So…I don’t really have anything to say about “ableism” or “capitalism,” but speaking as a sane Christian, I’m delighted to hear that some people out there believe “in the inherent worth of human beings, regardless of one’s social position or productive potential.” That is a delightful turn of events and I hope it catches on. Of course, I don’t think it will, because that idea is born out of a Christian gospel, and not, as the poor Tweeter apparently imagines, Marxism, or Moar Government Programs TM. Nor can it be commanded into existence by people on Twitter. It only comes about when a person discovers that he isn’t a random assortment of accidental biological processes, but rather that a Being bigger and more knowledgeable than him decided on purpose to make him for some reason.

This, Being–let’s call him God, shall we? Pronouns HE/HIM–when all the creatures he had made because HE is just the sort of person to go about creating people and a lovely world in which they might happily dwell, when those creatures had decided to reject him with every fiber of their beings, came to his own creation to rescue them. Having given them his image, in the beginning, he later took theirs in order to redeem it and make it nice again. And so, because of this astonishing truth which can be discovered either by reading the Bible or googling stuff about the Bible, but probably not by scrolling through Twitter, Christians do treat people as if they are valuable no matter what they look like or if they can contribute anything of meaning to any conversation or task. It’s not their beauty or strength that makes them important to Christians, it’s the fact that God made them. So we don’t throw anyone away, or pass by on the other side of the road, or turn away from people who make bad decisions, or look pathetic, or don’t meet some standard of happiness or ability.

Incidentally, I’ve seen percolating up through Christian Social Media many different people trying to say that there is good deconstruction and bad deconstruction. It’s ok to deconstruct, just make sure you put it all back together. Here is an excellent response to that idea. I would only add that the Christian view of the person is a wholistic and beautiful thing, and that right now, too many people are imagining that if they throw it away because they feel hurt or angry they won’t suffer any consequences. That’s not true. We are already culturally suffering the defeat of several generations of Christians not clinging tightly enough to the gospel that tells them who they are and why God even bothers about them. The only way out of the devastating confusion is not to deconstruct, but to go back and repent, to believe the Gospel that has been there all this time–sufficient for all the troubles and terrors we face.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more scrolling to do.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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