How to tell apart a fake from a real expert — Dunning Kruger Effect

In this article I will go through how a fake often portray themselves, how you can identify them, and also why I am writing this.
The TLDR version of this is that many “experts” lack the knowledge they portrait, they use logical fallacies and can’t handle critique. These are easy to identify by learning about ‘The Dunning Kruger Effect’, and ‘Logical Fallacies’. More on that below.

Introduction

In any field, in any medium, you will find so called experts that happily share their knowledge and portrait themselves as self confident and certain people. However, most often, these people are not as great as they try to communicate. This is usually a multifaceted issue, one of the major ones can be explained by the Dunning Kruger effect. This wide spread problem is part of human biology, and something we all need to be aware of when we search for advice or information.

The dunning Kruger Effect

The Dunning Kruger Effect — TLDR

The model makes accurate assertions of human behavior that can be quantified and well tested. Which means this model is actually great for population studies, but as most models not great for individuals. However, IMO it’s a great tool for self assessment to become self aware of ones weaknesses.

If you look at the model above, you can see 2 peaks, the further to the right side you come, the more competence a person possesses in a certain field. This is where a so called field expert would be, and furthest to the left is where a freshly introduced person locate.

What this model actually shows is that people with little competence tend to be very confident about their knowledge. When they learn more, they tend to drop that confidence as they realize the field is way wider than they first imagined. And as they continue to dig into a field, they acquire more and more knowledge and fill the gaps, and once again gains this confidence.

Worth adding is that just because someone is an expert in one field, doesn’t make them an expert in a near field. E.g. a Doctor may be an expert in one medical field, but is seldom expert in multiple. Those doctors portraying themselves as experts in TV seem to often forget this aspect.

Also, the more you know about a field, the easier it is for you to see through the confidence with the lack of competence they possess.

Why is this interesting in the Blockchain ecosystem?

TLDR: Most people on Twitter, Reddit, Youtube, Telegram and Discord have no real knowledge about what they are discussing. Me included. I try to focus my communication in areas where I have actually put in enough time to understand the basics. I try to stay away from statements in areas I am a beginner, this is as I try to stay true to myself and anyone that might read or hear what I say.

Most crypto traders believe they are experts because they made some gains, in a bull market. Or perhaps they are experts in investments because they made one good choice over the last few years and managed to sell at the right time. These crypto traders tend to be very vocal about their expertise and many times sell advice, or offer it for free. Most of those traders has zero self awareness of their lack of knowledge and honestly believe they are better and smarter than everyone else, and most importantly, the market. Perhaps they tracked some metrics that has been correct once, twice, or even multiple times. But so has astronomy based trading and made up metrics. Doesn’t mean that the correlation between said model and the outcome are related at all.

Simply because someone “made it”, doesn’t make them an expert, or even able to repeat the same thing again. Over and over again, I see those that lack knowledge and experience advising people to do A, B or C, thinking they are better, smarter and know what to do. Often new people with less knowledge trust these confident people and can get tricked, make bad trade based on this, or in worse case, even get scammed.

By spending a few hours understanding how to identify a fake, you can save yourself and others a lot of headache.

How can you identify a fake?

The short answer is: listen to their arguments, or lack of there of.
More often than not, these arguments are non existent or filled with Logical Fallacies. The latter is something you can identify even in fields that you lack the basic knowledge in. A Logical Fallacy is basically arguments that lack any legitimacy. I will be using examples from two fields I have spent a lot of time within.

Some examples of Fallacies that I often observe:

The following explanations of fallacies are taken from this site. I add examples to hopefully help you understand them.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/false-cause

Crypto example:

A Token dump (A) right after the team did (B). Therefor the action taken by the team caused the token to dump.

Token (A) pumped and stayed high by listing on Binance, therefor if token (B) is listed on binance, it will pump and stay high.

