Tim recently reminded me of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Put simply this effect occurs when someone knows very little about something and fails to realise they know very little. Their lack of knowledge leads them to a lack of insight into their lack of knowledge and gives rise to an erroneous confidence. Conversely, those that have much knowledge realise how little they know and this leads to a lack of confidence.
Tim mentioned this effect in relation to an article on New Atheists and specifically Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion.
Obviously there are atheists with a profound knowledge of Christianity, but I suspect I am not alone in encountering atheists suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.
The other day on Twitter I was challenged by an atheist who pontificated that I worship a “reanimated corpse” and indulge in cannibalism and such like. I tried briefly to engage him seriously, but quickly realised that he was in no way interested to learn my views and was happier constructing a straw-man of my beliefs and then gleefully knocking it over. As I bowed out of our “conversation” he pronounced his victory, declared he had trounced me and said that as a result of this interaction he wouldn’t be surprised if my faith crumbled.
There is no doubt that this chap was subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect in relation to Christianity.
Having said this, I believe that the Dunning-Kruger effect afflicts some believers also. However, I will post my thoughts on this later, with a small announcement.