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If we know better, why not do better?

Have you ever listened to two clueless people arguing? Isn’t it hilarious how much they expose their ignorance the more they argue? The other day I overheard two ladies going at it over the now mandatory facemasks.

Having forgotten her mask home, one lady asked her friend to lend her hers since she was already at her workstation and the borrower was on her way to Wandegeya. The would-be lender took off her mask. Searching through her bag, she retrieved another one, which she wore. The friend wondered why she had not given her the one she had not yet used.

The lender replied that she had used them both, the only difference is she had washed and ironed the one she had given her.

“But haven’t you just given me your germs instead?” she asked, to which the lender answered that the masks are not meant for disease prevention but rather a government tool to show donors that their funds are saving lives.
“Still, if you have a disease you might have passed it on to me now,” the borrower remarked. The lender then asked whether she wanted the mask or not, and the exchange ended.

There are so many theories I have heard about the coronavirus pandemic that leave me terrified by the level of ignorance sorrounding it inspite of efforts to educate the citizens. Who is passing on this malicious information and why are people choosing to believe it instead of the truth? Have we lost so much faith in our leaders that we would rather risk our lives?

Facts about the spread and prevention of the virus are so simple and easy to follow. Maybe this is the problem people don’t want to believe that this simplicity can be effective. On the other hand, it could be the Dunning Kruger Effect as a psychologist friend explained — a psychological phenomenon in which people of the lowest ability in a subject rate themselves as most competent, compared to others.

Ironically, people who lack the most knowledge on a topic also lack the ability to recognise their own mistakes and errors, making them exceptionally confident and biased self-evaluators. They are also unable to fairly judge other people’s performance.

The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that influences everyone’s perception of their own abilities. An individual will not only make mistakes because they are not competent in a skill, but that same incompetency will blind them from seeing any errors.

In short, it is a vicious cycle of making wrong decisions based on erroneous information. I wonder if the government is aware of this very dangerous undercurrent and if they are doing something about it.

avancelacarol@gmail.com

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