Dunning-Kruger: we're all guilty but some more than others

We used to say, "He knows just enough to be dangerous." Now we say, "This is a Dunning-Kruger case."

Dunning-Kruger is/be/are all over the Internet these days, and discussants do not dress in sackcloth. They are very concerned about those other idiots over there who don't know how foolish they are.

Now, Civil War discussions have a lot of pejoratives, many absolutes and all sorts of "common knowledge" backed by adamant posturing. OK, so here I am pointing my finger at those folks over there, but I avoid calling generals names and do not assume greater knowledge than the man who was there and on the spot.

How many of us presume to substitute our own judgement for a field commander's? How many do so with a caveat that the commander did not have information as good as ours ... and yet we don't analyze our own information? How many realize it's not entirely about the information?

Dunning himself has recently published an Internet piece justly called, "We are all confident idiots." He does not cite an ACW example but does mention pop culture evolutionary theory, a bugbear of mine. Dunning:
... purpose-driven misconception wreaks particular havoc on attempts to teach one of the most important concepts in modern science: evolutionary theory. Even laypeople who endorse the theory often believe a false version of it. They ascribe a level of agency and organization to evolution that is just not there.
"False" is a little harsh. "Outdated" or non-Darwinian is better. BTW, don't we ACW readers ascribe an agency and organization to the battlefield that is not there? Don't we know about the coordination and editing of battle reports?

But back to Dunning: check out your local public school and educational TV programming, especially. You'll learn that dinosaurs could not adapt (a Lamarckian formulation) but that successful mammals inherited those environmental adaptations forced upon them (Lysenko). Remarkable stuff and nothing remotely to do with Darwin and yet preached today as "settled science" by people who don't know the history of competing evolutionary theories. And Dunning falls into this by suggesting there is one "evolutionary theory." There are many evolutionary theories and some are discredited.

Our own little world is a simpler one. Nothing is discredited because there is only one master narrative of the ACW. The game is in retelling the story because there is nothing writers can say that did not already appear in Republican newspaper editorials during the war. The alternate Democrat analysis and commentary have faded yellow and crumbled to dust with the broadsheets of that era. Any new analysis is but a novelty that passes with any given publishing season.

Meanwhile this idiot general missed that glorious opportunity to end the war in a single bold stroke because of his [insert failing here].