How Cognitive Blindness Manifests In Us
I love the clarification of the Dunning Kruger Effect. I remember watching someone clearly suffering from it, yet ridiculing less educated people who pushed back on his wrong ideas as the ones actually suffering because HE was a Doctor. More often than not, the experts do suffer from it worse than others, especially outside their fields. Sam Harris is a great example that I can think of. He's trying to be the expert on everything but he has no curiosity outside of his own myopia.
Not only must we consider what we "know", but what we "observe". I'm pasting the first few paragraphs of Philip Morrison's 1982 essay from his book "Powers of Ten". It's not online, but I transcribes these thoughts here for us to continue to chew on. It's wonderful reading, thinking about the six-orders-of-magnitude world which we observe. And, or course, what lays beyond.
“Looking at the world: An Essay” Philip Morrison, 1982
Of all our senses it is vision that most informs the mind. We are versatile diurnal primates with a big visual cortex; we use sunlit color in constant examination of the bright world, though we also can watch by night. Our nocturnal primate cousins mostly remain high in the trees of the forest, patiently hunting insects in the darkness.
It is no great wonder that the instruments of science also favor vision; but they extend it far into new domains of scale, of intensity, and of color. Inaudible and invisible man-made signals now fill every ordinary living room, easily revealed in all their artifice to ear and eye by that not-so-simple instrument, the radio, and the even more complicated TV set. It is very much this path of novelty that science has followed into sensory domains beyond any direct biological perception. There, complex instruments assemble partial images of the three-dimensional space in which we dwell, images rich and detailed although at scales outside the physical limits of visible light.
The images finely perceived by eye and brain in a sense span the scientific knowledge of our times (though it is risky co neglect the hand). The world is displayed by our science in diverse ways, by manifold instruments and by elaborate theories that no single person can claim any longer co master in all detail. The presentation of the whole world we know as though it were a real scene before the eyes remains an attractive goal. It should be evident chat no such assemblage could be complete, no picture could be final, nor could any image plumb the depths of what we have come to surmise or to understand. Behind every representation stands much more than can be imaged, including concepts of a subtle and often perplexing kind. Yet it is prob-ably true-truer than the specialists might be willing to admit-that the linked conceptual structures of science are not more central to an overall understanding than the visual models we can prepare.
The Gamut of the Sciences
The world at arm’s length – roughly one meter in scale – is the world of most artifacts and of the most familiar of living forms. No single building crosses the kilometer scale; no massive architecture, from pyramid to Pentagon, is so large. A similar limit applies to living forms: The giant trees hardly reach a hundred meters in height, and no animals are or have ever been found that large. The smallest artifacts we can use and directly appreciate – the elegant letters in some fine manuscript, or the polished eye of a fine needle – perhaps go down to a few tenths of a millimeter. Six orders of magnitude cover the domain of familiarity. Science conducted at these scales is rather implicit: The most salient disciplines are those that address the roots of human behavior.
“In a gross generality, the left cannot see the side of the right (other than their characterization) and the right cannot see the side of the left (other than their characterization) because to do so would be to contradict elements of your own position.”
Yes and no. Due to Post-Enlightenment Progressivism (“wokery”) so dominating the cultural commanding heights, progressives are nowadays much more likely to be unaware of the views of conservatives and other dissenters than the reverse is true.