This doesn’t have to be true, it could be, but it doesn’t because we do not know. Therefor by focusing on B, we might be focusing on the wrong thing and rely on false or inaccurate information. This doesn’t have to be an issue, but it does paint the wrong picture. We have to be more careful when we use statements for relations between two events, because correlation doesn’t mean causation.

Health example:

I am gluten intolerant, because I used to have issues with my digestion, then I removed gluten and now I feel better.

This is an example that was mentioned all over social media a few years back. People reporting intolerance's based on above or similar statements. What they miss is by removing gluten, they often remove a lot of things, and replace it with something else, often it led to an improved diet because gluten-free options were limited. So the real reason could just as likely be that they eat more of something, or food their body is better to absorb or whatever that reason may be.

Always think a second time when someone utters statements that isn’t really backed by strong data, but rather opinions or perspectives.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

This is seen all over the world where people try to discredit the person rather than meeting their arguments. It is a very effective strategy as it plays into the observers emotions and sometimes moral. This is very often used by those holding the mainstream view against those that don’t.

If a person takes this approach rather than disregarding what has been said, you should be careful. In the WAX ecosystem we had a person launching a ‘game’, where he lied to everyone and used this method in an attempt to discredit those that pointed out flaws. It worked for him until someone with a higher credibility was personally attacked.

When said person is asked a question, instead of answering the question they attack the character of the person asking the question, or the person/topic they are discussing.

I am sure you can find examples of this if you open twitter and listen to representatives of many projects.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-gamblers-fallacy

There is a 2% chance that I will get that rare NFT in my Pack. Therefor if I open 50 packs I will get 1.

Although statistically, the assumption is correct, it likely will occur once per 50 packs. Doesn’t mean that just because you open 50 packs, you are entitled to 1 of those rare NFTs. Each time you open a pack, that pack has 2% chance of getting that NFT, the next pack doesn’t have a higher likelihood, but the same likelihood. Although, the more times you try, the more likely it is that you acquire such NFT. Do your best to keep in favor to the Gods of Random.

Eric Wall is tweeting frequently about a Rainbow model to track bitcoin price movements to make fun of this.

Eric wall — https://twitter.com/ercwl

Even though his rainbow model looks good in the past, and funny enough has been accurate moving forward. It is just a made up model to make fun of those that have to much trust in statistics. Simply because there is a correlation, doesn’t mean it’s a causation.

Summary

These Fallacies are everywhere in discussions in social media channels. The people using them are often not aware of it, or even the problem they imply.

My tip is that you daily read about 1 of these fallacies, with this you will start to understand how they are used, and when. This will enable you to see through many of the arguments used in media, my politicians, and by influences.

Remember, that just because a person uses fallacies, doesn’t invalidate everything they say, all the time. And identifying a correlation between A and B, doesn’t mean A caused B, or is even related.

I will exemplify that by a stupid graph below.

Correlation between sales of Ice cream and Forest Fires.

Apparently the more ice cream sold, the more fires we see… Can’t have anything to do with that fires are more frequent during hot months, as well as people want to eat more ice cream when it’s warm outside and they have a vacation?

Here are two more fallacies worth showcasing.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-fallacy-fallacy

I tweted about all the logical fallacies a few days ago.

https://twitter.com/anyobservation

Why am I writing about this?

The answer to this is as everything in this article, multifaceted. My background studying psychology (sport & exercise psychology) opened up my interest of the behavior aspects of everything I spend any time doing. In university, about 2 years out of my 3 years was filled with psychology, the last 33% was exercise, nutrition and performance related. I found psychology so intriguing that I ended up spending most off my awaken time reading research papers and articles in surrounding fields. This allow me to see that the knowledge I gained from my university studies in best case allows me to realize I know nothing and is taught a tiny fraction of what I need to help people.

