Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

An Ig Nobel-winning study showed that, on average, people overestimate their ability, and the most incompetent people overestimate their ability the most, both in absolute terms and relative to their peers. I dabble a lot in subjects I don't know much about. I even read the aforementioned study and thought it was very well-presented, and its arguments in favor of the hypotheses were well-formed, even though I am not a psychologist and my knowledge of statistics is vague. Which makes me wonder just how competent I really am. According to the study results, if I believe I'm in the 3rd quartile of competence, I'm probably right, so maybe I'll say I think I am in the 3rd quartile just so people will have to assume I'm better than average.

Dabbling a lot in subjects I'm no expert in and reading lots of Wikipedia articles probably makes me broadly informed but rather fallible, which I don't like so much; I'd rather be narrow-minded but always acutally right. Even so, I'm too curious not to try to figure stuff out on my own. So discovering a website that displays the Greek New Testament with a pop-up window for every word which lists translations, a definition and (best of all!) the word's grammatical attributes, opens up a whole new world of trouble for me to get into. I don't know ancient Greek nor any accepted methods for translating Biblical texts, but I'm definitely going to have to fool with this a bit. I promise not to publish my own version of the Bible or propagate any heretical readings of The Gospel of John, if that makes things any better.


Big Red said...

How did you find that site? I knew about it since it was built by a guy at my church, but I didn't know it was making its way around!

Also, I added you to my blogroll now.

mackwai said...

Gee Scott, everybody goes to your church; first the guys from Grammatrain, now this guy. Speaking of Grammatrain, they rock! yet another good Christian band that disappeared into oblivion.

Anyway, I forget exactly where I found it. I've been surfing a lot of philosophy of religion blogs lately and I'm sure I found it on one of them.

mackwai said...

An update: the site at was taken down quite a while ago because of copyright issues. Here's a site with similar functionality: . I really like this one; the layout is clean and things load quickly.