I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

494. The Fallacy Of Self-Overestimation

The Fallacy Of Self-Overestimation

I am sick and tired of men's fallacy of attempting to establish an intellectual hierarchy of their superiority, even when this is in no way justified.    This entry explains the general fallacy, the next entry will explain, why this fallacy is toxic in a relationship.

It is an everyday experience to feel the need to base an evaluation, interpretation or decision upon insufficient information and to fill the gap with an estimated probability of what seems most plausible.    Otherwise people are paralyzed from acting.  Therefore the strategy to derive the best estimation is very important and that includes to avoid fallacies.  

One common fallacy is the overestimation of oneself in the situation of either lacking sufficient information about another or of being biased by a prejudice to underestimate this person.    This happens often, when communication leads to a reaction of disagreement.    In this situation, self-overestimation and the underestimation of another are two sides of the self coin.

Person S as the sender makes a statement, which does not convey a convincing message to the receiving person R.   Theoretically, while omitting in this context the distorted transmission of the message, this can be explained by a deficit on either or both sides of the sequence of sending and receiving.  
  • Distortion 1: Person S makes a wrong, false, stupid, unlearned, irrational statement.
  • Distortion 2: Person R lacks enough knowledge, education or intelligence be able to comprehend or evaluate S's statement.
Based only upon one or a few statements from S, it is often not possible to decide, which of the two distortions is more probable.   Because S's knowledge and learning is like an iceberg.   As is known, only about one seventh of an iceberg is visible, while most of it is invisible.   Every one of S's statements is connected with all his learning and experience stored in his brain.  The more R knows about S, the better R is able to evaluate S's statements, even when the statements by themselves may appear misleading or insufficient.   Considering them as wrong is a fallacy.   The statements require further explanations and information. 

A simple example:  
S makes a statement about the harm of herbicides that is different from what R so far had heard of or considered as probably correct.   R cannot evaluate, if this statement is more probable without further knowledge about S.   When R knows, if S is a gardener having left school after tenth grade or if he has a degree in chemistry, then R has some valuable information for the evaluation of the statement.

After only hearing the statement, R needs to make a temporary decision of how to proceed in reaction to the incomprehensible statement.  There is a variety of possible reaction.   Ending the communication, ridicule, asking curious questions, ask other people, find independent information, gullibly believe it.    The better the information about S, the more appropriate is the reaction.  

When people have a realistic view about themselves, they can evaluate not only the knowledge of the other, but also their own knowledge in comparison with the other's competence.  
A realistic gardener is aware, that he knows less about herbicides than the chemist, while the realistic chemist acknowledges, that the gardener has more knowledge about pruning fruit trees.   The one with less knowledge asks questions and is motivated to learn.    

But there are people, who are not realistic.   Whenever they do not understand the other, they automatically believe, that they are right and the other is wrong.    A gardener, who claims his knowledge about herbicides to be better than the chemist's or the chemist, who claims to know better than the gardener how to prune trees, are absurd.   They are not aware of the limitation of their knowledge to their own specialty.    They are both afflicted with the fallacy of unfounded self-overestimation.   The gardener, who disputes the chemist's superior knowledge concerning herbicides and the chemist, who disputes the gardener's superior knowledge concerning pruning are both ludicrous and a nuisance.   

This fallacy can be avoided or at least drastically reduced by an a priori decision of how to handle the ambiguity of the two distortions.   This decision is to always give S the benefit of the doubt by first asking questions and getting more information and by postponing the final conclusion of considering the other as wrong, until there is no more doubt..