After and during my university studies I worked as a personal trainer and online coach, that enabled me to apply what I learned and test it on clients as well as my self. The more time I spent in the health and exercise field the more I could see that those that portrait themselves as experts in social media and TV often know nothing. I quickly realized that the majority of the so called experts in nutrition, physiology, exercise, physiotherapy and surrounding fields often had no clue about the multifaceted aspects of the human body and the impact of psychological factors. Often their models backing their claims were filled with assumptions and logical fallacies. As well as simply ignoring well known information because it was not beneficial to their ideology.

Personally I was lucky enough to surround myself with real experts in many of these fields, and could absorb knowledge through observing and discussions. This is how I am as a person, I am a nerd, I dig into subjects and I spend a lot of time researching, listening and observing. I constantly try to keep myself as the most stupid person in the group to make sure I keep learning and evolving. This lead me to constantly reshaping my ideas and conclusions as I acquire more information. I have been lucky enough to meet great mentors and friends that has the same belief system as I do, so that we could learn and grow together. More often than not we have opposing ideas of topics, which leads to great discussion and growth. I try my best to always question my conclusions, and keep them open for new iterations.

Since I entered the blockchain space, it has taken up all my time.. which the mother of my kid has had to suffer in more than one occasion. I started to read books, articles, and whitepapers. I listened to podcasts, audio books and watched videos. My guess is that most of you that kept reading this article will fall into the same category of nerds. You want to learn, and keep observing information, engage in discussions and spend a lot of time thinking. My guess is also that the more your learn, the more you can see the flaws pointed out by Dunning Kruger in many areas of economics. Most mainstream media outlets tend to invite experts that has no clue about the topic they are brought in to cover. Likely you can identify this pattern in most fields that you have a wast knowledge in. I do not believe this is because those people possess no knowledge, but more likely they are brought in as experts in sub-fields where they don’t have enough experience and knowledge which leads to many logical fallacies. We as humans do this by default to save energy, we categorize and automagically make assumptions based on what we know, learnt and experienced. This is not a flaw of an expert, but a flaw of the human psychology. I strongly believe we can improve in this area by being aware that it exists, stay open to new ideas and those that question our beliefs.

Often influencers have no idea what they are talking about, they repeat what they have heard, and when asked about it, they usually can’t break it down in any simple way. Because to take a complex subject, and break it down into small pieces that most can understand require knowledge, time and effort. This is something anyone with knowledge in said field will see right through, but something a new person will not. They will listen to the so called influencer with a big following and think that this following is because they are experts, which often isn’t the case. They are more often than not mediocre, or worse. Of course with many exceptions. With that said, a lot of them will have great arguments, knowledge and ability to communicate that. They are often entertaining and can present themselves in an attractive way. This is in no way an attempt to make anyone look bad, or discredit influencers. Just to raise awareness and allow people to take a step back and think for themselves.

Now I no longer work as a PT or coach, I work full time in the blockchain space. I see myself as someone with average knowledge about how blockchain tech works, and try to surround myself with experts in different sub-fields to help me understand more. I am very lucky to be positioned where I have great mentors around me with vast knowledge about many new topics. I feed off learning, I feed of growing, this is as much a curse as it is a blessing.

The moment we feel like we understand something fully, is the moment we need to start to learn new, if only to show ourselves how little we know, to be humble and more open.

An expert is someone that put in a lot of time and effort in one small field, they are able to do great work, but it’s not until someone from another field, that observes their work, that they are able to invent something amazing. The world need more people that are ‘Jack of all traits’, that can help connect the dots between experts and help society grow. Through collaboration and open source knowledge, society will benefit greatly. This I am sure off. We all benefit by building on other peoples work, and show be grateful towards their effort. By being more humble and realizing the logical fallacies we tend to rely on, I hope we can open up for new point of views, explore new areas and be beneficial towards the human race.

First step is to be self aware
Second step is to learn
Third step is to apply
Forth step is success

Anyobservation

Crypto, Blockchain and gaming fanboy with a Youtube channel. https://youtube.com/c/anyobservation